Danish audio company AIAIAI unveiled the TMA-2 headphones earlier in the year to which they quickly gained a lot of hype, not because of any unique audio-specific selling point but because they’re built around an entirely modular framework – you literally make your own headphones depending on your budget and sound preferences.
AIAIAI were kind enough to send us a pair of the TMA-2’s. We received the ‘Young Guru’ preset which includes a powerful, high-sensitivity So4 speaker unit, an H71 nylon headband, E05 over-ear microfiber ear pads, and a C71 coiled cable – these letters and numbers make a lot more sense if you work your way around AIAIAI’s configurator page.
Visually, the TMA-2’s are everything you’d want in a pair of headphones; sleek, minimal, and understated. The accents of red on the speaker attachments and the cable compliment the rest of the headphones perfectly.
The E05 over-ear microfiber ear pads are unbelievably soft to touch and they feel great over your ears – for a while. I noticed that with extended use they start to warm up a bit, obviously this is understandable from a pair of headphones and its certainly not a unbearable heat. It’s just mildly uncomfortable after heavy use – not a deal breaker.
You can’t fault the headband whatsoever. Every other pair of headphones I’ve used before would eventually ache the top of my head where the headband was pushing against it, not the TMA-2’s, it’s hard to pin-point why because the padding doesn’t feel overly soft, but they’re so comfortable. The headband looks perfect as well, the ‘Young Guru’ embroidery compliments it perfectly.
Aesthetically the cable is near perfect – the deep red is gorgeous and the 1.5m length is a great length for most users. The main problem is with the coil, I just don’t see the point in it, it’s meant to extend the cable to up to 3.2m but the resistance is too strong for it to extend that much anyway. With day-to-day use the coil just gets in the way more than anything. Nevertheless there are more cables to choose from so this isn’t a big factor.
The speaker units, visually you can’t say much about, there’s not really much to them at all. Granted they’re more for audio purposes than visual, and that, they do extremely well.
I’ve been using the TMA-2’s for about a month now and the audio just seems to be getting better and better, I’ve never had a pair of headphones that I can use so consistently without wanting to switch to speakers. I read a couple of reviews before receiving the TMA-2’s stating that there’s a strong emphasis on bass, I didn’t get this so much. Nevertheless, with an equalizer you can pretty much modify the sound to your needs.
The ear pads have a bigger influence over the sound then I first thought, the E05 ear pads combine with the speakers to put out a detailed, vibrant sound that you can consistently listen to for long periods of time.
Overall the TMA-2‘s are up there with the best headphones I’ve used and I certainly intend on using them for a while. The sound and aesthetics are second to none, however i feel the only thing holding them back from being a complete game changer is the build quality, there’s something about the TMA-2’s that just doesn’t feel expensive enough.
With that being said, €260 seems like a fair price, sure there are better sounding headphones out there, but none that look anywhere near as good as these for the price.