AIAIAI TMA-2 Ninja Tune Edition review
One minute review
It’s a fine line between novelty and brilliant idea, and AIAIAI’s latest product – a collaboration with flagship record label Ninja Tune – works pretty well for the most part with its modular headset design and material. of recycled vinyl record.
One of the brand’s main strengths is its modular headset design, but the TMA-2 Ninja Tune Edition is what AIAIAI calls a âpreset,â providing a set with everything you need for a pair of. wireless headphones.
Modularity, in this case, means you’ll be able to upgrade from an on-ear headphones to an on-ear pad (both included in the box), or even purchase a different set of speakers separately to change the sound profile. entirely.
The assembly process is generally painless, aside from the frustrating cable lock mechanism, and the build quality is quite solid, but can feel a bit more flimsy than the price justifies.
Overall, the audio offered by the Ninja Tune TMA-2 is full and rich, with a bias towards the lower midrange frequencies and a slight lack of presence in the upper range.
Considering the average 20-hour battery life, lack of noise cancellation, and other high-end features like aptX support, the competition is solid at this price point. , including often reduced prices. Sony WH-1000XM4, so you really have to be into the modular concept or a huge Ninja Tune fan to get the most out of these cans.
Pricing and availability of the AIAIAI TMA-2 Ninja Tune edition
The AIAIAI TMA-2 Ninja Tune Edition is a limited version with finished units produced, available for $ 250 / Â£ 219 / AU $ 399 in the US, UK and Australia.
- Modular design
- Recycled vinyl speaker enclosures
- Average battery and no ANC
As has been mentioned, the TMA-2 Ninja Tune Edition is made up of a number of components which are, for the most part, sold separately from AIAIAI or as part of a bundled “preset” like this. .
Purchasing each of the components included in this preset would cost you around 50% more than the price of the package, not taking into account the exclusivity of items specifically from the Ninja Tune brand (like the pads and sleeve).
There are also the unique speakers themselves, which are made from recycled vinyl records produced as waste from the label’s production. These are also said to exhibit a characteristic sound profile compared to other AIAIAI speakers.
Product arrives in a box full of individual bags of components, with minor assembly required. While this process is incredibly simple from a logistical standpoint, we found that it was physically impossible to twist the cables to lock them in place once plugged in (unfortunately this is not an isolated incident), we hurting the fingers with the force necessary to initiate this twist. lock.
When assembled, the boxes look incredibly svelte, with few external markings and a sleek, sleek black design. The interior of the ear cups features Ninja Tune graphics, as does the included carrying pouch, and the speaker housings themselves are (as far as we can tell) the only place recycled vinyl has been used – appearing no different from plastic.
The headband and ear pads padding is loose, but even still we found the fit to be a bit tight around the head, squeezing more than we would like and resulting in minor fatigue after sessions extended.
The headband houses all the wireless tech – a battery capable of playing for 20 hours, Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity, a nicely hidden (although rather difficult to access) USB-C port, and a simple three-button matrix to control. volume, reading and power.
While we appreciate how minimal the buttons are (pictured below with many fingerprint marks), there are some weird choices in how they work – while you hold down the middle button to turn on, the top button must be held to turn off the device again, which seems rather unintuitive.
Unfortunately, there’s also no support for high-res codecs like aptX, so audiophiles might want to use the included cable to get the most out of your high-res audio files or streaming services.
- Rich and warm sound
- Lack of high frequencies
Julianna Barwick’s Oh, memory of his release Healing is a miracle arrives with its soggy piano line filling in the low frequencies with surprising clarity given the swampy nature of the part.
Barwick’s voice filled the rest of the spectrum as she landed, her panting wash melting into the piano until the delayed harp signature sounded from the featured guest. Marie Lattimore punctuate the piece of crystalline treble.
The TMA-2 handles this ambient composition wonderfully, although a stronger presence in the low and mid frequencies may give the impression that there may not be as much presence in the higher ranges.
The same feeling was felt while listening to the title track from Tycho’s release, Weather, with the chime of the guitar and synth in the upper registers, feeling dampened by the strength of the mid-range sounds and even the higher frequencies of the bass.
This slightly “submerged” sound signature is not surprising given the collaboration with Ninja Tune, with the label known for dubs such as King Midas Sound and The Bug, this rather warm audio bias suits this style of music perfectly.
It’s also subtle enough that it won’t be too imposing on other musical genres, but those looking for ultra-clear highs, a flat sound profile, or a vast sense of space may want to look elsewhere.
Should I buy the AIAIAI TMA-2 Ninja Tune Edition?
Buy them if …
You are a big fan of Ninja Tune
As you may have guessed by now, these limited edition cans are a collaboration with the excellent record company, Ninja Tune, and as such are a great collector’s item. Plus, it’s good to know that your cans are made from recycled records.
Thinking of upgrading or changing your headphones
The modular design of the AIAIAI headphones means you can swap out components relatively easily if you want to upgrade or replace them, even the speakers themselves.
Don’t buy if …
You want noise cancellation or other premium features
The TMA-2s don’t come with any form of ANC and lack other high-end features like advanced high-resolution audio codecs (aptX, for example).
You want good battery life
While 20 hours isn’t terrible for these particularly stylish headphones, it’s pretty low compared to most of the competition these days, even with headphones that manage to incorporate a lot more technology.
You want clear high frequencies
These cans certainly sound great, but they have a special presence in the low mid frequencies that push their highs back.