RotoSub brings active noise cancellation to Noctua fans

Noctua builds some very nice cooling gear, including several kinds of low-noise fans. We’ve spoken with the company at length about all the little things it does to reduce the noise output of its fans. Now, Noctua has partnered with RotoSub, a company that specializes in active noise cancellation. RotoSub’s approach involves the generation of an “anti-sound” that cancels out the noise generated by a fan.

Unlike active noise cancellation techniques that rely on a speaker and microphone to capture sounds and produce their opposite, RotoSub uses the fan to generate its own anti-sound. RotoSub’s site doesn’t delve too deeply into how its technology works, but you can see it in action in the video below.

Noctua hopes the partnership will enable its NF-F12 fan to deliver “80% more airflow and 120% higher static pressure” at the same noise level. It could take 12-18 months to reach that goal, the company says, but a prototype will be on display at the Computex trade show next week. We’ll be on the scene to check it out.

Active noise cancellation sounds like an interesting way to make fans quieter, although it’s surely not cheap. Then again, Noctua’s existing fans are relatively pricey, and they all have great user reviews on Newegg. I count over 360 reviews for five different fan models, all of which average five stars.

Comments closed
    • internetsandman
    • 7 years ago

    That air turbulence is the problem in moist of the cases I see today, not the noise of the fan itself. Whenever I switch on my PC I can hear the air moving around inside and it’s not quiet, I’ve actually never heard that high pitched whine from any fan I’ve owned, but i’ve certainly heard the turbulence that could be heard when their noise cancellation is in effect. I dunno, maybe in person, in an actual case, it’d be different, but at the moment I’m not really interested

    • willmore
    • 7 years ago

    I’ll start by saying that active noise reduction if successfully applied to fans would be a great acheivement.

    That said, I’d suggest that they way this demo is setup is as close to best case as one could get. If a speaker was placed on the center of the fan on the frame side, it would be in a great position to cancel out a good deal of the noise from a fan–more so on the output (fixed) side than the input (open) side. And the cancellation would be strongest along the axis of the fan. Hmm, look, they mounted the fan in a tube so that the only direction you can hear it from *is* on axis.

    There is another way that might work better but would be harder to do and would be extremely clever. The difference between a motor and a speaker are only mechanical. Electrically, they’re the same–coils make a variable magnetic field that interacts with a fixed magentic field resulting in motion. Now, a clever sort might find a way to modulate the coils to use the *fan* as an actual speaker. Modulate the motor control signal with the noise cancellation signal. That would truely be an amazing acheivement.

    I’m going to go make some popcorn and see how this develops.

    • south side sammy
    • 7 years ago

    noise canceling tech has been around for decades. the military uses it……… no, you look it up if you’re interested.

    the fan test………. why not use one of their own “old” fans and do the test and then let us see the dbl meter ? and maybe an rpm meter ?……… and why not use competitors fans ? do the same test.

    the test looks like somebodies wife went away for the weekend and the internet was out. Hey, I have an idea, lets make an idiotic device for stupid people to slobber over…….. put any fan in between 2 tubes and see what happens. Obviously the fans were cranking out beyond what their normal retail fans do. And is it the air you hear inside your own cases or is it the fan motor itself ? and what happens when you shove air down a narrowing tube at high velocity…. ? HMMMM…….????

    this has to be one of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen a marketer do. It’s more BS for suckers……….. Again, thanks for the laugh…….

      • Draphius
      • 7 years ago

      they are using an extra loud fan to get there point across. btw the applications they are talking about usually have noisy fans and if they can make there standard fans move more air and create higher static pressure while maintaining there same noise level, its a win win, especially with more and more people moving to watercooling where u need high static pressure. they also dont have a working noctua fan yet, its 12-18 months out after they develop it, this is just a technology demonstrator

    • Draphius
    • 7 years ago

    id rather them change there color scheme cause everytime i look in my computer i wanna puke, which btw would match the color scheme.

      • Mourmain
      • 7 years ago

      You probably want some nice soothing leds flashing in all the colours of the rainbow, no?

      • tanker27
      • 7 years ago

      You know Krylon works wonders. Take the fan apart and paint it.

        • RenatoPassos
        • 7 years ago

        If I remember correctly, Noctua does not recommend it, since it could change the behavior of the fan. I don’t know if they are right or wrong, though…

    • Bensam123
    • 7 years ago

    Sounds like an interesting idea… But since this doesn’t dynamically change what it cancels, if the fan changes RPMs wont it negate the sound cancellation effect and possibly make it sound even worse?

      • deathBOB
      • 7 years ago

      If you had a no-noise fan, why would you ever change its speed?

        • Bensam123
        • 7 years ago

        They aren’t no-noise and the speed can vary based on power +/- as well as the fan itself.

        I don’t know what sort of range such noise canceling technology would be good for… it may only be tolerant of a couple +/- rpms or 100…

          • Draphius
          • 7 years ago

          or it could be something that scales with the rpm, they havent clarified so theres no point jumping to conclusions

            • Bensam123
            • 7 years ago

            There is almost no way for the noise cancellation to dynamically scale without a completely different system, either mechanical or electrical. If the fan is machined specifically to produce a certain noise to cancel the noise running at a certain RPM, then it only works at that RPM.

            The variance that it works at before it goes awry is what I was questioning and if when it goes bad if it makes more noise then without it.

    • UberGerbil
    • 7 years ago

    Actually AFAICT it doesn’t delve into how it works at all. As with all technical-detail-free marketing videos, color me skeptical. Once independent 3rd parties can test it in real world conditions, I’ll pay attention.

      • Airmantharp
      • 7 years ago

      I’m with you- I’ll wait for SPCR myself.

