An impressive set of features but the Technics EAH-F70N cost a small fortune
Technics may be known best for its turntables, but it also has a pretty broad range of headphones, the latest of these being the Technics EAH-F70N. These premium over-ear wireless headphones have active noise-cancellation (ANC) technology and come packed with advanced features.
With Bose and Sony currently leading the way, though, Technics is up against some strong opposition. The question is: are the EAH-F70N good enough to claim the top spot? I spent some time with them at the annual Panasonic Convention 2019 to find out.
Technics EAH-F70N: UK price and availability
At the time of writing, Technics hasn’t announced UK pricing or availability but the EAH-F70N will be launched in Europe at €399, so expect a UK price of around £350. That’s a touch more than their key rivals, the Bose QuietComfort 35 II and the Sony WH-1000XM3, which typically cost £330, so they’re going to have to be something special to persuade demanding customers to switch.
Technics EAH-F70N: Build quality and design
The general look and feel of the headphones is one of subtle sophistication, and there’s a real sense of quality when you pick them up. From the all-aluminium construction to the leather-finished pads and headband, they certainly don’t feel cheap or flimsy, yet at around 270g they’re relatively lightweight.
The headphones aren’t available in any particularly fancy colours (you get the choice between black, white and brown), but it’s the small details that really impress here. The circular metal plate that sits on the outer part of the cup gleams and catches the light attractively and the Technics logo, laser-engraved on the outside, does the same. The ear pads are made out of a soft foam material and feel a little like the Microsoft Surface Headphones. From my short time with them, I found them comfortable.
They’re practical, too: the drivers have a swivel and fold mechanism that makes them easy to carry around, and you get a carrying pouch included in the box to protect them from scratches. There’s no case, though, which is somewhat surprising at this price.
Technics EAH-F70N: Features
Instead of just one level of noise cancellation, the EAH-F70N have three, each designed to cater to a different environment, from aeroplane cabin noise to conversations on the train. I was pleasantly surprised at how competent the headphones were at blocking out ambient sound, but since I didn’t have a pair of Bose QC35 II or Sony WH-1000XM3 to compare them with I can’t say if they’re competitive or not.
The EAH-F70N’s “ambient sound enhancer” function works in a similar way to that of Sony headphones. By placing your hand over the right earcup, they momentarily amplify environmental noise, allowing you to quickly listen in for oncoming traffic or airport announcements without having to remove the headphones.
What the Technics don’t have is the ability to sense what you’re doing and adjust noise-cancelling levels automatically. They do, however, have a pressure sensor, which pauses music when the headphones are removed and resumes it when they’re replaced.
As for connectivity, the EAH-F70N are designed to be listened to over a Bluetooth connection. If you deplete the quoted 20-hour lithium-ion battery, however, you can use the included 1.2m cable to connect them to your smartphone via a 3.5mm jack. Charging is done via micro-USB, alas, so fast-charging isn’t an option. Technics says they take around four hours to fully charge from empty.
When it comes to Bluetooth connectivity, the F70N support all the major codecs: SBC, AAC, Qualcomm aptX, aptX HD and Sony’s LDAC.
Technics EAH-F70N: Sound quality
From my short time with the headphones, I found them to be dynamic. Their 40mm Neodymium drivers provide a punchy, engaging sound signature and deliver a largely balanced sound.
The bass is tight, controlled and eloquently extends into the lower sub-bass regions; mids are detailed and well-judged, though a touch recessed; and the highs are crisp without ever becoming irritatingly sibilant or brash.
As for soundstage and instrument separation, the EAH-F70N are good here too, with plenty of width and depth.
Sonically, there’s plenty of promise and I’m excited to see how the headphones compare with the best-sounding ANC headphones on the market – namely, the Sony WH-1000XM3, the PSB M4U 8 and the Nuraphone.
Technics EAH-F70N: Early Verdict
It’s too early to deliver a definitive verdict, but initial impressions are positive; so far I’ve been pleasantly surprised at both the sonic characteristics and the ANC performance of the EAH-F70N.
My only concern is that price tag. At €399, Technics will struggle to sway consumers to buy its headphones over big brands Bose and Sony, no matter how they good they are. I’ll be sure to update this article once I’ve received a review unit.