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5 Free Ambient Sound Mixers to Read By

Patricia Elzie-Tuttle

Contributing Editor

Patricia Elzie-Tuttle is a writer, podcaster, librarian, and information fanatic who appreciates potatoes in every single one of their beautiful iterations. Patricia earned a B.A. in Creative Writing and Musical Theatre from the University of Southern California and an MLIS from San Jose State University. Her weekly newsletter, Enthusiastic Encouragement & Dubious Advice offers self-improvement and mental health advice, essays, and resources that pull from her experience as a queer, Black, & Filipina person existing in the world. She is also doing the same on the Enthusiastic Encouragement & Dubious Advice Podcast. More of her written work can also be found in Body Talk: 37 Voices Explore Our Radical Anatomy edited by Kelly Jensen, and, if you’re feeling spicy, in Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 4 edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel. Patricia has been a Book Riot contributor since 2016 and is currently co-host of the All the Books! podcast and one of the weekly writers of the Read This Book newsletter. She lives in Oakland, CA on unceded Ohlone land with her wife and a positively alarming amount of books. Find her on her Instagram, Bluesky, and LinkTree.

We’ve already discussed free, pre-mixed, bookish ambient sounds before, and I think they’re pretty great. Sometimes, though, I love being able to make my own reading ambient noise mixes to match my mood or perhaps the genre I’m reading. I also love the rain exponentially more than I love sunshine, so any time I can turn on some rain sounds with a bit of thunder in the background is heaven for me. Here are five free ambient sound mixers that are available for you to make your own sound mixes to read by.

A Soft Murmur

A Soft Murmur has 10 different options of free sounds that seem to be common in sound mixers (rain, crackling fire, coffee house chatter) but also a singing bowl, which I’m not sure I’ve seen available elsewhere. You have the power to adjust the volume of each of the sounds (if you want it playing at all). A timer, mix-saving option, and share option are all available. There is also a paid upgrade available with 13 more sounds including pink noise, cicadas, and air conditioning. A Soft Murmur is available on the web, and in the Apple and Google app stores.



Noisli (also available on the web, Apple and Google app stores, and as a Chrome extension) is also free and similar to A Soft Murmur. If you don’t create a login, you have access to 16 sounds to mix including brown noise, electric fan, a train going down tracks, and rustling leaves. With a free profile, you can save and share your mixes, have access to a timer, and also have access to an in-site text editor. Noisli also does a lovely, gentle color-shift as it is used.



Defonic is also along the same lines as Noisli and A Soft Murmur. The home page has a daytime mode and a nighttime mode to make things easy on your eyes. It offers 21 free sounds to mix including some really fun ones like a cat purring, swimming with dolphins, a campus library, and some sounds of driving along a road. There’s a free timer function which will mute in one hour or 30 minutes. There’s also a premium option to access many more sounds.



Ambient Mixer

Ambient Mixer is a crowd-based sound mixer that we’ve featured on the site before. People can upload sounds and make your own mixes (or atmospheres as they are called) with hundreds of options as well as vote for your favorite atmospheres. It can get pretty overwhelming with the amount of choices available but I also find it very fun.


Purrli: The Internet Has a Cat

I left the most important sound mixer for last. Yes, it is exactly what you think it is: a sound mixer of a cat purring. And occasionally meowing. You control the tone of the purring. Would you like it steadier or livelier? More relaxed or more overjoyed? How often do you want meowing? There is also a timer function available and the best part for me is that I get to hear a happy cat without my allergies going bananas.