      Hell, the main source of noise in my system isn’t the fans themselves, which are silent despite being nothing special, it’s the sound of air moving through the case.

      • flip-mode
      • 7 years ago

      Noctua is pretty serious about this stuff. I’m guessing they wouldn’t have made this partnership and announcement if it weren’t real to some degree or other.

        • UberGerbil
        • 7 years ago

        Sure, but there’s the marketing demo and then there’s how much difference it actually makes in the real world. Maybe this enables them to spin their fans at super high speeds without increased noise, putting them in a completely different league. Maybe it amounts to a decibel or two at twice the price. Or maybe we never hear another word about it again. I’m content to wait and see.

    • south side sammy
    • 7 years ago

    Thanks for the laugh, need one today. This flic is a bunch of hooey. When’s the last time you heard a fan sound so loud ? 2002 ? It obviously was running at higher rpm than normal from my perspective. And not even one of their “non” noise canceling fans are that loud. Bet they’ll make a killing on these. Time to invest in nactua.

      • Chrispy_
      • 7 years ago

      Man, you are so short-sighted. If they do this at high-rpm and it works, it’s just to demonstrate a point.

      This is a tech demo, nothing more.

      • Draphius
      • 7 years ago

      normal for your situation. just cause u dont need high static pressure and high volume doesnt mean there isnt a place for it. i have a couple watercooled rigs and i have one that has 6 delta fans and even a 5 db reduction would do wonders

      • 5UPERCH1CK3N
      • 7 years ago

      I don’t know, the HP servers currently blasting away in the server room sound like that. Granted, my newest is a G7, so it is a couple years old. Some may say that it doesn’t matter for servers, but that wouldn’t reflect the fact that HP has made quite a bit of progress is reducing the sound level over the years. The few G2 units I have left over running odd apps are horrendously loud. If there wasn’t any pressure for them to reduce noise, then I can’t imagine why they would put effort into it.

    • Chrispy_
    • 7 years ago

    I have found that the noise-cancelling headphones work well for constant, unchanging noises like jet engines on a flight or server room fans.

    This technology has merit and what costs ‘too much’ at first will probably come down in price once the early adopters have been sufficiently fleeced of their spare change.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 7 years ago

    I love clicking Newegg links to support the site, [url=http://www.kqzyfj.com/click-1800524-10487648?url=http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&DEPA=0&Order=BESTMATCH&N=-1&isNodeId=1&Description=noctua+fan&x=0&y=0<]but this one was truly useless[/url<]. "We have found 0 items that match."

      • Forge
      • 7 years ago

      I clicked your link. (1-20 of 55835 Results)

      Did Metal eat something off your link?

        • BobbinThreadbare
        • 7 years ago

        At the top: We have found 0 items that match.

        Then it shows 1-24 Products anyways.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 7 years ago

        And none of them were Noctua’s fans. The “Noctua’s existing fans” link is what I put in my message at the time i posted. It seems that the article’s link has been fixed.

        • dmjifn
        • 7 years ago

        Tech Report appears to be adding kqzyfj.com affiliate links to some of them, so maybe something goofed it up on the redirect?

    • xeridea
    • 7 years ago

    This would be absolute gold to license the technology to video card makers. Drastically reduced fan without adding a giant cooler would be a huge selling point.

      • HisDivineOrder
      • 7 years ago

      Consoles, laptops, and graphics cards all seem like the devices that need this tech the most. Not that I wouldn’t mind seeing it on fans through my computer, but you know… given Noctua’s habit of pricing, I’m sure they’ll be $60 a fan.

    • smilingcrow
    • 7 years ago

    ‘Noctua hopes…’
    So pure speculation at this point.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 7 years ago

      yeah, but it’s Noctua. They won’t put their name on something that sucks. It must truly blow and blow well. #rimshot

        • Draphius
        • 7 years ago

        there color scheme sucks and they put there name on that

          • Dashak
          • 7 years ago

          Many don’t mind Noctua’s color scheme since it’s accompanied by their typical stellar quality. After all, it’s going to be on the inside of a case and won’t be seen after installation.

          • dmjifn
          • 7 years ago

          I don’t mind them having a different scheme but I agree their current one sucks. It reminds me of raw chicken parts every time I see it. But once I get over feeling a little ill, I have to admit it’s instant brand recognition.

            • Mourmain
            • 7 years ago

            Why are people scared of the colour brown? It won’t bite. It’s actually a great colour scheme.

            • dmjifn
            • 7 years ago

            I’m not scared of brown.
            While _some_ pics on newegg show it as brown & beige, others show it as a fleshy, pinky color and a dark brownish red. I own a couple of them, and mine are the latter. Makes me fear for salmonella every time I work in my case. 😉
            Seriously, they’re nice and I have nothing against them. I’m merely sympathetic with the stand against meaty pinkish & burgundy.

    • Elsoze
    • 7 years ago

    First thought of the “fear vs love” videos from Donnie Darko: [url<]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQxt9kSY0jU[/url<] But actually the product does look pretty cool 😉

    • d0g_p00p
    • 7 years ago

    Impressive but it’s going to be expensive. I outfited my case with all Noctua fans and it was well over $80 for 4 of them.

      • Draphius
      • 7 years ago

      yeah there prices arent justified imo, especially after having 2 of them lose a bearing after 2 months which sprayed the inside of my case with lotsa oil, still they are hands down some of the best low rpm fans ive ever used

      • Bauxite
      • 7 years ago

      Directron is usually the cheapest place for noctua stuff, ~$65 would’ve gotten you 4x 120mm. The 140mm are still nuts everywhere though, 23 a pop. They had the monster nh-d14 for $65 a little bit last year…real nice bang for the buck.

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