We were so excited to hear that the team at the Danish headphone manufacturers AIAIAI were bringing out a special pair of their stand out TMA-1 headphones in collaboration with clothing label Carhartt. Well we’re very happy to say that they are now out in the wild and retailing for 200 Euros directly from their website.
The original TMA-1s have been cleaning up in the DJ headphone market ever since they were revealed back in 2010 with their non-showy stylings, highly thought out design features and fantastic sound quality.
The new AIAIAI x Carhartt colab seems like a perfect match in my mind. The two brands have a similar understated aesthetic were the quality & design of the pieces they produce do all the talking. In line with Carhartt’s take on modern, heritage-influenced streetwear, the new headphones have been given a trademark urban military overhaul that stays true to the original framework of the AIAIAI universe while switching the looks and colours in a unflinching and quietly confident colourway.
The overall finish of the headphones has been given a matt gun metal grey finish while the wiring and cables have been switched out for a subtle army green. The headphones also come with a custom Carhartt x AIAIAI heavy duty olive green canvas carrying case. The end result is that they look and feel awesome without being in your face.
So lets get swiftly onto the sound quality shall we? I popped these on and used the new Dusky remix of Justin Martin’s Don’t Go as my initial testing track. The skippy garage hihats filled the cups with a nice crispness as I waited for the sum of parts to build into that huge drop which will be slaying dancefloors the world over. When that huge whomping bassline came in I couldn’t help but offer out a huge ‘WOAH!’ to the otherwise silent office. Heads were turned, tuts were given back and eye brows were raised but I didn’t care as I’d just discovered the best sounding pair of headphones I’d heard so far in my short life. The range of sound and the way that all the sections stand out is just awesome on the TMA-1s.
Other really nice touches on these headphones come in the comfort of the ear cups. They aren’t rigidly attached to the headband and have quite a good movement range to fit snuggly over the ear whilst not exerting too much pressure on the ear itself thanks to the comfy spongy pads.
The headphones come with 2 choices of cables to use… one for your phone/iPod and one for DJing. There’s also a lockable connection into the headphone cups on both wires which mean you won’t yank out the cable by mistake… although this could mean you drag whatever it is you are listening to on a fall if you forget your connected. At the other end the cables are angled and feel pretty sturdy which should mean you don’t get that annoying risk of breaking the headphone jack and internal connection which has happened too many times on other devices for me.
There’s a remote control with volume and call answering buttons and a mic built in at the top of the civilian mode cable which can connect and control a range of iPods, iPhones and iPads. The DJ cable is a chunky number with lots and lots of coils that mean you’ve got lots of room to rave around a DJ booth fist pumping to your hearts content without having to worry about auto asphyxiation too much. The DJ cable also has a removable jack to convert from the 3.5mm to 6.3mm connector so you can listen to your ipod on the way to your party destination and screw it on when you want to link into the mixer so no need to constantly carry the two cables.
Now for some little niggles… They aren’t great at noise cancelling I’m afraid… the whole lovely sonic experience is mared by a trip on the Underground’s Victoria line at rush hour. And of course if noise is getting in that means that whatever you are listening too also gets out. Cue more raised eye brows, tuts and awkward looks. (I prefer to pretend that people are jealous of the hot new headphones that you are rubbing in their face in the crush of getting to work.)
Other than that though you have yourself some pretty incredible headphones here… to be hoenst at 200 Euros they bloody well should be but yeh these definitely sound amazing and that bass face for your buck ratio will provide you with an extremely good return.
I’ll be testing these at a loud warehouse party this weekend and will get back on the DJing side of use and if they can do that difficult task of doing normal listening during the day whilst also providing the goodies in a loud club environment.