A little noise is actually a good thing when trying to calm a fussy baby. Remember that there was a lot of noise when they were in your womb. So a white noise machine is actually one thing that I highly recommend getting before your baby is born. We really like this white noise machine for a few reasons. The volume is perfect for us, and for the baby. We also really take advantage of the night light. When I do nightly feedings, we keep it really dark, but I still need to see - if I need to change a diaper, or change positions, etc, there is just enough light so that I can see whats going on, without disturbing my husband or the baby. This white noise machine also can hook up to your iPod!
I also use it when she naps. It helps drown out all of the noise going on in the house - from the washer and dryer to me doing dishes. I keep it on a lower setting for her naps, because I want her to get used to sounds while sleeping, but just enough so that she can fall asleep on her own.