ANC vs ENC: Everything You Need To Know About Noise Cancellation

anc vs enc

Noise cancellation has become a must-have feature for many people who use headphones and earphones regularly. As a must-have feature for many, it has revolutionized the way we experience audio, providing an immersive listening experience.

anc headphones
Image Source: What-HiFi?

Whether you work in a noisy environment, commute using public transportation, or simply want to enjoy your favorite music without distractions, noise cancellation can significantly enhance your listening experience.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the key concepts related to noise cancellation, including environmental noise cancellation (ENC), active noise cancellation (ANC), and the differences between them.

What is noise cancellation?

Noise cancellation refers to the process of reducing or eliminating unwanted background noise in audio devices such as headphones and earphones. There are two primary categories of noise cancellation:

1. Environment Noise Cancellation (ENC)

ENC is a passive noise-cancellation technology that uses microphones to detect external sounds and creates an opposite sound wave to cancel them out. This technology is typically used to reduce background noise during phone calls or when listening to music in noisy environments.

2. Active Noise Cancellation (ANC)

ANC is also a noise cancellation technology that uses advanced algorithms through microphones to actively cancel out external sounds. It creates sound waves that are the exact opposite of the outside noises in terms of their strength and direction, thereby canceling them out. This technology is highly effective in reducing low-frequency noise, such as airplane engine noise or the sound of a nearby air conditioner.

How ENC works?

As we have recently seen a huge increase in usage of “ENC” in various earphones, ENC aims to enhance the clarity of phone calls and voice recordings by reducing background noise. ENC technology uses microphones to detect external sounds and creates an opposite sound wave to cancel them out. This is a passive noise-cancellation technique, meaning that it does not require additional electronic components or power to function.

Benefits of ENC Wireless Earbuds
  • Improved call clarity: ENC is designed to reduce background noise during phone calls, ensuring that the person on the other end can hear you clearly.
  • Enhanced voice recordings: ENC can also improve the quality of voice recordings by eliminating background noise and allowing your voice to stand out.
  • Suitable for noisy environments: ENC is particularly useful in noisy environments, such as busy offices or public spaces, where maintaining clear communication is necessary.

How ANC works?

While ENC earphones are more suitable for communication purposes, ANC uses microphones on the headphones or earphones to pick up external noise. It then generates a sound wave that is the exact opposite of the incoming sound, effectively canceling it out. This process requires advanced algorithms and electronic components, which are typically built into the headphones or earphones themselves.

Benefits of ANC Wireless Earbuds
  • Reduces low-frequency noise: ANC is particularly effective at reducing low-frequency noise, such as the hum of an airplane engine or the rumble of a train.
  • Improved focus and concentration: By eliminating distractions, ANC can help users maintain focus and concentration, particularly in noisy environments.
  • Better music and audio quality: ANC allows for a more enhanced listening experience by reducing background noise and allowing users to fully enjoy their music or other audio content.

ANC vs ENC: Major Differences

While both ANC and ENC aim to reduce background noise, there are some key differences between the two:

  • When it comes to reducing noise, ANC is great at handling those low-frequency sounds, while ENC is designed to make your phone calls and voice recordings clearer.

  • ANC actively cancels out noise by using electronic components and power, while ENC doesn’t need any extra power because it works passively.

  • ANC allows your ears to experience improved audio quality, while ENC ensures that the person you’re talking to hears you clearly by minimizing background noise during phone calls.

Tips for choosing the right headset for you

There is a wide range of noise-cancelling headphones and earphones available in the market, with varying levels of ANC and ENC features. When choosing a pair of noise-cancelling earbuds or headphones, consider the following factors:

  • Your primary use case: If you primarily need noise cancellation for phone calls along with music, ENC earphones may be more suitable. If you want noise cancellation just for listening to music or other audio content, ANC headphones or earphones may be a better fit.
  • Battery life: As we mentioned, ANC requires power to function, so consider the battery life of the headphones or earphones when making a decision.
  • Comfort and fit: Choose a pair of noise-cancelling headphones or earphones that are comfortable to wear for extended periods of time and provide a secure fit.


Noise cancellation is an essential feature for many users who require headphones or earphones for phone calls, music listening, or other audio related activities. While ANC is great for reducing the amount of noise in a given environment, ENC is better for improving the clarity of your voice during a phone call.

Naturally, you can’t reduce all noise, nor should you. However, earphones with noise cancellation capabilities use advanced technology to block out as much low-frequency noise as possible. By understanding the differences between ANC and ENC, you shall be able to make a decision while choosing the perfect noise-cancelling headphones or earphones to meet your needs. 

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