Although earplugs may be a somewhat effective means of masking the distracting sounds of noisy neighbors and rowdy tenants, in principle they do not provide enough sound attenuation to block out the lower frequencies of rumbling trucks and bass-blown speakers.
And, earplugs do not mask the ringing sound of tinnitus -- they just amplify it. Tinnitus is heard most often under silent conditions.
Slip on a pair of sound-isolating headphones/earphones (I recommend the Sennheiser HD 380 PRO headphones, and Etymotic Research ER6i earphones) and try listening to a white noise MP3 with soundmasking attributes to increase the likelihood of keeping your sanity by upwards of 400%.
Extensive testing conducted through many years of travel has led me to conclude that Victoria Falls combined with the Sennheiser HD 380 PRO headphones at 85% volume provides seven times (7x) the sound attenuation of merely using foam and silicone earplugs alone.
White Noise for Sound Masking
Although earplugs may be a somewhat effective means of masking the distracting sounds of noisy neighbors and rowdy tenants, in principle they do not provide enough sound attenuation to block out the lower frequencies of rumbling trucks and bass-blown speakers.
Duration: 66 minutes 48 seconds, Size: 91.7 MB.
Victoria Falls — the Seventh Wonder of the World; the largest waterfall in the world.
Victoria Falls is a natural source of “brown noise” (a lower-pitched and less irritable form of “true” white noise) that is ideal for sleep and masking unwanted background noises. It is a powerful, thundering, and expansive recording that relaxes the listener with a full-spectrum spacious sound, apt for masking both rumbling and high-pitched distractions.
While Victoria Falls is neither the highest nor the widest waterfall in the world, it is claimed to be the largest. This claim is based on the fact that it plunges 108 meters (360 feet) over a width of 1,708 meters (5,600 feet) into a basalt lined gorge, forming the largest sheet of falling water ever to be discovered by man (and thus, the largest concentrated source of environmental brown noise).
In March and April of 2009, record rainfalls in the watershed created an extra volume of water that had to be released over the falls around April 12th. This recording and photo were taken at that time, from the eastern cataract at the Zambian side.
Victoria Falls features no fade-in or fade-out at the beginning or the end, so there are no distractions in sound volume when played on repeat. No sounds of people, birds, animals or planes are included. No music has been added.
Extensive testing conducted through many years of travel has led me to conclude that Victoria Falls combined with the Sennheiser HD 380 PRO at 85% iPad volume provides seven times (7x) the sound attenuation of merely using foam and silicone earplugs alone. This MP3 is literally a bedroom for one’s ears. Get yourself a pair of over-the-ear headphones with ample amounts of bass response, take a seat somewhere in a boisterous coffee shop or relax in a hotel room with adjacent noisy neighbours, and then play Victoria Falls. You will hear the sound of one hand clapping.
Victoria Falls is a natural white noise soundscape composed of a non-looped digital stereo quasi-binaural field recording. This recording technique produces a 3-dimensional audio portrait when listening with headphones. Encoded at a bitrate of 192 kbps for quality listening.
Duration: 63 minutes 57 seconds, Size: 87.8 MB.
It was one of those mornings where the mist and wisps of fog had twisted and risen in the valleys, lingering like the last river spirits of the night, reluctant to admit that the break of dawn had already arrived.
‘Twas in this befoggled morning dawn during a rainstorm that I recorded Rain on the River, right on the bank of the Deerfield River with my trusty pair of DPA 4060-BM omnidirectional condensor microphones mounted onto my GUY HRTF baffle. My Sound Devices 722 and Lunatec V2 mic preamp were both safe and sound in my watertight Pelican 1500 case but while they were sitting there basking in their warmth my 4060s had to take all the beating.
A cataract of constant plummeting rain falls throughout the recording, forming a high exuberant counterpoint to the lower bass and sub-bass of delicate rolling thunder rumbling across the tops of clouds above the listener. The thunder has a low soothing growl rather than startling claps or crashes or booms, so any progress you make towards sleep or being one with the universe will not be thrown into abrupt discomposure. Subtle, sparsely scattered bird calls can be heard in the distance.
Swift multitudinous drops of rain continually plash and patter the river’s smooth glassy levels, and they are heard making little dimples and bells and spray in an ebullient melody of constantly shifting crescendos. The ecstatic flow of buoyant streaming water from the river has a more engaging, relaxing, random variation of natural white noise when compared to electronically processed white noise or white noise software. The duality of both low and high frequencies facilitates listening as our ears tend to crave for one or the other after prolonged singular exposure to either for an extended period of time.
A tirelessly shifting array of liquid awesome — this is the only MP3 that takes you right to the heart of the storm without getting your snugglebuns fried by lightning. No music, no voices, no planes, no synthesizers, no bilk. No layering or looping effects were used in any way to enhance the storm.
Rain on the River is a natural soundscape composed of an hour-long on-location digital stereo quasi-binaural field recording. This recording technique produces a three-dimensional audio image when listening with earphones or headphones. Click here to read more about me and my recording techniques.
The full 63:57 MP3 has no fade-in or fade-out at the beginning or end, so it can seamlessly be played looped without any distraction or sudden change of tempo. Compatible with all CD players, iPods, iPads, and iPhones. If you are using an iPad or iPhone, make sure to read this article. Bitrate encoded at 192 kbps for finest audio reproduction.
