review

AIAIAI TMA-2 HD Wireless Headphones with Swappable Driver Units

Thursday, January 30, 2020

AIAIAI has an interesting concept where their headphones can be taken apart and swapped with different parts, offering the buyer a unique headphone buying and owning experience! AIAIAI headphones come partially disassembled in parts that are neatly packaged in tearstrip packaging.
You can actually choose the parts you want from a niche selection, allowing you to mix and match the parts to fine tune the sound you want. Alternatively, you can buy the AIAIAI headset you want with pre-set parts, which works out to be the more affordable option.
There are seven pre-set AIAIAI headsets to choose from, including the TMA-2 HD Wireless, which is the focus of this review. The TMA-2 HD Wireless headset consists of a H05 headband, two S05 driver units and two E08 over-ear style earpads.
Most of the action takes place on the headband, which integrates a USB type C charging port on the underside of the left side of the headband, just above the short headphone cable connector.
The right side of the TMA-2 HD Wireless headband doesn't have any connectivity ports, other than the same 6cm long headphone cable found on the left side.
The inner opening of the memory foam earpads has a 2cm depth with a 5cm diameter. The outer diameter of the earpad circle is 9cm, while the memory foam has a 2.5cm thick padding. The foam padding is extremely soft and squishy so, it feels very comfortable, even after wearing them for a few hours.
Average size ears should fit just fine and without discomfort. As far as any rubbing, there shouldn't be an issue if your ears don't stick out too much since there isn't any padding lining the speaker driver, other than a thin layer of spandex material. The memory foam padding is covered with Alcantara fabric material, which feels very much like suede material.
From the pictures, the TMA-2 HD Wireless headset looks like it's made of rubberized hard plastic, but it's in fact, made of nylon fabric material, which is waterproof plastic with a soft cotton-like finish.
The AIAIAI TMA-2 HD Wireless headphones feel comfy on the ears and feel like they will last a long time and they should, thanks to the nylon construction. That said, the AIAIAI TMA-2 HD Wireless aren't built like other bluetooth headphones, which integrate the main circuitry on the ear cups.
On the TMA-2 HD Wireless headphones though, it is the reverse. The circuitry is located on the headband. This means, you cannot flex or twist the headband like you can with regular bluetooth headphones because you may damage the electronic components inside the TMA-2 HD Wireless headband.
The TMA-2 HD Wireless headband has a watch strap design with eight punch holes on either side. The headband is narrower (1.5cm wide) towards the bottom and wider at the top (2.5cm wide).
On top, you also find three physical tactile buttons and a small status led indicator, which feedbacks bluetooth connection (white light) and low battery (flashing red light).
The underside of the headband does have padding, which is made of silicone rubber, giving the headband padding a very springy rubbery foam consistency feel to it.
Being modular, the AIAIAI TMA-2 have a module type design with separate parts for the user to assemble. The headband, speaker driver enclosures and ear pads are separated into modules, which are easy to put together.
The headband arms insert through the opening of the speaker driver units, clipping into place via a notch embedded inside. The procedure is straight forward but not effortless as a certain amount of force is needed to pass the headband arms through the notch, which acts as a buckle tongue, securing the adjustment of the headband.
Once the headband is forced through the notch, adjusting the headband is effortless and smooth. Simply push the earcup up or down until you hear the notch click the band in place.
Speaking of the earcup drivers, while both earcups look the same they aren't and must be fitted on the correct side of the headband. The earcup driver that has a red 3.5mm socket must be connected to the side of the headband that has the red sleeve around the 3.5mm connector.
The H05 headband is an integral part of the AIAIAI TMA-2 bluetooth configuration but, it's not exclusive since you could use the earcup driver units without the H05 headband. This is because the earcup driver units feature 3.5mm audio sockets for connecting an audio cable.
All three buttons on the H05 headband are multifunctional, meaning they control several functions, including voice assistant, volume up and volume down which are activated by short pressing the top and bottom buttons respectively. The buttons also control call functions so, you can answer, reject and end a call.
The AIAIAI TMA-2 Bluetooth 4.2 chip delivers a strong 10-meter connection and supports aptX, aptX HD, AAC and SBC, allowing you to enjoy good quality, lag-free audio from an Android and iOS device. Most Bluetooth headphones do not support aptX HD, which is a noticeable step up from standard aptX as aptX HD sound quality is very close to the sound quality you can get over a wired connection.
Inside the H05 headband, there is also a microphone and a 360mAh Lithium Ion Polymer battery, which takes 2 hours to charge and can power the TMA-2 HD Wireless headset for up to 15 hours on 50% volume. There is no pass through audio while charging, which means you cannot listen to music while the headset is re-charging.
The built-in microphone, which has an omnidirectional pattern, is cleverly located on the bottom tip of the headband arm, which places the microphone closer to the mouth than most bluetooth headphones are capable of. While there is only a single microphone, the amplification quality of the mic capsule is very good, offering hardly any distortions and a fairly deep tone to the voice.
The total weight of the AIAIAI TMA-2 HD Wireless comes down to 219 grams. Headphones can weigh anything from 100 grams to 400 grams so, the TMA-2 HD Wireless are middle of the road. The weight of each earcup driver is 46 grams, while the headband weighs 77 grams and each earpad weighs 25 grams,
The S05 speaker unit houses 40mm speaker drivers with 32 ohm resistance, which is a low impedance rating. Anything higher than 32 ohms is classed as high impedance and requires a DAC amplifier.
The rated power and max power is 40mW and 100mW respectively, which indicates that the speaker drivers can handle 40mW of continuous load for any length of time and only 100mW for short periods.
It's important to pay attention to the max power rating if you plan to drive the TMA-2 HD Wireless headphones through a high-powered amp as you may well damage the speaker cone diagrams, which are made of bio-cellulose, a biodegradable natural fiber said to be 1000 times thinner than human hair.
Bio-cellulose is an interesting choice for speaker membrane because you won't find it in most convectional headphones.
Bio-cellulose is said to have the swiftness of aluminium and titanium and the super low distortion property of paper, which can be attested by the sound reproduction, which is warm and delicate, just like paper cone speakers, which some of the top festival venues in the world use. The delivery of the treble and bass frequencies are pretty even with the mid-range taking a slight centre stage.
twist lock jack
Bundled with the TMA-2 HD Wireless is also a C15 cable, which is a 1.5 meter long twisted triad shielded cable with straight plug connectors and three conductor wire cables twisted to keep away interference.
The C15 twisted triad cable is high quality, featuring a thick rubber plug on one end, and a metal plug on the other side, which is also reinforced with a metal coil relief.
A quarter-inch adapter is also included, as well as a 3 year limited warranty and a 1-meter long USB-A to USB-C AIAIAI branded cable. Check out also the ColorsxStudios AIAIAI limited edition headphone. Check out the review of the Tracks 2.0 headphone.

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