Aiaiai already has Pixel-compatible parts for its TMA-2 modular headphones

Aiaiai already has modular headphone components compatible with the Pixel 2

In 2015, Denmark-based Aiaiai released its TMA-2 modular headphone system, which allowed users to swap speaker units, headbands, ear pads, and cables to create more than 1,000 different combinations.

On October 5, following Google’s conference in San Francisco — during which Google officially announced the upcoming Pixel 2 smartphone — Aiaiai unveiled three new parts designed specifically to interface with the Pixel (which has a USB-C port and no traditional headphone jack): The H60 Bluetooth Headband, the C60 USB-C cable, and the C61 USB cable (designed for use with VR goggles).

The H60 utilizes Bluetooth 4.2, and it supports AptX HD, AptX, SBC, and AAC codecs. It’ll work with any Bluetooth-enabled device, but it supports Fast Pair with the Pixel 2, which is the main draw here. The headband’s battery lasts for 16 hours, and it’s also got a built-in omnidirectional microphone. The H60 costs $125.

The C60 cable, which costs $40 a la carte, offers 1.2 meters (almost four feet) of Thermo plastic with a 3-button inline microphone. Meanwhile, the 29cm (11.4-inch) C61 cable has a durable, woven nylon jacket to prevent any damage. It costs $20 on its own.

The whole idea, though, is to craft a pair of TMA-2s that fit your specific needs. So, if you like wireless headphones, build a pair with the H60 headband. If you prefer hardwired cans, but you’ve got a Pixel 2, go with the C61 cable instead. Aiaiai has put together eight pre-set combinations utilizing Google-ready parts, which you can see here (scroll down past the parts themselves). Prices vary depending upon which parts are included.

H05 Smart Headband

In 2016, the company announced the first major update to the system, the H05 Smart Headband. The headband allows users to add wireless Bluetooth connectivity to any previous configuration, enabling them to go wire-free while keeping the sound and comfort they’ve grown used to. We were a bit concerned, though, that the H05 would never see the light of day — after all, it’s been nearly a year.

Beginning in September, though, the headband became available from Aiaiai’s website for $125 (something to keep in mind: Aiaiai is fulfilling Kickstarter orders first, so you might see a “Pre-order” button instead of a “Buy now” button; shipping could take three to four weeks).

“At first, we intuitively focused on creating a new speaker to introduce wireless technology to the system,” Aiaiai head of new product development Christian B. Lorentzen said in a statement. “But that felt wrong somehow, as it would be limiting to have only a few wireless sound configurations. That’s why we came up with this idea of integrating the Bluetooth module into the headband, to maintain that 100-percent modularity.”

The headband uses Bluetooth 4.2 with aptX, but connectivity isn’t the only thing it adds. An omnidirectional microphone is also built in, allowing users to use the headphones for calls, and controls are placed on the headband as well, offering the ability to pause and resume playback, answer calls, skip tracks, and adjust the volume.

The battery is also built into the headband, allowing for up to a claimed 16 hours of playback with a two-hour charge time. Unlike many current wireless headphones, the H05 headband uses a USB-C port, though a USB-C-to-USB charging cable is included for use with standard wall chargers. If you still want to plug in, this bypasses the Bluetooth, meaning your headphones will also work just as they did before.

We loved the DJ-focused TMA-1, and the TMA-2 offer far more customization. If you are new to the TMA-2 system but are interested, several preset TMA-2 configurations (including two with the new wireless headband) are also available.

In February, the company also introduced a cool Spotify integration feature — called TMA-2 Discovery — which will utilize Spotify and Moodagent music data to build you a personal set om TMA-2 headphones. For more information, see the Aiaiai website.

Update: We’ve added information about Aiaiai’s Google-ready components. 

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