Active noise-cancelling headphones: Who are they for?

March 01, 2022 2 min read

Some manufacturers call it DNC (Digital Noise Cancellation), at MadRabbit we call it ANC (Active Noise Cancellation). In any case, it is about a technology in headphones that ensures that disruptive background noise is actively filtered out.

What does that mean?
Everyone knows passive noise reduction. The ear-buds or the ear tips isolate background noise when the ear tips locks with your ear-canal . If this passive noise isolation is good, you can listen to the music at a lower volume that is easier on your ears because you don’t have to drown out background noise. This usually works quite well, especially at higher frequencies.

Active noise cancellation goes one better. In addition to passive insulation, this technology uses a microphone to measure ambient noise. Then an opposite polarity signal is generated that compensates for the noise. One fights one sound wave with another, reducing sound by sound. Roughly like the force of two water waves colliding would cancel each other out.

What does active noise cancellation bring to the user?
The active noise cancellation in addition to the passive one is particularly useful for people who use their headphones in noisy environments - when commuting or traveling by bus, train, plane, etc. While background noise can’t be completely eliminated, and single loud noises will always cut through, the effect of flipping the ANC/DNC switch is huge.

Active noise cancellation takes energy
The term “active” already indicates that energy is needed here. For measuring the ambient noise and generating the counter signal. As a rule, this energy is provided by a rechargeable battery integrated in the headphones.
If you turn on the active noise cancellation, you can hear and feel it even without music playing. Depending on the headphones and wearer, the feeling is different. Some may initially feel that the headphones slightly suck on their ears, others find that switching them on briefly affects their sense of balance. These effects usually only last a few seconds; what remains, however, is the impression of fascinating stillness.

It’s best to try it yourself
The choice of the right headphones is generally a very individual one. Fit, sound preferences and listening habits determine whether a headphone suits you or not. With the active noise cancellation there is another factor. The best thing to do is to try out different models in person. MadRabbit in particular is known for its noise-cancelling headphones, our Touch ANC is know for it’s ideal noise cancellation technology coupled with touch gestures that controls volume and tracks.

So, if you’re someone who uses earphones in noise environments, and don’t to raise your music volume to make the music more audible. You have to go Active noise-cancelling earbuds or headphones.