What are Noise Canceling Headphones?

Using noise-canceling headphones (NC Headphones) is an excellent way to enhance your listening experience by removing ambient noise from the environment. These headphones are better at removing continual sounds such as background traffic sound, than sudden sounds such as a screech of car brakes, or a rifle shot. They can radically increase the quality of music listened to when using them in conjunction with Ipods’, MP3 players and also your home stereo system. Furthermore, some models of these headphones are designed to drastically reduce environmental noise even when no music is being played through them, serving to isolate the user from a constantly noisy location.

There are 2 ways in which NC headphones achieve noise cancellation, either through passive or active noise cancellation techniques or sometimes using a combination of both.

Passive Noise Cancelation

Passive Noise Reduction is provided when headphones totally cover the outside of the ear or ear buds can be used that fit snugly into the ear canal thereby preventing external sounds reaching the listener in the first place. Passive noise reduction is mostly used to cancel out unwanted high frequency sound which is difficult to effectively remove using Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) techniques.

Active Noise Cancelation

Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) headphones reduce sound that could interfere with your listening such as traffic, conversation, aircraft noise etc by means of active noise reduction circuitry. This normally uses small microphones which are located inside the headphones. The signal from these microphones is inverted and used to generate a noise from a speaker driver in the headphone which in theory should cancel out any unwanted noise present. ANC is used mainly to cancel out lower frequency unwanted sound.

Limitations of Noise-Canceling Technology

These types of headphones tend to be better at reducing constant environmental sounds such as low traffic noise, aircraft sound and the hum of background conversations. This is due to the slight time delay between sound occurring in the environment, and the headphone’s speaker producing the sound to cancel it out. They are not as effective with sudden sounds such as sirens, sounding of horns, people shouting and babies crying.

Different Manufacturers of NC Headphones

These types of headphones are supplied by many different manufacturers such as Able Planet, Audio-Technica, Bose, Denon and JVC to name but a few. Within the pages of this site you will find comparisons and reviews of the different manufacturer’s offerings.

And Finally…

Purchasing recommendations based on the content of these reviews will also be made. I hope you find this information on NC Headphones helpful when making your purchase.