What if you could have many different kinds of headphones in one pair?
The TMA-2 modular headphones from Danish audio company AIAIAI lets you change the way headphones sound and feel with swappable parts, including headbands, cables, ear pads, and even the speakers.
It’s a great concept that offers unmatched versatility, but all those choices might be overwhelming for some.
Still, I found the right combination of parts that I liked. Check out the AIAIAI TMA-2 modular headphones:
The AIAIAI TMA-2 headphones look beautifully minimalist with no branding anywhere, and they're entirely covered in a smooth dark grey rubbery finish that gives them a classy modern look and feel.
You can easily swap out just about every part to your liking, including headbands, speakers, earpads, and cables.
You can select from four different speaker units for your specific sound preference, like all-around, punchy, warm, and vibrant.
I was excited about the prospect of swappable ear pads. However, the ear pads have a surprisingly big impact on the sound, so you can't just pick which style is more comfortable for you.
You can swap from on-ear and over-ear pads with varying thickness and different materials, which is something I wish other companies would offer.
However, the size and materials of ear pads has a profound effect on the sound, so your choice of earpad can't only be based on comfort or preference of style, which is somewhat unfortunate.
For me, it turns out only the larger over-ear pads work with the sound I want, even though I prefer the feel of the smaller on-ear pads.
You can buy multiple different parts like speaker units and earpads to fit different genres of music and moods, or choose one combo with a general sound profile that you like.
If you ever wished you could change the way your headphones sound from day to day, or from genre to to genre, the TMA-2 offers you that versatility.
But I'd suggest buying one best-possible set of components with a flat, balanced, neutral sound, like the TMA-2 'Monitor Preset,' then manipulate them your liking with an equaliser.
For sound, the only combinations that matter are speaker units and ear pads.
AIAIAI's presets and guides on its website will help you find the right parts for the kind of sound you like, if you know what you're looking for. I would unquestionably suggest you use the 'configurator' to make sure you're getting the right parts for your sound.
AIAIAI said it's looking into revising its return policy to accommodate try-and-return, and it's also working on launching in-store stations so you can try before you buy. It also mentioned that it's developing a feature that scans your Spotify profile and suggests the right combo for you.
If you've found the right combination of parts for you, great, because the TMA-2 are extremely light and the most comfortable headphones I can remember wearing.
Whichever set you decide on, the all the combinations of TMA-2 that I tried were incredibly light and comfortable.
The TMA-2 can absolutely be my daily pair for commuting on trains and working at a desk. All I need now is a wireless Bluetooth model, because I hate wires.
If you have found the combo for you, and they're in your budget, absolutely.
The prices range from $145 to $260 depending on parts. My personal choice, the 'Monitor Preset,' goes for $215, and I'd be happy with that purchase. They have great sound quality and they're very responsive to playing around with equaliser settings.
However, if you're not exactly sure what to look for, or what the bars and dots above 'bass, mids, and treble' in equalizers mean, then you're better off sticking to a preset like 'Studio' or 'All-Around.'