Duration: 61 minutes 43 seconds, Size: 84.7 MB.
Autumn Winds is a unique, constantly undulating form of natural white noise that is excellent for masking office noise and other distractions. It is unique in that it is always changing and evolving — never stagnant or static. This chill, laid back soundscape is an ebb and flow of completely natural white noise of moderate intensity.
The trees are still adorned with leaves, in which their presence modulates and colours the noise of the wind with rustling whispers. These features are complemented by a velvety relaxing tempo that makes this recording an ideal gadget for both sleep and study.
Autumn Winds is as ignorable as it is interesting — it does not demand your attention, but rewards it.
Recorded in the northern Canadian taiga of coniferous forests in September of 2007. There are no sounds of birds, animals, insects, planes, cars, voices or music. This is a non-looped soundscape of pure natural wind sounds (no synthesizers, no layering, no post-processing). Completely seamless and includes no fade-in or fade-out at the beginning or end.
Autumn Winds is a natural white noise soundscape digitally recorded using stereo quasi-binaural Sonic Studios DSM-6S/EHs dimensional microphones. Binaural baffle, omni-directional microphone technique. Encoded at a bitrate of 192 kbps for quality listening.
The complete aural equivalent of watching clouds…
Duration: 64 minutes 41 seconds, Size: 88.8 MB.
A field recording from my trip to the Rockies — descending swiftly from the ice fields of the Rocky Mountains, the Kicking Horse River is both a geological and acoustic wonder. It still follows the path it chose before massive glaciers filled the space between these mountains. When the great ice sheet finally disappeared, a broad U-shaped valley was left in its wake and at its bottom, the Kicking Horse River remained — a spectacular remnant of another age.
While exploring a Rocky Mountain river in 1858, surveyor-geologist James Hector suffered a near-fatal kick by his packhorse. Hector survived, and the river and a nearby mountain pass were named in honour of the incident.
The recording location for this MP3 was rather catalytic — my hubby and I were able to move the raft to a calmer area but while he was sitting there oafing away I stranded myself up on a rock for an hour in the middle of its unruly raging waters with my Sonic Studios DSM-6S/M (in a WHB headband) and Edirol R-09.
White noise permeates this soundscape through the relaxing auditory medium of constant streaming water. The overflow from the rapids eddy around to the left and to the right as light spirited waves lap against the rock’s perimeter. You can hear the rushing flow of water from the main current shifting amongst the rocks, the harmonic splash of spray, and volumes of water gushing over and around the rocks and boulders all around me. The atmosphere is suffused by white milky mist thrown up into the air by splash and spray everywhere.
Kicking Horse Rapids is a natural soothing source of “pink noise” (a less harsh and less hissy form of “true” white noise) and includes no distracting sounds of birds, planes, music, animals or people. Digital stereo quasi-binaural field recording. Listen with headphones to produce a 3-dimensional auditory experience. Link to binaural recording techniques.
Duration: 64 minutes 47 seconds, Size: 88.9 MB.
Vacant meeting room
Air conditioner rumbles
Wallow in the breeze
Duration: 65 minutes 37 seconds, Size: 90.1 MB.
I have never been more charmed by a country quite like Sri Lanka. As ubiquitous as poverty is, right alongside the high infant mortality rates, these people are albeit proud, educated, genuinely hospitable, and sedulously spiritual.
For example, my guide Carlu had an advanced collegiate degree, could speak several languages fluently, knew almost every single plant and animal by both their Latin and common names including hilarious scientific anecdotes, but most importantly he was remarkably at ease and eager to discuss the meaning of life for hours on end during the lazy evening hours.
Even though he was in his sixties, he was tireless. One morning he forgot to arrange for my brunch to be packed up for the field, so without comment we promptly stopped at a small communal village so that he could buy me a meal (equivalent to several days’ worth of wages). I irrevocably pried the truth out of him and he confessed that he’d rather labor for days than to have me skip a brunch because he was forgetful. I gave him a kiss on the cheek and squeezed his testicles.
Carlu is just one of the many reasons that Arthur C. Clarke (author of 2001: A Space Odyssey, R.I.P March 19, 2008) lived here, which introduces how I had come to visit Sri Lanka in the first place.
A good childhood friend of mine had just returned from Sri Lanka on a business trip, and she suggested that I travel to the island country to record some of the environment because the denizens are so spiritually uplifting. Though despite the dense population, she assured me that it was also a quiet place, relatively free of noise pollution in the rural areas. The biosphere reserves are very well respected and preserved which to my favor complemented generously my existing library of environmental ambience and wildlife recordings.
She also suggested that I write to Sir Clarke, “You don’t need an address for a BAMF like Arthur C. Clarke, just use Colombo, Sri Lanka, and it’ll get to him.” Oy, could there really be such a place left in this world? I wrote the correspondence letter that same day. Three weeks later, I received a hand written letter in my mailbox from Mr. Clarke graciously referring me to several scholars and experts on nature and Carlu was one of them.
Carlu took me to the Kanneliya Forest, Hurulu Reserve, Horton Plains, and Kalutara Beach, and all four places produced environmental ambience recordings of sexcellent quality.
