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  #1  
Old 09-04-2011, 01:46 AM
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Default Calling All Audiophiles

What is the difference between noise canceling and isolation headphones, or is there a difference?
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  #2  
Old 09-04-2011, 02:07 AM
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Default Re: Calling All Audiophiles

There is a difference.

Isolation headphones work by simply blocking out ambient noise like ear defenders would.

Noise-cancelling are a little more complex, but they have a pair of microphones on the outside that detect ambient noise and play a noise that cancels the ambient noise out.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noise-c...ing_headphones

Make sense?
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Old 09-04-2011, 02:16 AM
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Default Re: Calling All Audiophiles

It might help to think of it as either passive or active noise cancellation. Passive headphones block noise with mass, active headphones block ambient noise by countering it with another ambient noise.

Right?
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Old 09-04-2011, 02:21 AM
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Default Re: Calling All Audiophiles

Yes, I suppose you're technically right although I think the term 'passive noise cancellation' is a little misleading.
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Old 09-04-2011, 02:23 AM
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Default Re: Calling All Audiophiles

I agree. Maybe passive and active isolation?
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Old 09-04-2011, 02:24 AM
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Default Re: Calling All Audiophiles

No, because the active cancelling headphones do relatively little in terms of mass isolation usually.

Best to keep the two terms separate I think! Although there's nothing to say you can't have headphones with both.

I see noise cancellation as an inherently active process and isolation as an inherently passive process.
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Old 09-04-2011, 02:33 AM
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Default Re: Calling All Audiophiles

I guess I was thinking isolation was the umbrella term, with active (NC) and passive being types of isolation. That's wrong? I mean, both are "isolating."

Not trying to appear stubborn, I'm just want to understand.
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Old 09-04-2011, 02:35 AM
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Default Re: Calling All Audiophiles

Isolation is an umbrella term that adequately describes ambient noise reduction - absolutely but in these terms it's quite a specific and defined process. It's one of those instances when a word really means two things. It's describing a process and an outcome and we're talking about the process when we're describing mechanisms in headphones.
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Old 09-04-2011, 02:42 AM
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Default Re: Calling All Audiophiles

Oh, I think I understand. Noise cancelling headphones isolate, but not by means of isolation.
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Old 09-04-2011, 02:44 AM
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Default Re: Calling All Audiophiles

Quote:
Originally Posted by Typo View Post
Oh, I think I understand. Noise cancelling headphones isolate, but not by means of isolation.
That's pretty much spot on.

Although some headphones use both mechanisms.
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Old 09-04-2011, 05:09 AM
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Default Re: Calling All Audiophiles

One of them is like earmuffs with speakers, the other are like headphones with mics and clever electronic trickery.
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