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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.

  • BRIAN from Mt. Airy

    Posted on 11/29/2023

    Please help! I see the question on the 2019 QX50. I have read the forums on the 2019 but can not find any answers on the 2020 QX50. I had a kicker sub and amp professionally installed and I can not get answers from the dealer and the install shop told me I should go to them. Any help getting the ANC turned off would be much appreciated. Thank you

  • Chris Collins from Atanta

    Posted on 10/12/2023

    Need to disable ANC in 2024 toyota camry, any ideas??

  • RBtooks from RIC

    Posted on 10/4/2023

    I might as well add to the chaos. 2023 Traverse..anyone?? Bought a Harmon kardon 12" from Crutchfield a couple months ago. Love the speaker. Just traded from '15 Mazda to '23 Traverse. Having same issues with noise. ?? Unfortunately , I CAN believe that there's no easy way to permanently disable this. Stupid OEMs. I'm sure this ANC system adds $300+ to the price of a new car, only for you to have to disable it??? Typical.

  • Bharat from East Orange

    Posted on 6/30/2023

    I have a 2022 Acura TLX with this issue. I have installed an Audio Control LC2i Pro and I have a sub in the car. Can you guys help me locate the wires to then unplug them?

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 6/30/2023

    Bharat, Crutchfield's Vehicle Research Team hasn't gotten to that car yet, so we can't help with ANC issues. Try asking members of an online Acura owners forum.
  • Allison from Reston

    Posted on 6/20/2023

    Is there a bypass harness to disable ANC on 2023 Grand Wagoneer. Not adding a subwoofer, just suffering from inner ear discomfort from sound waves. Or can mics be disabled without any adverse effects to other systems? Any idea where ANC module is located in Wagoneer?

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 6/22/2023

    Allison, Our research team hasn't looked at this vehicle yet, so you'll have to seek ANC information from Jeep or a Jeep owners online forum
  • D.J.

    Posted on 6/9/2023

    Will ANC be defeated if MDS is tuned out on a 2022 Durango w/Harman Kardon system?

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 6/9/2023

    DJ, The ANC system in your vehicle will probably be unaffected by the MDS feature.
  • jake from Bellefontaine

    Posted on 6/8/2023

    i have a 2019 GMC Terrain and need to disable the ANC , anybody know how? thank you!

  • Brent

    Posted on 5/17/2023

    We're experiencing this problem with our 2023 Honda Odyssey. I made the mistake of explaining to my wife that it's probably the Crutchfield aftermarket sub (or possibly amp), so she wants me to return them... but she's also open to disabling ANC if I can figure out how to do it. Two things I'm especially perplexed about: (1) weird sounds/vibrations happen even if the audio is turned off. The customer's comment at the top of the article says the same, but that specific point wasn't addressed in the article itself or subsequent comments. Can the mere presence of a good subwoofer interfere with ANC, even with audio off? And (2), it usually happens only in the first 1/4 mile or so at low speeds (maybe varying with the gas pedal), then subsides for the duration of the trip -- even when returning to the same speeds. Could it be the new amp warming up, or what? I don't get the science. Thanks for any help, including how to disable ANC in a 2023 Odyssey!

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 5/19/2023

    Brent, It certainly seems like your vehicle creates its own noise due to its onboard ANC. Call us - when you buy gear from Crutchfield, you get free tech support. Our Tech Advisors will help you troubleshoot and solve your noise issues.
  • Wayne from Las Vegas

    Posted on 5/5/2023

    One thing I've recently learned is that it is pointless to upgrade the audio system in my 2023 Honda Ridgeline unless I can disable or remove the ANC module. This module compresses low level sounds to flat amplitude - completely extracting any sense of timbre or dynamics in the music. But wait, it also does this beyond a volume setting setting of 33 of 40max, so unless there is a way to tap the audio in front of this hideous audio impediment it will continue to sound like analog AM radio, just louder. And to think, they could have easily placed a bypass mode into their firmware, thus providing an on/ off switch for the customers.

  • Mark from Prescott

    Posted on 5/3/2023

    Trying to disable anc on my 2023 Nissan Sentra SV. Anyone know how?

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