Technics EAH-AZ70W In-ear Headphones Review
Matthew Jens samples a brand new true wireless noise-cancelling in-ear headphone design from this iconic Japanese brand…
EAH-AZ70W Wireless In-Ear Headphones
If this is a Technics product review, then it must be a new turntable, right? Wrong. The $449 EAH-AZ70W is a true wireless Bluetooth earphone and a fascinating pivot from Technics. The specialist audio brand of Panasonic is now taking on the travel market with a small but perfectly formed in-ear release. It has a lot to live up to, not least because the company hasn't put a foot wrong of late. Its reimagined range of turntables based on the iconic SL-1200 is still wowing the vinyl world – so the pressure's on to keep up the quality.
As befitting the Technics brand, the sheer quality of design and build oozes out from the EAH-AZ70W. It comes in a neat, oblong-shaped charging case, with a beautiful brushed metal lid. The way it opens and closes reflects Japanese precision – everything is built to a tight tolerance, with no room for error. The case is noticeably heavy; this is likely thanks to the battery, which offers up to a claimed 19.5 hours of life. This echoed my experience while living with this pair of in-ear phones, and makes it one of the longest-lasting units on the market. Also, just fifteen minutes of charging is needed to yield over an hour of listening time, even with noise cancelling on.
There's a brushed metal exterior faceplate which contains touch controls inside, although the housing of the earbud is mostly plastic. This isn't necessarily a bad thing of course, as it makes for low weight – each earbud weighs just 7g – and it's also an easy fit into the ear. This in-ear design proved most comfortable to wear, even for extended listening sessions, and having a choice of five included tip sizes helped here too. The drive units are 10mm diameter graphene-coated types, with neodymium magnets. The manufacturer claims a frequency response of 20-20,000Hz. The last time I reviewed a Bluetooth product from Technics, it included the Sony LDAC codec, so I was a little dismayed when it didn't pop up again here. Instead, we have SBC and AAC taking care of our wireless needs.
This set of in-ear headphones sounds as lean, analytical and as bright as it gets. Your music will have the sonic surgeon's knife taken to it, to be diced apart and examined piece-by-piece. This is not to say that there's no bass response; a tight, punchy and clean-as-a-whistle low end marries nicely with a lively top – but all that punch takes a backseat to the brightly lit upper mids and highs.
The brightly lit treble yields an expansive, detailed soundstage as well, one that will provide a wonderfully immersive experience when listening to high-quality recordings. Female vocals, pianos and string instruments are presented exceptionally well, for example. There's an audible hiss that cleverly turns off when music is paused but is audible during the more quiet passages of your music. Thankfully this is easily masked by the wide dynamic range on offer here, allowing plenty of samples and instruments to punch through with ease.
The noise cancelling is roughly comparable to the Sennheiser True Wireless Momentum 2, but not quite as effective as the venerable Apple AirPods Pro. This Technics offering does merely an adequate job of disguising low-end frequencies. It will admirably leave most of the sonic signature alone when doing so. Call quality proved excellent, meaning that the EAH-AZ70W makes an ideal companion for video calls, meetings and whatever else the new COVID normal throws your way for productivity.
With this new product, Technics isn't exactly reinventing the wheel when it comes to True Wireless releases. Still, it's a solid first attempt from the company. With a bright and vivid signature, massive battery life and excellent ergonomics, there's a lot to like here. While it would be great to see less background hiss and better codec support next time, the EAH-AZ70W certainly has a few clever tricks up its sleeve. Well worth an audition, if you're in the market for this sort of thing.
Constantly keeping himself busy, Matthew is a production manager, Brazilian jiu-jitsu blue belt, Head-Fi fanatic, coffee enthusiast and all-round cool Dad.
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