Noise cancelling ear buds do they make a difference?

So following a conversation that i had on the power draw it has come to my mind with noise cancelling ear buds that do they make a difference with audio quality?
I use noise cancelling headphones which must be completely different
a few examples of anc ear buds:

what i think earbuds do best at is noise isolation not cancelling?

I prefer noise isolation as well. That way I don’t have to have my music drivers playing extra noise, and it can focus on playing the music alone.

You can always slightly hear the noise cancellation noise… it sort of like playing white noise over your music…

i would agree with that when i am typing with my qc35ii i can here me typing away i swear to much can damage your ears?!?

Passive noise cancelling, is purely by the earbuds fitting snuggly. By fitting snuggly they automatically block sound.

ACTIVE noise cancelling, is when the earphones use a quiet noise to overwrite external noises (sound around you). The noise is usually, white noise … Similar to a radio that’s not tuned… The hiss of white noise although really quiet has the effect of cancelling out external sounds (fighter pilots have white noise to cover the sound of the jets). The reason it’s called active, is due to the earphones ACTIVELY making the white noise, rather than relying solely on the fit (passive) blocking out the noise.

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So I have these currently:

  • Bose QC35
  • Anker Life
  • Anker Slim+
  • Anker Spirit

I tend to use the Life around the house as I get good audio but little isolation so I can hear things in the home. The Slim+ have good noise isolation and I use them for short flights. The Bose gets used for long flights or at home when some idiot is playing “music” as cancellation blocks the base noise which gets through walls.

There is no best solution, sometimes you want no blocking, sometimes isolation, sometimes cancellation.

I don’t like the Spirit.


I have the Liberty Air (passive NC) and the Sony wh-1000xm3 (active NC). Depends on where I am I use one or the other. The libery air I use for commute while the Sony i use for work.

It takes a little while to get used to active NC to be honest, but it’s amazing for flights, for example.

Liberty air passive NC is amazing :joy:. Some of the best I’ve ever used tbh. I think the shape and size of the eartips I use is perfect for my ears. The design is absolutely perfect for me

Mouse drivers???

Yeah, the high ones that can make the squeaking noises…

Lol jk. Supposed to say music

I mean if you’ve trained your mice to drive that’s pretty cool

Do they drive like this mouse?

Or maybe…
Is it like the mice driving in the Kia Soul commercials??


I prefer the option of using noise cancellation. I use these features when I’m at the gym working out and want lesson the annoying music the gym blasts and block out my of the bro talk that you find at big gyms.

I also I like noise isolation as well. This is a better option when I am watching a moving or don’t want to possibly hear the white noise (when its quiet and I’m listening to an audio book I can hear the white noise).

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You should be careful with “passive NC” terminology. Noise Isolation is just blocking by a good fit, Noise Cancellation is neutralising external sound. Some people get confused between the two. There is no such thing as passive NC, there is only NI and NC. You can of course have both.

In general, NI is good to block high frequencies, NC block low frequencies.

My Bose QC35 have a dying battery so looking out for replacement, I’d prefer NC buds as pack smaller than over-ear.

How come you don’t like the Spirit X when so many others do?

i agree fully plastic ear buds do not do a good job on that cough cough apple :joy:

I’ve always called it noise isolation… based on @MacBlank’s post above I figured I’ve been calling it the wrong thing…

I second that, I used the terms as are often used.

You’re correct that, “passive NC” in fact noise isolation. Not sure how we got to calling it passive nc?

I use the Life N.C. everyday at home and work. I use them to zone out all background noise in the office as well as to mow my grass. The noise canceling while mowing the grass is amazing. One earbud fell out while I was going and amazed me how loud the engine actually is. Even with no music playing it was night and day.

Spirit, not X, my bad, corrected.

I don’t like the Spirit as feel uncomfortable in the ear and the audio tends to go up and down. May be by phone as 2nd Spirit had same problem after warranty replacement. Like the Slim / +

Honestly don’t love the spirit X… the more I use them the less I like them :confused:. They’re inexpensive and they suit my purposes so I’m not too sad. I may update my review of them soon though. Kind of a longer(ish) term review.