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Stochastic rain generator from the author of myNoise.net (rain.today)
113 points by ivank on July 18, 2015 | hide | past | favorite | 35 comments

Dev here! What a surprise - and honour - to find my website featured here, this morning.

I just want to add a comment: because the sounds are drawn randomly, everyone hears something different! So, comments like "it does sounds more like a brook" may be right, but just for one particular user, and particular occurence.

Today, the average visit duration time is about 30s... and it takes my engine about that same time to evolve from one sound to another. If you think that you are not hearing something that does sound like rain to you, either reload the page (it will start all over again with a new draw) or give the generator a longer listen, like two minutes (I know, this is a lot of time, on the Internet). Then, you will understand why this rain noise generator is different from others. It really shines over longer listening sessions.

How it works? Basically, I have sounds in four categories: Light Rain, Heavy Rain, Thunder, and Water sounds (like those occurring once the rain has stopped). The generator starts by choosing one of these categories (with higher probabilities for the rain, but sometimes, it can start with the water sounds - hence that user comment). For each category, there are dozens of different recordings. So, even if you keep playing rain from the same category, it will keep changing. Staying in the same category or switching to another is governed by a very simple transition probabilities matrix.

Also, you can change the spectrum of the rain (white/pink/brown) by means of the pencil (this setting affects the next draws, so its effect is not instantaneous). Being able to change the color of a natural noise, is an interesting feature, IMHO.



Big fan of your work, as it's currently hammering it down with rain here (I'm in the North of England, it's the default state) rain.today is particularly ironic.

The sound of rain is very familiar to us living west of the Cascades in the Pacific Northwest. When it rains more days than not in a given season, for many locals the sound of rain is often not exactly "soothing".

As a qualified "rain sound critic", to my ears the generated rainfall didn't sound convincingly natural. Real rain is somewhat less "white" (lets call it "gray"), with a steadier, if muffled "thud" as drops hit land.

Of course there are many variables, like wind speed, rate of rain accumulation, soil conditions, urban vs. rural location among others, that alter rain's sound qualities. Accounting for these factors would probably be quite difficult. Too bad the website didn't provide more info about the sound generation algorithms, I think HN readers would appreciate that.

As far as applications of generated sounds go, I think it's a very individual matter. In respect to tinnitus, a condition I've had for a long time, it's not a problem only when things are quiet.

In my case the internally generated high-pitched squeal is constant, loud enough to interfere with normal conversation. Adding external noise doesn't decrease or "mask" the tinnitus, just makes it harder to distinguish sounds in the environment.

One more thing, having known hundreds of adults with ADHD, mileage varies considerably re: benefit or decrement of background sounds on concentration. Offhand I don't know of studies documenting effects, but it would be an interesting study to conduct. My guess is most would do better in a quiet, but not too quiet environment. The issue is precisely what is "quiet" or "too quiet" for these individuals.

I'm rather unqualified as a critic of rain sounds - morning fog leaves about as much moisture on things as what people around here would call a light rain. But I agree, it really doesn't sound quite like rain. The more prominent sounds remind me more of a brook or partially open faucet draining into a plugged up sink, and there is some rather obvious white noise in the background.

I also have tinnitus, but it's nowhere near as bad as yours sounds. Something like this is more than sufficient for me to mask it. It's really only an issue for me when things are very quiet.

Anecdotally, I find it much easier to concentrate with extremely loud music, usually with a strong and at least moderately fast beat. Even if I were to turn this up to 11, I don't think it would help me very much, aside from possibly masking background sounds that might grab my attention. At normal levels, I don't see it making any difference at all.

Agreed, there's too much white noise. Rain doesn't sound like that.

A slider to adjust the level of white noise (and maybe some other spectral properties) could be just the ticket.

I have just reduced the level of the underlying white noise that plays along the rain samples. Please try again. Hit the television icon to increase the level of that white noise.

But please understand this is a white noise machine too. The rain sounds that have been selected - especially the heavier rain sounds - do include a high level of white noise, naturally.

Sounds better now, thanks! How do I get rid of the bird tweets?

I have had ADD/ADHD since childhood. The H part is mostly gone though. My workplace is actually getting me a set of sound isolating and cancelling headphones so that I can play something similar to this website on them. We just moved into a new space that has concrete floors and wooden/metal ceilings, with half sheetrock/half concrete walls - my productivity and ability to concentrate has plummeted as a result.

