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New app lets you enjoy sounds of theme park crowds and more

by Matt Roseboom

We have brought you virtual theme park visits through videos, treadmill runs, and theme park foods you can make at home, now a new app called Ambients will allow you to bring the soundtrack of people back to your life.

While we are all staying home and six feet away from others, the thought of crowds of people at a theme park, or even a busy coffee shop may scare you. But with Ambients, you can put some headphones in, close your eyes and let it take you back to those times when you were able to meet up with friends for dinner or a fun day at an amusement park.

Ambients reintroduces the quiet, persistent background noise of a carefree world using audio tracks meant to soothe without distraction. Unlike other sound apps, Ambients isn’t about white noise or nature sounds. Listeners will hear the murmur of intimate conversation, light laughter, children’s chatter, or roller coaster screams, depending on the atmosphere.

“While on lockdown here at home, I’ve been missing the people-filled outdoor spaces,” said Charlyn Keating, CEO of Stormbreaker Studios in Orlando, Fla. “I started to feel a strong draw to places with crowds, like the beach, a theme park, or even a busy coffee shop.”

Ambients app screen

Studies show listening to ambient sounds on various frequencies can help concentration, relaxation, and even sleep. For some people, when the environment is too quiet, concentration can be a challenge, as the mind tends to be distracted by every small sound. Ambients generates a steady soundtrack that emulates familiar environments.

“Personally, I’ve always worked and studied better with a bit of background noise around me,” said Keating. “I definitely work more effectively in a coffee shop as opposed to the library.”

Users get eight tracks initially with more to come in the next several weeks. Each track is 10 minutes long, but Keating plans to lengthen them in the near future. Tracks include:

Coffee Shop: A mellow blend of quiet conversation, light jazz music, and the sounds of a busy coffee shop

Sidewalk Café: Relax and enjoy one more cup as people pass by

Schoolyard: Lots of giggles and shouts of joy as the kids zoom around outside

Five-Star Restaurant: Light music, the clinking of glasses, and the quiet murmur of intimate conversations

Busy Restaurant: Happy patrons pack a busy and popular neighborhood eatery

Beach: Family and friends enjoy a day at the shore along with the lapping of waves

Shopping Mall: Get a little retail therapy at this indoor collection of shops

Theme Park: Thrilled screams from the roller coaster and nostalgic carousel music

The app is completely free for the month of April. Once the app starts charging, Keating will be donating a portion of the proceeds. “I’m donating to the Ellis Marsalis Foundation. He was my jazz teacher in high school, and died of Covid-19 earlier this month. That was a large part the inspiration for this project. His foundation helps low-income musicians, a group that’s been really hit hard with the shutdowns.”

Ambients is available for pre-order downloads for iOS from the App Store now. The iOS version officially comes out on Wednesday, April 29, 2020. An Android version will release in May. For more information visit the Ambients web site at ambientsapp.com.

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