Review: Relax Melodies and Relax Melodies Oriental Meditation, by iLBSoft
Relax Melodies and Relax Melodies Oriental Meditation, by iLBSoft
Price varies (see below), ****
- Nice selection of sounds
- Can build your own combinations
- Additional meditation options available
- Confusing pricing system
- Some sounds are a little…odd for relaxation
- No universal binary
For any parents out there, be careful when introducing your kids to the X-Files. We showed my daughter an episode, resulting in her being too scared to sleep. In an effort to help her out, I tried these two “ambient sound” apps to allow her to relax and get a good night’s sleep.
Figure 1. Relax Melodies has plenty of sounds from which to choose. My daughter wanted a "wolves" sounds.
The idea of ambient sounds has been around for a long time. I used to have a clock radio that also let you choose sounds effects like a thunderstorm or raindrops. I know a lot of baby monitors allow you to select for sounds like a heartbeat, or “womb” effects. In an effort to find a way to relax and calm my daughter for sleep, I decided to try what may be two of the best apps out there for ambient sounds – Relax Melodies and Relax Melodies Oriental Medication.
Figure 2. Relax Melodies Oriental Medication has more of an oriental theme, but still lots of sounds (including dolphins!)
Both of the apps have the same idea – they provide a huge array of sounds effects (up to 108 for Relax Meditation, and up to 96 for Relax Melodies Oriental) from which you can pick and choose. Along with traditional sounds like storm, crickets, ocean waves, and raindrops, you have options like whale song, wolves, dolphins, trains, and more. You can select white noise, but also “pink noise”, “brown noise”, and variety of chants and musical instruments. In both of the apps, there are also odd selections available that don’t really appear to be relaxing in nature – “sushi shop” and “playground” come to mind.
Figure 3. Mix and match sounds mixes to create overall themes.
In both apps, you can select multiple sounds, changing the relative volume of each, to create a more dynamic soundscape. Select crickets, wolves, and crackling fire, and all of a sudden you are outside, camping at night, in Yellowstone. You can save your favorite combinations to use at a future date as well. You can also set countdown timers so it will turn off after you go to sleep, and the app will continue to run in the background even if you are using your phone for something else.
Figure 4. Guided meditations and "brain wave" sounds in both apps allow for additional relaxing options.
In addition to the sounds, both apps also include meditation offerings. With titles like “unlimited motivation” and “notice beauty more”, you can use these guided meditations (usually lasting no more than 7 or 8 minutes) presumably to help you boost your potential. I wish they had a simple “guided meditation” option, rather than always including some sort of “boost” to your activity or mental state. While I tried these meditations a little bit, I didn’t finish the effort, so I can’t comment if I have unlimited energy or increased awareness now. Both apps also provide “brainwave” sounds, but that seems a little questionable to me.
Figure 5. Countdown timers, music integration, random mixes, and individual adjustable volumes are some of the customization features.
The pricing system for the apps is a little odd and confusing. Both apps have a free version you can download, with limited access to the different features. But they also have a paid version for $2.99. All of the apps allow you to unlock features with an in-app purchase (either unlocking a set of features, like all the guided meditations), or you can choose a subscription based option. Lastly, for $9.99, you can unlock all the features available within the app. I had problems with the full unlock (in the original Relax Melodies app) because it is set up as a subscription, so in addition to being tied to your App store ID, it is also tied to your iCloud ID. Because of this, in the process of testing the apps, I was actually charged twice for the full unlock. The Relax Melodies Oriental does allow you to restore previous purchases, so you don’t have to worry about being double charged with that one. In addition, there is no universal binary, meaning you have to download (and pay to unlock) on your iPad as well.
Figure 6. Preloaded favorites or saving your own favorites, allow for quick access.
All in all, Relax Melodies and Relax Melodies Oriental Meditation are both full features, well designed ambient sound apps. They both provide a plethora of choices and customization options to help you relax, go to sleep, or meditate. A confusing pricing and unlock system means you need to be careful about what you purchase , and the $9.99 price for all the sounds (some of which may not be that relaxing) seems a little high, especially since it is not a universal binary. But if relaxation or sleep assistance is your goal, you would be hard pressed to find a better designed app. If I had to choose between the two, I would probably go with Relax Melodies, but both of them are very good. Four out of five stars.
* = No redeeming qualities or features, probably not worth it even if it is free
** = Few redeeming qualities, or is simply isn't worth the price
*** = Some good features but also some clear flaws
**** = A solid app, worth the money if interested, a few flaws or problems or slightly overpriced
***** = Top of the line app, no problems or drawbacks
Price is factored into the ratings. Ratings are lowered if I feel the price of the app outweighs the benefits/enjoyment/features it provides. Likewise, an app that is a good value for the money will have a higher rating. Please comment on these reviews. All opinions expressed in this review are precisely that – opinions. You may agree or disagree. If you own the app, tell me what your opinion is. If the review prompted you to buy (or not buy) the app, let me know why. If you want more information about the app, go ahead and ask.