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Disabling active noise cancellation (ANC) in your car

Bass noises come out of the speakers, even when the stereo's off

Recently, a customer commented, "I have a 2019 Honda Ridgeline RTL-T. I installed an aftermarket subwoofer. Now I get a loud bass tone that builds up and disappears. This happens randomly but only when the gas pedal is pressed. As the sound builds up in volume, I can stop it if I press the gas further or if I get off the gas completely. Weird thing is that the sound happens even when the audio is turned off."

Freaky bass sounds

The issue here is that his Honda has an "Active Noise Cancellation" (ANC) system that emits low-frequency sounds which are supposed to cancel-out the rumbling road, wind, and engine noises. ANC systems do not play well with subwoofers. Most car stereo installers disable the ANC systems in the vehicles they work on.

ANC keeps noise out of the car cabin.

Noise-cancelling system

Honda says, "Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) is designed to dramatically reduce low frequency noise in the interior. The system operates whenever the car is running, regardless of whether the audio system is on or off. There are two microphones in the cabin area. The microphones capture low-end drivetrain frequencies entering the cabin, and send a signal to the Active Noise Cancellation unit. The control unit then creates a precisely timed reverse phase audio signal that is sent to an amplifier, which powers the speakers."

The ANC cancels out the sound of the bass.

In short, the out-of-phase created noises cancel out the in-phase engine/road noises.

Noise-making systems

On the other side of the coin, some car manufacturers include an engine noise enhancement system that plays motor noises through the stereo as the engine revs up. Although a lot of gearheads might like this feature, it plays havoc with aftermarket sound systems.

The ANC can mess up the sound of an aftermarket sub.

How ANC reacts with an aftermarket sub

Here's the problem for the aftermarket audio crowd. When you install a subwoofer in one of these vehicles, the ANC system hears the subwoofer's output as being part of the engine/road noise it's supposed to cancel out. So, it emits an out of phase bass signal to block the sub's output. When the ANC doesn't hear any bass, it stops playing the out of phase signal, and the sub becomes audible again. Until the ANC kicks in again. And on and on.

Identifying ANC in your vehicle

Go online and look up your vehicle's features and specs. Manufacturers like to showcase all the high-tech features they put in their products and will most likely include ANC or something similar in the spec sheet.

Where is the ANC in your vehicle?

Another way to identify ANC

Let's say you've installed a subwoofer in your vehicle and horrible bass-like noises play as you drive and play music. After parking but continuing to play music, you can turn off the engine or even just open a door and if the subwoofer then plays as it should you'll know you've got an ANC issue to overcome in order to get good clean bass.

Disabling the ANC

If you disable the ANC in your vehicle, the engine and road noises you'll hear in the cabin will increase dramatically. Adding sound deadening material in as many places as possible should take care of that.

Two strategies for defeating active noise cancellation

Dealership: Check with the dealership to see if they'll disable the ANC in your vehicle, either by programming or disconnecting the right wires. Expect a fee, if they'll do it.

Internet search: Somebody, somewhere, at some time or another, has disabled the ANC in a vehicle like yours and then posted a video or comment online showing how they did it. Google is your friend — use it.

One possible ANC location.

One of the two ANC mics in the 2014 Honda Accord is inside this console

Examples that we've seen

When I looked up "how to disable the ANC in a 2019 Honda Ridgeline" I found a few threads in the Ridgeline Owners forum and a You Tube video that described how to do it. First remove the glovebox, then unplug the little silver/grey ANC module. Another thread tells how you can disable the ANC through the radio's diagnostic menu — but it reverts to being enabled the next time you start the vehicle.

Here are a few other examples that I've seen recently. These really show how solving this issue varies from one vehicle to the next.

  • On a Camaro forum, I found out that unplugging the microphones in the door panels is a simple and reversible way to disable the ANC.
  • PAC offers an ANC bypass harness that works in select 2017-up Chrysler Pacifica and 2019-up Jeep Cherokee and Ram trucks.
  • Crutchfield offers the iDatalink bCH3 ANC bypass harness that also works in select 2017-up Chrysler Pacifica and 2019-up Ram trucks.
  • Mustang's Active Noise Control system both cancels some low frequency noises and adds in some higher-frequency engine noise. On a Mustang forum, someone has posted a video showing how to find and disconnect one of the microphones in the headliner, apparently disabling the ANC system.
  • Kicker's vehicle-specific powered subwoofer upgrade for a Chevy Silverado includes instructions on how to disable the ANC by unplugging the mic in the driver's side headliner. Disconnecting just one mic will disable the entire ANC.
  • On a Honda Pilot Touring SUV, however, you must unplug both the front and rear microphones to disable the ANC system.

Give us a call

ANC issues mostly come about when an aftermarket subwoofer is added to a factory system. And there's no better way to ensure you get the right subwoofer, as well as all the necessary accessories and installation instructions, than by talking with a Crutchfield Advisor.

Advisors have access to our extensive vehicle database that often includes a warning about any onboard ANC system and instructions on how to disable it — so you can successfully install a sub in a vehicle whose stock system was prejudiced against bass.