Sleepy Beach Waves takes place on the secluded Kalutara Beach, which is a long, narrow strip of land of situated 38 kilometers south of Mr. Clarke’s house and rests between the waters of the Laccadive Sea and a wider inlet of water to the east.
The weather and tide conditions were nothing short of perfect that evening — a crème de la crème of widely spaced waves sweeping singularly and sensuously across the smooth, moist, shimmering sand. The lush ebb and flow of waves — both distant and near — gently caress the shore as they break and recede, leaving a light hissing symphonic trail of sound as the surf ever so softly sizzles itself in.
There was no wind at all, which was pretty rare for an open beach — so I removed the microphone windscreens to allow every creamy little detail to be recorded. At the conclusion of this hour long field recording session I snapped up this photo.
Relaxing beach ambience at its best – without the seagulls, without the swimmers, without the sailors. No birds, no animals, no people, no music. No looping or layering effects were used. This is one full hour of pure, unadulterated, wholesome beach waves — both distant and near — lapping against the sun-kissed sandy shores of the Kalutara on a sleepy September sunset twilight.
This soundscape captures the most primal essence of stranded seaside serenity and solitude in 360-degree binaural surround sound. Ah… so peaceful here. Yet there’s fighting going on somewhere at this very minute. Slip on a pair of stereo headphones and dare to cast yourself away.
Sleepy Beach Waves is a non-looped natural undulating “brown noise” (a lower-pitched and less hissy form of “true” white noise) soundscape composed of an hour-long on-location digital stereo quasi-binaural field recording. This recording technique produces a three-dimensional audio image when listening with earphones or headphones. Bitrate encoded at 192 kbps for finest audio reproduction.
Duration: 66 minutes 48 seconds, Size: 91.7 MB.
Dreamshower was recorded in the middle of the night at a narrow passage in the mystical white crystalline La Cloche mountains. The area has an “other world” feel and awareness. Dreamshower exudes a particular ambience and unique vibration.
The recording encompasses the middle to upper audio spectrum with variations caused by the water flows and splashes which creates a mesmerizing rhythm that plays up and down in pitch.
This is a crisp clean rain recording enveloped by a depth and spaciousness that slowly evolves and unfolds. The natural variability makes it less fatiguing to listen to when compared to electronically generated rain sounds. A natural source of “white noise” that is ideal for masking ambient noise and office distractions — no synthesizers, no layering, no looping and no post-processing.
Everyone is snuggled into their beds to stay dry, being gently lulled to sleep. There is no thunder, no animal sounds to distract, and no mechanical sounds — just the sounds of steady soft “female rain”.
The perfect non-drug sleep aid to help you relax and fall asleep. Play Dreamshower at bedtime and drift off to a peaceful and relaxing slumber to alleviate insomnia and sleeplessness.
“The best thing one can do when it’s raining is to let it rain.”
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Duration: 66 minutes 51 seconds, Size: 91.8 MB.
It’s early spring and this secluded Ontarion backcountry wilderness river is filling its streambed with fresh volumes of spirited, sparkling meltwater. The bright, radiant reflection of watery frequencies off the crystalline snow-breaded banks, coupled with the extra revitalizing flow of spring snowmelt, creates a special seasonal sound of exceptional vibrant sonic clarity.
Several unique properties give this field recording a special enchanting aura. The location I recorded it from was unique in that I had found a large two-yard wide, relatively flat-surfaced rock that was almost exactly centered in the riverbed where I set up my mikes and baffle. The river splits and flows past both sides of the rock and reintertwines right from behind. Water is also bubbling its own nuances from underneath this useful instrumental rock.
The headphone-clad listener will be facing upstream as a full 360-degree binaural panorama of surround sound water swishes and bubbles past omni-directionally to either side and behind. As lower-pitched kerplunks and soft percussive notes of water emanate from below, eddies swirl sensuously to either side, and a thousand spherical points of sound drift across the riverbed. Cedar and pine trees alternate with oak and maple among the surrounding flora.
A minimalist field recording, Wilderness River has no birds, no animals, no wind, no insects and no man-made sounds (cars, planes, voices, etc.) that’d act to occupy or engage your attention — only the constant, continuous stress-busting sound of gentle, soothing, streaming water.
Wilderness River is a non-looped natural soundscape composed of an hour-long on-location digital stereo quasi-binaural field recording. This recording technique produces a three-dimensional audio image when listening with earphones or headphones. Bitrate encoded at 192 kbps for finest audio reproduction.
Duration: 65 minutes 51 seconds, Size: 90.4 MB.
I am absolutely in love with Scotland.
Firstly, the accent here is so endearing. The soft accents are very sweet and congenial, while the thicker accents are thoroughly amusing. I kinda wish I had a Scottish accent. Although I can roll my R’s pretty well, I can’t seem to get the lilting of the Scottish melody down just quite yet.
Scotland is just darn beautiful. It has snow, it has beautiful glens and pristine rolling hills, it has zillions of miles of unspoiled picturesque wilderness.
And everywhere that I go there is the smell of soft grandmotherly perfume wafting in the air, not harsh overpowering perfume like the kind that women smokers wear to cover up the stench of nicotine, but rather, a flowery smell soldered with the scent of a fresh, clean baby.
