6spd - you are absolutely right if it's a constant noise.
I was thinking of the fairly quiet noises you can hear when applying & releasing the brake while there is still vacuum available after the engine has been turned off. (vacuum reservoir) Sometimes this can be heard if the car operates quietly enough even when running.
As usual, it's hard to hear if it sounds "normal" from a distance - and all I can suggest to the O.P. is that he compare what he's hearing to the normal noises from another vehicle.
The pedal travel question is another that's hard to diagnose, since many feel different when "normal". Best I can say is that if it doesn't feel "right" it's time to keep checking things for a cause. Drums not adjusted right, caliper slider sticking, air in the system, each has a slightly different "feel" only experience & re-checking of the work can really determine....
Hope to hear more on what he finds looking into it closer....