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Published on January 11th, 2016 | by admin

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Best Noise Cancelling Earbuds of 2016

Are you looking for the best noise cancelling earbuds on the market? Then you must be that kind of person who knows how to appreciate true value and fantastic features. Earbuds or in-ear headphones occupy a rather large slice of the market due to their portability and resistance. If you add the noise cancelling properties then you get the perfect sound product to have. They go amazingly well during indoor physical activities, during long journeys, in a crowded office, or at home.

Besides being versatile, they are very portable as well. Just imagine how things would go if you had to wear your over-the-ear headphones all the time. Earbuds are small and can be easily tucked inside your pocket or purse. You simply get them out when you need them.

5 Best Noise Cancelling Earbuds Comparison Chart

PictureModelBatteryPriceRating
PictureModelBatteryPriceRating
bose-quietcomfort-20iBose QuietComfort 20i16 hours$$$4.5
Audio-Technica-ATH-ANC23Audio-Technica ATH-ANC2360 hours$$3.8
sony-MDRNC13Sony MDRNC13100 hours$$$3.6
phiaton-BT-220-NCPhiaton BT 220 NC16 hours$$$4.0
AKG-K391NCAKG K391NC 40 hours$$$3.7

The difference between Noise Cancelling & Noise Isolating

Before purchasing the best noise cancelling earbuds you must know that there is a difference between isolating and cancelling the noise. Sometimes, producers or salesman take advantage of the fact that the client is not aware of this difference, and pretend it’s the same thing.

This is why you have to make sure that your noise cancelling earbuds are not actually just noise isolating. In general, they both support the same idea – less noise, but the difference appears on how they do it and how well.

Read on to find out how ANC works and the best 5 noise cancelling earbuds to buy on the market.

Active Noise Cancellation in Earbuds: how does it work?

When it comes to the noise cancelling property on earbuds, things get a bit tricky. With over-the-ear headphones things are simpler because the entire mechanism that supports ANC is placed inside the ear cups. This is why the ANC, or the active noise cancellation, must be implemented differently with earbuds.

The ANC is created using small microphones that register the outside sounds. In order to keep your hearing isolated, the ANC module creates counter sound waves that cancel the outside noise.

Because the in-ear headphones have small ear tips, the entire mechanism that supports ANC is stored in a separate part that producers call the control module or the dongle. This leads to a series of drawbacks that may be discouraging for a user looking for extra comfort and more portability. The most common issues you should expect with these earbuds are:

  • They are a bit more expensive than regular earbuds;
  • In order to activate the ANC mechanism, your earbuds are going to need a battery of some sort as a power source. This will have to be replaced or recharged from time to time.
  • The mechanism may increase the size of your earbuds, reducing a bit from their portability.

All these are small impediments that can be easily overlooked. Once you’ll try your first pair of earbuds with ANC, you’ll understand how great these products actually are!

Now, the best noise cancelling earbuds will be the ones most effective in creating the illusion of sound isolation. But how can you tell which ones are actually the best? This is actually why we’re here! We are going to review 5 of the best noise cancelling earbuds and highlight all their important features.

Top 5 Best Noise Cancelling Earbuds on the market

Bose QuietComfort 20i

bose quietcomfort 20i best noise cancelling earbudsThe Bose Quiet Comfort 20i Acoustic Noise Cancelling earbuds are amazing! First of all, they are versatile and allow you to activate or deactivated the noise cancelling feature according to your needs. In the “Acoustic Noise Cancelling” mode you have the possibility to simply shut the entire world out and get lost into your music, while the “Aware” mode allows you to hear what’s going on around.

These earbuds use Tri Port technology to offer amazing sound quality. Even more, the noise cancellation properties are similar to the ones found in over-the-ear headphones. The ear tips use a proprietary system called Stay Hear+ that offers a secure fit. This means you won’t have to force them inside the ear to create the seal.

The Quiet Comfort 20i earbuds are equipped with an inline microphone that is situated on the remote. The remote is actually set to work with devices running iOS where you can control the volume, change the track or pause/stop the song. Even so, the earbuds can be paired with non-Apple products just as well.

As we mentioned before, earbuds that support ANC must include a battery. The Bose Quiet Comfort 20i earbuds are equipped with one lithium-ion battery that can be recharged. You will be able to enjoy about 16 hours of quiet and comfort and the earbuds work normally if the battery is empty.

The sound quality is generally good, especially when the ANC is activated. The general impression is that the highs are crisp but, the mids are a bit overshadowed. The sound quality drops a bit when the battery is empty but otherwise the experience is amazing.

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Audio-Technica ATH-ANC23

Audio Technica ATH-ANC23These earbuds are included in the category of best noise cancelling earbuds because they manage to block about 90% of the outside noise. This makes them great for travelling with noisy machineries like a train or an airplane. They even come with an airplane plug included.

Just like with any type of in-ear headphones, these too need the seal in order to perform correctly. Also, you will notice a slight delay in reaction with sudden noises. This is the time the mechanism takes to process the sound and respond with a negative sound wave.

