With its AZ80, Technics is playing in the big league by offering headphones that focus on sound quality but also on multipoint Bluetooth connectivity. Here is their full review.
- Balanced and accurate sound
- Comfortable earphones
- Multi-point connection to three devices
- Full touch controls
- Feature-rich application
- Good noise reduction
- Good battery life
- Poor call quality
- A very high price
Apple, Bose and Sony are not the only manufacturers offering high-end wireless headphones. Panasonic is to be in line with its Technics brand. Since 2020, the Japanese Hi-Fi brand has been selling headphones. After the Technics AZ70 and the Technics AZ60, the firm has launched its new Panasonic Technics AZ80 with active noise reduction, multipoint Bluetooth and LDAC compatibility.
You can’t change a winning recipe. For three generations now, Technics has been offering headphones with a similar design, and the AZ80s are no exception.
We are dealing with headphones with a classic format, without stems, but with an in-ear format. Panasonic is not skimping on the ear tips. It supplies seven pairs here, from XS to XXL, to ensure that the earphones will be well adapted to your ear canal to provide the best possible quality and increase passive isolation without hindering use after long hours.
The difference with previous Technics earphones is the integration of an additional microphone grid on the outside. This microphone, positioned between the tragus and antitragus at the ear, is supposed to improve noise reduction, as we will see later, and allow for better voice pickup during calls. It is also made of the same imitation metal plastic as the outer touch surface, which is slightly grooved with the Technics logo.
Regarding comfort, the Technics AZ80 are very light at 7 grams and, despite their large size, do not tire the ears too much over time. I could wear them for one to two hours without any discomfort, and only after this long period did I feel slight fatigue.
The casing of the Technics AZ80 also follows the same format as the previous headphones with a horizontally elongated shape with a roundness of 73 x 35 x 28 mm. The housing is made entirely of plastic, but Panasonic has removed its appearance by coating the cover with an aluminium surface.
The Technics AZ80 has only one LED on the casing, which shows the battery status of the headphones. However, there is no pairing button, as this is done directly on the headphones. It should also be noted that the case has a USB-C socket for charging but is also compatible with wireless charging via induction.
On the other hand, due to its horizontal format, the AZ80 case is challenging to handle with one hand, and it will be better to use both hands.
Controls and Bluetooth
The Technics headphones are very easy to connect to a smartphone or computer. They are compatible with the Google Fast Pair protocol. So when you place them in your ears near a smartphone, you’ll see a notification on your screen telling you to connect them. To connect the headphones to a second source, keep your fingers pressed down on the touch surface for a few seconds, and they’ll go into pairing mode.
Volume control, noise reduction, track control and even the voice assistant are all there. In addition, each of these controls can be changed within the Technics Audio Connect application. By default, volume control is on the left earpiece and playback on the right earpiece, but you can switch these controls around and choose to have a rewind double tap on the left and volume up triple tap on the right.
The Technics AZ80 is equipped with 10 mm diameter transducers with aluminium diaphragms. According to the Japanese manufacturer, this is a way of ensuring good precision in the high frequencies as well as a faithful rendering of the low frequencies. They also benefit from an acoustic control chamber.
As for the Bluetooth audio codecs, we can count on compatibility with the two most common on the market, SBC and AAC, but also with the LDAC audio codec allowing transmission at up to 990 kbps and a Hi-Res Audio Wireless certification.
To test the sound quality of the Panasonic Technics AZ80, I paired them with a Vivo X80 Pro in LDAC and listened to tracks on Tidal in Hi-Res quality, up to 24 bits at 192 kHz. The Technics Audio Connect application allows you to manage the codec used directly, activate LDAC, and choose the priority mode (sound quality or connectivity) if necessary.
The Technics AZ80s deliver a surprisingly detailed and balanced sound. As the frequency response curve above suggests, the Technics headphones have a relatively classic W-shaped sound signature, but it’s pretty pleasant in the long run.
It’s pretty simple; the Technics headphones offer excellent sound quality, whatever the music is listened to, whether it’s classical, jazz, rap, rock or electro.
The only regret is that the sound stage is too narrow and will lack a little width, and all sounds come from a relatively narrow-angle in front of you.
As mentioned earlier, it is also possible to modify the sound signature of the Technics AZ80 through the Technics Audio Connect application. In addition to the various presets on offer – direct, bass+, super bass+, vocals, treble+ and dynamic – you can change a five-band EQ (100, 315, 1000, 3150 and 10,000 Hz) with variations of up to plus or minus 10 dB.
Two of the AZ80’s eight built-in microphones are also used for voice pickup during voice calls. However, the headphones need help keeping up with phone calls.
The sound captured by the Technics AZ80s tends to be remarkably muffled at the voice level, forcing the caller to concentrate on understanding what you are saying, especially on a busy boulevard. This is fairly common behaviour for wireless headphones. The problem is that this compression is usually done to reduce ambient noise. Here, however, the noise reduction for the person you’re talking to is relatively poor, and they will hear nearby vehicles or traffic loudly. While the Technics application allows you to adjust the noise reduction intensity during calls – normal or loud – changing the setting only slightly alters the sound.
With the Technics AZ80, Panasonic delivers good wireless headphones that stand out, especially for their multipoint Bluetooth connectivity, autonomy, and outstanding sound quality.
The AZ80 is an excellent wireless headset that stands out for its multipoint Bluetooth connectivity, battery life and outstanding sound quality. However, a few things could be improved, such as call quality in a noisy environment or a delay compared to the best noise reduction systems. However, the Technics AZ80 are present in defects, and their sound quality makes them perfect headphones that will accompany you in your daily music.
Technics EAH-AZ80E-K Wireless Earbuds with Noise Cancelling, Multipoint Bluetooth, Comfortable In-Ear Earphones, Up to 7 Hours Playtime, Black
|Current Price||£259.99||May 31, 2023|
|Highest Price||£259.99||May 21, 2023|
|Lowest Price||£259.99||May 21, 2023|
Last price changes
|£259.99||May 21, 2023|
Technics Premium Hi-Fi True Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds with Advanced Noise Cancelling, 3 Device Multipoint Connectivity, Wireless Charging, Hi-Res Audio + Enhanced Calling - EAH-AZ80-K (Black)
|Current Price||$299.99||May 31, 2023|
|Highest Price||$299.99||May 21, 2023|
|Lowest Price||$299.99||May 21, 2023|
Last price changes
|$299.99||May 21, 2023|