Wearables

Wireless headphones deliver lag-free, lossless audio to music creators

Wireless headphones deliver l...
The TMA-2 Studio Wireless+ headphones for music creators is the result of a collaboration between AIAIAI Audio and music producer Richie Hawtin
The TMA-2 Studio Wireless+ headphones for music creators is the result of a collaboration between AIAIAI Audio and music producer Richie Hawtin
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The TMA-2 Studio Wireless+ headphones for music creators is the result of a collaboration between AIAIAI Audio and music producer Richie Hawtin
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The TMA-2 Studio Wireless+ headphones for music creators is the result of a collaboration between AIAIAI Audio and music producer Richie Hawtin
The W+ Link transmitter (left) is plugged into to music creation hardware, allowing the TMA-2 Studio Wireless+ headphones to be used cable-free over a low-lag, dropout-free connection
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The W+ Link transmitter (left) is plugged into to music creation hardware, allowing the TMA-2 Studio Wireless+ headphones to be used cable-free over a low-lag, dropout-free connection
The battery inside the headband is reckoned good for up to 80 hours of playback over Bluetooth, or 16 hours when working with the W+ Link wireless transmitter
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The battery inside the headband is reckoned good for up to 80 hours of playback over Bluetooth, or 16 hours when working with the W+ Link wireless transmitter
Richie Hawtin wearing the TMA-2 Studio Wireless+ headphones, which allow him to move freely around his workspace without getting snagged on trailing cables
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Richie Hawtin wearing the TMA-2 Studio Wireless+ headphones, which allow him to move freely around his workspace without getting snagged on trailing cables
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Denmark's AIAIAI has added a new flavor to its TMA-2 modular headphones system introduced back in 2015. The Wireless+ over-ears have been developed in collaboration with British-Canadian electronic music producer Richie Hawtin, and are designed with creative pros in mind.

Though there are audio codecs that support playback of high resolution music over Bluetooth, if you're in the studio producing music then you'd likely opt for the reliability afforded by a cabled connection – not just for higher resolution playback potential, but also because a wireless connection can introduce unacceptable latency to the mix. But if you need to move around when the creative muse strikes, trailing cables can be a pain.

The Wireless+ headphones come with Bluetooth 5.0 with support for AAC and SBC codecs for up to 80 hours of per-charge playback and a 1.5-m (5-ft) coiled cable for a more traditional plugging in experience. But AIAIAI has also created a portable W+ Link dual-antenna transmitter for a low-latency, lossless audio wireless connection.

"In 2021, it feels archaic to be wired to a piece of hardware just to guarantee pristine audio quality," said Richie Hawtin. "The TMA-2 Wireless+ headphones give you the freedom to step further away from your devices, allowing you to capture creative and expressive ideas while immersed in perfect sound. Disconnect and dive deeper into your moment of creativity."

The W+ Link transmitter (left) is plugged into to music creation hardware, allowing the TMA-2 Studio Wireless+ headphones to be used cable-free over a low-lag, dropout-free connection
The W+ Link transmitter (left) is plugged into to music creation hardware, allowing the TMA-2 Studio Wireless+ headphones to be used cable-free over a low-lag, dropout-free connection

That W+ Link lag is just 16 ms, an operating range of 12 m (39 ft) is possible, AIAIAI is also promising a dropout-free experience and the system constantly monitors the connection to make sure the "best signal is applied and used for the audio stream," and the battery should be good for up to 16 hours of the 970-mAh battery in the headband. The 2,700-mAh battery in the W+ Link transmitter can last up to 30 hours per charge.

The modular headphones also come with 40-mm driver units, each rocking a bio-cellulose diaphragm and neodymium magnet combination for "more accurate and detailed sound from the speaker with the ability to retain clarity of sound at high volumes."

As with other members of AIAIAI's modular headphone universe, the new Wireless+ cans have flexibility at their core and are designed to last – meaning that users can upgrade or extend the lifetime of their headphones simply by swapping out component modules.

The TMA-2 Studio Wireless+ headphones for music creators are up for pre-order now for US$350, with the general availability window opening in January 2022. You can hear Hawtin himself explain what the Wireless+ system is all about in the video below.

AIAIAI TMA-2 Wireless+ with Richie Hawtin

Product page: Wireless+

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1 comment
1 comment
LooseSends
I dunno, 16ms is still a bit high for recording drums and instruments that also have their own lag time (maybe 5ms through MIDI) although just using these things to mix or review would be more than sufficient.

As much as I could use a wireless set when solo recording different instruments in different spots in my small studio space, while having to bounce back and forth to the board for adjustments, any latency I can shave off seems to be more important to me.