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Explaining the ENC (Environmental Noise Cancellation) Concept in Earbuds & Headphones

By Cleer Audio

What is ENC (Environmental Noise Cancellation) in earbuds and headphones?

ENC stands for Environmental Noise Cancellation. This means that it is necessary to cancel or suppress all ambient background noise while protecting the subject's voice. Now ENC doesn't always work. It works if you use the headset microphone. It requires input from you as well as the sounds around you.

Want to know how to do it? Let me explain it in simple words. Every time an audio signal is fed into the internal electronic circuit. This creates an identical signal in the opposite phase that cancels each other out. This means that I put 2 equally heavy objects on each side of the scale. This will cancel each other's weight and both sides will be on the same level. This means that the scale acts as the first (flat) position when there is no weight.

ENC works as I explained in the example above. If the external sound and the signal produced by the system are opposite and have the same gain. They will cancel each other out and the receiver will hear your voice.

ANC vs. ENC: What is the difference between active noise cancelling and environmental noise-cancelling?

You may be familiar with ANC or Active Noise Cancellation for your headphones, but have you ever heard of ENC? For starters, ENC stands for Environmental Noise Cancellation. This technology is usually found in headphones and earbuds with a microphone and is not a commonly used term. ENC is often featured alongside ANC in blogs and videos about headphones and microphones these days, but ANC and ENC are not the same things.

alpha adaptive noise cancelling

ANC is for your hearing; whether you're playing music or watching the big reveal scene of your favorite movie, ANC picks up the noise around you and tries to reduce it so you can hear your music or movies better. There are many ways to do this, but the most well-known type uses a microphone and speaker to deflect sound waves around you to reduce noise. A great example of how ANC delivers impressive sound is the new Cleer ALPHA adaptive active noise cancelling headphones. These wireless headphones feature the latest noise-cancelling technology and innovative design.

In other words, if your sound is at +5, the technology will create a sound wave at -5 and what you will hear from the speaker will be 0.

ENC, on the other hand, is for you to hear who you are talking to. Similar to ANC, ENC uses two microphones, and noise reduction technology, but this is done in favor of the person on the other end of the call.

Which is better, ANC or ENC?

It depends. For most people, we generally recommend active noise reduction, as the benefits – you'll hear the music better at low volumes – usually outweigh the drawbacks, but ultimately it depends on what you're using the headphones for.

Active noise cancelling headphones better block outside sounds, making them ideal for commuters, travelers, and people who work in busy office environments. That said, active noise canceling headphones have their drawbacks - the biggest being that they don't sound great when ANC is on.

To effectively cancel ambient sound frequencies, active noise canceling headphones must add counter frequencies (antiphases) that increase the sound and ultimately lead to sound degradation. Therefore, professionals such as DJs, even if they work in very noisy environments, may prefer environmental noise cancellation headphones that do not spoil what they hear with active cancellation.

The good news is that most active noise canceling headphones have several modes for turning ANC on or off. This is ideal for listening to your headphones in a quiet environment. If you have ANC headphones, try turning the noise cancellation on/off and listening to how it affects the sound quality.

Another thing to note is that active noise cancellation doesn't just affect the sound quality, it affects your ears as well. When ANC is on, it creates sound waves that push against your ears. It's not a painful sensation, but it's similar to what you might feel when driving through a tunnel or traveling in an airplane at a high altitude. Basically, some people may find this feeling uncomfortable, especially if they wear headphones for a long time.

The verdict? ENC is a benefit others enjoy

When it comes to ENC technology, the purpose is to ensure that when you’re making phone calls or recording your voice, everything is crystal clear and easy to hear. So, if you’re the type of person making calls on the go, it’s highly recommended that you invest in a pair of wireless headphones that feature this technology.

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