Active vs Passive Noise Cancelling Headphones: Explained 2021!

Active vs Passive Noise cancellation

When it comes to listening to music using a wireless Headphone, most of the music enthusiast would only prefer a Headphone with Noise cancellation feature which ensure enhanced experience. Here we will discuss Active Vs Passive Noise Cancelling Headphones and which one you should get!

But what is this Noise cancellation all about? Before we get any further let’s first understand… 

What is a Noise Cancellation?

Noise-canceling can be misinterpreted many times by not so tech-savvy people. But once you understand the true potential of Noise-canceling enabled Headphones you can’t resist the temptation to experience one. 

Just imagine yourself catching a flight at an airport while returning from a tiring trip and you need some sense of peace and rest. What can be more convenient than just immersing yourself completely in music by eliminating the background noises in your surrounding? 

Nothing can! It would be perfectly soothing to listen to tunes that take you to your happy place.

But you may ask that how does this Noise cancellation work? So basically there are two types of Noise Cancelling features that can be equipped in a Headphone. 

Both of them have a significant difference in the way they work including their overall performance. 

This brings us to our main topic i.e. Active Vs Passive Noise Cancelling headphone

So without any further ado. 

Let’s GoGetUpdated!

Active Vs Passive Noise Cancellation


Active Noise Cancellation 

To sum up the meaning of an Active Noise cancellation we can say that it is a Built-in technology within the headphone which can eliminate the Ambient noises by creating artificial sound waves.

When enabled this feature actively seeks out Background noises to makes sure they do not cause any hindrance in the overall music listening experience.

In order to make this work, these headphones are equipped with High-quality microphone which captures the background noises so that the anti-noise waves can be generated. 

However, active noise cancellation also has a downside that it is battery intensive and may cause your headphone’s battery level to drain quickly. 

To experience some of the Best in class Active noise cancellation you could try out premium headphones like Bose QuietComfort 35 II

But you can notice that many premium headphones do not have active noise cancellation features and the reason being that it may affect the overall audio quality. 

When ANC is enabled, the frequencies created to eliminate the Ambient noises can cause sound distortions and degradation of quality. 

But like Bose QuietComfort 35 II and many other Bluetooth Headphones you will have the option to Turn off ANC which can save your battery life while delivering high-quality audio. 

However, using the Headphone for an extended duration of time can make you a bit uncomfortable as the ANC creates pressure on your ears and it feels like you are going through a tunnel or climbing on a high altitude.

This would not cause any severe trouble or pain in your ear and you’ll get used to it. Hence, using the Noise cancellation in a not so crowded place won’t be of any use. 


Passive Noise Cancellation 

The only thing that differentiates Passive Noise cancellation from an Active noise cancellation is that it does not have a built-in feature to eliminate the ambient noises.

So basically, Passive Noise cancellation depends upon the material your headphone is made up of which includes the design, cushioning, padding, etc. 

So practically if the earmuff of your headphone can completely cover your ears to block out noises to some extent it can be called a Passive Noise Cancellation headphones. These headphones do not have an active role in eliminating Background noises. 

Every headphone has a different design language which means that depending upon which headphone you are buying the quality of Noise cancellation will vary.

However, unlike Active noise-canceling headphones, these headphones do not have any microphone which helps in eliminating the noises. Passive noise cancellation works by default and does not require any action to be taken. 

The term “Passive Noise Cancellation” is used mainly for marketing purposes and it is more like noise isolation than cancellation. 

However, on the upside, your battery life would be long-lasting when compared with an Active noise cancellation headphone. 

If you are planning to buy one of the Best Passive Noise cancellations in 2021, do check out Audio-Technica ATH-M50x  that does a great job in blocking out noises passively. 

Active Vs Passive Noise Cancelling Headphones


Which is better Active Noise Cancelling or Passive Noise-cancelling headphone?

If you have clearly understood the difference between the two then it can be clearly stated that the Active Noise cancellation is better than having a Passive noise cancellation

But in some exceptional cases, Passive noise cancellation may work out better than Active noise cancellation.

According to Jabra, passive noise-cancellation is most effective in blocking out erratic, high-frequency noise, such as loud chatter or crackling fireworks.

Active noise-cancellation, on the other hand, is more effective in dealing with constant, repetitive low-frequency noise, such as the buzzing sound of an airplane engine, or the humming noise of a refrigerator, using the headphone’s software and mics. 


Which one to pick Active Noise-cancelling or Passive Noise-cancelling headphones?

If you are confused among two then you need to realize the importance and usability of the headphone.

For a person who travels a lot or who will be using the headphone while commuting, then the Active noise cancellation would be suitable as it can easily eliminate unnecessary noises like traffic.

But don’t forget that these headphones are a bit expensive when compared with Passive noise-cancelling headphones. So another deciding factor would be the amount that you are willing to spend on Headphones. 

Moreover, passive noise cancellation allows you to save some battery life and have a better sound reproduction than cheap active noise-cancelling headphones.

Only once you determine all your requirement and expectation from your new headphone then only you can pick among these two.

 

Active Vs Passive Noise Cancelling Headphones


Noise cancellation Vs Noise Isolating 

While looking for Headphones online you might have come across this terminology “Noise Isolation” 

Don’t confuse yourself now, there nothing much to differentiate between the two. 

Noise Isolating headphone offers a tight fit along with high-density foams to cover your whole ears so that you can practically block out ambient noises. These headphones do not require any additional feature or battery power to work. 

Most of the Headphones or earplugs offer these features and most probably you might be having this on your headphone.

They are generally marketed as “Noise-Cancelling” which is technically incorrect. 

While on the other hand, Noise cancelling uses specific technology to actually remove the unnecessary noises from the Background. 

The headphones with Noise Cancelling features are equipped with three important components which work harmoniously with each other.

It comprises a microphone, a digital signal processor (DSP), and a battery unit.

The microphone captures the audio signal from the background while the DSP generates the Anti-Noise waves to block them and all this happens with the help of the Battery unit that they are equipped with. 


Which is better noise Cancelling or noise isolating?

For obvious reasons, headphones with Noise Cancelling feature is much better than Noise isolating. But sometimes what may happen is that sound quality may deteriorate when noise cancelling feature is enabled.

However, this expectation is only applicable to cheap and low-quality noise cancelling headphone. 


Conclusion 

We hope this has helped you understand the key difference between these two noise cancellation technology. 

Let us know if we can be of any further assistance to help you make a better decision while buying a headphone. 

Thank you for reading!

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