  • Mike

    Posted on 3/15/2023

    I had an aftermarket sub and door speakers installed in my 2022 Ford F-150 Raptor and I'm hearing what sounds like fake exhaust or fake engine noise coming from the sub at low speed/rpm, but not when stopped or in park. I disabled the fake engine noise via forscan but that didn't make a difference. A couple of forums suggested bad wiring, either ground or RCA. Any suggestions are appreciated.

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 3/17/2023

    Mike, Apparently disabling the ANC system via the vehicle's software only works temporarily and it will reset when the vehicle is turned off and then on again. You'll need to find the ANC module and unplug it. Check out some F-150 forums for help finding it.
  • Mike M from Naples

    Posted on 2/13/2023

    I have a Cadillac XT6 2020, 8 speaker Bose factory system with ASM, (Cadillac Active Sound Cancellation). There are 3 microphones in my headliner in different locations around the cabin. I get constant annoying bass bump/thump sounds but not totally annoying. Any advice what each speaker handles for what sounds to cancel? Have you ever tried or heard of unplugging 1 or 2 to limit some noises but leaving others?

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 2/13/2023

    Mike, The factory system uses multiple microphones in order to trigger its ANC sonic effects from every location inside your vehicle. If you don't want the factory ANC to operate, you'll have to disconnect all the mics individually throughout the car, or at the ANC module, or unplug just the ANC module itself.
  • Timothy R Jacobs from Topeka

    Posted on 2/3/2023

    Where is the ANC module located in 2022 altima.and what wire do I need to cut

  • John Gronkowski from Chicago

    Posted on 2/1/2023

    Researching replacing the four door mount speakers in a 2020 Honda CRV exl and wonder about how that will affect the ANC. Since there's no sub-woofer in the vehicle, I assume that the door mount speakers are handling the bass and therefore the noise cancellation. I'm not looking for any kind of major bass boost but rather getting a little more clarity out of the system. Will the frequency response of the replacement speakers affect the ANC?

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 2/2/2023

    John, The factory ANC system will function as designed whether there's a subwoofer or not. Your music may trigger it to try and reduce noise with the factory speakers or aftermarket speakers. If you don't mind the effect, leave the ANC engaged. If the ANC interferes with good fidelity, disable it.
  • Sam Berger from Saint Louis

    Posted on 1/6/2023

    I would like to add ANC to a car that doesn't have it. Are there any outbound units that will work with an aftermarket car audio setup?

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 1/6/2023

    Sam, ANC units come with the vehicle and are usually separate modules - that you could leave connected when you add an aftermarket stereo and amp. As far as I know right now, there are no aftermarket or stand-alone ANC devices available to install in your car.
  • Chris Lonsberry from Hooksett

    Posted on 12/19/2022

    Any ideas on how to disable the ANC on a 2018 Impala w/7" screen and without the Bose?

  • ted chrostowski from merritt island

    Posted on 12/14/2022

    2022 Nissan Pathfinder ANC Mic Location? please help

  • David from New york

    Posted on 11/5/2022

    How do u disable the anc in 2016 honda pilot

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 11/7/2022

    David, Just enter your question in a Google search, and you'll see a few suggested solutions posted online.
  • Brian Brandt from North Port

    Posted on 9/6/2022

    Please help! Professionally installed subwoofer interfering with ANC 2019 QX50. Installer has no answer, dealership has no answer. Rear microphone clipped, front microphone part of module with hands-free. How do I disconnect without losing handsfree?

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 9/7/2022

    Brian, A web search for "disable ANC in 2019 QX50" should come up with a few suggestions showing how to disable the ANC in your vehicle.
  • Jose Fuentes from MIDDLE VILLAGE

    Posted on 7/31/2022

    I have a 2022 jeep grand cherokee limited wk. It did not come with a factory amplifier. I installed the pac amp pro ap4ch41. I used the rca outputs for my aftermarket subwoofers, midrange speakers, tweeters, and horns. Those all work great. But I decided to upgrade my factory door speakers while using the factory speaker wires. At the factory head unit, I disconnected the pigtail attached to the pac harness and attached the included anc ch01 harness to the pigtail while running speaker wires to an aftermarket amplifier. The new door speakers sounded great at high volume but at low volumes I heard a slight distortion, raspy sound. The next day all 4 door speakers stopped working. The coils seem fried. Note, I never bypassed the anc module. Could this be the cause of my door speakers getting fried? If so, can I just unplug the anc microphones above driver and passenger seats? Are there more anc microphones that I am unaware of? Please help as I am about to replace the door speakers and do.not want to damage the new replacements

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 8/1/2022

    Jose, Crutchfield's Tech Notes on that vehicle indicate that load resistors are required after disconnecting the speakers from the factory head unit. But it sounds like you left the speakers connected to the head unit while adding an aftermarket amplifier to the system, over-powering and damaging the speakers. If you bought your gear from Crutchfield, you could call Tech Support for free help troubleshooting your system.

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