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Airpod Pro - My noise cancellation doesn't cancel completely?

LarryJoe33

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Original poster
Jul 17, 2017
2,254
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Boston
Just trying to figure out whether I should be hearing no outside noise or whether some is acceptable when in noise cancellation mode. There is a dramatic difference between transparency and noise cancellation, but I can still hear outside noise at low volume when in noise cancellation mode.

I bought these for my son and I also got a pair. When I hear him rave about noise cancellation and how it blocks out the outside noise completely, I wonder if mine are working correctly. The fit is perfect in terms of the tips. Let me know what you think. As an example, I can hear the music at the gym when playing music at low volume on my AP's.
 

Jutah

macrumors 6502
Mar 30, 2012
477
177
Agree, they block some specific type of noise. They almost stop, for example, the muffled sound of train or car driving.

They do a good job with the voices but it’s normal to hear the voices. You should hear nothing with music at around 50/60%.

But yes, the ANC is not supposed to give you the perfect silence.

Some user has experimented a strong decrease in noise canceling while on latest firmware. I should stay on 2b588 if I were you.

I upgrade to the latest and, luckily, nothing happened with the ANC.

You can always do a quick live comparison between your unit and your son’s one. Let us know ?
 
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LarryJoe33

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jul 17, 2017
2,254
780
Boston
Thanks, I actually just had him screenshot his firmware and he is also on 2B588 which makes sense, I bought them for him the same time my GF bought mine. Appreciate the confirmation on ANC and that is does let in some sound.

I guess I will have no control over firmware updates. They sound incredible, I am just going to enjoy them and if they update, so be it.
 
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Bigserver1

macrumors 6502
Sep 26, 2012
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For me with nothing playing at all, they block out a good amount of outside noise, but I can still hear stuff, especially mid pitched stuff and voices. With music at 50% I hear pretty much nothing other that what I'm listening to. It is pretty trippy to move from transparency to ANC. I did this today at work (in an open office setting) and was really reminded "damn these work really well", especially for being so small, wireless, and in ear vs. over ear.

I'm still on 2B588 fwiw.
 
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LarryJoe33

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jul 17, 2017
2,254
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Boston
For me with nothing playing at all, they block out a good amount of outside noise, but I can still hear stuff, especially mid pitched stuff and voices. With music at 50% I hear pretty much nothing other that what I'm listening to. It is pretty trippy to move from transparency to ANC. I did this today at work (in an open office setting) and was really reminded "damn these work really well", especially for being so small, wireless, and in ear vs. over ear.

I'm still on 2B588 fwiw.

I thought when there is no music playing at all such as when you pause, it’s automatically goes to transparency?
 
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Bigserver1

macrumors 6502
Sep 26, 2012
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I thought when there is no music playing at all such as when you pause, it’s automatically goes to transparency?

This hasn't been my experience. If I'm in ANC and I pause music, it stays in ANC unless I physically change the setting.
 
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Paco II

macrumors 68020
Sep 13, 2009
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That is not correct. The APP stay in their given mode (Transparency, ANC, Off) unless you actively change it.


I thought when there is no music playing at all such as when you pause, it’s automatically goes to transparency?
 
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LarryJoe33

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Original poster
Jul 17, 2017
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Boston
I guess I expected a more dramatic block out of outside noises. I had the volume at 75% this morning at the gym and I could still here the gym music pretty clearly and it wasn't that loud. There definitely is a change from transparency to ANC, but again, not so dramatic. Maybe the firmware update will help whenever it chooses to install.
 
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Kent viggo

macrumors member
Dec 31, 2019
79
218
Sweden
When I first got my Air pod pros near release I really loved the ANC setting. I loved to have them on while studying etc, with no music. That was with the first firmware.

Now im sitting here and there is no almost no detectable difference between ANC turned on or off. Only the sound from my computer fan and other sounds in that spectrum gets tuned out, while any high pitched noise like voises and stuff still gets through. This is the latest firmware.

It was NOT like this in the begnning. They worked perfectly fine then. I find this unacceptable. It should be possible to tweak this setting by oneself.
 
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Otflyer

macrumors 65816
Nov 14, 2017
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SF Bay Area
I have the Bose QC35 and Sony WH1000XM3 over ear and APP’s. All have had complaints of degradation of ANC after updates. Bose even had people send their headphones in for testing. After testing Bose replied there was no change in ANC. I didn’t notice a difference in ANC with any of my headphones after updates. Not saying others don’t because software updates can cause problems but, could it be imaginary with some people?
 
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LarryJoe33

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jul 17, 2017
2,254
780
Boston
When I first got my Air pod pros near release I really loved the ANC setting. I loved to have them on while studying etc, with no music. That was with the first firmware.

Now im sitting here and there is no almost no detectable difference between ANC turned on or off. Only the sound from my computer fan and other sounds in that spectrum gets tuned out, while any high pitched noise like voises and stuff still gets through. This is the latest firmware.

It was NOT like this in the begnning. They worked perfectly fine then. I find this unacceptable. It should be possible to tweak this setting by oneself.

Thanks, this is pretty much my experience so far. I guess this disappoints me a bit. I really love the sound quality, but knowing I am missing something that was there and now is not kind of annoys me. So you have the latest firmware and ANC is still not back to where it was when you got them with the old firmware? If so, I guess even if/when mine update, ANC will still be the same.
 
