Technics EAH-A800 Review | CNN is underrated

Technics, the respected Japanese premium audio brand, retired in 2014 and is rebuilding with iconic new turntable designs like the legendary SL-1200 DJ model. The company has been expanding into new categories lately, with a handful of full-featured headphones joining the lineup.

The EAH-A800 is the company’s entry into the flagship arena over Bluetooth headphones, offering the same features as Sony, Apple, Bose and the rest, at a slightly lower price point. Other than that, the EAH-A800 seems to be more bass-friendly than some of its rivals, though Technics adds an impressively full-featured app that lets you tweak almost anything about the headphones to your liking. Its battery life, coupled with its impressive battery life, makes the EAH-A800 an attractive choice for anyone for its unique sound and design.

A great Bluetooth headset for bassheads and audiophiles

The Technics EAH-A800 offers snappy EQ, amazing battery life, and a lot of the low end in a premium set of headphones that are more affordable than the competition.

Technics EAH-A800 Bluetooth headset, laid flat on the butcher's block tabletop

The EAH-A800’s default vocals are mostly bass-forward, and while the mids and highs sound great, they’re overwhelmed by the sheer amount of energy in the lows, making anything with a lot of Clouds will occur in the lows, especially in the upper bass – somewhat reminiscent of early Beats designs. Massive Attack’s menacing “Angel,” for example, feels too soft, losing its low-range punch and mid-range snap in its murky boom.

This was before I installed the Technics Audio Connect app (which lets you change things up a bit). Frist off, the app gives you a fully user-programmable 5-band EQ, allowing you to tweak everything to your taste. In addition, it allows you to adjust the built-in buffer to minimize lag (for video playback) or interruptions (for music or calls), providing granular control, variable pitch. ANC level and transparency settings (including the option to emphasize voice while using ambient pass-through). That’s a lot of control – more granular and just more than most competitors.

Once adjusted accordingly (mostly a matter of cutting the low end of the EQ by a few dB), we found the EAH-A800 to be a lot more enjoyable to listen to, although still with plenty of bass (if you’re into Looking for a brighter overall headphone in this category, you’ll want to check out the Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2). The EAH-A800 is just so low that you can find yourself dragging the low EQ slider all the way to the bottom, regardless.

The ANC is also very effective, reducing steady-state air conditioner noise and fan noise (we used high-powered commercial range hoods) significantly enough that it recedes into the background and unrecognizable when playing music. It’s not as efficient as the Sony XM5s or Bose, but close to that and the amount of fine-tuning (which can be changed in 100 steps, plus the optimized sequence allows you to tailor the overall response to your environment. myself) is great to have access to if you don’t need the full effect and you’re sensitive to the slight colors and artifacts that noise cancellation often introduces into materials it doesn’t filter out.

Call quality is also good, and with listening mode, there’s a lot of tweaking. A hearing test lets you determine if you need to use 4-microphone-controlled noise cancellation (great for testing before starting a meeting from a remote location). distant); you can also choose between strong and soft noise cancellation modes. Voice quality is of course much better without noise cancellation, but voices are easy to understand when it’s turned on, despite audible artifacts – it’s roughly on par with the competition.

Wear sensor works well; playing and pausing whatever we were listening to was almost as fast as Apple’s AirPods Max when putting on and taking off the headphones – overall, Technics has done a really good job with the software/firmware of these headphones. It’s a full set of features that’s more useful than most of the competition, and lets you adjust your listening quickly and fairly easily (though if you’re like us, you’ll see I use the app more than you can with other headphones in this class).

Battery life is best in class, even when compared to other more energy-efficient Bluetooth 5.2 models. Technics claims 50 hours of playback with ANC enabled (that’s AAC playback over Bluetooth, battery life drops to 40 hours if playback via LDAC, Sony’s high-resolution codec, from a Sony or Samsung phone). Indeed, we listened for several days straight before the voice assistant told us anything other than “Battery high” on shutdown; finally after a few days we were told that we had reached “Battery Average” but it doesn’t seem like you’ll be sure you’ll end up in a dead battery as long as you remember to keep charging it . If you forget, like all headphones in this class, there’s a quick charge routine here as expected these days, giving you the claimed 10 hours of listening time after 15 minutes of charge (full charge takes 3 hours)

You can also run these wired devices through the 3.5mm analog jack. It even works if you power off the headphones, which obviously bypasses the amplifier and internal controls (i.e. no microphone or volume and track controls – they actually sound pretty decent). good to use this way). But if you manage to run out of battery (or want to save it for later), the option is there, and you get a cable and an avionics adapter in the case.

While you can tame the EAH-A800 with EQ, the fact that you need to do it to suit what you’re listening to makes them a more confusing proposition than some of its high-end rivals, which This just sounds better than the box. There’s a lot going on in these headphones, but you need to work for it.

The EQ interacts relatively strongly with ANC and ambient modes (especially if you use voice enhancement with the latter, which enhances the upper mids), so you might find yourself squirming more fun when switching modes. Even if the EAH-A800 can compete with its peers if you take your time, it’s not for everyone and some will want more instant gratification.

Hinge connection details on Technics EAH-A800 . headphones

While this is clearly a high-end headset, the overall industrial design isn’t quite as refined and or low-profile as the Sony XM5 or Boxe 700, with its old-fashioned plastic dome that attaches to the earcup and overall fit. and finishing among those connections isn’t as smooth as the AirPods Max or the Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 – there are some rough edges here in the molding, and the plastic frame is a bit creaky compared to more expensive models. That said, the versatility and hinged earcup attachment means that the EAH-A800s folds up quite a bit into a very small travel case, and the case itself has embossed instructions. Convenient if you forget which way to fold it in.

Details of Technics EAH-A800 headphones, earcups and pads showing how much compression the pad is wearing when worn

Most importantly – and understand that this is subjective – we did not find the EAH-A800s as comfortable as the competition. The wrinkle-free foam earpads and straps are soft and conform to the shape of your ears like a memory foam pillow does to your pillow. In practice this means that even with slight clamping force, the pads are so soft that they tend to deflate your earlobes and in our case that means they stay warm. and uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time (something we didn’t experience with the similarly superficial pads on the Jabra Elite 85hs, Sony XM5 and Bose 700). In contrast, stiffer pads like the one used on the AirPods Max and deeper earcups with thicker, firmer pads like the one used by Bowers & Wilkins avoided this problem for us. That said, if you love memory foam pillows, you’ll likely love these earpads a lot.

The EAH-A800 is an attractive pair of headphones, especially given that it’s Technics’ first major offering in this segment. That said, it may not be for everyone: if you want a lot of low-end sound or you’re a demanding listener who loves tinkering and appreciates having access to a variety of fine-tuned features. More tuned than most similar headphones, these are worth your time and money.

If you’re just looking for great sound and a more refined design, the EAH-A800s aren’t quite on par with the Sony XM5, Bose 700, Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2, or Apple AirPods Max. They’re a few dollars cheaper than some of their direct competitors, but if you’re just looking to save money and aren’t a serious optimizer, you might want to consider the Jabra Elite 85h. What you get with the EAH-A800 is unrivaled battery life and adjustability, so if you think you’re going to use those features (take note by road warrior audio enthusiasts) this could be your next pair of headphones.

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