So I didn’t know how I would feel about ANC in an earphone, but I was certainly intrigued. As you may know I always unbox my earphones while taking pictures, that way they are the cleanest they will ever be. I took my pictures of these in Mutrah, famous for its souks and ports, where the military ships come in and the Sultan has his yachts. I took the pictures directly next to a road so after unboxing I put them straight in and turned ANC on. I couldn’t believe the instant effect. It was like a suction and the wind noise was removed, as was the sound of the busy Omani roads. Wow I had to tip my hat off to OVC but I couldn’t help think I wouldn’t have heard the roads and winds to begin with if listening to my InEar ProPhile 8 (I know not a fair price comparison but these are my go to IEMs, you get similar isolation levels with much cheaper models). On further examination of the noise cancelling it seemed to do a pretty decent job, excelling in the deterring low frequencies. That being said it did seem to lack a little bit when it come to vocals, which seemed to remain the same level of audible with ANC both on and off.
Due to the two switches, namely ANC and bass boost, you can actually achieve four different sounds or modes with this earphone and the differences can actually be quite dramatic!
BB OFF ANC OFF – This is probably not how you will use these earphones, I mean why would you if you went out your way to buy ANC earphones. It is probably for the best as well as this mode seems a little lifeless. You will notice a strong sense of treble and upper mids, creating a slightly tinny timbre. The bass is very hollow and won’t be doing much to wow you or engage you with the sound sadly and due to the lesser isolation you will be trying to turn up the volume to get more low frequency representation.
BB ON ANC OFF – Everything is pretty much identical to with the BB off, apart from the (you guessed it) bass. It is a very exaggerated boost as well, I would hazard to guess about 12-15 decibels. So what was a flat and lifeless earphone, we now have this full and meaty sound, that is by far the loudest setting of these (impedance changes when ANC is on). I was listening to “Whiplash” by The Swampers and I was loving this groovy timbre of the instrumental track and much more engaged than without the BB.
Sadly it seemed like it was just smoke and mirrors and after going through a wide array of more track including some with vocals I found the sound is bloated, messy and boomy. The midrange still emphasizes the upper miss but is very recessed in the lower mids, meaning they get lost in the sound and washed over by the extreme bass’s bleed. On top of that male voices sound nasally. Unfortunately I can’t say this was my cup of tea.
BB OFF ANC ON – To be honest this is very much like when both settings where off, just in a quiet environment so you can focus on the bass much more easily.
BASS ON ANC ON – This is the sweet spot and probably the best the earphone is capable of sounding. It is nowhere near boosted in the low end as it was with the ANC off and the bass is still fuller but in a controlled and meaningful way. The midrange seems flatter with less recession in the lower mid and even the sharper top end blends more fluidly in. This gives you the bass you were missing in the other modes and also somehow makes the midrange that much more natural. While the other sections where quite negative by me, it is irrelevant as in this configuration these are very enjoyable. The other options are bonus but this the only way I would listen to these. I mean if you bought these you wanted ANC anyway so why would you not use it?
Do You Need ANC?
If I was summarizing my favorite sub £50 earphones sadly this would not be in my top 5. That however is a regardless fact as I think if you are still reading this review you wanted an earphone with ANC. Maybe you don’t trust the passive isolation of your standard IEM or maybe you are a frequent flyer and need something that is going to go that little bit further. Either way you want ANC – as you shouldn’t by this otherwise, not even based on sound, just because why would you add the hassle of having to charge your earphones if you don’t need ANC.
If you do feel the need for ANC then this a prime option, mainly because the competition is much more scarce and traditionally a little more expensive. The ANC is successful in my eyes, the earphone is very comfortable and with the right settings actually sounds very solid at the fairly budget price point!
Basically using the noise cancelling allows lower listening volumes as you are not pumping the volume up to block out the world