When it comes to wireless headphones, there’s usually a trade-off: Lower-quality audio for the convenience of going wire-free. But Danish audio company AIAIAI’s (pronounced “eye-eye-eye”) latest headphones, the $350 TMA-2 Studio Wireless+, are an attempt to give folks — especially musicians and other audio creators — the best of both worlds. The wireless headphones come with a dedicated wireless transmitter that’s been designed to deliver low-latency, lossless CD-quality sound for those who need a better-than-Bluetooth wireless signal.
Better yet, the wireless cans still have a fully wired option for those time when you need to hear your source instantly and with no additional processing. Swapping between modes is simple — the headband has a switch that lets you instantly flip between standard Bluetooth mode and AIAIAI’s Wireless+ mode.
Cleverly, AIAIAI has found a way to do this while maintaining the TMA-2‘s signature feature — its modular and sustainable design that preserves the headband and each earcup as separately replaceable parts. In fact, if you own an existing set of wired or wireless TMA-2 headphones, you can turn them into a set of TMA-2 Studio Wireless+ by purchasing a new headband and the Wireless+ transmitter — your existing earcups will work just fine, according to AIAIAI.
The company makes some big claims for its Wireless+ technology: It brings latency down to just 16 milliseconds (ms), which is considerably better than most versions of Bluetooth. It’s true that, in theory, Bluetooth can go as low as 5 ms, but to get that kind of performance, both the sending and receiving devices need to support Bluetooth LE Audio, a standard that is only just beginning to gain traction.
But Wireless+ is not only fast, it’s lossless, which is something no Bluetooth codec can promise — even Sony’s so-called wireless hi-res audio-compatible LDAC. To accomplish this, the Wireless+ uses a proprietary codec with a dual antenna system that transmits over the 2.4Ghz frequency — the same part of the wireless spectrum used by Wi-Fi. The transmitter has its own onboard rechargeable battery, making the entire system very portable. Another benefit to the Wireless+ system is that you can use it with an airplane’s seatback entertainment system as long as you have a two-prong airplane headphone adapter — something regular Bluetooth headphones can’t do unless you buy a portable Bluetooth transmitter.
The only two caveats here are that the Wireless+ transmitter plugs into a 3.5mm headphone jack, so you’ll need an analog output on your source device — something most smartphones lack these days. And you won’t be able to get the full quality that your pro-audio gear can output. Even if you’re working in 24-bit/96kHz or better, the Wireless+ will convert that into 16-bit/44.1kHz before transmitting it to the TMA-2 Studio Wireless+. But if full-resolution is what you need, the included coiled analog cable has you covered.
When running in Bluetooth mode, AIAIAI says the TMA-2 Studio Wireless+ can last for an impressively long 80 hours — a huge life span that beats AIAIAI’s previous 20-hour playing time on its H06 Wireless headband. That number drops to 16 hours when using the Wireless+ mode. The Wireless+ transmitter lasts for 30 hours on a single charge.
You can pre-order the TMA-2 Studio Wireless+ starting December 14, with shipping and in-store availability beginning in January 2022.
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