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What is Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) in TWS? How Does it Work?

Over the last few years, we have seen significant growth in the wireless earphones industry, with the most selling category being TWS. Truly wireless earphones have captured a major part in audio products worldwide. Many brands have launched hundreds of TWS in different price categories. And one of the most popular features of TWS earphones is active noise cancellation (ANC). But do you know what ANC is and how it works? In this article, we will explain everything about ANC technology and how it works in TWS.

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What is Active Noise Cancellation (ANC)?

What is ANC Active Noise Cancellation in TWS

ANC is a noise-canceling system in earphones that uses hardware and software to cut out the outside noise. The TWS earphones or headphones are equipped with a chip and a pair of microphones specially designed to record the noise. These are not the ones that are used for calling but are embedded especially for noise cancellation. It cancels out the outside noise by creating some opposite sound waves so that you can enjoy music or answer calls without disturbance.

How Does ANC Work in TWS Earphones?

How ANC Works in TWS

The TWS earphones with noise canceling feature come with a microchip embedded in the earphones, especially for ANC. As we said above, there are some microphones for capturing outside noise and sound waves. These microphones capture all the noise around you like traffic noise, people gossiping, etc.

After picking up these sounds, the ANC system records the sound waves through one microphone and makes way for them to go outside through the other microphone. When the sound wave enters the earphone, it automatically creates another sound wave to flatter the coming sound wave and make it quieter.

This process works when you listen to music or take calls. Along with the music sound, the noise gets ejected outside from the earphones, and because of the quick process, you don’t hear the noise much. This is how the whole process takes place in the ANC-powered TWS.

Also, most TWS earphones with ANC technology come with a transparency mode that enables you to listen to the outside noise in situations you want to be aware of the surroundings.

Types of Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) in Headsets

There are three different types of ANC that you will find on TWS earphones, explained in detail below:

1. Feedforward Active Noise Cancellation

The Feedforward ANC is the most simple type of ANC because the noise-capturing microphones are placed outside the earphones. It uses a digital signal processor (DSP) – dedicated hardware to direct the noise signal to what the user will actually hear inside their earphones or headphones.

However, it is not much accurate as placing a mic inside the earcups. Also, there can be some other factors that can hamper its reliability. If someone has a loose fit of earphones, the noise will arrive in extra high-frequency waves to which the chip may not respond.

The external mics can be beneficial to cancel out the low and medium frequency waves like speech or traffic. But, the high frequency sounds like the wind will not get amplified as it is not captured inside the earcups to be canceled out.

2. Feedback Active Noise Cancellation

In feedback ANC, the microphones are located inside the earcups or earbuds. The biggest advantage of feedback ANC earphones is that the noise captured by the mics reflects the more accurate noise the wearer may listen to. This allows it to cancel the noise faster and accurately regardless of the fitting of the earbuds.

This is good for noise generated by winds while riding, but it decreases the sensitivity of high-frequency noise canceling because very less of the noise is passed through the earphones from outside.

3. Hybrid Active Noise Cancelation

The hybrid ANC combines both feedforward and feedback ANC giving the best noise cancellation experience. It provides the best frequency coverage, including low, medium, and high-frequency waves. And, there are meager chances of feedback issues which makes it the best type of ANC. It can also be used for ambient sound and transparency mode, along with the benefits of the best ANC experience.

But, there are some things that can make you worried about hybrid ANC earphones. The earphones should have a powerful hardware to handle the combined functionality. Also, the earphones should have the best quality microphones to handle all the frequency waves with extra noise. And the biggest drawback of hybrid ANC is it is way more expensive than feedforward and feedback ANC.

Should You Buy TWS with ANC? Pros & Cons

ANC TWS Pros and Cons

The question that arises here is should you buy any TWS earphones with ANC technology? Well, in simple words, it is a matter of personal choice. If you are a working person who doesn’t want any disturbances while working or traveling anywhere, you may like the them for cutting the outside noise.

Reducing the exposure to unwanted noise is also proven to be good for health. Plus, you get to enjoy the audio without any outside distractions or mixing of noise. It also helps with better audio during calls. But again, ANC TWS are quite expensive. And when using in noise cancellation mode, they isolate you from the surroundings which can even lead to accidents.

Pros of Noise Cancelling TWS

  • Helps you focus on what’s important by cutting outside noise
  • You can enjoy the actual music without any distractions
  • Better phone calls in crowded environments
  • Reduces exposure to excess noise

Cons of Noise Cancelling TWS

  • Expensive
  • ANC isolates you, making you unaware of your surroundings
  • Shorter battery life in ANC mode

Popular TWS Earbuds With ANC Technology

Now that we have discussed everything about active noise cancellation, let’s check out some popular TWS earphones with ANC technology in the market.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro

The Galaxy Buds Pro by Samsung is an amazing in-ear design TWS that comes with intelligent hybrid ANC technology. It can filter up to 99% of background noises because of its inside and outside microphones. You can even control the ANC level manually according to the environment noise.

The intelligent ANC on the Galaxy Buds Pro also automatically switches to the ambient mode when you start speaking to someone. Also, the sound is powered by AKG with custom-built 2-way speakers for an amazing overall experience.

Apple AirPods Pro

The Apple AirPods Pro also comes with the hybrid ANC technology. In this TWS, the external microphone cancels the external noise before you hear them, and similarly, the internal mics cancel the noise when passed through your ear inside.

It also has a transparency mode, and you can switch between the noise control modes from any of your Apple devices, including iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and iMac, when the AirPods Pro are connected to them. Apart from it, the AirPods Pro has the H1 headphone chip and is also IPX4 sweat and water-resistant.

Sony WF1000XM3

The Sony WF1000XM3 comes with the most advanced noise-canceling technology in TWS earphones. Yes, it has the hybrid ANC that catches more noise from your surroundings through the inner and outer microphones.

It comes with an HD noise-canceling processor QN1e that cancels all frequency noises and uses less power so that you can get more battery backup. These earphones have a 6mm driver unit and Digital Sound Enhancement Engine HX (DSEE HX) that provides high-resolution audio.

OnePlus Buds Pro

The OnePlus Buds Pro is a mid-range TWS that comes with the hybrid ANC technology. It has up to 40db noise cancellation, which automatically adapts the ambient sound around you with the adaptive noise cancellation.

It also comes with three ENC microphones that reduce maximum noise for a better calling experience. Other features like 11mm dynamic drivers, warp charge, LHDC HD audio codec, Dolby Atmos support,, and OnePlus audio ID make it a perfect pair of TWS for under Rs 10,000.

Realme Buds Air 3

The Realme Buds Air 3 is a recently launched TWS with the active noise cancellation feature by Realme. It supports up to 42db noise cancellation with dual microphones, including feedforward and feedback. Because of the hybrid ANC system also reduces more noise and provides a better sound experience.

It also has a wind reduction feature that eliminates the wind noise to some more extent to have clear calls even while riding. Features like IPX5 water-resistant, 10mm dynamic bass boost driver, customized audio tuning, and up to 30 hours of battery backup make it a good choice for under Rs 4000.

Wrapping Up

This was all about ANC technology in TWS earphones, its types, and how it works. We have discussed everything about active noise cancellation, whether you should buy ANC-powered TWS and the popular options available in the market. Do you own any TWS with ANC? Tell us your experience in the comments below. Stay tuned with WearablesToUse for more informative articles!


Himanshu Kansal

Himanshu roams around the Internet to find the latest happenings in Tech Industry to stay updated about everything Tech. Apart from being a Tech Writer, he also makes content on YouTube and is passionate about Smartphones and Gadgets.