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Aiaiai TMA-2 DJ

DJ configuration of the modular headphone system TMA-2 MKII

In a nutshell

The Aiaiai TMA-2 DJ MKII are aimed primarily at DJs who are looking for workhorse headphones that offer good control over what happens sonically in the bass range. Although these headphones sound a little muffled in the mids and trebles, the modular and minimalist design is (once again) impressive.

Pros:
  • Modular concept
  • Very strong bass
  • High sound pressure
Cons:
  • Mids and highs a bit covered
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An update for the “DJ Pre-set” composition of the modular headphone system Aiaiai TMA-2: With the MKII version, the S02 diaphragm unit gets a makeover, making these headphones even better suitable for DJ booth work.

When all is said and done, the best thing about the modular concept of the Danish company Aiaiai is: All the components can be combined as desired. And if – as is the case now – the manufacturer improves the diaphragm, the existing components do not have to be redesigned. This means that even the previous model can be brought up to date by simply exchanging the membrane, which is a pretty good thing both economically and ecologically.

Construction of the Aiaiai TMA-2 DJ MKII

The current DJ pre-set consists of the new driver S02 MKII, the headband H02, the ear-mounted ear cushion E02 and the connection cable C02. The connection cable is coiled (1.5 – 3.2 metres) with an angled plug and a mini jack adapter. Basically, this version corresponds almost completely to the original version: the TMA-1.

We hope, however, that Aiaiai went back to the materials laboratory when formulating the plastic for the current version because our TMA-1, which are about 10 years old, which we fished out of the archive for this test, show dramatic signs of disintegration: Apparently, after a few years, the softeners start to dissolve the plastic, giving it a sticky viscosity, which unfortunately renders the headphones unusable.

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Back to the current version, which are hopefully a little more consistent in this respect: The core of the update is – as already mentioned – the new diaphragm, which has been additionally named “punchy”. Accordingly, here the sonic focus is placed on the fine-tuning of the bass range. The diaphragms are made of bio-cellulose, which – according to the manufacturer – makes them more stable and lighter and, as a result, offers better distortion resistance than diaphragms made of typical polyethene, even at high listening volumes. The maximum sound pressure level emitted by the 40-millimetre diaphragm is a powerful 117 dB (measured by us: 104.23 dB) at an impedance of 32 ohms, and it can withstand voltage peaks of up to 70 milliwatts.

Handling of the Aiaiai TMA-2 DJ MKII

Aiaiai traditionally assembles the individual components, which arrive individually packaged. Assembling the components by hand gives me a nostalgic feeling of playing with a certain chocolate manufacturer’s surprise egg, and of course, this is part of the “buyer’s experience”. Nothing can really go wrong: first, slide the diaphragms onto the headband and connect them to the audio cable on both sides, clip on the ear pads and finally, plug the connection cable into one of the earphones, either on the left or the right, and lock it in place with a quarter turn – and the headphones are ready to use.

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In contrast to various other hi-fi and studio combinations, which feature plush, padded earpads and headbands like a luxury limousine, the DJ pre-set is set up more like a sports car: The headband is unpadded and only rests on the skull with a silicone band. And the ear pads, with their smooth imitation leather covering made of polyurethane, convey quite a minimalist feel, and this is actually quite desirable for DJ headphones. When sweat is dripping from the ceiling in the DJ booth, you don’t want to have a plush pair of ear warmers on your head, but you will be happy to have a smooth, slim device to work with. However, this is rather uncomfortable to use at home. This is partly because the on-ear design shields well against external noise, but in the long run, it puts a lot of pressure on the outer ear.

Aiaiai’s traditionally minimalist design also makes them ideal for use in the DJ booth because the TMA series headphones have a very pleasant firmness since they do not use hinged joints: you can hold them in your hand, and nothing wobbles or rattles – very nice.

Sound of the Aiaiai TMA-2 DJ MKII

The S02-MKII capsules of the DJ pre-set we are testing here are aimed at DJs and accordingly seek to be correspondingly “punchy” in the bass range. And they succeed without question: In the range between 50 and 500 Hz, the diaphragms push with a mighty 10dB boost above the 0dB neutral line.

At around one kilohertz, the graph turned negative in our test, so the mids and highs – apart from a small presence peak at five kilohertz – were located at around ten decibels below normal zero. And this exact measurement corresponded to the sound impression: These headphones were extremely bass-heavy and they also had an energetic transient reproduction, but in the mids and trebles remained dull.

This tuning is, of course, quite desirable when DJing, as it helps to hear the kick drum cleanly and to be able to match it with the track that is playing. As a further side effect, this is actually hearing-friendly because, in the course of a night at the decks, many DJs tend to adjust the listening volume to alarmingly loud ranges – so it can only be a good thing if no excessively sharp trebles cut into your auditory canal. For music consumption at home, however, there would have to have a little more treble content for full-spectrum listening pleasure to come into play unless you’re really a bass lover through and through.

But – that’s the concept at Aiaiai: if you use the S02 MKII capsule, the TMA-2s are a workhorse, but if you put the S05 capsules on the headband, the headphones suddenly become hi-fi. In fact, the S05 capsule – along with the S02 MKII tested here – was apparently the last remaining cable-connected capsule in the Aiaiai range. S01, S03 and S04 have apparently disappeared from the range; I don’t think that is particularly sustainable when you bear in mind Aiaiai’s claim of consistent product management. What about users who have taken to using one of the capsules and are looking for replacements years later?

Conclusion

Aiaiai’s DJ pre-set, also available in the MKII, is primarily aimed at people who want good control over the sound in the bass range while in the DJ booth. Both the very bass-heavy sound tuning and the rather reduced, tight fit recommend the Aiaiai TMA-2 DJ MKII more for DJ work and less for comfortable music enjoyment in the living room. Lovers of powerful bass might want to think about combining the new S02 capsule with a cosier set of headbands and cushions. After all, it was precisely this combination of options that was the main argument for buying TMA-2 headphones in the first place.

12 months ago by Numinos
  • Rating: 4.38
  • Sound
  • Handling
  • Price/Quality
  • Function

Measurement Results

Frequency response:

Exterior noise damping:
More measurement results

Technical specifications

  • Ear couplingOn-ear
  • Typeclosed
  • Transducer principledynamic
  • Frequency response (headphones)20 - 20.000 Hz
  • Impedance32 ohms
  • Sound pressure level (SPL)117 dB
  • Pressure averaged from big and small head585,5 g
  • Weight with cable272 g
  • Weight without cable200 g
  • Cable length155 cm

What's in the box

  • Mini jack adapter
  • Bag

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