EOZ Arc Review ANC Metal Headphones With Detachable Earpads

Friday, February 12, 2021

When it comes to things like headphones, you seldomly hear the word "unique" kicked around that much and with good reason since most headphones aren't all that different. The wizard of eOZ; however, breaks the stagnant mould, so to speak by releasing ARC - a quirky pair of ANC headphones Tin Man himself would be proud of sporting due to the shiny hollow tin-like construction.
Unlike Tin Man's silver construction though, the EOZ Arc headphones use stainless steel (for the headband) and aluminium for the earcups. Being aluminium and stainless steel, the EOZ Arc headphones have a peculiar silvery-white polished finish to them that makes them look more expensive than their price tag suggests.
The EOZ headband integrates more hardware styling in the form of two cross-head screws on either side of the band, as well as subtle EOZ branding etched on on both sides. The 40mm graphene coated drivers are covered by thin foam pads, which you can be replaced by detaching the earpads from the earcups. This is done by pressing on and rotating the earpads clockwise simultaneously until the earpad comes off. The aluminium earcups sit on a rubber ring which contains the sliding latches that allow the quick release fastening.
The EOZ Arc earpad padding is firm with a soft give that makes them comfortable. The underside of the headband is also padded but very thinly compared to the earpads. Fortunately, the EOZ Arc headphones are on the lightweight scale, weighing just 235 grams so, they don't weigh down on the head excessively to cause hot spot.
Speaking of the headband, it is a thin (1.5cm wide and 2mm thick) but strong retro-looking band made of stainless steel. The Arc headband is directly inserted into the earcups and held in place via a friction type mechanism that engages and tightens the headband as you pull the headband up and down for height adjustment.
The headband is slotted into the earcup securely so, it can't come off or be removed, although the fit is not snug since the headband can be wiggled inside the earcup housing. There is also exposed cabling protruding out of the earcups for styling, which extends and retracts as the headband is adjusted up and down. The short cabling has thick strain reliefs to alleviate tugging, which is a useful feature to prevent the cable ends from breaking off prematurely.
Because the EOZ Arc don't use headphone yokes and hinges, it has fewer parts and a more simpler construction which should technically mean fewer things to go wrong. There are a total of four aluminium capped physical buttons, one of them being the active noise cancelling (ANC) switch, which is located on the right earcup next to the 3.5mm audio port. The other three buttons are located on the left earcup and include volume/skip buttons and a bluetooth pairing button, which also controls the play/pause and calls (answer/end). The control buttons do not wiggle and are raised so, they are easy to identify. The ANC switch has good resistance to prevent turning it on accidentally.
There is passthrough audio while charging in both bluetooth and wired modes so, you can charge the EOZ Arc headphones and stream music at the same time, which is something you cannot do with a lot of headphones. Listening to audio via the audio cable adds an extra 12 grams to the EOZ Arc headphones.
The material covering the earpad padding is artificial leather with a soft finish; hence you can expect the hears to heat up a bit, although on a cold day it is most welcomed. The spec sheet doesn't mention whether the EOZ Arc are over the ear style but, judging by the long narrow hole opening, these headphones seem to be on-ear style. The hole opening measures 4cm wide (at the middle) and 6.5cm high. The outer dimensions are 9.5cm high and 9cm wide. The Arc earpads have 2cm thick padding, while the driver depth is 1.5cm high.
Because the EOZ Arc headphones are very light in weight and have low clamping force, they don't press against the ears nor do they feel weighty. That said, the EOZ Arc earcups do not have a tilting yoke mechanism nor can they be rotated, which may limit the ability for someone with an odd-shape to get a comfortable fit.
A few other features include a "connected" voice prompt and a status led (flashes blue during audio playback). There is no green led or voice prompt for ANC to indicate when ANC has been enabled or disabled. You will also hear an audible beep when maxing out volume to 100%. At max volume, there is some sound leakage and passive isolation is not the highest due to the thin hollow earcups, although seeing that the EOZ Arc might be on-ear, the sound leakage and passive isolation can be disregarded.
The EOZ Arc drivers have been clearly tuned to favor the high end (vocals and instruments) although you will hear the bass being present when the audio has bass in it. The hollow earcups make the soundstage airy wit clear stereo separation. With ANC turned on and in bluetooth mode, everything gets amplified, including the bass response too, which at 100% volume, gets muddled/distorted until you lower the volume to 85%. Interestingly enough, in wired mode, at 100% volume and with ANC turned on, the bass does not get distorted like that, which indicates that it may be the amplifier built-in that causes the bass to become uncontrolled.
Both wireless and wired mode deliver similar audio dynamics (loud volume) and can be easily driven from a smartphone, thanks to low 32 ohm impedance. Runtime performance is adequate with 20 hours of battery life (ANC off) and 13 hours with ANC on. Charging time is 2.5 hours via 5V/1A. An unbranded USB-C charging cable is included.
In terms of call quality and ANC performance, the EOZ Arc have dual microphones with noise suppression filtering (CVC) to subdue the background around you, which works although it also reduces the amplification of the call a little bit. As far as ANC, disregarding high pitch vocals and high frequency sounds, EOZ Arc's ANC works well at stopping most low frequency, bassy type noises from coming into the earcups.
In term of accessories, you get EOZ branded stickers, a suedette drawstring pouch (weighs 22 grams) and two long cables (audio and charging cables) about a 1 meter long. The audio cable has aluminium plugs that are reinforced with rubber rings on top and bottom. Both the charging cable and audio cable have a rubber outer sheath. While it's nice a pouch has been included, a hardshell carry case is always better for transporting headphones. That said, the EOZ Arc headphones come packaged inside a hard cardboard box with a removable foam insert (with a preformed headphone cutout) that you could potentially use for storing the EOZ Arc headphones. You can buy the Arc ANC headphones from EOZ Audio and amazon. Check out the review of the EOZ Icon earbuds published on Gadget Explained.

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