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Cambridge Sound Management Nightingale review

You can find white-noise machines on Amazon for 30 bucks, so why should you spend $300 on Cambridge Sound Management’s Nightingale sleep system? Here’s a quick rundown:

Good — Your purchase includes two speaker-equipped smart plugs — install them on opposite sides of the room for a surround sound effect. Nightingale is highly customizable, even for snorers or for folks with tinnitus. You can set a recurring sound schedule and it works with Amazon Alexa and IFTTT.

Not-so-good — When Nightingale is plugged in, but not playing your white noise/nature sound of choice, a subtle, but irritating high-frequency sound comes from the device. You might not notice it, but I did and it was annoying.

Get Nightingale if you’re truly interested in advanced levels of sleep machine customization. For everyone else, a more affordable product will probably do the trick.

Nightingale sweetens your smart sleep routine
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Getting to know Nightingale

Nightingale is literally just two smart plugs outfitted with color-changing night-light LEDs and speakers. They connect to the related iPhone app over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth (there’s currently no Android support). Install them on opposite sides of your room facing each other to create an immersive stereo effect Cambridge Sound Management refers to as “sound blankets.”

Because Nightingale is a smart plug, you still have full access to your outlet for lamps, alarm clocks and other electronic devices. One thing really bugged me, though — Nightingale emits a high-frequency sound when it isn’t in use. It vaguely reminded me of the buzzing sound you might hear from a nearby fluorescent light fixture. Again, you might not notice it, but I found it annoying enough that I unplugged the units more than once.

Inside the app

Open the Nightingale iPhone app and it will immediately begin to walk you through the brief configuration process. Make sure your Nightingale is plugged in, select “Find Devices,” add your Wi-Fi details or connect over Bluetooth and create an account with your email address and a password.

After that, you can begin to customize your account. Select among various room types or conditions, such as “Adult Bedroom,” “Youth Bedroom,” and “Tinnitus Condition.” Then you can determine if your room is absorptive, neutral or reflective.

An absorptive room is carpeted, with drapes and upholstered furniture, whereas a reflective room has hardwood floors, glass surfaces and minimal upholstery. A neutral room has a mix of both. All of these things help determine what sound Nightingale selects for you. The final step is to create a schedule that will turn your Nightingale on/off automatically.

This entire process should take just a few minutes. While the app is mostly well designed, there’s a slight learning curve in terms of locating specific settings and features. They’re scattered on various screens through the app.

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