Aiaiai are bound to make waves with this modular approach to headphones. With the TMA-2, the Danish manufacturer demonstrates a rather novel approach to design, sound and customisation. If you’re tired of settling for compromises with ready-made headphones, this line is definitely worth looking into.
- Ear couplingOver-ear
- Impedance33,8 ohms
What's in the box
- Carrying pouch
- Modular headphone system: all components are available separately, so that different scenarios are possible
The TMA-2 is a completely modular headphone system. In other words, you can put together your own desired device from the choice of 22 components that are currently available. These components are scattered across four different groups. There are four different types of speaker, four types of headband, seven ear pad variants, plus seven different cable options. The result is that a total of 784 possible combinations. What’s more, the user-friendly modular system makes putting things together a breeze.
The range of technical variants available within the four groups is already comprehensive, but expect the catalogue to expand further in the future.
Things kick off with the speaker modules, with four options available. Each one is assigned a key characteristic that’s also its product name. So, there’s Allround (S01), Punchy (S02), Warm (S03) and Vibrant (S04) to pick from. In addition, there’s a selection of ear pads ranging from the microfibre-covered E01 to the luxury of the faux leather E07. Moving onto headbands, you can choose from the smallest version (H01) if you’re after a slimline option, or opt for the H02 if you’re after something more akin to the TMA-1. Last but not least, there’s the cable selection to consider. Here too, you’re spoilt for choice. The range covers just about everything you’d need for any circumstance, from short and straight with integrated microphone (C01), through to long-coiled with enclosed mini jack adapter (C03).
The assembly of components is simple. Simply push the speaker into the catch of the headband, plug in the upper connection cable and lock it into place with a quarter-turn. This can be done on both sides. Then clip the desired ear pad into the four insertion points. Once that’s done, the TMA-2 is ready to go.
The would-be TMA-2 can look forward to a wealth of components to choose from, although the comprehensive selection will undoubtedly cause some dilemmas. When it comes to picking out those elements, first focus should be on the loudspeakers. Essentially, all modules are equipped with 40mm drivers and compete against the amplifier with a resistance of approximately 32 Ohm. This makes them suitable for use with mobile devices.
When you delve into things at a detailed level, sound signatures of the various models do differ considerably. While the classic model (S01) operates with a rather brash display in the highs, the S02 provides a punchier, altogether more familiar sound that previous Aiaiai owners will appreciate. It’s also an ideal option for those after headphones with DJ applications. Module S03, advertised as a warmer alternative, goes to work when it comes to delivering a more balanced sound. It was one of our favourites during the test and holds up well when it comes to longer listening sessions. The so-called “Vibrant” model ended up in close second in the favourite stakes, delivering playback that sounded more agile and present, but without the sharpness you can expect from the S01.
The headband, ear cushions and cables are how easier to handle than ever. In fact, the cable can be adjusted to suit your individual requirements. Do you need it to be a specific length? Do you need a hands-free kit? Do you prefer spiral cables to straight one? When it comes to cables, my personal favourite was the short (1.5 metre), fabric-sheathed spiral cable (C04). This was due to the fact long cables tend to interfere with the connection, with the sheathing making it more robust and resistant to tangling. Personal preference is also an important factor when it comes to ear pads. Due to the changeable nature of the cushions here and the affordable cost of variants, it makes a lot of sense to purchase two different pairs. Namely, you’ll want to buy a supra-aural set, alongside a circumaural pair. My favourite for example, were the E05 and the E02. Only the microfibre-covered E01 proved a little thin and uncomfortable. Apart from that single example, all other models offer good levels of wearing comfort, with the circumaural option slightly more snug on the ear than the supra-aural one. For the headband, the higher the number, the thicker the padding. The H03 variant proved to be my favourite in terms of wearing comfort for this test.
Without exaggerating, the modular TMA-2 system from Aiaiai is an absolute revelation in headphones. Due to the incredibly flexible nature of them, not to mention the exhaustive selection of variants available, you’ve ample choice when it comes to adapting your headphones to suit individual comfort and listening preferences. Well-structured, robust and stylishly designed; the TMA-2 is a quality concept that is bound to make waves. Perhaps you’ll end up loving the S03-H03-E05-C04 combination. That’s the exact combination of elements we used for the test you’ve just read, with total costs of everything coming in at an RRP of 240 euros.