Technics' EAH-F70N offers a clean, neutral sound and absolutely terrific noise-cancellation. High-res capable and with decent 20 hour battery life, they're not as good as the Sony overall, but they come mightily close in some respects
- Clean, neutral performance
- Terrific noise cancellation
- Great style and design
- Comfortable to wear
- Lacks a little midrange detail compared to the Sony
- Ambient Sound Enhancer isn't the most consistent
- Review Price: £299
- Hybrid active noise-cancellation
- Weight: 292g
- Bluetooth 4.2
- SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX HD, LDAC
- Ambient Sound Enhancer
- Wearing Playback Sensor
The Technics EAH-F70N launched in 2019 without much fanfare, and Trusted Reviews feels duty bound to correct this.
With the premium over-ear market full of headphones from the likes of B&W, Bose, Sennheiser and Sony, it’d appear Technics lost out with its headphones aimed at the more hi-fi purist. That’ll be a shame, as these are a very enjoyable pair of noise-cancelling cans.
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Technics EAH-F70N design — A great looking pair of headphones
The EAH-F70N aren’t just a contender for the most stylish ANC headphones on the market, I’d say they are the most stylish pair available.
While recent Bose and Bowers efforts have elevated the fashion stakes, their design is compromised in some respects. The Bose NC 700 aren’t particularly portable due to the headband integration, while the Bowers and Wilkins PX7 are huge and on the heavy side. The Technics strike a balance of style and functionality without letting looks get in the way.
Clearly plenty of attention has been paid to its design. Parts of the outer ear cup use aluminium, with an alumite treatment for more shine and the Technics logo laser-engraved for a great looking finish.
The headband is slightly more angular than the oval-shaped designs of other headphones, which I assume is for a fit that conforms better to your head. The clamping force is snug enough to hold them in place so no amount of shaking can loosen their grip.
That’s further aided by the ear pads made out of low-resilient polyurethane foam, the type used in mattresses, car seats or the sponge in your kitchen. The padding may be more than you might expect, with comfort levels similar to the Sony WH-1000XM3. Noise isolation is solid, as the seal the EAH-F70N generates is good enough to cocoon the wearer from the outside world.
Wear them for long enough and you may feel some aches around the jaw/cheek area. This is a regular enough occurrence with most headphones, but it’s always worth adjusting the fit regularly to avoid discomfort over prolonged periods. The swivel hinge means they can be folded up and packed into the carry case, which is especially useful for avoiding any scratches on those decals.
The EAH-F70N uses 40mm neodymium dynamic drivers, with a diaphragm made out of a composite performance film (CPF) that offers high rigidity and high internal damping for improved bass output.
Controls are on the right ear cup with the power, NC and multi-function button. The latter can be used for playback control, volume, skipping tracks, forward/rewind and handling phone calls.
The little tabs on each button makes them easy to find, and a firm 3-second press powers the headphone on/off, while a nudge of the NC button toggles through the various noise-cancelling modes from High, Medium, Low and off.
The decision to go for physical controls is probably the better choice. It offers more functionality and control, and will likely please those who find touch and swipe controls too inconsistent. In case you were wondering, the playback controls only work in Bluetooth mode.
The USB connection is not USB-C, the first sign that these headphones don’t have the most up to date specification, even for a 2019 pair. On the left earcup is the 3.5mm jack for passive use.
The EAH-F70N comes in black, brown and silver finishes and honestly, I can’t tell which one I like most. They all look great.
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Technics EAH-F70N features — Terrific noise cancellation performance
The EAH-F70N is stacked with features but its most impressive is its noise-cancellation. Having ummed and ahhed in comparison to the Sony WH-1000XM3, it’s clear these are terrific noise-cancellers and not far off the Sony’s, if at all.
Walking along a high street and under a train station overpass and the amount of noise it suppressed was mightily impressive. While you can still hear cars and buses whoosh past, take the EAH-F70N off and you come to realise that the world can be a very loud place.
