That would depend upon:
A: How quiet you need the pump to be.
B: How much A influences how much you are willing to pay.
You can get great high volume pumps like the AP pumps that I and many others swear by.
These pumps provide good amounts of air for relatively few dollars. Their only drawback is
that there is a noise quotient to them. None of the AP Pumps that I've used, (AP-20, AP-50, AP-100),
cannot be heard above the bubbling tanks in the room. Although I have my AP-100 mounted near the ceiling,
it does not disturb my activities on the main floor of the house.
Vibrator pumps are noisier than linear pumps but cost less than half the price while putting out more CFM's (cubic feet per minute).
Linears are more expensive, but are nearly silent as Steve mentioned.
If money was no object and my tank was in my main living area, I would probably consider a linear pump.
But I'm cheap and I've got two AP-100's for the price of one mid-sized linear pump.
Remember..if you are running a bunch of tanks with pricey fish inside, you really need to think about
having a back up pump. No matter what pump you run..it will eventually fail. Guaranteed.
Another thing that you must consider is how deep your tanks are.
It's a tough job for a pump to run really deep tanks. Depth is a pump killer.
You can help your pump out by running a smaller diameter trunk line which
will allow it to develop higher pressure, which will help you
drive deep tanks, but you sacrifice air volume which will slow your filters making them
Ohio Cichlid Association
Northern Ohio, USA