Thursday, August 9th, 2012

Reviews of White Noise Recordings

Due to the ever-increasing loudening of the universe, white noise is now a multi-billion-dollar-grossing industry. I just made that fact up! It's probably not true in the slightest! But there are a TON of albums, apps, websites and purveyors, all devoted to white noise. That is because some of us cannot sleep without it, due to exterior noise and/or snoring, or because of our fear of silence and/or death, or also because we are tired of babies crying.

The best way—with a few exceptions!—to use white noise at night is with an iPhone or iPod docked in some kind of speaker-thing. Or from your computer to speakers! (As long as everything else is shut off.) Whatever is in the room, it'll work. Don't go crazy. Don't try to "game" the "system." You go to sleep war with the sleep aids that you have. You set that puppy to "repeat one" track and turn off shuffle and boom, done. I personally find that if I turn my speakers away from the bed, so that sound is bouncing off the walls and around the room, I get more out of it. And then I use it on headphones on planes. Here is my guide to everything in my white noise rotation.

Brown Noise
From Simply Noise
Nice, but very flat. Doesn't have gradations in tone. Does a decent standing fan imitation though. But slightly forceful. Their white noise and pink noise are not ideal.

White Noise Blowdryer
From "White Noise"
Do you like hairdryers? Well, here's a heinous, irritating recording of a hairdryer for you!

Victoria Falls
This has a nice "wide scope" sound. The waterness of it is not distracting. The full 66 minutes of this "quasi-binaural field recording" has both low and high tones, which is important, but is concentrated in the medium spectrum. Because it's "real audio," it is actually random noise, and patternless, which is terrific. Feels like: sleeping in a hammock without all the discomfort and bugs. Downside: you might wake up having to pee desperately.

Very Sleepy
From "White Noise Baby Sleep Care Masters"
This is the rhythmic raygun sound you use to turn darling little Crevasse and Piton into mass murderers.

Empty Conference Room
The dystopic title is correct. This is a very cold, unfeeling white noise. It has terrific bassy, rhythmic undertones however. It's not one you'd want in your regular rotation but it's nice on planes.

Air Conditioner White Noise
From Lullaby Land, White Noise No. 1
Extremely hostile. I bet this works on stupid babies. It makes me aggro.

Large Hadron Cuddler
From WhiteNoiseMP3s
Everyone involved in the production of this white noise should be put behind bars. DO YOU WANT TO WAKE UP IN TERROR EVERY FIVE MINUTES? Then try this! (Seriously, click through and listen. It's like the TARDIS in a blender!)

3 Hour Nap
From White Noise Therapy Volume 2
Oh man. This is deep. It's not good for snorers. But it is great for sleeping on your own. Best possible use for this is actually playing on your iPhone from under your pillow. It's a dreary kind of drone, but when close to your head at low volume, it's extremely soothing—the way you'd imagine a train ride should be, but never is, here in disappointing real life. Can be weird on planes, as it's very similar to wind noise and actually somehow embeds with the plane noise.

Sleepy Jet Cabin
Speaking of. Ugh! I don't really want my plane to sound MORE like a plane.

Deep Sleep Therapy
From Deeper State: White Noise for Infants
This is like a frosty white cocoon of deep noise. Excuse me I'll be righ zzzzzzzzzzz. Best for sleeping alone. Some of the other cuts on this classic album are decent too. (See also: "Safe and Sound" and "Snugglebug." Avoid "Goodnight Moon" and "Counting Sheep." Too shrill.)

3Hz Delta Sleep and Lucid Dreaming
From "White Noise Meditation"
Bright, brassy, enveloping. Thin but permeating. This is the ultimate tape to use when sleeping with a snorer, or in an apartment with traffic noise. You may find it offputting at first! And you'll hear ocean behind the static, and then you'll hear static on top of the water. And then you'll be face-down in your own drool. Warning: most of the other mp3s on this "album" are too oceaney.

