Danish headphone company AIAIAI bases its product portfolio on an interesting premise. While you can buy their mobile in-ear and on-ear headphones, dubbed Pipe and Tracks, like you'd buy any other pair of headphones, their biggest and best set of headphones, the AIAIAI TMA-2, is where things get really interesting. You can get it in a number of premade combinations or visit the "TMA-2 Builder" section of their website to fully customize it to your exact needs.
The level of customization is about as high as it can be. Not only do you get to pick your ear pads (microfiber, pleather, or Alcantara), but also the headband (with foam, silicone, pleather, or microfiber padding), cable (short, long, straight, coiled, woven, and with or without an in-line microphone), and speaker drivers. All of the speaker drivers are 40-millimeter, but they differ in terms of diaphragm materials (PET, titanium, or bio-cellulose) and acoustic performance, which AIAIAI declares as neutral, punchy, warm, vibrant or detailed depending on the speaker driver. After you pick your combination, you'll have to assemble it, which is a fun little DIY project with pretty much no chance of something going wrong.
For the purpose of this review, I was sent a combination of the S05 speaker drivers (a stiff bio-cellulose diaphragm officially specified as "detailed"), H04 headband (microfiber padding, officially specified as "high comfort"), E08 ear pads (ultrasoft memory foam cushions covered with Alcantara), and C15 cable (1.5-meter long, straight). This exact setup costs €295, which pits the AIAIAI TMA-2 HD against some stiff competition—you can buy some seriously good hi-fi headphones for this much money.
The only way to make the AIAIAI TMA-2 HD more expensive is to go with the H05 or H06 headband. Both contain a Bluetooth chip and battery, adding wireless connectivity to the TMA-2 HD. The H06 headband (SBC and AAC codecs, 20 hours of wireless playback) ups the price to €325, while the H05 headband (SBC, AAC, aptX and aptX HD codecs, 16 hours of wireless playback) pushes it all the way to €350. Yikes! Before moving on, I should mention that I did not have a chance to test the H05/H06 headband, which is why I cannot comment on the wireless performance of the AIAIAI TMA-2 HD.
- S05 40-mm dynamic speaker drivers (neodymium magnet) for €130
- E08 ear pads (memory foam cushions covered with Alcantara) for €55
- H04 headband (reinforced nylon with microfiber padding) for €70
- C15 cable (straight, 1.5-meter, 6.4-mm adapter included) for €40
- Over-ear design
- Removable ear pads
- Weight (without cable): 205 g