I’d mentioned in my article on overcoming writer’s block that one tactic for getting into the zone is listening to some appropriate ambience, whether it’s music or just sound effects. I figured it would be a good idea to follow up by providing ten ambience channels on YouTube I consider especially helpful for fantasy, sci-fi, and horror writers.
This list will include a mix of ambient music, walking ambience, and fantasy/sci-fi environmental-themed ambience YouTube channels to (hopefully) cover all of the kinds of sounds that might be most helpful to you. I’ll be including what each channel is best for (whether that be environmental ambience, providing a DND ambient soundscape, spec fic immersion, music, or ASMR). I’m also including my favorite video from each channel—the one I find myself going back to most frequently—and the latest video posted as of this article’s posting.
These are not in any particular order; I find them all unique and helpful in different ways, so I didn’t want to make this a ranking.
1. The Guild of Ambience
- Best For: ASMR/relaxation, fantasy immersion, DND soundscape
- Favorite Video: Fantasy Medieval Town Ambience | 45 minutes
- Latest Video: Celestial Choirs – | Halls & Temples | Ambient Fantasy Music
A mix of gorgeous art, immersive music, and ambient sounds, The Guild of Ambience is primarily focused on one-to-three hour videos intended for DND campaigns. Their library includes everything from haunted crypts to potion shops, and even a few peaceful environmental videos and fantasy music.
They don’t have quite as many videos as some of the others on this list, and their last upload was five months ago. However, I consider their work really high quality and worth checking out. I have an “Ambience” playlist specifically for sitting down and writing, and The Guild of Ambience is one of the channels that makes the most frequent appearances.
2. Miracle Forest
- Best For: ASMR/relaxation, fantasy immersion, urban fantasy immersion, horror immersion
- Favorite Video: Strange Night at the Coffee Shop ASMR Ambience (dreamlike ambient)
- Latest Video: Paranormal Investigator’s Office ASMR Ambience
One of my favorite YouTube ambience channels, Miracle Forest posts quite lengthy videos (typically around two hours, but can be as long as eight, like the one above) with high quality ambient sound and fantastic renders and/or animations. Her channel is unique in that many of her videos, particularly the more recent ones, have a surreal, dreamlike quality to them, and often feature mysterious and creepy creatures.
The video topics vary a lot. Seriously, just scroll through for a bit and you’ll find a haunted laundromat, a friggin exorcism, a subway station with hardcore urban fantasy vibes, and more. This is definitely one of the more creative ambience channels out there.
Also, the chalkboard intro she uses to thank her Patrons is the best sound ever.
3. Nomadic Ambience
- Best For: environmental ambience, chill music/relaxation
- Favorite Video: Cafe Sounds for Study, Coffee Shop Ambience (Lofi Hiphop, Chillhop) 4k
- Latest Video: 8K Rain and Thunderstorm Sounds in Tropical Forest, Koh Yao Yai, Sounds for Sleep, ASMR, 3 Hours
If I need to focus, Nomadic Ambience is the channel I turn to. In addition to lengthy, relaxing videos to help you sleep, they also have recordings of them walking the streets of busy cities. The recordings are super high quality and make for excellent background noise if you don’t want to listen to music, but also need something to listen to while you’re working. Watching their videos where they walk through New York City never fails to make me nostalgic!
My favorite video of theirs is a two hour collection of lofi/chillhop mixed with audio from a busy NYC coffee shop. That video has saved my focus many, many times, and I ended up making a “Chill” playlist on Spotify just to add several of the songs on this playlist.
If you’re big on using background activity as white noise, or if you’re like me and need some kind of background sound for comfort and focus, I highly recommend this channel.
4. Sounds Majestic
- Best For: ASMR/relaxation, environmental ambience
- Favorite Video: Horse walking, The relaxing sound of horses hooves 1 hour 30 minutes
- Latest Video: ASMR Gently Rustling leaves
Just as the name suggests, Sounds Majestic posts the majestic sounds of nature. If you love listening to birds chirping, rain falling, and grass rustling in the breeze, this is the channel for you. The length of videos varies quite a bit, ranging from anywhere between fifteen minutes and four hours, but they have many, many videos of animals and nature, as well as a couple brown noise and white noise videos if too much activity in the background easily distracts you.