The Audio-Technica ATH-ANC23 is equipped with an on/off switch for the ANC situated in the QuietPoint box. This box acts like both an ANC and volume controller and uses AAA batteries as the main power source. This tiny box is not heavy to carry around, but you’ll feel it while the buds are in the ear. This is why a clip was placed at the bottom of the box. This way, you can attach it to your clothes or the strap of a bag and make sure it won’t tug on the ear tips.

The AAA batteries offer continuous ANC time until they run out and need replacing. The sound quality is pretty good, but when the ANC is active the sound becomes rich and punchy. The bass is powerful and the mids and highs are pretty clear.

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Sony MDRNC13

sony MDRNC13Simple and portable, the Sony MDRNC13 earbuds support ANC without being too bulky. Due to the ANC mechanism and the seal created with the dynamic ear tips, these earbuds manage to eliminate about 87.4% of the outside noise. Even more, the battery life is long, compared with earbuds that have lithium-ion batteries. These earbuds use AAA batteries as the main power source and hold up to 100 hours of use.

We included these in our top 5 best noise cancelling earbuds due to their 13.5mm driver unit that delivers a punchy bass and overall high sound clarity. The hybrid silicone ear tips are specially created to fit securely in your ear, thus creating the necessary seal. The ANC can be switched on or off easily, using the available button placed on the ANC controller.

The Sony MDRNC13 model works great with constant sounds like the sound of an airplane engine or the noise produced by a train. This is why you’ll still be able to hear sudden noise or high frequency sounds. This means that while the roar of a jet engine will be almost silenced, you will be able to hear a baby screaming in the seat next to yours. They even come equipped with a plug adaptor for in-flight music services.

We tested the Sony MDRNC13 with all the iOS and Android devices around and they work absolutely great! Also, due to their dynamic shape the earbuds are easy and comfortable to wear.

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Phiaton BT 220 NC

phiaton BT 220 NCThe BT 220 NC earphones from Phiaton are considered among the top 5 best noise cancelling earbuds because they come with some of the most popular features. Besides the ANC they support both Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity and NFC. These are some of the most modern connectivity types available in smartphones today! You can actually connect to your phone (or any other device) via Bluetooth or NFC, which is pretty great.

According to Phiaton, these earbuds manage to cancel about 95% of the low frequency ambient noise. Even more, the lithium-ion battery is designed to last for about 16 hours of listening time. This is enough time to cover a long flight or a long train ride. It’s nice to see a rechargeable battery that is smaller and doesn’t tug on the earbuds.

You can use these earbuds as both headphones and handsfree device as there’s a button that allows answering calls. Also, on the side of the main control box you’ll find buttons for moving up and down in the playlist. There is a monitor button as well, that allows you to mute the sound and deactivate the noise cancelling feature.

The earbuds are delivered with 4 pairs of silicone ear tips (different sizes) and 1 pair of Comply Foam Tips. This way, everyone will manage to find a size that fits comfortably.

Regarding the sound quality, these earbuds are equipped with 14.3mm drivers that deliver a powerful bass. The mids and highs are clear as long as the seal is created and they sound better with ANC. Even more, producers implemented the Clear Voice Capture technology enhancing the calling experience.

We really liked these earbuds for their power, portability and advanced features. Did you know that you can actually connect two Bluetooth devices simultaneously? Try them and find out!

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AKG K391NC

AKG K391NCAKG microphones and headsets is a brand similar with excellence in the sound industry so it’s no surprise they created one of the top 5 best noise cancelling earbuds. They manage to use the ANC technology beautifully and offer you a fantastic user experience by reducing the annoying outside sounds to the minimum. Of course, the earbuds can be used as normal headphones as well. You only have to switch the ANC off.

You can use the AKG K391NC successfully in an airplane, a crowded train or in a subway station. They work great with constant noises but you’ll notice that sudden and high frequency notes can’t be blocked very well. This is a general issue with earbuds that use ANC, but they handle amazingly low frequency sounds.

The sound quality is remarkable as these earbuds are specially designed to bring the bass in only when it’s necessary. Otherwise the focus is set on highs and mids, delivering clear sounds and harmonious songs. The bass response is powerful.

Besides being great from a technical point of view, these earbuds are also beautiful. The metallic finish is applied on the control box as well, creating a gorgeous design. The ear tips are comfortable and the control box is lightweight and doesn’t tug on the earbuds while you’re walking. Also, the earbuds are equipped with an inline microphone that allows you to make clear voice calls.

The battery life is among the longest we’ve met on these devices. You will be able to enjoy them for about 40 hours and the recharge is done via a standard USB port. This means you’ll have access to lots of recharging stations in planes and trains. Each package is delivered with two cables for various phone models.

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In conclusion

As you can see, Active Noise Cancellation is a real thing for earbuds and some of them even manage to offer the same quality as over-the-ear headphones. You just need to make sure your earbuds support noise cancellation and not just noise isolation.

We hope that our tops 5 best noise cancelling earbuds motivated you into purchasing a high-quality product. Even more, the ANC helps a lot with improving the sound experience!

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