Klipsch Mode M40 Wireless Headphones: Active Noise Cancellation

 10 Sep 2011 - By Omar Yesid Mariño+

Good music lovers always demand more and more. They don’t want just some cheap, minimalistic, and basic headphones that only give off sound. Instead, they prefer advanced technologies such as the trendy noise-cancellation. And certainly we are not talking about the passive way that consist of the basic isolation of our hearing sense from external noise; no,  we are talking about the active noise-cancellation: Having an electronic system that counteracts external noise.

Noise reduction headphones

Currently, there is a good number of headphones with active noise cancellation in the market, and often they are expensive but very good. The Klipsch M40 are one of the latest to be launched, since they are scheduled to hit the stores this Fall, or at least before the end of this year.

One curious thing is that they can work in both modes: Wireless or wired. In the first case,  they need an AAA battery that is also in charge of providing power to the noise-cancelling system. Anyway, when the battery gets low you don’t have to panic, because you only need to use the provided cable.

As seen in the picture above, Klipsch Mode M40 will come with a retractable, adjustable  headband and ear pads. Each earphone includes a 40mm woofer to provide deep bass and dynamic midrange with active crossover, and a 15mm tweeter to bring crisp, clean highs. As usual, the audio cable has a diameter of 3.5mm and includes a microphone with control buttons compatible with a range of gadgets, at least and especially with the portable devices of Apple including: iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPod Touch, iPod classic, iPod nano, iPod shuffle, iPad, and iPad 2.

At this time, we don’t know if these headphones and their controls will be able to work perfectly with other well-known mobiles phones, smartphones, and MP3 / MP4 players, since there is no much information about compatibility. Anyway, as usual with any regular headphones, you will be able to use the Klipsch Mode M40 with any device with  a 3.5 mm headphone jack.

Other features include Passive Cross-over Network and a sensitivity of 97.5 dB @ 1 mW, 15 mm

There is not official word about the price yet, so we have to wait the formal release.

How the active noise cancellation works

The quality and high-end headphones with noise cancellation reduce the noise coming from a surrounding environment by using an active noise controller (a.k.a ANC – Active Noise Cancellation system).

The objective of such ANC system is to capture the noise from a specific place (your office, a building, a train, etc) through a microphone close to your ears (actually it is part of the earphone) in order to produce a sound wave with opposite polarity by using an electronic circuit. The opposite wave is supposed to cancel out the original wave (a physics principle).

However, as said before, this is true for genuine headphones with ACTIVE noise-cancellation systems (such as the Klipsch Mode M40). There are some products that are supposed to “cancel out” the noise, but actually they work in a more obvious way: They block the noise just by using ear pads and isolation structures; that is to say, they “reduce” the noise in a passive way (not active).

It’s important to know that the active approach could be good enough in environments with continuous low-frequency noises, (e.g. a train, a plane, a ship) but the effectiveness with high-frequency or abrupt noises (e.g. a dog barking) could be not guaranteed.  For that reason, headphones with ANC systems often use a combination of passive / active methods in order to isolate us from unexpected sounds and electronically cancel out the more steady ones.

High-frequencies noises is a real challenge in this field but, in recent years, important advances have been made in its technical implementation.

More noise-canceling headphones in the market

While the upcoming Klipsch Mode M40 seems a good option, here you have a list of high-quality headphones  with noise-cancelling systems which are currently available, so you can compare and decide if you really want to buy one (please, click on the links for more information):

 Audio Technica ATH ANC7B

Audio Technica ATH-ANC7B Active Noise-Cancelling Closed-Back Headphones: Apparently, it can reduce environmental noise by 90%.


ABLE PLANET NC200W True Fidelity Foldable Active Noise-Canceling Headphones (White): If white is your color, check out this.  They cost around $60.

Sennheiser PXC 450 NoiseGard

Sennheiser PXC 450 NoiseGard Active Noise-Canceling Headphones: Collapsible and very portable but more expensive: around $240.

Audio Technica ATH ANC23 QuietPoint

Audio-Technica ATH ANC23 QuietPoint – Headphones ( in-ear ear-bud ) – active noise canceling: If you prefer the in-ear design, then these are for you.

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