You Are Feeling Sleepy...

Sleep is one of the essential elements to good health. If you can't sleep properly, it's hard to think properly. Many years ago, when the first clock radios began to appear on folk's night-tables in the early '50's (There were radios with clocks in them earlier, but they were large floor-standing units) they included a feature that allowed the radios to turn themselves on and off at a pre-programmed time (or times). It was a technological wonder. Now it makes us yawn... 

AR-sleep15a.jpgAnd while I'd venture that the majority of readers have used an alarm feature on some device during the past week, I wonder how many readers have used the "sleep" function on that same device at the end of the day? 

The sleep function, for any of my readers who've just woken up from an extremely l-o-n-g sleep, is the ability of a device to turn itself off or turn off one of its functions at a specific time. This shouldn't be confused with the "sleep" function on most computers and intelligent devices, which puts them into suspended animation, so they will draw minimal power. No, this sleep function was devised principally to let humans go to sleep (or wake up) to the sound of music. 

AR-sleep12a.jpgObviously, clock radios all have (or had) a sleep feature built into them. Many playback apps and music streamers nowadays also have a sleep/play function, but for me how a device or app handles the sleep function is important because, in my humble opinion, there is a right way and several wrong ways to implement a sleep function, and some devices and apps just don't get it right. 

So, what can a manufacturer possibly get wrong about a sleep function? Give the user a way to set the amount to time the device or app will play and then turn it off...simple and idiot-proof, right? Maybe... 

AR-sleep13a.jpgI've come across several problems with the "sleep" functions that can make them less than ideal. The first problem is the length of playing time options offered. My Sonos Connect offers me 15 minute, 30 minute, 45 minute, 1 hr, and 2 hour options for sleep-play. I would prefer, quite often, to have the Sonos play for 20 minutes as 15 is often not enough to reach dreamland while 30 minutes is too long. Minor problem? Sure, but how much harder would it have been to allow the user to choose any time rather than just certain fixed ones? 

The second, and for me more serious issue with many sleep timers is how they turn off. For several months I had a MUZO Cobblestone streaming device attached to my bedroom system, which currently consists of a PS Audio Sprout 100 hooked up to a pair of Mirage OM-5 loudspeakers and Aperion Subwoofer. It had sleep functions built-in, but instead of a fade-off as the playing time came to close the music just stopped, abruptly. On several occasions I found that the sudden cessation of sound actually woke me up from drifting off to sleep... 

AR-sleep14a.jpgFor me it's important that a sleep function have a gradual, soft, turn off. This one thing that the Sonos player gets right - it has a gentle fade-off that takes almost 45 seconds, which has never roused me from slumber. That's the right way. 

And while I'm not about to climb up on an electronic platform, start a Facebook group, and begin to campaign actively for an international law on how sleep functions should operate, I do care about how a manufacturer has implemented the sleep function in any streaming device or music player I would consider letting into my sleeping quarters. 

That's just how I roll, off to sleep...

 

 

comments powered by Disqus

Audiophile Review Sponsors