Are there any free, high quality recordings of rain on the internet?
June 6, 2006 4:39 PM   Subscribe

Is there a good source for free, high quality recordings of rain (or other nature sounds) on the internet?

We recently bought a cheap "nature sounds" alarm clock that plays rain sounds while we sleep. While the sound is very helpful (we live in a very old apartment building and it blocks out the sounds our neighbors make), the quality of sound coming out of the clock is pretty awful. I'm not really an audiophile, but digital compression artifacts drive me insane sometimes (I'm talking 128 kbps and lower). So I'd like to load an iPod up with some high quality rain recordings. Is there a (free) good source for these on the internet? Google hasn't been very helpful. Here's what would make me happiest:

Track duration: 30 minutes or an hour long (but looping and crossfading a 5 minute recording would be ok)
Encoding: 192 kbps MP3 (or something better)

Somebody please tell me there is a huge archive somewhere with hundreds of files like this that I just haven't been able to find! I guess if all else fails I can just buy and rip some CDs, but I am poor.

Also: this AskMe post from last year has some good links to software that can generate nature sounds, but I'm looking for actual high quality field recordings.
posted by subclub to Computers & Internet (25 answers total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
My fiancée and I fall asleep to the Gordon Hempton track "Dunes" almost every night (though we're trying to expand our repertoire). It's available in the iTMS and is 71 minutes of crickets and ocean.
posted by dmd at 5:10 PM on June 6, 2006 [1 favorite]

Bittorrent portals are your best bet. You don't have an email listed in your profile.
posted by daksya at 5:11 PM on June 6, 2006

this google search turned up a pretty good page right on the first result.. is that not what you are after?
posted by twiggy at 5:11 PM on June 6, 2006

Not exactly what you want, but some of the stuff at Quiet American might work for you. One of my favorites is the one called "Rowing" under "field recordings". There are some longer recordings in the "discography" section.
posted by bubukaba at 5:12 PM on June 6, 2006 [1 favorite]

there's a nice piece on homophoni (free, downloadable), it's by ryan gregory and christine jeanine.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 5:23 PM on June 6, 2006

twiggy: None of the downloadable sounds on that page are longer than a few seconds. The full-length CDs are royalty free, not free of charge.
posted by dmd at 5:24 PM on June 6, 2006

Somebody please tell me there is a huge archive somewhere with hundreds of files like this that I just haven't been able to find!

Sort of. You have to dig through a lot of results, but give a try, especially the field recording tag. Searching for "rain" in the Open Source Audio section I found this short recording.

I second Quiet American.. wonderful stuff!
posted by rajbot at 5:33 PM on June 6, 2006

Take a look at the Freesound Project. It had some interesting stuff the day that I was playing with it.
posted by bim at 5:39 PM on June 6, 2006

try the recordist.
posted by ab3 at 6:32 PM on June 6, 2006

I'm not the person who asked the question, but ... has anyone answering actually read the question? The asker asked for at least 30 minutes+. Things like freesound, the recordist, and quiet american range from a few seconds to a few minutes.
posted by dmd at 7:07 PM on June 6, 2006

Best answer: I just started using the Atmosphere deluxe program.

It lets you adjust what sounds you want. You can have light rain , heavy rain, a lil thunder, ocean sounds, birds, animals,crickets etc etc..

Tons of choices that you personally adjust their recurrence and frequency and then you save it as a file to put on an ipod, computer or cd.

You ARE the conductor of your very own sound stage. I have a really mellow mix of sounds for sleep, and am working on a background mix for reading to drown out the traffic outside the window. Totally kickass..
posted by stavx at 7:25 PM on June 6, 2006 [2 favorites]

and you can set it for the 30 minutes you need...not just preset short pieces.
posted by stavx at 7:26 PM on June 6, 2006

I have the "Rain and Thunder" CD from Lifescapes label which I picked up for $10 from my local Target store. It's one hour in length and I play it at night with the CD player set on repeat. You can find more of their selections here.

