It has been three years since Technics launched its first pair of true wi-fi headphones, the AZ70W, and after testing the waters of the extra midrange market the next yr, it is taken inventory earlier than launching its new flagship vary – the EAH-AZ80.
The brand new noise-cancelling buds launch alongside the improved AZ60M2, however set themselves aside with an even bigger driver for higher sound, an improved design for a extra comfy all-day match and higher noise cancelling.
Nonetheless, at $349/£269.99, they set themselves in the course of a reasonably aggressive market – with the likes of Bose’s QuietComfort Earbuds II and Sennheiser’s True Momentum Wi-fi 3 to come back up towards. Plus that is the kind of worth we might count on the brand new WF-1000XM5 to launch at, in the event that they ever seem this yr.
Can the Technics AZ80 sustain with the pack? Here is our full evaluation.
A assured and guaranteed efficiency from these Technics buds, alongside first rate noise cancelling makes them an actual contender at this worth.
- Assured, detailed sound
- First rate noise cancelling
- Good design
- LDAC help
- Treble lacks some sparkle
- Dimensions: 22 x 27 x 24mm (buds), 69 x 36 x 29mm (charging case)
- Weight: 7g (per bud), 50g (charging case)
- Concha-shaped design
- 7 included ear suggestions
The Technics design language hasn’t made any enormous departure from what we have seen earlier than, and that is no dangerous factor. They are a twist-to-fit earbud, with round outward design that appears good when sat within the ear. The eye to element right here can also be appreciated – just like the Technics brand, being color matched to the seen speak mic that sits alongside it.
This round part doubles up as a contact delicate panel for controls, and they are often customised for every earbud inside the Technics app – plus completely different actions assigned relying if it is music or calls.
The shiny end on this panel not solely seems good set towards the plastic encompass, however makes it a extra tactile expertise too. The controls work very well from our exams, and our black and gold mannequin look nice besides – however there’s additionally a silver, white and gold choice too.
Beneath that outward-facing panel, Technics has had a little bit of a rethink on the subject of the design of the AZ80’s earbud casing. In comparison with the AZ60M2 under it, which retains largely the identical “drop form” as 2021’s AZ60, the AZ80 has been moulded to higher match the form of the ear.
This purpose is for the AZ80 to take a seat slightly extra snugly and to relaxation extra comfortably within the concha. There are, as earlier than, a complete of seven eartips to select from too – which blows the standard three from their competitors out of the water, and allows you to get a very good seal for the bud within the ear canal.
It is largely profitable, and we discover the match feels higher and safer in comparison with the AZ60M2 – although these are nonetheless on the bigger facet and so that you most likely will start to really feel some strain from the match after just a few hours.
Contemplating the scale of the earbuds, the case is definitely fairly compact with a top-open design that feels good within the hand and a flat base that lets you have them stood up on the desk subsequent to you.
The Technics brand is etched into the lid in gold and there is a single LED on the case to indicate you what the battery degree is like everytime you open it.
Options and battery life
- 10mm free-edge aluminium driver
- LDAC help
- As much as 7.5 hours playback, 25 hours with case (ANC off)
- Multi-point connection to a few gadgets
- 4 microphones per bud
The AZ80 use a brand new 10mm free-edge aluminium driver for his or her sound, to enhance excessive frequencies due to a extra inflexible design. That is joined by a brand new acoustic chamber and harmoniser to increase the frequency vary and enhance airflow whereas additionally decreasing distortion.
They will actually present all of those sound enhancements off, too, as they help LDAC playback for hi-res high quality wi-fi playback. You will want a suitable machine for this although, a high-res audio participant just like the FiiO M11S or a telephone just like the Xperia 1 V for instance, plus good high quality music to make it worthwhile.
In the event you do make use of this larger decision capabilities – simply concentrate on the influence on battery life. Standardly, the AZ80 will handle seven hours of playback (7.5 hours when you swap ANC off), however when streaming LDAC music, count on that to drop to 4.5-5 hours.
The case has you coated for 24-25 hours of additional playback when totally charged, relying on when you’re utilizing noise cancellation or not. Recharging the buds to full takes about two hours however you may get a fast-ish cost of 70 minutes playback with quarter-hour plugged in.
We favor quick costs which can be performed in 5-10 minutes most, however it’s not dangerous when you’re caught out. There’s Qi wi-fi charging right here too.
