If you're chasing the freedoms of wireless audio but aren't as keen on the audio compression and latency that Bluetooth connectivity brings with it, the upcoming AIAIAI TMA-2 Studio Wireless+ headphones may be the solution.
The brand is known for its modular TMA-2 headphone design – each of its components (headband, earcups, drivers, etc.) are able to be swapped out and upgraded without the need to purchase an entire new set of cans.
- The brand collaborated with renowned record label for the TMA-2 Ninja Tune Edition.
Hi-res, low latency
The flagship feature of the latest configuration to be offered by AIAIAI, the TMA-2 Studio Wireless+, is the inclusion of a W+ Link wireless transmitter. This unit is powered by a rechargeable battery and connects to your computer or similar device via a 3.5mm audio jack, transmitting the audio signal wirelessly to the headphones.
The main advantages of this are the ability to transmit lossless audio with ultra-low latency over the 2.4GHz band – more specifically, the W+ Link audio codec can handle up to 1500kbps (16-bit, 44.1kHz) with a stable latency of just 16ms.
While Bluetooth's latency and audio quality varies depending on which standard and codec are used, no configuration is able to simultaneously provide a latency this low and audio quality this high.
By comparison, Qualcomm's AptX LL (Low Latency) codec can achieve as little as 40ms of latency, but is limited to a 352kbps bitrate. Sony's hi-res LDAC codec can transmit at bitrates up to 990kbps, but suffers on the latency front, clocking over 200ms.
The combination of low latency and high audio quality won't necessarily be useful for everyone – it's not intended for casual Spotify listening while on a stroll – but for audiophiles or music and video content creators that need responsive and high-quality feedback as they work, this is one of the few ways to achieve it wirelessly.
It's all in the detail
Apart from its W+ Link connectivity, the TMA-2 Studio Wireless+ also offers cabled and Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity, with the latter capable of an impressive 80+ hour battery life when listening.
Both the headband and the transmitter can be recharged via USB-C, with the two offering 16 hours of ultra-low latency playback when using the headphones in their W+ Link mode.
They come with Alcantara over-ear earcups, 40mm bio-cellulose driver units, a 1.5m coiled cable and 1/4-inch adapter, and a protective pouch in the box. The AIAIAI TMA-2 Studio Wireless+ is available to preorder globally now, and will be landing on shelves from January, priced at $350 / £300 / AU$520.