EAH-AZ40 Technical Notice | What Hi-Fi?
Ask yourself: what is the tech world calling for right now? Did you say: no more true mid-priced wireless headphones? No, I didn’t think so. We neither.
But nonetheless, it looks like the land grab is underway – and in light of that fact, it would probably be remiss of Technics not to have their own dog in this particular fight. After all, if some companies with marginal brand awareness may be successful here, why not one of the biggest names in the bunch?
Of course, it takes more than a highly recognized brand name and iconic logo to cut it off, especially in such a congested and competitive market as this. So how can Technics make their true EAH-AZ40 wireless headphones stand out?
The Technics EAH-AZ40 are on sale now, and in the UK you shouldn’t expect to pay more than £ 129. This translates into a very aggressive price tag of $ 129 in the US and a surprisingly competitive price of AU $ 199 in Australia.
You don’t have to spend long or look far to find that this kind of asking price pits the EAH-AZ40 against some extremely decent alternatives from some very serious brands. From Beats Studio Buds on one end of the spectrum to Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless on the other, with everyone from Bose and Sony to Panasonic and Cambridge Audio in between, they’re all set to lure you away from the Technics with pleasant products of their own.
The Technics use Bluetooth 5.2 for wireless connectivity – and given that it’s currently about as good as Bluetooth, it’s a little disappointing to find the EAH-AZ40 compatible with only SBC and AAC codecs. We don’t expect the moon and stars for that kind of money when it comes to specs, but we don’t think expecting some involvement from aptX is too much to ask. The AZ40’s noise-canceling big brothers, the Technics EAH-AZ60, support LDAC, after all.
However, once your SBC or AAC encoded digital audio information is transmitted to Technics, it is transmitted to your ears through a few 6mm full-range speakers which are supplemented by something the company calls an “acoustic control chamber.” “. It is designed to optimize airflow and, by extension, provide an enhanced presence in the low frequencies.
Battery life, so often a big differentiator when products like this are concerned, is around 25 hours that are perfectly decent but utterly unremarkable. The headphones themselves last for eight hours of battery life, while there are a few recharges in the charging case. This should be enough for most real-world applications, but Cambridge Audio won’t lose sleep over numbers like this, given that its Melomania 1 Plus can last up to 45 hours.
Technical specifications EAH-AZ40
Drums 25 hours
Weight 5g (earphones), 30g (charging case)
Water resistance “IPX4 equivalent”
You have several options to control your EAH-AZ40. Each earbud has a relatively large, responsive capacitive touchscreen – so the more obvious things like “play / pause”, “volume up / down”, “skip forward / back” and “answer / end” / reject the call “can be handled easily.
You can also use the touch controls to wake up your phone’s voice assistant (Amazon Alexa and Siri are supported), and from there Technics mics are up to the task of placing your order. . There is a similar confidence and consistency in the way the EAH-AZ40 treats telephony.
However, it is in the Technics Audio Connect application that inveterate tweakers will find satisfaction. Here’s where you can play around with the broad functionality: There’s a five-band EQ for you to study, along with a number of EQ presets, and it’s also possible to rearrange the touch controls. The application allows you to activate or deactivate the “ambient sound”, and if you select “on”, you have the choice between “transparent” (to amplify the external sound) and “attention” (which tries to identify voices, then pause the music when it does). It’s a complete, stable, and useful app overall, although it’s far from the most appealing when it comes to fonts and graphics.
The EAH-AZ40 headphones are extremely compact, super light at 5g each, and paired with a selection of different sized ear tips, they are simple to position and will stay comfortable for hours. The charging case is also a small 30g and small enough to fit in a pocket. Neither the headphones nor the case are constructed from plastics that feel so luxurious, but there is no doubt that they are constructed correctly.
“Design”, however, didn’t really happen here. You can choose between silver, black, or rose gold finishes, but it’s about as swept up as the designers at Technics seem to have.
Technics isn’t alone in voicing its true wireless headphones to sound their best with the EQ settings left flat. Of course, it’s possible to affect the sound in a few different ways, but we’re confident when we say that none of them strike a better balance than the default setting.
The signature EAH-AZ40 is one of weight in tandem with momentum. Granted, our recent encounters with other true Technics wireless headphones hadn’t prepared us for such upbeat, forefoot sound – with a Tidal Masters file from Plans by Yeah Yeah Yeahs they attack the lower frequencies with real determination and not a little dynamism. The detail levels are high and the attack and decay of the individual bass sounds are handled with confidence.
This level of control allows the mids plenty of room to do their work – and the EAH-AZ40 are attentive and detailed enough to give this voice real texture and character. This amount of space is usually welcome – it makes a singer easy to follow and just as easy to enjoy – but with unfriendly recordings it can make a singer a little distant.
At the top, the Technics are so close to harshness – the confidence they demonstrate further down the frequency range is almost overestimated here. Granted, there’s a degree of bite in the high-pitched sounds that makes turning up the volume something only the very brave should get involved.
This kind of attack makes for pretty dynamic listening, mind you. From Satie’s solo piano Gymnopedia n ° 1 to Wilco’s Wedding Cake Stack I’m trying to break your heart the EAH-AZ40 have no problem making large and minor dynamic variations obvious. But it also seems to impact Technics’ ability to express rhythms correctly, and not in a good way. They don’t sink as much as hang around, and the closer your music gets to the dance floor, the more uncomfortable the Technics sound.
This isn’t the first time that a pair of true true wireless earbuds has not turned out to be good enough. The Technics EAH-AZ40 are absolutely right – in terms of ergonomics they are almost ideal, they are unmistakably comfortable and they also have some real pluses when it comes to sound. But unless you like your music to simultaneously sound attacking and just a little lumpy, there are literally dozens of alternative designs to consider.
Read our Panasonic RZ-S500W review
Read our opinion on the Sennheiser CX Plus
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