Transparency mode is a useful feature found on many new noise-canceling headphones, like the SuperEQ S1 and SuperEQ Q2 Pro. Each manufacturer might call it something slightly different, but at its core, transparency mode is a clever way to help keep you aware of the world around you. It's designed for the moments when being fully absorbed in your music or a phone call isn't ideal.

With transparency mode activated, you can now interact with the world. You can order a coffee or pay for your groceries without any awkwardness. You can also navigate urban areas more safely. If you’re walking around downtown, you actually want to hear engines and car horns. Those noises are important information if you don’t want to get hit by a car. Of course, you could always just take an earbud out, but that’s not generally ideal. It can be effective if you’re listening to a spoken-word podcast or an audio book. But listening to stereo music on a single earbud is an excruciating experience. With both earbuds and transparency mode, you still get to savor the full richness of the audio.It lets you hear as if you don't have earbuds in or headphones on, without actually taking them off.