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Fan Noise

yeky83

Veteran
Everyone is going to have a different opinion on what "super noisy" is. If nothing else is going on, I can hear my III with my headphones on. Is this bad? I don't know. I was surprised by it, but I get that it's normally a rack mount device, and those almost always need cooling fans. Moving air is usually noisy by the time you meet certifications, minimum opening sizes, etc.

I would be up trying a different fan if something has a good recommendation on a replacement that would fit in the existing spot and would actually be whisper quiet.
I think @lqdsnddist has done it, Noctua something.
 

johnnypig

New here
I got mine on Tuesday and the fan was a loud enough hum from about 5 feet away that I ordered a Noctua 80mm and replaced it about 3 hours ago. $15 on amazon with fast shipping is easy enough.

The nuts on the stock fan are indeed over-tightened to the point that the mounting plate was bent in a bit of a V. I used the rubber mounts from the Noctua kit and moved the original grommets on the plate to the outer mounting holes as well.

There's one other vibration which contributes to the hum which is the lid, which if I were recording vocals nearby I would also damp with a bit of foam or neoprene.

I'm having fun with my Axe FX III and I understand maybe they don't have full control over the build process in the rush to fill orders, but for $2500 it's a bit cheesy to have a sub par fan and mount. Even a nicer copper heatsink and plastic shroud to direct lower rpm air would be good, if you need to keep on an active cooling system.
 

unix-guy

Legend!
I got mine on Tuesday and the fan was a loud enough hum from about 5 feet away that I ordered a Noctua 80mm and replaced it about 3 hours ago. $15 on amazon with fast shipping is easy enough.

The nuts on the stock fan are indeed over-tightened to the point that the mounting plate was bent in a bit of a V. I used the rubber mounts from the Noctua kit and moved the original grommets on the plate to the outer mounting holes as well.

There's one other vibration which contributes to the hum which is the lid, which if I were recording vocals nearby I would also damp with a bit of foam or neoprene.

I'm having fun with my Axe FX III and I understand maybe they don't have full control over the build process in the rush to fill orders, but for $2500 it's a bit cheesy to have a sub par fan and mount. Even a nicer copper heatsink and plastic shroud to direct lower rpm air would be good, if you need to keep on an active cooling system.
Assuming you bought new then you should feed this back to support. Supposedly this issue (over tightened nuts) was resolved a long time ago...
 

guitarzpt

Veteran
My fan is very noisy also. I think I'm going to contact G66 for a replacement...
You are right for almost 3000 eur this shouldnt be an issue considering that this problem ocurred on the previous versions of the AXE.
 

Zedhed

Inspired
My fan is very noisy also. I think I'm going to contact G66 for a replacement...
You are right for almost 3000 eur this shouldnt be an issue considering that this problem ocurred on the previous versions of the AXE.
Mine isn't noisy at all, so that suggests this is not a problem with all units. Solutions have been suggested which seem like an easy fix.
 

200man

Veteran
Get a nice Noctua or similar quiet fan, which mounts using those little silicon tabs opposed to bolts and it will solve any issues with vibration, noise etc. Also will run for about 15 years of operation.
Did you do this for your unit?
Does Fractal recommend a high end replacement for studio use?
Is there an opinion on the quietest/highest quality fan replacement in the community here?
Is it essentially a fairly easy/drop-in replacement?
It seems like a worthy upgrade to perform for studio operation, no?
...sorry maybe I asked too many questions. :)
 

johnnypig

New here
Assuming you bought new then you should feed this back to support. Supposedly this issue (over tightened nuts) was resolved a long time ago...
I did buy new from the fractal store but I didn't bother with support for something like this. I live in the boonies so fixing or modding gear is a part of daily life.
 

unix-guy

Legend!
I did buy new from the fractal store but I didn't bother with support for something like this. I live in the boonies so fixing or modding gear is a part of daily life.
I wasn't suggesting you send it in for support, rather that you let them know since they've (supposedly) already addressed this issue a long time ago.
 

lqdsnddist

Axe-Master
Did you do this for your unit?
Does Fractal recommend a high end replacement for studio use?
Is there an opinion on the quietest/highest quality fan replacement in the community here?
Is it essentially a fairly easy/drop-in replacement?
It seems like a worthy upgrade to perform for studio operation, no?
...sorry maybe I asked too many questions. :)

I did it on mine. It’s a very well regarded fan, rated for about 15 years constant use, it’s very quiet, was very simple to install, and I think it was worth the money. But.... I can only speak for myself, and FAS my not approve etc, so do so at your own risk.
 

lqdsnddist

Axe-Master
my axe 3 sits 4 feet from me. I can't hear the fan unless I put ear on unit. I've never considered it to be an issue

It’s all relative to one’s studio setup, hearing etc

I have a father in law who swears the microwave beep doesn’t work, because he can’t hear that particular frequency at its given output level. Same thing for turn signal clicking etc, those things are totally silent to him, but others can easily hear them
 

PBGas

Inspired
I did it on mine. It’s a very well regarded fan, rated for about 15 years constant use, it’s very quiet, was very simple to install, and I think it was worth the money. But.... I can only speak for myself, and FAS my not approve etc, so do so at your own risk.
Which model # did you get?
 

diezel

New here
I have recently purchased my ax fx 3 as well. The fan noise is a big disappointment. I spoke with Cliff who was very nice and submitted a new fan. The new one is slightly quieter but still not acceptable. I think the one I received was actually pulled from another unit as it had star indentations on the aluminum fan shroud.

