265 of 267 people found the following review helpful
on January 7, 2010
The Sharper Image Sound Soother has a very sleek and modern design, however, there are a few flaws that detract from the overall experience.
First, the digital display is very bright in a dark bedroom. Unlike a regular, cheap alarm clock where only the time is lit, the entire display of the Sound Soother is backlit. If your bedroom has little ambient light at night, this display will emit a glow that some people may find too bright. Although there are three display brightness settings, there is little difference between them and the lowest setting is still bright. We have to turn the clock away from the bed at night so it's not directly in our face, but the glow is still significant.
Second, the sound quality could be better. This could be a tradeoff for the sleek design, but the sounds are not very natural coming out of the small rear speakers and are a bit tinny as another reviewer has noted. The volume control is not very good either, as the difference between the first, second, third, etc. volume selections are very noticeable. In other words, 1 is too soft for some sounds, but 2 is way too loud. The audio loop on some of the sounds is too short as well, and if you are concentrating on the sound you may be able to detect the pattern, which can be distracting as you are trying to fall asleep. Also, the control buttons themselves make a very loud and abrasive "click" sound when you push them, which seems odd for a machine designed to relax you.
Overall, the Sound Soother is a decent alarm clock that gets the job done, but it could definitely be improved (display too bright, audio quality is lacking, and buttons take away from the overall experience). Although it is made by Sharper Image, it has a somewhat "cheap" feeling to it. Despite the flaws, it is one of the better sound machine/alarm clock I came across that was less than $50.
182 of 188 people found the following review helpful
on March 8, 2010
Found this sound soother at QVC for $36.50. I hated waking up to a loud "give-me-a-heart-attack" buzzers on regular alarm clocks and was hunting for a more soothing wake-up call. The beep on this clock is ok not near as screeching as some other clocks I've tried. The sound system and its many nature sound options are great. I don't know why other buyers complain about the quality of the sounds, they must miss their big ole stereo system or something, its just a clock people duh! I love the rainforest sound and the summer night as well as the oceanside waves. I chose most often to set the alarm to the foghorn, its a nice soft realistic sound of boats in the harbor. If you're a deep sleeper, the beep probably would be better to use. I found the manual for this too sparse on instructions. There was no instructions on how to set either the beep or the sound option, by accident I found out how. The luminous figures are not too bright, good grief I can't believe other buyers complained about that too. It's like having a very, very, low night light on - not too bright at all. I am pleased with having bought this item, I like the fact it has battery back up. Only down side for me was that it was made in China, would have preferred finding an alternative made in USA.
54 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on January 1, 2010
I had high hopes for this - thinking it was similar to a clock I saw a few years ago and can't seem to find now. Those of you who are light sleepers will appreciate the sound library. The digital recordings have long loops and sound pretty good, but the speakers are on the tinny side. I like to sleep with a surf sound and that is decent. The problem is the alarm (which wasn't even covered in my manual). The alarm allows you to wake with either a beeper or a sound. The problem is if you sleep with a sound playing, that is the same one used for the alarm - so it doesn't quite work! I was hoping you could set different sounds for the alarms. The clock I saw a few years ago allowed you to listen to surf but the alarm added in foghorns or other related sounds. That was pretty cool! If anyone knows what clock I am talking about, please let me know. Don't be too disappointed if the Sound Soother isn't available on Amazon. It is available at Best Buy for the same price.
39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on August 17, 2010
I've been a Sharper Image fan for some time, due in large part, to their Sound Soother products. After having bought two (2) of these EC-B100 products, my total Sound Soothers number six. I've had expensive woodgrain, modern, portables, and now these and I've put them through many miles of travel and years of daily use.
So why on earth is their so much bashing about this product? It's unclear to me. Specifically:
1. I found these units to be plenty variable with respect to their contrast and light emission. In no way are they distracting from my sleep - and I am an extremely light sleeper. In fact, I have two EX-B100s on both sides of my and my wife's king side bed. True, they are dimmed all the way, but we both sleep just fine. There is plenty of room for increasing the brightness; however, it's just not necessary.
2. To those other buyers who complained that the soothing is so loud that it keeps them awake, all I can report is the following: Either there is tremendous user/operational errors or Sharper Image responded by provided more than 8 variable sound levels ranging from super quiet to yes - very loud.
3. Not that this unit is without fault....mind you, I'm picky only after having had many other Sound Soother units. To begin with, I really miss having an auxiliary sound input (for either CD, iPod, etc.). I also miss having an AM/FM radio in the unit....something that most clock radios include. Finally, the stereo separation isn't as good as it gets with older units....however...to the users who complained that the sample loops were highly discernable in a distracting way, please be advised: I am an audio engineer by trade and get paid to create loops all day long. I simply can't distinguish the, on this unit...and I know that you will like the quality.
Lest you think that I'm an employee for the Sharper Image....rest assured, I am not.
Just simply a satisfied customer who - every now and then - enjoys standing up for a great company and successful product line.
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on July 23, 2010
I read reviews of this clock for a while before purchasing it. Two things worried me - complaints that the sound has only 2 settings (very loud or very soft) and that the backlight was too bright.
