Technics EAH-AZ80 Review: Flagship Earbuds to Elevate Your Listening Experience

Published On: August 8, 2023
Last Updated on: October 18, 2023
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Technics EAH-AZ80 Review: Flagship Earbuds to Elevate Your Listening Experience

The Technics EAH-AZ80s have staked their claim at the top of the mountain.

Technics EAH-AZ80 Review: Flagship Earbuds to Elevate Your Listening Experience

  • I am a lifelong Florida resident with a huge passion for tech and sound. My love for music initially drove me to vinyl, which introduced me to the world of speakers and other audio equipment. It is important to me that an audio product not only produces excellent sound quality but also is worth the price.

The Technics EAH-AZ80s are the latest flagship bluetooth earbuds from Technics, and the end result is incredibly compelling. Boasting strong audio performance, upscale design, and versatile customization features, the AZ80s are a top-class option for consumers looking to invest in a premium earbud.

High Points

  • Exceptional audio performance; A strong bass signature and overall bright and balanced sound.
  • Class-leading active noise-cancellation.
  • Upscale design in both the earbuds themselves and the case.
  • Strong and versatile customization features.
  • LDAC support means higher fidelity sound for consumers who can utilize it.

Low Points

  • Slightly bulky.
  • Complicated controls that led to occasional misinputs.

Build and Design

The EAH-AZ80s exude elegance with their upscale design. The matte finish and circular outer panel design give them a sharp and sleek appearance, but still keeps it simple, which I like a lot. The AZ80s come in a variety of different colors: Black, silver, and blue, which all complement the design well. The design of these buds certainly matches the price.

AZ80 Earbuds Case

Happily, the earbuds are comfortable even during prolonged listening sessions, which is something I can’t say for most earbuds. There was no need for constant adjustment to make them fit better or make them more comfortable. They included a large variety of different sized eartips in the box, so you can easily choose the most comfortable and most secure for whatever your ear size is. I never had an issue of them falling out, even when mobile.

The earbuds happen to be rated at IPX4 'equivalent', which would equate to 'splash resistant' and that rating is perfectly capable of handling a jog in the rain or similar sweaty workouts. However this rating is definitely conservative, as I'm embarrassed to admit that the buds went into a washing machine buried in the pockets of my pants. Without any hassle, they charged right back up and continue to work without a hitch, though your mileage may vary.

The Technics EAH-AZ80s have staked their claim at the top of the mountain. cdbaffa7 image

The carrying and charging case complements the premium feel of the earbuds. It is even nicer than the AZ60M2’s case, which is similar, but the AZ80 uses a fully metallic material with a brushed finish. It is also very compact, more compact than the Tozo Golden X1’s case, due to its thinner design.

The magnetic lid securely encloses the earbuds, preventing accidental dislodging. While the AZ80s and their case are not fully waterproof, they can withstand small splashes, such as rain and sweat. However, caution should be exercised around water to avoid potential damage.

Internal Specs

Under the hood, the Technics AZ80s boast 10mm dynamic drivers that deliver a frequency range of 20Hz to 40kHz.  The 10mm dynamic drivers greatly improve the overall quality of the sound, utilizing a rigid design for a more accurate frequency range. Its acoustic chamber design also helps reduce distortion, and increase the accuracy of the sound.

It also has Bluetooth 5.3 compatibility, and supports AAC, SBC, and LDAC codecs. LDAC support enables higher resolution sound for devices that can utilize it, although it comes at the cost of battery life. When using LDAC, the sound is undoubtedly improved, especially compared to AAC, which is what I used for a majority of testing. It is much more rich and full of detail, so the loss in battery life is a worthwhile sacrifice if you are a stickler for clean sound.

The AZ80s are also able to pair with multiple devices, reaching a maximum of three different devices at once, making it simple to use the earbuds with whatever you choose. I easily swapped between two phones with great ease.

Listening Experience

The listening experience on the Technics AZ80s is marred slightly by the complicated controls. Similar to what I said about the AZ60M2s, the controls can feel convoluted and unintuitive by default, leading to occasional misinputs. 

There were also  a few times where I would want to do one thing, say, pause a song, but ended up pausing and unpausing it immediately. This is because the touch controls also sometimes felt a bit unresponsive or delayed. Fortunately, many of these issues can be remedied on the app, which allows you to remap your controls.

The battery life you get out of the AZ80s will vary greatly depending on how you use them. Without ANC and using AAC, you can expect around 8 hours of playtime. However, opting for the higher resolution LDAC with ANC will reduce battery life to around 4 hours, which is to be expected. The case provides an additional 12-18 hours of battery life by my testing, depending on settings, so that will extend your use while on the go.

Active Noise Cancellation

The Technics EAH-AZ80s have staked their claim at the top of the mountain. 627c1754 image

The noise cancellation on the AZ80s is frankly the best I've experienced in an earbud, effectively suppressing low rumbles and midrange sounds. I took a red-eye and slept with them in - the sounds of the engine were tuned out nicely. With a stronger than normal twist, you can effectively force the buds in much deeper into your ear canal, and the 'concha fit foam' does a great job of both sealing very tightly and remaining comfortable. This alone provides a high degree of noise blocking, and the electronics also do their job well. Sounds like air-conditioners or white-noise generators are plainly muted to the point of being completely inaudible, and putting in the earbuds in an office environment is a strange sensation of silence. Unlike some other products I have tried, there is also very little 'ear drum pressure', the sometimes uncomfortable sensation that ANC can have on the ears as sound waves are cancelled. As with the AZ60M2s, it sometimes allows some higher frequencies to slip through, but overall, it is very effective and can be adjusted to your preferences in the app.

