Unwanted noise and sound in your environment, either from a signal component or spacial location can be extremely irritating.

Soundproofing is any means of reducing the sound pressure with respect to a specified sound source and receptor. There are several basic approaches to reducing sound: increasing the distance between source and receiver, using noise barriers to reflect or absorb the energy of the sound waves, using damping structures such as sound baffles, or using active antinoise sound generators.

Two distinct soundproofing problems may need to be considered when designing acoustic treatments—to improve the sound within a room and reduce sound leakage to/from adjacent rooms or outdoors. Acoustic quieting and noise control can be used to limit unwanted noise. Soundproofing can suppress unwanted indirect sound waves such as reflections that cause echoes and resonances that cause reverberation. Soundproofing can reduce the transmission of unwanted direct sound waves from the source to an involuntary listener through the use of distance and intervening objects in the sound path.

Noise reduction / cancellation is the process of removing noise from a signal.

All signal processing devices, both analog and digital, have traits that make them susceptible to noise. Noise can be random or white noise with an even frequency distribution, or frequency dependent noise introduced by a device’s mechanism or signal processing algorithms.

In electronic recording devices, a major type of noise is hiss created by random electron motion due to thermal agitation at all temperatures above absolute zero. These agitated electrons rapidly add and subtract from the voltage of the output signal and thus create detectable noise.

In the case of photographic film and magnetic tape, noise (both visible and audible) is introduced due to the grain structure of the medium. In photographic film, the size of the grains in the film determines the film’s sensitivity, more sensitive film having larger sized grains. In magnetic tape, the larger the grains of the magnetic particles, the more prone the medium is to noise.

To compensate for this, larger areas of film or magnetic tape may be used to lower the noise to an acceptable level.

Many noise reduction algorithms tend to alter signals to a greater or lesser degree. The local signal-and-noise orthogonalization algorithm can be used to avoid changes to the signals.