Not all active noise cancelling (ANC) technologies work the same way. Different types serve different purposes with each having their own unique attributes. Here we’ll explain the three main implementations of ANC so you can understand their differences and decide which is best for your needs.
In a feedforward setup, active noise cancellation comes from an externally facing microphone that is positioned towards the environment around you. This microphone is more sensitive to low/mid frequencies and can isolate sounds such as human speech, traffic, and other ambient noises. As such, feedforward ANC is effective in most use cases.
In a feedback setup, active noise cancellation comes from an internally facing microphone that is positioned closer to your ears. This microphone is more sensitive to low frequencies and hears what the wearer hears. If needed, it can correct audio signals before you actually hear them.
In a hybrid setup, active noise cancellation comes from both an externally and internally facing microphone, combining the techniques used in feedforward and feedback systems. Due to the advanced nature of hybrid ANC, the technology usually costs twice as much as the others, but in exchange, it provides the best noise cancelling performance. The Razer Opus and Hammerhead True Wireless Pro utilize this advanced hybrid system.