With the Technics EAH-AZ60, the well-known hi-fi brand demonstrates everything that should be part of a modern high-end pair of headphones: high-resolution sound, efficient noise cancelling (ANC) together with the associated transparency mode and a special technology called “JustMyVoice”. This aims to deliver excellent voice quality during video conferences and when travelling, even in noisy environments. Here we put this new True Wireless in-ear to the test.
Design and comfort
These small earphones weigh seven grams each. This puts the Technics EAH-AZ60 in the mid-range. The almost teardrop-shaped design enables a secure hold. The outer part of the earphones is also more compact than the previous top model EAH-AZ70W. This new design prevents slipping very effectively. The weight distribution has also been shifted towards the inner ear, which relieves the strain of wearing these earphones for longer periods. With seven pairs of silicone ear moulds from XS to XL, the manufacturer covers a broad spectrum, and there should be a suitable EarTip for everyone.
The EAH-AZ60 earphones are splash-proof according to IPX4 and can therefore withstand sporting activities. However, the charging case does not have this certification.
The Technics EAH-AZ60 are fully controllable via the touch surfaces. You can start and stop playback, increase or decrease volume, activate voice assistants, manage calls or switch transparency modes. With the “Technics Audio Connect” app for iOS and Android, the commands of the touch sensors can be individually adjusted. Equalisers are available in the app, and noise-cancelling and transparency mode (see below) can also be set here. In addition, updates can be run, misplaced earphones can be found using a signal tone, and the language can be changed. To enjoy high-resolution audio, you will also need to activate LDAC here.
The year 2020 has really shown how important good speech intelligibility is for video conferences and telephone calls, in the home office and elsewhere. In order to facilitate this, Technics has developed its own technology: the so-called “JustMyVoice technology” is used for the first time on the Technics EAH-AZ60. This uses eight microphones on each side of the headphones to ensure good speech intelligibility. Two built-in MEMS microphones (MEMS = Micro Electro Mechanical System) actively pick up the user’s voice with the help of beamforming technology, which is directed at the user’s mouth. This is where the JustMyVoice technology comes in, trying to isolate and amplify words and minimise ambient noise. In surroundings with loud background noises, the person on the other end of the call has less trouble understanding you as the noises fade significantly into the background.
In practice, this means: The caller heard my voice with a delay of a few seconds because the algorithms need time to process both the intended sound and the interfering noise. For example, my conversation partner was not aware of a chainsaw about 20 metres away while we were talking. Other construction site noise was also very well reduced and could no longer be recognised. Admittedly, this technology does not perform miracles, and one could not claim that all background noise is completely eliminated. Nevertheless, JustMyVoice does a very good job.
To ensure that this also works in windy conditions, e.g. when cycling, the Technics EAH-AZ60 is equipped with wind noise reduction technology. A microphone inside the two in-ears attempts to minimise vibrations caused by air currents. The result: a conversation without annoying wind noise.
This also worked really well in our practical test, what remained of the noise – depending on the wind conditions – was a slight whisper.
Bluetooth and codecs of the Technics EAH-AZ60
Thanks to the current Bluetooth version 5.2, pairing was quick. As soon as the two earphones were removed from the charging case, they flashed alternately blue and red to signal that they were pairing. A practical point: These True Wireless earbuds also support multi-point connections. This means that the Technics EAH-AZ60 can be connected to up to two Bluetooth players at the same time.
The headphones can also be used individually. If one earphone remains in the charging case, it is charged while the other plays music or plays back phone calls. Of course, this is done in mono. When the second earphone is taken out of the case, both connect to each other again and play media content in stereo.
The Bluetooth connection was somewhat susceptible to interference in our first tests. In closed rooms, we heard the first dropouts after about 10 metres, while in open spaces, dropouts occurred after 24 metres. However, the interruption persisted even when we had hold of the iPhone 8 again. However, performing a renewed pairing fixed this. We can only hope that Technics will be able to cure this teething trouble with an update.
In terms of codecs, the Technics EAH-AZ60 relies on SBC, AAC and LDAC. In theory, the latter provides a resolution of 24 bit and 96 kHz and requires corresponding players. Apple users have to do without LDAC because Macs, iPads and iPhones do not support this codec. The AAC codec is used here. If you use Android smartphones and tablets, check in the system settings whether they support LDAC. For example, our Google Pixel 3a, which is no longer brand-new, is LDAC-capable.
Depending on which codec is active, the EAH-AZ60s run for between 7.5 hours (AAC and ANC off) or 4.5 hours (LDAC and ANC on). The charging case extends playback to a maximum of 25 hours when AAC is used and noise cancellation is disabled. Thanks to the fast charging option, 15 minutes of power is enough for up to 80 minutes of additional playing time. If the earbuds and the charging case are charged at the same time, this takes approx. 3.5 hours.
