Panasonic says its new Technics EAH-A800 over-ear headphones ($350) will deliver impressive battery life, exceptional noise cancelling, outstanding call quality, and high-fidelity sound. In a market segment led by Sony, Bose, and Bowers & Wilkins, Technics is touting this headphone’s microphones as a distinguishing feature.
In an era when larger numbers of people are working from home, there’s a desire for great-sounding headphones that can seamlessly transition from music listening to a Zoom call. The best listening headphones in this category don’t always get great notices for their microphones, so there’s an opportunity for Technics to shine on that score.
The EAH-A800 feature four MEMS (micro-electromechanical systems) microphones that operate in concert to capture the speaker’s voice on a phone call. The mics combine with the active noise-cancellation technology to reduce background noise and give voices a three-dimensional quality.
Panasonic’s engineers also changed the microphone design to reduce wind noise, using a feed-forward mic embedded deep inside the device to improve air resistance and minimize wind vibration. There are multiple chambers designed to control vibration, a new mesh material on the main talk mic, and a windshield on the sub talk mic.
Technics claims “industry-leading” noise cancellation through its Dual Hybrid technology. This design combines two pairs of noise-cancelling functions, an analog filter, and a feedback mic with a feed-forward mic and a digital filter in an effort to reduce noise both inside and outside the headphones.
On the audio side, the headphone features a new 40mm dynamic driver, and a free edge diaphragm in the dome and edge that’s composed of different multi-layer materials for optimal strength and flexibility. Technics says its Acoustic Control Chamber controls air flow to allow the driver to deliver precise bass and great spatial sound. The company used the thin-film polymer multi-layer capacitors from Technics’ high-grade audio amplifiers to ensure a stable current through the audio circuits, limiting distortion and improving sound reproduction. The EAH-A800 supports Bluetooth High-Resolution Audio and Sony’s LDAC codec to deliver audio at 96kHz/24 bit resolution.
In addition to the full noise-cancelling setting, Technics offers two transparency modes to help users remain aware of their surroundings: Natural Ambient Mode captures a wide range of frequencies, yielding a more natural outside sound that allows the user to pay attention to surroundings while listening to music or making calls. Attention Mode reduces external noise in a way that makes it easier for the user to hear outside voices, making it easy to hear airport or train announcements or hold a conversation at home while listening to music. The EAH-A800 headphone also offers Bluetooth multipoint pairing, making it possible to connect to two devices—e.g., your smartphone and a high-res digital audio player—at the same time.