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Noisy pc what option should I choose?

Printed From: Graham Slee at Hifi System Components
Category: Digital Audio
Forum Name: Computer Audio
Forum Description: Is computer audio here to stay or is it just another flavour of the month?
URL: https://www.hifisystemcomponents.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=4112
Printed Date: 19 Oct 2019 at 11:57pm
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 12.01 - http://www.webwizforums.com


Topic: Noisy pc what option should I choose?
Posted By: Chrispyduck
Subject: Noisy pc what option should I choose?
Date Posted: 27 Jan 2017 at 9:02pm
Hi, I have a home made pc which serves me well, sounds great and is very quick. Trouble is, it has a noisy fan which is permanently active. The pc wasnt constructed by me( im no techie) so should I look at getting components changed to make it silent, or get a tablet pc, if so which one as not all are compatible with a dac?
Thx Chrispy



Replies:
Posted By: Gary
Date Posted: 27 Jan 2017 at 9:45pm
What about a laptop? I've recently replaced a home built PC used for Photoshop with a laptop and the fan noise is minimal, if used for web browsing etc. it silent.

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Solo ULDE, CuSat50, Spatia Links


Posted By: Chrispyduck
Date Posted: 27 Jan 2017 at 9:53pm
Would prefer no fan at all tbh, can I ask which laptop?


Posted By: Gary
Date Posted: 28 Jan 2017 at 9:22am
Fan or no fan will depend on what other activities you need a computer for, I also have a Lenovo Yoga 300 that is fanless and silent but it's not upto serious Photoshop use (other laptop is a Dell XPS 15). Tablets to me always look a bit clumsy when used with a USB adapter to link to a DAC.

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Solo ULDE, CuSat50, Spatia Links


Posted By: Fatmangolf
Date Posted: 28 Jan 2017 at 11:49am
Gary is right, if you are using the PC for photos, video or audio processing, gaming as well as it being a music server heat and fans are probably unavoidable. I tackled the same problem by buying a low noise PSU and cooling fans from a firm called quiet PC.
 
You could also buy or develop a dedicated music server from the Pi units discussed elsewhere on this forum.
 


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Jon

Open mind and ears, whilst owning GSP Genera, Accession, Elevator EXP, Solo ULDE, Proprius amps, Cusat50 cables, Lautus digital cable, Spatia cables and links, and a Majestic DAC.


Posted By: BackinBlack
Date Posted: 28 Jan 2017 at 4:12pm
As Jon Says, Raspberry PI and PI-DAC+ if you have a DAC, Majestic or Bitzie of course. Alternatively Raspberry Pi and Pi DAC+ as a budget solution, still very good though.
IQ Audio do bundles with everything you need in one package.
I would recommend using Moode OS on the Pi.


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Just listen, if it sounds good to you, enjoy it.


Posted By: jwatson
Date Posted: 29 Jan 2017 at 4:40am
Hello - As others have said, a Raspberry Pi can be the basis of a nice system, don't be put off by the low price. I've recently put a Pi3 based system together using Volumio software which I'm very pleased with.  I use a HiFiBerry Digi board so that I can connect to my Majestic DAC via S/PIDF.  The more recent Digi+ pro includes dedicated dual clocks and Galvanic Isolation, features normally associated with higher end audio gear. I'm using an attached USB SSD drive to store music (FLAC) and a higher end Micro SD card for the main disk so the whole thing is very snappy. The  Volumio software a pleasure to use using either a tablet or phone to control playback via the web interface.

With anything but a dedicated music player, your device will be running background services that you have little control of.  The Pi may be something of a lightweight (relatively speaking) but is more than capable of handling 192/24 compressed FLAC.

Kind regards

James


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"I bought some more old vinyl today 'cos old vinyl won't ever let you down"
Majestic DAC -> Solo UL -> HD650


Posted By: Chrispyduck
Date Posted: 29 Jan 2017 at 6:14am
Wow james, never heard of any if that before think I need to look into this, sounds complicated but could be the answer.
Its really a home theatre pc as I only ever use it for Qobuz and Netflix.


