Saturday, November 20, 2010


This is a real treat to write about. This is probably one of my oldest obsessions. Headphones. I take my music quite seriously so...I'll try not to sound too geeky.

I just picked up these bad ass headphones - the TMA-1 by AiAiAi (eye-eye-eye); a creative company from Denmark. In the world of architecture, graphic communications and industrial design, Denmark has a god given gift for brilliant design. The TMA-1 is no exception. It takes minimalism to the next level. I'm still looking for the logo! Where is it???

Headphones need days of burn-in time and out of the box, the AiAiAi's are okay. They're a little too bassy for my taste but quite fun to listen to. I'm hoping after a few days, they'll open up.

When it comes to the sound, I'm pretty serious. I'm comparing the AiAiAi to my AKG K701 and my Grados, which are both legendary. But we're comparing apples and oranges. The AKGs run at about 400 USD, however, the Grado SR60s only cost 80 bucks. The AiAiAi's were about 150 USD.

If you're serious about headphones, I'd go for the open-back headphones like the AKG K701. Huge soundstage, meaning it creates an environment around you. You feel the instruments separate from each other. You hear the imperfections. It's that accurate. Voices are elegant. Instruments are brilliant. It's a real pleasure to listen to music.

If you're on a tighter budget, go with the Grado SR80 or the SR60. With it's awesome performance, history and following, the Grados are nothing but legendary. They won't disappoint. Large soundstage, great bass response, crystal clear mids and highs. I love these headphones but unfortunately, very difficult to travel with.

[there used to be a photo of the MDR-7506 here but the "photographer" decided to claim their copyright. instead of giving this person the satisfaction of getting credit on this blog (which nobody even reads and doesn't make any money), i would rather remove the photo as suggested. this doesn't hurt the blog. the "photographer" is happy. everyone wins.]

I just remembered the last pair of headphones I own - the Sony V6 or MDR-7506. These are the industry standard. Radio Stations, sound studios, and film sets, they all carry the MDR-7506s. They're durable, sharp, accurate headphones. They run at about 100 bucks.

So where do that AiAiAi's stand? Well, so far so good. As for sound, they're okay. They have a monolithic presence. I saw them for the first time 4 months ago and finally gave in today. I'd pay 150 dollars just to display them in my house.