Another thing is the people here are so decidedly friendly — strangers have invited me out on several occasions, from which one of them is how this recording came to be.
It was a long hike before we set up camp, which I found out later was around -10°c — and even though it was only four o’clock, night was washing over us. My gore-tex alpine bivysack and -20°C sleeping bag did keep me toasty when I was basking in its warmth but come morning my boots and water bottle were completely frozen, and packing up the bivysack/thermarest/sleeping bag and various other sundries was a serious challenge with hands and feet I wasn’t sure belonged to me anymore.
Nevertheless, throughout the morning I traipsed about aimlessly through the snow–listening. Not for anything in particular, just the whole place; not a thought, not a word.
Eventually I sussed out a spot in a large area of pine trees especially chosen for its particularly musical qualities, about 20 feet into the cluster. This particular patch of trees was relatively dense which barred the wind from sundering itself, but rather, allowed it to sing its way around and over the trees.
I found that this exuberant sound is special to this particular spot, because when I tried a few other locations that were easier to get to, all failed to match the essence that I captured here. I set up my recording equipment quickly and in hushed amazement pressed RECORD.
Caledonian Squalls is a delightfully rousing white noise MP3 with 65 minutes of deep, balming winds heartily rushing through the pines of the Scottish Cairngorms.
Wandering through fields of stridulate noise, wafting on languid breezes, these winds conjure a pleasantly piquant air doused with low-pitched frequencies that lend a pensive edge to this delicate aural lattice.
They as well provide an elusive foundation for the aerial sonic stream, gradually accumulating a subtle puissance until reaching a level of heightened intensity naturally crafted to stimulate the subconscious, only to nimbly glissade back into moderate aplomb.
Excellent for both sleep and study, this wintry field recording is a breathy atmosphere conveyed by relaxing rhythms of infinite scope, naturally executed with placid restraint. No birds, animals, or planes are included.
Duration: 67 minutes 44 seconds, Size: 93.0 MB.
Thousands of joyous sinuous streams are born in the snowy range, but nary a poet among them all can sing like my little friend here.
Men are not born equal, neither are streams. This snowy alpine stream here was born a poet, a perfect seraph among its palavering fellows.
This stream sang cheerily at every ripple, establishing liquid tempos amid pleasantly shrill chords of crystalline demeanor, and its tasty dose of bubbles strived to elevate the frivolous mien.
Even in these barren white fields frozen with snow, these alabaster deserts ostensibly devoid of all life, here lies an emphatically frolicsome, simultaneously imperterturbable wilderness glacier stream — a tenuous bubbling soup of placid sonic textures and pleasantly shrill ricocheting notes of water.
And even if one harbors no interest in these brilliantly sculpted pine-tinged mountain topographies and their contemplative environments, this songful silvery rill mesmerizes and captivates the listener with its lush ruminative qualities, expertly banishing tension and transporting the listener to realms of contagious relaxation.
Snowstream is a non-layered, non-processed natural white noise soundscape composed of a digital stereo binaural-baffled on-location field recording. This recording technique produces a three-dimensional audio image when listening with earphones or headphones. Bitrate encoded at 192 kbps for finest audio reproduction.
Duration: 63 minutes 43 seconds, Size: 87.5 MB.
I’m strolling through the woods, sunlight filtering down through the verdant canopy above, my feet rustling through several inches of yesteryear’s cast off leaves. At first, I notice a seemingly special ambience to the area without being able to put a finger on exactly what has changed.
Then, as I continue hiking about, I recognize in the distance the faint familiar sound of running water. I detour towards the source of sound and start to explore. Suddenly — arriving at a small narrow valley, a neat little brook rambling about a bed of rocks unfolds before my eyes as melodic gurgles of sparkling wonderment greet me in welcome.
A constant mesmerizing chorus of babbling bubbles, gabbling gurgles, encircling eddies and subtly sputtering splashes, the sound produced is nothing short of magical – calming yet reinvigorating.
Contains no birds or animals. My special thanks and gratitude goes out to Kevin Flannery. He’s the landowner of this wonderful brook and graciously gave me the permission to record it.
Forest Brook is a non-looped natural soundscape composed of an hour-long on-location digital stereo binaural field recording. This recording technique produces a three-dimensional audio image when listening with earphones or headphones. Bitrate encoded at 192 kbps for finest audio reproduction.
Duration: 67 minutes 31 seconds, Size: 92.7 MB.
The world-famous Devil’s Pool — the most dangerous natural infinity pool on Earth. Recorded in late August of 2009.
The Devil’s Pool is a naturally formed pool located right on the edge of Victoria Falls, the largest waterfall in the world. Because the water level was low, I was allowed to explore areas of Victoria Falls that were usually under heavy rushing water — so instead of overwhelming brumes of mist soaking me to the bone, I could see the cliff faces with steep scary drops to the mighty Zambezi River underneath.
Nevertheless, loud roaring caterwauls of forceful moving water was everywhere around me, everywhere I turned. The falls were spilling over only half of the gorge while the other half was somewhat dry for the moment, and I hiked along the edge. Just a few months after this recording took place, tremendous amounts of violent rushing water will be storming over my footprints. After a 40 minute hike along and through the myriad boulders and creeks, my arrival at the Smoke that Thunders was greeted by a man in khaki shorts who approached me with an exciting offer — and before I knew it, I was wading into the water with my recording equipment safe and sound in my Pelican 1500 waterproof case.
