Adaptive Sound Technology Inc.
Price: $79.95 U.S.
Available in white or black
I don’t know who came up with the idea that basic health requires eight hours of sleep. The only time I slept that many hours in recent years I was recovering from surgery in a hospital and taking prescription opiates. But on a recent morning, after using Sound+Sleep Mini, I woke up and realized I’d been asleep for over ten hours. I was so surprised I wanted to get on the phone and call everybody I know.
I confess to being chronically suspicious of gadgets that promise to improve my life. I’d heard of machines that create white noise or reproduce sounds from nature — ocean waves lapping at the shore, birds twittering, logs crackling in a fireplace — all promising ideal sleep. I thought it was just some sort of aural placebo until I started using Adaptive Sound Technology’s Sound+Sleep Mini.
This little device doesn’t give me sound sleep every night. I haven’t duplicated that 10-plus hour snooze since that first episode, but I can’t dispute the fact that I am indeed sleeping more hours and more soundly than previously.
There’s really no hocus-pocus about the experience. Sound machines have been around at least since the 1960’s. Many families use them to lull babies to sleep by masking intrusive sounds like vehicle traffic or noisy neighbors.
An article in the New York Times stated: Used correctly, these gadgets could change your life — you might finally get a reprieve from your snoring spouse, or vice versa; you might finally get your baby to sleep (so you can spend more time with your snoring spouse), or you might finally drown out those unashamedly loud neighbors.
The Sound+Sleep Mini is different from the other devices in at least two respects.
It includes ASTI’s proprietary listening technology that can monitor the sounds in your environment and adapt the volume of the sounds coming from the device automatically. If your bedmate is snoring, it will detect that and increase the volume of whatever sound you’ve selected.
Fortunately, this is only an option. I turned it off because it was intrusive. Its monitoring was so sensitive that the volume would increase at the slightest change, even sliding my alarm clock across my nightstand. But I can see how this feature will be useful if the user lives in a noisy place where barking dogs, heavy traffic, and subway trains are a factor.
The second feature, which I found to be unique, is what the company calls SoundStories. Each sound the Mini produces can be modified with the press of a button so that you end up with as many as 48 combinations of sounds. For example, if you press the button to select the ocean, you’ll at first hear only waves. Press it again and you can add seagulls, fog horns, sea lions, and more. If you select rain, you can get a drizzle or a downpour.
Regardless of which sound you select, you can increase or decrease the volume to suit your comfort level.
The unit includes the various whirring fan sounds that made ASTI’s LectroFan very popular. The fan sounds, which I prefer, can be changed from a deep turbine-like sound to a small desk fan.
ASTI says the sounds it produces do not loop. They continuously change very subtly so that they don’t become monotonous. The unit also comes with a timer that allows you to leave the sound on continuously or set to stop in 30 minute increments. I usually leave mine on all night except when I’m using the rain sound. Thirty to sixty minutes of rain is enough to put me to sleep.
That reminds me of a caveat you should keep in mind: If your bladder is waking you up two or three times a night, a sound machine isn’t going to enable you to sleep through those natural events. Just as well, wouldn’t you say?
Mini also has an audio input so if you want to listen to music instead of its sounds you can use the provided 5’ audio cable to connect an iPod, cellphone or other device and just use the Mini as a speaker. Audio performance is very good for music and voice playback, adding value and versatility to this special-purpose product.
The Sound+Sleep Mini is a quality device that is small enough to take on trips so you can use it in a hotel room.
Highly recommended. Time for a long nap!
MyMac Review Rating is 9 out of 10.