What is Active Noise Cancellation and Why is it Important?

Admit it, boAt fam: There’s no greater vibe killer than outside noise leaking into your blissful, headphone listening experience – that too at the just the wrong moments. It’s funny how certain kinds of sounds become intolerable when you have your pair of earphones or headphones on – gadgets whose purpose is actually to channel the sound into you! Irony much?

Well, what can we say, fam? Not all sounds are pleasing – certainly not so when they are interfering with your listening. Imagine that annoying hammer drill from a nearby construction when you’re just about to give a presentation on a Zoom call. Or bawling babies on the flight right when the Stairway to Heaven solo is about to hit you. Gosh, that doesn’t sound very heavenly at all, does it? Imagine something even worse: wildly loud (and unfunny) colleagues laughing their heads off right next to you as you try to focus on the deadline day tasks. There goes your zen music for a toss!


At that moment, you might wonder: Why are my noise-cancelling headphones not working? Well, hate to break it to you, but your headphones might not have Active Noise Cancellation. Wait, what? Active Noise Cancellation? Now what is that?

Active Noise Cancellation – What exactly is it?

Focus on the word ‘active’. Simply put, Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) is a unique (and, frankly, life-saving) technology that ‘actively’ cancels ambient noise around you.

You see, regular noise cancellation is simply about blocking the ambient noise with the help of padding or layers. This means that there is a possibility that loud sounds and noises will still creep in and turn your day miserable.

Enter Active Noise Cancellation. Developed as a technology in the 1950s for aviation pilots, ANC picks up ambient sound – one with the steadiest frequency – with the help of microphones and then negates it. This done with the help of a powerful chipset that inverts the soundwaves by generating a reverse frequency sound and playing it over the speakers. When this inverted sound combines with the ambient sound, they both effectively cancel each other out. The result is a phenomenal, crystal clear, even markedly improved listening experience. How cool is that?

Well, that sounds important

The fact that ANC technology was invented to enable aircraft pilots to work better amidst the harsh sounds of engines and what not points towards how important it is. In today’s context, active noise cancellation on your headphones helps provide adequate sound immersion, especially in high pressure situations like virtual meetings, live gaming, or even emergency response services.

There’s a reason why Active Noise Cancellation is a regular feature on high-end headphones, and is often a great indicator of the quality of the headphones. Thankfully, over the years, this beautiful tech has become relatively less expensive and more common, so don’t think it’s outta your reach. Check out the dope boAt Nirvanaa 1007ANC that lets you enjoy 20 hours of serenity with the Active Noise Cancellation mode switched on!

On that note, remember, active noise cancellation isn’t the same as sound-proofing. Don’t expect it to pick up and cancel out irregular sounds like chatting or the occasional loud thud. It works best when the sound disturbance is steady – like a drone, or a hum, or something constant and regular. Having said that, ANC combined with sound-proof padding and good quality muffs can definitely block as well as actively cancel almost all of the ambient noise with great ease. Sweet!

Well, Active Noise Cancellation does sound great (quite literally!). Thank heavens for whoever came up with it, otherwise every day would seem (and sound) like a Monday without them.

Until next time, folks. Till then, keep silencing the unwanted noise in your life with your boAt-titude!

November 01, 2021

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