The flagship EAH-A800 from Technics offers a very natural and detailed sound, excels with its noise-cancelling, its voice quality and a battery life of more than 50 hours.
Appearance and workmanship
The upmarket brand Technics shows its stylish side with the new EAH-A800 Bluetooth headphones. This is demonstrated by the very smart and consistent design, which stands out due to the slight curve of the ear cups. The quality expected of headphones in this price range (RRP 349 euros) is fulfilled by the seemingly high-quality construction. Although these headphones appear to be made almost exclusively of plastic, this does not detract from their robustness. The earcup extensions, which can be extended and locked in place in twelve steps, are reinforced with metal. The shapely oval ear-enclosing capsules are enhanced by the badges embossed with Technics branding, and the right side functions as the sensor button for active noise cancelling (ANC).
The padding, covered with soft imitation leather, extends over the entire headband. The earpads, which clip onto the capsule and are therefore replaceable, also benefit from the same soft foam.
Technics offers the model in black/anthracite or white/silver and delivers it in a shock-proof hardshell case appropriate for the price, along with a mini-jack cable, USB charging cable, aeroplane adapter and instruction manual.
The Technics EAH-A800, which look quite bulky in terms of their design, weigh 298 grams (without cable), but you don’t really feel it. Ultimately, their very soft padding absorbs all pressure. Since the foam ring on the earpads is quite thick, the interior of the oval capsules is quite small. Nevertheless, my medium-sized ears found enough space without feeling cramped. The headphones have two joints with which the capsules are aligned: a combination joint attached to the extendable extensions moves the capsules 90 degrees around the Y-axis, and the cups can also be folded in for shock-proof transportation. The suspension allows the capsules to tilt horizontally by a few degrees. In conjunction with the extendable extensions, this means that the headphones fit extremely comfortably and confidently, regardless of head size and ear position, even during the sportiest activities.
Technology of the Technics EAH-A800
The frequency response is a fabulous 4 to 40,000 Hertz, add to this a very low impedance of 34 ohms and a quite high sensitivity of 105 dB/mW, and it suggests that these are headphones intended for reference use. In addition to the 40-millimetre dynamic drivers, Technics has installed four MEMS microphones in each capsule, and this ensures very good speech quality regardless of the environment.
Technics flirt with high-resolution reproduction, regardless of whether the operation is with or without cable. In the latter case, this is guaranteed by the LDAC audio codec developed by Sony for a particularly loss-free Bluetooth transmission, but this only works with Android devices. Apple users have to make do with the SBC and AAC codec. The Bluetooth connection covers up to ten metres.
With a battery life of at least 50 hours (with active noise cancelling), these headphones may well set a benchmark in this respect. Without noise cancelling, they manage another ten hours. Standby mode lasts 60 hours with ANC, double that without. Within fifteen minutes, the headphones have enough juice for another ten hours (!) of gaming with active noise cancellation. Three hours connected to a power source with at least 1,200 mA, and the battery is fully charged. In my charging test with 1,000 mA, the battery needed a quarter of an hour longer.
Operation and functionality
When the Technics EAH-A800 are switched on at the right earcup, they immediately go into pairing mode; they just need to be confirmed on the list of Bluetooth devices on your smartphone. They also work in parallel with a second device, thanks to Bluetooth multipoint pairing. An integrated sensor automatically stops music playback when the EAH-A800 are put down and resumes it at the same point when they are put back on.
On the right side, the corresponding buttons can be used to adjust volume, start, pause, skip and rewind streamed music.
Thanks to the microphones, these headphones are predestined for use as a communication tool, i.e. making, accepting and rejecting phone calls and communicating with various voice assistants at the touch of a button. They also support “Alexa built-in”.
But in order to fully exploit the functionality, the Technics Audio Connect app (free for iOS and Android) is required. It documents the current battery status of the headphones, controls the degree of noise suppression in “Environment” mode and also controls the sound image in the “Bass+”, “Vocal”, “Treble+”, “Dynamic” and “User” modes. The latter setting allows individual adjustment via EQ in five frequency bands by up to ten decibels each. The “suppression of sound interruptions and delays” should be used to bridge data transmission failures. However, this creates a certain amount of latency, which leads to a delay between picture and sound when watching videos, and it is better if this is deactivated.
Sound of the Technics EAH-A800
According to Technics, the EAH-A800 are all about high-resolution sound. I found them very transparent in my initial listening tests with mini-jack cable and confirmed the manufacturer’s claim. I interpreted the sound as quite linear and very natural. The bass sounds very accurate, was dynamic and finely notated, although I found it to be rather sober. Listening to test tracks like Massive Attack’s “Protection”, the groove lacked a sense of rumble; warmth also fell somewhat by the wayside. The sequencer intro in Röyksopp’s “Sordid Affair” also sounded subdued in the low frequencies. In contrast, these headphones literally shine in the mid-range and treble.
Due to this restraint in the bass range, all other frequency bands come into their own in a well-measured manner. Voices, such as Tracy Thorn’s in “Protection”, arrive in the ear with crystal clarity, neither exaggerated nor washed out. Even at full level, the drivers don’t feel overwhelmed and always deliver a clean signal.
This sound behaviour was confirmed in wireless operation. I would have liked a touch more bass, but even the app with its “Bass+” sound mode and individually boosted 100 Hertz in the EQ does not quite balance it out.
One of the other strengths of these closed, circumaural headphones was their spatial imaging. The resulting distinctly audible depth gradation and potential localisation of instruments profits from the large earcups and the resulting signal circulation.
Noise cancelling and speech quality
The Dual Hybrid Noise Cancelling left an excellent impression – whether or not this is as industry-leading as the manufacturer claims.
Noise was eliminated primarily in the mid and bass ranges, so only a moderate level was needed to bring out all facets of the sound. However, if you don’t want to isolate yourself completely, you can select the ambient sound so you can also perceive ambient noises fed in via the microphones. As a bonus, the app offers “attention mode” so that voices in the background, for example, announcements at the station, can be better understood. The speech quality also benefited from this noise isolation; be it phone calls or voices, which are clear, natural and thus very understandable regardless of the environment.
For its list price of just under 350.00 euros, Technics equips the EAH-A800 with all kinds of technical refinements: eight MEMS microphones ensure very clear speech quality regardless of background noise and the noise cancellation, with its three modes, works very well. These headphones are rightly labelled “High Resolution” thanks to assertive yet well-tuned mids, and highs that impart transparency. The sound was generally very natural and linear. The bass, which in my opinion, was a little sober, will certainly find many fans. Long sessions of listening pleasure are ensured not only by the playback time of up to 60 hours but also by the wearing comfort of the Technics EAH-A800.
- Ear couplingOver-ear
- Transducer principledynamic
- Frequency response (headphones)4 - 40.000 Hz
- Impedance34 ohms
- Sound pressure level (SPL)105 dB
- Weight without cable298 g
- Cable length100 cm
What's in the box
- USB charging cable (0.5 m)
- Mini jack cable
- Aeroplane adapter
- Hardshell case
- Available in black/anthracite and white/silver
- BT codecs: SBC, AAC, LDAC
- BT version: 5.2
- BT profiles: A2DP, AVRCP, HSP, HFP