Technics EAH-AZ60 assessment: Shockingly good sound and silence

MSRP $230.00

“WIth awesome sound and noise-canceling, the AZ60 are some of the best buds you can buy.”

Pros

  • Excellent sound high quality
  • Excellent noise cancellation
  • Hi-res audio help
  • Hands-free Alexa
  • Bluetooth multipoint

Cons

  • No wi-fi charging
  • No in-ear sensors

We had been fairly impressed with Technics’ EAH-AZ70 noise-canceling true wi-fi earbuds. They sounded nice and had superior noise cancellation. But at $250, they had been expensive. And a bit cumbersome. So if Technics may deal with these concern, and possibly even throw in some extra options, that will make the AZ70 much more engaging. Apparently, Technics stated “challenge accepted” as a result of its newest effort, the $230 EAH-AZ60, do exactly that. How a lot better are the brand new earbuds? Let’s test ’em out.

Still subtle, however now sleeker

Technics EAH-AZ60.Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

The very first thing you discover in regards to the AZ60 is how a lot smaller they’re than the AZ70. I’m unsure how that’s potential provided that they nonetheless weigh the identical (7 grams per earbud), and but have higher battery life and yet one more mic per earbud (eight in complete). In any case, nicely completed, Technics. They now not protrude out of your ears, and if you sit them facet by facet with different earbuds within the $200 to $300 vary, like Sony’s WF-1000XM4 or Jabra’s Elite 85t, the AZ60 are literally just a little smaller.

The charging case can also be means smaller. Not AirPods Pro small, however very modern and really pocketable. What hasn’t modified is the styling. Whether you get the black or the silver model, the AZ60 are sleekly designed with polished and brushed accents that look very high-end — the right antidote to Apple’s ubiquitous white plastic buds. With IPX4 safety, they’ll even make your day by day exercise an upscale occasion.

Smaller buds = cozy match

Man wearing Technics EAH-AZ60.Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

It could seem apparent, however smaller earbuds typically provide a extra snug match. But not all the time. Sometimes a bizarre form may cause strain and typically the field doesn’t embrace sufficient eartip sizes to your particular ear form. Thankfully, the AZ60 don’t undergo from both drawback.

Their rounded contours fully fill my ears’ conchas, however accomplish that with out inflicting discomfort. And with seven sizes of silicone eartips to select from, most people ought to be capable to discover one thing that works for them. After a number of hours of use, my ears positively wanted a break, however at no time was I ever bothered by these buds.

Quiet as quiet could be

Technics EAH-AZ60.Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

We famous that the AZ70 had superior lively noise cancellation (ANC), and the AZ60 are simply as spectacular. The present gold commonplace are the Bose QuietConsolation Earbuds, however the AZ60 are so good I can barely inform these two merchandise aside. This is true for each constant, droning appears like the toilet fan that sits eight ft from my residence workplace desk, in addition to inconsistent noises like site visitors or conversations. They say that silence is golden. Well, if silence is what you search, the AZ60 are value their weight in gold, after which some.

These earbuds even have a transparency mode, and you’ll simply toggle between it and ANC with a protracted press on the correct earbud. It’s not fairly as magically clear because the AirPods Pro, but it surely permits loads of sound — greater than sufficient for elevated situational consciousness. There’s additionally a setting within the Technics Audio Connect app that may tune the transparency mode to reinforce simply voices to make it simpler to have a dialog with others.

Sweet sound

Technics EAH-AZ60.Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

The AZ60 protect Technics’ high-energy sound signature, with unbelievable readability within the mids and highs. It’s the form of precision that allows you to hear particulars in your favourite tracks that lesser earbuds or headphones sometimes masks. In the opening bars of Sia’s Saved My Life, which function notes performed on a piano, you may truly make out the sound of the damper pads as they elevate and drop onto the piano strings. Listening to the Cowboy Junkies’ Sweet Jane from their Trinity Session album, you may hear the faint echo of the drums from throughout the recording area. That precision makes for glorious stereo imaging and a soundstage that begs you to attempt to attain out and contact the devices.

Bass response is tightly managed — all the time there when it’s wanted, however by no means overwhelming. It’s a contact too managed for my liking, however purists searching for balanced or impartial sound would most likely disagree. The Audio Connect app offers you many choices for modifying EQ with 4 presets and one that may be personalized by you by way of a five-band set of sliders. For me, the unadulterated manufacturing unit tuning was essentially the most satisfying. The Dynamic preset provides a beneficiant serving to of emphasis throughout the spectrum, but it surely overcooks the excessive frequencies, making cymbals and different sibilance-prone sounds too sharp.

It’s additionally value noting that the AZ60 are one of many few wi-fi earbuds you should purchase that help Sony’s LDAC Bluetooth codec, which in idea ought to enable wi-fi hi-res audio if you pair them to an LDAC-capable telephone (Android fashions solely proper now as Apple doesn’t help LDAC). As a check, I swapped backwards and forwards between an iPhone 11 (AAC codec) and a Pixel 5 (LDAC) utilizing quite a lot of lossless audio tracks from Tidal HiFi. There is certainly a distinction, but it surely’s extremely refined. LDAC produces a smoother sound signature that takes the sting off a few of the greater frequencies. There’s just a little extra element, too, however you’ll need to pay extraordinarily shut consideration to listen to it.

