what makes the Honda/Yamaha generators so quiet ? Is it just a better exhaust system ? Just wondering if a noisy generator like the Husky can be toned down without drastically hurting performance .
It's not just exhaust, it's the whir of the generator rotor which has to be engineered quiet. Next time you're near one of those rattle traps, notice how far away you can be and still hear that annoying 'bucket of bolts' sound but not the exhaust.
Several things make them quieter; inverter technology is the main reason. The engine is only running as hard as it needs to at the current demand, enclosed insulated housings and there are probably other reasons.
Inverter generators are great when you're doing something like charging a battery. You can't even tell they are running 25 feet away.
It has been documented that Honda lies about the EU2000 full load noise level. It is noisier than many fixed speed generators out there.