The version of the clock I got has 5 volume settings and it's a good range. The lowest is very quiet, but a setting of 2 or 3 is quite nice. The sound quality isn't awesome, but it's not bad.
The backlight, however, is too bright, even on the lowest setting. It was like having a pretty bright nightlight on the table. Since the clock had everything else I was looking for, I hoped to fix this. I took the clock apart (removing 5 screws on the back. The display is a circuit board with 3 LEDs on either side. They angle toward the window for the display. I removed the circuit board and bent the LEDs out so they face the inside edge of the clock. I then reassembled it (it's critical to screw the circuit board back in VERY TIGHTLY since this pressure contact runs the display) and the light is *perfect*. I can see it at night, but there is no glowing light, and I can read it fine during the day.
I know it's an annoying fix, but for me it was worth it to have the dual alarms and nice set of sounds to wake up to.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on March 23, 2011
Want to go to sleep to soothing sounds? Not with this product because it doesn't turn off! You would think that there would be a countdown timer or a fade out to let you go to sleep and have the unit turn off, but it doesn't.
So, if you go to sleep with the unit on and manage to fall asleep with sound, then how do you wake up with sound if it's the same one you fell to sleep with and it's still going? The only way to do fall asleep with sound and then use the unit as an alarm clock is to have the alarm set to beep instead of sound.
As others have said, the sounds themselves are repetitive and unnatural, the loops are VERY short, and the sound is tinny. You can't set the two alarms to different sounds, or different volume levels, or different days ala weekdays and weekends. The alarms don't fade in, they come on at the volume that they were set at, and so if you have the unit on a table or dresser across the bedroom, you have to set the volume high, which also means you can't use it to go to sleep to.
I didn't have a problem with the display brightness as others did. I did think that the time display could be larger, and the display was cluttered with all the other icons and information on it (why does the sound description have to be almost as large as the time numerals?)
The biggest disappointment is that this product had to be designed and manufactured with the philosophy of providing the very least utility possible at the price point they are selling it. With computing power and flash storage being as cheap as it is these days (look what a $9.00 Casio watch can do), there is no reason why this unit couldn't provide the features we would like and the quality we expect for only a few manufacturing cents more. This product is a waste of money and I would not recommend it.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on July 17, 2010
First, let me start by saying, with most products, I'm not picky. I'm just not. I went to my local Bed and Bath store and picked this one up when my old alarm clock died a sad, sudden death. I liked the idea of the nature sounds (my old one had this feature) and so I wanted a clock that had this. The sounds on this one are OK - a wide range, but most of them sound pretty fake and pretty much like they are recorded from inside of a tin can. That aside, the Summer Nights setting worked really well for putting me to sleep quickly. It wasn't until the first day I tried to set this one for work that I realized that it has NO radio which I could've lived with I guess. However - here is why I am taking this back to the store: The backlight might as well be full daylight!! I have had to put a towel over the clock just so I can sleep. And I should mention, my comments about the light are based on having it set to the "darkest" setting!! Like I said, I'm not picky, nor am I a light sleeper (I can sleep in a variety of circumstances), but this light is seriously ridiculously bright. I typically am the kind of consumer that would just keep the product and get over it, but this is so seriously bad that I am taking it back to the store. In fact, the only reason I am writing this review is because I came on Amazon to search for a new/better clock! For the quality of the clock (it's sort of flimsy plastic on the front and sides, too) and the quality of the sounds and then add in the problems with the light, I say - skip buying this clock!!
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on October 26, 2010
Bought this on Friday 22/10 and got it on Monday 26/10 and after only one night I had to share my thoughts. This product is awesome and lives up to the hype. I had no problem with the display as I left the plastic sheet on, the choice of sounds was more than I needed. I tried a few but I like the chimes the best and will stick with that. The sound settings were fine with me. I left it at the #1 and that was just fine with me. For those who have complained about the brightness of the display screen or the volume IMO they are just nitpickers. I am glad that I bought this product and look forward to many years of use. If you are in the market for this type of Alarm Clock/Sound Machine look no further, this is the best out there.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on October 16, 2010
Constant hum that increases as the backlight setting is increased, but even at the lowest of the three backlight settings, the hum is too loud It does not vary with the volume setting.
In any case, at my bedside at night, this is the last thing I need, as it prevents me from sleeping
I agree with others who wrote the audio loops are not of sufficient quality. It would cost the manufacturer only a bit more to install higher capacity memory circuits to provide more decent audio.Iregret having bought this product.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on July 27, 2011
I purchased this sound machine to help my one year old sleep at night. It was ok at first, although the various "noises" do not exactly sound the way they should (i.e. "rain" sounds more like bad static). After about two months of use, it started to malfunction. We would put on the sounds, and the machine would start to play loud beeping sounds. It also started constantly buzzing, a low hum non-stop. So basically we were listening to bad static combined with random beeping sounds combined with a buzzing noise. Horrible! Don't waste your money. We have another one from Panasonic that works way better and didn't cost as much.