AIAIAI TMA-1 Closed Studio Headphone

This time we’re gonna be looking at the TMA-1 Studio Headphones III is a relatively young company from Denmark. You may not have heard of them. In recent years they’ve been known for putting up some really eye-catching streetwear design headphones. The TMA-1 Studio is the studio version of the TMA-1 DJ headphones at III released a number of years back. I want to be completely honest and say that I got these headphones first and foremost because I am in love with their design.

When I first saw the shots for the TMA-1 and the TMA-1 studio, I instantly wanted to have a pair. And when they popped up in the clip frenzy sale in Australia I instantly put them in my cart I couldn’t resist. With the TMA-1 studio, you get a headphone that’s basically just two large ear cups and a headband all made out of soft-touch plastic and foam.

It’s so minimalist. It’s gorgeous, and if you’re a science-fiction fan you know that TMA is actually it stands for tycho magnetic anomaly which is the big black monolith in alpha c-class 2001 a
Space Odyssey. So you can certainly see where they were going with their industrial design it’s fantastic.

The TMA-1 Studio is the studio version of the DJ headphone so what you get is a polyurethane headband for just a bit more comfort, much lighter ear-cups more on them later as well as a 40-millimetre titanium dynamic driver which is supposedly tuned for studio applications. You also get the headband mechanism is straightforward it’s just a series of holes you slide here cup back and forth and despite the relatively
simple construction is actually both durable and entirely secure.

The entire thing is made this black soft-touch plastic and foam
and it’s you know it looks like you can take a beating now the TMA-1 studio comes with a detachable cable, and it locks into place, so all you need to do to unlock it is. You just twist it, and then you can pull it out and then put it back in you stick it in and turn it. Now it’s secure even when it’s not locked, but there’s no give, there’s no jiggle.

If you remember when I talked about the Sony MDR-1r and its kind of
slightly flimsy detachable headphone cable Jack. This is the kind of design that I would have liked to see on the MDR-1r. Something that’s you know simple locks in and out and very durable. Now there are two versions of the TMA-1 Studio. One comes with two cables, an iPhone mic cable and a straight cable. The version I got which actually comes out of the box with a 3.5-millimetre coiled cable.

One thing is I actually don’t like Clawd cables very much they’re quite heavy, and they pull on one side of the headphone. If it’s the TMA-1 headphone is actually a headphone that’s very light and with not much clamping force on the ears. The weight of the coiled cable is actually somewhat annoying because it pulls on one side of the head.
So I bought a separate straight wire from the TMA-1 website.

Unfortunately, you cannot buy the iPhone mic cable by itself. I believe that there is some licensing issue from Apple. We move on to ear cups, and unfortunately, I’m gonna have to tell you a major problem with the IRI TMA-1 Studios. The IIT ma1 Studios comes with a detachable echo. So they just pop off here. And they have these little rubber spokes that go into the into four holes on the driver. So straightforward design quite nice and you get two types of ear cups out of the box you get these polyurethane ear-cups which have a large internal volume or your ears.

It sits in very comfortably. They are breathable and lightweight. You also get this synthetic leather style ear cup which is still comfortable but not quite as comfortable because it has less of an opening more of it touches your ear. On the flip side, you get more isolation and a slightly warmer sound. There’s certainly more natural sound would be synthetic leather though. It gets quite warm. I actually prefer the polyurethane ear cups.

This is unfortunately where the big issue comes from. And this has been reported in many reviews the blue that I used to attach the ear cup discs to the actual foam itself is unfortunately not very strong.
What you’ll find is that when you detach the ear cups, it’s effortless
to pull the phone right off the disc and to separate the adhesive.

This happened immediately as soon as I tried to detach the ear cups for the first time with the farm ear cups that came out of the box. And I spoke to the manufacturers in Denmark through emails about this, and they were excellent. They immediately sent me a replacement pair, and they said that the new variation had a different type of glue and you wouldn’t get this problem. Unfortunately, as you can see, this is the pair that I got sent by III as a replacement and very soon afterwards, they began to detach from the foam as well.

So there are a couple of solutions. First, you can never change the ear pads and then you know I hope that nothing causes the ear cups to detach from the discs in daily use. Or you can use I used a construction glue actually to adhere the discs to the ear cups and even this even though this is you know liquid nails polyurethane glue which is quite secure.

I still feel somewhat nervous about these discs staying on which is really unfortunate because other than that it’s a sensible design with the pleather ear cups you actually don’t get this problem because in entirely they’ve built in a completely different way. The discs are attached to further a completely different way and it’s much more secure.

You wouldn’t have these kinds of durability issues but because they sound different and because they’re less breathable. Not everyone’s going to like we are by the cup. So it’s a real shame the foam ear cups are so fragile so despite all these ear cup issues how do the TMA-1 Studios actually sound? Well, the first thing I want to say is that even though these are described as studio headphones I can’t actually imagine anyone using these for any sort of critical studio monitoring and this isn’t because there’s some kind of you know massive bass Canon because despite their imposing industrial design they’re really not that basic.

They have a really punchy upper bass section but actually not that much low kind of Rumble to the bass you get a distinct treble section with quite a lot of extension, but at the same time, it’s very delicate. It’s
not particularly fatiguing on the ears and you don’t get a lot of depth or
warmth to the vocals the mids so overall you get a bit of a v-shape
with the sound with the pleather ear pads, you get a bit more of a warmer a bit more of a natural sound, but you get the trade-off where they’re slightly less comfortable than the PU farm.

It has the reason why I say I can’t imagine these being used for critical studio monitoring is that as soon as you put them on you can tell that there’s a bizarre, particular sound thing that you’re going on. Basically, these headphones sound like that the reverb filter has been applied to all your music if you’ve ever heard LaRue’s self-titled album you’ll hear that there’s a studio kind of Sheen that goes throughout all the tracks and funnily enough the TMA-1 studio actually makes every song sound like the way that album has been mastered.

So, you get this kind of weird cavernous soundstage with this weave reverb that doesn’t sound actually particularly natural and it means that for modern studio recordings a lot of dance music and hip-hop and that kind of thing these headphones are really fabulous. They sound punchy and exciting and fun and I suspect you know and III has been quite clear in some of their press material that this is what these headphones have been tuned for. I thought almost everything else you can forget about getting kind of accurate natural sound out of these because they’ll just sound a bit weird and congested. And in that respect, they’re actually quite similar to the AI TMA-1 DJ headphones.

Despite all this, because I’m a headphone collector I like these headphones I like the way they look I think the way they sound is a quite
exciting business it’s an example of a company explicitly tuning their
Headphones for a John rrah of music but at the same time. I can’t really recommend these headphones to anyone but because of their unnatural Center and also because of the fragility of the ear cups.

I really wish that I hope it puts out a revision of the ear cups with a Vu phone which doesn’t have the same kind of problems that said if you were after a headphone that looked fantastic which is what these headphones are. If you were going to be very careful with them anymore. We listen to a lot of fast music, or if your headphone collected like me then go for it these are really fun headphones.

What Others Had to Say

Andrew Tan
Andrew Tan
2013-09-10

I've been using these headphones for almost a year now and I'm on my third pair starting today. These are by far the best sounding headphones I've owned and really comfortable but with time I think the headband looses its flexibility. My first pair snapped first thing in the morning while putting it on at work. I called AIAIAI and got it replaced with a brand new one but after half a year that pair cracked when my friend tried to put it on his head. Good thing AIAIAI has good customer service and they've sent me another replacement. For this price I wish they lasted longer.

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