AIAIAI Tracks 2.0 Review Retro Wire Band Headphone

Monday, June 22, 2020

A modern take on the old classic wire band headphone, the AIAIAI Tracks 2.0 are a cheerful pair of on-ear headphones that break ranks with a rather unconventional headband adjusting mechanism like you probably haven't seen before!
The Tracks 2.0 headphones use dual purpose retaining clips with a groove slide designed that secures the headphones onto the headband while allowing the headphones to slide up and down the headband rail system.
The Tracks 2.0 aluminium metal headband has a black anodized finish with a beveled design so, the headband is wider at the top (20mm wide) and narrower at the bottom (12mm).The retaining clips click satisfyingly into place but are a bit awkward to remove during the disassembling process, requiring a decent amount of force to pull out from the earcup retaining clip socket.
The AIAIAI Tracks 2.0 headphones have a non-detachable 1.45 meter long cable that terminates in a USB-C connector with a rubberized plug with the brand logo AIAIAI embossed on it. Inline the cable there is a thick Y-splitter and a three-button remote with a microphone located on the backside. The cable terminals are reinforced with thin strain reliefs.
The inline remote has a slimline profile, measuring just 45mm long, 5mm thick and 8mm wide. The buttons are tactile, thanks to their rubberized construction and require some force to activate, providing a tactile, subtle sound when pressing down.
The remote has been positioned 20cm away from the right earcup cable so, the remote hangs around the shoulder clavicle, not far from the mouth. The microphone delivers good voice calls but, it has an omni-directional pick up pattern without noise isolation so, background sound is also picked up.
The Tracks 2.0 foam earpads are fused to the earcups; hence they are non-detachable. The earcups have a perfectly round 50mm diameter, housing 40mm/32 ohm speaker drivers, which is the same driver size found on the TMA-2 HD wireless over-ear headphone
The Tracks 2.0 share many qualities with the TMA-2 headphones, including the rubberized hard plastic construction of the earcups, which is soft to the touch but attracts fingerprints easily. The retaining clips are made of hard plastic, weighing just 1 gram each and have the brand AIAIAI logo embossed on the front. They come in five colorways, including pastel blue, cream, orange, yellow and black.
If you are an owner of a Google Pixel and are looking for headphones compatible with your device, you will get this with the Tracks 2.0 headphones since they have "Made For Google" certification, which means the Tracks 2.0 headphones have been designed to work with Google's current Pixel phones, although Tracks 2.0 also work with all USB-C Android phones and Android music players.
The three-button remote gives you full control of the audio playback so, you can skip tracks (next and previous), adjust volume (up and down) and play/pause. You can also answer and end calls from the remote. That said, the inline remote won't work properly with all Android devices unless the device is running Android 8.0 or a later version.
When using the Tracks 2.0 inline remote with an Android music player, the 3-button remote remaps the button functionality automatically so, the middle button controls the play/pause as well as the skipping to the next track (double press) and previous track (triple press).
The Made For Google certification is similar to the Made For iPhone certification. Speaking of Apple, the Tracks 2.0 headphones only work with the 2020 iPad Pro 11-inch and MacBook computers which have a USB-C port.
The Tracks 2.0 is currently not compatible with iPhones since iPhones still use Apple's proprietary lightning port. The upcoming iPhone 12, which will be released sometime in the fall, is said to be Apple's last flagship phone to use the lightning connector because of this year's USB-C ruling by the European Parliament.
The European Parliament is forcing all consumer electronic companies to ditch the micro-USB connector and Apple's Lightning connector by the end of the year 2020. The 2021 iPhone 13 is already being touted to be the first iPhone to feature a USB-C connector.
In terms of comfort, the Tracks 2.0 headphones are more comfortable than expected and, actually a bit more comfortable than regular on-ear headphones, mainly because they are lighter, weighing just 80 grams, including the metal headband, which weighs 25 grams. There is no foam padding on the headband but with such low weight, there is no issues developing a heat spot on top of the head.
The Tracks 2.0 earpads also rest on the ears but, they don't have a hole opening in the centre of the earpad like most on-ear headphones, which minimizes discomfort on the ear cartilage. The Tracks 2.0 headphones have a style similar to the retro Sony Walkman headphones, although the headband clamping force is higher.
The Tracks 2.0 earpad cushions are also non-removable from the earcups. There's approximately 4.5mm depth to the driver, although the foam padding is firm but springy so, the speaker drivers don't make contact with the ears.
Sound-wise, the Tracks 2.0 deliver deep bass, detailed midrange and clean treble along with superb dynamics, which is not surprising considering how close the speaker drivers are to the ears. At 112 dB, the drivers are exceptionally sensitive too, which means the volume can be cranked up very loud from a smartphone. That said, you get an even fuller dynamic sound when connecting the headphones to an external DAC amplifier. Be aware though, that the Tracks 2.0 headphones have a 10mW maximum power input.
The AIAIAI Tracks 2.0 headphones and accessories come packaged inside rather unique black string and washer envelopes. You can buy the AIAIAI Tracks 2.0 USB-C headphones on Amazon.

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