Posted By: ICL1P
Date Posted: 29 Jan 2017 at 8:33am
I too have a couple of Pis, well three actually, but one is not in use. Two are coupled with HiFiBerry Digis, one being a plus, and the other is a complete IQaudIO solution including DAC and Amp. I currently use Volumio software, which I find to be more stable than Rune Audio.

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Ifor
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Reflex M, CuSat50, Majestic DAC, a Proprius pair.


Posted By: morris_minor
Date Posted: 29 Jan 2017 at 10:18am
I've had Pis running too, with great success. I currently have one running with a "Squeezebox" emulation very successfully.

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Bob

Majestic DAC/pre-amp
Accession MC/Enigma, Accession MM, Reflex M, Elevator EXP, Era Gold V
Solo ULDE, Novo, Lautus USB and digital, Libran balanced, CuSat50
2 x Proprius + Spatia/Spatia Links


Posted By: Fatmangolf
Date Posted: 29 Jan 2017 at 2:15pm
Is it the SQB Server it's running Bob? I must admit it's the Touch panel I'd miss and that's the reason I keep 'squeezing' more out of it rather than splashing on a Melco 1A!
 


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Jon

Open mind and ears, whilst owning GSP Genera, Accession, Elevator EXP, Solo ULDE, Proprius amps, Cusat50 cables, Lautus digital cable, Spatia cables and links, and a Majestic DAC.


Posted By: morris_minor
Date Posted: 29 Jan 2017 at 4:36pm
I run piCorePlayer on the R-Pi which appears as a player in Logitech Media Server, iPeng etc. I have one of HiFiBerry's amplifiers sitting on the Pi connected to a pair of Sony mini system speakers. The whole lot sits of top of a kitchen cabinet with a wifi aerial. 

My other R-Pis are idle at the moment - I went back to a Touch, Classic and Transporter 'cos I just like the displays . . .Embarrassed


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Bob

Majestic DAC/pre-amp
Accession MC/Enigma, Accession MM, Reflex M, Elevator EXP, Era Gold V
Solo ULDE, Novo, Lautus USB and digital, Libran balanced, CuSat50
2 x Proprius + Spatia/Spatia Links


Posted By: jwatson
Date Posted: 30 Jan 2017 at 4:44am
I've been very happy with my Pi3 and enjoyed the slightly DIY approach.  Don't be put off by the low price tag - Grahams's products ably demonstrate that you don't have to spend astronomical amounts of money to enjoy good audio.  

There's a small cottage industry of providers offering Pi/audio accessories although a basic player with USB out requires nothing aside from the basic Pi board (I used a cardboard enclosure for a couple of months).  The use of a micro SD card to store the operating system makes it easy to try different players; I have a preference for Volumio but am currently running Moodeaudio as its uses a more recent kernel that supports the Digi + Pro board, letting me connect to the Majestic via S/PIDF which sounds better to me.

If you decide to go this way, please feel free to get in touch either through the forum or a PM and I'd be happy to help. 

Kind Regards

James


-------------
"I bought some more old vinyl today 'cos old vinyl won't ever let you down"
Majestic DAC -> Solo UL -> HD650


Posted By: Lucabeer
Date Posted: 31 Jan 2017 at 2:12pm
I installed this in my new PC:

http://www.corsair.com/en-gb/hydro-series-h60-high-performance-liquid-cpu-cooler" rel="nofollow - http://www.corsair.com/en-gb/hydro-series-h60-high-performance-liquid-cpu-cooler

and it's as silent as can be!




Posted By: Wiscos
Date Posted: 04 May 2017 at 9:45pm
The small pc's that compete with the Mac Mini (I know HP do various types) should be nice and quiet and have sufficient poke. But the Pi solutions will be much cheaper.
I've found you get much more noise via usb on some computers but it's getting better all the time as computer audio figures more widely.
I sort of expect audio pc's to start arriving with decent DACs in 'em before long!


Posted By: charlesjohny8
Date Posted: 22 Sep 2017 at 1:58pm
Its too late to comment but mine PC fan was also very noisy. I took the risk by opening its panel and oil the fan wings place also cleaned them very carefully. It start working fine again and this time with less noise.


