Aura is a placid alternative to traditional music players, providing a rich library of soothing and natural ambient soundscapes.
- A wide range of natural and man-made sounds
- High level of customization in how you build your soundscape
- Both daytime and nighttime sound options
- Unobtrusive design means it will never be in your way
- Intuitive interface removes the need for help documentation
- A narrowly designed app designed for a very specific user base
- Natural sounds might not be the ideal option for an alarm clock
Modern devices aren't lacking for access to media players. Do a search for music players in any app store, and you're sure to be bombarded with a variety of players of varying quality. There's little surprise to that. People love music, and the standard functions of most audio players are set in stone, making them easier to program and deploy. Aura goes off the beaten trail, eschewing user uploaded media and galleries of popular artists in pursuit of a back to nature approach to our aural experiences. Aura's mission is to create the feeling of a natural landscape no matter where you are. It's a simple idea, and given the popularity of white noise and natural soundscapes as sleep aids, it's surprising that there isn't a larger market for it. Perhaps that's in part due to the face that Aura accomplishes its goals with aplomb. Tranquility and meditative immersion are the name of the game here, and Aura boasts a minimalist and unobtrusive design interface that reflects its core values. The Aura icon nests itself quietly in the system tray of your computer, and a quick right click will bring up the control interface. While the software doesn't contain help documentation, this is a case where complex tutorials aren't needed. A simple and helpful fact sheet runs users through all the features and navigational options available, but the sensible and intuitive layout of the control panel means most users won't even need to make use of it. At the heart of the Aura experience is a variety of natural noises one might find in a wooded environment. These are segregated into nighttime and daytime sounds, but the tools users have to create their own unique soundscape are vast. Wildlife is well represented, with a wide variety of bird calls for the daytime profile and insects like grasshoppers available at night. There are also a variety of weather effects that can simulate the sounds of wind and rain. Further complementing the layout are bonfires, owls, and more fearsome sounds like wolf howls. Whether you're looking for a sleep aid, mood staging for meditation or yoga, or stage setting for game night, the tools are all there to create your own environment. There are also a number of soothing options involving musical instruments. By default, Aura automatically adjusts the sounds available according to the time of the day, but the user can personalize this function as they see fit. The option to use Aura as an alarm clock is also available. Aura is distributed as a ZIP file, meaning it's compact to download and easy to install. Most modern browsers have native support for unzipping, and the process of getting it running, befitting its minimalist intentions, can be completed in a matter of minutes. It's also not weighed down with bloatware or advertisements, so you can uninstall it without having to worry about it leaving unwanted remnants in your computer's archives.