In a market – and a time – where the references having imposed their style and their sound identity are numerous and, for some of them, difficult to dethrone, it is not easy for a young brand to propose new standards in in professional audio equipment. But when an original design oriented towards sustainable development, thus preventing planned obsolescence, joins a rather formidable marketing plan, we are entitled to wonder if the products do not deserve our attention a little more. So it was with ears wide open and a lively heart that we wanted to know a little more about the AIAIAI brand, through the TMA-2 helmet, a helmet that is very much in tune with the times.
If the Scandinavian brand has nearly 15 years of existence on the clock, it is clear that the influence of AIAIAI has been concentrated for several years around an easily identifiable specialist audience: artists and DJs. Indeed, a quick visit to the manufacturer’s website allows us to discover, of course, a number of reviews but above all a much more extensive list of endorsed musicians.
The perceived acoustic frequency response curve clearly confirms the feeling experienced during listening and allows a better understanding of the behavior of the headphones. Since its response is far from linear, you will have to take these elements into consideration depending on the use you want to make of it.
However, the listening comfort and reliability of a headset cannot be evaluated over ten minutes and two curves, but rather over hours of use; In this regard, I have to say that the months spent with the TMA-2 have swept away many of my initial suspicions.
First of all, contrary to my very first impressions, the TMA-2 is proving to be quite durable; indeed, for months, I transported, moved, plugged in / unplugged, even lugged, hundreds of times, in different places. Sometimes I took care of it, sometimes I put it on consoles, I took it in my backpack; I even think I have dropped it dozens of times (the fault of a too short cable!). Despite all this: the TMA-2 does not flinch.
I have had experience with several headsets now and a recurring element in listening comfort is the positioning on the ears and the fatigue that this entails, both physically and physiologically. Well I was surprised to find that I could work for hours on end with this headset, without my ear circumference feeling affected. For many references, hours of use often leave me with ear pain, and it is extremely bothersome. With the TMA-2 HD and its super comfortable ear cushions, I have never had this kind of feeling. And yet, I used it! No hearing fatigue, nor the feeling of having been “attacked” by listening; on the contrary, a rather pleasant sensation at the end of the day, despite the bump of brilliance in the treble.
Finally, when it comes to listening itself, it’s all a matter of taste. But I had some misgivings about the frequency response curve and the sound of the headphones which, I have to say, immediately struck me as leaning towards something too “bright.” In fact, I was surprised to find that several mixes done just with the headphones offered better “translation” to other listening systems than I expected. Granted, it’s always best to listen to multiple systems and media, but I was rather reluctant to use headphones almost exclusively when mixing; I have to say that 80% of the time I was happy with the result – at least I found the listening sensations I wanted. A good surprise in the end.