Dear Ambient Noise, STFU I'm try to code

Posted by Tom on 2011-03-15 14:47

Apparently Spring is coming round again we've had the first batch of people with pneumatic drills outside the office already. Last time this happened they were at it for 4 days straight, and before I found myself shinning up the clock tower with a high-powered rifle I decided that drastic (non-murderous) action was required.

Brown noise (not to be confused with the brown note, which has a whole other set of properties and, unfortunately for pranksters the world over, doesn't seem to exist) is similar to white noise except that instead of having a uniform amplitude across all frequencies, the amplitude is inversely proportional to the frequency. What this means is that rather than the piercing hiss of white noise you have a more low-pitched, civilised drone. Technical bullshit aside, it sounds similar to rain or a waterfall, and after a while I found my brain simply tuning it out.

It's also effective at hiding background sounds. Especially droning ones like roadworks or project managers.

SoX is "the Swiss Army knife of sound processing programs", and includes a convenient brown noise generator. With a pair of closed back headphones and the following incantation:

sox -n -d synth brownnoise

blissful 'silence' can be yours for as little as ZERO POUNDS STERLING. I love you, FOSS.

tl;dr - If you want to shut out the world, download this, type this: 'sox -n -d synth brownnoise'