Ecotones Sound + Sleep Machine, Model ASM1002

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3 Responses to Ecotones Sound + Sleep Machine, Model ASM1002

  • Jerry P. Danzig says:
    1,037 of 1,064 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Noise Pollution Solution, October 27, 2009
    By 
    Jerry P. Danzig (New York, NY USA) –
    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)
      
    (REAL NAME)
      

    Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: Ecotones Sound + Sleep Machine, Model ASM1002 (Health and Beauty)

    The good news is I live in a rent-stabilized apartment in NYC. The bad news is I live in a rent-stabilized apartment in NYC where I am besieged by every kind of noise.

    The worst offenders: a large clanking steam radiator; upstairs neighbors clomping around in hard-sole shoes on a bare hard-wood floor; construction noises next door and down the block; plus the usual assortment of horn honks and blaring sirens from vehicles on the avenue two doors over.

    For some years, I have used the Marsonic travel white noise machine (around $80), which was the best unit I auditioned at Hammacher-Schlemmer at the time. It offered excellent sound and admirable volume, especially for such a small device, plus two sounds, waterfall and ocean, with a tone control.

    But I was interested when I heard about Adaptive Sound’s first machine, the one that sells for $300. Unfortunately that price busts my budget, so I was delighted to discover that their new machine, the Duet (now known as the Sound + Sleep), sells for one-third the price.

    What is their exclusive adaptive technology? Well, it is NOT a phase-inversion technology, as used in noise-cancelling headphones. In other words, the machine doesn’t make intrusive sounds disappear. What it DOES do is pump up the white noise volume almost instantaneously to mask intrusive sounds, a surprisingly effective technique.

    The S+S still couldn’t hide the clanking radiator — at least in waterfall mode — but I will try again tonight with “Meditation” mode — a steady midrange drone that a yoga class would appreciate. The S+S did, however, make the footfalls upstairs disappear, as well as the construction and street noises. That beats the Marsonic by a mile!

    Otherwise the unit is very well designed and built, with excellent sound provided by a separate woofer and tweeter mounted on top. A microphone in the front panel listens for room sound and makes immediate adjustments. I tested this by dropping an earplug case on the counter by the machine, and it responded instantly with a roar of white noise.

    The sounds provided are of excellent quality. Unlike lesser units, which typically use a recording that keeps repeating and soon proves annoying, these recordings — the manufacturer calls them “sound stories” — go on for thirty minutes before repeating.

    You can spice these aural environments up with “richness” — random sounds that give the “sound stories” more authenticity, like birds chirping by the brook or sitar shrieks and percussion effects in meditation mode. Fortunately, you can also turn them off for when you’re sleeping.

    I like the selection of sounds provided. They have been well chosen for their restfulness — I found the brook putting me to sleep as I was sitting at my desk yesterday afternoon — and the variety allows you to find a “sound story” with frequencies appropriate to the most intrusive noises in your environment.

    The one sound that amused me was “city” — that’s the environment from which I’m trying to escape! Maybe if you’re a refugee from the city living in the country, however, you would appreciate this one! Otherwise, I enjoy the meadow, the brook, the crackling fireplace, the train, waterfall, ocean — and meditation. There also is a plain vanilla white noise setting, which I imagine psychotherapists will use in their waiting rooms.

    The machine also includes an output that lets you play the sounds through your stereo. It occurred to me that Ecotones could make a less expensive unit that dispenses with its own amplifier and speakers and just plays through your stereo. However, the sound quality of the S+S and the fact that it uses less electricity than my big rig justify a self-contained machine on my nightstand.

    So if you need help sleeping or concentrating in a noisy environment, you should audition the S+S. IMO it is the most effective (and cost-effective) white noise machine now on the market.

    UPDATE: ah, I tried the brook setting last night instead of waterfall, and — I didn’t hear a thing during the night. NO clanking radiator, NO footfalls upstairs, NO construction noises next doors. I slept like a babe. The moral of the story is: try different sound settings to see which ones mask the intrusive noises in your environment.

