Gone are the days where good-sounding headphones cost an arm or a leg (or both). Also gone are the days where wireless sucks. The new AIAIAI TMA-2 Move is one such wireless headphone that made good sound affordable and wireless audio not sucks.
In fact, it does not just make wireless audio not suck, it sounded as good as its wired counterpart, the TMA-2, but wireless. I cannot hide the fact that I am truly mesmerized by the audio performance.
As with AIAIAI’s line of headphones, the TMA-2 Move Wireless is modular, allowing worn or damaged components to be replaced individually and therefore, extending its lifespan. This means it will stay useable for longer and therefore, more sustainable.
But sustainability aspect is not what we are here to talk about. Today, I am going to share with you my thoughts about this pair of Bluetooth headphones. Before that, here are the tech bits of the cans:
Driver size: 40 mm
Magnet: High-grade neodymium
Power: 40 mW (Rated); 100 mW (Max)
Impedance: 32 Ohm
Resonance: 80 Hz
Like the AIAIAI TM2-HD (which we also reviewed, btw) or any AIAIAI audio cans for that matter, the AIAIAI TMA-2 Move comes in a very low-profile box. AIAIAI was able to do so because the headphone comes “flat-pack” with some assembly required. It is kind of like IKEA of headphones.
The headphone comes in 6 major components: the headband with the cable that links the two speaker units, two S10 speaker units, two over-ear vegan leather ear pads, a 1.2m thermo-plastic cable (with a straight 3.5 mm plug and an L-shaped 3.5 mm plug), and a charging cable with L-shape USB connector on one end and USB A connector on the other.
As before, each type of component is packed inside its own plastic baggie and assembly is super easy. All it takes is a few minutes and the headphone is ready for action.
Assembly involves sliding each speaker unit to the end of the headband and hooking the respective plug to the 3.5 mm jack. After clicking on the ear pad on each speaker unit, the headphone is ready for action.
However, it is worthy to note that there is a slight change in the design in which the cables are plugged into the respective speakers. Previously, plugging in the cable requires a twist to lock the 3.5 mm jack in but now, AIAIAI has taken users’ feedback and does away with it. I believe, starting with the wireless lineup, the plug and twist system is gone for good.
The nondescript design has been carried over from the wired counterpart. In other words, it is nothing flashy and that’s the beauty of it. Despite it its nondescript appearance it is actually a pretty striking pair of headphones.
There is no loud branding that makes feel like you are have paid to brand to be a walking advertisement for them. The only AIAIAI is found tastefully stamped under the headband. Yep. Under the headband. Not even on top.
Where you find nylon and plastic, it is of a matte finish and thus not quite a fingerprint magnet unless you have oily fingers like me (trust me, I am not proud of it).
While I have not scratched it (thank goodness), the matte material does give a feeling that it is prone to scratch. Thankfully, it does come with a cloth bag for storage when in transit.
As before, there is no metal as far as construction goes and therefore the cans are super light on the ears, thus affording you to use it for hours without discomfort.
I have been using this phone almost every day since I have received it last week. The longest I have worn it is over three hours. So far, I do not have any discomfort or whatsoever. Then again, no two heads or two pairs of ears are made alike and therefore, your mileage may vary.
The memory cushion paired with the vegan leather is soft and cushy. Given the weather we have here that averages 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit), it is a surprise I do not feel the heat even with prolonged wearing.
And mind you, I am not working in an air-conditioned environment. Then again, I wasn’t wearing it under the sun, either. OK. I did. Perhaps not long enough to be a judge in this aspect.
It is worthy to mention that now that it is wireless, there is no more cable getting in the way while you savor the awesome sound it dishes out. Now, that’s liberation!
The control is a must mention. Do you know why? Well, because there are no gestures to remember! Yay. In place of gesture, it has a single, unobtrusive joystick integrated into the rearward-facing side of the right ear cup.
Control is really simple and logical. Click upwards or downwards to increase or decrease volume. Click forward or backward to skip a track or go back a track. So logically that it needs no effort to remember.
That’s it. One joystick for playing/pausing music, increasing/lowering the volume, and skipping tracks. Absolutely lovely. You have no idea how much I appreciate such intuitive control.
After comparing the sound with the TMA-2 HD, I decided that driver break-in may very well be a myth. Out-of-the-box, this pair of wireless headphones sound fantastic. I felt like the 20 hours of so-called break-in with the TMA-2 HD was a waste of time.
I know, some audiophiles may jump on me and say something like “because the TMA-2 Move is not high-end cans.” OK. I accept that. But then, if you are paying big bucks for a pair of cans, shouldn’t you expect good sound out of the box like the TMA-2 Move?
