The Technics EAH-AZ80 impressed us with very good sound, efficient noise cancelling (ANC), innovative technology for phone calls (JustMyVoice) and an app that leaves nothing to be desired.
The new top-of-the-range Technics EAH-AZ80 are available in black and silver, are IPX4 certified (in-ears only), and they come with a substantial number of earpieces. They use an approx. 20cm long USB-C cable to charge the case, but they can also be topped up wirelessly with Qi-compatible charging pads.
How comfortable are the Technics EAH-AZ80 to wear?
Technics know how important a good fit is for in-ears and, therefore, never tire of emphasising the fact. These headphones come with seven pairs of earpieces of different sizes, as well as a specially shaped housing that adapts to the ear cup, and these are supposed to ensure better stability and effectiveness. In practice, this new design is also impressive: In our test over several weeks, we were able to wear the Technics EAH-AZ80 all day at work without any problems, and they also stayed securely in our ears during outdoor sporting activities.
The battery life of the Technics EAH-AZ80
The Technics EAH-AZ80 offer approximately 7.5 hrs of music playback without noise cancellation (25 hrs with case) and seven hours of playtime with active noise cancellation (24 hrs with case). Four hours of non-stop talk time with active noise cancellation and JustMyVoice (13.5 hours with case) was also enough power to make longer phone calls. All these figures are according to the manufacturer’s specifications; in practice, these can be somewhat less depending on volume, temperature and type of use. The headphones can be charged in about 2 hours, the case on its own in about 2.5 hours via USB, and both together via cable in about 3 hours.
The Technics EAH-AZ80 use Bluetooth version 5.3 and rely on the Codecs SBC, AAC and LDAC, which support up to 24 bit / 96 kHz. However, for technical reasons, the latter can only be used with some restrictions: as this true-wireless model also allows up to three multipoint connections (multipoint), you have to decide whether to lower the multipoint capability. With a multipoint connection up to a maximum of two units, it is possible to use LDAC, while an extension to three units at the same time disables LDAC. The Technics EAH-AZ80 then automatically jump back to the lower codec AAC.
Technics Audio Connect
There are not many manufacturers that allow users to configure their headphones in detail. Technics is one of them: Thanks to the app “Audio Connect” (iOS, Android) the EAH-AZ80 can be fully customised. We won’t list all the functions here, because that would go beyond the scope of this review. Therefore, we will only mention the most important setting options.
On the app’s start page, you can see the battery status and click to refine the noise cancelling settings. You can also switch between ANC, “all off” and ambient noise. The latter transparency mode provides you with two modes: “Transparent” allows the environment to pass through unfiltered and does not pause the playback. “Attention” stops playback and raises the frequency range of voices and announcements so that conversations or train announcements can be followed more easily.
In the “Sound” tab, there are five equaliser pre-sets (Bass+, Super Bass+, Vocal, Treble+, Dynamic) as well as a 5-band EQ for a custom sound profile. This can be saved, but multiple-user pre-sets are not available. A headphone-finding function is also available, as is the option to change the controls of the touch surfaces. You can even define the noise suppression of the other caller during phone calls. In addition, the app offers you the option of outputting voice announcements in nine different languages or even lets you define what is said. Other options: You can set the automatic switch-off steps of 5 to 30 minutes, as well as define what should happen when the headphones are taken off (pause playback, lock control panels, etc.).
You can also test the JustMyVoice technology (see below) by recording your voice and playing it back with a time delay that is purged of background noise.
All in all, the chic and minimalist app leaves nothing to be desired and deserves high praise.
The last few years have shown how important good speech intelligibility is during video conferences and telephone calls.And this is not only the case when you’re working in your home office. To ensure success, Technics use a specially developed technology: the Technics EAH-AZ80 rely on the so-called “JustMyVoice technology”, which was first used for the Technics EAH-AZ60. In combination with voice recognition microphones, it ensures very good speech intelligibility.
Two built-in MEMS (Micro Electro Mechanical System) microphones actively detect the user’s voice with beamforming technology that is directed at the user’s mouth. This is where the JustMyVoice technology comes in, as it attempts to isolate and amplify words and minimise ambient noise. The voice recognition signal and adaptive noise cancellation – which automatically adjusts to the noise level – ensure clearer speech transmission in windy or noisy environments and try to prevent muffled speech. In environments with loud background noise, this causes the noise to fade significantly into the background, making it far easier for the person you are calling to understand you.
In practice: the person I was calling heard my voice with a delay of a few seconds because the algorithms need time to process both the useful and the interfering signal. For example, construction site noise was not perceptible as such. Other noises from the street were also very well reduced and could no longer be recognised. Of course, this technology does not perform miracles to the point where one could claim that all background noise is completely eliminated. Nevertheless, the revised JustMyVoice does a very good job.
This function even works very well in windy conditions, e.g. when cycling.
