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Lose Yourself in Music: All About Noise Cancelling Headphones

When you're choosing a pair of headphones, there's a lot to think about. First of all, there's the form they take – in-ear buds or the over-the-ear type. Then you'll need to decide whether you're okay with a cable or whether wireless phones will suit you better. That's before you even get into all of the other stats and features that modern headphones have.

One feature that's definitely worth considering is noise cancellation. Headphones that are able to reduce or completely eliminate background noise are extremely useful for travellers, and for anyone else who really wants to escape into the music they're listening to and block out the world. But how exactly does this feature work, and is it worth it?

Active or passive?

Noise reducing headphones will fall into one of these categories, and you might not realise how big and important a difference there is between the two. Passive noise reduction simply means that outside sound is blocked out, either by covering the ear or filling up the entrance to the ear. The active version, on the other hand, actually uses powered technology to deal with noise.

As passive noise cancellation is a simple concept, this article will focus on the active variety.

How it works

To cancel out background noise, active headphones have a small built-in microphone that can pick up what's going on around you. They then generate a sound wave that's inverse to the background noise, sending it to your ears along with the output of your music player. All this, of course, happens extremely quickly and has the effect of removing the noise, leaving you free to immerse yourself in your music.

The downsides

Although most work well, some headphones might cause a drop in the playback quality of whatever you're listening to. Most people probably won't notice, and of course, it's more likely with cheaper models. It's also worth bearing in mind that, although they can remove most background noise, they can't tackle everything. Again, though, the more you spend, the more effective you can generally expect the headphones to be.

Since active headphones use sound processing to work, they need a source of power. Some of them take regular batteries, while others can be plugged in for recharging. Although the battery lasts quite a while, it's something to bear in mind if you're often away from a power source for extended periods. For more information, contact companies like Tivoli Hi-Fi Pty Ltd.