Ambience is like Ambien

Since I’ve switched jobs and need to get up at 5am (who knew such a time existed) I’ve been trying to drown out the noises of the house so I can go to bed early. You would be amazed at all the things you hear when you try to go to bed at 9pm. The house creaks, the dogs scratch, cars drive down the street, the water runs and drips. It can be a bit maddening actually. So, I turned to the trusty iPod to try and help me out. I wanted to listen to something, but not music. I try to listen to the words or study the beat and never go to sleep. I was listening to audiobooks, but got too wrapped up in the story. What to do?

I turned to an app called Ambience. Like one of my other favorite apps simply called, "Audiobooks", Ambience hooks into a vast repository of sound files and presents them in an easy to use browser and player. These aren’t music files, they’re "nature" sounds meaning it’s the sound of the ocean, rain, a crackling fire, the wind, windchimes and other "white noise". It may seem a little strange, but if you’re looking for a way to cover up the outside world this is definitely the way to go.

Ambience has several nice features. The browser is very easy to use and sounds and broken down by category. Pick the genre you want then pick the actual file that suits your needs. And, trust me, there are many variations on a theme. You’d be surprised at the different ocean and bird sounds there are. Once you pick the sound, it’s downloaded into the app and you can play it. Ambience let’s you build these into playlists so you can cycle through them or let each one play in order.

There is also a nice timer feature so you can have it play for a few minutes or for several hours. Even if you play a single file, it will keep lopping it for the entire duration.

Unlike a lot of other apps like this in the App Store, Ambience doesn’t come bundled with a couple of sounds and that’s it. It has a nearly endless library to choose from. It pulls from the Freesound.org database, which is like getting stories from Librivox. It basically means people are constantly adding to the collection. That really gives this app a lot to work with.

I normally don’t like in-app purchases, but Ambience makes it palatable. Some longer sound files, those around 1 hour in length can be downloaded for $0.99. However, since these are free files, Ambience shows you the link to the file so you can go through and manually get the file, load into iTunes and make it available. You can get the file yourself or pay $0.99 for the convenience. That’s not a bad way of doing things.

I’ve been listening to the thunderstorm files and once you give it a couple minutes it really feels like there is a thunderstorm right outside the window. It’s a great way to go to sleep and nicely masks the sounds of the house.

Ambience has a nice and easy to use UI and a full range of sounds available. You get a big collection and a well thought out player. If you’re looking for some nature sounds and a way to generate some white noise to help block out distractions I would highly recommend giving this app a try. It’s Universal so it works with the iPad and iPod for a single price. Use it on the iPod to go to sleep or use it on the iPad to help you write or read.

Ambiance By Urban Apps

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