BTW, longtime lurker, first time poster
posted by phrayzee at 7:41 PM on June 6, 2006

Best answer: From

If the compression is too much for your tastes (although I'm not sure what "artifacts" show up on what is basically white noise) then download the flac file.
posted by achmorrison at 7:57 PM on June 6, 2006 [3 favorites]

Forgot to's 42 minutes long, not looped. Although then end cuts off somewhat abruptly.
posted by achmorrison at 7:57 PM on June 6, 2006

Best answer: Seconding the Atmosphere suggestion. Most of the sounds (rain, surf, etc) have a slowly-changing volume so with a good blend of, say, Rain, Light Rain, Wind in Trees and Ocean Surf, you get plenty of soft sussuruss which is not obviously 'looping' at all. Add birds or bugs if you like, and I personally like to add a soft ambient music track underneath. It is wonderful and it never becomes repetitive.

The other thing I can suggest is check out your local library for "Nature Sounds" CDs, rip them, and return them. Free. Or, you can browse the bargain bins; there are lots of Nature Sounds type CDs, and a lot of them end up remaindered. A few bucks isn't free, but it's close. My complaint with prerecorded nature sounds is there is always -something-; a distant dog bark, a frog, a thunderclap, and you'll find yourself -listening- for it, every darn time you play the recording.
posted by Rubber Soul at 9:11 PM on June 6, 2006

My fiancé has been happy with Midnight Rainshower (Rykodisc 30070, UPC 014431007026). It's only one track, 60 minutes long.

To give you an idea of how highly I'd recommend it: I just noticed that the case says it's part of "The Atmospheric Collection"; so now I'm going to click POST, click over to Amazon, and try to find other titles from that series.
posted by cribcage at 11:41 PM on June 6, 2006

Speaking of Atmosphere, has anyone successfully gotten it to export to .wav?
Whenever I try, I just get 60 minutes of nothingness.
posted by madajb at 2:20 AM on June 7, 2006

The quiet american
posted by psyward at 4:08 AM on June 7, 2006

Best answer: Um - I actually record rain and thunderstorms everywhere I go - I have rain falling in Portland Victoria with birds in the distance, rain in Tourrettes-sur-Loup falling on the Grande Rue, rain falling in Tokyo, thunder and cats fighting in Sidi Bou Said, gentle rain on a pond with rolling distant thunder in Normandy featuring ducks.

And I have them uncompressed.

Did I mention small waves breaking on a pebbly beach in Gili Air?

I didn't realise there was a demand for it - I'd be happy to send you a CD (anything at strawberryviagra dot com).
posted by strawberryviagra at 6:40 AM on June 7, 2006 [1 favorite]

Wow, strawberryv -- can I have one too?

I have several environmental CDs but the best for white noise are those Syntonic Environments recordings from the 1970s -- however, I've never encountered a great recording of rain. I have another Rykodisc, "Summer Rain" I think, which exhibits the usual problem -- the white noise aspect of the rain overwhelms the sound such that the individual raindrop spatters are lost.

Another problem with rain recordings is they're often of thunderstorms but for white-noise/falling asleep, claps of thunder aren't conducive. (But I haven't explored achmorrison's link yet.)
posted by Rash at 9:41 AM on June 7, 2006

Response by poster: Wow, thanks everyone for your help!

achmorrison: That file is great, I had looked around but I didn't see that one.

stavx: Atmosphere seems pretty nice, I'm definitely going to mess around with it.

cribcage: I found that CD used on amazon ($3) and my order has been placed!

strawberryviagra: Holy crap! I'll be sending you an email shortly!
posted by subclub at 9:58 AM on June 7, 2006

Strawberryviagra, what are the chances you would ever convert these to MP3 and share them with the world?
Barring that, I would love to get a copy of these myself to listen to.
posted by JonnyRotten at 1:27 PM on June 7, 2006

Hi all - received a couple of emails overnight - so I've contacted those of you directly (I'm in Australia).

I could probably convert them into mp3 as well and stick them on my server - maybe that's the best way to go, but it will take me a little while to get that done so bear with me (I'm off to Tokyo on Saturday, until the 19th June - so after that).

Anyone who wants them - send me an email and I'll let you know when they're ready to download.
posted by strawberryviagra at 4:29 PM on June 7, 2006

Et voila: Here's the recordings right here on Mefi.

I'll send around an email shortly for those who haven't checked back.

They're in the correct order within the playlist and I suggest downloading them and playing them in that sequence - they were originally mixed with a crossfade from each track - so in iTunes (at least) they'll sound fine.

posted by strawberryviagra at 11:24 PM on July 1, 2006 [7 favorites]

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