TMA-2 Studio Wireless review: Pro-grade headphones with up to 80 hours of battery life – Mark Kavanagh
Regular readers will know that I have the chance to test many audio products, including in-ear and over-ear headphones.
Aiaiai’s modular headphones stand out from the pack.
You can choose from a range of different components such as speakers, cables, headbands and ear pads to suit your own needs and budget.
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The idea is that if a component needs to be replaced, it will be easy and relatively inexpensive to do so because you won’t have to replace the whole package.
Of the many options on the company’s website, I chose the TMA-2 Studio Wireless+ model, which was designed and built in collaboration with legendary tech innovator Richie Hawtin.
I chose them because they offer something like a holy grail: latency-free wireless audio up to 1500 kbps.
They are also touted as coming with a balanced soundstage that is suitable for monitoring and mixing.
Which seems ideal for DJing and music production.
Most wireless audio products use Bluetooth to communicate – a protocol that was never intended for higher audio resolutions. Even non-hi-res CD quality 1411kbps streams are not possible over Bluetooth.
Latency is a big problem when recording and you can’t eliminate it entirely using Bluetooth.
TMA-2 Studio Wireless+ gets around this problem with a dedicated wireless transmitter that establishes a high-speed 2.4 GHz wireless connection between the cans and the computer or mixer.
It connects to the headphone output of your computer, audio interface or mixer using a short audio cable.
It operates completely independently of any computer Wi-Fi network and uses the W+ Link audio codec.
I encountered no dropouts during testing.
This one-way connection allows the full bandwidth to be used for transmission, allowing uncompressed audio to be streamed at up to 1500 kbps to phones.
This means you can wirelessly mix with CD quality wav and aiff files.
Design and build
The over-ear headphones come as a kit, packed in separate eco-friendly plastic envelopes.
Assembly takes just seconds and the build is sleek, with a smooth but sturdy finish and Alcantara ear cups, which Microsoft incidentally uses on some of its Surface keyboards because it’s soft and easy to clean.
The TMA-2 Studio Wireless+ weighs just 270g and is comfortable for long studio sessions. They grip your head firmly but gently.
The TMA-2 Studio Wireless+ can also be used as regular wired headphones (handy if you ever forget to bring the transmitter to a gig) and Bluetooth cans (meaning you can easily switch to regular smartphone functions or tablet if needed).
Battery life is rated at 30 hours for the transmitter and 16 hours for the headphones using WiFi or up to 80 hours in Bluetooth mode.
These are $120 more than the wired-only Studio model, but in my opinion well worth the extra expense thanks to the unique wi-fi element, transmitter hardware, and flexibility to use as standard Bluetooth headset when needed.
Price and availability
AIAIAI TMA-2 Studio Wireless+ costs €350 on aiaiai.audio