When you buy something that claims to have noise cancellation features, it generally means either isolating the audio you hear, or isolating the audio other people hear from your microphone. But Creative Sound Blaster’s PLAY! 4 DAC can take it one step further: cleaning up other people’s crappy microphone audio for your discerning ears.
Creative calls this “Two-way Noise Cancellation.” It detects static noises from both your end and your audio source—say, a squeaky ceiling fan or a washing machine in the next room—and cleans them up, both coming and going. It requires Windows and Creative’s SmartComms kit, but at just thirty bucks, it might save your sanity if you’re frequently in online meetings. Note that this only works on Windows for the time being, though the DAC will work with any device with a USB-C port.
The DAC outputs audio to standard 3.5mm headphones (or adapters). In addition to the Two-way Noise Cancellation, the Play 4! DAC can auto-mute your end with speech detection, apply a dynamic equalizer and bass boost, and generally clean up audible speech all around. The package comes with a USB-C-to-A converter if your laptop or desktop doesn’t have a C port.