Thanks for the kind mention!
I am Stephane, the person behind that website/project. I see a lot of people having concerns about the title - Background Sound Canceller - and they are right. That title is not mine, but poster's own.
I describe my project as "Background Noise Generators", or sometimes as as "Non-Distracting Noises and Music".
They are not sound cancellers but sound maskers.
The idea is to create a noise you like, to mask a sound that you don't want to hear. Your colleagues, tinnitus, ... anything.
Because these noise generators are designed to be non-distracting, there is a big chance that your brain will not even hear them after a couple of minutes... but they will keep masking the nuisance you wanted to het rid of in the first place. That is the magic exploited by the project. Create these sonic "focus bubbles".
Stephane is AMAZING. Years ago (2014) I noticed a point in one of the rain noise platters that had too much of an obvious pitch component, so that it was too easy to identify it when it repeated. Stephane edited the platter within a couple days to fix the problem!
That's great! Reminds me of my own "random noise that isn't random" accidental fixation. There is a "water dripping" sound that I first noticed in Quake, no doubt sourced from a popular sound effects library, that I now hear television and movies all the time because of a pattern of pitches it uses.
Thank you for all you do. "Irish Coast" used to put baby no.3 to sleep like a miracle. No.4 preferred "White Rain".
Thank you for the app! I use it every single night to drown out the POS bird that screams outside of my window as I’m trying to sleep.
I strongly empathize with you, this and the fast-and-furious truck drivers at 5am. I need to check this out.
Ok, we've changed the title now. Thanks!
(Submitted title was "MyNoise – Background Sound Canceller".)
Your app is also great to help get to sleep. I find if my thoughts are too active when I'm trying to sleep, then having some soothing sound like rain to focus on is a great help. It also has a stop timer so it won't go on all night.
I love this thing and have spent many hours making elaborate setups, wonderful work!
Thank you for MyNoise! It's a must-have homescreen app on all my phones. Works perfectly for me on planes and trains, especially in combination with noise-cancelling headphones.
We use this app on all of our devices for helping the kids (and ourselves) to sleep. My only concern is that they will grow up dependent on it!
Thank you so much for making mynoise. I have used it for years, and keep recommending it to friends and family. Your work is much appreciated.
Thank you Stephane for MyNoise! Your site is very valuable to me. I hope it never disappears. I'll continue to donate periodically.
As others have said, thanks for this project! This site is possibly the GOAT of the ambient background noise genre.
Huge fan since the beginning. Has gotten me through insomnia, high stress, and so much more.
It’s amaing and great to experiment with. Have had the ios app for at least a year or more.
Long time listener and patron, love your work Stephane! You’re work is a blessing
> I see a lot of people having concerns about the title
The title, font choice, advert presence/absence and the incorrect monetisation choice are are going to come up.
If you chuck in a gender neutral pronoun you might momentarily distract the pack.
Thanks for a great product! Have been using it for many years.
Thanks for the great masking rain album!
I expected a website offering to use your microphone to record, invert and cancel background noise via the speakers. Turns out the website is offering prerecorded sounds instead, not really cancelling anything. Still though, surely someone has tried my idea? It would likely need some adjustability to match the phase delay between microphone and ears-via-speakers but I guess it could work.
I don't think it can be done.. active noise cancellation needs to be really really fast and is done using dedicated hardware afaik.
Can't be done because the sound from source propagate as a spherical wave. To cancel it with destructive interference you would need to make a wave which focuses to the source and would only work if you are in between the noise source and the counter wave generator. Unfortunately to make a plane wave you would need infinite number of point sources or need the counter source further away. An alternative is to track listener and cancel the noise around that region but you would only be able to do that with very low frequencies with wavelength larger than distance between your two ears.
I suspect it could be done for sort of periodic noise (or possibly with a predictive net). I've always wanted to implement this on the web but never got around to it.
As far as I can remember, even some of the special-purpose-hardware based solution like you'd find in a pair of noise canceling headphones do better on periodic noises. Not needing to race the soundwave seems like it should make the latency problem much more forgiving.
And the most annoying noises tend to be periodic anyway.
I think you should give it a try... let us test it, if you can cancel out my air conditioner noise you'll be my favorite person...
True, and shows how far we have fallen in the war against latency.
In theory it should be possible with a standard sound card, or a sound chip in the motherboard.
