When Aiaiai released the TMA-1 headphones in 2010, the headphone was a pleasant surprise. Tuned for DJs, the headphones produced audio better than anyone expected, and it had a design that was as durable as it was stylish. Now, Aiaiai is back with the TMA-1 Studio, a headphone similar at its core, but tweaked with the travelling producer in mind. Is it good enough for the rest of us to justify the extra $50?
What is it?
The TMA-1 Studio is the latest in Aiaiai's line of headphones that mix design and performance. This time they're geared more towards producers than DJs with a more neutral and balanced sound signature.
Who's it for?
Bedroom producers, travelling musicians, big city cool kids.
The headphones are virtually identical to the original TMA-1 headphones: retro-inspired, closed-back, plastic cans with a rubberised, black matte finish. But the TMA-1 Studio headphones come with thicker headband padding and new PU foam earcups specially engineered to hush out noise and extract more detail from tracks.
The TMA-1 Studio headphones are sensitive enough to be driven by laptops or smartphones, but they also respond to a little juice from an amp as well. The cups provide decent clamping force but are comfortable enough to be worn continuously for several hours.
The best part
The balanced sound signature means that little details — ones the original TMA-1 couldn't quite pick up — come through quite well.
Improved as the audio may be, the sound is a bit dark and hazy. It has always been the case with the original TMA-1 headphones, but those were designed first for DJs who care more about bass than detail. Compared to Shure's SRH-940 headphones, which are similar in price and specs, the TMA-1 Studio couldn't deliver the same level of imaging and resolution. Bass response was still superior, however, which is expected since these are geared towards electronic producers.
- Tested against the original Aiaiai TMA-1 and the Shure SRH-940 headphones.
- Used a MacBook Pro and an iPhone 4S paired with a NuForce Icon iDo DAC/Headphone Amplifier.
- The foam cups don't feel flimsy, but I'm not sure I'd trust them to withstand the wear and tear of a daily commute and/or constantly being stashed in a bag without a carrying case.
- Used 320Kbps audio files.
- Listened to Justin Bieber. Lots of Justin Bieber.
Should You Buy It?
If you're looking for a more balanced version of the original TMA-1 headphones, then yes. They're $50 more, but they deliver more detail through the mids and highs. That said, those who care more about making records than making a visual impression may want to look elsewhere for headphones that can accurately produce detail through the entire frequency range.
• Transducer: closed-back dynamic • Drivers: 40mm titanium • Sensitivity: 102db • Frequency response: 20Hz to 20,000Hz • Weight: 220 grams (without cable) • Price: $320 RRP in Australia