Work From Home Noise Cancelling Philippines: 3 Techniques
Noise is a constant annoyance that we have to live with in our daily lives. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, ambient noise increases general stress and aggravates stress-related conditions like coronary disease, hypertension, and migraines.
Aside from increasing your stress level, noise makes it hard, if not impossible to conduct a proper online video call or conduct a proper voice recording session.
This doesn’t mean that we can’t take matters into our own hands. If you’re having trouble getting things done because of incessant noise, here are our recommended best work from home noise cancelling options for remote Filipino workers such as yourself.
Table of Contents
3 Effective Work from Home Noise Cancelling Techniques
I. Software (Noise Reduction Apps)
There are several methods of reducing the noise, ranging from quick and free to expensive and cumbersome. The quickest solution you can do without having to spend a single peso is to get an app for your laptop, desktop, or mobile device.
It will only take a few minutes, you don’t need to know anything about sound acoustics, and a lot of them are free download without risk.
a) How Does it Work?
Noise reduction via software is often done by omitting sounds or audio frequencies that are not typical of the human register. It isolates only the human voice and then strips away other random and constant sounds heard in the background such as echoes, street noise, the humming of electronics and other typical unwanted noise.
There are 2 categories of noise-cancelling techniques used by software & apps. The first is done in real-time via active or adaptive noise-cancelling. The second is done through audio editing software during the post-production of an audio file recording.
For typical work from home noise reduction requirements, real-time noise-canceling software would likely be your best choice. It will help you and your clients hear each other better during online calls.
On the other hand, content creators who regularly upload videos and podcasts will likely need some sort of noise reduction during post-production for a more professional-sounding product.
Regardless of which type you need or choose, there are still some limitations to noise cancelling software. It will still not be able to remove all noise from the background, and in some cases, taking out the noise can affect the quality of your audio call or recording.
Despite these setbacks, software-based noise reduction is a quick, easy, and free option that’s at least worth a try. Here are a few recommended apps.
- Quick to set up
- They can work with your existing devices
- There are still some limitations to software-based noise cancellation that cannot replace having clean audio or better recording equipment.
b) Recommended Noise Cancellation Apps:
Krisp is a noise canceling tool that serves as a filter to reduce noise during your calls and voice recordings. It uses AI to separate unwanted background noises from human voices.
Aside from removing background noise from your mic, the app can be used to take out the background noise from other people during a call.
Krisp has different pricing options, all the way from “free forever” to “enterprise”. Like the package suggests, the free forever plan is completely free but it will only cancel noise for up to 240 minutes per week (4 hours per week). If you’re happy with Krisp but you need more than the free 240-minute weekly allowance, you can get the Personal Pro package for $5 per month.
The Personal Pro package gives you unlimited noise cancellation for your calls, ideal for work-from-home call center employees, and anyone who does a lot of voice calls and online meetings.
Audacity is a powerful audio editing and mixing software for making audio tracks for music and professional videos. It comes with an audio cleaning tool that you can use to remove unwanted background sounds from your audio track.
You do this by first recording a sample of the ambient noise of your recording location, then you isolate that sound, and strip that away from the final audio file.
It sounds more complicated than it is. You can check out this video by Buzzsprout for a simple step-by-step 4-minute guide on how to do it.
If you have an Nvidia RTX-based GPU on your laptop or desktop, then Nvidia RTX Voice may be the option for you. This software uses AI and the RTX cores on your GPU to remove background noise from streams and calls.
It’s capable of greatly reducing common annoying sounds like keyboard typing, the noise made by screaming kids, vacuum cleaners, and more. Its capabilities are greatly showcased in a video posted by ShortCircuit back in 2020. They tested the limits of the AI by simulating both realistic and unrealistic background noises that you could possibly hear during a video call.
It’s an impressive plugin, with its only downside being that you have to own an RTX-based GPU and that it reportedly uses a good amount of computer resources while it’s being used.
4. Neutralizer - For Calls and a Better Listening Experience (Android)
Neutralizer is an Android app meant to improve your listening experience by creating a custom sound configuration based on your own hearing.
