Successor to the EAH-AZ40, the new EAH-AZ40M2 incorporates active noise-canceling technology that uses a digital filter and feedforward microphone to suppress external noise. In addition to full-on noise cancellation mode, there is an “ambient” setting that mixes in voices and surrounding sounds for a “more natural” experience and an “attention” mode that makes it easier to hear voices.
Other upgrades include support for multipoint connection, which allows the earbuds to connect with and switch between three devices, instead of two, and a “flatter” earbud shape for a tighter, more comfortable fit.
At $170, the AZ40M2 earbuds cost $20 more than their predecessor and are expected to be available in August through Best Buy, Amazon, and technics.com. The new model joins the EAH-AZ80 ($300) and EAH-AZ60M2 ($250), a Sound & Vision Top Pick.
A bit sleeker and lighter than the more expensive models, the AZ40M2 earbuds are water-resistant and incorporate 6mm (0.24-inch) drivers, each housed in an “acoustic control chamber” said to optimize air flow for more natural sounding vocals and improved bass; the structure also has a “harmonizer to smooth out treble.” Sound is further improved through the use of LDAC technology, which supports resolutions up to 96 kHz/24 bits with a Bluetooth connection to a compatible device.
Technics uses miniature beamforming microphones — two per earbud — to improve call quality by effectively canceling out background noise.
Battery life is rated at 5.5 hours of music playback without noise cancellation, or 3.5 hours when noise cancellation is engaged, and up to 18 hours with the charging case.
Adjusting volume, skipping tracks, and turning noise cancellation on or off is done by tapping the earbuds or you can use Technics Audio Connect app, which includes an equalizer, battery checker, and other controls, including a new feature that lets you toggle between voice- and sound-effect-assisted guidance. The earbuds support voice assistants on smart devices with Android 6.0 or higher and iPhones iOS12 or higher.
The EAH-AZ50M2 earbuds are offered in black, silver, or rose gold and come with silicone earpads in four sizes. For more information, visit us.technics.com.