Posted By: CageyH
Date Posted: 02 Feb 2019 at 12:33pm
Interesting subject.
I have recently decided to convert an old PC to an “audiophile PC” on the cheap.

The spec is:
Asus P5k with Intel Core Duo Q9550 professor, 8 Gb of ram, 2 x 2Tb hard disks, Asus Xonar Essence STX II sound card with Burson Audio Vivid V6 opamps. Asus GT1030 graphics card. EVGA Supernova G2 550W PSU (chosen due to very low ripple currents and generally excellent performance).
The CPU is cooled passively with a Zalman FX70. 
The graphics card is also passively cooled.

I also bought three quiet 140mm Nanoxia Deep Silence 1100 rpm fans.

Fanless, this runs with a max cpu temperature of 49 degrees C after several hours use.
With the three fans running in silent mode (as controlled by the motherboard through a fan hub connected to the CPU fan header, with 7v low noise adapters) it gets up to about 40 degrees.

I am tempted to remove the fans, so that it remains very quiet, but when the music is playing, I can’t hear them anyway.

It has been a fun, cheap product and it sounds very good. It may not be as good as a Majestic DAC, but is has been much cheaper.

Any tips from the experienced PC audio users of what can be done next?




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Kevin

European loan coordinator


Posted By: CageyH
Date Posted: 07 Feb 2019 at 8:37pm
A minor update.
Late night listening sessions meant I could hear the airflow through the case, and the HDD spinning in the quiet passages.

I have now fitted SSDs this n place of the mechanical drives.
I have disconnected all of the fans and with the rear vent (the one above the CPU cooler) open, the CPU never goes above 50 degrees, so I now have a PC that is truly silent. There are no moving parts to annoy me.


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Kevin

European loan coordinator


Posted By: Ash
Date Posted: 07 Feb 2019 at 11:01pm
I just bought a high spec PC tower to replace my dying laptop. A fairly high end "gaming" PC but without a discrete graphics card. The case design permits water cooling if I wanted to set it up but the stock pair of fans in there is fairly quiet. The case contains absorbent foam on several of the inner faces to try to reduce any internal noise being heard. I would be a bit cautious about running a PC longterm with no active airflow or watercooling, especially if it's in a confined space and dust accumulates in the vents. My CPU has a really massive heatsink on it so I do wonder how it would cope with no fans.

I'm pleased with it so far; higher specs than a Mac and cheaper. Might add Linux alongside Windows 10 so I can have a little play. The motherboard features optical output as well as USB and HDMI so plenty of choice for audio output. Will be adding my Slee system to it in due course.


Posted By: CageyH
Date Posted: 08 Feb 2019 at 6:09pm
My main PC is water cooled, running two 280mm radiators and more 140mm PWM fans than I care to count. Apparently PWM fans are quite noisy, and a PWM water pump could be as well. Although it is quiet, it is not silent. You can still hear the airflow through the various restrictions.

My silent rig is great for late night listening, as you can’t hear a whisper from it. I have no concerns about running it long term as everything is well within the temperature limits. If it does get a bit hot, then the three fans are still installed. I just need to connect some of them back up.


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Kevin

European loan coordinator


Posted By: Ash
Date Posted: 08 Feb 2019 at 8:18pm
I may try disconnecting my fans and CD drive at some point when I'm more competent with PCs. I might ask my PC seller about the cooling performance of the huge CPU heatsink without any fans to encourage airflow. In the cool of the winter, I'm sure it would be fine longterm. The power supply unit produces slight electronic noise but I have to put my ear up close to the rear vent to hear it. I guess any PSU dealing with mains AC is surely going to exhibit some kind of low level buzz. I will report on the optical output performance when I try it. I also want to have a play with some Raspberry Pi and HAT boards with Graham's eventual 5V 3A PSU (when it finally arrives).


Posted By: franklin
Date Posted: 09 Feb 2019 at 12:50am
Same here,I recently build a Raspberry Pi + Volumio digital player. Love the software , power and the physical size it takes. The spdif card I use is an Allo digione. I was trying to save a dust collecting 48khz dac here, turns out the result is better than I expected.

