Knowles’s Micro-Valve And Ambient Sound Mode For True Wireless

Over years of reviewing earbuds, I acknowledged that some earbuds have great noise isolation that if I listen music at high volume I may not notice what is happening around.

It’s the same for having on a pair of NC earbuds. Imagine if earbuds have valve/vent that you can open it to let the ambient sound in or close it when you want to seal the sound in. This is exactly what Knowles recently developed.

To let users hear ambient sound, actually most NC earbuds have ambient sound mode, but it is not perfect yet. You couldn’t hear all the sound and it depends on a lot of factors such the surrounding environment, the volume level and music being played. And the sound is amplified and it’s not original.

And it’s about noise cancelling…

Consumers are craving for NC feature that they find it handy in a lot of situations in their daily life.

That’s headphones have built-in processor that can detect the noise and beam out the inverse-wave sound.

We want to shut up the noise – when commuting for work our ear are blasted with traffic noise, chatting, and at office the keyboard typing even makes annoying sound. Noise cancelling earbuds can calm that noise down, but this feature has a couple of drawbacks.

Listening music and effective noise cancelling performance, users are unaware of the danger happening around like traffic warning.

Some occasions we have to remove earbuds to talk with friends or co-workers

There is a slight/significant difference in sound when NC is ON and OFF

ANC drains earbuds’ battery faster, because it requires power consumption.

Earbuds with sealed-in design can block the noise passively, but what if you want to hear the ambient sound?

Like earplugs earbuds can isolate the noise physically, plastic and silicon eartips are sound-proof and how they seal in your ear will determine the amount of noise isolation.

A patent hold by Knowles shows a earbuds with Acoustic Valve. Switching back and fort between that can could be a solution for problem that currently NC earbuds have. The micro-valve is not available yet, according source familiar with the matter, Knowles perfect it – valve is more reliable, durable and soundless when switching.

Ambient sound mode – just open/close the valve

The valve working principle is simple, closing and opening.

When the valve is open, you hear the world as normal without earbuds and the music still keeps going.

When the valve is close the sound is sealed in, so the sound quality improves.

No power consumption

In the Ambient sound mode, you hear the ambient sound from earbuds’ drivers rather than directly from environment. The microphone picks the surrounding sound, turning it to electric signal and reproduces the sound, and that take power consumption. The Knowles’ valve can mimic that process without power consumption, saving juice for earbuds.

We hear the original sound

The ambient sound we hear is no distortion or latency

Knowles’s Micro-Valve – Opening/closing the valve is integrated with SoC, meaning you can use voice control for switching.

Sooner, we will see the next gen TWS with Micro-Valve for better user experience with better NC performance and sound quality.

A little about Knowles – Audio, R&D of advanced micro-acoustic named as a few in their large enterprise


  1. Morten November 3, 2020
    • Josiah November 8, 2020
  2. Morten November 23, 2020

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