r33tr33t:Have you read this article yet?
We've just redesigned the way we make recordings, and one of the benefits of the new system is a lower noise floor.
That being the case, I think it's also important not to use noise cancelling software, since what we're recording is... noise. We want the recordings to reproduce what we hear â€” and that includes the ambient noise. In fact, we will be including a section of ambient noise in every recording we make from now on. This should help people judge the relative loudness of the noises we record.
I was reading the thread and got caught in the noise conversation. I think r33tr33t there has a point. When you take your average recording, it has the sound, including background noise which as argued is not a bad thing, and the line noise from microphones, amps and whatnot on the signal path.
Now, what I think r there was trying to establish is that the line noise, which is not part of what we hear if we listen to the actual harddrive, is a bad thing because it masks the sound we are trying to hear and lowers the so called resolution of the recording, much in the same way video noise makes the picture fuzzy and unclear. Then as you record something as low in volume as a harddrive and amplify it, you end up amplifying the line noise too, including the argued over microphone added noise, taking you effectively further from the target of presenting what you actually hear. What you get with noise filtering is improved resolution, as the line noise is not there masking the recorded phenomena, resulting in higher fidelity to the recorded HDD etc.
I should think that in practice this would work, r wrote, by taking your standard setup and padding the microphone so that it does not pick up outside sound and recording the pure line noise, and composing the filter thereof. Now if you apply this filter to a recording done with the same setup, you should end up with much less background noise and more of the actual HDD and a much cleaner recording, depending of course on the filtering technique and filter parameters.
And while you're at it, maybe it would be possible to analyze the noise sample waveforms to define, for example the what is the amplitude and shall we say kurtosis of a random access noise pattern that you and your readers find irritating? I've read a bout fans that may have buzzing or clicking noises, or maybe the samples I've heard didn't, and HDDs with a supposedly annoying random access chattering, but it is hard to reflect these statements in the text to how I would feel about them and would it be a too high a price compared to the performance of the component (e.g. WD Raptor vs. Caviar SE16). These kind on heuristics based on the waveform would perhaps be more accurate predictors of the perceived quietness of a given harddrive.
On the subject of background noise, it sounds like a good idea to keep it as a yardstick for readers to judge how much the access noises rise above the ambient and so on. As you said, the path from the HDD to the reader's ear can't be ideal so there needs to be some scale.