    The S+S could soon become the city dweller’s best friend, surpassing even small dogs and local pizza vendors…

    UPDATE NUMBER TWO: the S+S is missing one useful feature: visual or aural confirmation of the volume setting. Because it uses “higher” and “lower” buttons to raise or lower the volume, you can’t even tell by the position of a knob where the volume is set.

    Because the sound stories seem to play back at different volumes relative to one another, you might want to crank up the volume for one and then turn it back down for another. When…

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  • S. Kessler says:
    216 of 220 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Does a good job in a noisy city, January 1, 2010
    By 
    S. Kessler
    (VINE VOICE)
      
    (REAL NAME)
      

    Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: Ecotones Sound + Sleep Machine, Model ASM1002 (Health and Beauty)
    For a long time, my husband wanted to get a white noise machine to help block out the street noise from our busy city block as well as mask my, um, penchant for loud snoring (he doesn’t hear his own; what can I say?). He finally got around to researching machines and settled on this one, even though it was substantially more expensive than its competition here on Amazon. Well, it works, and it works well, for its intended purpose. We tried the various sounds (rainfall; nature; etc.) but found that the actual “white noise” setting works best. We like the fact that you can set the volume control and the pitch to achieve a soothing sound. The response feature — where a microphone picks up ambient sounds like coughing and snoring and adjusts the volume accordingly — actually works nicely. Good product that has contributed to better sleeping conditions for both of us.

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  • David H. Byman says:
    94 of 97 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    more than just a sleep machine, April 6, 2010
    By 
    David H. Byman (Burlington, VT) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: Ecotones Sound + Sleep Machine, Model ASM1002 (Health and Beauty)
    I actually bought this machine primarily for use as a daytime sound-masking device. The low-frequency thumps from a nearby basketball court were driving me crazy when my kitchen window was open, so I put this device on my windowsill, selected the Ocean sound at a fairly low volume in adaptive mode, and much to my surprise, it’s worked. I can’t hear the basketball sounds any more, and the sound of the ocean waves, while not 100% realistic, is definitely more tolerable than the basketball court noises.

    The machine’s Adaptive Sound Technology hears outside noises and gently raises the volume to mask these sounds. This not only keeps the unwanted noises at bay, but it also allows you to keep the selected sound sample at a reasonably low level.

    There is also a ‘Richness’ button, which adds complexity to the sounds. So for the ocean noise, it adds an occasional seagull; for the train, a whistle, etc.

    I also tried this out as a sleeping-device, using its White Noise setting. While it was somewhat effective in helping me sleep and stay asleep, I still think that for sleeping white noise, the good ol’ analog Marpac still can’t be beat. Though it does work nicely in conjunction with the Marpac.

    The digital sounds are sampled in 18 bit rather than the traditional 16 bit rate of CDs. I can tell the difference. The sounds are richer and more textured.

    Overall, this is a great machine and way above the sound quality and capabilities of its digital competitors. My complaints are minor, and hopefully some of these issues will be addressed in a future version:

    1. Volume Control: I would prefer a dial control rather than a push-button. I like to be able to change the volume in different settings, but since it’s a push button, it’s hard to tell at what level the volume is currently set. And what also makes it even more tricky is that in Adaptive mode, turning the volume down actually turns the volume down initially, because the machine interprets a button press as an unwanted sound.

    2. Microphone Control: The microphone is built-in. This makes the device easy to use, but it would be nice to be able to use an external microphone in order to have more control of the source of the undesirable noise. For example, when the Ecotones is in my kitchen it not only adjusts its volume for the basketball court noise, but it also raises its volume for normal household kitchen noises that I’d rather not mask, such as a telephone ringing, or a conversation.

    3. More Bass: The sound quality is pretty good–the best I’ve heard from any digital machine, but I think it would make a better sleeping machine if it could hit the lower frequencies.

    As other reviewers have pointed out, the “City” setting is pretty funny. I did try it out, and it does not sound like a realistic urban setting–no car alarms, firetrucks, or iron grates being pulled open at 5:00 a.m. It sounds more like the Long Island Expressway than the Lower East Side.

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