White Noise vs Brown Noise
So you’re looking for a sound machine and you keep hearing about terms like white noise, brown noise, and pink noise, and you want to know what in the world you should be looking for. We compare the different “colors” of noise, below.
Spoiler alert: Most sound machines use something in between the technical definitions, so no need to overthink it! 😊
What is White Noise?
White noise is a type of noise that contains all frequencies at equal intensity, which means it has a flat frequency response.
White noise sounds like a constant hissing or buzzing sound, like the sound of a TV or radio static. The sound of white noise is created by combining sounds of different frequencies, from low-frequency sounds like deep rumbles to high-frequency sounds like hissing or whistling.
White noise is most effective at masking unwanted sounds, such as traffic noise, snoring, or barking dogs. But truewhite noise (again, think TV or radio static) is straining to the ears and not something you’ll likely want to sleep with.
What is Brown Noise?
Brown noise, also known as red noise, is a type of noise that has a higher intensity at lower frequencies.
Brown noise sounds like a deep rumbling sound, like the sound of thunder or a waterfall. The sound of brown noise is created by filtering white noise, boosting the lower frequency sounds and reducing the higher frequency sounds.
Brown noise is often considered to be more relaxing than white noise because of its deeper, more calming sound. Because of this, brown noise is better to sleep with – more airplane cabin, less TV static.
What About Pink Noise?
Pink noise is somewhere between the annoying hiss of white noise and the deep drone of brown noise.
Pink noise is a type of noise that has more energy in the lower frequency range than in the higher frequency range. Pink noise sounds like a hissing or rushing sound, like the sound of waves crashing or leaves rustling in the wind. The sound of pink noise is created by boosting the lower frequency sounds and reducing the higher frequency sounds.
What Noise Do Sound Machines Make?
Most sound machines don’t produce a perfect “color” of noise – they are somewhere on the spectrum.
Products called “white noise machines” are usually somewhere between colors. “White noise” has become a colloquial term for a broad range of sounds that have a constant, non-specific character. While the term originally referred to a specific type of sound that contains all frequencies at equal intensity, it has now come to include a variety of sounds that have a similar masking effect, such as pink noise, brown noise, and even nature sounds.
What About SNOOZ?
SNOOZ’s fan-based sound machines are somewhere between the pink and brown spectrum. They are deeper than truewhite noise, so they are relaxing and pleasing to the ear, but they are still able to mask noises to protect your sleep from disturbances.
Additionally, since our flagship sound machines use a real fan, the sound is unlike anything you'll get out of those digital machines playing noise on repeat!
Try one out, risk-free for 100 nights! If you don’t love it, we’ll take it back and pay for the return shipping!