If you think about it, a pair of headphones are all essentially made up of the same few parts with different companies providing their take on each while the formula remains the same. AIAIAI have taken this to the next logical setup by making the whole process user-configurable. The TMA-2HD are high-end headphones that are one combination of these components, but nothing stops you from changing components yourself after the fact – making them incredibly versatile.
The TMA-2HD headphones come in a nice black box when they arrive that immediately gives a premium feel and look to the experience, and then when you open the box is when you truly realize you’re in for something that’s not normal. Instead of a pair of headphones, you will be greeted by a few very nicely labeled plastic bags, each containing various components that together make the TMA-2HD.
To be clear, the TMA-2HD is just specific components that AIAIAI has selected to go together. Nothing stops you from making your own set via their handy online configurator – sort of reminds me of building a car, but this time for something more realistic that you can buy like high-end headphones!
As the specs above from AIAIAI indicate, these are very premium headphones, and they take the sound quality very seriously. The TMA-2HDs deliver some of the best sound I’ve ever heard on any pair of headphones. The audio is very rich and detailed, while the bass is still there but not overbearing. The best way to describe them is they are incredibly well balanced between the lows, mids, and highs. I would imagine that most people would be perfectly happy with the TMA-2HD if you’re not sure about what specific components you want.
The H04 headband is very comfortable and has a decent cushion that makes sure it doesn’t hurt or feel like it adds any pressure on your head while wearing. My favorite is the E08 earpads because the material is luxurious Alcantara, and it feels like you are covering your ears with velvet. This further illustrates my point from earlier about the ability to customize after the fact. The AIAIAI site has a large listing of parts available, so for example, you can swap out the H04 headband with an H06 headband, then boom, your wired headphones are now Bluetooth wireless! I assume most of the customers who would spend money on these quality headphones (and especially spend time customizing them) would prefer a traditional cable over Bluetooth. No matter how good your Bluetooth connection is, it is hard to match the clarity of a hard-wired connection that can take full advantage of things like DACs/DSPs on the source, for example.
Overall, they are geared for those who want high fidelity audio but also have the ability to customize them to match what they are looking for. There is one other bonus to this modular design, which is that these are guaranteed to last for as long as AIAIAI can provide parts. If your speaker units die for some reason, buy new ones (maybe different ones). The fact that the parts are easily assembled and disassembled makes them one of the more sustainable tech products out in the market, too, which is always a good thing.
The TMA-2HD headphones sell for $295; they are available directly from the manufacturer. Custom TMA-2 builder is available here.
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample
What I Like: Outstanding audio quality that is perfectly balanced; luxurious Alcantara earpads; comfortable headband; fully customizable and modular design; high sustainability since parts can be user replaced and changed; upgradable to be Bluetooth 5.0 with a new $90 H06 headband; you can buy multiple parts and customize the headphones for specific music/listening experiences; premium feel from unboxing onward
What Needs Improvement: None that I discovered during the review