Review: AIAIAI’s BuyMeOnce TMA-2 Modular Headphones
As soon as we heard about the modular AIAIAI TMA-2 headphones, we knew we had to give them a try. With impressive specs and a clean, modern design, they promise to deliver on both sound and style. But our interest was particularly piqued by the buy-for-life potential: the TMA-2s use a modular system, which means all parts of the headphones clip together (speaker units, ear cups, headband and cable), with loads of options for each. So if, for instance, your cable breaks, it’s easy to replace - or you can even go wireless with a Bluetooth-enabled headband. Instead of spending hundreds on new headphones every few years, your TMA-2s can be repaired and upgraded indefinitely.
We got in touch with AIAIAI, and created a custom configuration of the most durable parts they offer: the BuyMeOnce TMA-2 headphones were born! AIAIAI provide as standard a fantastic 3-year warranty against defects in material or workmanship. But for the BuyMeOnce preset, AIAIAI offered us an exclusive, market-leading 4-year warranty - unheard of for most electronics. Our unique combo of parts is as follows:
- S02 speaker units: titanium coated driver for clear sound, internal vent for punchy bass
- H02 headband: made with ultra-tough reinforced nylon, with durable silicone padding
- E02 ear cups: soft memory foam protected by PU leather
- C15 cable: straight 1.5m triad hi-fi cable, extra durable and reduces interference, comes with screw-on adaptor
We never sell something we haven’t tested, and just to be sure we used our headphones for a whole month - both out and about and in the office. Here's our in-depth AIAIAI TMA-2 headphones review, for the BuyMeOnce preset.
We were excited to find that the AIAIAI TMA-2s arrived as a box of individually-packaged component parts. The idea of building your own headphones might seem daunting, but these were incredibly easy to assemble. Simply clip the speakers and ear cups together, slide them onto the headband and plug in the cables. By introducing users to the modular design at the first stage, this hopefully encourages them to repair or upgrade parts in the future. We were a little disappointed by the amount of plastic pouches we had to tear through and bin, but we understand that consumers expect a certain level of packaging for high-spec electronics.
Clean, modern and in an all matte-black finish, you won’t be finding flashy logos on these minimalist headphones. They manage to combine a contemporary aesthetic with a classic, somewhat retro feel, with their curly speaker wires and cushioned ear pads. They seem to suit anybody, and we’re certain the timelessness of the design will hold up. Needless to say, we fell in love instantly.
The TMA-2s have a very robust feel, yet are lightweight and comfortable. The headband we chose feels really strong, whilst being flexible - it’s made of high-grade nylon and padded with silicone (grippable and easy to clean!). After seeing AIAIAI’s demonstration, we bent and twisted the headband around, and it just flexed right back into shape. The TMA-2s even shrugged off a couple of accidental drops! The matte black finish seems to be resistant to scratches, though after extensive use did start to rub away slightly on some edges. The triad cable feels exceptionally thick and strong, with the 3.5mm jack thoroughly reinforced. We love the clever cable lock, which stops it from being yanked out.
We were totally blown away by the TMA-2 listening experience. As promised, these are serious audiophile headphones. Engineered with a titanium-coated driver to reduce distortion, they provided incredibly crisp, clear hi-fi sound even at high volumes. For our BuyMeOnce version, we selected speaker units which deliver on bass in particular, without compromising treble or mids. All music genres sounded rich and balanced, with bass coming through clear and punchy. Combined with excellent noise isolation from the soft ear cups, the TMA-2s fully immersed us every time we plugged in, whether we were in a busy office or rattling tube.
Because the TMA-2s have so many options to pick from, such as extra-large squishy cups or a foam-padded headband, we were concerned we might be compromising on comfort with our rugged BuyMeOnce version. We needn’t have worried! These headphones feel lightweight, with soft memory foam on-ear cups and not too much tension in the adjustable headband. This is clearly a well-considered design, because we all found we could comfortably listen for hours without taking them off.
BuyMeOnce is very cautious when it comes to electronics. Technology advances so quickly, and the culture of disposability is so rife, that it takes a really exceptional product for us to put our name behind it. With the TMA-2s, AIAIAI are breaking the mould. Not only are they designed to be repaired and upgraded, they are well-made enough that you won’t have to consider this for a long time. And when it comes to sound quality, we’ve found them to be exceptional. We firmly believe that modular systems are the future of sustainable electronics, and AIAIAI are pulling it off in style.
The fact that these headphones come with a 3-year warranty clearly demonstrates AIAIAI’s faith in their product. And, with a market-leading 4-year warranty, the BuyMeOnce TMA-2s promise to go the extra mile when it comes to long-lasting durability. We’re proud to stock the full range of TMA-2 presets, so you can find the pair at a price and specification that works for you, whilst resting assured you won’t ever have to throw them away!
Check out the BuyMeOnce TMA-2s, with an exclusive 4-year warranty.
Or, shop the whole AIAIAI range!
Read more about why we love this fantastic brand disrupting our throwaway electronics industry.