Noise Cancelling Headphones


Here are plans for building a noise canceling headphone circuit. Noise cancellation works by placing microphones close to the ear and then playing the recorded sound out of phase causing destructive interference. Commercial headphones have the mics and power supplies built into the headphones. The page has some other fun suggestions for playing around with the stereo mic setup. If you’re looking for a cheaper route, there is this.

[thanks flybri and h-tech]

24 thoughts on “Noise Cancelling Headphones

  1. Why can’t an inverter chip like a 7404 be used to invert the sound waves picked up by the microphones? When the two sound waves were combined they would cancel each-other and remove the unwanted sound.

  2. Wow. A truly useful hack. Thank you Hack-a-day. This is what i need for my electronics course and will be great for killing the jetengines on my computer (AKA 6*80mm fans that were my brothers adding)

    The only recommendation that i would have would be to combine the two projects and USE Cat5 wiring. Its perfect. 4 twisted pairs in one cable.

    With the right combonation you could end up with some headphones I can now hear that idiot sneek up behind me in battlefiled vietnam.

  3. I’ve built these headphones using the Ryckebush circuit before. (about 4 years ago…) They worked great initially, but the battery life was horrendous, the box was ugly and HUGE (not fun in airports, I never tried to use the headphones on an airplane again after 9/11 happened, since I wanted to actually be able to get through security.), and after 2 airplane flights it stopped working reliably.

    It cost me over $40-50 for the parts IN ADDITION to a pair of headphones themselves and went through $3-4 of batteries every 2-3 hours.

    When I first built them, ANC headphones available on the market were all extremely expensive, and the homemade ones were cheaper. This is no longer true.

    It’s a far better idea to buy a pair of Philips HN100s or HN110s off of eBay – I bought mine for $15 *including* shipping, and they blow away my homemade ones in every regard. Battery life off of a single AAA (instead of a pair of 9vs) is insanely long, the cancellation is better, and the unit is far more compact.

  4. Hi, was wondering if anybody here could help me modify my current Skullcandy Skullcrusher to add some noise cancellation technology.

    I love em for the bass, but I can hear everything. I have some old Sony MDR NC 20 I don’t like and wouldn’t mind dismantling.

    My skullcrushers have a compartement for 1AA battery already for the subwoofer technology.

    Could anybody help me with figuring out how to hack my current skullcrushers with the noise cancellation technology from my sony’s to make the ultimate pair of headphones?

    thanks for the help!!

    write me back with a relevant email title (so I know it’s not junk mail)

  5. Incredible… what an idea! A DIY pair of noise canceling headphones! To be honest i’d stick with a pre-built pair of noise cancelling headphones from sennheiser or Audio echnica.

    It seems like a LOT of hassle to build them yourself! :)

  6. I’m looking for cancellation of industrial noise coming from outside the house. I envision a microphone outside picking up the source noise, connected to a pc in the house running software to cancel the noise. The inverse noise would be broadcast by speakers in the room — so I could sleep without earplugs or headphones. The source noise is from compressors or diesel engines and is very constant/unchanging. Any ideas? The scenario seems identical to noise cancelling headphones: The mic is external, the cancelling noise is produced in an area isolated from the source. (My room is equivalent to the inside of the earphones.) I would think this could be a useful and popular application.

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