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Another thing to think about is the amount of mechanical noise that your computer actually makes. The main problem is that computers need to stay cool because they run really hot, and they're doing all these calculations and they generate a lot of heat. So you'll find lots of fans on your PCs. Certain fans that just move air through the case itself. One on the CPU or a heat sink on the CPU, the processor, and then probably on the power supply as well. There can also be noise from hard drives or system beeps, and if you're recording in the same room as the computer this can get into what you're doing or if you're monitoring and mixing, and you're doing some electronic music, and you don't remember that electronic beep being in there, it could be the drives on your computer.
So there are a couple solutions to dealing with the noise that computers generate and ways to make your monitoring environment a little more quiet. The first easy one is to just try and get a quiet computer. They actually manufacture computers that are designed to work with digital audio only and they will be quieter, they'll come in different shapes and sizes but silence is a big component of how they work. But a more common solution is to kind of isolate the computer. You can put it in another room if you want to run long cable runs or you can put it in a cabinet or kind of encasement near you.
When you put it in a cabinet or an encasement make sure that there is enough air there so that it can keep cooling itself. If you put in a really small tight- fitting cabinet, it might not have enough air to move through there, and it could overheat which eventually causes damage. It's like your car, you don't want it to overheat, it's a bad sign. Other things that you can do to improve your computer are to install fan-less power supplies or fan-less heat sinks on the CPU, and there's also a lot of custom computer cases out there that are designed to be quiet. If you're working with a laptop, they're pretty quiet, but some are louder than others.
Almost none of them are completely silent. You can get a sense of how loud they are by starting to work with one and turning on a microphone and putting headphones on. Chances are you're probably be able to hear a little bit of fan noise, even though a lot of times we don't hear when we are working with it, but it's still there. So keep that in mind. There is not a whole lot you can do if that's the core of your system, other than try to keep microphones and other things away from it and be aware of it when you're monitoring and mixing.
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