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Road noise due to tire pressure?

13 September 2001
Lake Mathews (Corona), Ca
Test drove a 91 with 71K miles the other day. It drove fine except at freeway speeds where it made excessive (real load) road noise. Not a rumble but more like a whine. I assumed it was bearings (wheel or trans), but the owner assured me that is was the type of tires on the back (16" Michelins). We even switched rear wheels (16" Yokos I think) which made a very minor improvement. Later that week, the owner (who seemed very knowledgeable) called me back to inform me that the reason the noise was so bad was that he only had 32 PSI in the tires and when he upped it to 39 the noise was dramaticly improved. Has anyone else experienced such an anomaly?
I've never heard of this before.

Road noise with normal street tires should not be excessive.

The only time I've heard lots of road noise is when using track tires (Yokohama A032R).