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A short Introduction

What is Active Noise Cancellation?

Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) uses noise-cancelling speakers to reduce unwanted background noise.

Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) uses a noise cancelling system to reduce unwanted background noise.

The system is based on microphones that “listen” to the sounds outside and inside of the earphone, an ANC chipset inverting the soundwaves and a speaker inside the earphone cancelling the outside sound by the neutralising soundwaves. A bit like taking +2 outside and adding -2 inside to make zero.

Active noise cancellation can be processed through the ANC chipset using either:

  • a feed-forward ANC system has a microphone which is placed on the outside of the earphone
  • a feed-back ANC system has a microphone which is placed on the inside of the earphone
  • a hybrid ANC system is a combination of a feed-forward and a feed-back ANC system

Noise Cancellation types and settings

Your noise cancelling headphones may work in more ways than one. Pick the setting, mode or noise cancellation type that suits your commute or enhances your relaxation time. 

Active Noise Cancellation

Uses microphones and speakers to reduce background and surrounding noises. This is the most known type and has mostly been used in over-ear headphones. Technology has become so small and battery efficient now that it can be used in true wireless in-ear earphones.

Passive Noise Cancellation

Uses well designed ear cups to seal out unwanted noise. This is used for both over-ear headphones and in-ear earphones where the earbud itself will keep surrounding noise out.

Adaptive Active Noise Cancellation

Uses microphones and speakers to automatically adjust to your surroundings. This is the more sophisticated type of ANC where the level of noise cancelling digitally adapts to the surroundings. 

Adjustable Active Noise Cancellation

Lets you change how much background noise you hear by manually adjusting noise cancellation levels. This is useful when you want to have full control.

Transparency Mode

Lets you easily tune back into the world around you, without switching off your music or taking your earphones out of your ears. 

Adjustable Transparency Mode

Lets you change how much of the outside world you want to pass through, without switching off your music. 

Components of a headphone for active noise cancellation

Travelling with ANC

Whether you want to spend the trip catching up on a podcast, listening to your favourite album or simply blocking out the noise around you so you can enjoy travelling in silence, headphones with ANC will help you get there. Enabling ANC on your headphones will consume more battery power. So if you don’t care too much about noise when on a long journey, you can turn ANC off to save battery life. The best choice for flying would be headphones with hybrid ANC, as they’ll act on both low frequency noises - like the deep rumble of an aircraft - and on higher frequencies like human voices, helping you tune out of a crowded airplane and into your own personal soundscape.

Shop our selection of headphones with ANC

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