Technics EAH


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Oct 09, 2023

Technics EAH

Recently I reviewed the Technics AZ60M2 true wireless earbuds and I was pretty

Recently I reviewed the Technics AZ60M2 true wireless earbuds and I was pretty effusive in my praise.

Impeccable build quality, excellent fit, good battery life, wireless charging and simply superb sound quality.

While Technics isn't historically the first name that springs to mind when it comes to earbuds, I really couldn't fault the AZ60M2's and I heartily recommend them if you're looking for a truly premium product.

Only one problem...

This year Technics has an even better option.

The EAH-AZ80 earbuds represent the next evolution for Technics.

Admittedly, they share many of the features I've already explored with the AZ60's... wireless charging, respectable battery life, IPX4 water resistance and again, an unrivalled seven sizes of ear-tip for absolutely any size requirement.

But with the AZ80's, Technics has made several crucial upgrades that result in a genuinely transcendent audio product - starting with the fit.

Compared with the AZ60M2's - and indeed many other designs - the AZ80's seem somewhat oversized and unwieldy when you first take them out of the case. Ironically, this is all by design, of course - Technics calls the new shape a "Natural Concha Fit." They've certainly done their research - a simple twist sets each bud firmly, yet comfortably in its respective ear canal. There are simply more points of contact so you don't have the unbalanced feel you get with some other buds and because what little weight there is is more evenly dispersed, after a while you can barely feel them at all.

This also virtually guarantees no accidental bobble-outs during exercise (or vigorous headbanging) and they've gone straight to the top of my list of best-fitting earbuds of all time.

Like the AZ60M2's, there's a classy look to the outer body of the AZ80 buds, with that record-like aluminium trim and engraved Technics logo - also to be found on the lid of the case. You may recall I've been somewhat critical of the "plastickness" of the Technics cases up until now. Here the charging case is somehow more solid-feeling. Perhaps this is all in my head but it seems to have a more matte finish and just seems more hefty when I pull it out of my pocket.

Active Noise Cancelling really is first-rate - and amazingly tweakable using the Audio Connect app. Here you can not only adjust how much noise you cut out but customise the level of ambient sound you let in and how much noise is eliminated when you're on a call to someone else.

This is an app that offers a lot more than a few preset EQ's and firmware updates. Technics lets you prioritise multi-point connectivity over high-resolution LDAC listening if you choose - do you prefer better sound quality or less lag for gaming or watching video?

These buds are a great way to watch telly, by the way. I immersed myself in the ultra-violent world of John Wick 4 last night and every gunshot, stab and unidentifiable squelch was both alarming and in perfect sync with the action on screen. Fun times.

But it's Technics' legendary true-to-life sound reproduction we're really here for, right? And that's where the biggest improvements come to the fore.

Each AZ80 bud contains the all-new, 10mm aluminium alloy diaphragm and a surprisingly large acoustic control chamber which together claim to deliver genuine Technics hi-fi sound. I support that claim.

On "Lullabye" by Amos Lee, what could be mistaken for a simple song and a basic mix is rendered as the tender, detailed work of art it truly is. Every half-catch in Lee's voice counterpoints languidly against the well-rounded bass and every now and then a surprise element is introduced - like the bowed double-bass which is something you don't hear every day. All these ingredients have their own space and are faithfully reproduced with full effect, whatever frequency range is required.

This is going to make me sound like some kind of easy-listening grandad, but I have to also mention Jamie Cullum's "7 Days to Change Your Life." This is a classic, jazz trio, lounge bar kind of a track but the trick here is Cullum's unnerving ability to "not play" his piano in all the right places. If there's another pair of earbuds that can present the whole piano keyboard from bass to top like the AZ80's do, I certainly haven't heard it. He's literally playing an entire grand piano in my head right now.

Let's try and make me seem slightly cooler by listening to "Heartbreak" by successful Kiwi duo, BROODS. Again I'm immediately struck by how powerfully the bass is reproduced here. I'm assuming it's some kind of synth pad and not an actual bass guitar because it's so "phat-sounding." It wasn't so long ago you couldn't get any kind of decent bass response from a pair of in-ear headphones but the tech has improved dramatically in recent years. However, what Technics has achieved here is a step up again; it's not just a visceral bass punch we're talking about, it's the whole shebang - a well-rounded, complete aural image you usually only hear in a live setting.

There is no distortion here. No muddy, overlapping of different elements. Just the pure mix as expert studio engineers could only hope to be reproduced on an audio device as good as this. Congratulations, Technics; the AZ80 takes the crown for my new favourite buds.

Click here for more information on the Technics EAH-AZ80.

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