These days, active noise cancelling is a feature that is a prerequisite for wireless headphones and earbuds. However, if you don’t know what is ANC and want to learn more about it, this blog is for you.
If you are a frequent traveller or love to enjoy music anywhere without any disturbance of background noise, get the noise-cancelling headphones. It is the best upgrade you can make for yourself. ANC makes use of noise-cancelling speakers, which will cancel out the unwanted background noise and make your world quieter. Before a decade, this cutting-edge technology was available only in expensive headphones. However, nowadays, it is readily available in most headphones and wireless earbuds.
Before we dive deep into how ANC works, let us first understand the difference between sound and noise.
Difference between sound and noise
Before diving deep into how to cancel noise, we must first understand what sound is and what noise is. Sound means the compression and decompression of particles in the medium it flows through. Here in our case, we can consider this particle as air. In the above picture, you can see sound in the form of a wave that is moving through the air.
When moving, these air particles can lead to slight speedy changes in air pressure. It is widely known as air pressure amplitude. Your brain and ears can detect these changes in sound pressure. If you record and chart this amplitude over time, you will get up the diagram as shown above.
Larger amplitude = louder sound
Faster changes = higher pitch
The sound can be wanted or unwanted, and it can be pleasant or unpleasant.
When it comes to noise, it means unpleasant, annoying, or very loud sounds.
What is the cancellation of noise?
In simple terms, the meaning of noise cancellation is to shut out the surrounding noise. However, remember that no noise-cancelling earbuds or headphones can completely cancel out the sound.
Such noise-cancelling headphones and earbuds can only reduce the ambient sound significantly by offering you the illusion that the noise is cancelled. However, when it comes to the term active along with noise cancellation, it means the headphones are actively searching for noise with an aim to neutralise it.
However, here the question is how do headphones cancel out the outside noise? To get its answer read on.
How do headphones cancel out the outside noise?
The headphone can cancel surround noise by phase inversion and create anti-noise. The concept of noise cancellation is quite simple but seems a bit tricky at first glance.
For example, as shown in the above picture, if you take two identical waves and line them up by matching their peaks and troughs, then two waves are called in-phase. When both waves are summed up, it produces a louder sound.
On the flip side, when you delay any of the one waves by one-half wavelength and match up the troughs with the peaks, two waves are said to be out of phase.
In order to cancel out the surround sound, the headphones subtract negative pressure from the positive pressure of the wave and vice versa. When you add one and subtract one, you will get the result as zero.
This is the simple and basic physics behind noise cancellation that is used in ANC headphones.
The ANC term on the packaging of headphones means the headphone surrounding your head can assist you in communicating and concentrating even when so much surrounding noise is there.
Now, let us give you brief information regarding what is ANC and a few things that you need to keep in mind while shopping for ANC headphones.
What is ANC?
ANC – active noise cancellation makes use of a noise cancelling system to cancel out unwanted surrounding sound. This system is based on microphones that will listen to the earphone’s outside and inside sound, and after that, the active noise cancellation chipset reverses the sound waves.
The speaker present in the earphone cancels out the surrounding noise by neutralising the sound waves, as discussed above. ANC is the most common type of noise cancelling method that is used in over-ear headphones. However, nowadays, the technology is advancing and becoming small and battery efficient, so the ANC method is even used in true wireless in-ear earphones.
How Does ANC Work?
To better understand how active noise cancellation works, you can refer to this picture. As discussed before, ANC headphones use microphones that can listen to both inside and outside noise. In ANC headphones or earphones, one mic listens to the outside noise, captures it, and creates the exact opposite sound waves to neutralise it. It will provide you with just the audio that comes out of the headphones. This active noise cancellation technology works best with constant noise, such as the airplane hum and traffic, than with loud or inconsistent sounds, such as people talking or announcements.
The reason to use ANC
Unwanted and unpleasant noise does not just affect our productivity, but it can also cause irritation and be the reason for lack of sleep and increased stress levels. In the long run, it can even affect our mental health. These noise-cancelling headphones were invented for pilots, but later, it was used by travellers. However, in the current scenario, due to consistent human presence and lack of privacy, even in homes, people feel having ANC headphones is a necessity, not a luxury.
In summary, active noise cancelling is quite a convenient and inexpensive tool for remaining productive and focused. The technology behind it is simple and makes everything from listening to music to taking phone calls clearer and more enjoyable as compared to traditional speaker designs. Now that you know what ANC is, you’ll be able to make more informed purchase decisions. So, if you want to experience the freedom that comes with ANC headphones and earbuds, NOW is the best time to get started.