Like any noise-cancelling headphone, it’s at its best when clearing away low, persistent noises – a rattling fan at a local Sainsbury disappeared when NC was switched on – but it does well to clear up most noises. Activating NC doesn’t affect sound quality, which is another plus.
Like the WH-1000XM3, the EAH-F70N features a transparency mode (Ambient Sound Enhancer) and it operates in much the same way. Place your palm over the right ear cup and sounds pour through; you can hear conversations several metres away or listen to announcements over the tannoy etc. The one issue with it is that activating is a hit and miss affair.
One occasion required changing the placement of my hand ever so slightly several times to get it working. It’s not the consistent and instantaneous response you’d want.
Battery life is a decent 20 hours with ANC and playback using the SBC codec, which implies AAC, aptX playback will drain the battery further. Battery life matches most of its peers, but it’s not as long lasting as the Sonys or even the B&W PX7. To get to full charge from depleted is a somewhat lengthy four hours, but at least a 15 minute charge offers another two hours of juice.
The Technics don’t pack in a USB-C connection nor do they have Bluetooth 5.0, sticking with 4.2 instead. At least Bluetooth codec support is wide, with the inclusion of SBC, AAC and aptX, with High-res audio possible via aptX HD and support for Sony’s LDAC.
Other features include a wear sensor which pauses playback when you take your headphones off. The EAH-F70N does not have built-in voice assistants, but the native VA on your mobile device can be called up by speaking into the microphone (once the feature has been activated).
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Performance — Not as good as the WH-1000XM3 overall, but better in some aspects
Technics’ motto is ‘rediscover music’, a sort of call to arms about the emotional aspect of listening to music. While the EAH-F70N don’t make me teary-eyed, they do offer a well-crafted and measured approach that’s highly listenable.
They aren’t as good as the Sonys overall, no matter how you cut it. That other famous Japanese brand manages to conjure up more detail, especially in the midrange. A listen to Dream Within A Dream from the Inception soundtrack, and the Sonys can pick out and define Johnny Marr’s guitar with much more aplomb.
The Technics aren’t quite as musical or as capable of deep bass as the Sony, but the words to focus on here are ‘not quite’. It’s still a smooth performer, and the bass is tight and never overcooked. It’s a close fight in some quarters with the differences between the two minor but noticeable nonetheless.
Treble performance is the one area where the EAH-F70N are superior over the Sony. The string performance in The Landing from the First Man soundtrack is more piercing, detailed and perceptively bright without becoming shrill or harsh.
They offer clarity, detail and a good sense of timing, all applied in a rather neutral manner that makes the Sony sound warm and bombastic in comparison. The sense of fidelity is excellent; instruments sound as they should and they conjure up an enjoyable sense of space in describing the soundstage. It’s a clean and meticulous approach that’s easy to appreciate.
Use the wired connection, which I suspect is what Technics would prefer your to do, and a 16-bit FLAC of Alexandre Desplat’s Little Women sounds precise and detailed. The headphone’s more analytical character offers the kind of dynamism that rises and soars to match the orchestra in a way that’s smooth and enjoyable. The wired performance is excellent, but the wireless performance is no slouch either.
While the Technics lack a few qualities compared to their stablemates, they’re nonetheless a terrific listen. Perhaps Technics’ motto of rediscovering music isn’t just a whole load of sentimentality after all, as the EAH-F70N offer the kind of sound that could sweep you off your feet.
Should you buy the Technics EAH-F70N?
The premium ANC headphone market is choc-a-bloc full of contenders. Bose, B&W, Sony Sennheiser, and even Marshall have headphones this site would recommend. Should the EAH-F70N be considered in that bracket? Very much so on this performance
The noise-cancellation performance is up there with the best, and while the sound isn’t quite as exciting, powerful or as lush as some rivals; it is a enjoyably controlled presentation that’s both expansive and refined.
Prices vary, but you can currently find them for £199 on Amazon or John Lewis. For that amount, I’d say that they are an absolute steal.
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