Eoz Audio Arc ANC wireless headphones: Superior comfort with mediocre sound quality
Macworld|September 2021
This headphone emphasizes the lows and highs at the expense of the mids, which is seductive at first but ultimately unsatisfying.
SCOTT WILKENSON

Eoz Audio was founded on the belief that style and technology are not mutually exclusive. As the company website proclaims, “We design our earphones to be as stylish and elegant as they sound...We don’t manufacture, we craft them. We use premium materials because we want our products to last, because we want them to be an expression of our personality and style.”

The company’s latest offering is the Arc wireless Bluetooth headphone. While the build quality and comfort are top notch, I’m afraid the sound quality is not.

This review is part of TechHive’s coverage of the best noise-cancelling headphones, where you’ll find reviews of the competition’s offerings, plus a buyer’s guide to the features you should consider when shopping for this type of product.

The Eoz Arc is a closed-back, over-ear headphone that certainly lives up to the company’s vision in terms of build materials. The elegant, minimalist earcups and headband are made from stainless steel and aluminum, which makes them far more durable and long-lasting than plastic.

The earcups slide along the single-piece headband to adjust them for your head size. On most other headphones, the earcups are attached to a separate piece that slides in and out of the top of the headband, which is often somewhat awkward and more prone to breakage. On the other hand, the more common design allows the headphones to be folded to fit in a small hard-shell case. The Arc cannot be folded, and it comes with a soft carrying bag, which is not as protective as a hard-shell case.

In another nod to quality materials, the earpads consist of high-density, adaptive memory foam covered in soft “protein leather” that’s actually plant-based—perfect for vegan music lovers! According to Eoz, this synthetic leather looks and feels just like the real thing while being twice as durable. And unlike the more commonly used polyurethane “leather,” it won’t peel off after six months or a year.

Each aluminum earpiece houses a 40mm, graphene-coated diaphragm that is specified to deliver a frequency response from 20Hz to 20kHz (±3 dB). In a gesture of uncharacteristic candor, however, the company sent me a frequency-response graph, which clearly shows the response to be -3dB at 20Hz, -1dB at 40Hz, -6dB at 300Hz, +4dB at 5kHz, and -5dB at 20kHz—the classic “smiley” curve that emphasizes the bass and treble at the expense of the midrange. Other specs include a maximum SPL of about 102dB at 1kHz and THD of about 0.1% at 1kHz.

As a wireless headphone, the primary input is Bluetooth 5.0 with support for the SBC, AAC, aptX, and aptX Low Latency codecs. Onboard microphones let you make and take phone calls and utilize the voice assistant of a paired phone as well. You can also connect the Arc to a hardware headphone output with the included 3.5mm cable connected to the input at the bottom of the right earcup; in this case, it presents an impedance of 160 ohms.

Most Bluetooth headphones include active noise cancellation (ANC), and the Arc is no exception. It does not offer a “transparency mode” that temporarily disables ANC and feeds the mic signal to the headphone so you can hear things like a flight attendant’s instructions.

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