Great sound intake

Hey, there!

I was over on LinkedIn the other day, and Tiffany posted this question in a VO group I’m in there:

Does anyone have a recommendation for laptop w/ great sound intake? Not looking for a mac just pc……

Puzzled at the phrasing of the question, I tried to help. And this is what I said.

Great sound intake? I’m thinking you may be trying to ask about a particular computer’s ability to record sound, but I’m not sure – if not, please correct me.

If so, rest assured that any computer is just fine – they all record the data in virtually the same way, so don’t worry at all about that. If the computer you choose has a USB port and can get on the Internet, you’re good to go.

A more important question would be about fan noise and hard drive noise, because some computers are louder than others. And if the computer’s in the room with you when you record, your mic may pick up its various noises. Not good.

Laptop or desktop, it really doesn’t matter so much these days. Just get something quiet.

Hope this helps.



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  1. Hi David,

    A simple offering here to note my Dell Inspiron i5 laptop is uber quiet and I can’t say enough about their tech support when recently I needed their help reinstalling my operating system.

    Love your 60 second bits!

  2. [Disclaimer: I’m not in the VO industry yet, I’m just a nerd who’s spent far too much time around computers playing with audio, video, and more]

    I have an Alienware m17X and the fan noise is extremely quiet. Some tips though, for others to cut fan noise:

    1) Don’t have programs running that you’re not using: the more stuff running in the background, the more likely the computer starts to load up the processor and RAM and need to kick on the fans to keep it cool.
    2) You can buy a laptop cooler fairly inexpensively and they often have much quieter fans than the average laptop. The fact that they gently blow a bit of air on the underside can also reduce the likelihood of a laptop kicking its fans into high gear. Most coolers will tell you how much noise they put out on the “detailed technical specs” when you’re shopping. I have a CoolerMaster Storm FX 19 because it has a dial to let me control the fan speed.
    3) In Windows 7 or 8, you can change the power settings: “High Performance” will be more aggressive about blowing the fans, while ‘Balanced’ and ‘Power Saver’ will not.
    4) My Alienware m17x has the Sound Blaster Recon 3Di: it’s a sound card (of sorts) that props itself up with software to do neat audio tricks…and so if I’m going to work on a voice recording, the first thing I do is double-check in the tray icon that my sound card isn’t trying to do “Crystallization” or any other audio F/X that would interfere with either my recording or my perception of it when playing back/editing.
    5) DUST! Every few months, blow loose dust out of the fans using a can of compressed air, easy to puchase from any retailer. More dust = straining, noisy fans that run more often.

    Hope that’s helpful too!

    1. Windows: click ALT-TAB to see open windows of any apps you have running.

      Mac: click COMMAND (APPLE/CLOVERLEAF)-TAB to see the apps you have running.

      You’ll have to check your startup group to see if there are any background apps you have running on either platform.

  3. Now that I *am* in the VO industry, I’d like to leaven my above comment with a block of salt. If I had to use my Alienware and make it as quiet as possible, I’d probably still find a cooler with a huge fan that I can control the speed of so I could run it as slow as possible…but really, I’d do everything I could to avoid that scenario altogether, even if I had to stick a USB extension cord on the mic and park the laptop in another room.

    So right now, I’m using a Surface Pro for recording. It rarely spins the fans, and I’ve managed to make that “almost never ever” simply by creating my own Power settings in Windows 10. I have a very miserly one for “Recording” and a more performant one for “Producing”.

    I’d still do everything I could to use fanless equipment when recording if you can. Consider my stuff to be my specific workaround. 😉