This will sound crazy, but earphones have become as important a purchasing decision as cars. Now, before revheads run me over on my walk home, just hear me out. Whether you’re working, working out or watching a show, quality earphones are crucial to our daily lives. As we commute less and work remotely, owning quality gear inside the ear is critical for ensuring clear video and phone calls. We’ve all suffered through Zoom calls where one person sounds like they’re trapped in a Canadian blizzard with no reception. Frankly, it’s rude and anyone who continues to use loudspeaker should be locked up behind bars. The point is that earphones are essential in 2022, and there are a bunch of brands that will take your hard-earned cash without delivering on the promise of audio excellence. After hearing some encouraging signs, I decided to give Technics’ new EAH-AZ60 earphones a test drive and see whether they live up to the hype.
Coming in either black or silver, the first thing you’ll notice out of the box is the sleek semi-matte flip case with a USB-C port for charging. Technics estimates the earphones can last for roughly 7 hours on battery, and the case provides an additional 17 hours of charge, depending on volume and use of active noise cancelling (ANC). Personally, I didn’t find battery life an issue. However, my only minor knock would be the lack of wireless charging capability.
Inside the case lay the earphones themselves, embossed with the Technics logo. Relatively compact, they fit securely into the ear once twisted into place. The box includes seven pairs of silicone ear tips in various sizes, which was a little overwhelming, but after finding my size they felt comfortable. The snug fit lends itself to the gym as well, remaining stuck in my ear throughout both cardio and weights routines. Additionally, the earpieces boast a respectable IPX4 rating, meaning they withstood the river of sweat my body produces on the treadmill.
On-ear controls are different on each side, with the left controlling volume and the right controlling track navigation. A single touch on either earpiece handles call management and playback while holding it down turns on the phone’s voice assistant. Pressing and holding on the right side activates the ANC. The controls are easy enough to operate, but you do have the option to adjust their layout and operations via the app.
The Technics Audio Connect app gives users the ability to enable several key features that maximise the listening experience. Most importantly, the app allows you to adjust and create five-band EQ presets to suit personal tastes as well as adjust the controls on the earphones. Additionally, ANC settings can be altered using app’s in-built fader to create an optimal level of noise cancellation.
Technics claims the EAH-AZ60 is equipped with ‘industry-leading’ noise-cancelling, using their Dual Hybrid Noise Cancelling technology. After using the earphones in a variety of settings, I can say without question that the ANC is rather spectacular. Whether I’m listening to music on public transport or dialling into a work call at a cafe, the ANC allows you to completely immerse yourself in the audio, blocking out outside distractions. However, to maximise its potential I’d highly recommend jumping into the app and recalibrating the settings.
Positively, the ANC doesn’t seem to negatively impact audio quality. There’s a small hiss which is super common, but far less noticeable than inferior brands. As for Ambient mode, it’s easy to hear your surroundings and have a conversation without removing the earpiece.
Technics take advantage of the brand’s long history of Hi-Fi engineering and installed their signature sound into a device that fits in the palm of your hand. Utilising the unique design of the Acoustic Control Chamber and 8mm drivers, the EAH-AZ60 delivers a rich and fulfilling listening experience. When cranking the volume to ridiculous levels, the bass doesn’t distort and at a more moderate level, the lows still get plenty of power. The highs provide a pleasant counterbalance to the lows, and the newly adapter harmoniser generates smooth treble, enabling a wide range of natural sounds.
The EAH-AZ60 model is equipped with what Technics call JustMyVoice Technology which delivered excellent call quality. The voice detection mics are designed to detect your voice when speaking, while two MEMs mics actively capture your voice and reduce surrounding noise, even in a noisy environment. Technics have also considered wind noise, utilising mics with small holes that are installed deep inside the earbuds to minimise vibrations caused by air.
If you’re looking for a pair of earphones that offer quality Active Noise Cancellation and a rich signature sound, you should seriously consider getting your hands on the Technics EAH-AZ60. Furthermore, the voice capture technology and clear audio communication make this the perfect ‘work from anywhere’ model. Why they may not topple the likes of the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds and Sony’s WF-1000XM4; at a cheaper price, they are more than a worthy adversary.
The Technics EAH-AZ60 are priced at AU$379 and is now available on the Technics website or selected retailers.