Technics EAH-AZ80 Review and Price: Louder Than AirPods Pro?
Are you looking for an honest Technics EAH-AZ80 Review and Technics EAH-AZ80 Price? In the world of high-end wireless headphones, Technics is quietly challenging industry giants like Apple, Sony, and Bose. The question is, do the EAH-AZ80s have what it takes to compete? Let’s find out in this comprehensive review.
A Brief Introduction to Technics
In 2020, Technics, a Japanese manufacturer renowned for its high-quality audio equipment, ventured into the wireless headphone market. Following the success of the EAH-AZ70W and EAH-AZ60 models, Technics introduced its latest creation in May.
The Headphone Market Dilemma
The wireless headphone market has become increasingly crowded, making it a daunting task for consumers to choose the right pair. People tend to categorize headphones, and in the premium true wireless sector, two distinct categories emerge:
Historic hi-fi brands like Bowers & Wilkins, Audio Technica, Sennheiser, Bose, and Technics offer superior sound quality and noise reduction, catering to audiophiles who prioritize audio fidelity.
Tech giants like Apple, Samsung, Google, and Huawei have entered the audio market, focusing on design, user-friendliness, and features like call quality and touch controls.
Evaluating the Landscape
In 2023, is this distinction still relevant? Can Technics headphones appeal to non-audiophiles? Conversely, can music enthusiasts embrace AirPods Pro without hesitation?
To provide a definitive answer, we conducted a thorough three-month test, substituting our AirPods Pro 2 and Sennheiser Momentum 3 headphones with Technics’ latest offering—the EAH-AZ80s. Let’s dive into our extensive review.
Technics EAH-AZ80 Price and Availability
The Technics EAH-AZ80 headphones have been available in black and silver variants since May, priced at €299. This positions them firmly in the high-end wireless headphones category.
Design and Comfort
Impressively, the EAH-AZ80s maintain a premium feel without being overly heavy. Their design, while not revolutionary, pays homage to Technics’ audiophile roots. The slightly bulkier earbud shape stands out, yet they weigh a reasonable 6 to 7 grams each.
Visually, the exterior showcases a textured surface reminiscent of vinyl, a subtle nod to the world of sound. The tactile surface features small circular patterns, with a metallic protrusion housing a microphone grid. Unfortunately, assembly marks are still visible on the interior, though they do not affect build quality.
In terms of comfort, the headphones excel but may feel slightly snug for those with smaller ears. Fortunately, Technics provides seven different tip sizes for a customized fit.
The case sports a straightforward design with an elongated, round shape. While it’s pocket-friendly, it lacks the discretion of some competitors. The brushed aluminum top adds an elegant touch, and the case houses essential features like a battery indicator and USB-C port, with pairing directly initiated with the headphones.
In terms of comfort, fit, and design, Technics earns high marks for staying true to its audiophile heritage.
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Audiophile Sound Experience
Technics doesn’t shy away from sonic innovation. The EAH-AZ80s are equipped with 10mm transducers, a rarity, with each earphone boasting its own acoustic chamber. This design mitigates distortion and resonance effects, a unique feature.
In our listening experience, the EAH-AZ80s rarely disappointed. They offer a versatile sound profile with precise and balanced performance across the frequency spectrum.
The bass frequencies are impactful without becoming overwhelming, while the mids feature a slight emphasis on vocals, adding warmth to the overall sound. The treble reproduction is airy and full, although extreme highs can occasionally feel compressed, particularly on complex electronic or pop tracks.
Technics has crafted a musical chameleon with the EAH-AZ80s, offering a large, detailed soundstage akin to the Sennheiser Momentum 3, controlled bass akin to the AirPods Pro 2, and intelligent handling of mids and highs reminiscent of the excellent Sony WF-1000XM5.
The Feature-Packed Companion App
The EAH-AZ80 companion app, compatible with iOS and Android, boasts a wide range of features. The customizable touch controls, while generous in action surface, exhibit slight latency issues.