For a even more simpler setup I would try is Chromecast Audio , but it has toslink optical out only so maybe a little more jitter than coaxial spdif.



Posted By: musicdude
Date Posted: 11 Feb 2019 at 9:52pm
I had the same issue, too noisy. Simple trick: I got a Corsair case which comes with 120mm fans. Also a CPU cooler with a 120mm fan and everything is quiet since. Even with my heater under the desk the CPU never gets hot. If your motherboard supports fan adjustments even better. Btw: I use a Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium HD sound card with stock op amps which is connected to a Kenwood KA-9100 amplifier. Speakers are modified Jamo 707. The sound is very good considering it's coming from a PC. Beer 



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Andy

ProJect Xtension 10 with Clearaudio Charisma V2, Reflex M, Majestic DAC, CuSat50, modified Kenwood DP-8020, Yamaha M-80, Revel F-52.


Posted By: Ash
Date Posted: 13 Feb 2019 at 8:43am
Although the main power supply unit will have a fan so you can't get rid of them completely. I will compare my PC digital outputs to RPi digital outputs (with Slee PSU) and see if I can discern a difference.


Posted By: CageyH
Date Posted: 13 Feb 2019 at 8:49am
You can get fanless PSUs.
Mine is a “hybrid” so the fan only comes on when the PSU is getting hot.

Personally I found the noise of the airflow annoying in the quieter passages of music, which is why I went completely fanless.

A change in CPU to one with a lower Tdp would mean that the PC would run cooler as a whole, but that can wait.


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Kevin

European loan coordinator


Posted By: Fatmangolf
Date Posted: 13 Feb 2019 at 6:29pm
Similar thinking here. My PSU is a low noise unit with large fan and variable speed. I put it in the next the next room with a long network cable to my Squeezebox Touc. I notice it occasionally with very quiet music when the PC is running something intensive.



-------------
Jon

Open mind and ears, whilst owning GSP Genera, Accession, Elevator EXP, Solo ULDE, Proprius amps, Cusat50 cables, Lautus digital cable, Spatia cables and links, and a Majestic DAC.


Posted By: CageyH
Date Posted: 13 Feb 2019 at 6:46pm


This will give you an idea of the size of my CPU cooler, which is one of the reasons I don't need fans.

Changing to a 65W CPU will probably mean the PC runs a bit cooler, but at the moment everything is comfortable.

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Kevin

European loan coordinator


Posted By: Ash
Date Posted: 13 Feb 2019 at 7:15pm
The Coolermaster heatsink on my i7 9700k CPU must be at least that size. Think it would be fine without the fans to be honest. They have probably been supplied for those who wish to overclock well above the stock 3.6GHz as it can be raised up to 4.9GHz for higher performance. For general use, I doubt it is even breaking a sweat.

Hyper TX3 Evo I think.


Posted By: CageyH
Date Posted: 13 Feb 2019 at 7:58pm
It’s a slightly smaller in size if it is the TX3 evo.
The big difference is the Zalman is sized for 120mm fans, the CM is for 92mm fans.
TX3 evo - 90 x 51 x 136mm
FX70 - 110 x 148 x 150mm


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Kevin

European loan coordinator


Posted By: Fatmangolf
Date Posted: 13 Feb 2019 at 9:40pm
That is a proper heatsink.



-------------
Jon

Open mind and ears, whilst owning GSP Genera, Accession, Elevator EXP, Solo ULDE, Proprius amps, Cusat50 cables, Lautus digital cable, Spatia cables and links, and a Majestic DAC.


Posted By: Ash
Date Posted: 13 Feb 2019 at 9:49pm
Thanks for the prompts, you two. I will stay with my new computer for now but would like to go for a completely fanless custom build from Quiet PC at some point. It'll do whilst I learn more about PC jargon and specs. Might focus on this route instead of Raspberry Pi.


Posted By: CageyH
Date Posted: 13 Feb 2019 at 9:52pm
Building a PC is not difficult.
If you want any help, there are plenty of people on here who can probably help.

The advantage of the Pi is it is relatively low cost.


