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Noisy Fan

l4mpi

Member
This is actually sort of funny. "I can hear the fan" as the main reason to send it back.
Returning it because of the fan is certainly on the more extreme end of reactions, but it simply depends on the use case and the user. For example, I use an Axe III as the audio interface of my PC, which means it's turned on for as long as my PC is on, which is basically whenever I'm home and not sleeping. Of course the PC is in the main room of my flat where I spend almost all of my time. The fan on the Axe is about as loud as my PC fans during normal operation (not gaming, not a heat wave outside), meaning the Axe FX roughly doubles the ambient noise level. I personally can live with that and it's not yet annoyed me enough to put in another fan, but it certainly took a week or two to get used to it. In fact, one of the first things I did after I turned the Axe FX on was searching on this forum if the noise level of my unit was normal.

If somebody with a similar use case has a lower noise tolerance I can certainly understand them wanting the Axe FX to be as silent as possible. There's people who build noiseless (home) recording studios with silent PCs etc where the Axe FX might end up being both the most expensive and noisiest component of the whole setup. Of course it's not an issue while playing, even in a home recording context (except maybe for ambient stuff or for people who set their monitoring level really low). But I bet you a lot more people than just me are sitting in front of a turned-on Axe FX for hours without touching a guitar.

I can't find Cliff's alleged quote on TGP, but assuming that it is correct and they upgraded the Axe III to a temperature controlled fan, I think Fractal know that ambient noise is a serious factor for some people. On the other hand, they're a small company and have only so many resources and a lot of other things that are probably higher on their list of priorities. Personally, I will gladly take another modeling epiphany or additional amp/fx types or a free IR pack etc over a less noisy unit. But I would still love it if the Axe FX IV, which I will certainly buy some time in the 2020s, was noiseless :)
 

lqdsnddist

Axe-Master
Thanks. I did a google search restricted to tgp but nothing turned up, guess they have not indexed that thread yet.


Is that in response to my post? If so, %s/level/volume/g

Yes, you need roughly 9 more sources of an equivalent noise level, ie; 9 more fans, to produce a 10dB increase in dB SPL, which equates to doubling the perceived intensity level.

It’s kind of like how a 100 watt amp isn’t twice as loud as a 50 watt amp, even though many people would assume since 100 is twice 50 it can get twice as loud.
 

Manny Kuhn

Inspired
Thanks. I did a google search restricted to tgp but nothing turned up, guess they have not indexed that thread yet.
https://www.thegearpage.net/board/index.php?posts/28734929/
Mark Al said:
I respectively disagree, I think it’s quite debatable. I’d argue it’d be much better to have a quality heatsink with a RPM variable fan regulate by actual thermal conditions, something all computers do for ages. Then instead of running at maximum speed all the time, the fan will be quieter, last longer and perhaps won’t need to turn on in many well AC-ed studios.

I understand that those may be non issues for many, but for me, those seem design choices not well thought out, again just my own opinion...
The fan is temperature controlled. Under normal conditions it is not on. If the ambient temperature is high (i.e. outside on a hot day in direct sun) the internal temperature may rise above the limit of the power supply. In this case the fan turns on until the internal temperature drops.

The processor does not require a heat sink and adding one wouldn't help. The issue is the internal chassis temperature. The chassis itself can only dissipate so much heat due to its small surface area.
 

api4u

Experienced
Ever had a Mesa Boogie Mk IV?

...now THAT's fan noise!

I haven't hooked it up, yet, but I kept an old fan from one of my Mk IVs a few years ago to hook up for cooling off my workbench area - that's how much air they pushed..... then again, maybe it would be too noisy for my garage workshop bench.

Yes, the AFX III fans are a little annoying, when sitting at a quiet computer - my computer is nearly silent. BUT, I can't even hear it when I'm playing, or my guitar is plugged in, and ready to play.
 

James Nash

Member
I would be interested if it's possible to upgrade an older III with the temp-controlled fan. Ideally, maybe that's a user-swappable part/controller we could purchase ? Thanks!!
 

api4u

Experienced
Is it "not possible" or not available from Fractal? It seems like there would be an aftermarket temp controlled fan that would do the job for $20-$30, but I'm not really up on this at the moment.

