While today's headphone market is flooded with pedestrian products, Danish audio design AIAIAI has become synonymous with minimal, modern design coupled with enhanced sounds that satisfy the high demands of music professionals. Taking things one step further, AIAIAI has teamed up with with famed audio engineer and producer Young Guru and reinvented their famous TMA-1 series. The result? TMA-1 Studio by Young Guru. The main question, however, is: how do you elevate a product that has been tested and co-signed by sound experts such as ames Murphy, A- Trak, Seth Troxler, Madlib or Diplo? Linking with an audio engineer thats boasts an impressive resume such as Young Guru's is clearly and adding his expertise to the recipe is clearly not the worst option. Yet again, collaborations between brands and artists have not always proven to be successful, so we took a closer look at the TMA-1 Studio by Young Guru and see if it lives up to its hype.
The Young Guru edition offers the same high-level aesthetics that we have grown to expect from the Danish company. Similar to its older models, AIAIAI manages to maintain a certain cohesiveness in frame and earpiece design. However, there are subtle yet welcome changes that have been added to the AIAIAI's signature minimalist silhouette. The cans are slightly bigger and bulkier than the regular TMA-1s thanks to the padding of silky Japanese memory foam. In addition, the YGs feature a crisp black matte finish highlighted only with red spiral cord placed above the ear pieces, offering a neat change from the TMA-1's usual small but shiny earpiece cushion. While the design alterations experience an upgrade with the bigger elements, namely the frame and earpiece, it lacks consistency and attention to detail when it comes to the smaller parts -- most notably the two cords. Intended for studio and regular usage respectively, the eye-catching red/black pairing is only continued with the studio cord, while the daily wear cord is limited to a black-only option. A minor, yet visually important detail as the all-black daily wear cord would be better suited in a highlight color.
FEEL & WEARABILITY:
Designed for professional audio usage, the generous padding of silky Japanese memory foam provides a much more comfortable feel and enhances its long-term wearability. Coupled with the super-soft cushion that easily fits around the ear, the set's overall weight of 180g ensures that the upper portion of the headset becomes barely noticeable, which makes the AIAIAI TMA-1 Studio YGs ideal for long and intense working sessions in the studio but also very much enjoyable during relaxing listening sessions at home. Moreover, the subtle band adjustment locks at the side make precise sizing a simple task.
Obviously the most crucial aspect in reviewing headphones is sound -- and that's exactly where AIAIAI placed the focus of its latest product development. Young Guru's edition of the TMA-1s moves away from its traditional DJ commitment and takes the sound experience to the requirements of a recording studio setting. Fortunately, the combined expertise of AIAIAI and Young Guru bring forth a discernible upgrade in terms of sound delivery. One immediately notices a brighter presence in the upper midrange and treble. Minimal sound changes become easily noticeable due to a well defined audio balance. The slightest acceleration in a bassline or light clips at vocal edits are noticeable -- a characteristic which is further enhanced through the product's high-level noise-cancelling effect. While the TMA-1 YGs successfully isolate and minimizes the listener's own audio leaks, the sound is also elevated throughout various genres. Be it jazz, hip-hop or EDM, each genre is provided with noticeable warmth on the stand-up bass and pop on the snares, thus making sure that the product caters to a niche, yet eclectic audience. While the DJ-appropriated original TMA-1s provide a higher level of bass performance, the YGs invite the consumer to an all-around easy listening and a clean audio cruise.
Have a look at our recent conversation with Young Guru below and find out how the collaboration between him and AIAIAI has come to fruition.