The app offers a comprehensive equalizer with six pre-recorded profiles, earphone location tracking via sound, an on/off feature for out-of-case detection, and video playback latency adjustment.
For specific scenarios, the EAH-AZ80s can function independently. By placing one earphone in the case and keeping the other in your ear, the app can combine stereo channels into a single earphone for complete audio continuity.
One standout aspect of the app is its practicality. Each feature serves a purpose, aligning with audiophiles’ preference for functionality over flashy marketing gimmicks. However, the app’s user interface could benefit from improved ergonomics, as tech giants like Apple prioritize user experience.
Impressive Noise Cancellation
To establish itself among the elite in active noise-canceling headphones, Technics has gone the extra mile. Beyond the four microphones in each earphone and the accompanying software processing, the EAH-AZ80s incorporate an analog system—an additional microphone—to combat internal earpiece noise effectively.
In practice, Technics’ noise cancellation is commendable. Low frequencies are effectively eliminated, creating a pleasant isolation bubble without overwhelming the listener. The noise reduction can be finely adjusted from 0 to 100% in 10% increments.
For treble frequencies, the EAH-AZ80s excel in combination with their impressive passive isolation. They effectively attenuate sharp and harsh sounds, though some loss of efficiency occurs with midrange frequencies, such as snippets of conversations in noisy environments. While not a major concern, this places the EAH-AZ80s slightly below market leaders like Sony, Bose, and Apple in this regard.
It’s worth noting that Technics has made significant strides in noise reduction, hinting at even better performance in future iterations.
Clear and Crisp Calls
Telephone call quality, often overlooked by audiophile manufacturers, holds importance for the general public. Technics addresses this with its “JustMyVoice” technology, employing four microphones per earphone to filter and amplify voices.
In quieter environments, conversations are crystal clear, free from artifacts or whistling sounds—even outdoors with light wind.
In noisier settings, like shopping centers, voice clarity remains satisfactory but with a slight muffling effect and minimal latency. While it doesn’t hinder communication, additional focus may be required if your conversation partner speaks softly. In this regard, Technics outperforms tech manufacturers like Apple and Samsung.
Impressive Battery Performance
Battery life can be a complex metric to summarize for audiophile headphones, depending on the codec and features. In basic AAC codec without noise reduction, the EAH-AZ80s exceeded expectations, lasting over 8 hours. With noise reduction enabled, they achieved around 7 hours and 15 minutes.
However, when using the LDAC codec for high-quality audio and noise reduction, battery life drops to 5 hours. While this is still commendable for the average user, audiophiles may find it acceptable.
Charging the earbuds in the case takes approximately 45 minutes to go from 5% to 100% and only 15 minutes to reach 60%. The case provides around 2.5 full charges. Notably, wireless charging via Qi induction is now supported alongside standard USB-C charging.
Triple Multipoint Connection
In addition to supporting SBC, AAC, and audiophile LDAC codecs, the EAH-AZ80s introduce a groundbreaking feature—the triple multipoint connection. This innovative technology allows seamless pairing with up to three devices, ideal for multitaskers who switch between devices frequently.
However, Bluetooth 5.3 limitations prevent the use of LDAC with this triple multipoint feature. Audiophiles can still enjoy HD music with LDAC and switch to AAC for device switching. Technics has promised an update to support Bluetooth LE Audio in the future.
Final Thoughts on the Technics EAH-AZ80 Headphones | Technics EAH-AZ80 Review
The EAH-AZ80s from Technics offer an impressive combination of versatility, sound quality, and features. They compete favorably with renowned models like the AirPods Pro, excelling in areas like battery life and call quality.
Technics successfully bridges the gap between the audiophile and general consumer markets. These headphones are proof that non-audiophiles can find what they seek in a hi-fi manufacturer’s product. The reverse journey, audiophiles embracing AirPods Pro, presents more challenges.
In a crowded wireless headphone landscape, Technics has carved a niche for itself by offering an all-encompassing listening experience. With continued innovation and refinement, Technics is poised to establish itself as a formidable player in the high-end headphone market.