Air conditioning for audiophiles.

I live in a small city apartment which gets pretty hot in the summer. My window air conditioner is fairly noisy(it's supposed to be one of the quieter frigidaire models.)

However I cannot in any way shape or form enjoy the subtleties of my music or stereo soundtracks of movies. I might as well be a kid again listening to Cousin Brucie on a transiter radio. People have suggested the Vornado fan which helps if it's not too hot but as you know it can get to a point where a fan just blows hot air around.

ChillWell is a small portable air conditioner which is supposedly very quiet and cools your personal space which is all I need when I'm listening seated in one place.

It is doing a lot of heavy promotion with a cheap price. But whenever I try to look up reviews they all look like PR blurbs.

Anybody have any experience with this item?



If you have a single or double hung window, one of these might work for you.

There's a lot of videos online on DIY that I think even I could do. The problem is, I have sideways sliding windows so I'm stuck with a wall unit that's noisy. Some of the videos show just how much more quiet this type A/C is with measurements to back it up. Having the noisy part completely outside makes a big difference.

All the best,

You could try a split system like a Mr Slim, much quieter than window units though not sure how they compare pricewise.

The split systems are super nice, but the OP specifically mentioned he's in an apartment, so he's unlikely to be able to implement.

OP:  My one bit of advice is that there are 2 areas where Consumer Reports really fails.  Beds and air conditioner noise.

For both of those I encourage you to look elsewhere for advice> :)

I hate the noise..but when I had a window unit I would crank it up for an hour before showtime and open the door to a frosty comfortable room. Lasted about an hour  before I had to repeat the process again. Hot humid audio room on the 2nd floor of my first home. Tom

Look into Haier window units. I was looking for a quiet one about 5 years ago, and that is the one that got the best customer reviews. I think that it's very quiet relative to others.

A friend has one of those saddle type AC as suggested by @nonoise .  It is pretty quiet.  He said the added larger rubber bumpers to get a tight fight.

I have seen at working garages, where they have a unit far away and they "pipe" the cold air using hanging fabric ducts.  Is that an option for you?  Maybe piping from bedroom (and assuming you are single ha ha ha).

I use a Vornado to move air into my office.  It moves a lot of air for its size but it is not quiet for a music room (at least not at full blast as it is running as I type this)

Check out the Midera ones on Amazon. The compressor/noise is on the outside. I have 3 and they are pretty low noise.

Second drumnman222's recommendation of the Midea (check the spelling) window units. Mine is much less noisy than a standard window unit but it isn't silent. They're well made and relatively easy to install.

I went with the GE Profile Ultra Quiet.  Comes in both 6100 BTU and 8300 BTU from Home Depot.  Ordered on-line and delivered free of charge.  Works great, has remote control, and is quiet.  I'm back in business with tube amps.

I have researched this quite extensively for my wife who insisted we change our air conditioner 3 years ago because it was too noisy. The quietest window-based air conditioner I can find is this one. I live in an apt building, co-op, where split air conditioning is not allowed. I think when I measured it, it was like 47 dB right at the vent at low speed (I just measured it for this post, a unit that is around 3 years old). Moving to the middle of my 350sd ft bedroom, I could barely hear it or notice it was running, it was that quiet. Post-installation, you can add weatherproofing seal around the window, and you may get 1 db less noise.


There are 3 sizes for this AC model.

Back to Vornado as an FYI for those considering one (measured 24 inches away from side of fan):

- room noise with fan off: 31.7dB

- Low: 41.8

- medium 1: 48.1

- medium 2: 54.9

- high 61.6

measurements with a NIOSH meter.

I am into 8+ years full time RV and noise from the  AC was not bad on moderate days, only 90+ when I had to run both units but the energy used was huge. I installed a small window unit Evap cooler, into a wall and setup for easy removal for the winter. It uses almost exactly 20% of the energy, low enough to run on solar when I finish that project(very DIY)

So, I run the Evap most of the time as needed seasonally and run the AC unit on the other end of the RV, shared and ducted, when listening warrants paying attention or just get a bit hot to have almost no background noise.  Then again I just want to get a buzz and really crank it up and dance with the wonderful woman that blesses me with her presence.



