Excellent noise canceling
Plugged-up, awkward fit
No auto-pause or wireless charging
The EAH-AZ60 are joined by their cheaper sibling, the EAH-AZ40. Both bear Technics’ shiny aesthetic and branding, but the AZ40 are the nimbler and lighter of the two, making them strikingly more comfortable. That’s a lot easier to achieve when you leave out noise cancellation, which leaves the AZ40 behind many competitors at their price (including Panasonic’s own RZ-S500W at the moment).
That said, both pairs sound quite good and even offer the ability to connect to multiple Bluetooth devices at once, still a rarity in the genre. If you can get the AZ60 to fit right, they could be a phenomenal dark-horse pick, delivering high performance that outshines plenty of big players.
About the EAH-AZ60 Wireless Earbuds
Here’s a look at the AZ60’s main specs:
- Price: $229.99
- Battery life: 7 hours with ANC, 24 hours with the case; up to 7.5 hours without ANC, 25 hours with case
- Rapid charging: 15 minutes for an hour+ playback
- Wireless charging: None
- Colors: Black, Silver
- Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.2
- Sensors: None
- Microphones: Four per bud (three exterior, one interior)
- Audio codecs: SBC, AAC, LDAC
- Dust/water resistance: IPX4
- Fit: Seven ear tip sizes
- Weight: 7 grams per earbud, 45-gram charging case
- Special features: Multipoint pairing
The earbuds ship with an impressive seven different ear tips sizes (perhaps to make up for their odd fit?). Also in the package are instructions for the controls and other particulars and a small USB-C to USB-A charging cable. The AZ60’s charging case is about as slim as we expect from a pair of ANC earbuds these days (though not as pocketable as Apple’s AirPods Pro case). Opening its dual-hinged lid reveals a pair of sparkling concentric circles on the earbuds’ touch-sensitive exteriors with the Technics brand front and center.
What we like
Clear and detailed sound
One thing Pansonic’s earbuds have gotten right from the get-go is their sound quality which, in all pairs I’ve auditioned so far, stands above the majority of rivals for the money. The AZ60 continue the trend, offering clear, detailed, and dimensional audio delivery that allows instruments plenty of space from left to right as well as backward and frontward so that you’re free to virtually explore all the facets of the sound.
The sound signature trends toward slick and stylized, with a tight and sculpted gloss to the upper register that includes a bit of snap in the highest regions, but sound is rarely sharp or sibilant. There is a lovely touch of precision and care, with moments in horns and guitar popping out and calling attention to their sweetness, while percussion has a papery texture that brings a live feel to much of your catalog—especially for jazz and acoustic tunes. The bass is clean and well founded, and while it occasionally gets a bit heavy for me, it’s easy to adjust with the EQ.
I’d put sonic masters like Sony’s WF-1000XM4 and Sennheiser’s Momentum 2 True Wireless a slot above the AZ60; Sony’s sound signature is clearer and instrument timbres are better magnified, while Sennheiser’s has more richness and overall warmth to the resonance. But the AZ60 offer a lower entry price and stand above plenty of other top choices on our list, including Jabra’s Elite 85t and Apple’s AirPods Pro. I really haven’t encountered a bad track yet in my listening, simply noting balanced, premium sound.
Call quality is also generally good. While I wasn’t able to test the earbuds in extreme conditions, a few calls to friends and family—including with my bathroom fan blaring—were stable on both ends with no major distortion or clarity issues.
Exceptional noise canceling
The trends noted in the sound performance above continue for the AZ60’s noise cancellation, which fares brilliantly against the best on the market. They achieve their accolades through a mixture of excellent passive noise isolation thanks to a very tight seal (too tight for my ears as I’ve alluded to), and “dual hybrid noise canceling” via a mix of exterior and interior microphones.
Testing the headphones with our go-to airplane drone and crowd noise videos on YouTube, they offer better overall noise squelching (with less white noise introduced) than Apple’s AirPods Pro, and can even squash lower-frequency drone sounds better than the excellent Jabra Elite 85t—though they introduce or let through more midrange noise in the process.
This bears out in real-world testing too, with the buds offering a potent defense against noises like dogs barking, fans and heaters, and even close voices. While the very best noise cancelers, Sony’s WF-1000XM4 and Bose’s QC Buds, edge out the AZ60 head to head, Technics’ latest stand among the very best noise-killers I’ve tested when properly set in your ears.
Good features and controls for the money
The AZ60 don’t have every bell and whistle, including some notable absences for their price such as a lack of wireless charging for the case, and even more oddly for earbuds above the $200 line, a lack of sensors to auto-pause the buds when you pull one out. Those accustomed to the entry-level AirPods will be puzzled at this, but how much it affects your usability will vary.
Otherwise, Technic’s silvery buds are pretty well stocked, and many of their features come from the well-appointed Technics app. The app unlocks a variety of options, from an earbuds finder to granular control over the active noise canceling and transparency mode to let you select how much sound your buds keep out or let in respectively. The transparency mode is not my favorite; it sounds less natural than what you’ll get from Jabra, Apple, and other top options. On the bright side, it does offer additional fine-tuning, allowing you to emphasize voices.