I think there are some shortcomings that have been overlooked. First and foremost, I did attempt to install silicon isolators which did help some but the noise is still quiet annoying. The case top was still an issue due to vibrations transmitting from the fan.

Viewing from a design aspect, here are some possible solutions that should be considered.

1) Variable rate speed fan based on temperature or load. This would be a simple solution which many circuits utilizing keeping power requirements down as well as noise ONLY when needed.
2) Aluminum fan base/shroud support is a terrible design. It's thin and transmits vibrations easily as a "droaning" sound. It's also cut poorly and smaller then the fan creating a turbulant flow and possibly additional vibration and wind noise concerns. A solution to this problem is a thicker piece of plastic base (shaped correctly) which is better for damping.
3) The rubber isolators are nothing more then rubber grommets commonly used in wiring applications. Silicone rubber isolations work far better
4) A larger/smaller fan* that does not sit at the current frequency and rate which apparently a harmonic frequency is resonating through the case. there's so much space that other options could be easy solutions by modifying the fan bracket.

*I would like to know the maximum allowable draw on the fan header so that switching to another fan, doesn't create an issue where it stresses driver components based on fan current needs. Maybe Cliff can chime in here with the fan header max mA #. I feel I am going to be forced to modify the fan with another brand and create a new plate. It's a shame something so simple with apparently little planning has been overlooked.

The unit itself is rather robust and well laid out.
 
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lqdsnddist

Axe-Master
I have recently purchased my ax fx 3 as well. The fan noise is a big disappointment. I spoke with Cliff who was very nice and submitted a new fan. The new one is slightly quieter but still not acceptable. I think the one I received was actually pulled from another unit as it had star indentations on the aluminum fan shroud.

I think there are some shortcomings that have been overlooked. First and foremost, I did attempt to install silicon isolators which did help some but the noise is still quiet annoying. The case top was still an issue due to vibrations transmitting from the fan.

Viewing from a design aspect, here are some possible solutions that should be considered.

1) Variable rate speed fan based on temperature or load. This would be a simple solution which many circuits utilizing keeping power requirements down as well as noise ONLY when needed.
2) Aluminum fan base/shroud support is a terrible design. It's thin and transmits vibrations easily as a "droaning" sound. It's also cut poorly and smaller then the fan creating a turbulant flow and possibly additional vibration and wind noise concerns. A solution to this problem is a thicker piece of plastic base (shaped correctly) which is better for damping.
3) The rubber isolators are nothing more then rubber grommets commonly used in wiring applications. Silicone rubber isolations work far better
4) A larger/smaller fan* that does not sit at the current frequency and rate which apparently a harmonic frequency is resonating through the case. there's so much space that other options could be easy solutions by modifying the fan bracket.

*I would like to know the maximum allowable draw on the fan header so that switching to another fan, doesn't create an issue where it stresses driver components based on fan current needs. Maybe Cliff can chime in here with the fan header max mA #. I feel I am going to be forced to modify the fan with another brand and create a new plate. It's a shame something so simple with apparently little planning has been overlooked.

The unit itself is rather robust and well laid out.
Change the fan to one with smoother airflow, better bearings etc, in addition to silicon isolation tabs, AND, add one of the additional resistors which will lower the RPM of the fan, decreasing noise and vibration, while still supplying enough airflow to see no changes in core temps after several hours of monitoring.

Unit becomes essentially silent, still cools, will outlast several of the stock fans in terms of longevity, and even solves the resonant lid issue
 

sanktAntonio

New here
Seeing the internal gut shots of the axe FX III, I can't figure out what the fan is even there for? It's basically a closed box (when mounted in a rack), and cooling the heat spreader will only work until the temps in the box match the temp of the heat spreader.

There would have been room on the backplate for a smaller fan actually getting heat out of the system.

Is Fractal gear known to get hardware revisions to sort these kind of design fluffs out?

DIY tip for the Mac Gyvers out there: the axe has four big posts for the fan mounting plate, I would get rid of the plate and use silk, rubber bands or the like to attach the fan free-floating so it'll not create any vibrations. Like a mic that's using these wire cradle things. :D
 
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diezel

New here
Change the fan to one with smoother airflow, better bearings etc, in addition to silicon isolation tabs, AND, add one of the additional resistors which will lower the RPM of the fan, decreasing noise and vibration, while still supplying enough airflow to see no changes in core temps after several hours of monitoring.

Unit becomes essentially silent, still cools, will outlast several of the stock fans in terms of longevity, and even solves the resonant lid issue
A few concerns:

1) Core temps you're referring to, is that actually being monitored for the area that is being actively cooled? How are you viewing the monitored temps?

2) Changing to another fan (silicon isolators..I did try)...I agree, the fan, that may be a quick solution. Aside from also changing the bracket o another material as I describe, the thin aluminim transfers energy easily to the mainframe (for example, pluck the bracket, it rings) BUT a) what is the max allowable mA for the fan header?, I'm concerned changing to a Noctua fan or other fan that draws more current could place too high of a load on the designed circuit. For all I know, that fan used is at the max allowable draw safe limit.

3) which fans are you specifically recommending or have attempted?

Thanks for your response.
 
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