Got a bit of a buzz on right now so maybe not posting my best....

This is a great thread, thanks OP, my comments might not pertain to most here but some great posts have been made, good topic:)



Another vote for the Midea U-shaped window unit. I just installed their 8000 btu unit in our bedroom and it’s very quiet. It also maintains a set temperature, meaning, the fan and condenser don’t run at all once it meets the set temperature, so there’s not a constant hum of the condenser or fan noise. They spool up as needed.

I honestly wish it was louder for my use. I find the white noise helps me sleep better. 

What about a portable, stand-up type that is windowless?  They simply exhaust through a window.  With this type of unit you can use it elsewhere if needed.  Like, say, a bedroom.


I sometimes forget there is a big world out there that has not been introduced to the magic of central air. But I feel your pain. I lived in a post-WW2 3-story walk-up in Alexandria VA for several years and it had no air. I had two window units, one in the bedroom and one in the living room. This helped cut the cooling demand by 1/2 on each unit and made for quieter operation as the unit wasn’t constantly cycling on and off or constantly running. If you’re electrically handy and have a centered overhead light, swap that for a ceiling fan. Moves more air than portable fans and much quieter.

Lastly, if you’re trying to enjoy quieter more nuanced listening or movies, I still revert to headphones. Especially in the evening when I don’t want to the household with explosions and John Wick gun fight sequences. I found quality headphones were great for my apartment as I could crank up the A/C on hot summer evenings, fix myself a cold beverage, put on my tunes or movie and block out the noises of city living - fighting neighbors, a/c hum, police sirens, traffic, the roommates who didn't want to listen to the subtleties of my music selection that evening. 

Hi, i happen to be an HVAC professional and audiophile.  Ductless would be ideal with sound levels in the low to mid 20 dBA when running on low speeds.  We have installed them in recording station studios and especially with near field microphones they can't be detected. However, they could be very difficult and expensive to install in an apartment.  You might consider putting your window or portable a/c in another room, preferably a larger area and letting some of the capacity and dehumidification filter into your music room.  If it's more of a studio setup, then try to get distance between the A/C to your listening area.  You Should be able to shut the a/c off during you listening sessions and get an hour or two before the temp and humidity get unbearable.  If you find it get's uncomfortable even for a short period with the A/C off, you really should focus on reducing the infiltration likely thru leaky windows and reducing solar heat gain likely thru old windows with no radiant barrier. After that, it's over the ear headphones!!! 


you can also look into Maestro series by i think Unico.  2) 8"0 holes thru the wall instead of the traditional thru the wall PTAC style.  Inverter Driven Variable Speed, very quiet, fairly expensive when all things are factored. Warning - new to market.  If it fails or the parent company or likely Chinese manufacturer abandons product due to problems you will be left with Two 8 inch holes in your wall.   

If you use a box fan make sure you exhaust air to the outside. And on low they are fairly quiet


FYI,  I have a one ton Mitsubishi split that instead of taking up wall space like a hotel unit, is installed between the rafters and all I see is a plastic grill in my ceiling.  Anyway it was expensive, but is fairly quiet on it low and medium speeds. It does good job of cooling and an OK job of heating the 330 square foot room it’s in.


I have the Mitsubishi split system and it is quiet enough for me to enjoy my music.  The following link is from PS Audio where Paul lambastes his LG mini split.   "What are the best air conditioners for music rooms?"

@rlj I just watched that video.  I don't know what's wrong with Paul's LG unit, but my Trane ductless split is whisper quiet.  I only can hear the fan in "turbo" mode.  It does a great job of cooling, dehumidifying and heating my basement man cave.  It's the best single thing I spent money on for my system, since what good is a great system if you either have to sweat when listening to it, or accept a noisy window a/c as background noise?  It's pretty efficient, too.  It is cheaper to run on dehumidifier mode than my stand alone dehumidifier.  I run it all summer here in hazy, hot & humid New Jersey.  


I will say that the Trane replaced a Fujitsu that never worked well, was too small for my space, and died after about 6 years.  I think it was never charged correctly in the first place.  The lesson is, stick with an experienced installer that will do the job right and be there for service after the install.