I mean, why should you be doing all the work to make it “sounds better”. In any case, no manufacturers have ever stood out and say that we should be burning in their cans. OK. Except maybe for that one company.
Anywho, before I share my experience with the headphones with you, here are the conditions of the test:
- No EQ adjustment
- MacBook Pro M1 Chip
- Samsung Galaxy S21
- Apple iPad mini (6th-Gen)
Audio performance (movie or TV show)
Movie: Transformers Dark of the Moon
Audio features: N/A
Hardware: MacBook Pro M1 Chip
This is probably the last time I am using the highway chase in DOTM on YouTube as a test video. It’s dated and it does not have Dolby Vision or Dolby Atmos for free. YouTube does have support for Dolby 5.1 but that’s only if you pay them good money.
For the asking price, I’d rather be on Apple TV+, Netflix, and Prime Video, all of which I already have. Yes, I am a Tube entertainment junkie.
Anyhoo, the same scenes that I have watched for every audio gear review sound the same: explosive and the constant, annoying chattering by Shia LaBeouf is, unfortunately, as crisp as ever.
But if I can be honest, Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision have spoilt me. The sound is fantastic but these cans really shine when the video supports Dolby technology. This brings us to the next video I have tested…
Audio features: Dolby Atmos
Platform: Apple TV
Hardware: MacBook Pro M1 Chip, iPad mini (6th-Gen)
If I could, I’d nominate this pair of wireless headphones as the best wireless cans for war movies. Before we go on, it is worth noting that Netflix does not support Dolby Atmos when streaming on Mac.
Notwithstanding this, the sounds from different directions, save for maybe the vertical sound, are easily discernible. The same goes with Prime Video.
Back to Greyhound. I had it running on both MacBook Pro and iPad mini, and both sounded awesome. Details that needed to be heard can be heard. You can literally hear every ping from the sonar in Apple TV+’s Greyhound and it was absolutely haunting.
Dialogue amidst the soundtrack and explosions are clear and crisp, along with the rumbling of the destroyer. Thanks to Dolby Atmos, the sound separation is incredibly precise. My only gripe is, it lacks the low-frequency punch to perfectly bring out the explosive moments when the fictional USS Keeling was pounding on the U-boats.
Music: Selection of genres
Audio features: Standard/Dolby Atmos
Hardware: Samsung Galaxy S21, MacBook Pro M1 Chip, iPad mini (6th-Gen)
Holy shit. Europa (Earth’s Cry Heaven’s Smile) by Santana never sounded so mesmerizing. That song was on the Dolby Atmos playlist on Spotify, btw. I was not prepared for the sound. I was completely swept away when the first note struck.
Can I also just say that modern jazz is perfect for this can too? Songs like Don’t Know Why by Norah Jones (my favorite jazz artiste, btw) sounded very natural and it felt like I was there listening to Jones performing live. I believe this is what some would describe as natural tonality. Very soothing.
However, like the TMA-2 HD, it suffers from a lack of bass. Dance and electronic music sound great but do not expect booming bass. Bass heads may want to take note.
• Ability to replace and upgrade components
• Clear mids and natural tonality
• Excellent cans for movies, IMHO
• Simple and intuitive joystick control
• Super comfortable to wear
• Mellow bass
• Not very sealed from outside noise
We haven’t touched on the battery aspect but as a gauge, since unboxing a week ago and using every day for a varying period each day, it still has 60% at this point. It is worth noting that on a few occasions, I had it on for 3 hours or so, or maybe more. If the battery life is one of the concerns, this pair of cans definitely won’t fail you.
As for the sound, AIAIAI’s drivers have proven themselves time after time. It is almost like Sony and Sennheiser. You know, like you know good sound is almost always assured. The only question is, how good it is this time.
When it comes to audio equipment, it can be quite subjective. It depends on how sensitive the user’s hearing is and the age of the user. As we all know that hearing may deteriorate as we age.
Lastly, the outcome of the performance of the audio also depends on the sources. This is why I have always listed out the source(s) and hardware used. Having said that, it is only fair to tell you that I have set up Spotify audio to adapt to my hearing (it’s under Setting (the gear icon) -> Equalizer -> Adapt sound – if anyone’s interested).
Like GravaStar, AIAIAI aims to deliver an unadulterated listening experience. As such, it has no fancy app for messing with the sound. I akin this to taking a selfie without a beauty filter, or driving a stick shift automobile, if you know what I mean. It is a purist headphone without the convolution of software.
If you are interested in getting a pair yourself, you can find the AIAIAI TMA-2 Move Wireless selling on the AIAIAI website for US$230. An on-ear model is also available for US$180.
All images by Mike for Mikeshouts.com.