5. Michael Ghelfi Studios
- Best For: fantasy immersion, science fiction immersion, DND soundscape
- Favorite Video: Battle With Magic | War Ambience | 1 Hour
- Latest Video: Dwarven City Forge District | Chatter, Labor, Fantasy RPG Ambience | 3 Hours
I believe Michael Ghelfi Studios is a must-have channel for fantasy writers and DMs. I actually found this channel looking for something I thought would be kind of obscure, but I needed it to help me focus on a scene for a fantasy story I was working on. Imagine my surprise and delight when I found exactly what I was looking for: battle aftermath ambience, complete with the sounds of crows, dying soldiers, and roaring flames. This is a great channel for helping you through pretty much any fantasy scene.
They also have an ongoing fantasy music radio livestream that cycles through a ton of, well, fantasy music!
And hey, if you’re a science fiction writer and are disappointed that this high quality channel might not be quite as relevant to you, boy have I got some good news for you! Thanks to working on this article, I discovered that they have a science fiction version of their channel, featuring videos like zombie apocalypse ambience, city street ambience, space, warfare, and more.
6. New Bliss
- Best For: environmental ambience, ASMR/relaxation
- Favorite Video: Royal Library | Rain and Thunderstorm Sounds on Study Ambience with Crackling Fireplace
- Latest Video: Autumn Porch Ambience – Soft Rain Sounds Falling on Leaves for Sleep and Relaxation
A great channel for peaceful, pleasant background ambience for sleep and focus. Lots of cozy cabins and crackling fireplaces for some relaxing background noise. One really cool thing about New Bliss in particular is that the descriptions or comments of their videos always include an “Ambience Storyline,” short little stories to help set the scene.
Their video playlists are separated by rainy ambience and snowy ambience, so if you’re the type who likes imagining yourself in a cozy cabin curled up with a book and listening to the rain or snow, this is definitely the channel for you.
7. Sword Coast Soundscapes
- Best For: fantasy immersion, DND soundscape
- Favorite Video: D&D Ambience – Town Square Daytime
- Latest Video: D&D Ambience – [DIP] – Shrine of Savras
Primarily focused on DND setting ambience, Sword Coast Soundscapes is cool in that many of their videos are tailored to specific settings in DND and other tabletop RPGs. For example, they have several videos set in Curse of Stradh locations like the Ruins of Berez and Tsolenka Pass. If you’re a super serious DM who wants the setting to feel as realistic as possible, you can’t go wrong with this channel.
They’ve also got more general videos like taverns, battlefields, shops, and ships, so this is also a great place for fantasy writers to go.
8. Ambience Lab
- Best For: science fiction immersion, fantasy immersion, horror immersion
- Favorite Video: Sci Fi Metropolis | Ambience | 2 hours
- Latest Video: Fairytale Castle | Ambience | 2 hours
Maybe it’s just me, but I find science fiction and horror ambience channels a little harder to find than the fantasy ones. That’s why I was thrilled to find Ambience Lab, a channel of high quality videos with a very wide variety of settings. Steampunk, urban fantasy, horror, sci-fi, fantasy, you can pretty much find it all here. And, like Miracle Forest, they can get quite specific. I mean, really specific. Like…spaceship lounge or post apocalyptic gas station specific.
9. Cryo Chamber
- Best For: horror/dark fantasy/urban fantasy immersion, music
- Favorite Video: Dark City Ambient
- Latest Video: Fractalyst – Mountain Vault
The only channel on this list that has entirely musical ambience, Cryo Chamber is an excellent choice for anyone writing darker content. I use it anytime I’m working on something for MonThology, an urban fantasy shared world anthology I’m editing for (shameless plug!), and the music has an epic, cinematic vibe to it that’s somehow really relaxing, really creepy, and really hype all at once. For the eldritch and sci-fi horror writers, this one’s for you!
10. T E R A V I B E
- Best For: fantasy immersion, music
- Favorite Video: Dining with A Fatal Vampire 🍷🥀 [Immersive Ambience Experience]
- Latest Video: In 1756, The Genius Perfumer’s Secret Lab
Posting frequently and with a wide variety of settings (and the added bonus of often being able to pick between music or no music), T E R A V I B E describes their channel as an effort to create an entirely new genre that serves as both an auditory and a visual experience. Their videos are some of the highest quality on this list, with renders that really immerse you in the setting. I’d say this is probably the best channel on the list for writers who need help setting the scene in their story but aren’t quite sure how to describe it.
(Thanks for reading! SEO says I need to add images to make my post more fancy, but I only used videos. So here, have a dancing bowl of noodles.
Art by Raul Volpato!)