On the surface not much seems to have changed, but the Technics EAH-AZ40M2 are a very fine sequel, improving in the places they needed to while maintaining a strong core of performance. For the money, they’re one of the best options I’ve tested and continue a strong recent run of form for Technics’ headphones.
- Satisfying noise-cancelling performance
- Warm, detailed audio
- Snug, compliant fit
- Good Bluetooth performance
- Improved Transparency mode
- Might be lacking bass power and depth for some
- Average battery longevity
Bluetooth multi-pointConnect to three devices at once
Noise-cancellationANC included to reduce outside sound
LDACSupports LDAC mode for higher quality music streaming
Technics is nothing if not dogged. Only a couple years after releasing a line-up of true wireless earphones, they’ve repeated the trick with the Mark II versions.
Having already reviewed the EAH-AZ80, EAH-AZ60M2, the EAH-AZ40M2 complete the line-up as Technics’ most affordable true wireless pair without shedding too much in terms of the features with three-device multipoint Bluetooth, noise-cancellation, and LDAC support for high quality audio all included.
On paper, they’ve had a few nips and tucks over the original AZ40 model without undergoing significant change. Are the Technics EAH-AZ40M2 an improvement? Let’s find out.
- Small, lightweight design
- Responsive touch controls
- Snug fit and seal
The shape and size of the Technics EAH-AZ40M2 hasn’t changed, or if it has, it’s not changed by much. Like before, they slip into the ear like a comfy pair of slippers would on your feet, the ergonomic shape of the housing instantly creating a tight seal in my ears, making it harder for external sounds to distract.
They’re very light (5g per bud) and along with the earphones’ shape, they’re not as intrusive as other true wireless designs. I know some don’t like the plugged-in feeling of some wireless earbuds, but the design of the Technics navigates this issue well. They’re one of the most comfortable designs I’ve come across.
There’s no change in IP rating, which remains IPX4 to protect against splashes of water and sweat. Four ear-tip sizes are provided in extra small to large sizes to help find that snug and secure fit.
Touch controls only need a light prod for operation (holds for swapping between noise-cancelling modes or activating the voice assistant). Volume control is included by default on the left earbud, a double tap reducing the volume and a triple tap increasing it. Track skipping is the same on the right earbud, and I find that an elegant enough solution.
There’s no change in the colour options either (silver, black, and a fetching rose gold), or the charging case, which is as dainty as it was on the original model with its smart brushed aluminium appearance. Technics didn’t need to mess with the original design, and it hasn’t done so. This is a thoughtful, well executed design with lovely aesthetics.
- Satisfying noise-cancelling performance
- Multi-point support for three devices at once
- Above average call quality
What’s new for the MkII model is the introduction of noise-cancellation. Noise-cancellation at this price point has become common, available on earphones such as the JBL Live Pro 2, Urbanista London, Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless, and Amazon Echo Buds 2.
Arguably, the Technics AZ40 could do without ANC as its noise-isolating design was so good, but with noise-cancellation it does feel (and ultimately sound) a step up from the previous model. Though it only supports Feed Forward ANC that stops sounds from getting past the earphones, the EAH-AZ40M2 puts a very good shift at reducing noises. Whether I was on the Underground, the bus, or a busy train, the experience of wearing these headphones was satisfyingly quiet.
That’s not to say they get rid of every sound, as some ambient noise is still audible but once music is playing (at relatively normal volume levels), I’m barely distracted by people close by. While I’ve found they’re good at suppressing voices in general, they’re not as good at dealing with very loud ones. I could hear someone shouting on an otherwise quiet journey home.
The Transparency mode fares better than before. The original amplified sounds in a manner that caused additional noise, but this sequel is much more natural-sounding and less distracting when listening out for traffic or tuning into what’s around you. It’s not as sharp or as detailed as a more expensive pair such as the standout Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II, but it gets the job done. Furthermore, the tone of audio doesn’t change between the various ANC modes.
Technics quotes 3.5 hours with ANC on in LDAC mode and 5.5 hours in AAC mode, both of which sound about right judging by my one-hour battery drain tests. In LDAC mode the earphones fell to 73/76%, which puts them around the four-hour mark. With AAC it was 84/83%, which is just over five hours. It’s not the longest lasting battery, but compared to the cheaper and award-winning Anker Soundcore Liberty 4 NC, they last for longer.
Quick charging is an hour from a 15-minute charge, but there’s no wireless charging support. For that you’d need to step up to the AZ60M2.
