New Product Idea: External Sonos Connect Active Noise Cancellation Microphone and Noise Processing Engine

  • 9 November 2021
  • 3 replies
  • 38 views

Let me start by saying - ANC is not easy and it takes quite a bit of engineering to execute it reasonably well.   ANC with headphones or ear buds have the advantage of being sealed system where you can operate in the finite space of the ear canal.  

Having said that, I was wonder if it would be possible for Sonos to build a unit that might help facilitate rough ANC and negate some road noise in an urban environment.  I’m not talking sharp or inconsistent background noises (sirens, horns, etc.), but I am thinking more of the droning of background road noise (car acceleration, general road noise, etc.).

I live in downtown Austin, TX and my condo is close enough to the I-35 corridor to pickup consistent background noise.  I was wondering if it would be feasible for Sonos to develop a connected device that could suction-cup to window with two microphones and built a processor to act an ANC engine to drive the speakers in the room.  One mic would pickup sound vibrations hitting the window from road noise, and one microphone facing into the room to measure the room noise and subsequent Sonos speaker response.  

If this could be done, you could put a room (in my case, my bedroom) in to ANC mode to “block” external noises and provide a substantively more quite environment for relaxation. 

Its a long shot - but I figured I’d ask.


3 replies

Hi @Ed Venture,

 

Thanks for your suggestion! 

 

That does indeed sound like a very complex feat of engineering to get right, and something that has been tried by a few companies. A quick Google search brings up a some similar products that claim to do whole-room-ANC but I don’t think any actually made their way to market, at least not in any meaningful way.

It would certainly be something I’d like to experience in person!

 

Regardless, I’ve passed your comments on to our development team for consideration :slight_smile:

@James L. 

Yeah - its not easy for sure.  I would be interesting if Sonos could partner with some one like Silemtium and use their building blocks (See Here) to build out a module that can connect to the Sonos network.  I’m not sure how good their tech is, but it would be fun to experiment with.

 

 

I live in downtown Austin, TX and my condo is close enough to the I-35 corridor to pickup consistent background noise.  I was wondering if it would be feasible for Sonos to develop a connected device that could suction-cup to window with two microphones and built a processor to act an ANC engine to drive the speakers in the room.  One mic would pickup sound vibrations hitting the window from road noise, and one microphone facing into the room to measure the room noise and subsequent Sonos speaker response.  

 

Two issues with this that I see off the bat.  My limited understand of soudwaves is that the travel through different matter with different results, resulting in different wavelengths passing through and/or modified.  As you know, you would still hear road noise even if you had no windows in the room, but probably different frequencies.  Not sure that a device that picks up knows at the window would cover everything.  It would help but not catch it all.

Really, I don’t know that headphone ANC works well because it’s sealed or because it pics up the noise pretty close to the location where you would hear it, catching everything regardless of where it originated.

The other problem is that Sonos communication is not instantaneous.  There is a buffer and delay  for streaming sources, a smaller one for TV audio as it uses 5khz signal.  So it seems unlikely that a mic could up sound, process that audio, send it wirelessly to another speaker in the room, and successfully cancel out the audio.  Maybe the brain can account for the time difference and recognize the time cancel, not sure, but I doubt it.  Wired seems like it would be better in this case, or having the mic and speaker in the same device, eliminating delays, like you have with headphones.

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