Friday, October 8, 2021

Rainy Mood

Two-minute review

Rainy Mood specializes in providing soothing rain sounds to help you sleep or concentrate – but that’s not all. Over recent years, it’s developed into something much more sophisticated that lets you tailor the sound to your liking (adjusting the rain intensity, thunder, and birdsong), or choose a different setting entirely, such as a coffee shop or the a coastline with waves crashing on a beach.

If you’re thinking that sounds just like a noise machine (such as the HoMedics Deep Sleep Mini), you’d be correct, but Rainy Mood has some significant advantages. Not only is it much cheaper, costing a fraction of the price for lifetime updates, it also uses an algorithmic randomizer to avoid looping the same sound samples, which can become distracting and irritating over time.

It doesn’t offer guided meditation and mindfulness sessions like Calm or Headspace, or track your sleep like Slumber, but that’s not what it’s intended for. Rainy Mood does one thing, and does it extremely well.

Price and availability

Rainy Mood is available for iPhone, iPad, and Android. It costs $2.99 / £2.79 / $4.49 as a one-off payment, making it one of the cheapest sleep apps around. That price includes lifetime updates – and there have been lots over the last few years.

If you’re only interested in rain sounds, or you want to test the app before investing in the full version, check out Rainy Mood Lite for iPhone, iPad, and Android. It offers the same randomized audio as the full app, but doesn’t include the ocean, countryside, and cafe environments.

There’s also a free browser version that only provides rain sounds, and is ideal for background noise while you’re working.

Features

Rainy Mood provides gentle ambient noise that can help you switch off your mind at night or block distractions while you’re working. It’s certainly not the only app that does this, but it’s one of the most advanced.

One of the biggest problems with many sound apps, white noise machines, and wake-up lights is that they have relatively short recorded samples that run on a loop. Once you start to notice patterns in the sound, and identify the point where it begins to repeat, it starts to sound unnatural.

Screengrabs from Rainy Mood app

(Image credit: Plain Theory Inc)

Rainy Mood gets around this with an algorithmic randomizer and huge sound library, which means the sound effects are continuous and you can listen for hours without being distracted by patterns.

When the app first launched, it only included the titular rain sounds, but it’s since been extended to include ambient coastline, countyside, and cafe noises. Each of these includes a set of switches and sliders so you can adjust or remove different elements. For example, with the ocean soundscape selected, you can choose the relative volume of rain, surf, shoreline, and seagulls. The cafe mode lets you adjust rain, chatter, patio noise, and the sound of a barista using an espresso machine – all of which are realistically rendered.

Rainy Mood runs in the background, so you can tailor the sound even further by combining its ambient sounds it with music. Simply run your preferred music player to hear both simultaneously.

Rainy Mood also has a sleep timer, which is a particularly nice touch when you’re getting ready for bed, and gently fades out the sound effects after a set period of time. There's no wake-up option, though.

Experience

Rainy Mood provides gentle background noise that helps you switch off distractions, whether you’re working or relaxing. It’s a simple premise, but one that’s surprisingly tricky to get right. Many other apps promise the same thing, but eventually prove to be more of a hindrance than a help due to short looping sound clips or poor quality recordings.

Rainy Mood’s recordings (of rain, ocean, countryside and cafe sounds) are all very high quality, and are algorithmically randomized so they never sound repetitive. The ability to tailor each soundscape by adjusting the volume of its different layers is another real advantage. For example, we prefer to remove the seagulls from the ocean setting, and dial up the soothing regular noise of water crashing on the shoreline.

It works particularly well when paired with a set of sleep headphones like the SleepPhones, which are specially designed to be comfortable when worn at night.

This isn’t a sleep-tracking app, and there are no guided meditations to help focus your mind – as long as you’re aware of that, you should find it’s $2.99 / £2.79 / $4.49 well spent.

Download it if

You're easily distracted
The sound samples used by Rainy Mood are long, high quality, and randomized so you'll never notice repeating patterns.

Your mind races at night
The different soundscapes are very effective at helping you switch off at the end of a long day, and you can fine-tune them to find the most relaxing settings for you personally.

Don't download it if

You want to wake up gently
Most wake-up lights can rouse you with a simulated sunset and nature sounds, but Rainy Mood can't wake you with the gentle noise of water pattering on a window.

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