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Skullcandy – Active Noise Cancellation

The sound industry has been seeing exponential growth in terms of innovation and advancement over the last decade. One of these advancements which have shaken up the headphones industry has been Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) technology.

Active Noise Cancellation has quickly become a staple technology in the domain of headphones, and has continually evolved to elevate the quality of sound offered to the users. While this technology is classified as a high-end feature, it is no longer just reserved for the upper echelon of headphones which are quite expensive.

So, what exactly is noise cancellation? How is it relevant in today’s world, and where does its future stand? Let’s take a deep dive into this technology and its place in the world.

What is Noise Cancellation?

Noise cancellation is a concept based on the practical application of wave phase cancellation principle. To get technical, waves that are inverted from each other or are 180 degrees out of phase, both cancel each other out when they are coupled together. In layman’s terms, it is equivalent to adding -1 and 1, which equals to 0.

Noise cancellation records the background noise and inverts the signal of the noise, which creates what is termed as “anti-noise”. This is then added to the input signal in the headphone, which cancels the outside noise and gives you a smooth listening experience. Anti-noise signals work to counteract the actual noise in the background before it reaches your ears.

One of the biggest problem statements that arise for this technology is how accurately the device is able to capture background noise, which determines the level of attenuation. This is why Active Noise Cancellation technology implemented in various devices differs on the level of its effectiveness.

What are Different Types of Noise Cancellation Technologies?

There are primarily three types of noise cancellation, which are:

  1. Active Noise Cancellation – This type uses the speakers and microphones to reduce the surrounding background noise. It is the most commonly used form of noise cancellation technology and is used in developing high-end over the ear headphones like Skullcandy Venue Wireless Headphones. It is also a very battery efficient form of noise-cancelling technology.
  2. Passive Noise Cancellation – This type uses ear cups and earbuds that are intrinsically designed and structured to fit inside the ear to seal out the background noise. This type of noise cancellation is primarily used in in-ear earphones.
  3. Adaptive Active Noise Cancellation – This type uses both speakers and microphones to adjust to the surroundings and background noise automatically. It is a more complex form of ANC technology, where the noise cancelling aspect is digitally adapted by the headphones based on the surroundings.

How is Active Noise Cancellation Used in Headphones?

The noise that a user hears outside of the headphones is different from the noise they hear inside the headphones. For instance, the attenuation in passive noise if earphones and headphones have major differences. Hence, the quality of noise cancellation differs based on the capability of capturing sound for headphones or earphones.

This brings forth a very interesting question – Where should the microphone be positioned best for capturing and cancelling out noise? To answer this question, let’s take a look at the three types of ANC techniques used in headphones and earphones.

  1. Feedforward ANC

This is arguably the most convenient ANC technique. WIth the feedforward technology, the microphone/s that are meant for noise capturing is positioned on the outside of the headphones. This is also a reason why it is majorly used in earphones, as keeping the microphone outside leaves in a lot of room for noise-cancelling earbuds. It primarily comes in handy for earphones as there is a very limited area inside the user’s ear for a microphone.

External microphone possesses the best ability to noise sensitivity, which makes it perfect for mid-frequency noise cancellation. However, this also makes this technique more susceptible to wind howls.

  1. Feedback ANC

This technique is the complete opposite of Feedforward ANC. In this, the microphone is positioned inside the headphones. However, due to the positioning of the microphone, it is only effective for low frequencies of noise.

  1. Hybrid ANC

As the name suggests, Hybrid ANC brings the best of both techniques and combines them to offer the best noise cancellation. It covers every base by using outside and inside positioned microphones, which offers pristine attenuation for noise frequency coverage. This eliminates any feedback issues for noise cancellation in headphones. The best demonstration of this technique can be seen in Skullcandy Crusher Wireless headphones.

Now that we’re aware of all the techniques of ANC, it is safe to say that hybrid ANC is the best way for headphones to offer the users with a high-end listening experience.


Active Noise Cancellation might not have reached its pinnacle, but it is still the most effective technology for headphones to elevate their capabilities to offer a pristine listening experience to the users. Skullcandy has been a key player in the use of this technology, and has upped the game in the headphones industry to offer accessible and high-end headphones to users. With products like Skullcandy Crusher ANC, Venue and Method ANC users can explore from a multitude of options based on their budget to avail this amazing technology. All you need to do is visit and explore to find the perfect fit of noise-cancelling headphones for yourself!

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