For a nominal fee you can dive off a rock at the edge of Victoria Falls into a naturally occuring eddy pool called the Devil’s Pool. But it is literally right on the edge — on the lip of the edge — of the waterfall, and you jump into a pool of surprisingly unperturbed water. But just before the river’s current washes you over the edge, you’re stopped right on the brink — mere inches from the chasm — due to a natural rock wall just below the surface of the water that stops your progress. You can only do it in the dry season though (mid-August through January or February depending on rainfall), lest you wish upon yourself a terminal freefall descent into a jaggedy rock grave — any other time of the year and the sheer volumes of water will be entirely too much for you to stand your ground.
My guide performs a running dive straight into the pool, pulls himself up and stands on the extreme verge of the waterfall. One minuscule nudge from the tip of my little pinky finger and he’d have been a goner! He hollers over the trumpeting cacophony of deafening white noise and signals for me to hop in. My heart is pounding like a kettle drum. I lay my Pelican case onto a flat-faced rock, assume a steady stance, and — GERONIMO! — lunge forth into the world-renowned Devil’s Pool.
It really is true — I’m stopped by a naturally formed barrier of petrified basalt submerged just a few inches below the surface of the water, and it protects me from tumbling into the river gorge far below. He’s proposed to dangle me over the edge. Heck, why not! I crawl ever so precariously closer towards the lush miasma of thundering smoke, the vast void of milky white floating mist — until my belly button passes over the dead-end margin of the falls and runs perpendicular to the cliff’s face.
He takes hold of my legs, and — I stoop my head to witness a bevy of beautiful double rainbows as soft squiggly rills of water trickle down my back and off into the Zambezi river chasm below.
I skipped a heartbeat. My stomach lurched. Adrenaline raced through my veins.
Amorphous liquid monoliths coalesced below, eminent and imperial.
It was such an amazing sight to behold — and such a long, long, long way down. Certainly an electrifying experience for the more acrophobic-inclined.
The constant turgid sea of broadband brown noise produced by the aggregate activity of countless collocated swiftly cascading rivulets of water stretched wide across an entire mile — married the simultaneous explosion of stratospheric pink noise bursting from neighboring waterfalls of the immediate vicinity; and the sound was like the snarling yawn of ten thousand slumbering gods — vociferously soothing with a degree of enjoyable vitality: invigorating and mesmerizing, voluminously robust and fretlessly bassful.
I swam my way back to my carefully reclined case of safely ensconced electronic paraphernalia, set up my headband-baffled omni-directional binaural microphone pair, laid prone atop the Devil’s lip and pressed RECORD — my Sound Devices 744T audibly preserving the world’s loudest infinity pool to its mechanical will. I snapped up this photo afterwards.
Devil’s Pool is a non-looped natural soundscape composed of an hour-long on-location digital stereo, omni-directional binaural field recording. This recording technique produces a three-dimensional audio image when listening with earphones or headphones. Bitrate encoded at 192 kbps for finest audio reproduction. Includes no music and no sounds of voices or people, birds or animals, planes or cars. The full hour-length MP3 includes no fade-in or fade-out at the beginning or end, so it can be seamlessly played on repeat without any distractions or sudden change of volume.
Duration: 65 minutes 7 seconds, Size: 89.4 MB.
A most acoustically serendipitous happenstance as it may be, this fabulous chance recording was chronicled right on the spur of pure tragedy — I honestly had not foreseen recording this magnificent auditory spectacle of mother nature on the steps of my friend’s porch during the series of severe storms on the dreaded afternoon of August 19th, 2005.
Honestly. I mean, we were discussing politics and homemade chicken pot pie in the dining room while simultaneously engorging ourselves with homemade chicken pot pie. We certainly weren’t discussing torrential windstorms the size of Angelina Jolie’s upper lip.
That’s why you carry your portable field recording gear with you wherever you go no matter what, homeslice.
Having been armed with a matched stereo pair of DPA 4060-BMs clipped onto my hoodie (touching each ear for quasi-binaural imaging), a PA-24NJ battery mic preamp, and a Sony PCM-M1 DAT, I captured the complete sonic birth, early incursion and epochal cortex of a supercell storm.
The Toronto Supercell storm struck at 12:30pm as part of the Southern Ontario Tornado Outbreak of 2005, which later spawned two F2 strength tornadoes, produced winds of well over 100km/h, golf ball sized hail, extensively flooded more than half of the Greater Toronto Area, and completely laid to waste Finch Avenue near Sentinel Road in North York with damages in excess of $10 million CAD.
Everyone was inside their homes in quiet apprehension except for me. The winds were galvanizing — had I used my tripod or HRTF baffle to record this, my gear would’ve easily been swept away as supercell fodder in one succinct blast of wind. Thus, I sat, I meditated — and I reveled — in this profusely awesome auditive exhibit of nature’s unrelenting power.
Birth of a Supercell is a non-looped natural soundscape composed of an hour-long on-location digital stereo quasi-binaural field recording. This recording technique produces a three-dimensional audio image when listening with earphones or headphones. Contains no sounds of birds, animals, people or voices. Bitrate encoded at 192 kbps for finest audio reproduction.
