Noise Cancelling Earbuds offer music lovers the best of both worlds when it comes to their personal listening experience. Good quality earbuds of this type deliver the sound of the same sound quality and ability to cancel outside noise that you’d expect from a full-sized set of studio quality Noise Cancelling headphones. However, they’re infinitely more portable and convenient overall, making them the number one go-to choice for use with iPods, cell phones, tablets, and laptops.
They come in an incredible array of styles and colours as well. Today’s most popular manufacturers provide earbud options that fit snugly and safely into your ear canal, the better to drown out irritating ambient noises in the world around you. There are also styles that fit perfectly into the outer chamber of your ear, in the event you find the inner ear style uncomfortable. Plus earbuds are much cheaper and more affordable than their full-sized headphone counterparts, so they represent an economical, budget-conscious choice as well.
While earbuds are appropriate for use anytime and anywhere, they’re especially handy for use while exercising or being active. Their small, discreet design doesn’t get in the way or slip out of place while you’re jogging, biking, walking, or even doing aerobics. Plus, their ability to eliminate outside noise helps keep you from becoming distracted or disturbed by loud or annoying sounds – perfect for meditation, yoga, or even just a little alone time with your favourite music.
Noise Cancelling Versus Noise-Isolating
Just about any set of earbuds is going to be at least somewhat proficient at blocking noise due to their inherent design, as all earbuds block the entrance to your ear canal to at least some degree. However, before you settle on a pair for yourself, it’s important to learn the difference between Noise Cancelling Earbuds and noise-isolating earbuds. Although the two terms may sound the same, there are some notable differences between them.
Noise isolation is a passive process that involves physically blocking the ear canal in such a way that outside sound waves can’t find their way in as quickly (Think about the way a standard pair of earplugs would work). Noise-isolating earbuds are designed to at least partially block a wide variety of ambient sounds to better ensure a detailed, full-spectrum listening experience for your movies, music, and television shows.
They are considered effective against many common, everyday noises including the sound of nearby people having a conversation, television sets, or even additional music in your vicinity. For this reason, they are used in a variety of everyday environments including aeroplanes, coffee shops, streets, trains, and buses.
With noise isolation earbuds, the fit is crucial. This is precisely why they come in a multitude of sizes, shapes, and styles. Everyone’s ears are going to be different, so many noise-isolating earbuds come with a variety of different heads and sleeves so that you can experiment and ultimately choose the one option that works the best for you and provides the most comfortable listening experience.
Noise Cancelling Earbuds, on the other hand, involve the addition of a built-in electronic mechanism to the mix to provide advanced protection against disturbing outside noise. The technology itself was originally designed to help pilots and communication professionals better understand and absorb radio transmissions despite the presence of intense outside sound.
As for how Noise Cancelling Earbuds work, it’s an active process as opposed to a passive one. Each bud contains a microphone that collects a sample of any ambient noises that might find their way into the ear and disturb your listening experience. A built-in electronic circuit then analyses and processes that sample, creating a duplicate auditory image of the noise which is then fed right back into the signal attached to your music or media.
This process allows for a greater degree of cancellation when it comes to the ambient noise in your vicinity. It works especially well in situations where you might want to combat intrusive, low-frequency noises – under 1000 hertz or thereabouts – and will most likely require additional batteries to work properly. This type of earbud is ideal for use on planes, trains, buses, and other forms of public transportation. Many people use them in office environments to help block out the ambient conversation to better concentrate as well.
What to Look for When Shopping for Noise Cancelling Earbuds?
As is the case with any electronic equipment, it’s easier to decide that a pair of Noise Cancelling Earbuds is the right pick for you than it is to choose from the many choices available to you. Start by understanding that not every set of earbuds advertised as “Noise Cancelling ” is created equally to every other.
Some of the cheaper options out there are little more than “ultra-loud” earbuds that try to physically drown out other sounds by turning up the volume on your music or media. Still, others might involve the appropriate technology, but at the expense of the overall quality of your listening experience. Let’s take a closer look at how you can separate the truly valuable options from all of the cheap substitutes out there.
Decide definitively which type of earbud you want
Before you start your shopping process, make sure that you fully understand your needs. Are you truly in the market for Noise Cancelling Earbuds or are noise-isolating earbuds a better fit for your purposes? The best way to decide this is by assessing when you usually seek to cancel out the noise from the world around you with earbuds.
