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Ambiance

I’ve never owned a “sound machine” and now that I have an iPhone I doubt I ever will. Back in August I reviewed aSleep which is a really nice sound machine app, and Ambience is right up there in the same league.

Ambiance and aSleep have pretty different interfaces but they do essentially the same thing: they play relaxing sound loops to lull you into sleepytime, and both apps provide a timer function that shuts off the sound so that you don’t wake up to a dead iPhone.

One thing Ambiance does that aSleep doesn’t is sound mixing. It’s a really cool feature that lets you play up to three sound loops at once to create your own little sleep mix, although I confess to being a little confused (at first) by the process of adding sounds.

When just scrolling through the sound list (while it’s not playing) you can tap on “Add to Mix” and each sound gets added. However, I kept on making the mistake of tapping “Start” because I wanted to hear the sound by itself before adding it. Turns out the Start button isn’t for previewing sounds, it’s for playing whatever’s already been selected.

If you already have at least one sound selected, the easiest way to add sounds is to press Start and then Add to Mix and your new sound will start playing in the mix right away. If you don’t like what you hear, just press Remove and it’s gone.

Ambiance offers plenty of options (behind the info button icon)  for customizing your sleep experience. You can hide sounds you don’t like or delete them entirely, choose to fade music while the timer runs, exit the app after the timer runs out, and a few other useful choices.

In the “Other” section Matt is offering a $500 bounty to people who can provide additional sound loops in certain categories and this is a great sign that he’s committed to making Ambiance the best of its class.

If Ambiance is crashing on you, which it seems prone to do every once in a while, I’ve found that restarting the iPhone is a pretty surefire cure for the problem. Outside of that, I think Matt Coneybeare has put together a very well-built app that should make it easier for just about anyone to switch off.

I have to admit that still prefer aSleep because that app features musical sound loops in addition to natural sounds, but if Ambiance finds some good melodies to add to its extensive sound list I could definitely see myself switching over. For others who are perfectly content drifting off to a list of mostly-natural sounds, Ambiance is totally worth paying $.99 for.

And just for fun, here’s the full Ambiance sound list as of today:

Airplane
Birds – Forest
Birds – Park
Cat Purr
Cicada
Clock
City
Coast
Creek
Crickets
Fan
Fan – Oscillating
Fire – Big
Fire – Campfire
Fire – Small
Foghorn
Freeway
Frog
Heartbeat – Fast
Heartbeat – Slow
Jungle
Lake
Light Saber
Machine
Noise – Blue
Noise – Brown
Noise – Pink
Noise – Violet
Noise – White
Owl
Rain – Car – No Wipers
Rain – Car – Wipers
Rain – Light
Rain – Porch
Rain – Tinroof
Rain – Thunder 1
Rain – Thunder 2
Rain – Wind
River
Sailboat
Shower
Snoring
Sonar
Stopwatch
Stream
Subway
Swamp
Train
Typing
Vinyl
Waterfall
Waves
Whale
Wind
Wind – Chimes
Wind – Haunting








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