There’s no dearth of good quality in-ear headphones in the highly-competitive audio market today. However, Active Noise Cancellation or ANC is fairly nascent in the earphones segment, therefore, finding a competent pair of earphones with this technology can be quite an arduous task. If you’re a frequent flyer, or if you commute a lot in traffic-ridden cities, ANC can prove to be invaluable since it encapsulates you into your very own auditory bubble. Let’s dive into this list of earphones or in-ear headphones equipped with ANC that you should consider for your next purchase.
The latest and greatest true wireless offering from Apple, the AirPods Pro, comes equipped with an array of bells and whistles. First and foremost, is the Active Noise Cancellation Mode. The microphones present within the earphones detect external sounds from both outside and inside the ear. The earphones then produce an “equal anti-noise” to counteract the sounds and mute them. The earphones also come with a Transparency mode which allows users to be aware of their surroundings by enhancing background sounds. The AirPods Pro forgoes the design present on the AirPods (1 and 2) and goes with a more compact and streamlined design with customisable silicone tips. Apple’s custom speaker driver and the proprietary H1 chip provide enhanced sound quality.
The earphones’ case can be charged wirelessly on any Qi-certified wireless charger. The earphones feature a battery life of 4.5 hours per charge, while the charging case is capable of topping it up another five-six times. Apple claims the total battery life to be more than 24 hours with both, the earbuds and the charging case.
The Bose QuietControl 30 wireless earphones are a pair of neckband-style earphones that offer variable noise-cancelling levels. These earphones can easily diminish sounds like an aeroplane engine, traffic, and AC hum. The user is able to control the amount of external sound they want to let it down to a granular level, using the company’s breakthrough technology. Additionally, users can customise the headset by utilising Bose’s Connect app, available on both iOS and Android. The battery life on these earphones is decent at about 10 hours per full charge. The earphones require about 2.5-3 hours to charge back up to full. Bose has also added three sizes of Stay-Hear+ QC tips which enhance the passive isolation and pump up the bass response. For calling, Bose has added a nifty side-tone feature which lets you hear your own voice through the headphones as you speak. This is so that you don’t raise your voice too much while talking.
Featuring Sony’s lauded ANC technology, the Sony WI-1000X Noise Cancelling earphones also come equipped with atmospheric pressure optimising. This makes them ideal for frequent flyers. They don’t compromise when it comes to audio quality either and support high-quality audio with DSEE HX, S-Master HX, LDAC and aptX HD. In addition to this, Sony has employed AI smarts to implement a Smart Listening feature on the Sony WI-1000X which can detect user activity and adjust the sound of the surroundings. The company has rated the battery life at 13 hours which is quite good for wireless Bluetooth headsets.
The sound signature leans towards the warm side with punchy bass response, controlled mids and balanced highs. If ANC as well as the sound quality matter to you, then the Sony WI-1000X Noise Cancelling earphones can prove to be a great choice since it has an array of noise-cancelling features and a warm, pleasant sound profile.
Offering solid, sculpted audio performance and hybrid Active Noise Cancellation technology, the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E4 earphones allow users to immerse themselves into an auditory bubble. The earphones are driven by a 10.8mm electronic-dynamic driver and sport a frequency range of 20 - 16,000 Hz. On the flip side, the earphones also come equipped with a Transparency mode which lets users be aware of their surroundings on crowded streets or train stations. The company has also added an array of memory foam ear tips that enhance passive noise isolation and also offer a secure fit. When it comes to battery life, the Beoplay E4 is capable of almost 20 hours of playtime with ANC turned on. Aesthetically, the Beoplay E4 features a premium and minimalist look with a matte black finish while the buds themselves are made of stainless steel.