First, determine whether or not you need to be able to partially hear what’s going on around you for your safety. For instance, if you’re a jogger who likes to work out around the neighbourhood or jog along busy public roads, you need to know if there’s a car coming, making noise-isolating earbuds a better, safer choice. However, if you’re mostly looking to drown out the conversations of others on a plane or at the office, noise cancelling earbuds represent a perfect fit.
Do some thinking in regards to your budget
Understand up front that excellent Noise Cancelling Earbuds are going to cost more, as they’re going to involve the addition of powered processors regular earbuds don’t include. As touched on above, there are a lot of cheap, ineffective substitutes out there so it’s much better to buy a quality set right up front that you can count on to do the job you need it to do. Look for quality items offered by top brands with a good reputation for delivering an excellent listening experience. (Consumer reviews and recommendations can be constructive in this regard.) Pay attention to features such as internal drivers, shape, and build quality as well.
It’s not impossible to find an excellent bargain on a quality set of Noise Cancelling Earbuds or headphones, but it’s important that you don’t go into the shopping experience expecting to pay next to nothing for a reliable set that’s going to do the job. Think of your Noise Cancelling Earbuds as an investment in your peace of mind and quality of life – especially if they’re something you’ll regularly be using because you’re a frequent flyer or a daily worker in a noisy office environment.
Take the earbuds you’re considering for a test drive, if possible
As with any major purchase or investment, you’ll want to try before you buy when it comes to Noise Cancelling Earbuds if at all possible. Try out the set you’re considering right in the middle of the store by switching the Noise Cancelling property on and then off again. How do different brands do at cancelling out the sound of other shoppers talking, socialising, and going about their regular business?
You should also be sure to try various brands with and without additional music being piped into the buds. Not all Noise Cancelling Earbuds are created equally when it comes to eliminating ambient noise without destroying the integrity of the additional music. While some people may simply be happy with switching on the other cancellation apparatus to sleep on an aeroplane, most people will at least want to have the option of also enjoying a television show or their favourite album at the same time. Take the time to try as many different options as possible before buying to make sure you’re getting the best pick for you.
Make sure your option is compatible with the devices you use.
If you usually listen to your media on a particular SmartPhone, tablet, or mp3 player you should bring the device with you to the store when trying out the available options. Plug it into your device if you can and play some of your favourite tracks to see if you’re happy with the integrity of the results. This will make it possible to simulate what your listening experience will truly be like. Again, be sure to try it with the noise cancellation function both on and off.
Pay attention to any warranties or guarantees.
Again, since Noise Cancelling Earbuds represent an investment in a bona fide electronic device, as opposed to just an accessory, so you’ll want to look for high-quality warranties or any additional guarantees a given manufacturer may be offering. A good warranty means that if the electronic component in your purchase ever fails or starts to lose its integrity before its time, it can be replaced. Guarantees are even more important if you’re planning on investing in a truly state-of-the-art option.
It’s also important to be realistic when it comes to shopping for your Noise Cancelling Earbuds. Even the very best choices out there on the market won’t be able to shield you from every noise out there 100% of the time. Sudden noises – like doors slamming or children shouting – may still be audible, as will anything extremely high-pitched. However, overall your earbuds will help take the edge off when it comes to outside distractions.
How to Get the Perfect Earbud Fit
Even though Noise Cancelling Earbuds come alongside an additional apparatus for helping to drown out outside noises, it’s still important to consider fit when it comes to your new equipment. Not only will a good fit help the earbuds work even better, but they’ll contribute to making sure they’re physically comfortable for you wear over extended periods of time as well.
Look for earbuds that are contoured to fit the natural shape of your ear, as opposed to flat in shape. You’ll be able to wear them for longer if you wish and they’ll work better as well. You should also look for earbuds with heads that are made of flexible material, especially if you ever plan on wearing them while you’re doing indoor aerobics, cleaning your house, or anything else active. This will prevent them from slipping out of place or simply falling out of your ears during your activity. If possible, you should also look for earbuds that come with several interchangeable rubber tips in different sizes. This will allow you to try a few different options at your leisure and give you some choice as far as the fit you like best.
You should also be sure to understand that even good quality earbuds have a “breaking in” period during which they’ll adjust even further to the unique shape of your own set of ears. Make sure you use your new earbuds frequently after purchasing to help them adjust to fit you sooner rather than later. Then you can rest assured that they’ll be as comfortable as can be in time for your next trip or visit to the office.
Choosing the right Noise Cancelling Earbuds for you isn’t rocket science. All it takes is a little research, know-how, and careful consideration. Explore the possibilities for yourself today!