Sounding Nature: Rain

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The auditory system’s response to rain is intricate and intriguing. Rainfall produces a rhythmic sound that varies based on factors like drop size, velocity, and surface impact. Studies (see below this article) have shown that the sound of rain engages the brain’s auditory cortex and limbic system, triggering emotional responses. Rain can also be perceived as kind of white noise, which can mask external disturbances and promoting a sense of tranquility. The reason it can qualify as a white noise as it contains all frequencies in equal proportion and the sound is made by uncorrelated samples. 

Psychological Impact of Listening to Rain:
Listening to rain has garnered attention for its potential psychological benefits. There is more and more research to be found on the topic. Research by Alvarsson et al. (2010)1 suggests that nature sounds, including rain, have stress-reducing effects also supporting the above claim that the noise of rain can have tranquil effect. The main conclusion from the article is that stress recovery goes faster while listening to nature sounds. Rain sounds can evoke feelings of safety, comfort, and nostalgia, potentially aiding in sleep and concentration. Important to notice is the word CAN. As the perception of sound is always a personal one, when for instance less pleasant memories are triggered the sound in general can be calming but will not have that effect. 

Interesting is that in many nature studies on the effect of nature that there is always a small group of people who don’t describe any benefits from listening or being in nature. The estimated guess is that a group of people just don’t like nature, don’t like bugs, or have unpleasant memories associated with nature. This effect is described in relation to multiple nature research in the book The Nature Fix by Florence Williams.

Types of Rain and Their Effects:
Different types of rain can also create different and distinct psychological responses. A light drizzle, akin to a gentle tapping, can create a cocooning sensation conducive to introspection and meditation. Heavy rainfall, with its dynamic and enveloping sound, might evoke a sense of coziness and encourage productivity. A soft rain accompanied by distant thunder could enhance the feeling of security by emphasising the power and unpredictability of nature. 

Neurologically, listening to rain can influence the release of neurotransmitters associated with relaxation, such as dopamine and serotonin. Apparently the repetitive and gentle nature of rain’s sound contributes to activating the parasympathetic nervous system, inducing a relaxation response. Therefor physiologically, rain sounds can lower heart rate, reduce blood pressure, and decrease cortisol levels, collectively contributing to reduced stress and anxiety. If you search across the internet many people use rain sounds to help them fall asleep or calm them down in general. 

In work environments, the rain’s rhythmic cadence may promote focus and creativity. Research2 shows that extroverts while listening to heavy rain sounds can do calculations better. < https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5821317/

Conclusion

The effects of listening to rain is highly personal. Listening to rain can be beneficial. In short the possible positive effects of listening to rain are:

They may reduce anxiety and stress levels

They may enhance creativity and cognitive abilities

They may enhance focus or sleep by masking (white noise) other disturbing sounds

If you like to experiment with listening to Rain sounds?  As Flower of Sound we recorded several rain experiences. They are recorded in high order ambisonics sound, which means when you listen them you can perceive yourself in the middle of the rain giving the experience of listening to rain extra impact ( IMMERSIVE ).

WHAT TYPE OF AUDIO FORMAT DO I NEED TO USE WITH MY DEVICE?

For Headphones / Hearables only.

Is an audio format for spatial audio over headphones, earphones and hearables.

The binaural audio format is the simplest and most cost-effective way to delve into the realm of immersive audio. Listening with headphones of any type and quality (clearly, higher-quality headphones provide more details and precise sound localization) positions this format as the most widely used.

This is made possible by Head-Related Transfer Function (HRTF) rendering, which translates complex spatial mixes in the left and right channels to create a realistic immersive audio effect in headphones.

For listening our content with headphones or hearables the audio formats are two :

FLAC and MP3.

FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) is a compressed audio format that differs from traditional lossy compression methods. Unlike formats like MP3 or AAC, FLAC is a lossless compression, meaning it retains all the original audio data during compression without sacrificing quality. The compression in FLAC is achieved by encoding redundant data more efficiently rather than discarding it.

MP3 (MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3) format is a widely used audio file format that employs lossy audio compression to reduce the file size while maintaining a good level of sound quality. It was developed by the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) and has become the de facto standard for online digital music files. MP3 files are about 1/10th the size of uncompressed audio formats like WAV or AIFF, making them ideal for streaming over the internet and storing large music collections. The format allows for the storage of music, podcasts, audiobooks, and other audio content, and is supported by a wide range of devices and operating systems.

for Home Theater | High quality Sound bar 

 TrueHD with Dolby Atmos requires compatible audio and video devices for full utilization. This includes Blu-ray players, AV receivers, soundbars, and home theater systems that support Dolby Atmos and TrueHD.