The sound of the Technics EAH-AZ80
The special construction of a 10-millimetre aluminium diaphragm with a freestanding edge is said to extend the high and low-frequency range while aiming to reduce unwanted resonance and distortion. In addition, according to the manufacturer, an acoustic control chamber has been incorporated to optimise airflow for natural-sounding voices and other mid-range sounds. A harmoniser aims to smooth out the highs to create a dynamic sound with less distortion. But so much for the theory.
In practice, a distinction must be made depending on whether noise cancelling is activated or not. If neither ANC nor ambient noise is switched on, the overall sound image is narrower, less bassy and a bit more midrange-heavy. If you like to listen to music without active technology in the background, you will have to live with some limitations to the sound.
Therefore, we always conducted our sound tests with noise reduction or transparency mode activated. This was also because, in practice, most people have one of these two functions permanently activated.
However, the above-mentioned measures were impressive, because the bass sounded defined, pleasantly powerful and clean. (Low) basses were reproduced in a tonally comprehensible way and did not mask the mid-range. Even at high volumes, the bass remained distortion-free, and the Technics EAH-AZ80 had no difficulty in implementing a high sound pressure level.
The mids seemed present and vocals sounded natural. Details such as breathing or slight vibratos of the voice stood out pleasantly without appearing too superficial or too striking. Electric guitars or lead synths did not cut into the ears, and spoken content such as podcasts or radio plays benefited from this naturalness.
The highs also gave no cause for complaint. Sharply mixed tracks (e.g. Madonna’s “Jump”) distinctly demonstrated the borderline to this sharpness, but the Technics EAH-AZ80 reproduced them as slightly “muted”. Details could be heard without any problems (e.g. Amber Rubarth’s “Strive”), and these True Wireless in-ears did not lose control even in dense arrangements.
We couldn’t detect any negatives in terms of stereo width and depth either. Due to their design, closed headphones are sonically “narrower” than their open counterparts, but the EAH-AZ80s allowed sound signals to be determined accurately and without any problems.
All in all, the Technics EAH-AZ80 deliver a very good sound that leaves nothing to be desired, even for this reviewer. But remember, the prerequisite for all this is – as mentioned above – that the ANC or the transparency mode is activated.
Noise cancelling and ambient noise (transparency mode)
For their noise cancellation (ANC), Technics rely on a Dual Hybrid Noise Cancelling technology. Here, externally positioned feedforward microphones suppress ambient noise, and this is processed by a digital software filter in real time. Inside the in-ear headphones, a feedback microphone picks up sounds and processes them with an analogue hardware filter.
Both technologies together provide effective noise suppression. A relatively wide range of noises was cancelled out, or at least pushed strongly into the background.
Noise Cancelling: Which is better – Technics EAH-AZ80 or Apple AirPods Pro 2?
That Apple can achieve very good noise cancelling has already been proven by version 1 of the Apple AirPods Pro. According to the manufacturer, Version 2 is supposed to offer even better ANC, which is why we pitted them against the AZ80 in a head-to-head comparison.
We played “White Noise” and changed the headphones, but always kept exactly the same position. A direct comparison shows that Technics were a degree more effective at suppressing noise.
Noise cancelling: Which is better – Technics EAH-AZ80 or Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II?
We also carried out the same test to compare the AZ80’s noise cancellation with that of the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II. Here we found that the Bose in-ears were slightly ahead. The noise faded into the background or was cancelled out, slightly more than with the Technics headphones.
Comparison: Technics EAH-AZ80 vs. EAH-AZ60M2
Parallel to the launch of the EAH-AZ80, Technics has also introduced the EAH-AZ60M2 (read the german news here). You would have to look very closely to notice any differences. Although there is a price difference of 70 euros, in terms of battery life, ANC and JustMyVoice technology they are on a par.
The Technics EAH-AZ60M2, however, have smaller drivers and a different design, while the EAH-AZ80 have a specially shaped case that fits the ear cup for better stability. The charging case not only differs in design, but the AZ60M2’s case is also five grams lighter.
While the Technics EAH-AZ80s are available in two colours, the EAH-AZ60M2 comes in three colours black, silver and midnight blue.
The Technics EAH-AZ80 are state-of-the-art True Wireless in-ears that not only sound great but also have extremely effective noise cancelling. We were also impressed by the JustMyVoice technology, multipoint support for up to three devices and the extensive configuration options via the Technics Audio Connect app. Congratulations!
- Ear couplingIn-ear
- Transducer principledynamic
- Frequency response (headphones)20 - 40.000 Hz
- Weight without cable7 g each, case 50 g
- Cable length20 cm
What's in the box
- 7 pairs of ear tips (XS - XL)
- USB-C charging cable
- Charging case
- Available in black and silver
- BT codecs: SBC, AAC, LDAC
- BT version: 5.3
- BT profiles: A2DP, AVRCP, HSP, HFP
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