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1,138 of 1,168 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Noise Pollution Solution
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...
Published on October 27, 2009 by Jerry P. Danzig

versus
90 of 111 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Worked OK, then died.
I wanted to like this product. I really did.

There are a number of issues that make it not worth the money:

01) The sound output is very, very low. At full volume without the adaptive mode turned on it is loud enough, but with adaptive turned on the sound output is so low my box fans drown it completely out. Nor will it compensate very well.
02)...
Published on October 13, 2010 by PuzzleGifted


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1,138 of 1,168 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Noise Pollution Solution, October 27, 2009
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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 you return to your favorite sound story for sleeping, for example, you may not have the volume setting that you know from experience you need.

The solution would be a numeric readout or aural confirmation, like a female voice saying, "Level Five" when you adjust the volume.

At any rate, the S+S is still a fine white noise machine, and I hope Ecotone incorporates volume confirmation into future models.

UPDATE NUMBER THREE: the S+S has just met and overcome its toughest challenge. They're building a 10-story residential building right next to mine, and the ear-splitting cacophony starting at seven in the morning is truly enough to wake the dead. Pounding, hammering, sawing, and swearing... two by fours and metal beams and pipes dropping... I don't know if this construction crew is trying to get their revenge on what they mistakenly perceive as the one percent here in Manhattan, but they're certainly giving it their all.

The S+S couldn't meet the challenge in a standalone mode, but I plugged it into my stereo, cranked up the volume of the bubbling brook until it sounded like Noah's flood - and drifted back to sleep.

The adaptive technology reacted instantaneously to every hammer blow and buzz saw. All I hear is a loud whoosh of water, along with crickets and birds chirping.

If it weren't for this wonderful white noise machine, I fear to think what acts of civil disobedience I might have committed to cope with the bedlam next-door.

Again I can't recommend the Sound and Sleep highly enough to anyone under even the most extreme sonic assault!

PROS:

* Adaptive technology actively counters intrusive noises.
* Separate woofer and tweeter for high-quality sound.
* Each "sound story" runs a full thirty minutes before repeating.
* Selectable "richness" sounds give sound stories more realism, texture.
* Sleep timer plus switch to turn off LED lights at night.
* Output enabling you to run white noise through your stereo to overpower even the loudest noise.
* Sound stories well chosen for restfulness.

CONS:

* Could use some means of showing relative volume settings.
* Not the cheapest white noise machine, but likely one of the best.
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251 of 256 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Does a good job in a noisy city, January 1, 2010
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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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139 of 142 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars more than just a sleep machine, April 6, 2010
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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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251 of 269 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sleep without drugs (finally), December 7, 2009
By 
Mark T. (Los Altos, CA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ecotones Sound + Sleep Machine, Model ASM1002 (Health and Beauty)
I bought an Ecotones Duet to help me sleep. I had read about Ecotones in a New York Times article, but only recently found that it was carried on Amazon.

I occasionally have trouble getting to sleep and sleeping pills leave me groggy in the morning. My Duet does the trick. For the last several nights, I have fallen asleep in 20 minutes or so. Of course since there are no drugs, there are no more groggy mornings.

The sounds that help me sleep the most are the evening meadow and the babbling brook. The ocean is also nice, but I haven't tried it yet at night. The noise masking feature works well although that is not why I bought the unit.

Last year I tried the Brookstone machine, but the sounds quality was so horrible that I turned it off after 10 minutes or so. Duet creates an absolutely believable naturescape. I like it.
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63 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The manufacturer stands by their product!, March 2, 2010
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This review is from: Ecotones Sound + Sleep Machine, Model ASM1002 (Health and Beauty)
I loved my machine when I received it and posted that on March 3. On April 8, the machine stopped working and Amazon would not accept a return for a full refund. I was pretty frustrated.

However...I then contacted the company who made the sound machine directly, and they got back to me very promptly (within a few hours), and they are sending me a new replacement by second day air!!! I am very happy with their customer service!

I also really enjoy having the machine because it helps with my sleep tremendously, so I wish to thank this company for their prompt, courteous response in replacing my machine as quickly as they have.
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106 of 117 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb product, superb customer service, March 15, 2010
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Kimmie is happy (Southern New Mexico) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ecotones Sound + Sleep Machine, Model ASM1002 (Health and Beauty)
I started using sound machines to aid in sleeping several years ago when I developed tinnitus in both ears. The tinnitus made it very difficult to sleep, but I found that outside noise masked the ringing in my ears, making it easier to fall asleep. My first sound machine was a box fan on the floor. I'm cold-natured, and the fan was a problem in the winter. Not to mention my dog considered it his mortal enemy, and hated that fan. I ditched the fan, and bought my first real 'sound machine'.

I've had several cheap sound machines over the years, none of which met my expectations. Unlike the others, my Ecotones machine has no obvious short 'loop' recording that repeats every 30 seconds, with a 'burp' at the beginning of each new loop. The sound is smooth, natural, continuous, and without the hiccups that drove me crazy in the recordings of the other machines I've used.

I can't say I have a favorite sound story - they're all good. The feature I find most interesting is the 'richness' setting. Playing around with this on the rainfall sound story: using no richness setting the rainfall sound is plain and simple; each additional richness setting adds new, different sounds to the plain and simple soundtrack - a feature allowing the user to customize their sound stories.

