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refrigerator noise in studio
Old 10th May 2008
  #1
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refrigerator noise in studio

I have a 2 room studio, and in the mix room I have a small refrigerator for drinks and snacks for clients. The problem is the compressor noise. Has any one else dealt with this problem? I thought about building it into a quiet cabinet, but I hear the coils must be allowed to have air flow or the fridge wont cool.
Old 12th May 2008
  #2
FBM
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Hi Charles, All I can think of is buy a build in frige. They only need a small opening in which you could make a traptube (same as in studio airco's).
Greetings David
Old 12th May 2008
  #3
you could hook the refrigerator up to one of these...
Niles Audio Corporation
and then trigger the device somehow from your board so that when you are recording, it automatically shuts off the circuit. I think compressors don't like to be turned on/off in rapid sequence, so you may have to provide some sort of logic circuit that does not allow the device to trigger back on after x amount of minutes after having been shut off. this would be easily accomplished if you board has some sort of programmable dry contact outputs, but if not, can be done with some minor engineering.
Old 12th May 2008
  #4
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A few possible options:

Is there ANY way to locate the fridge outside the studio rooms... like in an outer hallway, waiting room, garage, basement, etc? I'm sure clients won't mind having to take a short walk to get a cold drink. Many studios I've been in have had fridges located in rooms quite a ways from the audio areas or even in adjacent buildings, etc... not a problem.

Or just keep a heavily insulated cooler in the studio room and when clients come by, fill the cooler with cold drinks right before they arrive... a good cooler will keep drinks cold for a pretty long time... throw in some ice if you really want good performance.

Or... you COULD potentially build some type of sound-cabinet thing around the fridge to help reduce compressor noise, but you WOULD indeed have to vent the fridge... you could build something like those computer isolation cabinet things... basically a big box of fairly heavy mass (a few layers of plywood or whatever), then add some acoustic foam inside, have the whole box "floating" on some foam or pucks whatever, and on the rear panel that faces the wall, have an air inlet port and air outlet port with a small fan or two to make sure you have constant positive airflow to the rear of the fridge. Start with one small fan maybe and monitor temperature inside the iso box... as long as things don't get too hot in there, it should be fine... if heat seems to be an issue, make the air ports larger and add an extra fan or two etc until temps seem ok. If the fan(s) are small and of the quiet variety, plus if they are located BEHIND the iso box and there is some acoustic foam on the back wall across from the fans to eat up any refections off the back wall, the fan noise should be barely audible and way less disturbing than the fridge compressor.

Or, as suggested earlier in this thread, you could simply turn OFF the fridge while doing critical audio work. I personally would not put it on a fancy switched circuit. As another poster said, you cannot switch compressors on and off too rapidly... you're better off just unplugging the unit while doing critical audio work, then just plug it back in later once the audio work is done. A decent fridge will stay ice cold for a long time once shut off... to enhance performance, keep a lot of "cold packs" or ice trays etc in the fridge so that when you shut it off, you have some extra cooling momentum. Only problem with this idea is that when you shut off a fridge, you could possibly encounter excessive "defrosting", any residual icing in the freezer section etc may start to melt and leak... it all depends on the condition of the unit, etc..... you could always try it and see how it goes. If you do unplug the fridge, just don't plug it back in for at least 5 minutes or the compressor will be unhappy.

But the easiest solution is to just get the fridge OUT of the audio rooms. In the place I'm currently working on, there will be NO fridges or coffee machines etc in ANY audio rooms. For me, expensive audio gear and food / drinks do not mix. When it's snack time, the client can run out to 7-11... or there's a nearby kitchen that we can visit during a break to get hot or cold drinks. For a busy session, I might just bring a cooler with cold bottled waters so everyone has very easy access to cold waters. Avoid the fridge if you can... remember, any fridge pulls a lot of juice too... who pays your electric bill?

Old 13th May 2008
  #5
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Thanks for the responses. My studio is a converted 2 car garage, so there is no hallway, just back yard. Looks like turning the power strip on and off will be the way to go.
Thanks.
Old 13th May 2008
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soundboy View Post
Thanks for the responses. My studio is a converted 2 car garage, so there is no hallway, just back yard. Looks like turning the power strip on and off will be the way to go.
Thanks.


Another thought... for long sessions...

You could easily add an all-weather type outlet on the outside of the garage and when clients come, just move the fridge to the backyard and plug it in outside... this way it'll stay ice cold all day and night long.

Or... you could even build a small "mini-shed" against the back of the garage just big enough to house the fridge... a small shelter, would be easy... along with an outlet as described above... and just keep the fridge outside all the time. As long as it's out of direct heavy rainfall, it should be ok... keep it up off the ground so the underside (compressor, etc) does not sit in rain water, etc.

Or you could even go as far as buying a nice pre-made shed from Home Depot or whatever... like 8'X12' or whatever fits... stick it right behind the garage... and turn it into a little "lobby" room... you could put screen doors on it, screened windows, etc... put your fridge in there, you could even put a little bar in there too etc, could be a neat little outdoor "hang-out", would be super sweet on cool summer nights... everybody enjoys some fresh air after working in the studio all day... and perfect for smokers too... and when it rains people can just stay inside the shed under the roof and smoke, drink and get fresh air.

This is one thing I cannot have at my place for certain reasons... I'd LOVE some type of outdoor "hang-out" area with a roof... so many musican friends like to smoke and/or go out and get fresh air... I have nothing to offer them, when it rains it's a problem.
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