With the headphone market saturated with cookie-cutter models, it's difficult for a single model to stand out, but Aiaiai's TMA-1 is the exception to the rule. Inspired by the design of the Sennheiser HD 25, the $200 headphones cut a stripped-down physical profile with no joints to weaken their structural durability. Their solid construction is backed by a detailed headstage that makes them an excellent candidate for any DJ shopping for a stylish headset and neutral tonality for mixing music.
Design and features
The TMA-1 appropriately apes its name from Arthur C. Clark's "2001: A Space Odyssey," referring to a magnetic irregularity found on a crater on the Moon's surface caused by a giant monolith buried below. The monolith's long lifespan and extra-tough density are features that the Scandinavian designers at Aiaiai compare to their omni-colored black headphones.
The aesthetic of the TMA-1s appear to be a fading silhouette of other flashier headphones, and the blacked-out finish adds a distinctive touch. The nylon headband is approximately an 1.5-inches wide, with none of the springs and small metal joints that are commonly found in modern headsets. Aiaiai's idea is to minimize the amount of materials that go into the construction to reduce the risk of mechanical failure.
The audio cable is hidden underneath the band with a small visible rubber coil section, and there's no visible branding except for a small logo cut out of the underside of the headband. Our only critique here is that there's zero padding between the headband and the top of your head. We had to take frequent breaks to alleviate the pressure, which we can imagine becoming an issue for DJs over a long night.
The TMA-1's modular design extends to the ear pads, with two interchangeable cushion sets so you don't have to buy an entirely new pair of headphones when the padding wears out. Four nubs snap firmly behind a cushioned plate that protects the 40mm drivers powering the headphones, and the pads are small enough to fit comfortably on top of your ears.
DJs demand specific physical attributes out of their headphones, which everyday listeners never think about, and Aiaiai doesn't miss out on any of those details. The detachable rubber cable is 5.5-feet long with an extra 15-inch coiled section toward the top that allows even more free movement. The company also includes a threaded 1/4-inch adapter for plugging into mixers. One interesting section to note is that you can't fold the TMA-1s for travel, nor do they have rotating ear cups for single-sided listening. Instead, the notched headband adjuster allows the user to remove the entire earpad section for storage in the bag included in the package, and the resistant ABS material is malleable enough to allow for plenty of bending and moving without risk of snapping.