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Kevin

European loan coordinator


Posted By: Ash
Date Posted: 13 Feb 2019 at 9:57pm
Yes, I will have to ask for assistance as I simply do not have the education or experience with building PCs. I only have a basic understanding as it is a new topic of reading for me. But I will get up to speed eventually.


Posted By: musicdude
Date Posted: 14 Feb 2019 at 5:27am
Hi guys, I have to apologize: On my previous post I uploaded an old picture with an old CPU fan. This is my present CPU fan. A CM Hyper 212 EVO which runs under normal ops condition at 780 rpm and both case fans at 730ish rpm. The CPU is overclocked at 4.35 GHz with no issues whatsoever. This thing is absolutely quite. The whole setup is inexpensive and in my opinion best bang for the buck. Thumbs Up



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Andy

ProJect Xtension 10 with Clearaudio Charisma V2, Reflex M, Majestic DAC, CuSat50, modified Kenwood DP-8020, Yamaha M-80, Revel F-52.


Posted By: CageyH
Date Posted: 14 Feb 2019 at 5:36am
Yes, but you still have noisy fans. I fitted some nanoxia deep silence 140mm fans, running at 7V and I thought that they were noisy. They are one of the quietest fans on the market, but I could hear the airflow through the case restrictions.Wink

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Kevin

European loan coordinator


Posted By: musicdude
Date Posted: 14 Feb 2019 at 5:48am
If I listen carefully and on purpose I hear the fan motor slightly but no noise. When I sit on my desk and have background music I can't hear the fans. The PC is under the desk. I only hear them really when the CPU fan goes above 1000rpm. When my heating or air condition comes on in the house then it's noisy. Big smile           Have you ever had a Global Win FOP 38 CPU cooler with a 55mm fan? That thing is annoyingly noisy at 6800rpm!!! Or fans for AMD K6 2 Socket 7 MB they were loud! Thank god CPU fans are bigger and quieter nowadays. Clap 



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Andy

ProJect Xtension 10 with Clearaudio Charisma V2, Reflex M, Majestic DAC, CuSat50, modified Kenwood DP-8020, Yamaha M-80, Revel F-52.


Posted By: CageyH
Date Posted: 14 Feb 2019 at 6:20am
My music PC is hidden behind the TV, which sits between the speakers at about ear height.
The position does not help the noise.


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Kevin

European loan coordinator


Posted By: musicdude
Date Posted: 14 Feb 2019 at 6:42am
Agree, I have a PC behind the TV for streaming from the net and it can be heard because I think the sound bouncing from the back of the TV to the wall amplifies it somehow. But luckily once the TV program or movie starts the sound is louder than the PC. LOL Beer


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Andy

ProJect Xtension 10 with Clearaudio Charisma V2, Reflex M, Majestic DAC, CuSat50, modified Kenwood DP-8020, Yamaha M-80, Revel F-52.


Posted By: Ash
Date Posted: 14 Feb 2019 at 9:40pm
My PC is on my desk at the moment and I can hear higher pitched motor motion and lower pitched airflow. It is audible but not too intrusive. Although it would be nice to have a completely solid state system apart from an optional optical disc drive. I could probably disconnect the CPU fan and case fan without consequence with the current CPU heatsink or a slightly bigger one, as well as substitute the PSU for one that is fanless. The only time I hear the optical drive is initially at system power on or when a disc is inserted. The case is spacious with visibly good airflow capability so a fully silent PC isn't out of reach if I felt compelled to make it happen.

Another consideration would be a thicker fully metal case with fewer openings to enhance heatsinking and improve electromagnetic shielding, which should help to preserve the integrity of low level signals.


Posted By: BackinBlack
Date Posted: 14 Feb 2019 at 10:40pm
I may be missing the point here, but why are such powerful PCs deemed necessary for managing and processing audio files?

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Just listen, if it sounds good to you, enjoy it.


Posted By: Ash
Date Posted: 14 Feb 2019 at 10:48pm
Well I don't just want the computer for listening to music. I want to do other things with it too, such as watch films (e.g DVD) or play video games. Most media has sound elements to it so may as well reap the benefit with all of it, rather than only have something be great for one specific purpose. The internet is also how I find and hear new music. I'd like a system that is quiet and effortless. But that's just me. I don't have space for lots of different appliances.


