We’ve owned a few copies of the Dohm White Noise Sound Machine, model DS, for several years, and have run them most every night in bedrooms and guest rooms without noticeable harm or any ill effects whatsoever; either to ourselves, or to these sound conditioners.
They work well at work also, to lessen the impact of sudden surrounding noises often heard in close quartered cube spaces. Some friends report having used these truly fan-based sleep machines for thirty years, with significant health improvements noted (they sleep sounder with them, and are consequently more alert and energetic at work, experience improved mood, are less irritable, able to focus and concentrate more, and are generally more healthy overall). Indeed, we’ve found the Dohm DS highly effective at, “cancelling,” or at least, covering up distracting noises such as televisions playing in adjacent roms, laughing and conversations, the cats jumping from high places and thumping around, and traffic noises outside.
This Dohm DS white noise generator indeed helps enhance sleep, and fits into most any room décor, with its ivory, off-white color. Thus, it can compliment any color scheme. Indeed, we wish we would have known about these white noise sleep aids years ago, when we relied on much bigger table fans to generate enough white noise to sleep by. The fans, while creating plenty of white noise, also generated much unwanted air currents and drafts. This Dohm DS sleep conditioner however, which itself contains a genuine fan, creates all the white noise but none of the draft. Nice.
The Dohm DS offers about the best white noise sound of any white noise devices we’ve tried. We prefer its electro-mechanical fan sound over the more modern, digital sound conditioners because the DS creates a fuller, virtually non repetitive whirring noise, whereas the digital ones generally have a “tinny” sound that lacks low-frequency content; an essential component of effective white noise; particularly when needed to combat the lower frequency sounds of traffic and footfalls.
The Dohm DS (dual speed) sleep machine contains a real motor and fan blades inside, that create a very steady, non-varying white noise that features low hum and vibration sound, and has no “loop effect.” Often the digital sound conditioners play a three or five second long sample over and over again. Call us strange, but we indeed hear that looping when trying to sleep, and so, it agitates and irritates. Thus the digital units end up keeping us awake; having the opposite of their intended effect.
The Dohm on the other hand, just emits a gentle air-blowing sound that blocks external mid-range and high-frequency noises very well, and it does a pretty good job masking the lower frequency sounds (bumps in the night, slamming doors, television bass, cars going over rumble strips outside, and so on).
We found very little to complain about in the Dohm DS sound conditioner. Even the $49.99 price per unit seemed reasonable. Hard to find these units used for much cheaper. It seems that once people buy them, they rarely sell them, running them until they completely wear out. Scarcity on eBay probably means an excellent quality device. Plus, the mechanical simplicity of this fan-in-a-box, means that it can run and run, for decades, without failing.
Benefits, Pros, Advantages, and Features
Simple to operate. It has a three-position OFF, LOW, and HIGH rocker switch, a top disc adjustment that rotates, and a side ring adjustment that also turns. The latter two settings alter the characteristics of the produced noise to tailor the sound output to most any sleeping situation, room acoustics, types of surrounding noise being blocked, and so on. You just plug in the 980A, turn it on, and rotate the adjustments.
Two speeds. It has a low speed and high speed setting built into the three-position power switch. The high speed works best for the noisiest slumber environments.
Vibration isolation. The DS features a foam rubber pad on its bottom to provide some isolation from the surface that you sit it on. This keeps humming noise and 120 Hz. vibration from the AC motor inside pretty low.
Compact. Much smaller and lighter than the fans we used before purchasing the DS SleepMate. So it’s much easier to find room for it close to the bed. Its modest size also makes the Dohm DS quite portable, so you can benefit from its calming white noise sound while traveling as well as in your bedroom at home.
Does not collect much dirt and dust. Unlike the fans that attracted much dust over time, this DS noise machine does not collect much dirt as there’s effectively no air movement through the unit. The blades inside are fashioned to make noise, not to move air (and dust) around.
Neutral colors. Its light ivory, black, or gray color (comes in these three colors) makes the DS machine go well with most any room color scheme.
Several units together strengthen the effect. The Dohm DS blocks otherwise intruding noise pretty well for moderately quiet environments. However, we have extremely sensitive ears. For us, just one DS therefore, was insufficient. So we bought several others to place around the bed for a stereo white noise effect that worked much better.
The Marpac SleepMate tradition lives on in this Dohm DS sleep sound generator. This unit virtually duplicates the performance and function of the Marpac 980A SleepMate of years ago.
Disadvantages, Problems, Cons, and Limitations
As mentioned, we found none too much to legitimately gripe about in the Dohm DS SleepMate. But here are several minor complaints we have.
Not loud enough at times; particularly in close living quarters with neighbors, where very thin walls are the order of the day. Thus, we had to buy three of them; not just one.
Insufficient bass frequencies. It does not block very low frequency thud style noises very well. We wish Dohm would consider designing a much bigger unit that generates a much louder low-frequency component in the white noise. This would better cover the jolting thumps of footfalls above, and door slams below.
Hum is often heard. This model provides insufficient vibration isolation; We can hear the motor humming unless we fold an undershirt and put that between the DSand the supporting table.
Not maintenance free. The motor bearings inside require occasional lubrication; particularly when used every night for several years as we use ours. No big deal however, as a motor disassembly is not too challenging, and the bearings (both top and bottom) can be cleaned and lubricated with a few drops of silicone machine oil.
The Dohm White Noise Sound Machine, model DS, is a good value. It lacks none of the features or simplicity anticipated from a truly great, easy to use white noise machine, though perhaps some of them could be improved a little. Nonetheless however, we would again buy the DS, and would therefore rate this unit at 98 out of 100.
Where to Buy the Dohm DS White Noise Machine
These devices are available online at Amazon, eBay, and other Internet vendors. Some retail brick-and-mortar places carry them as well, although we’ve not seen them sold locally.
- Dohm’s Web Site
- Official Product Page
- White Noise on Wikipedia
- What are White Noise Machines? on Wikipedia
- Where to buy the Dohm DS White Noise Sound Machine
- 2017-02-06: Added the Related Posts section.
- 2017-02-02: Updated tags list. Changed post title to: Dohm White Noise Sound Machine DS for Sleep and Office Review.
- 2016-01-11: Originally published.