I've replaced fans in all of my previous Axe Fx's, although not temp controlled, and they seemed to be an improvement.

Same with my PC's - a couple extra bucks spent on an aftermarket fan goes a long ways. Be sure you're actually providing the air-flow needed, and you should be fine.
 

unix-guy

Legend!
Is it "not possible" or not available from Fractal? It seems like there would be an aftermarket temp controlled fan that would do the job for $20-$30, but I'm not really up on this at the moment.

I've replaced fans in all of my previous Axe Fx's, although not temp controlled, and they seemed to be an improvement.

Same with my PC's - a couple extra bucks spent on an aftermarket fan goes a long ways. Be sure you're actually providing the air-flow needed, and you should be fine.
Pretty sure that what the fan is connected to is what signals the fan to come on or off (and optionally at what speed), so just replacing the fan isn't enough. The Axe Fx needs to offer the support.
 

Danny W.

Experienced
Is it "not possible" or not available from Fractal? It seems like there would be an aftermarket temp controlled fan that would do the job for $20-$30, but I'm not really up on this at the moment.

I've replaced fans in all of my previous Axe Fx's, although not temp controlled, and they seemed to be an improvement.

Same with my PC's - a couple extra bucks spent on an aftermarket fan goes a long ways. Be sure you're actually providing the air-flow needed, and you should be fine.
I suspect they monitor chip temperature, so not just a drop-in fan.

I replaced mine when I bought it, but a temp controlled fan seems like a better solution.

Danny W.
 

FractalAudio

Administrator
Fractal Audio Systems
Moderator
Is it "not possible" or not available from Fractal? It seems like there would be an aftermarket temp controlled fan that would do the job for $20-$30, but I'm not really up on this at the moment.

I've replaced fans in all of my previous Axe Fx's, although not temp controlled, and they seemed to be an improvement.

Same with my PC's - a couple extra bucks spent on an aftermarket fan goes a long ways. Be sure you're actually providing the air-flow needed, and you should be fine.
The newer units have a temperature sensor IC on the mainboard. The original units do not have this.
 

SkeletronPrime

New Member
The newer units have a temperature sensor IC on the mainboard. The original units do not have this.
Would it be possible to share the identifying part of the serial number for which this revision was made? I bought mine late April, but I'm pretty sure it's not the new version. More out of curiosity than anything. Thanks!
 

Cem

Experienced
This is actually sort of funny. "I can hear the fan" as the main reason to send it back.
It wasn't "I can hear the noise." It was SO loud. Nothing normal. Sounding like a macbook termal throttle all the time when it's working. In a quiet studio environment it's a no-no. Judging right away, not cool.
 

Deasnutz

Member
Fan noise was obviously enough of an issue to revise the Axe 3, which is great. I think for home use, just unplugging it wouldn’t be a big deal.

It doesn’t bother though, it’s really not noticeable during use. My Mesa Boogie is much louder.
 

yingwuzhao

New Member
Maybe, consider adding a global setting to toggle between Quiet(studio) vs Performance(Live) to control how aggressively the fan runs? @FractalAudio

I imagine fan do not start running until thermal reach certain threshold, and fan speed further increase when crossing next thermal threshold, and etc. Perhaps, the set of the thresholds can be different when in Studio or on Stage?
 

lqdsnddist

Axe-Master
One could very easily just attach a resistor on a toggle switch to the fan power cable. Add more resistance, slower fan rpm, less noise. In a hotter environment ? Bypass it and spin the fan faster. Take about $2 in parts

Mine is just used at home these days, so I have a resistor on the cable already for a bit slower fan rotation.

Probably be pretty easy to do a little thermalcoupler circuit that could vary the rpm via resistance and temp changes too.... probably overkill though

I found with my Noctua fan I’m getting the exact same core temps as stock even through I’m only spinning the fan at a basically inaudible 1200rpm
 
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