Quietest motor?

I don't have much basis for comparison, but Seeker's Shimano E8000 is far quieter than the other Shimano steps motor I tried-- I forget what it was, one of the 85nm models, not the EP8. And it's a lot quieter than the Tongshen as well. I think it got slightly louder after the first thousand miles.

I have slowly pedaled up to deer, gotten to within 15 or 20 feet, but that's not saying much because deer in Hollywood are not as sensitive to noise as deer anywhere else I've ever seen them. You could be driving a very loud car, and they will still stand in the road staring at you-- mostly the does, but sometimes, even the bucks. A few times, I've had to stop the car, roll down the windows, and say, "Hey, pal, great to see you, but could you just step off into the grass so you don't get hit? Yeah, now would be good." They will walk slowly away.
The Dyname 4.0 on my Rocky Mountain is very quiet unless you are hammering in Ludicrous mode.
Hi everyone, first time poster with questions about e-bike mid-drive motor noise.

First, background/context:

  • I am a retired male in my late 60s, six foot tall, 180 lbs, not terribly fit, but in reasonably good health
  • I've ridden regular bicycles for over sixty years, however, the last ten years I've ridden a Jamis Commuter 4 which has a NuVinci geared hub and I'm unwilling to return to a derailleur system
  • I'm looking for an e-bike so that I can explore the surrounding countryside in SE Michigan (rolling hills, no mountains) and improve my fitness while doing so
  • My budget is $3k - $6k, but I'd like to stay under $5k if possible
  • At the moment, I'm strongly considering the Evelo Atlas or Omega, Gazelle Ultimate C380+, or Specialized Como or Vado, but am open to suggestions
I've done quite a bit of research on e-bikes, but the issue of motor noise seems remarkably difficult to resolve. Quick anecdote: I went to my lbs and test-rode three e-bikes (a Gazelle, a Riese & Mueller, and something else I don't recall). I loved the exhilaration of being assisted while pedaling (or not, with the throttle), but as I rode home on my Jamis, I realized how pleasant it was without the sound of the motor.

So, I would really appreciate any thoughts any of you may have on the issue of motor noise. Here are some of the questions that currently occupy my brain:

  • Do you get used to motor noise? Or does it not bother you?
  • Many here talk about staying mainly in pedal assist mode 1 to extend the battery; is the motor also quieter in the lower assist modes?
  • Might Active Noise Cancelling earbuds help?
  • Is the Brose motor (with its internal belt) the quietest?
  • Is motor noise proportional to power output (meaning, is a 250 W motor in general quieter than a 750 W motor)?
I compared Court’s reviews of the Omega and the Atlas, and it sounded to me like the Bafang motor on the Atlas was louder (links are set to the place in review where motor sounds are most noticeable):

(Omega motor sound, ignore the Automatiq auto-shifting sound)
(Atlas motor sound)

However, a representative from Evelo responded to this by saying he has both bikes and to him the Atlas is quieter. Which just goes to show how difficult this is to evaluate.

I understand that these questions are extremely subjective, and answers/opinions vary considerably based on the design of the bike, the road conditions, slope of the terrain, how hard one is pedaling (or which cadence is being used in the case of the Automatiq), etc.

Still, what I'm basically asking is this: Given that I would like the sound of the motor to intrude on me (and my potential cycling mates) as little as possible, what bikes should I be considering that also include an interally geared hub (probably Enviolo), a relatively upright riding position, able to take on easy off-road trails if needed, class 3 with throttle would be a plus.

Thanks in advance for whatever you would like to share about this vexing issue.
For what it's worth, my Ariel Rider C class uses a Tongsheng motor, which is very quiet. In fact I can barely hear it even if intentionally listening. I use most PAS level 1, and occasionally level 2.