Does Active Noise Cancellation Really Work?

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So, does active noise cancellation really work?
I put together this simple test to help you find out for yourself.

Charts, graphs and machines are all well and good for explaining how Active Noise Cancellation really does work. But, most of us aren’t physicists, and we don’t use lab equipment to enjoy our music. We use our ears. So I came up with an easy test for you to try at home to experience firsthand just how effective Active Noise Cancellation is.

I know, I know, this test does require that you have earbuds or headphone with Active Noise Cancellation built in.
(They don’t have to be DAK’s Super 36dB Acive Noise Canceling Earbuds.) However the benefit you get from trying out this test is that you’ll have an idea of what to expect BEFORE you ever step foot on your next flight. So, you won’t have to take my word for it until you’re sitting on an airplane to know if your Active Noise Canceling Earbuds are right for you. Now you can find out in an instant, as soon as you open your package.

So go ahead and pit your earbuds against any of the others that you’ll find elsewhere. After I show you how to do the test, and what qualities to look for, you’ll be able to identify which brands are worth, or not worth, their price.



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OK, Let’s Get Testing

You’ll Need:
-1 Pair of Active Noise Canceling Earbuds
-1 Pair of EITHER Over the Ear Headphones OR Computer Speakers

-1 Pair of Noise Isolating Earbuds (Only if you want to do extra comparison testing. Doesn’t need to be BSR’s Won’t Fall Out Earbuds, either.)

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What to do:

The concept is simple.
Since we want to find out how well your earbuds can actively negate noise, we need to simulate noise.
(And I don’t mean your mother in law, as this DAKonian suggested!)

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Step 1

We’re going to use a test tone generator so we can create constant tones at various frequencies. It’s tons of fun, by the way. Here’s a free online test tone generator you can use (link opens in new tab). Now, like I said above, you can use your computer speakers for the tone generator, but over the ear headphones work best if you want to really recreate the loud noises you’ll hear on a plane. If using over ear headphones, place the ANC earbuds in your ears first, then put on the headphones over the earbuds.

Your headphones/computer speaker need to be plugged into the computer. Your ANC earbuds don’t.
The Active Noise Cancelling still works even if you aren’t plugged in anywhere.

Step 2

Start with low frequencies, like 200hz, and slowly raise the volume until the hum is starting to bug you. DISCLAIMER- be sensible, I don’t assume responsibility for lack of common sense. Truth is, you’re probably exposed to this and worse on an actual flight, but that’s a different story. Either way, be careful with your ears!

Step 3

Now, power on your Active Noise Cancellation. Do you hear the difference? You should hear the noise drop considerably. Maybe not completely, but it should be noticeable and relieving. That’s how it works on an airplane. Keep trying out different frequencies and volume levels.

The Important Part—Measuring Your Results
As you experiment between different frequencies, you’ll notice that the Active Noise Cancellation is more effective on some frequencies and less effective at others (no matter which brand you use). DAK’s Active Noise Cancellation Earbuds were engineered specifically to focus on reducing noise from engines and machines. Whether the subway rumble, jet turbine or even a car engine, they were designed to make travel and commuting lighter on the ears. Specifically, we focused on reducing frequencies of 200-2000hz.

Most inflight cabin noises range between 200-500hz.
That’s right in sweet spot for DAK’s Super36dB Active Noise Cancelling Earbuds.

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DAK’s Super 36dB Active Noise Canceling Earbuds use a total of four built in microphones to convert external noise into silence. Find out for yourself why these might just be the best darn earbuds you’ve ever owned. And of course, it comes with DAK’s Satisfaction Guarantee. 30 days to try it out, risk free. You don’t like it, you don’t keep it. And you’re covered with a full 1 year warranty.

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