Thunder Sounds

Thunder Sounds

Thunder -- the sound made when lightning strikes, which is essentially a sexy exciting stream of electrons flowing indiscriminately between or within clouds, or between such and the ground.

Current scientific speculation on the cause of thunder is believed to be tied to the fact that the air around each lightning bolt is super heated up to 30,000°C (a scorchingly three times hotter than the sun's surface), all in the fraction of a blink of the eye.

This thus causes the air to rapidly expand outward, plowing with magnificent force into the surrounding cooler air at a speed faster than sound would normally travel through. The resulting outward-moving pulse is a powerful sonic shock wave, similar in principle to such shock waves formed by foolishly playing around with grenades.

As to whether the sound of thunder is sharp and crackling or low and rumbling, this will depend on the nature and distance of the lightning. As a general rule of thumb, the further you are from where it strikes, the lower and more prolongated the resulting thunder will be.

The complete audio spectacle of thunder is thus a comprehensive combination of the dynamics of the air molecules' vibrations and their disturbance by such electrical forces. It is an awesome auditory exhibit -- and one that reminds all of us as to the powers of nature and our own insignificance in relation to them.

All MP3s under thunder:
Distant Thunder Billows
Healing Storm
Hillside Thunder
Rain and Thunder in the Amazon Basin
Rain on the Patio
Rain on the River

Rain on the River

thunder sounds
Rain on the River White Noise MP3     

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 dawn had already broken.

‘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.

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Healing Storm

thunder sounds
thunder sounds     

Duration: 65 minutes 21 seconds, Size: 89.7 MB.

Gentle cleansing trickles of rain eagerly bruit the advent of a steady downpour of mild to moderate intensity. Low, rolling moans of thunder resonate across the skies in lingering intervals as they mend the mind and persona from a long day’s endeavors. A comprehensive auscultation with stereo headphones leaves the listener refreshed with a contemplation of purity and renewal.

Healing Storm is a clear crystalline atmosphere that is distant and non-threatening with tender, delicate rumbles rather than sharp crackling thunder. There is a wonderful sense of comfort and enjoyment of hearing nature’s power from a safe distance.

No animals, birds, people, cars or mechanical sounds are included. No music or voices are added. Healing Storm is a natural soundscape composed of edited and mixed digital stereo quasi-binaural field recordings. This recording technique produces a 3-dimensional auditory image when listening with headphones. Encoded at a bitrate of 192 kbps for quality listening.

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Rain and Thunder in the Amazon Basin

thunder sounds

Rain and Thunder in the Amazon Basin White Noise MP3

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!

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Distant Thunder Billows

thunder sounds

thunder sounds

Duration: 63 minutes 25 seconds, Size: 87.0 MB.

Thunder rolls seamlessly across the tops of the clouds accompanied by a summer evening lightning show that continues for hours. Distant Thunder Billows is distant and non-threatening with a unique rumbling sound. It is ideal for relaxation. A gentle rain falls throughout forming a high counterpoint to the bass and sub-bass of the thunder. As the rain gently increases in intensity, the thunder continues to have a gentle, delicate rumble rather than startling crashes. There is a comfort and enjoyment of hearing nature’s power from a safe distance.

There is such an unusual and alluring sense of musical space in this recording — unlike any I have heard before or since. There is a gradually undulating tempo that relaxes me, with such sanguine harmony and muffled resonance of timbre, until I am completely calm, if not asleep. If I could only listen to one recording before bed, this may well be it.

Also, this recording has a good sub-bass presence for those who have the equipment to reproduce it.

Perfect for ambience, creating a mood, masking external rumbling sounds, or as a simple reminder of those long relaxing summer evenings.

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Hillside Thunder

thunder sounds

thunder sounds

Duration: 64 minutes 23 seconds, Size: 88.4 MB.

One of the first lessons that one learns when recording environmental white noise, especially rain and thunder, is that every moment is unique. Showers ebb and flow. No two soughs of thunder sound exactly the same. No trickle of water is the same vibration of frequency from one moment to the next. When one starts to add up all the little events that are happening simultaneously in a particular rainscape, then the possibilities seem bally well endless. I find myself going out with almost always two packs of Sudafed in my Portabrace pouch and recording 3, 4, 5 hours of rain or more to find just the right fitting nuance that invokes the feeling of “being there”. Ideally I try to have a finished product of about 65 minutes long with no looping.

Sometimes though, nature does not cooperate when all you want is rain and thunder to kick back, leave the day behind, and contemplate life. Many animals, particularly birds and amphibians, become vocal at certain times of day, or when environmental conditions such as temperature or amount of daylight backslide into their comfort range. This can limit the length of time that a rainscape is free of distracting animal sounds.

Recorded in the evening on the high alpine meadows of Opal Hills in Jasper National Park (the largest national park of the Canadian Rockies), Hillside Thunder is an atmospheric and spacious stereo binaural field recording of the powerful omnipresent forces of nature, sans the mating calls and testosterone rituals — here it’s just thunder, rain, and deep, laryngeal mumbles of thunder. A beautiful dusk embraces a summer evening. Delicate copper sunshine is poking through fluffy clouds and across dewy blades of grass. The sound is drifting through blue sky and the still cool air. Ah… one of the nice things about summer here is that the nights are always cool.

Although rain falls steadily throughout this exclusively natural soundscape, I do not recommend this for sleep mostly in part due to the slightly closer lightning strikes, but rather as a palliative chillaxed ambience to cool yourself down and chillax to.

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Rain on the Patio

thunder sounds

Rain on the Patio White Noise MP3

Duration: 65 minutes 31 seconds, Size: 89.9 MB.

This is a one-hour uninterrupted conglomeration of gentle soothing rain and the occasional growl of thunder. Recorded right on my friend’s patio in a quiet secluded woodland area, there is no music and no sounds of animals, voices, or industry.

It is late May, at the end of the warmest and sunniest day of spring so far. The ice has left the lakes. The first needles and leaves are just starting to open on the small trees and shrubs, the grasses sprouting, and ferns are beginning to poke their fiddle heads through the mosses and leaves.

The sun has set and as the last vestiges of daylight peacefully fade from a mesmerizing firmament suffused by lavender brumes and amaranthine clouds, a shift of activity occurs among the night crickets while water trickles down the walls and down onto the rough consortium of rocks and cement.

Intended less for intense listening and more for scene-setting and sipping your favorite beverage to, the concluding audio portrait is a cleansing cooling rainshower that leaves a sublime state of calm and relaxation.

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- Karen Ramirez BFA