The app can be configured to block off sounds that you consider to be annoying or distracting. This gives you a better overall experience when listening to music and conducting voice calls on your Android device.
The free version of Neutralizer gives you one audio preset, while the paid version lets you create as many presets as you want.
For the best results, you should pair it with your earphones/headphones instead of using it with your cellphone’s built-in speakers.
II. Hardware (Noise Reduction Headphones and Microphones)
Noise-canceling hardware is usually in the form of headphones and microphones and comes at a price.
A pair of pair of good-quality noise-cancelling headphones can cost around P3,300 on the lower end, while some of the most premium headphones can cost up to 10 times as much, if you’re willing to buy a pair of Apple Airpods Max at P32,990.
On the other hand, you can snag a recording mic with decent noise-reduction from as low as P1,000 to as high as P7,000++.
a) How It Works
Headphones and mics have different ways of removing background noise. The simplest form of noise-cancellation is noise-isolation on headphones, a fancy term which just means mechanically blocking incoming noise from your surroundings by creating a good seal or padding around your ears using your headphones.
More technologically advanced headphones and mics use active and adoptive noise cancellation, which takes out incoming noise using software inside the device.
These noise cancellation techniques are effective at reducing the noise that you can hear as the listener. This can do wonders if you work in a noisy environment so that you can better hear to what or who you’re listening to.
For microphones, it won’t directly affect you, but it will make your voice clearer and understandable to those who you’re talking to during your voice calls.
- Headphone noise cancellation can work with almost any device without downloading software
- Potentially very expensive depending which device you purchase
b) Recommended Noise Cancellation Headphones and Microphones
The Q20 is a highly-rated set of Bluetooth on-ear headphones that offers good noise cancellation with decent sound quality. It uses active-noise cancellation technology to detect and cancel ambient noise from your background. It reportedly does a decent job at it, but you may benefit from augmenting it with a downloaded app for even better results.
It boasts up to 40 hours of audio playback when using it on Bluetooth mode. You can still hook it up to your device using an audio jack if you do run out of battery.
You can grab a pair for P4,195 at the official Anker webpage or for P3,272 from Anker’s Shopee mall page. It comes with an 18-month replacement warranty, which is a nice feature for a product at this price.
2. Apple AirPods Max - Headphones
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more expensive or premium set of consumer-grade noise-cancelling headphones than the Apple AirPods Max. It is considered by some audioheads as having the best in class active noise-cancelling for headphones.
iPhonedo has a really cool video where he demonstrates the effectivity of the Airpods Max active noise-cancelling by letting you experience it for yourself. This is probably one of the closest approximations to experiencing the headphones yourself without owning or trying a physical copy of it.
Aside from great looks and top-notch noise-cancellation, it also boasts to have great audio quality that would appeal to most users.
All of that said, this comes comes at a hefty price. A pair of AirPods Max will set you back a cool P32,990 when you buy it from Apple’s official webpage.
3. Fifine K668 Plug and Play Home Studio USB Condenser - Microphone
The Fifine K668 USB Condenser Mic is an impressive plug-and-play microphone designed for streamers and home users. It costs a fraction of what you’d normally have to pay for a decent home recording mic.
It also reportedly does a decent job at filtering out background noises that you’d hear from your surroundings when working at home. Dawid Does Tech Stuff has a Youtube video where he used the Fifine K668 to record the audio of his video so that you have a better idea of the audio quality of this mic.
He also puts the mic’s noise rejection to the test to show his viewers how effective it can be under normal circumstances.
You can get your Fifine K668 USB Condenser Mic from JG Superstore’s Lazada page for P999.00 (at the time that this was posted)
4. Blue Yeti - Microphone
The Blue Yeti is a very popular USB mic used by streamers and podcasters. It’s a very easy-to-use mic that offers professional sound quality without the hassle of having the need for an amplifier or mixer or any other technical skills. You just plug it into your computer, and then you’re almost set.
