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Background noise or ambient noise is any sound other than the sound being monitored (primary sound). Background noise is a form of noise pollution or interference. Background noise is an important concept in setting noise levels.
Background noises include environmental noises such as water waves, traffic noise, alarms, extraneous speech, bioacoustic noise from animals, and electrical noise from devices such as refrigerators, air conditioning, power supplies, and motors.
The prevention or reduction of background noise is important in the field of active noise control. It is an important consideration with the use of ultrasound (e.g. for medical diagnosis or imaging), sonar, and sound reproduction.
In astronomy, background noise or cosmic background radiation is electromagnetic radiation from the sky with no discernible source.
In information architecture, irrelevant, duplicate or incorrect information may be called background noise.
In physics and telecommunication, background signal noise can be detrimental or in some cases beneficial. The study of avoiding, reducing or using signal noise is information theory.
In telephony, artificial comfort noise is used as a substitute for natural background noise, to fill in artificial silence created by discontinuous transmission systems using voice activity detection. Background noise can also affect concentration.
Atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS) and atomic emission spectroscopy (AES) is a spectroanalytical procedure for the quantitative determination of chemical elements using the absorption of optical radiation (light) by free atoms in the gaseous state. Atomic absorption spectroscopy is based on absorption of light by free metallic ions.
In atmospheric sounding and noise pollution, ambient noise level is the background sound pressure level at a given location, normally specified as a reference level to study a new intrusive sound source.
Cosmic noise, also known as galactic radio noise, is not actually sound, but a physical phenomenon derived from outside of the Earth's atmosphere. It can be detected through a radio receiver, which is an electronic device that receives radio waves and converts the information given by them to a audible form. Its characteristics are comparable to those of thermal noise. Cosmic noise occurs at frequencies above about 15 MHz when highly directional antennas are pointed toward the sun or other regions of the sky, such as the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. Celestial objects like quasars, which are super dense objects far from Earth, emit electromagnetic waves in their full spectrum, including radio waves. The fall of a meteorite can also be heard through a radio receiver; the falling object burns from friction with the Earth's atmosphere, ionizing surrounding gases and producing radio waves. Cosmic microwave background radiation (CMBR) from outer space is also a form of cosmic noise. CMBR is thought to be a relic of the Big Bang, and pervades the space almost homogeneously over the entire celestial sphere. The bandwidth of the CMBR is wide, though the peak is in the microwave range.
A microphone array is any number of microphones operating in tandem. There are many applications:
Noise pollution, also known as environmental noise or sound pollution, is the propagation of noise with ranging impacts on the activity of human or animal life, most of them harmful to a degree. The source of outdoor noise worldwide is mainly caused by machines, transport, and propagation systems. Poor urban planning may give rise to noise disintegration or pollution, side-by-side industrial and residential buildings can result in noise pollution in the residential areas. Some of the main sources of noise in residential areas include loud music, transportation, lawn care maintenance, construction, electrical generators, explosions, and people.
A microwave radiometer (MWR) is a radiometer that measures energy emitted at millimetre-to-centimetre wavelengths known as microwaves. Microwave radiometers are very sensitive receivers designed to measure thermally-emitted electromagnetic radiation. They are usually equipped with multiple receiving channels in order to derive the characteristic emission spectrum of planetary atmospheres, surfaces or extraterrestrial objects. Microwave radiometers are utilized in a variety of environmental and engineering applications, including remote sensing, weather forecasting, climate monitoring, radio astronomy and radio propagation studies.
Noise-cancelling headphones are headphones that reduce unwanted ambient sounds using active noise control. This is distinct from passive headphones which, if they reduce ambient sounds at all, use techniques such as soundproofing.
Active noise control (ANC), also known as noise cancellation (NC), or active noise reduction (ANR), is a method for reducing unwanted sound by the addition of a second sound specifically designed to cancel the first. The concept was first developed in the late 1930s, later developmental work that began in the 1950s eventually resulted in commercial airline headsets with the technology becoming available in the late 1980s. The technology is also used in road vehicles and in mobile telephones.
In signal theory, the noise floor is the measure of the signal created from the sum of all the noise sources and unwanted signals within a measurement system, where noise is defined as any signal other than the one being monitored.
A noise gate or gate is an electronic device or software that is used to control the volume of an audio signal. Comparable to a compressor, which attenuates signals above a threshold, such as loud attacks from the start of musical notes, noise gates attenuate signals that register below the threshold. However, noise gates attenuate signals by a fixed amount, known as the range. In its simplest form, a noise gate allows a main signal to pass through only when it is above a set threshold: the gate is "open". If the signal falls below the threshold, no signal is allowed to pass : the gate is "closed". A noise gate is used when the level of the "signal" is above the level of the unwanted "noise". The threshold is set above the level of the "noise", and so when there is no main "signal", the gate is closed.
In audio engineering, electronics, physics, and many other fields, the color of noise refers to the power spectrum of a noise signal. Different colors of noise have significantly different properties. For example, as audio signals they will sound different to human ears, and as images they will have a visibly different texture. Therefore, each application typically requires noise of a specific color. This sense of 'color' for noise signals is similar to the concept of timbre in music ; however, the latter is almost always used for sound, and may consider very detailed features of the spectrum.
Comfort noise is synthetic background noise used in radio and wireless communications to fill the artificial silence in a transmission resulting from voice activity detection or from the audio clarity of modern digital lines.
In-ear monitors (IEMs) are devices used by musicians, audio engineers, and audiophiles to listen to music or to hear a personal mix of vocals and stage instrumentation for live performance or recording studio mixing. They are also used by television presenters in order to receive vocal instructions, info, and breaking news announcement from a producer that only the presenter hears. They are often custom fitted for an individual's ears to provide comfort and a high level of noise reduction from ambient surroundings. Their origins as a tool in live music performance can be traced back to the mid 1980s.
Underwater acoustics is the study of the propagation of sound in water and the interaction of the mechanical waves that constitute sound with the water, its contents and its boundaries. The water may be in the ocean, a lake, a river or a tank. Typical frequencies associated with underwater acoustics are between 10 Hz and 1 MHz. The propagation of sound in the ocean at frequencies lower than 10 Hz is usually not possible without penetrating deep into the seabed, whereas frequencies above 1 MHz are rarely used because they are absorbed very quickly. Underwater acoustics is sometimes known as hydroacoustics.
Acoustic quieting is the process of making machinery quieter by damping vibrations to prevent them from reaching the observer. Machinery vibrates, causing sound waves in air, hydroacoustic waves in water, and mechanical stresses in solid matter. Quieting is achieved by absorbing the vibrational energy or minimizing the source of the vibration. It may also be redirected away from the observer.
Tinnitus maskers are a range of devices based on simple white noise machines used to add natural or artificial sound into a tinnitus sufferer's environment in order to mask or cover up the ringing. The noise is supplied by a sound generator, which may reside in or above the ear or be placed on a table or elsewhere in the environment. The noise is usually white noise or music, but in some cases, it may be patterned sound or specially tailored sound based on the characteristics of the person's tinnitus.
In electronics, an antenna amplifier is a device that amplifies an antenna signal, usually into an output with the same impedance as the input impedance. Typically 75 ohm for coaxial cable and 300 ohm for twin-lead cable.
In signal processing, noise is a general term for unwanted modifications that a signal may suffer during capture, storage, transmission, processing, or conversion.
Noise refers to many types of random or unwanted signals, most commonly acoustic noise, but also including the following: