I would like to use my Mac as an audio cancelling device, like headphones that reproduce the outside noise in inverted form, so it cancels out (typically found in airports). With a normal pair of headphones, my Mac could record the ambient noise and send it to my headphones to achieve noise reduction.

Is there a program able to do this?

  • Do you want to continually do this in realtime or just for a fragment that you later reproduce over and over in a loop? – Martin Marconcini Oct 20 '10 at 20:43
  • @Martín continually in realtime, like a noise cancellation headphones. – Stefano Borini Oct 21 '10 at 18:45
  • i’ll come back to you on this one. Do you have Logic (express/pro)? – Martin Marconcini Oct 22 '10 at 6:08
  • @Martín : nope :) – Stefano Borini Oct 22 '10 at 7:58
  • Even if you can get this to work on a software level, I doubt it will produce any significant noise cancelling. Noise cancelling headphones only work because the microphones are extremely close to the speakers in the headphones. It is then essential that the sound is inverted in real-time and sent to the headphones; and even then it only works for low-pitched sounds. Therefore, the entire combination has to be designed and tested together. I doubt you will achieve this without very sensitive calibration that won't be possible, considering you'll be moving your head relative to the mics. – Andrew Ferrier Dec 17 '12 at 16:30

Audacity can do this as far as I know. There is a White Noise generator, and under the Effects menu there is a "Noise Removal" option.

I don't know if you can do it in realtime, but you could make a short recording of the ambient noise, run the Noise Removal, figure out what got removed (subtract before and after), and then play that part but inverted. Maybe....

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This is not possible because the inverted noise would be picked by the computer mic and "attenuated" again and again causing a very noisy feedback, like an electric guitar near the speaker. Noise canceling headphones have mic separated from speakers.

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  • 1
    Yup, but what about using headphones? – mjlescano Sep 23 '15 at 18:32

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