Why use noise cancelling headphone with Google Assistant?
“Sound is such a constant thing, we don’t even think about it,” says Eric Heller
In a noisy city like Mumbai, you are always subjected to the noise of varying decibel levels. Honking vehicles, noisy generators, drilling and hammering sounds due to ongoing repair works, concrete mixers, rollers and vibrators at construction sites, loud music and orchestra during a marriage or a religious procession, bursting of firecrackers and many other such factors add to the noise all the time. A recent survey by an NGO called Watchdog Foundation reported that the noise on the roads under five Mumbai metro stations is as loud as the sound of rock drilling machines.
Last week, I was visiting a friend, who lives beside the Worli sea face. She had to step out of her house for a short while, and there I was alone at her place. I sat by the window of her sea view flat to watch the sunset. To pass time, I switched on the music player, but the intermittent screech of tyres on the road below and the continuous scream of horns ruined my all my attempts to immerse myself in some soulful music.
I raised the volume of music to offset the noise but to no avail. Soon the loudness became so unbearable for me, with the noise from the road below adding to the din that I switched off the music player.
How I wished I could shut out the noise!
After my friend came back, I cribbed about the nuisance that the noisy road beneath her house created.
That is when she handed me her noise-cancelling wireless headphone.
It was a Bose QuietComfort 35 II.
A sense of quiet surrounded me as I put on the headphone. Crisp sounds amplified in silence made the music sound much better. I was amazed at the remarkable difference that noise cancellation makes to the quality of music.
The next thing on my to-do list was to find out more about noise cancelling headphones.
If you live or commute in noisy urban areas, you may have sometime wanted to block noisy distractions to enjoy a few moments of quiet. Read on as I share a brief history of noise-cancelling headphones and its uses.
Brief History of Noise cancelling headphones
The year was 1978. On a flight from the USA to Switzerland, Dr Amar Bose, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the founder and chairman of Bose Corporation, was trying to listen to music on the headphone that the aircraft crew had given him. But, the tiresome drone of the engine almost completely drowned the sound of music.
Wondering how to block the noise of the engine, Dr Bose took out his pen and started scribbling on a paper napkin. What he scribbled shaped up the idea of designing a headphone that could remove this unwanted noise.
Dr Bose went on to set up the Noise Technology Reduction Group that would work for over a decade on the development of noise cancelling technology.
The first noise-cancellers were designed for use by pilots, who for the first time in the history of the world flew an aircraft called Rutan Voyager around the world for 9 days in 1986, without stopping or refuelling. Until the end of the 1990s, the headsets continued to be designed for use on planes.
In 2000, the pioneers of the noise cancelling headphones, Bose released the QuietComfort Acoustic Noise Cancelling headphones, the first in the consumer QC series. These headphones were found to work well in trains, buses, offices and home.
The company continued to tweak and improve the headphones progressively adding new features, refining the design, improving audio, and enhancing noise-cancelling performance.
Continuous innovations and improvements resulted in the release of QC 3 in 2006, QC 15 in 2009, QC 20 in 2013, QC 25 in 2014. The latest in the series, Quiet Comforter 35 was released in June 2016, which received five-star reviews from both the Guardian and International Business Times.
The updated version of QC 35 II, introduced in 2017 has an added attractive feature besides noise cancelling, which we will shortly look into.
First, let us briefly look at the how noise calling headphones work and their uses.
How noise cancelling headphones work?
There are two kinds of noise reduction – passive noise reduction or noise isolation and active noise reduction.
Passive noise reduction earpieces are designed to fit snugly into the ears and block the background noise from getting in.
On the other hand, Active Noise Cancelling technology closely monitors the surrounding noise and cancels it out. Active noise reduction is an advanced way of getting rid of the noise. In addition to blocking the external noise, the noise cancelling headphones have an internal microphone and audio processor that create an opposite sound wave to actively cancel out the intruding noise wave.
What are the benefits of Noise cancelling headphones?
Active noise cancelling headphones, block external noise disturbances and allow you to hear only the music or whatever else you want to. Working out in the gym is much more pleasant when you are listening to music on a noise cancelling headphone.