Duration: 65 minutes 46 seconds, Size: 90.3 MB.
It is the year 2035 and scientists are currently constructing the Large Hadron Cuddler as a surrogate to its haplessly failed predecessor, the Large Hadron Collider.
Though dauntlessly so as with previous experiments in the never-ending search for the elusive Higgs boson, particle physicists had presumed vacuously that the brash colliding of opposing particle beams would serve as the ultimate vehicle in the discovery of its existence.
However, recent groundbreaking studies have gleaned towards a brilliant new theory suggesting a different, rather peculiar ordinance to producing the inscrutable mass-endowing Higgs: particles must not tussle and collide, but rather, be subjected to a far less forbidding assay — they must gently caress and cuddle.
Members of CERN’s technical division are hard at work 100 meters below the surface of the earth, diligently installing the superconducting quadrupole and cyrodipole electromagnets and pumping them full of liquid helium cooled to just a tad below 2 kelvin required for mass operational cuddling. Amongst the muted roar of underground turbines spinning at nine thousand RPMs are distant, intermittent, unencroaching mumblings from the control network that can be heard through the public address system via the overhead intercom.
A hauntingly soothing sound litany of moderate fluctuations in temporal underground space, infected by the occasional far from equilibrium interventions to diversify the stasis — reverberant rubbings, vesperal sighs, microcollisions, metallic asperities, elemental debris and tiny fragments elegantly recombine into a wordless score, perfect as an aural backdrop for writing your next thesis on how you shall unravel the mysteries of the universe’s sexy exciting hidden dimensions.
Our ears are caressed by resonant acoustical poetry as we take a virtual vacation into the quietly hectic construction site of this handsome hyperparticle supercuddler from the not too distant future. Best for masking rumbling noises and medium-level distractions.
Duration: 63 minutes 45 seconds, Size: 87.5 MB.
Babbling Creek was digitally recorded using my binaural recording technique on a calm, cool, summer afternoon at Sinclair Creek in Kootenay National Forest. It’s late summer, the sun is barely peeking through the trees, and deep down in a valley that sports some of the most exquisite western red cedars home to some of earth’s rarest flora and fauna and most spectacular landscapes, the sound of rushing water here against the rocks and valley walls proves all but phenomenal.
I have to step and hop from rock to rock to carefully position my microphone baffle in the middle of where there is a water drop of about 1 foot (0.3 meters) as the creek then finds four paths to arrive at a small 4 foot (1.21 meters) wide pool. There it pauses a bit as if to gather itself together to flow further into a larger rocky pond. The natural, musical sound of playful little pitches is of both peace and seclusion.
Duration: 63 minutes 27 seconds, Size: 87.1 MB.
Deep and bassy is how you like it. With increased low frequencies and decreased higher, this MP3 creates a sexcellent warm atmosphere for aid in dozing off.
Duration: 64 minutes 03 seconds, Size: 87.9 MB.
Robust yet tempered zephyrs stir and sift through the densely congregated treetops of towering pines and firs that soar shoulder to shoulder. The air is fresh, alive, and vibrant with a brisk zest of its own that you can smell right through your headphones. The tree needles and branches modulate the blowing wind and become alive with dance and song. It is a cleansing time as well, because old needles and branchlets are offered to the winds.
Pristine omni-directional birdcalls echoing back and forth create an ever gentle reverie of peaceful, soothing, calming sound to aid you with those long trains of thought that just warrant for deep, meditative contemplation and painstaking mental effort.
Mountain Valley Breezes is a form of natural white noise, the sound of serenity. As the leaves rustle and dance and the branches billow, we are reminded of the leisurely days of summer warmth and relaxation, beneath blue skies of meandering fluffy white clouds.
Slip on a pair of sound-isolating headphones/earphones (I recommend the Sennheiser HD 380 PRO headphones, and Etymotic Research ER6i earphones) and try listening to this while you’re reading or working.
Duration: 64 minutes 27 seconds, Size: 88.5 MB.
The tropical rainforests of the Amazon Basin — home to the highest diversity of plant and animal species than anywhere else in the world. These sacrosanct jewels of the Earth comprise the world’s largest pharmacy; nearly half the medicines we use were developed from rainforest plants — including the painkiller ibuprofen, synthesized from a vine prevalent in these very forests called the monkey ladder tree.
Without ibuprofen, the disparity proves incalculable in the department of productivity when the abject misery of physical pain overrides our willpower to do what must be done.
Yet we’d still be rubbing our foreheads and miscellaneous extremities in futile effort were it not for rain, arguably the most critical ingredient of the grand gestalt that has given seed to such beneficial monkey ladder trees and the astounding myriad of exotic wildlife in these most biologically diverse sanctums of mother nature.
The weather of the jungle in the middle region of the Amazon Basin is usually well flecked with rains and deep bellowings of thunder — but most of which are far too obviously joyful and life-giving to be regarded as storms. I was trekking deep in the jungle, entirely engrossed with its riotous beauty, when I peered up and over towards the sky — and suddenly, without warning, a massive wall of incipient dark thunderclouds had loomed above me.