I'm neither a physics nor sound processing expert, but it seems like the microphone creates the signal to invert, and the speakers emit the inverted signal before the initial sound hits your ear. So I reckon the sound must first hit the microphone, then the speakers, then your ear. With headphones, the speakers cover your ears and the microphone is outside the enclosure, so that's easy. In a larger controlled environment with reliable sound dampening on 3 sides, maybe? My inexpert intuition says that doesn't stand a chance of working in an open environment with one microphone and two speakers usually closer to each other than the user's ears. It seems like having a door on a building with no walls.
And for some reason I thought it required triangulation, in that noise cancelation can't be done with sound in a space because the inverse of the sound you hear is relative compared to the person a foot or two away from you.
It does only if the microphone is far away from the ear canal.
If it's close to the ear canal, all you need is low latency hardware (or hardware+software), responding in a few milliseconds thereabouts.
> is done using dedicated hardware afaik.
Agree with the first part of your answer, but not sure what you mean by this second part.
There is dedicated hardware for it, then there are solution using your generic gpu (ex Nvidia RTX Voice), then there are solution using your generic cpu (ex whatever the name of the one discord desktop client provides).
I meant circuits specifically designed for noise cancellation. like in headphones
ASUS makes a noise canceling headphone adapter, and I have a chip built into my Asus motherboard that does it.
That appears to be a "noise canceling" microphone adapter. It doesn't even claim to offer headphone noise canceling, it's just for microphones. There are two dots that might possibly be microphones for active noise cancellation, but I suspect that they would be too far away from your face to be effective. Most likely there is just a DSP inside that tries to filter out background noise heuristically.
there's not too much detail on that page but what I see is that it "reduces EMI interference" from a mic. that's a different thing than noise cancellation (remove the noise from your background so that you hear the audio better)
isn't that different? i thought that's noise isolation that runs using a Neural Net. i don't think it's as real time as you'd need for noise cancellation
Yea. Relatively straightforward on an MCU that supports audio, and running non-OS firmware. I think anything that runs through an OS or schedule would introduce too much latency.
So, it can be on a generic MCU, but not one where the algorithm is competing for CPU time with other processes.
you prolly need a dac or smth, because embedded devices usually don't have the compute needed for real time noise cancellation
Supporting audio kinda implies having a DAC...
Unless you really like the sound of square waves I guess.
You could do it on STM32H7, and probably slower ones too.
How fast can it need to be? The output frequency would be below 20kHz so latency of 50us or so, probably too fast for a userland app but I'd expect it to be doable in a driver or in the OS?
I get a similar answer but through a wildly different path:
I think you have to detect the sound with a microphone, then come up with the canceling waveform before the sound hits your headphone drivers (as they will be generating the canceling waveform). Given the typical size of headphones, it would be something like
2cm/(34300cm/s) ~ 60us
Although, sound travels faster through solids, so might want to be a little quicker. And 2cm thick headphones would be pretty thick.
Interesting! I guess our approaches are linked by the fact that the size of our ears is connected to the wavelengths we want to pick up (or cancel out)… and to the size of headphones. :)
wonder if there's some kind of "virtual microphone" like device that let's you hear sounds further away than a mic in the headset. Google fu showed some ultrasonic virtual microphone but idk if it is useful here..
Hmm, could be. I don't know much about this.
I imagine you want a very good approximation of the soundwave that will hit the ear (so you can cancel it out very accurately). The farther that your 'virtual microphone' is from the ear, I guess the harder it will be to figure out exactly how the sounds it is picking up will combine to hit the ear.
I mean, imagine the extreme case -- your 'virtual microphone' is (virtually) sitting in the path of some directed audio beam which won't hit the headphone wearer at all. Now you do the signal processing and generate a signal to cancel out that directed audio beam, which, because the user isn't in the path of it, causes them to hear it!
yeah, it would have to be super directional..
it effectively needs to be fatter than the speed of sound. sound needs to hit the mic of the noise cancelling device, its inverse needs to be found before the sound hits your ear drums so it can be played at exactly the same time. all this needs to happen in the time it takes for the sound to travel from the devide to your ears. super fucking fast.
Try the app.
That is generating neverending background noises in a certain selected theme (forest, rain, ocean, zen garden, white noise, ...) and the components can be tuned to our liking (i.e forest, with the amount of wind and bird and other effects one likes).
Quite good! I use that.
(noise cancelling term is misleading btw. More like covering noise with another noise. : ) )
> Still though, surely someone has tried my idea
Well, AFAIK some cars have active noise cancelation. I wonder why we don't have it at homes, after all they are both confined spaces. If general purpose computation and software wouldn't cut it, why we don't have whatever they have in those cars? A lot of money is spent on noise insulation on buildings, so the demand and the money must be there.