Technics has put an enormous emphasis on its Simply My Voice expertise, which now we have seen in its headphone merchandise earlier than. This yr it says it has been tweaked additional to enhance name high quality in windy and noisy environments, and to make it sound extra pure.
There are a complete of 4 microphones in every bud to assist with this – a feed ahead and suggestions microphone, the speak mic and a mic for voice detection.
IPX4 splashproofing is included to let you take these to the fitness center if you want. Technics could be very a lot pushing these as a “one headphones matches all” strategy – so whether or not you want them for work, leisure or exercises, they have been designed that they need to have what you want.
That is bolstered by the industry-first three-point multipoint connection. The Technics AZ80 will swap seamlessly between as much as three gadgets as and whenever you want them to, with out wanted to pair and restore on a regular basis.
We tried this with an iPad, iPhone and MacBook and the headphones switched seamlessly between all by with out hiccup. Simply place each buds in your ears and maintain each contact panels for just a few seconds to set off the pairing mode.
The Technics AZ80 waste no time in telling us precisely what they’re all about – a assured but refined hear, express of their dealing with of element and timing, and that play properly with nearly each style we have thrown at them.
The tonal steadiness has been fastidiously crafted right here. There’s a cautious lean in direction of the low finish, however by no means to the detriment of readability. Take heed to the Can I Kick It? by De La Soul and the bass guitar intro is full-bodied and assertive, but retains loads of the strings’ texture too – you can’t solely hear, however nearly really feel the main edges of the notes as they’re performed, such is their consideration to element.
Feed them one thing like Masks Off by Future although, and also you see simply how properly the bass is dealt with. The sub-bass rumble that runs beneath the entire monitor reaches good and low however all the time stays managed, by no means making extra of itself than is meant or impressing itself upon the midrange, like you may hear in lesser buds.
Meaning vocals get pleasure from excellent ranges of readability and perception. From Good day by Adele to Jeff Buckley’s Hallelujah, the AZ80 supply up lashings of element, which is prolonged to the remainder of the midrange. We’d pick the slightest little bit of finer element within the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II, however it’s very shut certainly.
There is a precision right here too, but to not the detriment of power. Take heed to Aerials by System of a Down and you might be nearly propelled into the manic foremost of the monitor from the constructing, brooding intro. If these do not get your foot tapping your technique to full air guitar by the top of the monitor, nothing will.
When issues get slightly intense, the AZ80 could make sense of issues with out lacking a beat both, however then additionally convey issues proper again down once more, such is their dynamic adeptness. Loud, comfortable, quick, gradual – the AZ80 will guarantee that each flip of your music is as explicitly relayed as you may count on at this worth.
The treble does maybe play issues slightly protected – and that brings with it each good issues and dangerous. For instance, the sibilance and tougher edges of Jeff Buckley’s vocals in Hallelujah are softened significantly, so you’d barely discover them, the place the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II serve them up for all to listen to.
Nonetheless, Adele’s notes within the larger register do not sound fairly as clear and twinkly as they do on the Bose. There’s all the time a steadiness to be struck between treble element and luxury, and on this respect, the AZ80 do play it a contact protected, which may dampen down a little bit of enthusiasm in some songs. There are EQ controls inside the Bose app if you wish to mess around right here although – we stored it on Direct (no EQ) for testing.
Stereo imaging is nice in these buds although. Hunter by Björk has all method of devices and sound results in its combine and so they’re all offered properly throughout a comparatively broad soundstage, with sufficient area for every factor to have its second with out feeling hemmed in or squashed.
So far as noise cancelling is anxious, it is extra excellent news. The marginally pricier Bose nonetheless have the sting on the subject of absolute quiet, however it’s a very good exhibiting right here from the AZ80. The ANC is adaptive through the Technics app, and at 100% together with your music on, it is actually simply you and your music.
Name high quality is nice too. Our callers mentioned we sounded clear and direct – maybe slightly extra tinny than we have heard on one thing just like the AirPods Professional 2 however nonetheless a great efficiency. Even in a busy restaurant, we had been simply heard with some noise creeping in after we spoke. Nonetheless, after we weren’t speaking the background noise was all however inaudible to our caller.
There is no two methods about it – Technics has performed an important job with the tuning of the EAH-AZ80, and so they current themselves as an actual contender on this busy a part of the market.
They nonetheless cannot scare off the most important contenders on the subject of noise cancellation, however from a music perspective they’re assured, detailed and expressive, and solely that play-it-safe treble takes a little bit of shine from an in any other case assured efficiency.