ANC (Active Noise Cancellation) and ENC (Environmental Noise Cancellation): How are they different?

Two pairs of Apple Airpods sitting on a black background, next to the bottom right corner of a keyboard that shows at the top left of the image.

ANC helps create a quiet listening environment, perfect for those moments when you want to enjoy your music like an audiophile or listen to a podcast without the distraction of background noise. It works by detecting external sounds and then generating opposing sound waves to cancel them out. This means you can enjoy a more immersive listening experience, whether you’re in a busy cafĂ©, on a plane, or working in a noisy office.

On the other hand, ENC focuses on making sure your voice is heard clearly during voice calls. It uses an array of microphones to isolate your voice and minimize surrounding noise. This is incredibly useful for phone calls, video conferences, and voice recordings, ensuring that you’re heard clearly by the person on the other end, even if you’re in a loud environment.

So similar things they do, but for different purposes. Ideally, you’d actually want to have both of them. Many headsets do in fact do a form of ENC without stating it is actual ENC.