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CES 2020: Panasonic announces swath of new headphones

They've got earbuds. They've got headphones. They've got a speaker. What will they think of next?

Published onJanuary 6, 2020

Panasonic Technics EAH AZ70W TWS Earbuds
Image via Panasonic.

It’s CES and you know what that means — a whole bunch of companies are announcing a whole bunch of products all at once. Panasonic is getting in on the action, today announcing a swath of new headphones aimed at a variety of uses.

Starting with the most notable, the company unveiled three new pairs of true wireless earbuds, the RZ-S500W and RZ-S300W, as well as the EAH-AZ70W under its Technics sub-brand.

The RZ-S500W and RZ-S300W bring touch controls, an internal MEMS microphone, splash proofing equivalent to IPX4, and independent Bluetooth connections for the left and right earbuds. Additionally, they support the Panasonic Audio Connect app, which lets you customize the earbuds sound modes, check battery levels, and locate them should you lose them.

In addition, the RZ-S500W brings what Panasonic calls Dual Hybrid noise cancelling technology, which combines Feedforward noise cancelling with Feedback noise cancelling and a hybrid analog/digital audio processing unit. Feedforward noise cancelling uses an external mic to record ambient external sound and then nullify it, and Feedback noise cancelling uses mic placed inside the headphone to do basically the same thing, only listening to exactly what the user is hearing. According to Panasonic, using these approaches in tandem creates a noise cancelling effect suitable for any environment. You can also adjust noise cancelling levels in the Panasonic Audio Connect App.

The Technics EAH-AZ70W brings a lot of the same features to the table, with the same independent Bluetooth connection Dual Hybrid Noise Cancelling, MEMS microphone, splash proofing, and app support. The big differences come down to the audio drivers and the battery life.

The EAH-AZ70W sports newly developed 10mm dynamic drivers and a new acoustic design. The drivers feature a graphene coating that Panasonic claims improves mid and high range sound output, and an acoustic control chamber, which manages airflow.

According to Panasonic, the EAH-AZ70W battery boasts 6 hours of playback time with noise cancellation turned on, and the included charging cradle extends that 18 hours.

No word on high-quality codec support or prices for any of these headphones, but they all support Android and iOS and will be available in June.

Though these earbuds may be the flashiest headphones Panasonic announced, they’re by no means the only new audio products from the company. A new range of wireless headphones — the RB-M700B, RB-M500B, and RB-M300B — is coming in April. These headphones sport 40mm dynamic drivers with boosted bass through a feature Panasonic calls XBS Deep, short for the very catchy Extra Bass System Deep, which uses a specifically tuned housing structure and a driver-side equalizing function.

On top of XBS Deep, the RB-M700B and RB-M500B also include something called a Bass Reactor, which somehow isn’t the name of a mid-2000’s techno act, but something simulates the kind of booming bass you’d hear in a night club. As if those two features weren’t enough, the headphones also all sport a bass-blow port, which lets you adjust air outflow and really fine-tune how much bass you hear. Similar to the earbuds, we don’t know anything about prices or codec support for these.

Panasonic SC HTB01 gaming speaker product shot
The HTB01 comes in a pretty compact form, at just 17 inches long. Image via Panasonic.

Rounding out Panasonic’s audio announcements comes the SC-HTB01, which brings what the company calls “unbeatable sound for serious gamers.” As goofy as that sounds, this speaker actually packs some pretty cool features.  The compact soundbar is compatible with TVs and Monitors, comes with preset sound profiles — labeled Role Playing Game, First-Person Shooter, and Voice — and combines three surround features to create a wider soundscape than you’d expect from a single speaker.

According to Panasonic, the SC-HTB01 uses Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and DTS: Virtual X to create realistic sound from left, right, front, and rear, and adds a height element to really make gamers feel “enveloped by sound in all directions.”

The speaker is apparently co-developed by Square Enix and packs a 2.1 channel system, as well as support for Bluetooth and HDMI input/output. No word on price yet, but Panasonic says it will be available in June.

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