This Artist Designed the Ultimate White Noise Machine

published May 31, 2022
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Yuri Suzuki, a London-based sound artist and designer, debuted the Ambient Machine, a box with 32 switches that each release an atmospheric sound to promote “non-active listening.” It’s basically the king of white noise machines.

With a walnut wood frame and bright yellow face, the box contains an internal memory card that stores the data for each switch. It also contains an internal speaker that releases the sound from the back of the machine.

“The Ambient Machine highlights the background noise of our daily lives and gives us an opportunity to pay attention to the sounds around us,” Suzuki wrote on Instagram in April. “It provides a variety of sound effects, such as calming white noise, as well as ambient music as defined by Brian Eno and Erik Satie. By toggling the switch, you can create background music that suits your mood.”

Sounds that can be flicked on include ocean waves, bird songs, chimes and bells, ukelele, tremolo drone tones, and various types of white noise. Each sound can be played independently or combined with other sounds — just turn on whichever switches you desire.

Suzuki told Dezeen that he was inspired to create the Ambient Machine during the lockdown. “We had to stay in one place more than ever, and I started recognizing surrounding noise and ambience more,” he said. “I came up with the idea to make a device that would function to create ambience, and act as a ‘sound conditioner’ (like an air conditioner).”

“In Japan in ancient times, there were always sort of non-active instruments to create atmosphere in the space, such as wind chimes — Shihi-odoshi — and water piano caves.”

“Each sound is designed to allow the other sounds room to be heard when played all together, ensuring that no matter what combination of sounds is played, no voice is ever lost,” Suzuki told Dezeen.

The Ambient Machine was designed in partnership with Japanese furniture company E&Y and is currently featured in its “Thirty Six Views” Exhibition in Roppongi, Japan.