The Technics EAH-AZ40M2 supports AAC and the higher quality LDAC streaming codec (along with SBC). Bluetooth connectivity is version 5.3 with multi-point support for three devices, which means you can connect to three devices simultaneously, though this isn’t supported in its LDAC mode. I struggle to remember any blips or dropouts in its AAC mode – the Bluetooth connection has been solid and reliable throughout testing.
Call quality is above average. The person on the other end of the line commented they could hear background noises in a food market I was at, but it wasn’t loud enough to be distracting.
In loud places my voice sounded more muffled and quieter, but in general I’d rate the Technics EAH-AZ40M2 as fine for the price.
More features and personalisation are found in the Technics Audio Connect app. The app remains a swift and frictionless experience with information easy to see and find, whether it’s the codec the headphones are playing in, or noise-cancelling mode.
At the bottom of the app are four sections: Home, Ambient, Sound and Settings. In Ambient you can swap through the noise-cancelling settings – Ambient Sound offers a few more options with its Transparent mode and Attention mode that focuses on people’s voices. There’s the choice of six EQ modes (more than before) in the Sound section, with a five-band EQ option to adjust audio how you like. I often dabble with the Dynamic EQ – it gives music more energy and zest.
In the Settings section there’s a lot of customisation to dig into from controls, input delay, to multi-point, and call quality. As usual with Technics headphones, it’s worth playing about to personalise the headphones to how you like them.
- Warm, detailed audio
- Big, expansive soundstage
- Not the sharpest treble
The Technics EAH-AZ40M2 carries on from where its predecessor left off, but whereas I felt the original earphone sounded a touch soft in terms of detail, I find this latest earphone is a step-up in terms of fidelity.
They still adhere to a richer tone and texture, and the bass performance doesn’t hit hard or deep, but there’s a good sense of weight and thud to the bass beats in Michael Gray’s The Weekend, along with a similarly rich and textured low frequency performance with Groove Armada’s At the River.
Those looking for more wallop may want to consider a more expensive pair like the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II (or settle for a cheaper pair like the crunchier-sounding Ugreen HiTune T3), but I like the richness and weight the EAH-AZ40M2 affords to bass.
The richness of the buds’ sound informs the rest of the frequency range but there is, at least from my memory, a better sense of detail and insight given to music than there was on the original. Like the rest of Technics’ latest true wireless range, it doesn’t offer the greatest sense of dynamism in describing peaks and lows in a song. But changing the EQ from Direct (i.e. flat) default setting to Dynamic fleshes out more of those ups and downs in a song like TNGHT’s Bugg’n.
It all occurs on a big and expansive soundstage, though again I could perhaps quibble about the Technics lacking a snappiness and sharpness to its description of instruments, beats, and vocals, but again I do like the smoothness of the sound, especially in terms of the midrange and vocal clarity. Voices of singers like Esperanza Spalding in I Know You Know and Janelle Monae in Can’t Live Without Your Love come across as flowing and involving.
Treble is modestly sharp listening to the piano in Michael Giacchino’s Catwoman suite, but the relaxed, smooth tone of high frequencies works well in the approach Technics has taken with the EAH-AZ40M2, still providing a good brightness in the more delicate, jazzy tone the piano takes in the track’s second half. It all coheres into a very enjoyable, well-integrated whole that makes for a sumptuous listen that’s very easy on the ears.
Should you buy it?
You want warm, detailed audio
They sound similar to the original but in my opinion there’s more detail, clarity, and overall finesse to how this sequel sounds.
You want more bass
There is bass, but it’s not as rich or as deep as some might want. I like the approach Technics has gone for here, but some may prefer a bigger bass performance.
I think the Technics EAH-AZ40M2 are a very good step up on what came before.
On the surface not much has changed on what was an already solid foundation, but the addition of noise-cancellation is welcome and there are improvements to the transparency mode in terms of clarity and detail. The sound is better too, a little more detail and finesse than I remember on the original model but still retaining Technics’ warm and musical approach.
Testing the Technics EAH-AZ40M2 has been a lot of fun, as they’re a top-notch sounding pair of true wireless earphones, loaded with features, and with a great, comfortable design too. They’re a terrific true wireless pair. For more options, check out our Best Wireless Earbuds list.
How we test
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Tested with real world use
The main differences between these earphones is that the AZ60M2 supports wireless charging, features longer battery life, and carries a more advanced noise-cancellation solution.
SBC, AAC, LDAC
Silver, Black, Rose Gold
20 40000 – Hz