I'm in the North of England, it rains here all the time and I disagree, this sounds exactly like what is going on outside at the moment :).

I've been using mynoise.net regularly at home and at work to help me relax or concentrate. It's surprisingly effective, especially after you've calibrated it to your hearing/headphones.

The basic concept is surprisingly simple: each generator is actually a collection of 10 looping sounds, each ostensibly covering a given frequency range. You can achieve really different resulting sounds my adjusting each channel. See for example the different presets (on the middle right of the page) for the Crystal Stream generator. [1]

I'm impressed by the quality of work that Stephane Pigeon put into each of these, and I'm glad he's marketing it well with rain.today :)

[1] http://mynoise.net/NoiseMachines/waterSpringStreamNoiseGener...

*20 sounds ;)

Are there command-line apps for these rain and white noise generators? I'd love to use them without internet access and outside a browser.

Edit: I see discardorama asked the same question.

install the sox package and then you can generate some white noise. For example white noise with Star Trek theme:

  play -c2 -n synth whitenoise band -n 100 24 band -n 300 100 gain +20

Cool. For the curious, this sounds like the background hum of a starship, or perhaps a server room with the volume turned down. Not particularly relaxing to me (I prefer the birds outside!) but each to their own.

For white noise: `play -n synth whitenoise`

Anecdote time. Our cat has gotten into the annoying habit of moaning whenever things aren't to her liking; even if its 3AM. If she hears other cats playing outside, she wants to go out. If she thinks we are awake, moan again to demand breakfast. Heck, if I'm sleeping on the side and she wants to sleep on top of me, she'll whine about it till I'm on my back. And so on.

It became so bad that I could barely get an hour or two of continuous sleep a night.

Finally, I found a bunch of videos: https://www.google.com/search?q=rain+white+noise&tbm=vid and started playing them at night. Boy, what a difference it made. Now, I wake up at most once a night; I'm sleeping better than ever, and not a zombie during the day.

I'm wondering if there are any command-line rain generators for Linux? And is there some research on how to generate the 'best' (most realistic?) rain sounds.

Why don't you lock the cat into another room or just put him out of the house? Who is the boss at home? You or the cat?

I trained mine from kittens to sleep in the living room, when it gets to bed time they run in and jump onto their favourite sleeping spots and bed down for the night.

I think if you don't do this early getting them to accept it later will result in them singing you the song of their people at 3am.

It probably depends on who you ask... them or the cat. ;)

> Who is the boss at home? You or the cat?

Clearly you have never had a cat, if you're asking that question.... ;-)

I've just been playing with some examples for PureData and Supercollider (which you could probably run from a CLI, I was using their IDEs though):

These are two I've tried out:

http://sccode.org/1-e -- Rain and thunder (for supercollider)

http://www.obiwannabe.co.uk/tutorials/html/tutorial_rain.htm... -- for PureData

The rain does sound somewhat whitenoise-y though, I wonder if there are any simulations of rain, that take into account the actual physics of droplets hitting a surface.

Just to clarify, the noise is helping you sleep, not keeping the cat from moaning?

Yes, it's helping me sleep. It's not that it drowns out the cat's moans; it just adds enough white noise that the moan doesn't wake me up (unless, of course, it's standing on me, moaning to make me turn over :-/ ).

This really helps me to concentrate. Not sure if it helps others, but I think ADHD brains find some background white noise helpful to focus.


Cool app. I've never really been able to listen to anything while working though. If it is too noisy, I'll put in a set of good ear plugs. I'd be more interested in how they are generating the rain and other sounds, I couldn't hear them though... have my ear plugs in ..

Running Firefox 38 on Slackware Linux, I hear frequent painful sharp loud clicks, like an audio buffer full of garbage because a of callback not running in time. Seems to happen when firefox hits 100% cpu usage for a moment. I guess this site is just too CPU intensive for my oldish CPU.

It'd be nice to be able to add a muffle to the rain noise - so it sounded like it was "outside" or on a rooftop. Hearing it sound too natural tends to make me feel cold.

It maxes out my cpu, firefox 39.0+build5-0ubuntu0.14.04.1

Have tinnitus and used to listen to mynoise (now rain.today) every night to sleep properly. A big thanks to Stéphane.

myNoise.net has the best rain I've ever heard. I've paid for rain recordings and nothing even comes close to how good myNoise is. This is great!

Doesn't seem to work on my nexus 6 :(

Any chance of open sourcing this?

strange, the thunder sounded like a train rolling in... was very cyclical.

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