One of the most exciting by-products of our technological age are advancements to the transportation industry. No longer do we have to load up our steamer trunks and set sail on a coal powered boat across the Atlantic Ocean for nearly a week before arriving on the other side. Instead, we purchase an airplane ticket online, download it to our phone, and settle in for a trip that will take hours, not days. Normally flying is a pretty smooth affair, save for the noise. The bane of a traveller’s existence – engines roaring, babies crying, air circulation humming. But it’s not just on airplanes. Our society seems to be perpetually getting noisier, louder, and harder to tune out. It makes it harder to hear and more challenging to hold a conversation with others. Thankfully, a few brilliant individuals have come up with an outstanding solution: noise cancelling headphones, and specifically, cVc technology!
Getting to Know Noise Cancellation
We can divide noise cancellation technology for headphones into two distinct camps. First is what’s called ambient noise reduction or passive noise isolation. A pair of headphones will be designed to use its own structural build, or the curvature of the wearer’s ears, to physically prevent external sound waves and vibrations from making it into the ear drum. Think back to those 1990s music videos with construction workers wearing enormous, yellow ear protectors. To cut down on outside noise, the technology simply isolates your ear, and by extension your ear drum, from the world beyond. Headphones, of course, add an additional layer by using embedded electronics to play selected music or audio inside the isolated space. Usually, you can expect your passive noise cancelling headphones to block about 10-20 decibels of noise, or about the volume of a standard car wash.
In the 1950s, active noise cancellation technology began to be implemented for pilots, helping them hear ground control, other planes, and each other without worry. Since, technology in this area has markedly improved. Today, noise cancelling ear phones use a natural phenomenon called destructive interference – when two sound waves hit and are mirrored frequencies of one another, they will cancel each other out. Using a microphone, your headphones will listen for external sound and, with embedded technology, will create a frequency profile of that noise. Following this, the headphones will use their own tiny speakers to broadcast those identified frequencies and cause destructive interference. That’s why when you use active noise cancelling earphones, they can sometimes sound like electronic silence when worn. On top of all that, you often get the same benefits of their passive cancellation cousins – the structure of the headphones themselves will eliminate even more external sound. The latest iteration of this technology is called cVc, by Qualcomm.
Looking into cVc
The question you’re probably asking is: what is cVc? Think of it like digital upgrade to your noise cancellation toolset. cVc or Clear Voice Capture is specifically designed to make life easier for not just listeners of audio, for which it does provide a substantially more affordable noise cancellation option, but those using their devices to, well, speak with others. Using a set of embedded algorithms, cVc works to cancel out external sound, other voices, music, and ambient noise like the wind when you’re making a call. Instead of sounding like you’re on the test track for a brand new fighter jet engine while standing outside, cVc creates a cone of isolation around your voice making it so it appears you’re in a quiet indoor space.
It works like this – when you speak into the cVc-integrated microphone attached to your headset, found most frequently in wireless devices using Bluetooth, its software begins separating your voice out from all the other heard noise. Just like the active noise cancelling headphones above, it creates a profile. With that, the technology is able to continue filtering all unrecognized, ambient sound to create the perfect conversation experience. cVc users can expect to enjoy nearly a 30 decibel reduction in external noise when making a call. In addition, cVc employs a number of other features to create an outstanding listening and speaker experience: automatic gain adjustment; active equalisation, or the change of frequency and decibels to cater to underused levels of human hearing; self-adjusting volume control based on registered external noise; wind noise cancellation; and, echo reduction.
The current and potential uses for cVc technology are endless, offering an outstanding alternative for consumers who are unhappy with noise cancellation from passive headphones but are unable or uninterested in shelling out a small fortune for active cancellation technology.
From Bluetooth and wireless headphones, to hands-free technology in cars, cVc is an exciting step towards a pure, uninterrupted listening experience!
Be sure to tell us in the comments how you use your noise cancelling headphones!