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making normal phones into noise cancelling headphones

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Every year i spend a few months over seas and some times the flight is up to 16 hours. i really enjoy the headphones i have now but when i am on an airplane having noise cancelling seems like it would be really nice!

It seems like it would be pretty easy to have some kind of program that you could use so your normal headphones could work as noise cancelling headphones.. and if its a flight i wouldn't see why playing a track that cancels out the woosh of the plane wouldn't work. 

I have been looking around online and ill keep look. have any of you found anything or have any advice?

post #2 of 9

Noise cancelling works by using a mic to listen to sound outside of headphone, then convert that sound in a negative wave (-180 degree in phase) using a circuit, mix it into the music in the precise moment which cancelling the outer noise that penetrates the headphone housing. The whole process has to be very precisely tuned (both in phase and delay) to work, or else you are just adding more noise to your music. It is easier just to get a half decent noise cancelling headphone or an noise isolating IEM.

post #3 of 9

Yeah, as soon as you add A/D/A conversion you're adding so much delay that the noise won't cancel anymore. That should also explain why simply playing a track with inversed noise isn't going to work at all. It would only work in the case when the noise were a very simple and static signal and you pushed the play button at exactly the right moment.

 

 

source (audio player) -----------\

                                  |-> mix -> amp -> driver

mic -> mic pre-amp -> inversion -/

 

Ideally there is no delay between the mic picking up the noise and mixing the inverted signal. Also the inverted signal has to have the right level..


Edited by xnor - 4/20/13 at 5:16pm
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

most laptops have a built in mic, i would have thought some one would have some kind of software for this 

post #5 of 9

Unless you strap your laptop to your head it's not gonna work properly for the same reasons mentioned above.

 

There's a reason why the mic in noise-canceling headphones is integrated into the ear cups. After all, you want to cancel the noise where it reaches your ears, not somewhere else.

post #6 of 9

I can appreciate your problem, but I think that for two 16 hour flights a year you can listen to less than the best headphones. I'd suggest getting some cheap noise canceling headphones ($50 or less) or some decent IEM's. I also want my setup to always be the best and am sad when I can't use my DAC and amp and best headphones, but when I actually turn the music on in my less than ideal setup ($60 IEMs out of my iPod) I realize that I can still enjoy the music a great deal and don't actually miss my nice gear too much.
 

post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by worrblade View Post

Every year i spend a few months over seas and some times the flight is up to 16 hours. i really enjoy the headphones i have now but when i am on an airplane having noise cancelling seems like it would be really nice!

It seems like it would be pretty easy to have some kind of program that you could use so your normal headphones could work as noise cancelling headphones.. and if its a flight i wouldn't see why playing a track that cancels out the woosh of the plane wouldn't work. 

I have been looking around online and ill keep look. have any of you found anything or have any advice?

 

In addition to what others have pointed out about the inherent problems on noise-cancelling and how much simpler noise-isolating can be, in case you're one to not like wearing IEMs over extended periods, I've been pondering getting a K550 then wearing a privacy pillow over it. First, to help keep the earpads tight around my head. Second, I'm thinking having a pillow surrounding the headphone -especially the seams between my skin and the earpads - might isolate me from more noise. My only real problem so far is whether my head with a K550 on it will even fit inside one of those things.

http://www.ostrichpillow.com/

post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtegeManiac View Post

 

In addition to what others have pointed out about the inherent problems on noise-cancelling and how much simpler noise-isolating can be, in case you're one to not like wearing IEMs over extended periods, I've been pondering getting a K550 then wearing a privacy pillow over it. First, to help keep the earpads tight around my head. Second, I'm thinking having a pillow surrounding the headphone -especially the seams between my skin and the earpads - might isolate me from more noise. My only real problem so far is whether my head with a K550 on it will even fit inside one of those things.

http://www.ostrichpillow.com/

Ha!  That would look special on a plane!  Why didn't they go the rest of the way and do something like this:

 

 

Seriously, you may want to check out the Parrot Zik headphones.  Wired or Bluetooth, great noise canceling, good sound, and, well, cool. Especially in the area of device control. 

 

http://www.parrot.com/zik/usa/

 

Tyll did a review of them.  I'm got sort of addicted to mine, but can't get them away from my son now.

post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaddie View Post

Seriously, you may want to check out the Parrot Zik headphones.  Wired or Bluetooth, great noise canceling, good sound, and, well, cool. Especially in the area of device control. 

 

http://www.parrot.com/zik/usa/

 

Tyll did a review of them.  I'm got sort of addicted to mine, but can't get them away from my son now.

 

Thanks, but I'm kind of set on the the sound of either the K550 or the MDR-1R for now. K550 is hard to drive out of a smartphone (my non-Wolfson S3), while the Sony even if anyone can make an argument that it may be deliberately colored, it's all convenient enough; at least the bass doesn't get too muddy or boomy. Reasons why the K550/1 edged it off my top spot option are that 1) I might get a Fiio X3 anyway, so on a longer trip like a plane ride, I will have that with me (also to save the phone's battery), plus I have a D-Zero on loan from my cousin (ie, he hasn't asked for it back in months), and 2) the earcups on the MDR are kind of small. I tried them out a few weeks ago and thought they were OK, but I realized recently I was probably just comparing them too much to the Spirit One. I think they'll last longer, aesthetically if not overall, against all-around portable use lacking the TLC of desktop gear than the K550 but I really can't be sure; smaller cups mean easier to pack though.

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