Specialist wireless earbuds that sound great and not much else or all round buds that aren’t spectacular at any one thing. Maybe you don’t have to make that choice? Let’s talk about the Technics EAH AZ60. And see if you should get it over the Sony WF 1000 XM4 and the SoundCore Liberty 3 Pro.
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Connectivity and extras
These buds do a few things best in class, guys. And we’re not talking about small technical features either but some pretty important stuff. Not too many true wireless earbuds offer multipoint – the ability to connect to two devices at once. 2021 saw a few buds do it. On this channel we’ve tested the SoundCore Liberty 3 Pro, the OnePlus Buds Pro and a few Jabra models that can do this. Samsung and Apple kinda sorta do it. So the fact that the AZ60 can do this puts it in a fairly select club! It also lets you use the LDAC codec for probably the best wireless sound quality – up until Apple launches their ultra wide band thingy anyway. But you will have to choose between LDAC or dual device.
But it gets even better. You can force a connection with a device. But don’t look so worried, it’s fully consensual since it only works with a previously paired device. So say like me you have 3 or 4 devices you switch between. You pair these buds to all of them. Stay connected to two. And when you need a third device, just connect again from the third. This works so smoothly that we think that this might be the best way of implementing multipoint we’ve seen so far.
Well technically, no multipoint connection is without its issues, especially when laptops get involved be it Mac or Windows. But between phones you can expect these to work fairly flawlessly. So LDAC or not, dance around as many devices as you want! More on LDAC in the sound section later. In terms of connectivity, when you take these buds out of the case, it does take a couple of seconds to connect your device. Which is a bit slower than most buds, even compared to cheap ones we test these days. A minor annoyance is that the buds decide to tell you very loudly ‘Bluetooth connected’! Especially annoying if you’ve been using one bud for a while and then you pop the other one in. You can use either bud on its own for calls and music, but it’s 2022. So we kinda expect this now.
The app works very well and has the same features on Android and iOS – minus the LDAC option. It’s very well designed and gives you all the customisation you need and expect from a premium set of earbuds. They do stay in your notification shade on Android even if the buds aren’t connected though. Another minor annoyance.
And now to the slightly less minor annoyances. The Technics skimp on two fairly popular ‘extras’ – there’s no wireless charging and no in-ear sensor to automatically pause your music when you take a bud out of your ear. So if those two are important to you – look elsewhere.
Now – build quality. This is a pretty portable case, but not the smallest one out there. It’s got a little bit of girth – about as phat as the Liberty 3 Pro case but with a more rectangular shape. The buds though are not very thicc and they look nice in your ear. These are IPX4, so usable for light workouts where dust isn’t an issue. The brushed steel exterior is a nice touch and that’s where the capacitive touch surface lies. And we love this touch surface! It’s by far the most responsive touch surface we’ve used.
Being sensitive is nice but sometimes one can be too sensitive. —looks wistfully into the distance— And with sensitive touch controls, you can trigger accidental touches. Another standout feature is that you have access to everything on touch controls – volume, media control as well as mute for phone calls. More on the phone calls later. Easily the most full featured touching we’ve encountered tied with the SoundCore Liberty 3 Pro. A small drawback – you don’t have a different touch control scheme with just one bud in, like the Liberty 3 Pros have. Touch that like button though if you’re enjoying this video so far.
Technics has gone all out on these tips. You get 7 silicone tips in the box from XS to XL! And those tips are super comfortable. And not just that, they stay easily in our ears. We did notice that after about 30 minutes you had to re-adjust them to get the best seal, but it wasn’t a big deal. Your earhole-age may vary, but upto now – these buds are looking very good, right? And also literally – they look pretty good! That brushed steel puts them in the company of the premium companies like the Sennheisers, Bowers and Wilkins and Bang and Olufsens of the world.
So let’s balance the pros with the cons – another weakness of these buds is the battery life. With LDAC you get a mere 4.5 hours on the buds. It may not be a deal breaker, but it’s frankly below average and you get about 16 more hours from the case. Switching out of LDAC to the ‘lower quality’ AAC gives you 7 hours on bud with 24 hours from the case. Since we’re talking codecs, it’s time to talk about sound. In one word – these buds sound big, buttery and smooth. Ok those were three words. Let’s break it down.
First off – these buds are loud. On LDAC. Using an iPhone on AAC, they’re less loud. You should not have volume issues in general. Also – we definitely noticed a bit of shift in tonal character with ANC or transparency, as opposed to both of them turned off. And we preferred them with noise cancelling on. Anyway, now let’s talk about the sound on LDAC.
Let’s start with bass. Good bass. Lots of bass. But at the real low end of the scale – around the sub-bass they start to fall shy of perfection because they’re very slightly woolly. On bass heavy tracks like Billie Eilish’s ‘Bad Guy’, you get that sub-bass thump, but the bass feels a little loose and not well-defined. To be clear – these buds do bass and most people will be satisfied with them. But they lack a tiny bit of control.