Other features include a multi-band EQ with bass boost and a few other targeted presets, adjustments for ambient sound during phone calls, and the ability to fully customize controls. Rarer than you’d expect in this cutthroat market, you can assign any control to any touchpad command, from engaging noise canceling to volume control—which, by the way, is available while hosting all other functions, something many pricier buds (like Sony’s WF-1000XM4) don’t offer.
The app also offers some odd settings you’ll want to dig into before you go, such as a switch to turn off the blinking Bluetooth lights on the buds’ exterior (they’re on by default), or engaging multipoint pairing—there’s both a separate switch and a requirement that you don’t use the higher-quality LDAC Bluetooth codec.
Speaking of multipoint pairing, it’s perhaps the AZ60’s biggest feature coup. When engaged, you can connect to your computer and phone at the same time, which can be great for multitasking in the work-from-home age. As noted, you’ll have to give up high-resolution audio to use it, but considering plenty of earbuds at this price offer neither option, I’ll take it.
The buds round out the package with IPX4 water resistance. There are certainly fancier features available, and the lack of any kind of auto-pause is a head-scratcher, but overall it’s a nice package.
Above-average battery life
While Panasonic/Technics didn’t shoot for the moon when it comes to battery life, the company took good advantage of the efficiency in modern Bluetooth chipsets, loading in 7+ hours of playback time with active noise canceling on. I got all that and more in testing, though mileage is dependent on how loud you listen.
You’ll get another 17 hours from the case for a solid 24 total. Though the AZ60’s rapid charging of around an hour of listening on 15 minutes charge isn't as fast as some pairs, with top models from Samsung, Apple, and even Jabra falling shy of the AZ60’s playback time, there’s not much to complain about here.
What we don’t like
A fit like a cork
One of the reasons the AZ60’s noise canceling is so effective is that the seal is incredibly tight, which puts looser, semi-open buds like the Elite 85t and AirPods Pro at a disadvantage. This isn’t to take away from the AZ60’s noise canceling skills, but they do make your ears feel extremely plugged up. And for my ears, that tight seal also comes at the cost of comfort, which is one of the most important aspects of true wireless earbuds.
I love that they come with so many ear tips, but I tried several sizes and got the same result. In fact, both my wife and I had trouble jamming in the large, rounded shells to sit flush with the Concha (the circular area around your ear canal). It’s not that the AZ60 are the most bulbous buds I’ve tried—in fact, Sony’s WF-1000XM4 are bigger. But Sony uses some masterful ergonomics alongside foam eartips to keep them relatively stable and comfortable. Similarly, Bose's chunky Quietcomfort Buds utilize advanced ear tips and fins for a luxe fit. The AZ60 simply insert too deeply for me and, over time, become uncomfortable.
Missing some extras
While it’s true that the AZ60 offer a good stock of features overall, the lack of either auto-pause or wireless charging stand out at their price point. Panasonic hopes to make up for it with extras like multipoint pairing—not to mention excellent sound and ANC—but it’s worth noting these are features we expect for earbuds at $200 and up.
Should you buy them?
Maybe, but definitely try them on first
Panasonic/Technics’ AZ60 are an enticing package on multiple fronts. They sound fantastic, they’re aces at noise cancellation, and offer enough other goodies—from multipoint pairing to ample next-gen battery life—to make them serious contenders. If it weren’t for my issues with the fit, they’d be an excellent new entry to evangelize.
If you’ve been researching these buds, you may have noted several fellow reviewers made no mention of fit issues, with one even calling them comfortable and ergonomic. With such a basic and bulbous exterior, I’d call that a stretch, and it’s worth noting that I’ve tried more wireless earbuds than Baskin Robbins has flavors. But I sincerely hope I’m an outlier here, because this is an otherwise great package.
If you’re nervous about the fit, I’d point you toward many of the other noise cancelers mentioned above, including the Jabra Elite 85t and Apple AirPods Pro both of which can often be found on sale below the AZ60, not to mention the new Beats Fit Pro, which have a fit as good as their name suggests, alongside every feature we love about the AirPods Pro. If you really want a titan of noise canceling there’s the pricier Sony WF-1000XM4, while Sennheiser’s Momentum 2 are still my top pick for sound, and have also come down notably in price. And those are just a few of our favorite earbuds.
As for the AZ60, if the buds fit, wear them. While they’re not for me, they excel on multiple fronts at a fair price, and the cost should only go down.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
Meet the tester
Managing Editor - Electronics@ryanwaniata
Hailing originally from Montana, Ryan parlayed his time working as a musician and audio engineer into a career in digital media in 2013. Since then he's had extensive experience as a writer and editor, including everything from op-eds and features to reviews on TVs, audio gear, smart home devices, and more.
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