We were already convinced by Technics noise cancellation in our test of the Technics EAH-AZ70W. According to the manufacturer’s study, the EAH-AZ60’s tried-and-tested, sophisticated Dual Hybrid Noise Cancelling technology is supposed to be among the best active noise cancelling systems on the market.
A combination of feedforward and feedback noise cancelling, including digital and analogue signal processing, combats ambient noise. The feedforward technology detects all sounds outside the headphones using the built-in microphones. After analysing them, it then generates an antiphase signal that fades out the ambient noise.
The feedback system, on the other hand, works inside the headphones. It analyses unwanted noise, which is suppressed by the noise filters and analogue signal processing.
So much for the theory. In practice, this means that the noise suppression really packs a punch and cancels out a wide range of frequencies. Low frequencies are suppressed more clearly than high frequencies. But in this respect, the Technics EAH-AZ60 is in the same league as rivals like Panasonic RZ-S500W and Technics EAH-AZ70W. We wouldn’t like to say whether or not its noise cancellation is the best in the industry, but it is certainly among the best currently available for in-ears and earbuds.
No one likes to miss important announcements or other vital information. The Technics EAH-AZ60, therefore, offers a choice of two interaction modes. Making it possible to hear sounds from your surroundings as well as your music.
The “Transparent” mode captures all ambient sounds over a wide frequency response. When listening to music or talking on the phone, all sounds are allowed to continue to pass through, which is particularly important in road traffic. The “Attention” mode, on the other hand, specialises in the human voice. This is to ensure that announcements at the airport or conversations are more clearly perceived. You can hear voices are more clearly, but they lose some of their resonance.
As is usual with transparency modes, there is also a clearly perceptible background noise. During music playback, this is masked and is only audible during quiet passages or pauses.
The fact that Technics can do good sound, has already been proved. The Technics EAH-AZ60s use 8mm drivers, which promise powerful, room-filling sound with detailed highs. To allow bass and mid-range to develop fully, the airflow in the acoustic chamber is precisely controlled so that disturbing flow noises do not make the sound spongy. Together with an adapted harmonizer and, according to the manufacturer, the stiff and at the same time low-resonance biocellulose membrane of the drivers, a natural reproduction over the entire frequency range is guaranteed. Unfortunately, the manufacturer does not reveal the frequency range of the Technics EAH-AZ60.
In our listening tests, we fired up these in-ears with high-resolution sound, listening to Spotify tracks and our own productions (WAV). The bass range was powerful, warm and precise. The EAH-AZ60 handles deep bass rumblings à la Cardi B without any audible effort and does not mask the higher frequency ranges. On acoustic tracks, the bass instruments are reproduced just as precisely, and the tone of bass drums are clearly discernible.
Mids are never obtrusive, but voices are nicely brought out. You won’t find any nasty cutting or milling electric guitars or lead synthesizers here.
The highs seem somewhat tamed and manage without harshness. Nor did we notice any unpleasant peaks at high levels either.
The AZ60s reproduced sound events accurately between our ears, even if the stage didn’t seem quite as wide and deep as with the Technics EAH-AZ70W which are equipped with 10-millimetre drivers.
During our test sessions, we never had the feeling that the AZ60 was overwhelmed by certain music. From current chart material to classical music, we never really had anything to complain about. And if you’re not entirely satisfied with the sonic performance you can still reach for the EQ.
Differences between Technics EAH-AZ60 and Technics EAH-AZ40
While the EAH-AZ60 come with 8mm drivers, the smaller Technics EAH-AZ40 come with 6mm drivers. The EAH-AZ40s lack hybrid noise cancelling and the high-resolution Bluetooth codec LDAC. The cheaper AZ-40s are slightly lighter, offering longer battery life, but only have four pairs of earpieces instead of 7.
In our test, we found the Technics EAH-AZ60 to be completely impressive. In addition to their configuration options and very good noise cancelling, the JustMyVoice technology shows how important good speech intelligibility is when making phone calls or during video conferences. The eight-millimetre drivers promised very good sound, and these wireless Bluetooth in-ears delivered it to our complete satisfaction.
- Ear couplingIn-ear
- Transducer principledynamic
- Weight without cableeach 7 g, case: 45 g
- Cable length20 cm
What's in the box
- 7 pairs of ear tips (XS1, XS2, S1, S2, M, L, XL)
- USB-C to -A charging cable
- Charging case
- available in black and silver
- BT codecs: SBC, AAC, LDAC
- BT version: 5.2
- BT profiles: A2DP, AVRCP, HSP, HFP