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I am looking for a good material for improving the sound-proofing my NAS which has 2x FANs of 120mm and 3-4 hard-drives. Most of the time the hardrives are those that are producing audible sounds, not the coolers.

Due to the lack of space I think that I cannot put material that has more than 1cm deep, as I will run out of space.

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Please refrain from adding hints regarding reconfiguring the device or moving it to a different location, this question aims to address sound isolation of a small wooden (or particle board) like the one in the photo.

  • I found this keepitquiet.co.uk/soundproofing-mat-sbm5 but I have no idea if using this would have any effect. – sorin Jan 11 '17 at 18:07
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    Are the fans up against the holes you have in the picture on the right? Do they vent outside of this furniture? How much of the space shown in the pictures can you work with to deaden the sound? Where can you only go more than 1 cm deep? – kponz Jan 11 '17 at 18:25
  • The fans push into the 2 sister-holes. The other one (lower shelf) brings cold air inside the case. Because the shelf is deep and air can flow between the two areas only from the front side the cooling works quite well. Since I made these holes the temperature is quite good, even if I have an UPS on the lower shelf. I don't hear the fans, the hard-drives are the ones that bother me. Regarding the 1cm limit is because of the height: UPS + shelf + NAS ~= enclosure internal height. To gain some space I may have to replace the board with a glass shelf or to move the UPS outside. – sorin Jan 11 '17 at 18:31
  • How much noise is there? Different noise levels (or sources of noise) call for different solutions, especially given the small amount of space you have to work with... – mmathis Jan 11 '17 at 19:15
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    Does the NAS have soft rubber feet? You could try putting a bit of Blu-Tack-type material under the feet - it might make it worse, it might make it better. – Andrew Morton Jan 11 '17 at 21:29
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If most of the noise is coming from the hard drives, rather than the fans, then you need to dampen the vibrations from transferring from the hard drive enclosure to the furniture.

The vibrations could be made even louder by the fact that it's on a shelf supported on its ends only - this could cause the sound to be even louder if the hard drives vibrate at a frequency that lines up with the normal mode of the shelf.

I would recommend the following:

It may take some trial and error to figure out what helps and what doesn't, but the basic idea is to attenuate the transfer of the vibrations.

Or, you could just switch the drives to SSDs, or select drives that include built-in noise attenuation.

  • THANKS! I will implement all of these and probably I will not even need further changes. – sorin Jan 11 '17 at 22:22
  • On hard drives, the bottom and sides are thicker aluminum and the top is a thin sheet which is where the sound would be radiating from. Careful application of a sheet of sound insulation material (careful not to cover the air hole) may reduce the tendency of the cover to act as a drum skin. That or if you have enough space, thermal epoxy and a small sheet of aluminum (heatsink) may do dual duty. – Blackbeagle Jan 12 '17 at 22:02
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I am going to go against your advice and tell you the obvious - move it to another location. For a NAS to be in a location near where people watch the media and to complain about the noise from it is not very smart.

Everything that kponz has in his answer is right but will probably have very negligible difference in the sound of the hard drives or fans. Especially if you are 6 feet away. Really the only thing you can do to get rid of the noise is to insulate the area in sound dampeners which will surely affect air flow, which will make the hard disks run hotter, which will kick on the fans, and make it even noisier.

There is a reason why (small) companies put their servers in a closet or lab. They are noisy. I used to get dirty looks all the time when I was in dev and had a server under my desk. You are asking for advice here but unwilling to take the best and most obvious advice - move your NAS to a closet or room that you don't care about the sound.

  • I agree - the point of Network Attached Storage is that it is on the network, so connecting it at the location of, say, the router/switch/hub, is entirely reasonable. As opposed to directly attached storage. – Andrew Morton Jan 11 '17 at 21:25
  • Network cable is not the main reason for the location: there are also few USB devices and an optical table that goes from NAS to the sound system, so shortly it makes its relocation unfeasible. Please note that the noise is perceptible only when the sound system/TV is off, that's the only case where I detect it from ~2m away. I think sound-proofing is suitable in this case, especially because it was better without the NAS put inside the cabinet, just by keeping it outside. – sorin Jan 11 '17 at 22:14
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    @sorin - you should have a media device to capture the files from the NAS and output them and connects the usb/optical outputs. Most new DVRs have the ability to do this - my 3 year old DVR from dish does it just fine, so I still don't get why it needs to be there. I really never heard of someone setting up their NAS directly to sound/video - why not just have a computer there setup with RAID if doing that? The computer would enclose the hard drives and defer more noise than a very basic NAS module. – DMoore Jan 11 '17 at 22:54
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You mentioned in a comment that the noise wasn't as bad before you put the NAS inside the cabinet. Given this, I suspect your cabinet is acting as kind of an echo chamber or megaphone, amplifying any sounds so they are much louder than they would be otherwise.

The solution is to put some sound-deadening material on the 4 inside sides of the box (though the bottom and top are probably the most important). You'll need to experiment a bit, but any foam or rubber like material should work. The thicker the better, but even a 5mm layer where the NAS is (and thicker elsewhere) would help.

Another solution would be to put a front on the cabinet. You'd want to put an intake fan, or a set of holes or mesh (with a filter), to allow for adequate airflow.

  • Could you recommend me some material to put inside, preferably not very expensive? I am far from being a sound engineer but I imagined that some would work better than others. – sorin Jan 12 '17 at 17:06

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