I had thrown my money away by recycling most of my headphones, because the PU leather on the headbands were disintegrating and I couldn’t get them replaced. The rubber cable sheath on my ATH-AD900 also broke, which meant that I was effectively down to just my Grado, which isn’t really comfortable for long periods of listening.
I didn’t want to switch fully to IEMs either, because wearing them for long can be uncomfortable sometimes. So, having been previously intrigued by the modular nature of the AIAIAI TMA-2, I decided to go for them.
Being modular, this meant that I could replace any part at a cost. This could potentially keep the headphones going for a longer time than I gave my other headphones. Furthermore, I could opt for different combinations to form the headphone that best suit my needs. Unfortunately, there was no way to test them, reviews on the internet are not exactly comprehensive, and given the DJ background of the TMA-1, I wasn’t entirely sure if the sound signatures, no matter what combination, would be too bassy.
I eventually went for a combination of H04-S02-E05-C04. Each part comes in individual ziplock bags within the box, which is quite nice. As mine isn’t a preset, I got the regular box instead of a different box that I’ve seen in reviews.
H04 is the cushioned microfiber headband. It’s pretty comfortable, and while the fabric might be more prone to absorbing sweat and oils, I’m hoping it’ll last longer than the PU leather of the H03.
S02 is the speaker unit, which is the punchy bass version. In combination with E05, the over-ear microfiber earpads, it’s supposed to give emphasis to the mids and highs. Upon listening, I can say that the bass still retains quite a good presence, with a nice amount of punch. Clarity is quite good as well, but given the quality of my listening tracks and the short amount of time I’ve had with them, I can’t comment too much on the sound. It does sound like what the AIAIAI configurator tells me it should, although it could just be confirmation bias. I’m glad I didn’t go for the S03-E05 combo though; it’s supposed to emphasise the bass far more.
I also got the C04 cable, which is sleeved and coiled. It’s a really nice cable, but it does use a twist lock mechanism that prevents me from using a lot of the spare headphone cables I have.
The entire thing is pretty lightweight, and I love the matte black industrial design that lacks almost any branding. Putting it together was pretty simple, although the earpads don’t clip as tightly into the speakers as I expected.
The size of the entire headphone is also smaller than I had envisioned, which makes it quite portable. The build quality is pretty good, but I’m expecting plenty of fingerprints on the soft touch plastic. The E05 earpads are pretty darn soft and comfortable too, even with glasses on.
So far, I’m pretty satisfied. It’s a little pricey, but I think it sounds pretty good, and I really like the styling and the comfort. Could be new toy syndrome, in which case I hope this feeling can last. Just not too long, or I’m going to start wanting to buy more parts to experiment with the sound…