If you’re anything like me, you struggle with falling asleep and staying asleep when there are disturbing noises around you. Intermittent sounds created by outside traffic, your house’s natural sounds, the sounds of your partner, or the sounds of other occupants in your house or apartment can keep you from settling your brain enough to fall asleep or can wake you up after you’ve already dropped off.
Even more distressing for me is a total lack of sound when trying to sleep. A dead-quiet room leads to me hearing that dreaded high-pitched ringing in my ears: the hallmark of Tinnitus. I’ve had that high-pitched ringing in my ears for as long as I can remember and have had to sleep with a fan in my room since I was a kid. That was the case up until about two years ago when I received the Marpac Dohm-DS All-Natural Sound Machine.
Also known as the “Classic” white noise machine, the Marpac Dohm-DS All-Natural White Noise Machine gives you the full “fan sound” because that’s exactly what it uses: a fan. Marpac uses their own unique, asymmetric fan coupled with their acoustic housing to create the rich, full sound every white noise user needs. You might be scoffing at the idea that a tiny little fan can create enough sound, and I honestly would be too if I didn’t have first-hand experience to know better. The trick is the acoustic housing surrounding the fan. At first glance, it seems like the housing should muffle the sound of the fan, but it actually does the opposite. The sound created by the fan is amplified significantly by bouncing off the round sides of the housing, creating the same volume and quality of sound created by a much larger fan.
In addition to creating the full “fan sound”, the acoustic housing also has the added benefit of blocking the actual air moving by the fan. I had used fans when sleeping for nearly my whole life and would always wake up in the morning with a sore throat. This was caused by my mucous membranes getting dried out through the night by all the air movement caused by the fan. Even putting the fan in a corner and pointing it towards the wall wasn’t enough to eliminate this problem. No matter the clever solution, there is always going to be air movement caused by traditional fans, and this is rarely desirable when sleeping (especially during our cold, dry, Wisconsin winters). The Marpac Dohm-DS All-Natural White Noise Machine easily eliminates this problem as there is almost no air movement caused by using it. I sleep with my Dohm on my nightstand by my head and wake up with zero sore throats in the morning.
The Marpac Dohm-DS All-Natural White Noise Machine uses a fan with a dual speed motor. That round button on the front is a simple switch you can toggle between “off”, the lower fan speed, and the higher fan speed. This gives you two options for motor speed that change both the volume and the tone of the sound produced. What’s surprising to me is that I actually prefer the lower setting. Back when I still used giant box fans, I had to have those suckers turned up to at least the second or third setting to get the amount of white noise I needed to sleep. With the Marpac Dohm-DS All-Natural White Noise machine, I almost exclusively use the lower setting as it’s such a rich, full sound. I’m sure it also helps that since the Dohm is much smaller than a traditional fan and doesn’t create any blowing air, I can keep it on my nightstand right by my head where I get the most out of sound.
However, there have been a few rare nights where my Tinnitus has been particularly bad, so I was glad I had the option to use the higher speed. You will honestly be surprised at the sheer amount of sound this little beauty can kick out.
The Marpac Dohm-DS All-Natural White Noise Machine features a truly customizable sound. There are two different twistable panels that alter the volume and quality of the sound. The round top twists back and forth, opening and closing tiny holes in the panel, controlling the amount of sound escaping. The round side panel has an even more ingenious design. While operating on a similar principle as the round top, this panel opens holes in the side that also widen and narrow as you slide the panel back and forth. This not only limits the amount of sound escaping, but changes the tone and quality of the sound as well. These two sliding panels coupled with the two different fan speeds give you a nearly endless variety of different sounds to choose from.
Not to mention, the sliding panels and toggle button are super easy to use and only require the feel of your hand to operate. That means if you want to adjust the sound, you can do so without turning on a light and waking up your brain, singeing your eyeballs, or disturbing your partner!!
The Marpac Dohm-DS All-Natural White Noise Machine is 3.8 inches tall (9 cm) and 5.8 inches across at it’s widest ( ≈ 14.8 cm) and weighs 1.6 lbs ( ≈ 0.5 kgs). This white noise machine puts out a whole lot of sound for its small size. As I mentioned earlier, this small size allows you to keep it close to your head when sleeping and fits easily on a nightstand, bedside table, or even on the floor by your bedside. It’s small size also makes it ideal for travel. The Marpac Dohm-DS All-Natural White Noise Machine can easily fit in a suitcase, carry-on, diaper bag, backpack, or even purse (although it will not fit in a tiny clutch kind of purse, but not much does).
I can’t count the number of times I’ve been traveling and realized I hadn’t thought to bring my giant box fan, or did think to bring it and simply couldn’t because of it’s cumbersome size. I would inevitably need to scramble at the last minute to come up with a solution. I’ve used bathroom fans, oven hood fans, ceiling fans, air conditioning units, apps on my phone, radios tuned to static, and even “white noise” websites on my laptop. None of them are ever good enough. Even when using small, travel-sized fans to create that necessary “fan sound”, the small size just didn’t have the output to create enough sound to block out my Tinnitus.
Have you ever spent the night at a significant other’s place and realized you wouldn’t sleep because they didn’t own a fan? Or resigned yourself to carting your gigantic fan back and forth between your place and your partner’s place? Or how about caving in and buying a second fan to keep at their place just so you can stop carrying the stupid thing back and forth every night?!? Yeah, I did all of those things. I didn’t even consider that there was a much easier option!
