The TMA-1 might not be the most expensive set of headphones I have tried, but after getting them the costs keep stacking up.
I have bought loads of music applications for my New iPad since getting them, and I am having a blast. The Korg iMS-20, iKaossilator, FL Studio HD, Reactable and NanoStudio are some of the most notable in that collection. Made by DJs, for DJs the AIAIAI TMA-1 is truly a fun set of cans. They bring forth something new in the music, and by music I mean dance, electronic and beat heavy pop. I have rediscovered my Kraftwerk collection with these, as they seem to enhance all the aspects carrying emotion and message.
Most headphones try to cater to everyone, and going either for as clear sound as possible or as bass heavy as the material can take as possible. AIAIAI is really clear with the fact that these are made for DJs, and the sound image is not suitable for all kinds of music. Still it is highly enjoyable, and listening to Crystal Castles second album while writing this I am finally getting how good it is. With my ordinary set of HD 212Pro from Sennheiser that are great at giving a proper representation of the sound the same album sounds thin. In the TMA-1 it is bass-heavy turning an electronic album into something much more danceable.
An easy way to describe the sound of the TMA-1 is to compare it to being on the middle of the dance floor before closing time when the volume is maxed out. And isn’t that what most DJs need to know? It should be in my opinion. The only set of headphones I can compare the TMA-1 with in regards to being suitable for DJing is the Beats by Dr Dre Pro. The Pro however is a bit too bass heavy, and as such might not give the DJ a good image of what the audience is experiencing.
The noise isolation is magnificent even though there is no active noise cancellation going on. With music on at moderate levels the TMA-1 lets me listen to the music uninterrupted on the same level as a pair of Bose QuietComfort 15 with noise cancellation on. When working as a DJ this means that you can actually use these as a proper tool to be able to juggle tracks without being drowned by audience, or what is currently playing.
The TMA-1 comes with two cords: one shorter suitable for everyday usage with iPhone or iPad, and one longer with coils to extend it further for DJ or music listening. The iPhone cord comes with microphone, and three buttons for volume and play/pause/call. It is the same setup used for the Pipe, Tracks and Swirl. Great quality microphone, and rugged durable design.
One thing I am not that happy about is the comfort level of the TMA-1. The headband is hard plastic that can press down a bit too much on my head. Furthermore the on-ear design means that my ears do get sweaty, and with time the headphones become uncomfortable. I have tried both the leather, and synthetic ear pad, but both sets become sweaty. I do like that it is really easy to exchange the ear pads using four holes that plugs glide into. I have to mention that I usually prefer over-ear headphones, and there will be a larger version of the TMA-1 this summer. I am stoked!
If these are supposed to be used as a tool for a DJ I really think they should have come with a hard carrying case. Instead you get a soft carrying pouch that only protects against scratches. Sure the TMA-1 in itself is heavy duty with a rugged no nonsense design, but still it can break if someone sits on them.
The design is low key, but still highly personal. I really like the coiled cord going between the ear cups, and headband. In comparison to Beats by Dr Dre where branding is everything AIAIAI has gone for a discrete brand name found inside the headband. The look is still fierce, and slightly futuristic.
The TMA-1 from Danish AIAIAI is a great companion for the DJ, electronic musician and those who just want to listen to music for fun. It brings out the best bits of music when it comes to having fun, and dancing about. Some comfort ability issues, and lack of proper carrying pouch limit the final rating. I am eager to follow what the talented crew at AIAIAI will do next.