Noise cancelling headphones are even useful when you do not want to listen to music or anything else but you want quietness around you to focus on your work. At home, with a noise cancelling headphone a student can study in a room next to the room where others are watching TV, without getting distracted. While commuting in trains passengers can choose not to hear noisy conversations.
A wireless noise cancelling headphone would make an excellent travel companion on a flight or during rail travel or road travel in a bus or a car. In a flight, a noise cancelling headphone allows the passengers to relax better, enjoy the music or even keep working on their assignments. Some airlines such as American Airlines and Air India provide Bose noise cancelling headphones for in-flight use to passengers in premium flight classes.
What if, while listening to music, you also want to hear certain external things such as announcements or people calling out to you? That is where a Bose Bose Quiet Comfort 35 II headphone is really useful. Here’s a quick look at the features.
Bose QuietComfort 35 II Wireless Headphones
Bose Quiet Comfort 35 II wireless headphones are over-ear noise cancelling headphones with Bluetooth functionality.
Literally, a no-strings-attached headphone, Bose QC 35 II lets you free yourself from wires and connect easily to your devices with Bluetooth and NFC pairing. You can easily move around the house doing your chores, without getting tangled in the wires. You can also connect to the wired-jack when you so wish.
The light and sturdy design of the headphone makes it comfortable enough to listen all day. The lithium-ion battery gives you up to 20 hours of wireless play time per charge. So, all it needs is a quick 15 min charge to go on for 2.5 hours.
Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) is adjustable in QC 35 II headphones, which means you can adjust the noise cancelling level. A digital equaliser inside the Q35’s adjusts the sound on the fly. This means that the quality of your music will remain consistent, whether you are on a noisy station or in a quiet office. At the same time, using the adjustable ANC you can also keep an ear open for announcements at the airport or stations or for safety purpose.
A Forbes article mentions
If you want wireless noise cancelling headphones, the Bose QuietComfort 35 (Series II) Wireless can be your best option.
Google Assistant interactions
In September 2017, yet another fantastic feature was introduced to QC 35 wireless headphones in the form of a Google Assistant button, resulting in an updated version, i.e QC 35 II. By pressing the button you can give instructions to Google Assistant using your voice on either iOS or Android.
Howzzat! Let’s see.
Due to the extensive use of mobile phones, we remain glued to our phones for long times. We tend to spend more time checking our messages and notifications and sending text messages than we spend actually talking. This subjects the muscles of the neck, shoulders, and upper back to strain, which over time can give headaches, neck pain, shoulder or arm pain.
With excessive use, a smartphone can cause a pain in the neck.
Thus, arises the need for an assistant who can receive your texts, place calls for you and get answers to your questions, without you having to even glance at your phone.
With the tap and hold of a button on the left side of the QC 35 headphone, you can ask your Google Assistant to help you.
How does Google Assistant help you?
- You can ask Google Assistant to the play music of our choice from YouTube or from your own playlist, It can stop or start the music and increase or reduce the volume for you.
- Google Assistant can tell you who is calling and also place a call for you.
- You can set the Assistant to bring you notifications from the apps you choose, read out your messages and reply to those without using the phone.
- If you are travelling to a new place and want to have a cup of coffee, you can simply ask your GA to spot some nearby coffee shop.
- If you are travelling to a different country, and want to exchange currency, let’s say INR to USD. Simply ask your Google Assistant, ‘how many rupees are there in one dollar?’
- You can set timers and reminders too.
For any reason, if you want to use a virtual assistant other than Google, you can use Siri for iPhone or any other virtual private assistant of your choice. Or, you can choose not to use any virtual assistant.
Overall, apart from sound quality, noise cancelling and comfort, Bose QC 35 II gives a plethora of choices about what you want to hear and the sounds that you want to block.
You can let the sound of music enrich your life, or cherish some moments of quiet.
No messy wires that get stuck here & there, plus a VPA who’s happy to help you everywhere.
Finally, I end on the note that Bose QC 35 II with Google Virtual Private Assistant is set to change the way we hear, talk, ask and say. But, maybe that shouldn’t come as a surprise given the fact that Bose QC series headphones had changed the way people listen to music.
** This post has been written in collaboration with Indiblogger and Bose India.
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