I don't know anything about the car noise cancellation tech, but I would hazard a guess that instead of using microphones to pick up noises and generate counter-noises in real time, car manufacturers can just create the right anti-noise for their engine sounds, for the sounds of wind hitting the car body, etc. and use them without needing anything particularly clever going on?
Turns out the website is offering prerecorded sounds instead, not really cancelling anything.
Kind of. Not full prerecorded like you'd get in a long audio track, but generators instead with multiple tracks each based on samples. This offers a huge range of customization ability, but also allows the amazing 'animate' feature that allows a constantly changing background.
In the app if you tap where it says 'Default' on a sound you can also choose other preset 'scenes' using the same generators which can be very different - for example the Folk Trad sound set, which has scenes for Breathing Pipe, Calm Blow, Circular Breath, Harmony, Haunting Flutes, Highlander, The Drone and Throat Pipes.
Could it work for cancelling tinnitus? Just have an inverse of that sound playing, with some controls for frequency adjustment for individuals.
I don’t think so. Most tinnitus isn’t an actual sound wave. It’s coming from a glitch in the auditory system. Even if your input was mixing and could theoretically cancel it out, it would be impossible to lock the phase (without some feedback from deep inside your head!)
The Tinnitus Neuromodulator setting works AMAZINGLY well for me. It's effect even persists for some minutes after I turn it off.
"Background Sound Canceller" - as several comments have noted (amid favourable reviews), it's not, and it's not the title of the page.
It appears to be a noise generator, like the brilliant RainyMood.
If you're just looking for white/pink/brown noise, you could alternatively generate it using ffmpeg. I like
ffmpeg -f lavfi -i anoisesrc=color=brown:amplitude=0.4 -filter "lowpass=f=400" -f pulse -device playback-device "noise"
Is there anything ffmpeg can't do?
Don't forget Stephane's other project:
Multitrack, knobbed, and high quality sound. Instantly installs a laser-guided focuser behind your eyes - unless you start playing with the settings. Haha.
I love this site and recently donated. As per another comment here, donate if you can!
Same, although my donation is not recent. I need to re-up.
If you're looking for other options: I've been using the "Iceland White" app and love it. Very high quality recordings of things that sound like white noice (waterfalls and sea coasts). A sister app of the also excellent "Naturespace" (best quality nature recordings I've listened to).
For nearly eight years now, this coming through earbuds has been the only way I can sleep at night. Grateful customer of the iOS app.
On iOS you could also use the native built in background noise functionality which is good.
Go to Settings > Accessibility > Audio/Visual > Background Sounds, then turn on Background Sounds.
Rain , Stream and Ocean are my favourite while needing to focus
True. I honestly don't remember whether those were available when I started using MyNoise (late 2014); but, in any event, I've paid for it already and have downloaded quite a few of the sound choices.
It's a weird subtitle for the website, as the function isn't to cancel out background sound, but to add to it with other background sounds.
Apart from speed of response that many comments mention, isn't there a more fundamental issue with active suppression using wave interference in a 3D space. There will be places where the superposition of the amplitudes of the original wave and the active/added wave will cancel each other out but there will be places where they will superpose additively. Hypothetically one could position the source of the active suppressing waveform where the suppression target originates, but that would not be practical. Of course, with smart and speedy enough tech one could arrange the waves to cancel at a specific point.
Even if you could track the head of listener and send a counter wave to the particular position it would be limited to a very low frequency sounds with wavelength larger than distance between your two ears. Also neighbors wouldn't be happy hearing two times louder noise as it would be without cancellation.
They are great, I recommend them. I also encourage to donate to them.
Impressive! I am surprised by the amount of customization. Love the idea of the sliders moving by themselves slowly, and the bell, with the sheer amount of options.
Japanese garden is a winner for me.
One thing I really like about the background noise feature on iOS is it actively mixes with whatever music you might happen to be listening to on the device so that when the music punches in, the background noise generator backs off and when there's a gap in music playback the background noise subtly goes back up. That's a feature I would sorely miss in noisy environments now that I'm used to it.
YouTube Premium is great for this sort of thing. There are thousands of ambient noise and focus music playlists on there. No ads + music for a reasonable price.
I've been a Google/YouTube Music subscriber for years. Every once in a while I think about switching to Spotify or Apple Music since most of my friends are on there, but for my usage, there is no feature parity.
YT premium can't be compared against this. mainly, because the presets are animatable. So you can generate a not repeating noise.