But no matter whether or not you employ LDAC or not, the AZ60 ship unbelievable sound high quality. In head-to-head comparisons with Sony’s $280 WF-1000XM4, Master & Dynamic’s $299 MW08, KEF’s $230 Mu3, and Grado’s $259 GT220 — all top-notch audio performers — the AZ60 maintain their very own, which, when you think about their worth and different options, makes them a unprecedented worth.

Double-dip gadgets

The AZ60 lack Google Fast Pair or Apple’s one-tap pairing, however that’s no massive deal. Simply pulling the buds out of their case for the primary time sends them into pairing mode, and from there you simply choose them out of your gadget’s Bluetooth menu. Once paired, the connection is reliably sturdy and constant. I discovered I used to be capable of rise up to 50 ft away from my telephone when open air, however typically as little as 20 ft when inside, strolling between flooring.

But what I actually like in regards to the AZ60 is their capability to do multipoint Bluetooth connections — a rarity amongst true wi-fi earbuds. This permits you to join the buds to your telephone and, say, your PC concurrently. You can stream music out of your laptop, then in case your telephone rings, simply cease the music and reply the decision — the AZ60 swap seamlessly, with solely a split-second wobble within the audio. If you multitask between gadgets (and lately, who doesn’t?), it’s a super-handy function.

Clear calls

Speaking of taking calls, the AZ60 are superb for telephone calls. But be aware of the settings within the Audio Connect app. It gives an possibility for elevated background noise discount, and I discovered this could considerably scale back the readability of your voice below some circumstances — which is the other of the meant impact. Using the common settings might be all you want.

The earbuds are geared up with one thing Technics calls “JustMyVoice” — a fourth mic used for detecting speech — which the corporate claims can isolate and amplify phrases and decrease surrounding noise. It appears to work, however I’d argue that Jabra’s Elite 7 Pro are nonetheless higher for calls in loud environments.

A bit of assist, Alexa?

Technics Audio Connect app screenshot.The AZ60 will allow you to activate your telephone’s built-in voice assistant, however when you’re an Amazon Alexa fan, you may select to make use of Amazon’s A.I. as an alternative. The advantage of doing that’s hands-free wake phrase entry — simply say, “Alexa, …” adopted by any of the standard instructions you may want, together with telephone features like quantity (“Alexa, volume, 50%”) or playback (“Alexa, [play/pause]”). Though that is slowly changing into a extra frequent function, we’ve solely seen it on a handful of earbuds just like the Sony WF-1000XM4, JBL Tour Pro+, and naturally, Amazon’s personal Echo Buds.

Total management

While I’m not an enormous fan of contact controls, Technics has completed a extremely good job with the contact sensors on the AZ60. They’re responsive, simple to faucet precisely, and so they present a small tone for every profitable faucet. The Audio Connect app permits you to tweak every gesture to do any of the accessible actions (play/pause, observe skip, quantity up/down, ANC/transparency, voice assistant, name reply/finish, and microphone mute). I’ve solely ever seen this stage of customization on the Jabra Elite collection and it’s a improbable inclusion on Technics’ half. Technics additionally throws in a Find My earbuds possibility that may observe your buds’ final recognized whereabouts and allow you to activate a chime sound so you’ll find them.

The solely factor lacking are in-ear sensors for mechanically pausing/resuming music playback if you take away or reinsert the earbuds.

Ample energy

Technics EAH-AZ60 charging case.Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

The solely factor that’s common in regards to the AZ60 is its battery life. You’ll get about seven hours per cost (give or take half-hour when you’re utilizing ANC or not) and the charging case can prolong that to between 24 to 25 hours of complete play time. That’s not distinctive, neither is it unacceptable — most people will discover it completely enough for a full day of use.

There’s a fast-charge possibility, but it surely’s not particularly noteworthy: quarter-hour will purchase you an additional 70 or 80 minutes of use.

As with any earbuds or headphones that allow the LDAC codec, when you use this function, it should drain the battery a lot sooner, bringing a single cost of the earbuds right down to 4.5 hours of use when you activate ANC, too.

This brings us to the one different function that Technics has omitted: Wireless charging for the case.

Our take

Superb sound, superior ANC, a comfortable and safe match,  hi-res LDAC help, and tons of options — all at a worth that beats many of the competitors. Yup, we’re massive followers of the Technics EAH-AZ60 and we predict you may be too.

Is there a greater various?

There are solely two different merchandise that you must take into account earlier than shopping for the Technics EAH-AZ60:

$280 Sony WF-1000XM4: This is the improve choose. It gives every part that the AZ60 can do, plus wi-fi charging, your alternative of Alexa or Google Assistant, and in-ear sensors that may mechanically pause music for speech or if you take away an earbud. But the earbuds are larger and fewer snug, particularly for people with smaller ears.

$200 Jabra Elite 7 Pro: These earbuds don’t have the AZ60’s distinctive sound high quality (although in equity they nonetheless sound actually good) or hands-free Alexa, however they value much less, they’re smaller and extra snug, plus they’re absolutely waterproof and have in-ear sensors and wi-fi charging.

How lengthy will they final?

Always exhausting to reply this query, however with an IPX4 score and what looks as if superb construct high quality, they need to final for a few years of use. Panasonic backs Technics true wi-fi earbuds with a one-year guarantee.

Should you purchase them?

Absolutely. They’re top-of-the-line units of true wi-fi earbuds we’ve ever examined.

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