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I was wondering if there are some generator of sound (such as white noise, or other kinds of sound for the following purpose) for counteracting the sound in working environment? The generator can be either software or hardware, although software is preferred. My OS is Ubuntu 12.04. Thanks!

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There are two free web-based sound generators I personally use.

  • RainyMood plays rain and thunder audio continuously. I really enjoy rainy days, so this helps me relax and focus on my work, and also serves fairly well to drown out external noises.

  • SimplyNoise is a configurable noise generator, supporting white, pink and brown noise, and can also oscillate the volume at several different rates. I use this as well, though less frequently as RainyMood. Pure noise like this doesn't seem to help me as much as it does others.

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Thanks! (1) Can the sound in RainyMood be downloaded? (2) When working with other people around, do you recommend to play the sound out, or just in headset? – Tim Jul 22 '12 at 16:57
Just in the headset... otherwise they'll think that there is an running tap under your desk ! Will also be wise to invest in a good pair of ear closed headphones that will improve also block some external noises. – dawez Jul 22 '12 at 17:14
Thanks, what headset do you recommend, @dawez? – Tim Jul 22 '12 at 17:26
(1) I'm not sure what the source for RainyMood's audio is, but CDs of similar audio can be purchased in a variety of places. (2) I always use headphones when using this sort of tool. Headphone preferences are fairly subjective, but I personally prefer the Sony MDR-7506. – Jonathan Patt Jul 22 '12 at 18:29
Running a sound generator in a headset is not the optimal solution. Try active noise canceling headphones first. – Jan Doggen Aug 28 '15 at 11:22

There is an iOS application called Ambiance. Based on its own description, it calls itself an "environment enhancer". It can create many kinds of sounds in an ambient atmosphere.

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This is one of my favorite noise maker apps. They're always coming out with new free and premium sounds. I have bought all of their premium sounds because they're very good quality. – Kyle Hayes Jul 29 '12 at 18:24

If you have an iPhone, White Noise is good.

Also, my colleague swears by his Bose QuietComfort active noise cancellation headphones. Not cheap, and there are probably cheaper ones out there that are just as good, but they do work well.

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I've heard good things about the QuiteComforts as well and have always wanted a pair, but I just can't spend that kind of money on headphones. – Kyle Hayes Jul 29 '12 at 18:25
@KyleHayes I don't know where you are, but decent noise canceling headphones can be had for around 70 Euros. You don't have to go for 300 Euro models. – Jan Doggen Aug 28 '15 at 11:25
@JanDoggen, what brand do you recommend? – Kyle Hayes Aug 28 '15 at 14:43
@Kyle I have no experience with more than one current model so no recommendation here. I suggest you read user reviews. – Jan Doggen Aug 31 '15 at 15:37

Since you are on linux, if you want a CLI, use:

Which is a script called that just calls the sox play command.

You can configure anything you would like about it.

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It's not free, but also not expensive, and it works well for me: focus@will.

It has several channels with music and white noise-sounds optimized for concentration and blocking out annoying sounds.

It has a very simple integrated timer for pomodoros and plays a very satisfying bell when the time is up. You can use the web player, or an app.

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