PROS / The sound profiles have authentic and relaxing sound qualities.
CONS / It has an awkward design that is tall, with stiff buttons and a snap on base.
VERDICT / This sound machine is not the best for masking external noise, but it does have good-quality sound profiles. It can help you relax, though it's not ideal for reaching deep sleep cycles.
The Sound Oasis S-550-05 comes equipped with six total sounds – ocean surf, stream, rain, white noise, summer night and wind. It comes with an interchangeable SC-250 sound card that can be swapped out for another SC-250 sound card to add more sounds, which you can purchase though the manufacturer.
Sound machines with speakers located on the back of the machine– such as the Sound Oasis– didn't fare as well in our sound masking tests as machines with speakers facing upward or forward. Abrasive noises such as a blender and a vacuum cut right through the white noise setting and were still quite audible. Most of the white noise makers in our review were able to completely mask the traffic outside of our testing facility, but the Sound Oasis failed at this task.
Although the white noise generator did not fare well in our sound masking test, it did receive decent marks in our sound quality tests. Our reviewers were unable to hear any noticeable looping patterns in the sound profiles. The rain profile is a little bit brighter than others in our comparison, but it is still relaxing. The wind profile may be the most authentic sounding profile out of the bunch. The wind gradually builds up and whistles as if it were blowing against your home and then reduces before the next rush of air. Overall, the profiles are high quality.
This sleep sound machine has a bit of a funky design. It stands 6.5 inches tall and is thin. There is a separate base piece that clips onto the bottom of the sound machine to keep it upright. The buttons to change between sound profiles are located on the bottom of the machine. The buttons are a bit stiff and take a little force to press in. If you try to press a button with a single finger, it just pushes the sound machine across the tabletop. To change the sounds, you need to use two hands otherwise it will just slide around the tabletop.
There is a big gray button that runs down the center of the machine that turns the sounds on and off. There are no markings that this is the function of the button other than a dash across the bottom. The timer and power/volume are located on the right side of the machine as rotary dials. The timer can be set to continuous play, 30 minutes, 60 minutes or 90 minutes.
The sleep machine is powered by an AC adapter, but it can also be powered by four AA batteries. You have to remove the snap-on base in order to get to the battery slot.
The sound machine has authentic-sounding nature profiles that are relaxing, but the white noise setting didn't do well in our noise masking tests. This is partially because the speaker is located on the back of the machine. The design is a bit awkward – tall with stiff buttons and rotary dials– but the Sound Oasis S-550-05 sounds realistic and relaxing.