A range of bossy grey cumuli had taken possession of the sky, huge domes and peaks rising one beyond another with deep canyons between them, bending this way and that in long curves and reaches, interrupted here and there with white upsurging masses that looked like the spray of waterfalls. Sharp zigzag lances of lightning followed each other in quick succession, and the thunder was so gloriously loud and massive it seemed as if surely an entire mountain was being shattered at every other stroke.
Though, in spite of that, I do trust that no mountain or mountain range — however divinely clothed with light — has a more enduring charm than these fleeting mountains of the sky — floating fountains bearing water for every tree and creature in the jungle, for the denizens of its macrocosmic interwoven plexus, for the buoyant spirits of its streams and lakes and rivers; brooding in the deep azure, or sweeping softly along the canopy as they linger with cooling shadows, refreshing every languished flower, every withering leaf, and soothing raucous ranting birds with a gentleness of touch and gesture wholly divine.
I ecstatically arranged my recording equipment and tarried in place as I surveiled the storm’s debut. Down came a cataract of rain. Swift katabatic raindrops sifted through the dense arborescent canopy, plashed and pattered upon the jumbled assortment of reticulate green flora, and poured down the sides of trunks and vines in a network of grey, bubbling rills.
In Rain and Thunder in the Amazon Basin, we listen to the robust hammering of rain pellets against the lush foliage of the forest floor, understory plants and upper jungle canopy of emergent trees as thunder resonates and rumbles and roars and occasionally crashes and booms and circles about us.
In these forests, scarcely a raindrop can fail to find a beautiful mark: on the tops of arboreal thoroughfares of twisting columns and spiraling lianas, on the smooth chest-high fronds of verdant efflorescing fern, on the curves of slippery brown moss-enveloped logs, on the thousand forms of tropical forest sculpture with their tender beauty of balmy, flowery vegetation — laving, plashing, glinting, pattering; some falling softly on meadows, creeping out of sight, seeking and finding every thirsty rootlet, some falling with blunt tapping sounds, drumming on the broad leaves of trillium, cypripedium, granadilla; some falling straight into fragrant corollas, kissing the lips of lilies, some into the lakes and rivers and lagoons — patting the smooth glassy levels, making little dimples and bells and spray here and there and everywhere.
Everything is refreshed and invigorated, a steam of fragrance arises, and the storm is finished. Good work and happy work for these merry forest raindrops, each one of them a brave fall in itself, rushing from the cliffs and hollows of the clouds into the cliffs and hollows of the jungle; away from the thunder of the sky into the thunder of the roaring forest rivers; saturating all and fountainizing all with the melodious energy of nature’s renewal.
As a cautionary note, I do not recommend this recording for sleep mainly because the occasional thunderclap can be startling, but rather, as a natural drug-free stimulant and thoroughly energizing auditory backdrop for accomplishing tasks and getting things done.
Digital stereo binaural recording. No fade-in or fade-out at the beginning or end is included. Bitrate encoded at 192 kbps for a rich listening experience!
Duration: 63 minutes 8 seconds, Size: 86.7 MB.
This clean minimalist recording of pure unadulerated rain sounds (and nothing else) was recorded in a small courtyard area between several houses. There was a concrete porch with a very small awning. The rich textures in the recording emanate from that concrete and the bermuda glass that surrounded the area, which adds a touch of granularity to the aggregate auditory spectacle.
The DSM-1S/H’s are amazing microphones and a lot of this recording’s magic I feel come by the subject’s movement in the sky and the static nature of the rain by which my DSM’s did a fantastic job capturing. I found a cute little rock and snapped up this photo. His name is Bunkerwuggy.
Nothing but Rain is pure peaceful refreshing rain. No birds, no thunder, no wind and no man-made sounds to distract. No music has been added. Bitrate has been encoded at 192 kbps for quality audio reproduction. Edited digital stereo, binaural-baffled HRTF field recording.
Duration: 66 minutes 57 seconds, Size: 91.9 MB.
A steep descent in the riverbed has this swiftly moving jungle river rushing, roaring, raging and rumbling through the Amazon rainforest with torrents of surging water, violent gushing eddies, turbulent white bubbles and tempest-like currents. It echoes across the jungle and off the nearby cliffs in thundering resonance, adding a spacious feel to the soundscape and a strong bass presence that conveys a solid physical milieu.
Special attention was given to the choice of the river’s recording location to portray the most spacious sound, yet still have the listener be able to hear and enjoy the close-up sounds of splashing water.
Compared to synthesized white noise, this soundscape has a distinguished natural variability which gives the recording extra life and substance, making it easier to listen to over long periods of time.
I’m sure this river was full of hungry piranhas and sneaky candirus, but recording it was a thoroughly vested thrill. Making this recording was extremely fun and risky.
Includes no sounds of birds or animals. Includes no fade-in or fade-out. Jungle River Rapids is a non-looped natural soundscape composed of an hour-long on-location digital stereo binaural-baffled field recording. This recording technique produces a three-dimensional audio image when listening with earphones or headphones. Bitrated encoded at 192 kbps for finest audio reproduction.
Duration: 65 minutes 36 seconds, Size: 90.1 MB.
Melt your cares away right beside the fireplace with a mesmerizing symphony of ebullient flames and soft crackling timber.