Exactly. Plus, creating your own "audible" comfort zone, is very tricky. A given sound that some people like, e.g. frogs in a nature soundscape, can be the sound other dislike, or are even afraid of. Offering level control over every audible elements in a soundscape is very important, and not available on YouTube.
It no doubt lacks the customization, but the overwhelming variety of options makes it likely that most people will find something to their liking. YMMV, of course.
Personally I've used everything from Japanese-themed Lo-Fi to Skyrim soundtracks to nature sound to Starship Enterprise warp core background noise.
Reasonable price? Is paying more than a Netflix subscription reasonable to have no ads on content with no expanded content library?
On its own, no, but for a full featured music service with ad-free YT as an extra perk it seems reasonably priced. Same price as Spotify which doesn't have the YT perk.
Do you stream your "background" audio every single time or do you save it locally?
I typically stream it and have a curated playlist that cycle through.
This is my favorite background sound website for focused work. Been using it for years. I have my own custom brown noise, and I also like the various rain noises - so soothing! Perfect when you are in a noisy environment and want to focus.
It's a great app, but it doesn't cancel anything. It produces noise.
It makes me feel better to see lots of people using this. I thought there was something wrong with me for liking noises like this and using them to concentrate sometimes or just feel better.
"I have tinnitus"
Summer Night • As a change from loud white noise, try the sound of insects, singing at night. You're welcome!
Interestingly, as someone with tinnitus, I found the sounds of cicadas to be very painful on my trail runs. I guess I am not alone:
Hopefully they are not in the sound clip :P
The iPhone has this built-in. Go to settings > Accessibility > Audio/Visual > Background Noises
There you can find several noises, ocean, rain and river.
I find sleeping in a tent during the rain actually difficult and much prefer wearing earplugs for the quiet, although tent fabric also tends to flap in the wind which frequently accompanies rain. Do people enjoy the rainy tent noise for sleeping?
Is there any app that uses scripts to generate this sort of audio? I’d like to be able to download a script of a thunderstorm, that sounds different every play, or the script for a coffee shop complete with the lunch rush and afternoon lull.
What kind of interface would you like for such a system?
I created a FOSS alternative (that's not nearly as feature complete as mynoise.net)  but it has the benefit of being CC0 licensed including all of the samples.
If you have features that you think would enhance the experience, please feel free to open an issue  or DM me.
The "meander" from A Soft Murmur and/or "animate" from MyNoise are kinda the starting point, but I'd like something that is a bit more scripted. So, for the thunderstorm example, it would loop a drizzle for some randomized amount of time (or better, a random mix of drizzle tracks), then transition into the "violent thunderstorm" mix, then maybe switch over to a calm night mix, all over the course of a few hours. The logical extreme of this might even integrate time of day for an alarm clock, for example.
The interface I'm imagining is something like a playlist interface but instead of just tracks it has composable "sound elements". A single track might be a basic sound element, a traditional one-after-another track list is another sound element, then we get the interesting ones like a random crossfade mix of elements, or a one-after-another with randomized loop times for each track.
This has helped me at so many points during my career and studies. I donate when I can and I recommend you do too—high-quality work like this deserves to be rewarded.
Thought this was a realtime background noise removal tool for meetings and stuff. For anyone looking for one such tool, lookup noisetorch, it's pretty cool.
This site was useful enough for me that I got it for my phone. Some brown noise with ANC headphones and I don't have to hear other people.
Thank you so much for this! I used the website to generate brown noise to mask city noise like jackhammers and construction trucks.
Love this site. I've been using it for years and this is a good reminder to re-up my donation.
“Aeternitas” sounds exactly like the monolith scenes from 2001: A Space Odyssey.
it's actually quite nice
So basically this is for people who bought and use noise cancelling headphones and want to put back noise in their life.
What about...removing said headphones and listening to the life around you? And even better, open the window?
I know you're trying to be cute, but if you click through to the index it's a lot more than just noise. Most of the generators are specific environments, ambient music, experimental.
> What about...removing said headphones and listening to the life around you? And even better, open the window?
Because I'm trying to work and the life around me is too distracting. Because my noise-cancelling headphones aren't blocking voices. Because baby is trying to settle down and "white-ish" noise helps. Because I have a headache or an ear infection and this one frequency band feels good.
Noise cancelling headphones still have a residual noise, that you will hear, because our hearing has an incredible dynamic range. Adding a faint background noise of your choice, to cover that residual noise, is a good idea.
Then, these crafted noises do exist because of the exact nature of the life around you. For many people, the "life around you" is what they want to escape, exactly.