Review: AIAIAI’s TMA-2 DJ XE
We take a look at the latest headphones from the innovative music tech brand.
Danish-based audio brand AIAIAI have just released its newest set of headphones of the hugely successful TMA-2 DJ series, the TMA-2 DJ XE. Aimed at DJs, music creators, and music enthusiasts we put them through their paces… and they came out pretty well.
With their lower price and modular product design, AIAIAI has developed a product that is more accessible to musicians and provides additional customisation options that fit your preferences and usage.
Unboxing them, you can clearly see that AIAIA has a unique vision with its modular design.
The parts come individually packed in nice bags, making the unboxing and assembling of the headphones an experience. Within the box, you get the slim, durable, and lightweight headband, a pair of soft leather on-ear earpads, a 1.5m straight cable with ¼ to ⅛ screw-on adapter, and a pair of 40mm S01 speaker units. The assembly of the speakers is fun and intuitive, resulting in sturdy, minimalist headphones – Designed to last.
After using them for a couple of weeks the overall experience is good. The build quality and portability is impressive. Whilst I would have liked them to be able to fold up or have twisting earpads, this rarely feels like an inconvenience. I can throw them in my backpack without worrying about them breaking or dismantling even though they weigh less than 200g (168g).
So what do they sound like? The versatility in sound is not something I was expecting from DJ headphones. Initially, I expected to use them mainly while Djing. Their deep bass, balanced sound, and isolation design is clearly for loud environments, and for that, they work great. But it only took me a day to discover that they could do much more. As a music production student and music lover, I needed headphones that can keep up with my daily requirements and these ones most certainly do. They are a perfect fit for DJing, listening to music, morning commutes, and day-to-day music production, connected either to an audio interface or directly into my hardware synths.
The sound quality is astonishingly good considering that this is the most basic headset unit from the brand. You can tell that they are targeted towards DJs – it’s clear that the low frequencies get the main focus in the sound spectrum, but without losing that highly detailed audio and balanced sound due to their signature bio-diaphragm drivers. At higher volumes, there is no sense of distortion in the sound quality at all – great for loud environments as I mentioned above.
After wearing them over an extended period the sensation is good, they feel light and comfortable on the head, and the memory foam helps isolate the exterior noise even though they can feel a little tight on the ear. You may start getting warm ears after prolonged use – that’s expected due to their leather on-ear cushions – but this is where the fun starts.
As your needs evolve, so can the headphones the modular design, if any of the parts break you won’t need to throw them away and buy a new one. Every single piece of the headphones can be ordered separately at a reasonable price if a replacement is needed. If you feel like sticking with the same components, AIAIAI offers a Repair Guide on their website to fix it yourself. This again shows the unique vision of the brand, focusing on giving the customer the opportunity to trade in, repair, and repurpose their used headphones in order to reduce electronic waste and make them as sustainable and longevous as possible.
Furthermore, as you grow fond of these headphones, you can buy new parts that fit your changing needs—for example, getting a different pair of earpads to get a more comfortable prolonged use, getting Bluetooth with the S10 Speaker Unit or the one that I’m more excited to try, the Ultra Low latency Wireless to connect them to my hardware synths and improve my workflow.
Conclusion: All of these features add up nicely to make them so much more than a pair of good-sounding headphones. They are versatile and durable, far exceeding my expectation of a nice pair of DJ headphones. At only £120, the XEs might become the new sweet spot in the TMA-2 range. And as they say, these “might be the only headphones I’ll ever need.”