App Experience

AZ80 Earbuds App Settings

The accompanying app, while initially unpleasant to navigate for me, offers an abundance of versatility to the AZ80s.

It provides a five-banded EQ for precise sound customization, the option to choose a voice assistant, and the ability to adjust noise cancellation according to your preferences. Additionally, you can switch between different codecs and explore quality-of-life features such as searching for lost earbuds and voice call testing.

There are also a variety of different preset sound effects you can choose from, that will tailor the sound to a certain way. The Super Bass+ setting, for example, will give a huge boost to the low-end output of the AZ80s. These presets work well from my testing, but I generally preferred to use either the Dynamic or Default settings.

Sound Quality

The Technics AZ80s really reflect their premium price point when it comes to sound. The strong bass signature is punchy and agile without compromising the overall balance. Songs like "Rage" by Rico Nasty are enhanced by the accurate and compelling bass response. 

The Technics EAH-AZ80s have staked their claim at the top of the mountain. 94f55697 image

Bass heads will get enjoyment out of these earbuds, although you may have to give them a slight boost using the EQ in the app. While I found the bass output to be enough for me, it may be a bit on the tame side for those who need a lot of it.

The treble response on these earbuds is balanced and accurate. If anything, the treble sounds like it could use a bit of a boost at times. Higher end vocal melodies can sometimes feel a bit subdued compared to how they actually are in the mix, especially the upper register vocals of artists like FKA Twigs. Instrumentation is beautifully rendered, allowing both higher and lower-register instruments to shine while maintaining a balanced and natural feel.

Technics clearly paid close attention to the tonal balance of these earbuds. The sound staging on the AZ80s is well done, with each element of the music given room to shine.

The overall sound is bright and rich, infusing songs like "These Chains" by Mid Air Thief with life and intricate detail. Vocals come through with buttery smooth clarity, and there is no noticeable distortion at any volume level. The app's powerful EQ options enable further sound enhancement, allowing users to fine-tune the audio to their exact preferences.

Without a doubt, the AZ80s have some of the strongest audio performance I have heard on an earbud. It is dynamic, detailed, and balanced. It feels like no element of the music is lost, and it is staged in such a way that I get a real sense for space. Listening to music on the AZ80s is immersive and incredibly rewarding.

Pricing and Comparison

The Technics AZ80s are priced at $299.99, placing them in the premium segment of the market.

The new Sony WF-1000XM5 might be the most obvious competitor, priced identically at $299. They offer a similar feature set, are slightly smaller and lighter, as well as add spatial audio. The EAH-AZ80 wins with 3 simultaneous bluetooth connections for more seamless transitions, a better quality microphone array, and most importantly, sounded better listening to music. I found ANC to be similar and given the Sony's long-standing lead in this area, this is high praise for the EAH-AZ80. The AZ80s come up ahead in my sonic evaluation with just a meatier punch to low bass, and a more nuanced and rich soundstage overall. This was close, but for my habits we have a new leader in this highly competitive segment.

I compared the EAH-AZ80s to the new Tozo Golden X1s, and found the bass response of the cheaper alternative heavier, which infused the music with more depth without sacrificing other elements of the sound. Where the AZ80s shine is overall clarity. The output of the X1s feels considerably less concise than the AZ80s, which feels more balanced and dynamic. There is a richness to the sound signature of the AZ80s which distinguishes itself from cheaper alternatives, justifying its price tag.

Another thing to keep in mind is overall build and design. Aesthetics will always be subjective, but the AZ80s are undoubtedly a higher quality build and feel more premium to the touch than the X1s. The Technics EAH-AZ60M2s offer a very similar build and upscale feel to them, for a marginally less expensive cost.

The Technics EAH-AZ80s have staked their claim at the top of the mountain. 027230db image

The AZ60M2s felt comparable to the AZ80s in terms of sound quality, which shouldn’t be a surprise as they are part of the same line of earbuds and are similarly priced. I preferred the overall sound of the AZ80s, as I felt that the balance was better.

It's worth noting that the AZ60M2s come at a slightly cheaper price tag, at $250 compared to AZ80s $300. They offer a very similar sound, with AZ80 just barely taking the cake in terms of dynamics and overall clarity. Although, if you want to save a little money, and are willing to sacrifice a bit of clarity, the AZ60M2s are a solid choice.

However, if you are willing to spend the money, the AZ80s are more than worth your cash. The output of these earbuds have blown me away, and the large amount of customization they offer ensures that anyone will get a lot of mileage out of them. Add in unexpected durability and well considered quality of life features, and you get a winning combination.

Final Thoughts

The Technics AZ80 Bluetooth Earbuds impress with their upscale design, premium sound performance, and comprehensive app functionality. They offer an immersive listening experience, supported by strong bass, detailed instrumentation, and buttery smooth vocals. The AZ80s excel in noise cancellation and customization through the app, providing users with a personalized audio experience.

If you are willing to invest in a high-quality, premium product that delivers on sound and design, the Technics EAH-AZ80s are a strong option, well-deserving of our Editor's Choice award.

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