A harmonious combination of crackles, crinkles, rustles and pops, the signal-to-noise ratio for this cozy glowing soundscape is kept at a bridled low so as not to occupy or engage one’s attention when concentration for deep, pensive thought is critical.
Cat not included
Duration: 65 minutes 37 seconds, Size: 90.1 MB.
Something nobody has ever said in a movie:
“that font is large… TOO large.”
Duration: 67 minutes 26 seconds, Size: 92.6 MB.
A bubbling pulsation flickers at the periphery of a small secluded snow-capped river islet during the deep calm and enveloping silence of a winter.
The overall mood is delicate, unhurried and pensive, yet frolicking water resounds through the forest air with festive mien — a charming counterpoint to the quieting force of these wintry northern landscapes.
Lush liquid melodies are peppered with surging regions of natural white noise rummaging across the vast riverbed, and a delightful level of sonic enthusiasm is consistently maintained throughout the frequency spectrum.
The binaural microphones were centered above the river about 5 feet (1.5 meters) in height. A full 360-degree audio portrait of constant running water is the result.
In the short, chilled, crystalline days that accompany the winter solstice, we find ourselves a quiet passage on the prolonged journey into spring.
We reflect on the accomplishments of the year just past, and make plans and goals and resolutions for the one to come. It is a period of active reflection, an interim for looking both inward and outward… at once.
Winter River Tarry — white noise hydrology for sleep, concentration, relaxation and tinnitus relief. Includes no birds or animals, people, planes or cars.
Winter River Tarry is a natural soundscape composed of a non-layered unprocessed digital stereo binaural field recording. This recording technique produces a three-dimensional audio image when listening with earphones or headphones. Bitrate encoded at 192 kbps for finest audio reproduction.
Duration: 63 minutes 53 seconds, Size: 87.7 MB.
A whirling fairy fabric of rapid white spray and rushing comet masses passes through a craggy incline and down a shingly pair of precipices.
Rushing across minor taluses, moderate moraines and exquisitely sculptured flood washes, jostling from side to side by the rocky slopes upon which its groves are growing, Tiger Leaping Gorge teaches the world the language of running water.
Now, Yunnan legend has it that this river gorge was named after the circumstance of a tiger leaping across the river at its narrowest point, in order to escape from a pursuing hunter.
Many people make the journey to the edge of many a swiftly flowing river rapid, but are often held at bay by a river’s final challenge. In order to cross over to the opposite side, the determined adventurer must possess skill with which to leap across rivers.
Thus far man has demonstrated meager cunning in the execution of this endeavor. The placement of such obstacles forces one to covet the tiger’s acrobatic aptitude.
If ever a time comes that the feline wages war with man, it will always have safe respite beside Tiger Leaping Gorge.
I want to have carbonated tiger steak for dinner.
Tiger Leaping Gorge is a non-layered natural soundscape with no sounds of people, birds, animals, planes or cars. On-location digital stereo binaural field recording. This recording technique produces a three-dimensional audio image when listening with earphones or headphones. Bitrate encoded at 192 kbps for finest audio reproduction.
Duration: 62 minutes 13 seconds, Size: 85.4 MB.
While spelunking through the cave of Waitomo in New Zealand I had wandered off and found this magical little spot. I was not the first to discover it, although no path led to it. There was a sign, handwritten with charcoal that said this was a sacred site. In the corner there was a fire pit and beside it lay a sleeping mat woven out of palm fronds.
Just outside the cave entrance is a waterfall and a tree, a perfect perch for morning doves and a view of the rising sun.
Cave by the Waterfall is a place that only one person can go at a time… a private, deep, hard-to-explain, and astonishingly memorable soundscape.
Duration: 65 minutes 34 seconds, Size: 90.0 MB.
I personally prefer the sound of an air conditioner, though back then when I was in university I had to babysit a toddler — about nine or ten months of age — for a friend.
The precious little bugger wouldn’t quit squawking and was upset that mum had gone out to work. I tried to calm him down and even offered some strawberry-flavored yogurt but he just threw it at my face. Ow!
I had a lot of homework to do and a major math exam to take the next day so I didn’t have much of a choice but to turn on the vacuum cleaner to drown out his incessant squabbling.
As luck would have it, after about half a minute I shot a quick glance over my shoulder to check up on him and before I knew it he was on the couch sound asleep… humbly drooling over his plush polar bear. Fart!
I’ve also heard success stories over the years from friends and moms lulling their babies to sleep by turning on the vacuum cleaner:
Thus I’ve recorded this as a somewhat sensible alternative to burning out your vacuum cleaner’s motor — the model is a progressive upright Kenmore.
Because vacuum cleaners are so boisterously high-pitched, personal preference and past empirical conditioning (some parents use them to get their children out of bed in the mornings) are large determining factors in their effectiveness as a source of white noise sleep aid. Some people hate it, some people love it.
Duration: 64 minutes 2 seconds, Size: 87.9 MB.
Ever wondered what pure environmental brownian noise sounds like? Here’s one thing for sure: this room is huge. The sound produced here is very broadband and spacious, which makes it great for sound masking.
This + headphones = complete auditory isolation. Contains no voices, people, or distracting pops or creaks.
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- Karen Ramirez BFA