Technics expands true wireless earphones family with two new models
Back at the IFA 2014 tech show in Berlin, Panasonic relaunched Technics as a high-end luxury hi-fi brand, but it didn't join the true wireless earphones space until last year. Now two more models join the party, one with noise cancellation and one without.
Naturally Technics is promising a premium listening experience from both the EAH-AZ60 and the EAH-AZ40 TWS earphones. Each earbud of the former is home to an 8-mm driver, acoustic chamber and harmonizer, while the latter model features a 6-mm dynamic driver, acoustic control chamber and harmonizer. Either way, they're designed for rocking out on the train to work or listening to conference calls in the home office.
They pair with an audio source such as a smartphone over Bluetooth 5.2, with support for the AAC codec – though the AZ60 earphones also allow for high-resolution playback via the LDAC codec.
When it comes to closing yourself off from outside distractions to focus on the music or podcast, the AZ40 earphones offer passive isolation only, with each earbud managing up to 7.5 hours per charge and a total of 25 hours available when used with the charging case.
The AZ60 earphones benefit from hybrid noise cancellation, which employs feedforward and feedback technology, and digital and analog processing, for what Technics is calling "best-in-class" performance. Battery life per earbud with ANC on and the LDAC codec in use is around 4.5 hours, with 16 hours in total available via the charging case. Switch off the ANC and that goes up to 5 hours per bud or 17 with the charging case. And using the AAC codec extends battery life a bit more, 7 hours with ANC active and 7.5 hours with ANC off for each bud, and 24 or 25 hours with the charging case.
A 15-minute quick charge can see the AZ40 earbuds get 90 minutes of playtime, while the AZ60 users could get up to 80 minutes.
As well as a general transparency mode, called Natural here, that allows pretty much all ambient sounds to filter through, Technics has also included something called Attention Mode, which only allows sounds through that fall within the frequency range of the human voice. The company has also cooked in technology to counter wind noise.
Both models feature something Technics is calling JustMyVoice technology, which uses a combination of microphones (there are eight in all on the EAH-AZ60 model) and software to focus on the voice of the wearer during calls while simultaneously reducing background noise for the promise of clarity in the noisiest of environments. Of course much of the true wireless competition will employ something similar, so we'll have to wait for the first reviews to appear before we find out how the Technics solution fares compared to the rest of the field.
Elsewhere, listeners can customize listening by tapping into different sound profiles, Technics says that the "new drop shape of the earbuds is designed to provide comfort and style to even the most discerning listeners," and IPX4 splash resistance means that users should be good to wear them to the gym or if out and about during the odd downpour.
"Our team of engineers has brought more than 55 years of sound engineering expertise to these new headphones," said Technics US Product Manager, Ellison Ferdinand. "We are excited to add the EAH-AZ60 and EAH-AZ40 true wireless headphones to our suite of premium audio products. As we’ve all adapted to new work and life routines, we hope that these headphones will help us focus on what matters most."
Both true wireless models will go on sale next month, the EAH-AZ60 earphones carry a suggested retail price of US$229.99, while the EAH-AZ40 earphones come in at $149.99. That makes them a good deal cheaper than premium offerings from Bang & Olufsen and Klipsch, and less expensive than Sony's excellent WF-1000XM4 earphones and Apple's AirPods Pro.