The Marpac Dohm-DS All-Natural White Noise Machine uses a simple design that truly triumphs function over form by not sacrificing the quality of sound with flashy, unnecessary, “modern” design flairs. You may have noticed while shopping for white noise machines that many of them have a similar appearance to the Marpac Dohm-DS All-Natural White Noise Machine, and that’s because it’s design is simply the best form to create rich, full sound in such a small appliance. The Dohm’s imitators realized that long ago and have been aping the original’s design ever since.
The Marpac Dohm-DS All-Natural White Noise Machine also comes in three color choices: white, black, and tan. These standard, neutral options should allow you to easily integrate your white noise machine into your décor, whether it’s the bedroom, guest room, nursery, or office.
There’s a reason the Marpac Dohm-DS All-Natural White Noise Machine has been the gold standard for over 50 years, and that’s because it’s superior sound quality comes packed in a durable package. This white noise machine is assembled in the United States and comes with a one-year warranty. Marpac also has excellent customer service and is a company truly interested in creating superior, long-lasting products.
While examining my own Dohm, I noticed that on the bottom it includes who assembled my machine with a handwritten code made up of a few letters and numbers. I’m honestly impressed with this. I’ve occasionally seen the “inspected by such-and-such number” stickers on clothing items, but I’ve never seen anything handwritten on something mass-produced before. It’s obvious that Marpac is trying to be as transparent as possible with the quality of their products, and if you should receive a “lemon”, they’ll know exactly who assembled it.
Unfortunately, there are a few downsides to the Marpac Dohm-DS All-Natural White Noise Machine. The largest downside, in my opinion, is the price. Compared to other white noise machines, the Dohm is definitely a more expensive option, although not the most expensive option available. I received my Dohm as a gift, but probably would’ve balked a bit at the price had I purchased it for myself. In defense of the price, however, I think it’s worth it to spend more money on a quality product that will last for years than to spend a little less money on something that won’t sound as good or last as long.
Another downside is that it’s only power source is it’s 7.5 foot electric plug. For those who travel to other countries or for those who need a white noise machine in the rugged wilderness, it would be nice if the Dohm had a battery or USB option.
Another option some people like to have on their white noise machines is a sleep timer. Either because they don’t want to use the (minimal) electricity or because they want to lessen the load on their machine, many people like to set timers for their white noise machines to have them automatically shut off after they’ve fallen asleep. I personally prefer to have my white noise machine run the whole time I’m sleeping to keep me asleep. It’s easy to have your sleep disturbed by unwelcome sounds throughout the night, so it makes more sense to have a constant blanket of white noise throughout the night.
Some people (me) might also find the Dohm’s emphasis on function over form to be a little, well, frumpy. It’s definitely not the sleekest looking white noise machine, and while it comes in three color options, those colors aren’t terribly exciting. This may not be what the average person gripes about, but I know I personally like it when products have either a pop of color or a bit more of an aesthetically-pleasing look.
Lastly, this machine is wonderfully low-tech. That means there are no Bluetooth capabilities, no syncing it up with your phone, no digital read-outs, and no separate, programmable accounts for multiple users. Personally, I see it as an upside that this machine is incredibly easy to use and is not high-tech. I find those add-ons I just listed unnecessary and wouldn’t use them if they were available. However, I have to assume that those options exist on other white noise machines for a reason, and those of you looking for a wireless, syncable, programmable, white noise machine will want to look elsewhere.
After reading several Amazon reviews, I can say that the vast majority of the reviews for this product are over-whelmingly positive. People swear by this white noise machine and claim it has either saved their relationships with noisy bed partners or saved their sanity with a great nights sleep.
There are, however, some 1 to 2 star reviews that complain of the quality of the appliance, claiming it breaks after a few months of purchase and can’t be returned. What’s odd is that these people are usually already owners of Marpac Dohm-DS All-Natural White Noise Machines and are complaining about the third or fourth machine they’ve purchased, saying that the quality of the machine has dropped off significantly by the manufacturers. They also complain that they can’t return the machines for a replacement or refund, even when it’s only lasted a few weeks before breaking. I’ve also discovered an unhappy customer who complained to Marpac and discovered that what they purchased from Amazon was actually a Chinese knock-off. To me it’s obvious that these people complaining of shoddy craftsmanship who claim they can’t return their units after a few months (or even weeks) aren’t buying actual Marpac products. As with any product on Amazon, make sure you are purchasing from the Marpac vendor and not a third party claiming to have the real thing.
As I mentioned before, the Marpac Dohm-DS All-Natural White Noise machine is the gold standard for a reason. It’s the most “fan-like” white noise machine available in the smallest appliance, without any of the drawbacks you get from using a fan. It’s design is copied by it’s imitators for a reason: its great for creating a rich, full sound that blocks out unwanted ambient noise, the ringing of tinnitus, and noisy bed partners while still being a totally soothing, unobtrusive sound in it’s own right. It’s exceptional craftsmanship ensures that it’s price tag is worth it and will last for years of use. It’s small size and simple design make it easily integrated into any setting where you need a lot of white noise. If you’re a long-time fan user like I was and want to switch to a white noise machine, this is the one to get. Or, if you’re already a white noise machine user and have been dissatisfied with the quality, tone, or volume of the sound produced by other white noise machines, do yourself a favor and switch to the Marpac Dohm-DS All-Natural White Noise Machine.
To read our break down of the best white noise machines, check out our Ultimate Buying Guide to choosing the Best White Noise Machine.