On paper, ANC headphones seem outright better than normal ones, but are noise-cancelling headphones really worth it?
With noise-cancelling headphones, you can enjoy your music without the distracting roar of a plane overhead, the rattle of a bus passing by or other dins. While these devices are incredibly useful, there are some things to consider before you buy them. There is usually a high price tag attached to them, so you may wonder if they are worth the money.
To make your decision easier, we will weigh the pros and cons of noise-cancelling headphones and help you decide whether they're for you. Let's get started!
Are Noise-Cancelling Headphones Worth It?
Noise-cancelling headphones, also called active noise-cancelling headphones, are purpose-built to reduce (not eliminate) outside noise. They work by using microphones to pick up low-frequency noise and generate the “opposite” sound to neutralise it before it reaches the ear.
If you add +1 and -1 you get 0. This is essentially what active noise-cancelling headphones do. It generates a sound that’s phase-inverted by 180 degrees to the unwanted noise, resulting in the two sounds cancelling each other out.
That said, they don't completely eliminate the noise, but rather reduce the noise overall. Higher frequencies, such as human vocals and higher, are barely blocked by the headphones. Also, fast and transient sounds, like a door slam or a hand clap, aren’t blocked effectively.
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Pros Of Noise Cancelling Headphones
There are many reasons why you might want to get noise-cancelling headphones, including the fact that they can help you block out ambient noise and improve the quality of your audio experience. But what exactly are the other advantages of noise-cancelling headphones? Let's see!
- They offer a better listening experience. Noise-cancelling headphones cancel out external noise, leaving you with a clear and quiet environment. As a result, you will have a more clear and more comfortable listening experience.
- They offer better sound quality. Noise-cancelling headphones offer superior sound quality compared to normal headphones. This is because they use advanced technology to cancel out background noise, allowing you to hear all the nuances of your favourite songs.
- They help you stay focused. If you are working from a busy restaurant or cafe, your noise-cancelling headphones will block out all the chatter and disturbing noises, and help you finish your job without getting distracted.
- They protect your hearing. Long-term noise exposure has been shown to cause significant health risks, including cardiovascular disease, sleep disorders, hearing loss, and tinnitus. By cancelling out distracting sounds, noise-cancelling headphones may keep your hearing healthy.
Whether you’re listening to your favourite song or watching a movie, a noise-cancelling headphone will make a huge difference in the experience. However, they are not perfect. There are still some downsides to noise-cancelling headphones. We will explore that next.
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Cons Of Noise Cancelling Headphones
Like any piece of electronic device, noise-cancelling headphones aren't perfect either. They have their own set of disadvantages, and if you are planning to get one, you need to know its cons before jumping right into it.
- They are expensive. Noise-cancelling headphones are, in general, more expensive than normal headphones. You can expect to pay around $100 for a decent one.
- They have short battery life. Noise-cancelling headphones consume a great deal of power because of the work they do, resulting in short battery life. A $100 one can give you about 20 hours of uptime.
- They make you oblivious to your surroundings. Sometimes being unable to hear anything outside of your headphones isn't practical.
Clearly, the pros outweigh the cons and noise-cancelling headphones seem like a useful piece of equipment. But do they live up to the hefty price tag? Let's find out!
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In our opinion, noise-cancelling headphones are worth it. However, it isn't necessary for everyone.
If you are an audiophile who cares about sound quality and clarity, you might want to invest in noise-cancelling headphones. Or if you are the type of person who travels a lot, a good noise-cancelling headphone will make your journey on a plane, train, or subway far more pleasant.
Bose QuietComfort 35 could be the perfect choice for avid music listeners. This Alexa-enabled headphone offers three levels of world-class noise cancellation for a better listening experience in any type of environment.
But, if you are someone who is looking for a headphone to listen to music or watch movies at home, then noise-cancelling headphones aren’t going to be a necessary thing for you. Of course, you can buy it if it doesn't break the bank.
If so, we recommend you go for budget-friendly ones like Skullcandy Hesh. It offers decent performance and 22 hours of battery life, which is more than enough to get you through your journey or marathon watching on Netflix.
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