After patiently waiting for about a month my TMA-2 review unit finally arrived the other day in a rather large box, much larger than typically needed for a pair of headphones. I was immediately intrigued.
Upon cracking it open I immediately realized why the box was so big, they sent the entire modular headphone system. AiAiAi has once again raised the bar in the professional headphone game with the TMA-2.
I can just picture the "Aha" moment for this new system as the designer looked over at his Lego sculpture and thought "det er det!"
I've been using the TMA-1 Studio and DJ editions regularly for the last couple years and have always been a fan of the sound, design, and construction quality.
I have three headphones from AiAiAi for three separate tasks which is a little absurd I know, but they are all so different that it makes sense. I use the TMA-1 Studio for monitoring and reference, the TMA-1 DJ for playing out and the TMA-1 Studio (Young Guru Edition) for listening to music casually and for referencing more bass heavy music.
The TMA-2 is a great solution for this problem because having three separate headphones is expensive and takes up space as well. So they made the whole system modular like Legos.
These parts include speakers, ear pads, headbands, and various cables, that are all interchangeable and can be purchased separately as you need them. According to AiAiAi there are 360 different configurations of the headphone, now that's what I call custom. The TMA-2 is also a brilliant system because it's easy to add to the lineup and get that "collect" them all mentality going with their customers. I know I'm hooked.
Packaging / Design
The packaging is interesting, but I've got some mixed feelings about it, the extra parts come in sealed bags that look like they should be holding freeze dried food, not electronics.
After going through all the parts, I quickly realized that I was going to need a storage solution so things wouldn't get lost. That might be something to develop next, a storage solution for all the parts. In the mean time, I will dump them all in a plastic tub (not great).
The overall clean Scandinavian aesthetic of the unit remains intact, with each variation taking on a subtle change but still very much the AiAiAi DNA across the board. The TMA-2 also offers headphone jacks on each side which is a nice update as it's a huge pet peeve of mine not to have that option.
The sheer number of configurations could be a little overwhelming for a buyer that doesn't know what they want. To remedy this problem, AiAiAi created a handy tool on their website to configure the best unit for you. Also the components look almost identical in many respects, especially the speakers. I would suggest some system to help differentiate the speakers because they are identical which is a bit confusing.
My favorite configuration that I tried was the S04 speaker units with the EO5 ear pads. I'm a huge fan of the Young Guru edition so the microfiber ear pads and punchy bass yet balanced mids and highs of these two together is perfect for my everyday listening and even for referencing more bass heavy music.
What's got me sold on this new system is the ability to switch it up for different applications. I can easily get a flatter sound for reference in production or a more bass heavy sound for DJing without having to have a bunch of different headphones.
Summary The new interchangeable system that AiAiAi has developed is a game changer for those of us who need multiple headphones. The modularity will help keep the price right and allow them to evolve constantly in more directions than ever before. The sound quality is just as solid as it was before so it's really just about customizing it to your particular tastes, the quality is there across all of the speakers and components.
If you are someone that needs to constantly change the dynamics of your sound, the TMA-2 is a great bet.