I doubt you'll find better customer service than Ecotones. They were very quick to respond to inquires I made both prior to, and after, purchasing this product. Corporate complaint departments would be obsolete if companies ran as efficiently as Ecotones appears to. After using my sound machine for 2 weeks, I can honestly say it's everything I hoped it would be, and more.

This product is well worth every penny I spent on it. I highly recommend it.
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64 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sleep! Glorious Sleep!, January 18, 2010
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This review is from: Ecotones Sound + Sleep Machine, Model ASM1002 (Health and Beauty)
We just moved into a new apartment in NYC and were quite dismayed by the noisy upstairs neighbors and the occasional street nuts keeping us awake at night. The sounds we were dealing with were: stomping feet, thumping base from a stereo, late night TV, children playing in the hallway, the occasional car alarm, etc. Ahhh, New York City!

After a bit of research (price vs. quality) we decided to take a chance on the Ecotones Duet. The first night we set it for "Brook" with complete sound stories and lo and behold, not only did it mask all the annoying sounds, but within 30 minutes, we were both fast asleep. The timer was set for 90 minutes...and while we did not hear it fade...it was definitely off when we woke. At last!!! We can sleep again!

The "Adaptive Sound Technology" is great. Except if you start chatting in bed. It gets louder to cover up your speech.

We tried a few of the different settings to see which one masked the sounds better and found that for us that "Brook" was the thing. My wife really didn't like "Ocean". And the crickets in the "Meadow" were a bit overwhelming for our purposes. (And we found "other pleasures" from the fireplace sound. Light a candle, for a little more atmosphere, guys, and off you go.)

But truly, this machine can deal with a large variety of different sound issues. It gives you a lovely soundscape to listen to, with random sounds breaking the monotony of a simple repetitive sound. Occasionally one can imagine little pieces of wood sloshing past, or a bird or squirrel rustling near the waters edge...next thing you know...it's morning and you've had another blissful night of sleep.

If you're having similar problems, buy it, you won't regret it.
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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eating Crow, July 20, 2011
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This review is from: Ecotones Sound + Sleep Machine, Model ASM1002 (Health and Beauty)
A few weeks ago, a wrote a review on this Sound and Sleep product, giving it only one star. I titled my review, "Joined the Got Screwed Club." I wrote this because my sleep machine died after 6 months of service. However, I failed to write the manufacturer to tell them about my situation, and I regret that.

After my review was posted(which I have since removed), I immediately received an email from the manufacturer, informing me that I did have recourse. From there, they instructed me to try a couple of things to my sleep machine. Both remedies failed. After informing them of this, they immediately sent out a new machine, USPS Priority service. I had a new machine within a week of posting that original review.

Although, I am skeptical of how long this machine will last, I will reassess my review to giving it 5 stars. Due mainly to the fact that the sound from this machine is deep and rich, compared to any sleep machine I have had in the past. I have yet to find one better! Also, due to the superb service I received from Ecotones Sound & Sleep, I can't help but give them the highest rating. Rarely do you do business with companies without getting haggled, which I guess is why I didn't bother checking with Ecotones in the first place.

So I do apologize to Ecotones for the slam of my original review and I thank them for their efficient and professional service in remedying this matter! In the future, I will be more careful on how I rate a faulty product until I find out how well a manufacturer stands behind it's product.
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46 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blinking Lights, March 5, 2012
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This review is from: Ecotones Sound + Sleep Machine, Model ASM1002 (Health and Beauty)
I have been enjoying this unit for some time but got the blinking lights error. I called the customer service about it. Took about 5 minutes and they are sending a replacement chip to fix it. The rep was extremely friendly during the call. Great item and great service!
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55 of 60 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This is a great little machine!, March 28, 2010
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This review is from: Ecotones Sound + Sleep Machine, Model ASM1002 (Health and Beauty)
I did a lot of checking around and it came down to three:
Ecotones Duet Sleep Sound Machine
The Brookstone
One of the many "white noise" machines made by Marpac.

I was interested in more than white noise, which, in and of itself, can be irritating depending on the situation.

That brought it down to two. I read all the reviews on this site for the two different Brookstones (the big one and the one with the alarm clock feature) and the reviews weren't very good.

The reviews for this product were quite good. Hubby was having trouble sleeping (stress from the company he works for being sold, military reserve stuff, studying for his Master's degree....) so I wanted something to help him drift off...

I bought this machine ($10 more expensive than the larger Brookstone) and have not regretted it. The only problem I have (and the reason for the 4 star rating instead of 5) is that sometimes (NOT VERY OFTEN) the sound is down to point where I cannot even hear it.
BUT, MOST of the time, it is fine... and the loop is so long that I have never been able to detect the "beginning" and "end". We use the "Ocean" setting. I was raised on the Oregon coast and the sounds are very natural. You can hear seabirds, foghorns, a bell on a buoy, clanging off in the distance.... it's very relaxing!

Hubby, from South Dakota, liked the "meadow" but the sound of the chirping crickets was so... monotone, I guess, for lack of a better word, that it bugged me. NO pun intended! ;-)
I think I would also like the "Train" setting, and will test that when he is gone with the reserves.

I CAN tell you that we are BOTH sleeping better because of this machine! The quibble I have about the sound is a minor one because most of the time, I'm asleep anyway... it is very soothing to me... and it does help both of us sleep better!
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Ecotones Sound + Sleep Machine, Model ASM1002
Ecotones Sound + Sleep Machine, Model ASM1002 by Adaptive Sound Technologies, Inc.
$149.95 $97.95
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