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How to improve ANC on Google's Pixel Buds Pro

The noise canceling on Google's earbuds could be the best I've ever experienced. If you feel you're not getting the most out of your Pixel Buds Pro's ANC there's a very easy way to fix it.
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer
Google Pixel Buds Pro - Brighter Edit
June Wan/ZDNET

About six months ago, I realized I had enough credit in my Google account to snag a couple of Pixel Buds Pro for my wife and me. Because they were basically free, I didn't really pay much attention to them. My snubbing of Google's earbuds was compounded when I received the Denon PerL Pro earbuds, which sound exponentially better than any earbuds I've tested to date.

For whatever reason, I realized I'd put the Pixel Buds Pro in my sling bag. While I was out one day, I pulled them from my pack, inserted them into my ears, adjusted the EQ, and found them to sound almost as good as the Denon PerL Pro. Even though they were just shy of matching those amazing Denon earbuds, the Pixel Buds Pro offered a few features that made me realize just how good they are.

Also: The best earbuds you can buy

One such feature is the active noise cancelation, aka ANC. It's probably the best noise canceling I've ever experienced. If you insert your buds and find it to be lacking, there's a simple reason for it. What's most likely happening is the seal between the earbud tips and your ear isn't quite right. But how do you know if that is the case?

Fortunately, Google has a trick up its sleeve to help you with that.

Let me show you how to fix that seal.

How to improve ANC on Pixel Buds Pro

What you'll need: To make this work, you'll need a pair of Pixel Buds Pro and a Pixel Phone. You'll also need the extra silicon tips that were shipped with the earbuds, in case the selection you originally made wasn't correct for your ears. When I ran the test, I was surprised to find that the size of tips I typically choose wouldn't allow for a proper seal to get the most from the noise cancelation.

That's it. Let's run that test.

1. Insert your Pixel Buds Pro

The first thing to do is pull out your Pixel Buds Pro and insert them into your ears.

2. Open Settings

Next, open Settings by pulling down the Android Notification Shade twice and tapping the gear icon in the bottom right corner.

The bottom portion of the Android Notification Shade.

You can also access Settings from within the Android App Drawer.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

Also: The best noise-canceling earbuds for deep work and quiet studying

3. Open Connected Devices

Within the Settings page, tap Connected Devices.

The Connected Devices entry in Android Settings.

If you haven't pulled your Pixel Buds from their case, do so now.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

4. Open the Pixel Bud Pro Settings

On the resulting page, you should see your Pixel Buds Pro listing. Tap the associated gear icon to open the settings app for the device.

The Pixel Buds Pro listing in Connected devices.

Your Pixel Buds Pro should have a unique name in the listing.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

5. Open Sound Settings

Below Touch Controls, you should see a listing for Sound. Tap that entry.

The Sound listing Pixel Buds Pro Settings.

You can also customize the Touch Controls for your Pixel Buds Pro earbuds.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

6. Open the Eartip Seal Check

On this page, you should see Eartip Seal Check. Tap that entry to open the test page.

The Eartip Seal Test listing in Android 14.

You've found the gateway to the test.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

Also: The best sleep headphones you can buy

7. Start the test

Make sure your earbuds are snug in your ears and tap Start to begin the test. The test will begin and play some pleasant music for about 20 seconds.

The Start button for the ear tip seal test.

Tap start to begin the ear tip seal test.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

8. Check your results

At the end, you want to see Your earbuds sound great! on the results page. If you see anything else, something is wrong. What can go wrong is that you've either not snugged the earbuds in tight enough or you have the wrong tips attached to the earbuds. I would suggest you first reseal the earbuds and run the test again. If it fails a second time, change the tips and rerun the test.

Successful results from the Pixel Buds Pro seal test.

If your seal doesn't pass the test, you'll have to reseal and try again.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

Also: These two past Pixel phone problems are popping up again on Google's new flagship

It shouldn't take much adjustment to get this test to pass. However, if you want to get the most out of the Pixel Buds Pro ANC, you'll want to make sure you pass this test, otherwise, the noise canceling won't be nearly as effective.

And that's all there is to improving the active noise cancellation for your Pixel Buds Pro earbuds. You'll know when you get this right because the earbuds will not only be better at ANC but they will sound so much better. With a better seal, you'll get a better bass response, which will give whatever you're listening to more depth.

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