Noise canceling headphones come in a variety of form factors. Choose the ones that are right for your ears.

Headphones against noise: what are they?

A hot trend in the world of portable music is headphones that can cut out background noise so you can fully immerse yourself in the sound. They are divided into soundproofing and noise canceling, and the two types are often confused. Let’s bring clarity.

  • Headphones soundproofed block extraneous sounds due to their design. They are either inserted into the auditory canal, or fit snugly against the auricle, blocking external sounds. This is called passive noise cancellation.
  • Noise canceling headphones repel extraneous noise due to the emission of antiphase sound waves. This technology is called active noise cancellation (active noise cancelling, ANC). We already wrote about it, for example, in our review of the JBL E65 headphones – check it out if you’re interested.

The ideal option is combo headphones, which are designed to fit snugly in the ear and emit waves, repelling unwanted sounds. It is on them that we will focus.

We hang on our ears: a selection of noise-canceling headphonesWe have already written about how to choose headphones for a smartphone, and introduced you to all the form factors in which headphones can exist: plugs, earbuds, overhead, full-size. Let’s go shopping and look for different types of headphones that support ANC technology.

Silencers against noise

Headphones-stubs, they are also “plugs” and “droplets”, they are also vacuum, but scientifically they are in-ear, they are inserted directly into the auditory canal and hermetically close it from extraneous sounds. Thus, passive noise cancellation is built into their very design. But to place the active noise cancellation system in such small headphones, manufacturers go to various tricks.

The first way – the “noise reduction” microcircuits are placed on the “droplets” themselves – a little in the way of tightness, as they become heavier and can fall out of the ears. For example, like this incredibly profitable (the price tag is only 500 rubles – grab it, otherwise it will run away!) Bluetooth headset with ANC support, AptX codec, NFC and water protection:

The second way – noise reduction is taken out in a separate unit, to which the headphones are attached with wires. Thus, the droplets are smaller and better kept in the ears, but a new problem arises – where to put the noise reduction unit? For example, this inexpensive novelty from Sony with NFC and AirPlay support is attached to clothing with a clip:

Noise canceling earbuds

In-ear headphones, they are also “buttons”, in fact, are correctly called plug-in, as they are inserted into the auricle over the auditory canal. The passive noise cancellation in this design is thus much less effective. And in general, the era of in-ear headphones is a thing of the past – they are being replaced by more sealed in-ear ones.

Therefore, there are very few inserts with ANC on the market – so to speak, for connoisseurs. We found this multi-colored wireless model from Sony: the noise reduction system in them is placed in a bow worn around the neck, to which the earbuds are attached with wires:

Full size noise canceling headphones

Full-size headphones, or headbands, are put on the head with the help of a bow, completely covering the auricle. In terms of passive noise reduction, they are divided into closed and open: the former block noise, the latter do not. It is clear that if you want to hide from the noise, there is simply no point in buying the first type.

Luckily, there are plenty of closed-back, full-size ANC headphones on the market. They have enough space in the case to accommodate the noise-canceling system, so they don’t look much different from each other, regardless of whether they are wired or wireless.

Of course, we just can’t get past the JBL E65 wireless model we reviewed – it has great sound. Moreover, the price of this model has already become quite democratic:

Noise canceling pads

Over-the-ear or over-the-ear noise-canceling headphones are almost non-existent in nature. Classic wired earbuds are headphones with a mount that clings to the auricle or a thin headband that is put on the head from above or behind. The speaker is located near the ear.

Passive noise cancellation is not provided in this design at all. Therefore, what now exists on the market under the name of on-ear headphones are hybrids with either in-ear or full-size ones.

The hybrid with the full-size type has an increased size, weight and diameter of the speakers (compared to the classic), a thicker headband, and the noise reduction system is built into the cups. For example, here are the Bluedio wireless headphones:

The in-ear combo has an in-ear headband and ANC ear cushions. This design is very fond of Chinese manufacturers, and there are many of them on AliExpress, for example, these are:

However, we were lucky: we found almost real ear pads with ANC technology. For real fans of the design, here is a wireless relic of the AfterShokz Trekz Titanium with water resistance and noise reduction. True, you will have to pay much more for it than for analogues from the past.

More about headphones:

  • How to choose headphones for your phone? Tips from CHIP
  • 7 pairs of the best wireless headphones: honest rating 2018
  • Test: which type of headphones is right for you the best?

Photo: manufacturing companies, Pixabay