The Difference Between Generated White Noise and Recorded White Noise

There are basically two types of white noise machines that you will be able to purchase today – those that create their own white noise and those that use recordings of white noise. If you are curious to know what the difference is between these two types of machines then you are in luck! As you can tell by the title, in this article I will look at both types and explain how they are different so that you will be able to make a better decision when it is time for you to purchase one.

Generated White Noise Machines


White noise can be generated by mechanical machines like the Marpac DOHM-DS and its more popular, older sibling the Sleepmate. These devices typically use an internal fan and the surrounding air to generate pure white noise, whereas most modern white noise machines will use pre-recorded white noise sounds. As you can imagine, white noise generators have been around for a very long time and people having been using them for decades to get a better night’s sleep. They are still very popular, even today when we have more “advanced” sources to supply our white noise, because the sounds that they produce are familiar and have been proven to work.

White noise generators are by default very simple machines. They have one dedicated purpose – to generate white noise – so you will not see many, if any, fancy features at all on these devices. This lack of features may be considered a drawback for some people. In a world where we are used to having many options, a white noise machine that doesn’t have a timer, a variety of soundscapes, or mp3 compatibility is seen as ancient technology by many consumers. There are still, however, dye-hard pure white noise fans that prefer this “natural” white noise for one reason or another. One of the reasons commonly sighted is that there is no looping of the white noise, since it is constantly being created.

Recorded White Noise Machines


In the past few decades white noise machines that use recorded white noise have become more available and more popular. Some manufacturers of these more modern devices claim that they are able to produce more authentic white noise because the sounds they use cover a broader spectrum of frequencies than what a mechanical white noise generator can create. I have yet to find scientific proof that this is true, but what I do know for sure is that these modern white noise machines definitely offer more options to users.

For starters they are capable of playing much more than just white noise. Most of the white noise machines that you will find on the market today will also have a wide variety of soundscapes for you to choose from such as nature sounds, city sounds, and train sounds. Some of them also offer different kinds of noise like pink and brown noise. They also typically have at least a few fancy features like iPod connectivity, automatic timers, and even night lights; these can normally be found on the machines that are designed to be used in nurseries.

Closing Thoughts

So which type should you get? Well, honestly, from all my research I think both types are very effective in producing sound that will block out unwanted noise and help users to get a better night’s sleep. The main difference is all the bells and whistles that you will get with the more modern white noise machines, and this means the one you choose will be a personal preference. If all you want to do is mask the constant sound of cars driving by on your busy street, you really don’t need more than a traditional white noise generator. But if you want to have the machine turn off automatically after a specific period of time, or if you want your white noise machine to be able to detect changes in the surrounding noise levels, then you will want to look at more modern white noise machines like the Ecotones Sound + Sleep.