If you’ve followed the world of audio at all, Technics is probably a brand you already know. It’s been a staple in the Hi-Fi world for decades, delivering some of the best turntables, speakers, and components you can buy. Last year, it debuted its first set of true wireless earbuds, and today we’re taking a look at its successors: the AZ80 and AZ60M2.
Featuring top-tier sound quality and features designed to compete with the biggest players in pocketable audio, these earbuds impress. It’s not just sound quality either: active noise cancellation and call quality are also top-notch, delivering clear call quality and silence when you need to focus on music and calls. At $299 and $249 respectively, they don’t come cheap, but they’re absolutely worth considering as one of the best full-package pairs of true wireless you can buy today.
Technics AZ80 and AZ60M2 - What Are They?
We cover a lot of wired audio products here at MMORPG, but it’s hard to argue that anything other than true wireless is the future. True wireless earbuds are more convenient to carry, don’t leave you managing cables as you move throughout your day, and offer advanced features like ANC and environmental noise cancellation for calls. The biggest drawback, so far, has been sound quality. True wireless earbuds can sound great but it’s hard to compete with wired headphones with multitudes of fancy drivers propelling the listening experience.
That’s where the Technics AZ80 and AZ60M2 come in. These earbuds are designed to deliver “reference-quality audio.” The flagship AZ80 accomplishes that with a new 10mm aluminum driver that reduces distortion and increases bass performance. The AZ60M2 uses a slightly smaller 8mm biocellulose driver with a specially designed acoustic chamber and harmonizer. They sound sweet, with deep, rich, and textured bass and exceptional clarity throughout the upper registers.
Both versions also buck the usual limitations of Bluetooth by supporting LDAC high-resolution audio. LDAC is a Sony proprietary Bluetooth codec that dramatically increases Bluetooth bandwidth and reduces wireless compression. iPhone listeners are out of luck on this count, but thankfully the buds still sound very good thanks to their acoustic design. If you’re on Android, however, you should absolutely listen over LDAC for the best sound quality.
The AZ80 and AZ60M2 also boast exceptionally great call quality thanks to Technic’s JustMyVoice technology. This system uses eight MEMS microphones to actively monitor and cancel out environmental noise while also boosting your own voice. It works very, very well and, thanks to a sample recorder built into the app, you can hear the impact within a sample recording so you can decide whether you like it better on or off. In my testing, turning it off made my voice sound slightly more full but still sounded very good turned on and blocked virtually all of the surrounding noise of the busy parking lot I was testing in.
Those same microphones are also used to provide some truly impressive active noise cancellation. ANC has become a standard feature in true wireless earbuds and even affordable pairs are able to deliver passable cancellation. Only a few brands jump from “good” to “great,” however, and Technics steps up with aplomb. Sony and Bose still have a slight edge, but the AZ80 and AZ60M2 aren’t far behind, which is great given that Technic’s entrance into this market is much more recent than the former brands. The ambient sound pass-through is also quite good, though isn’t quite as “forget you have an earbud in” as Sony or Bose. There’s a touch of tinniness to the sound but it’s truly not bad.
The battery life is also very good. With ANC and JustMyVoice enabled, Technics quotes uptime at seven hours when listening to music and four hours of talk time in calls, which was accurate in my tests. The case provides about two and a half full recharges, extending total playback time to 24 hours with ANC enabled. It also supports wireless Qi charging and quick charge where 15 minutes in the case restores 70 minutes of listening.
Both devices also support multipoint connectivity with up to three devices. This is especially useful if you plan to use them with a PC alongside your phone. I found that they worked quite well to swap between devices, playing games and then swapping to a call. Neither the AZ80 nor AZ60M2 feature a low latency mode for gaming, however, so I’d avoid using them with first-person shooters.
The two earbuds aren’t all the same, though. Apart from the driver differences, the AZ80 also features a more ergonomic shape that’s designed to nestle into the concha whereas the AZ60M2 maintains the same drop-like design as the original AZ60. Both are comfortable and secure, but the AZ80 feels more so in both regards. Both come with a selection of silicone tips in a wide range of sizes to best match your ear canals. Both are also smaller than the Sony WF-1000XM4 and can be used independently, unlike the Bose QuietComfort II Earbuds.
Both earbuds utilize touch controls that can be customized within the Audio Connect app. Using a combination of single, double, triple taps, and hold commands on each ear, you have full control over play/pause, track forward/back, and volume, as well as call controls. The app also allows you to choose from several custom EQs or to dial in your own preferred sound signature. Other functions, such as a Find My Earbuds, option also live within the app, so it’s well worth the time to download and set up.
Technics AZ80 and AZ60M2 - Daily Use and Sound Quality
I’ve been testing the AZ80 and AZ60M2 for the last several weeks, swapping between the two as my daily driver. Having never used the original Technics earbuds, I didn’t know what to expect, but I can honestly say that these impressed me. You get what you pay for, and here’s that’s a lot.
They sound fantastic. The aluminum drivers on the AZ80 provide a noticeable improvement to the depth and quality of the bass compared to the AZ60M2. It’s powerful, even on the balanced EQ preset, with a warm U-shaped tuning overall. The bass has texture that’s uncommon to true wireless earbuds, which I account to the more rigid materials.
It doesn’t sacrifice detail to get there though. Moving up the spectrum, the mids are forward so vocals pop out of the mix. Treble is clear and detailed but not sharp. There’s a sense of extra clarity that these buds provide, a clearer balance of lows, mids, and highs, than is typical in the true wireless segment. I really enjoyed them for rock, metal, hip-hop, and pop. For gaming, they’re enjoyable if you can get past the Bluetooth latency.
The AZ60M2 is also quite good. It’s similar in balance and sound signature, but the bass isn’t quite as speedy as its flagship sibling. You’re not sacrificing a lot if you go for the AZ60M2 compared to the AZ80. You’ll notice the differences side by side — there’s a reason the AZ80 is the flagship model — but it’s to Technics' credit that even in an A/B comparison, the AZ60M2 still impresses as much as it does.
I was also impressed by the quality of the active noise cancellation. I’d place it a solid third place behind Sony and Bose, ahead of 1More, Nura, Audio-Technica, and the multitude of other brands also offering ANC on their earbuds. It blocks out low-frequency sounds extremely well and reaches into the mids decently as well. Conversations are dulled, which isn’t something many more affordable earbuds accomplish effectively. For Technics’ second TWS outing, that’s very, very impressive.
Call quality is also remarkably good. JustMyVoice works very well at eliminating background noise and raising the volume of your voice so that the caller may not even know you’re using a pair of true wireless earbuds. The AZ80 and AZ60M2 are, without exaggeration, the best-sounding true wireless earbuds I’ve heard for call quality. They’re exceptional in the best possible way.
The biggest downsides are the lack of aptX and low latency support. Its multipoint connectivity begs to be used for gaming and that’s just not realistic for any kind of fast-paced game. I was able to play single players games fine and even Diablo 4 without finding it distracting, but hopping into a game of Call of Duty just wasn’t usable.
Overall, the Technics AZ80 and AZ60M2 are two impressive pairs of true wireless earbuds. They deliver exceptional sound quality, call quality, and ANC that would have you believe Technics has been honing its algorithm across years of TWS earbuds, not just a single generation. Neither is what I would call cheap, and the lack of high-res listening outside of LDAC may be a deal breaker, but I would take the AZ80 in particular over much of the competition at this price, including the Sony WF-1000XM4 for its more comfortable fit. If you can afford them, they’re well worth considering at this price.
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