Technics EAH-AZ60 Wireless Earbud REVIEW
Excellent in both general performance and audio reproduction, a new Technics earbud gets a 10/10 award from PAT PILCHER.
Back in the day, Technics was a brand everyone knew. Their hi-fi components, mini-systems, and speakers were well regarded and in homes up and down New Zealand. Now they’re back with the EAH-AZ60 wireless earbuds, which is great news for Technics fans wanting more than just a dose of audio nostalgia. Having got my sweaty paws on a pair to review, I charged them up and bunged them into my ear-holes. Here are my first impressions.
The EAH-AZ60’s come in a slim and longish lozenge-shaped charging case. ‘Slim’ is a word that springs to mind a lot when trying to sum up their design. The first generation of wireless earbuds I remember testing were absolute chunkers. Since then they’ve become much more compact. This is also the case with the EAH-AZ60’s. Technics has managed to cram mics, silicon, drivers and batteries into a form factor that makes for comfortable (and most importantly) practical use. Being around 25mm deep and weighing in at just 7g, they were dead easy to fit and wear. Cyclists can rejoice as their compact form factor, which means they don’t stick out massively from your ears and can be comfortably be worn under a helmet. They’re also IPX4 rated, so they can be used in the rain or when you’re working on becoming a sweaty mess at the gym.
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In the box, the EAH-AZ60’s come with a generous seven pairs of ear tips. So, no matter what size your ear canal is, the odds are that you’ll find a fit that offers decent passive sound isolation.
Passive noise reduction aside, the EAH-AZ60’s also come with decent active noise cancellation. This is in part due to the four mics built into each earbud. The mic setup consists of a mic whose sole purpose is to cancel external noise. There’s a feedback mic to kill off inside noise, plus an additional two mics dedicated to voice detection for use during calls. In practice, the setup worked well. Busy Wellington CBD traffic and construction noise was reduced to a barely audible hum, while phone call audio was excellent and largely noise-free.
Wandering through central Wellington’s crowded RF environment, I was pleased to note that the EAH-AZ60 stayed connected to my phone the entire time. Passing by known spots where disconnects and stutters often happen had no discernible effect at all.
The amount of noise-cancelling is adjustable via the competent Technics Audio Connect app (Android/IOS). With the app, you get access to equaliser presets and a manual 5-band equaliser. You can also choose a Transparent Ambient sound mode (which uses the mics for improved situational awareness). There’s an Attention mode too, which is optimised for voice so you don’t have to pull the buds out of your noggin to have a conversation. Switching between Ambient and ANC modes can be done in the app or by long-pressing the right bud’s control surface. Touch controls are customisable too.
On the battery life front, I got a reasonable 6 hours and 55 minutes of use with ANC off. The charging case can recharge them twice before needing a charge itself. You can have around 39 hours of use. They’re quick to charge too. I found that just 15-minutes in their case gave close to 1 hour of use. With ANC enabled, battery life dropped to just under five hours. All told, battery life is not too shabby at all.
Thanks to LDAC codec support, you’ll get the best audio possible if you have LDAC capable hardware. Interestingly, aptX and aptX-HD codecs are not supported. Audio from the AZ60 felt transparent, detailed, and clear. There are also acres of bass if you want it. Adding more bottom end via the Audio Connect app didn’t dimmish mids or highs. Firing up some Fat Freddy’s Drop saw the EAH-AZ60’s delivering a controlled, precise yet warm bass riff. Holst’s Planet Suite saw percussion delivered with oomph, while the brass and strings were where I’d expect them to be. This is something that many wireless earbuds struggle with.
Technics’ EAH-AZ60 are a solid choice of wireless earbuds, and I’ve scored them a 10/10. Not only are they comfy for extended listening, but their active noise cancellation and audio is excellent too.