3D Waves for Sleep
From "3D Ambient Sleep Atmospheres"
This is like white noise from the future. One thing that's terrific about this is that it cycles in, uh, waves. It's a little scary though! Not as much a favorite as the two above. I think I had an engrossing dream about being a sardine once with this playing. Oh but it's good. Except every once in a while there's like a weird sort of evaporating hiss, which is a little scary. Um, fun fact: they want to sell you 1 hour and 13 minutes of this for $9.99. If only it were possible to get a small chunk of this and loop it! Oh well, someday we'll have the technology to do that….

DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE WHITE NOISE? UPLOAD IT IN THE COMMENTS. JK do not, we don't have that technology.

24 Comments / Post A Comment

This is a J. G. Ballard outtake, right?

hockeymom (#143)

Large Hadron Cuddler lasts 65 minutes and 46 seconds.

This bothers me. What are those 46 seconds for? What if I'm staring at the ceiling and I'm at 65 minutes and 36 seconds? What's going to happen in 10 seconds? In 5 seconds? In 3…2.. oh god, oh no, oh no, oh please…

deepomega (#1,720)

Can't help but feel like white noise is ear Ambien. Totally fucks up your ability to live without it.

@deepomega I often wonder if my tinnitus is from having a fan on wherever I am to get to sleep or if I need a fan to sleep because I have always had tinnitus. Coming off klonopin made the tinnitus way fucking worse (in reference to the Ambien comment.)

jolie (#16)

iTunes tells me that a single reunion episode of The Real Housewives of New Jersey is currently at a 23 plays count because, as I explained to my feller the other day, I sleep best when lulled by the dulcet tones of mouthy Italian women screaming at each other.

jolie (#16)

(Also, Choire, this is insane EVEN FOR YOU. I mean that, naturally, in the best possible sense.)

@jolie : I imagine you'll reconsider once Choire turns into the best Doom Patrol antagonist ever.

freetzy (#7,018)


Mandi Walls@twitter (#236,816)

I use an app called "White Noise Lite" with a mix of "white noise" and "airplane" to get the pitches right for my tinnitus.

Mount_Prion (#290)

Well my favorite White Noise is "Game of Loving".

Also, I'd KILL for a t-shirt of this album art.

cherrispryte (#444)

I … this might be one of my more favorite posts?

Also, wasn't there a thing here or on the HP within the past two years about "this is the most calming song/this song should come with a drowsiness warning/science has created a song that will put you to sleep" sort of thing? could anyone find that and give me a link?

Cause I am fail at falling asleep.

hockeymom (#143)

@cherrispryte Look up "Sarah Palin Sings Rock-A-Bye-Baby" and listen to whatever is the opposite of that.

mathnet (#27)

@cherrispryte Yesssssss it was on RadioLab maybe? I want to know too!

finn (#940)
kittenplan (#339)

@finn Oh my god, I feel like my life begins today.

My top-played white noise track is "Rain Meditation Level I" but I mostly like it because it's an hour long. It's probably way too percussive for this crowd:

Okay now I've got Star Trek Ambient Engine Noise and the above-mentioned "3 Hour Nap" playing simultaneously and I feel like my third eye just opened.

kittenplan (#339)

By the way, Choire Sicha, I'm pretty sure that sleeping with an iphone under the pillow is why we're all going to die of skull cancer.

mathnet (#27)

Dohm-DS Dual Speed Sound Conditioner by Marpac (formerly known as the Sleepmate/Sound Screen 980A) IS IT.

Tully Mills (#6,486)

I use I'm very particular about my campfire/rain/ocean/thunder levels.

MollyR (#236,849)

I love the soothing "Peaceful Air Purifier" sound from Pure White Noise

Cobalt (#7,571)

So Merzbow's Pulse Demon and Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music are not the white noise recordings you are looking for.

Joshua Allen (#236,857)

This is the best article I've ever read. For a while I was hooked on, esp. the THUNDERGOD app where they have long recordings of thunderstorms of varying severity, each named after Norse gods. But that was the old me. I don't need that drama all night long. I'm taking the Choire white noise train to Valhalla.

I am a big fan of I really love their rain sounds and ocean sounds. I find rain sounds offer some of the best white noise available.

Kayla Ritz@facebook (#282,152)

I really love all noises you have shared, especially the Air Conditioner White Noise is so much rhythmic.

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