Technics’ EAH-AZ80 are among the many greatest high-end true wi-fi earbuds round, with class-leading customisability and connectivity backed up by wonderful audio.
Technics is likely one of the large outdated manufacturers of audio. Half a century’s price of hi-fis hasn’t left the model with an entire lot of intercourse attraction, however as a substitute there’s a reassuring sense that this lot most likely know what they’re doing.
And so it’s with the brand new flagship EAH-AZ80 earbuds. It takes confidence to go toe-to-toe with Apple, Bose, and Sony on the $300 finish of the true wi-fi earbud market, however Technics has earned it.
With an understated design, wonderful audio, and the near-unique capability to connect with three gadgets concurrently, these are the most effective choices round for many who care extra about how their buds sound than what model is on the field.
Design & construct
Premium construct high quality
Alternative of seven ear tip sizes
Chunky carry case
The AZ80 buds look easy sufficient. Accessible in both black or silver, the buds are constructed out of plastic, however with a brushed metal-effect end on the outer touch-sensitive aspect.
That floor space is compact, the buds an almost-circle after they sit within the ear, and so they don’t jut out a lot both.
Technics has prioritised each consolation and safety of slot in two methods. Firstly, the physique of the buds is curved hither and thither in a method that apparently encourages them to sit down snugly contained in the conch, nestling into the organ’s precise form.
Second, the corporate provides the buds not with the customary three pairs of silicon eartips to choose from, however a full set of seven in varied sizes and styles, so that you’d should have actually outlandishly proportioned ears to not discover a match.
Each ear is totally different after all, however slightly experimentation rapidly discovered me setup that’s stayed in place throughout working and weightlifting, and proved snug over multi-hour listening classes.
An IPX4 water-resistance score helps, making certain that these can survive a spot of rain or gym-induced sweat with out an excessive amount of hassle.
Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry
My solely actual complaints are to do with the charging case that comes with the buds. It seems to be ok, with a high that matches the brushed impact of the buds and an engraved firm brand, however after only a week it’s already picked up a number of scuffs and scratches that detract from the impact.
It’s additionally on the bigger finish of the spectrum, which is sweet for battery life, however does make it really feel cumbersome while you throw it within the pocket of a pair of denims.
Specs & sound
Giant 10mm aluminium drivers
Wealthy, expansive sound
The sound is the rationale to purchase the AZ80. These earbuds sound improbable, and might maintain their very own in opposition to every other premium pair you’d care to strive.
Technics has geared up them with newly designed 10mm drivers comprised of aluminium. Mixed with an acoustic management chamber and a harmoniser, the corporate says the entire setup delivers prolonged response at excessive and low frequencies in comparison with its different high-end earbuds whereas minimising distortion.
Usually I’d let you know to take that with a pinch of salt, however efficiency right here actually is elegant. These have one of the vital open, expansive soundscapes I’ve heard but from earbuds, with a readability to the sound that’s exhausting to search out elsewhere.
Dive into the accompanying app’s EQ settings to crank up the bass and these can ship pulsating low-end with out compromise, bringing out the perfect of the slinky baseline on Males I Belief’s ‘Oncle Jazz’, or propelling a few of The Chemical Brothers’ punchier tracks ahead.
Technics has included assist for prime decision audio courtesy of the LDAC codec too, with compatibility on Android and sure different gadgets – although iPhones received’t assist it. You received’t must compromise on high quality in case you’ve obtained high-res recordsdata, or subscribe to one of many streaming companies that handles that higher-end audio.
Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry
After all there’s noise-cancelling too. The tech right here is sweet, however maybe the principle audio space the place you may discover the likes of Bose and Sony draw back from Technics just a bit.
I discovered it largely good at blocking out my environment, particularly decrease stage background noise, however noisy site visitors or the music taking part in at my gymnasium nonetheless tended to interrupt by means of slightly. You may customise the noise-cancelling stage, however there’s no sensible mode that tunes it to your listening to.
Getting a precise match with the silicon ideas helps although, and this can be the place some folks discover the AZ80 buds higher than rivals, as a result of the seven units might enable these with uncommon ears to discover a match that they couldn’t elsewhere and thus passively block extra noise.