The mic comes with several features, most of which will come in handy if you’re into recording podcasts, interviews, music, and streams. One of the features of its software, the enhanced broadcast effects, includes noise reduction and a noise gate and limiter. This helps in removing unwanted sounds during your voice calls.
For a regular person, this mic might be somewhat of an overkill, but if you’re looking into entering the podcast, streaming, or Youtube scene, this is a great choice that will give you professional results.
You can buy your Blue Yeti Mic locally from Datablitz for P7,695 or from Abenson’s for P7,699
III. Room Noise Cancelling Techniques for Work
Removing the source of the noise may be the most overlooked way of reducing your noise-related problems. Sometimes, you don’t realize that just a few changes to your room can drastically improve the acoustics of your place and reduce unwanted sounds by a great deal.
- Can improve your overall quality of life and living conditions
- Can be impractical or impossible to execute effectively
- Laborious in some cases
- Need to have an idea of acoustics to make it work effectively
Here are a few tips you can do to help reduce background noise in rooms
1. Reduce Noise from the inside of your Room - Add More Furniture (Install Carpets, Add Upholstered Furniture, & Hang Things on Your Wall)
Sound likes to bounce off surfaces. In an empty room, the sound will most likely echo and create a lot of noise because there isn’t anything to stop the sound waves from reflecting off the hard surfaces of your room.
By adding furniture in your room with varying shapes and surfaces, you create more ways of dampening and absorbing those sound waves, reducing the echo effect.
A few effective ways of doing this are adding carpets, upholstered furniture, and installing things on your wall. If you want to take it to the next level, you can install acoustic foam and panels in your room.
Pat Flynn demonstrates the effectiveness of installing cheap acoustic foam compared to a professional sound panel. It’s a great video to see for yourself how much noise is reduced depending on the kind of acoustic panel that you use.
2. Reduce Noise from the Outside of your Room - Soundproof Your Windows
If the noise that you’re concerned with is coming from outside your home, you may want to consider soundproofing your windows.
A relatively more inexpensive choice would be to create as good a seal as possible around your windows using caulking or a self-adhesive weather strip.
If you want to take it even further, you can install a window panel which you can make yourself. It’s made similar to an acoustic panel but made to the size and shape of your window to block off as much outside noise as possible.
Common Reasons Why You Need Noise Cancellation
i. You Need to Make a Good Impression During Interviews & Meetings
Having a noisy background can be off putting, especially during formal online video calls such as job interviews. Even if the person you’re talking to can understand you clearly, there may be some unwanted sounds or discussions in the background that you wouldn’t want them to hear.
ii. To Improve Communication Between Peers
As a remote Filipino worker, meetings are some of the very few instances you may have of human interaction with peers and bosses. The limited airtime you have during those moments are crucial for you to properly get your message across to everyone you’re talking to.
Conversely, background noise may make it hard for you to properly understand what your peers are telling you if you can’t hear properly over the background noise in your room.
Getting a noise-cancellation solution can greatly improve everyone’s experience, including you and the people you’re talking to.
You can use noise-isolating headphones to improve your listening experience, while noise-canceling apps and mics can be a godsend for video calls and audio recordings.
iii. You Need to Work Outside of Your Home
We’re not all lucky to live in a location where the internet is reliable and fast. Sometimes, we get the occasional service disruption, forcing us to go to our nearest coffee shop to work on crucial tasks.
Sometimes, we also have to take our work with us especially if we have to conduct other business in a different physical location. Sometimes, those places will have unavoidable noises that we just have to work around.
In these situations, noise cancelation and isolation apps and headphones can go a long way in making your outdoor calls and work smoother.
All of the options mentioned in this article will work to varying degrees. Instead of just choosing one work from home noise cancelling solution, it would be best to combine all of the solutions available to you, depending on your needs, budget, and willingness to fix your work from home setup.
Sometimes, a quick and easy software download would suffice, but in some cases, you might need better hardware or you might have to fix your room’s layout for better results.
Conversely, your favorite earphones and mic setup might not be good enough when you take your laptop out to a coffee shop, but installing a simple app could make your experience that much better without having to spend a single peso on more expensive hardware.