I’ve mentioned before how I primarily work from home nowadays, where it’s very quiet. So, I’m often looking for ways to jazz up my work environment without actually playing music, which I often find to be too distracting. I’ve written about Coffitivity, which gives you a modifiable coffeehouse ambiance. Since then, a couple of new players have entered the audio atmosphere arena.
A Soft Murmur: “Ambient Sounds to Wash Away Distractions”
Unlike Coffitivity, ASM offers a variety of individual sounds. These include options such as waves, birds, people, white noise and even a singing bowl, among others. Each sound has it’s own volume control, so you can mix and match for the perfect aural blend. You can even share your personal mix with others via built-in social media sharing.
What makes ASM stand out in particular are the other built-in tools. You can have your mix on a timer, so that it either fades to silence or stops completely. The mix can also be set to start at a delayed time interval. One issue with the tools, however, is that you cannot access any of the others while one is running. For example, if you have your mix set to end in 10 minutes, you cannot access any of the other tool options (including the global volume!) unless you cancel out completely. Other than this shortcoming, it’s a nice mix of sounds and features.
Noisli: “Noisli is a fantastic background noise and color generator ideal for working and relaxing. Plus Text Editor for distraction-free writing with plain text and Markdown support. “
On the face of things, Noisli appears to be much like A Soft Murmur. There are a number of individual sounds (some of which duplicate those found in ASM) with their own volume controls. One issue I found wth Noisli is that the sounds are not clearly labeled: rather, each has an icon and you have to mouse over the icons to get the actual name (Mystery Meat Navigation, anyone?) . With a couple of the sounds, even the names were not explanatory; what is “pink noise?” (Maybe I’m the only one who had never heard that term, though?)
Noisli provides social sharing options, but only for the service itself, not for your personalized audio blends. However, Noisli does provide a unique feature that has nothing to do directly with the audio service. It can also be used as a simple text editor, which also has Markdown support. Since the background of the site changes color gradually, this could be either a pleasant or distracting environment for writing.
What do you think? Would you use either of these? Post in the comments.