As is commonplace now there’s additionally an ambient mode, which allows exterior noise and amplifies it barely – excellent when you’ll want to hear what’s round you or maintain a dialog.
Technics has additionally labored on its noise cancellation and voice isolation tech for calls, and that is spectacular. Name high quality in noisy environments is best right here than on most different buds, making these an particularly sensible choice for distant employees who might should take calls or conferences on the go.
Sensible options & app
Join to 3 gadgets without delay
Totally customisable controls
The sensible aspect of the EAH-AZ80 buds is dealt with by means of Technics’ Audio Join app, out there on Android or iOS.
Essentially the most thrilling characteristic right here is assist for three-way multi-point connections. That’s a number of jargon for saying you possibly can join to 3 gadgets concurrently, fairly than the one or two often supported elsewhere, so you may, say, change seamlessly between telephone, pill, and laptop computer.
The one caveat right here is that you just received’t have the ability to take full benefit of each this and the buds’ LDAC hi-res assist. When you change on LDAC you then’ll be restricted to 2 simultaneous connections, and actually the app will even encourage you to restrict your self to at least one machine at a time, so there’s a trade-off to be made.
The app permits extra management than simply that although. Sound will be tweaked, with six default sonic profiles plus a five-track customized EQ choice, and you can even alter the depth of the noise cancellation and ambient modes.
Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry
Impressively, the buds’ contact controls are additionally totally customisable – a rarity. You may change the impact of single, double, triple, and lengthy faucets for every bud independently, supplying you with a complete of eight potential interactions, with 9 potential controls to assign to them (plus the choice to disable some inputs, in case you’d fairly hold issues easy).
Smaller choices embrace swapping between a spoken notification or a easy sound while you change ANC modes; adjusting the auto energy off settings; and tweaking how the buds behave when one is taken out of your ear throughout playback.
Briefly, the app delivers a lot of flexibility.
What it doesn’t ship are any intelligent instruments to optimise the sound for you. Rival buds now typically embrace exams to assist appropriate the buds’ match, fine-tune noise cancellation, or optimise the EQ round your listening to and ear form – right here, the whole lot is guide.
Lastly, Amazon Alexa assist is baked into the buds, although you can even use your telephone’s default digital assistant by means of them – or, after all, none in any respect.
Battery life is one other spectacular energy right here. Technics’ official numbers are that the earbuds can last as long as seven hours of continuous use, with a complete of 24 hours of battery between the buds and case.
These figures are primarily based on listening with noise cancellation on, however the extra power-intensive LDAC codec off, so figures may go up or down relying in your use.
Flitting round between settings, I used to be at all times impressed with how slowly battery drops on the buds – simply seen throughout the official app, which additionally exhibits the case’s battery, and most Android telephones may even show this robotically.
Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry
It took a full week of normal use earlier than I felt the necessity to join the case to a charger. Even higher, at that time you get the selection between wired USB-C charging or just dropping the case down on any Qi wi-fi charger.
Value & availability
At $299/£259, out there from Amazon and elsewhere, the Technics EAH-AZ80 buds are in no way reasonably priced – however they provide wonderful worth within the sense that they’re nearly as good as the rest you may spend this a lot on.
The plain rivals are the likes of the Sony WF-1000XM4, Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II, and naturally the AirPods Professional 2.
On sound high quality the Technics buds simply rival these rivals, and have an edge on battery life and luxury too – and of these three, solely the Sonys additionally provide hi-res LDAC audio.
The AZ80s most likely lag only a contact behind on the standard of the noise-cancellation tech, however is likely to be probably the most well-rounded package deal out of the lot.
For extra choices, be certain to check out our full rating of the perfect true wi-fi earbuds.
The Technics EAH-AZ80 earbuds are an surprising delight.
There’s not a number of room for error in earbuds this costly, and Technics has delivered a set that nails all the important thing areas: audio, noise cancellation, connectivity, and battery life.
Different pairs may look a bit flashier, and whereas the ANC right here is sweet it’s not fairly the perfect about, however few rivals are as well-rounded as these – and the mixture of hi-res audio assist and three-way connectivity is genuinely distinctive.