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Objective Measurements of Headphone Active Noise Cancelation Performance

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Many headphones in the consumer market are currently equipped with an active noise-canceling (ANC) feature. Evaluation of the performance of this feature is not standardized and direct measurement is generally not possible as headphones also naturally provide some amount of passive noise attenuation when worn. Relevant and applicable existing standards are reviewed. Objective performance measures applicable to ANC devices are examined. Measurement methods and data processing techniques are presented. Simple processing of the measured data can reveal the contribution of the passive and active components to the total insertion loss. Examination of the envelope in the time domain can reveal processing artifacts detrimental to speech intelligibility and audio quality. Measurement results are shown for a number of different devices.

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AES - Audio Engineering Society