The mids are smooth and buttery. But the best pav bhajis don’t have too much butter. It sounds very smooth and that’s good for most conditions but as someone who enjoys his distorted guitars on metal and rock this inaccuracy stands out a bit more. If you’re a metalhead and like that distortion or overdrive having its way with your ears, you won’t get it in the high mids. Electric guitars sound too creamy and less jarring than they’re supposed to. These do really well for vocals though. Nat King Cole’s voice on ‘Orange Colored Sky’ sounds clear, you can hear that little rasp in his voice, even if it does have a little bit of glassy edge.
Now treble – in the FR curve you can see a clear dip around 2.8k. So yes, these are not bright. In fact it might just be a little on the tame side if you like the Liberty 3 Pros for example, but it’s just perfect for me since I’m a bit treble sensitive. But this is also the area that has the biggest difference when you turn off LDAC. The treble sounds a tiny bit less detailed and refined when not on LDAC. On the Sony WF 1000 XM4, we said it doesn’t really matter if you have LDAC on or not, but on the Technics AZ 60 we can say that it definitely makes a difference in the finesse of the treble.
But you know what – I’m just gonna say it: these buds have a certain character that makes them stand out. It’s something that works for me, but it’s not without its flaws as we’ve pointed out. Also – they can do almost any genre you throw at them without really needing to EQ them. And the soundstage is excellent! And of course – you can EQ them to taste. The EQ presets are also very usable.
These buds sound smooth.
Now – another thing that the Technics advertise a lot are their phone calls. So let’s put them to the test with the famous DHRME voice tests. See you on the other side and you can always skip the tests using the timestamps or chapters down below.
Ok – you heard the calls. What do you think? I think we may have just found the new champ of phone calls for us! No matter what conditions we threw at it – windy, noisy, speaking up, speaking softly, it seemed to not miss a single syllable. I’m not sure how they’ve done this, but these microphones are maybe the best we’ve tested in a long while. And we have about 75 videos on wireless earbuds on this channel so far! So that’s a real compliment! Those 8 microphones and wind noise reduction ain’t no lie! That’s quite a technical achievement. Yes that was a ‘technical’ achievement.
Other than making calls, the technics bring their Vakman A-game – you get an extensive set of controls using the buds. Volu me as well as mute controls while on calls are a life saver when you don’t want to pull your phone out of your pocket. You can also adjust the background noise reduction and choose between normal and strong. All the tests you just heard were on strong.
And apart from controls, it makes total sense in your vakman home office too. Like we’ve said before, you can connect them to multiple devices like your phone, laptop, work laptop, gaming pc, microwave etc.
So much for our voices – now it’s time for the noises. Here’s an ANC test – see you on the other side!
So the good thing about the Technics is that the ANC is very customizable. And the low end noise cancelling is very much on par with the best in the business – the Sony WF 1000 XM4. I mean the Bose is better, but not by much. Anyway, at the mid and high frequencies, you can see a noticeable difference from the XM4 and the Technics isn’t up to that level, but it is pretty good. Also in ambient mode, we thought it did a bit better on the higher end frequencies. The transparency is not in the same league. It might be usable in a pinch, but you’re not getting the best transparency mode in the market here.
It’s also nice to see that these buds use plastic free packaging and in general Technics is a company that talks about environmental impact, so that’s a positive.
These tests are a lot of work. But we want you to experience these buds as well as possible without having to try or buy them. Wondering how you can support our efforts? Become a Patron! Details in the description.
All right – should you buy these?
Just for context, let’s pit them against two most talked about buds these days – the SoundCore Liberty 3 Pro and the Sony WF-1000 XM4.
It’s very simple – the Liberty 3 Pro are far cheaper and the Sony WF 1000 XM4 are about the same range or more expensive. For the latest prices, check out our affiliate links. You know, if you use them it will help our channel at no additional cost to you.
All right – here are a few reasons you might want to skip the Technics EAH AZ60:
- The transparency mode isn’t quite up to scratch compared to the Sony and SoundCore.
- The absence of wireless charging and in-ear detection. There isn’t anything more to this. The Sony and the SoundCore both offer these features.
- The slightly slower connectivity. So if your time is worth too much then maybe you can save time with the Sony or SoundCore as they’ll connect a tad quicker.
- The price – with so many good lower-priced buds these days, you need to be sure that these are actually the buds you want. So if you’re on a budget, the SoundCore are a better option.
The reasons to buy these buds are:
- The buttery smooth sound quality – this is subjective, but I prefer these over the Sony and the SoundCore.
- The incredible phone call quality – again better than the Sony WF 1000 XM4.
- The multi-device features – The ability to stay connected to two devices and keep connecting from additional devices is unique. Sony can do the force connect and the Soundcore can do dual-device, but these can do both.
- The great design, fit and comfort – the sheer number of choices in the box. The SoundCore has this as well, but with the wingtip design and the size of the transducer, we find the Technics more comfortable. And the Sony hybrid foam tips – you know that story.
- The good low-end noise cancelling – these do quite well at the low end – better than the SoundCore and on par with the Sony.
You’ve been finding the right technique and we’ve been DHRME. Namaste.