Noise floors


I'd like to address an issue that every single audiophile experiences, that being inherent/ambient steady state noise floors. Here we spend so much effort and money on our equipment in order to lower noise floor and increase resolution, transparency, only to lose some percentage of it on relatively high ambient noise floors. By this I mean the noise generated internally by home, hvac systems and so much more, add to that external, outside the home generated noise. Measuring over many years, over large variables, lowest readings of mid 20db to highest mid 50db in my dedicated listening room, these are steady state readings, any particular system in house may activate and or outdoor generated noises, which are even more variable, may kick in raising if from here.

And so, while we can address both these internal and external generated noise floors to some extent, we can't rid ourselves entirely of them. I presume there are widely varying levels of these noise floors for each of us, and it should be accounted for in reviews or evaluations of equipment. And could be reason for trusting only long term reviews, with varying noise floor levels within one's listening room, short term listening could have taken place during time of best or worse case room noise floor.

But mostly what bothers me is, here all this effort and money spent on equipment in attempt to lower noise floor, and so much of that lost by relatively ridiculous levels of steady state and/or ambient noise. Makes one think about getting closed back headphones, or moving out to extremely remote area to home with minimal internally generated noise. To think how much better  the very system I presently have would sound in that environment!


sns
It would be better away from everything and everyone else for sure but building a dedicated room for listening and then giving it the proper tweaks to stop the sound from escaping from it can be a much easier and time consuming solution.

I tend to run lower volume on my stereo so less indoor ambient noise equates to higher resolution. That’s what I paid for! I prefer to not have to ‘crank the knob’ to overcome noisy appliances, HVAC, ticking clocks or other noise makers. Outside noise I can’t control but thankfully my neighborhood is mostly quiet.

Not that I’m opposed to ‘cranking the knob’, mind you. But just when I feel like it, like maybe when I’m playing Foghat—Fool For The City. :-)

Nice post OP, thanks.


There is a constant roar outside now- I just pretend it's the sound of waves crashing on an imaginary beach. We also get ambulance and police sirens at least 3 times a day and aircraft from the local aerodrome and passenger jets higher up.

Give me the gentle pootle of a Morris Minor over the ugly road roar of a Tesla (or worse those huge SUVs) any day. My MGB is over 50 years old, does almost 40mpg on unleaded, will happily cruise on the motorway in overdrive and makes a lovely (musical?) gentle engine noise on standard pipes (ironically would probably not make modern type approval though) and hardly any tyre roar although the higher and higher ethanol content in fuel will probably kill it.
I know the emissions are never going to be saintly but that's why God invented the pushbike. 

I have access to a modern Golf diesel (2yrs old) that is too noisy to drive with the windows down (and it tells me off with an 'eco tip'), chews through tyres and still rarely does better than 45mpg

They took away the electric milk floats with their gentle whine and rattle of the bottles, forklifts that would charge overnight and the posties' pushbikes and now claim we're trying to be more 'eco' with our rampant consumerism. 
When the stereo is on at a decent volume, as MC says, the ambient noise is not audible unless it is something very loud, like HVAC and maybe an old running dishwasher. I have a fish tank whose filter you can hear if you listen, but it is not audible/noticeable when the stereo is playing. If your windows are open and horns are honking and you want to enjoy the stereo maximally, shut them.