Learned a valuable lesson about ambient noise

I've been kinda bummed the last few days because my turntable, well my system as a whole I guess, sounded really congested and just not as wonderful as it's been sounding lately. I figured it started July 3 when I was playing around with a possible new belt on my Amazon turntable. It didn't sound great. Then the old one didn't sound great and I've been trying to figure out what was wrong for half a week... what I had messed up. Turned things on late afternoon today and was still not happy. Now, four hours later, 9pm, everything is great again.... and all that's changed, I suddenly noticed, is that all the 4th of July holiday traffic and drunken people and parties and just general noise is gone. I live in a beach area and I just didn't remember how much noise there could be until it was gone!
If you ever have a power outage, you will know true silence. I am fortunate that this has happened only once in the alst 18 years, but the silence was eerie and ethereal. We have gotten used to ambient noise as being the norm.
I agree, keeping ambient noise levels as low as possible is a great benefit and helps one enjoy the music more! I replaced our homes central air system in large part because the air handler was too close to my listening area and created a constant low level racket. Refrigerators humming away in modern homes with an open floor plan are another big noise offender too. Double pane windows can help reduce the transfer of outside noise as well I've found.
No question. Systems always sound better late at night (like 2am). Not only is there less ambient local noise, there's less noise on the electrical circuits too. We rarely do critical listening in the daytime in Summer because the A/C noise is too high. As for that refrigerator groaning through the open archway behind my left speaker ... grrr!
Doug, one thing I did to help dampen the 'fridge noise was to get a couple large sheets of 2" thick acoustic open cell foam and lined the walls behind and beside the fridge with it. Home Depot had fasteners that look like a large thumbtack I used to tack it to the drywall. Leave just enough space for air to circulate where it needs to for heat removal. It definitely knocked down the audibility in my particular situation.
I just replaced the single pane true divided sashes in my historic home. The historic district will not allow double pane windows, so I went to considerable expense to have custom made 6/6 true divided sashes with laminated glass panes. The glass is heavier and thicker and the lamination dramatically reduces the street noise entering my living room. It made a big difference.

When Jim Smith was here voicing my system to my room, one of the first things he did was measure the ambient noise level before we did any listening. Not a silent as the woods, but better than NYC. Late at night sounds best here also. To my wife's frustration, we don't run the clothes washer or dish washer when I know I will soon listen to music. It really makes a difference.
I grew up in Honolulu where the windows are always open for the incessant (trade wind) breeze. It was nice, it was constant, and if that breeze wasn't there it would have been WAY too hot. Moved to the Right Coast years ago and one of the first things I noticed was it can get QUIET indoors...winter storm windows, summer central air, blah blah...and I love it. The end. Or not. By the way...how can you NOT recognize or be aware of the source of ambient noise? The focus involved in "active listening" raises the sensitivity to all sound...doesn't it? This thread is weird...and Peterayer has nice windows, good sound, a tolerant wife, and filthy clothes. (kidding...really...heh...sorry)