Posted By: musicdude
Date Posted: 14 Feb 2019 at 11:22pm
Hi Ian, powerfull it is but it is already obsolete by today's standards. Tongue I use the PC secondarily  for music.


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Andy

ProJect Xtension 10 with Clearaudio Charisma V2, Reflex M, Majestic DAC, CuSat50, modified Kenwood DP-8020, Yamaha M-80, Revel F-52.


Posted By: Ash
Date Posted: 14 Feb 2019 at 11:29pm
Plus you could take the previously mentioned PC considerations like completely fanless and highly heatsinked for something like an Intel Celeron or Pentium CPU system if you want something low power but with all the low noise benefits.


Posted By: musicdude
Date Posted: 15 Feb 2019 at 2:36am
Agree Ash. I also have a 10 year old HP laptop with a Centrino chipset and use it to stream some music from Youtube for background music and it works just fine and it's portable.The USB is usually plugged into an other Dac and it sounds pretty good. 


-------------
Andy

ProJect Xtension 10 with Clearaudio Charisma V2, Reflex M, Majestic DAC, CuSat50, modified Kenwood DP-8020, Yamaha M-80, Revel F-52.


Posted By: Chris Firth
Date Posted: 15 Feb 2019 at 7:21am
Originally posted by BackinBlack BackinBlack wrote:

I may be missing the point here, but why are such powerful PCs deemed necessary for managing and processing audio files?


They're not.
I have Squeezebox Touch players, a Raspberry Pi doing the server interfacing, and a cheap and cheerful NAS box for local library storage.
Sounds great!

You do need to learn a fair bit about networking computers, which does put a lot of folk off.

 


Posted By: gwebster
Date Posted: 15 Feb 2019 at 9:41am
Originally posted by Chris Firth Chris Firth wrote:

 a Raspberry Pi doing the server interfacing, and a cheap and cheerful NAS box for local library storage.
Sounds great!
You don't even need the cheap and cheerful NAS for storage - my music library is stored on the Raspberry Pi along with the Volumio app. Works great.

My Bitzie does the last part in getting the music to my pre-amp/amp. Al in all, it sounds great and, to top it all, I can control it all from my phone.


Posted By: BackinBlack
Date Posted: 15 Feb 2019 at 1:35pm
For me simplicity is the key. I too use Raspberry Pis with Moode. 
The main one has touchscreen, 500GB SSD and connects to my Majestic via USB; will reinstate the HiFiBerry Digi+ Pro when I get a decent 5V power supply. Wink
There are 2 other Pis in the house, which using Moode also have access to the main SSD and of course the NAS which has more music.
Some users have reported a slight improvement in sound quality by underclocking their Pi, so less could be more. Something I will try when the power supply is sorted.



-------------
Just listen, if it sounds good to you, enjoy it.


Posted By: Chris Firth
Date Posted: 15 Feb 2019 at 7:14pm
Originally posted by gwebster gwebster wrote:

You don't even need the cheap and cheerful NAS for storage - my music library is stored on the Raspberry Pi along with the Volumio app. Works great.

My Bitzie does the last part in getting the music to my pre-amp/amp. Al in all, it sounds great and, to top it all, I can control it all from my phone.


The only reason I have the NAS is because it runs LMS.
Unfortunately Spotify decided to change their delivery method, and the processor in the NAS is an ARM processor, and is unable to run the script that is now required to get LMS to interface successfully with Spotify.
In order to get LMS to interface with Spotify I needed to use something that can run the new script, and that's where the RasPi comes in.
The NAS preceded the RasPi by a good few years. LMS is now turned off on the NAS.

All in all the RasPi does a far better job of file serving than the NAS ever did.




Posted By: Ash
Date Posted: 15 Feb 2019 at 7:56pm
I may indeed also discover that less is more. Just as I did with headphones, I will continue to experiment with things until I obtain what I'm looking for.

I don't regret buying a PC that is ready to use in less than 15 seconds after you push the power button though, and shuts down in 2 seconds. I could try really underclocking my CPU to see if it affects music reproduction. Thoughts for another day.



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