 

Dolby TrueHD, also known as MLP (Meridian Lossless Packing), is a lossless audio codec used widely on HD and UHD Blu-ray Discs. Dolby TrueHD supports up to 24-bit audio and sampling rates from 44.1 kHz to 192 kHz. Dolby TrueHD supports up to 7.1 audio channels as well as Dolby Atmos immersive audio. 

Many modern media streamers from popular brands such as Nvidia Tv Shield, Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and others often support the “audio passthrough” feature to allow the unaltered transmission of audio to your external audio system.

It is advisable to check the product specifications or device settings to confirm the presence of this function.

MKV (Matroska)

The MKV audio format is compatible with high-quality audio tracks, including advanced codecs like Dolby TrueHD, commonly associated with Dolby Atmos. This means that MKV audio tracks can incorporate lossless audio in Dolby TrueHD format, providing a high-quality sound experience, including the capability for three-dimensional object-based audio with Dolby Atmos.

Additional features of compatibility with Dolby Atmos TrueHD:

1. Dolby TrueHD: MKV can host audio tracks in Dolby TrueHD format, which is a lossless audio codec used to maintain the highest possible sound fidelity.

2. Dolby Atmos: Dolby TrueHD is often associated with Dolby Atmos, allowing for the playback of three-dimensional object-based audio. MKV audio tracks incorporating Dolby TrueHD can, therefore, deliver an immersive and spatial audio experience.

3. Extended Compatibility: MKV’s flexibility in supporting various audio codecs contributes to its ability to handle advanced audio tracks like Dolby TrueHD, making it suitable for high-definition audio content.

In summary, MKV’s compatibility with Dolby TrueHD, including support for Dolby Atmos, expands options for the distribution and enjoyment of high-quality audio content through this multimedia format.

MLP (Meridian Lossless Packing)

The MLP  audio format is a lossless audio codec developed by Meridian Audio. It is known for its lossless compression capability, allowing for the reduction of audio file sizes without compromising the original audio quality. The MLP format was initially developed for the high-fidelity audio industry and is commonly used in high-quality media such as DVD-Audio.

 

Key features of the MLP audio format:

1. Lossless: MLP offers lossless audio compression, meaning that all original audio data is preserved during the compression and decompression process.

2. High Fidelity: Due to its lossless nature, the MLP audio format maintains high-fidelity audio quality, making it suitable for audiophiles seeking top-notch audio experiences.

3. Usage in DVD-Audio: MLP was initially used as the primary audio format on DVD-Audio discs, providing high-resolution audio and advanced surround channels.

4. Multichannel Support: It supports multichannel configurations, allowing for the playback of surround audio on home theater systems.

5. Compatibility: While the format is best known for its use in DVD-Audio, it can also be employed in other contexts that demand lossless audio.

For Soundbar | Smart speakers | Sound bars | PC Tablet | Home Theater

MP4 audio files with Dolby Atmos DD+ can be played on devices compatible with Dolby Atmos. These may include soundbars, home theater systems, AV receivers, and Dolby Atmos-enabled audio devices ( smart speakers , tablet and PC laptop )

Playback Devices: Compatibility is contingent upon the playback devices and applications. Many modern soundbars, AV speakers, and audiovisual devices support Dolby Atmos DD+ through MP4 files.

It is crucial to verify the specifications and capabilities of audio devices to ensure support for MP4 files with Dolby Atmos DD+.

For immersive media | VR Games | 360° movie | Sound Design | Sound Installation

Ambix is commonly used in immersive audio productions, such as 360-degree videos, virtual reality (VR), and augmented reality (AR). Its spherical representation offers an engaging and realistic sound experience.

Our recordings are made with third-order ambisonic microphones (TOA)*

Use cases of ambisonic format:

– Professional Audio Production: Audiophiles and professional recording studios may use Ambix to capture and reproduce a wide range of spatial details in sound.

– Post-Production: Ambix can be employed in audio post-production for applications like film sound design, advanced music production, and the creation of multi-channel audio content.

– Compatibility with Other Immersive Technologies: Ambix is often integrated with other immersive technologies, such as motion tracking systems and 3D graphics, for a comprehensive and synchronized audio representation with the visual environment.

In summary, the Ambisonic Ambix format is designed to provide a comprehensive and three-dimensional audio representation, making it suitable for a wide range of immersive and professional applications.

* Ambisonic orders refer to the number of microphone capsules in a spherical array used to capture three-dimensional audio. Increasing the order adds more capsules, enhancing precision in spatial audio recording.

binaural audio 3d
dolby dd+
dolby truehd
ambisonics
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