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bwinter88

macrumors regular
Jul 20, 2012
140
1,884
Thanks, this is pretty much my experience so far. I guess this disappoints me a bit. I really love the sound quality, but knowing I am missing something that was there and now is not kind of annoys me. So you have the latest firmware and ANC is still not back to where it was when you got them with the old firmware? If so, I guess even if/when mine update, ANC will still be the same.
In all honesty, I think you like myself and many others are experiencing psychological normalization to the ANC. My Airpods have not had an opportunity to update their firmware, and I can tell the same sounds are still blocked out—yet the ANC still simply does not impress like the first time I turned it on. And why should it? Your brain is used to it now. You might have thought that the AirPods were giving you total silence in those first moments, but the brain has had time to listen closer. You are hearing the sounds in the silence that were originally masked by other noise that is now blocked. As your brain becomes accustomed to a quieter world, more minutae becomes apparent.
 
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Brian Y

macrumors 68040
Oct 21, 2012
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I find the ANC good, but it's nowhere near as good as my XM3, for example.

It's a convenience vs performance thing IMO.
 
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Otflyer

macrumors 65816
Nov 14, 2017
1,380
932
SF Bay Area
I find the ANC good, but it's nowhere near as good as my XM3, for example.

It's a convenience vs performance thing IMO.
I have the Sony WH1000MX3 over ear and WF1000MX3 in ear. I find the APP’s ANC superior to the WF1000MX3. I have tried two different pair of WF1000MX3 and I can barely tell the difference between ANC on and transparency mode of the Sony’s. Also, the Sony’s aren’t as comfortable, they are bulkier and fall out of my ears. The only thing I find slightly better is the sound of the Sony’s.
 
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LarryJoe33

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jul 17, 2017
2,254
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Boston
In all honesty, I think you like myself and many others are experiencing psychological normalization to the ANC. My Airpods have not had an opportunity to update their firmware, and I can tell the same sounds are still blocked out—yet the ANC still simply does not impress like the first time I turned it on. And why should it? Your brain is used to it now. You might have thought that the AirPods were giving you total silence in those first moments, but the brain has had time to listen closer. You are hearing the sounds in the silence that were originally masked by other noise that is now blocked. As your brain becomes accustomed to a quieter world, more minutae becomes apparent.


I hear you and I am definitely one to be OCD, BUT, in this case, I got them for Christmas and this has been my impression since I first put them in my ears. I certainly am not blown away by ANC of my APP's, while all I have heard from co-workers and family who got them on launch was how amazing it was to block out all outside noise. Mne are not even close to doing this.
 
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bwinter88

macrumors regular
Jul 20, 2012
140
1,884
I hear you and I am definitely one to be OCD, BUT, in this case, I got them for Christmas and this has been my impression since I first put them in my ears. I certainly am not blown away by ANC of my APP's, while all I have heard from co-workers and family who got them on launch was how amazing it was to block out all outside noise. Mne are not even close to doing this.
No ANC blocks out all outside noise. I have owned 4 different ANC headphones (QC 20i, QC 35, Nura, and now Airpods) and none of them will provide complete silence. If I had to rank them in order of effectiveness, it would be QC 35, QC 20i, Airpods, and the Nura was the least effective. I would say Airpods have about 75-80% effectiveness of the QC 20i. So they are good, but not killer.

Your friends were being hyperbolic. You will be disappointed with any active noise cancelling headphones if your expectation is total blocking of outside noise. ANC performs well against humming, hissing, low frequencies. It performs poorly against beeps, high pitched music, close conversation, any loud noises that overwhelm the mic or speaker, and low frequencies that penetrate the earbud. You might try doing the "DIY foam" mod to your ear cups to improve the fit and see if it performs better.
 
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Unregistered 4U

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Jul 22, 2002
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I had my AirPods Pro in at Best Buy, with noise canceling on, and heard a disgruntled child. As I was right next to the over ear headphones (and the child was firmly rooted in one spot for a time), I decided to see if any of them could mute that noise. They did not. I thank the child for continuing to be the source of my audio test for awhile as I tried Sony, Bose and then my AirPods Pro for three cycles of testing.

I think part of the value of the active noise canceling is more about producing better sound WHILE canceling. We don’t hear the incessant *hiss* anymore when no sound is playing, BUT we do hear more outside sounds.
 
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Paco II

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Sep 13, 2009
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As has been discussed in many other threads, a poor seal will result in poor ANC. I experienced this on my first flight with them. I thought they had a good seal, but when the flight took off, it was still louder (engine noise) than I expected. A slight adjustment to the right one, and the difference was massive.
 
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Plutonius

macrumors G3
Feb 22, 2003
8,800
7,992
New Hampshire, USA
Appreciate the confirmation on ANC and that is does let in some sound.

They could be very dangerous to the user if they blocked all sound.

It's bad enough the people who walk around staring at their phone but image if they also couldn't hear ?
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The only thing I find slightly better is the sound of the Sony’s.

And probably the price.
 
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LarryJoe33

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Original poster
Jul 17, 2017
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Boston
Thanks to all for the feedback and education on ANC. Let me first say that these are the best earbuds I have ever owned in terms of sound quality. I had beatsX and Jaybirds prior. I love these. Just trying to get up to speed on ANC.
 
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