Relative newcomers to the DJ Headphones market, Danish company AIAIAI (pronounced ‘I-I-I’) have created quite a stir with their minimalistic offering, the TMA-1. It seems like they focused on trying to make the perfect tool for professional DJ’s, testing and developing the product with globe-trotting stars such as A-track, Hudson Mohawke, and Claude von Stroke, just to name a few. The TMA-1’s have been built to compete with the industry standard HD25-ii’s by Sennheiser, used by the vast majority of professional touring DJ’s for the last ten years or so. So are the TMA-1’s in the same league?
Those with an appreciation for design certainly won’t be disappointed by AIAIAI’s packaging for the TMA-1s. The headphones are presented in a foam similar to the acoustic treatment foam used in studios. Underneath is the cable complete with ¼ inch adaptor, a second pair of ear pads made from leather-like material and a rather nice looking soft case sporting an oversized heavy duty zipper and a yellow mesh lining.
Build and Design
AIAIAI’s TMA-1’s design is lightweight, simple and deceivingly functional. A flexible headband connects the two ‘on ear’ cups with coiled cables on the show between them. The minimalist design and matt rubber type finish give them almost a futuristic look, in fact, they really wouldn’t look out of place in one of the latest Batman movies. These headphones won’t attract anyone who likes shiny, flashy, look at me stylings in their DJ equipment. However, they should go down quite nicely with anyone into the understated European design. And any wannabe superheroes.
The headband is made from a nylon material. The flexible properties of this material allow the headphones to be twisted and-and stretched considerably without any damage done to the integrity to the headband or original shape. This has many benefits. Not only is the TMA-1’s headband very durable, able to withstand a good stepping on, but its ability to be twisted also makes up for the fact that neither of the cups has a ‘swivel’ type function. Usually, Headphones without this feature are unable to withstand the constant twisting caused by placing one of the ear cups behind the ear and headbands will often snap over time, but like the HD25-ii’s, the flexible headband stops this from happening. Consequently, the TMA-1’s do not fold down like other DJ headphones so do take up more room in your DJ bag.
The ear cups themselves are made from the same nylon material with a choice of two earpads, one made from a synthetic material, the other from leather. The ear pads detach easily when needed and have a reliable mechanism for staying in place. The cups are connected by a cable that runs through the headband, and that is exposed above each driver. The exposed cable is thick and tuff, coiled to allow extension when extending the headband for larger heads. This process is made accessible by small notch type holes at the ends of the headband. There is also some ‘play’ in the join between cup and band that allows the cup to pivot slightly, which allows easy one ear monitoring.
The overall fit of the headphones is good, both for one and two ear monitoring. The TMA-1s don’t have as much padding as some other DJ headphones on the market so aren’t the most comfortable when it comes to hours of usage but should do most people just fine. There is a right amount of tension that keeps headphones on the head without being too much over time, and even with the moderate head movement, they should stay secure. So unless you’re one of those crazy dubstep ‘1000 moves a minute’ type of DJ’s in the booth, you should be just fine.
The TMA-1’s have an impedance of 32 ohms and a sensitivity of 103db. In real person speak, there f*ing loud! The AIAIAI’s are one of the strongest pairs of DJ cans available giving you clarity at every level and even on mixers with cheap headphones output, you’ll be sure to get good volume. The lows and mids are warm, punchy bass at a level that isn’t over the top and lots of clarity in the mid frequencies. The highs are dimmer than on a lot of phones; this has been done on purpose to you allow monitoring for longer without damaging your ears. Compared to the Sennheiser HD-25-ii’s for instance, the sound is slightly louder, with more a bit more kick and a less high hat.
If the TMA-1’s have a weakness, it’s in their noise reduction capabilities. The on-ear cups fail to block as much noise as other similar headphones that clamp stronger to the head but having said that, its not the end of the world and loudness of the model makes it a negligible factor.
Ear Cups and Cables
As mentioned previously, the headphones ships with two pairs of ear pads, synthetic and protein leather. Its advisable to test both as the different pads both give different sounds. The pad locking system is a clever one, not unlike the type most speaker grills use. Why has no one has thought of this before? It makes changing of replacing your pads so easy compared to other replaceable pads on the market. The supplied coiled cable has a unique locking mechanism at the headphone end rather than screwing in. This is great as it means that it will fit any cable with a 1/8inch jack, not that you would want to, as the cable supplied is both lightweight and durable. At the mixer end, there is an L shaped 1/4inch jack, designed to make harder to detach from your console accidentally. The AIAIAI’s are also available to buy ‘with a microphone.’ This gives you a second, straight cable with an iPhone remote for use with any apple products you may have. The ‘Beatport edition’ comes with $5 Beatport voucher and has green colored cables, whereas the ‘fools gold’ version has yep you guessed it, gold-colored wires. Currently, ear pads, cables, and soft bag replacements are available. Click here to see price, ratings and reviews on amazon.
|Frequency Range (Hz)||20-20,000|
|Max Input (mW)||Unknown|
|Cable Type||Coiled, removable|
|Cable length (m)||1.5|
|Also included||Soft pouch and 1/4inch adapter|