AIAIAI Studio Wireless+: Finally, low-latency headphones for music producers

Wi-fi is more and more the norm with regards to headphones. Even some laptop computer makers are ditching the headphone jack. (Taking a look at you, – you monsters.) And, whereas Bluetooth actually affords a number of comfort, there’s one group of customers who cannot actually take benefit: music producers. See, the latency launched by the most recent era of Bluetooth gadgets might be as much as 40ms even beneath best situations. And for older {hardware}, that may stretch nicely past 100ms. It isn’t simply the {hardware} that may pose an issue, both. Android for a very long time was recognized to have severe latency points over Bluetooth, although the scenario has, at the very least in accordance with Google. This makes it extraordinarily tough to maintain issues in time in case you’re recording and all however unusable for reside monitoring.

Then, in December of final 12 months, AIAIAI launched what it claims are the “world’s first wi-fi headphones for music creators,” the $350 . The important thing promoting level is a particular that guarantees a constant 16ms of latency. It isn’t zero latency, nevertheless it’s shut sufficient that sporting wi-fi headphones across the studio truly sounds cheap.

AIAIAI Studio Wireless+

Terrence O’Brien / Engadget

Now, earlier than we get to the wi-fi specifics, let’s discuss in regards to the TMA-2 headphones extra typically. Like the remainder of AIAIAI’s lineup these are that assist you to exchange numerous elements as vital, attributable to harm or altering wants. This additionally means you must assemble them once they first present up. However, this can be a fairly fast and straightforward course of, even when it appears a tad intimidating at first. It took me lower than 10 minutes from opening the field to having the headphones related to my laptop computer. Principally, in case you’ve ever put collectively a Lego set, then you may deal with a pair of AIAIAIs.

The Studio headphones use the corporate’s “,” they usually sound nice. They are not probably the most impartial sounding headphones I’ve ever used, however they are not terribly out of stability. I’ve discovered that the excessive frequency response is a bit higher, and the bass much less emphatic on my Sony MDR-7506s. The AIAIAI are nonetheless completely appropriate for mixing – simply go in figuring out that the tone errs in the direction of the darker aspect. However the sound stage could be very open and broad.

AIAIAI Studio Wireless+

Terrence O’Brien / Engadget

The 2 greatest complaints I’ve in regards to the sound are comparatively minor. As have , there’s a little bit of noise launched when utilizing them within the 2.4Ghz low-latency mode with the transmitter. It is a mild static you can begin to hear with the quantity at round 50 %, however turn into extra obvious over 75 %. You may principally mitigate this by altering the quantity on the supply as a substitute of on the headphones themselves, nevertheless it’s value being conscious of.

The second challenge is that the Studio Wi-fi+ are oddly quiet whenever you use them over Bluetooth. With my Jaybirds or Sonys, I often set the quantity on my cellphone to 75 or 80 %. However even at 100% I nonetheless discovered myself wishing for only a contact extra loudness on the AIAIAIs. An off-the-cuff dialog is not going to overpower your music, however they won’t present the extent of masking you’d need on a aircraft.

The Studio and Studio Wi-fi+ additionally include soft Alcantara lined earcups. I’ve worn them for hours on finish with no points. These are among the many most comfy headphones I’ve ever used. I had some delicate considerations in regards to the headband at first, which is all rubber and does not have any apparent cushioning. However these proved unfounded, as there is a mild give across the inside the band that delivers greater than sufficient padding for marathon recording periods.

AIAIAI Studio Wireless+

There’s additionally greater than sufficient battery life for marathon periods, too. AIAIAI says the Wi-fi+ will final over 80 hours in Bluetooth mode. Frankly, I shouldn’t have the persistence or the time to check this declare. I can inform you that I used them virtually every single day, in a mixture of Bluetooth and low-latency modes for 3 weeks and nonetheless had juice left. I did, nonetheless, check the declare of 16-hour battery life particularly utilizing 2.4GHz, and acquired 15 hours and 58 minutes. That is shockingly shut – and I used to be even capable of eke out a bit extra life by turning them again on in Bluetooth mode.

What was each gorgeous and complicated, although, was that regardless of getting the low battery beep once I powered them again on, each my MacBook and iPhone stated there was 40 % battery life left. I even took a 20-minute stroll whereas listening to music, and the battery gauge did not budge. I used to be then capable of sit at my laptop computer for nearly a full hour, taking part in again the occasional video and listening to music earlier than the headphones fully died and would not energy again on. However, even proper up till the tip macOS insisted there was 40 % left, so one thing is amiss. I’ve requested AIAIAI if they’ve any theories about why this may be and can replace this assessment if and once I hear again.

Oh, and even as soon as you have fully exhausted the battery, you may all the time join the headphones to your audio supply of alternative utilizing an everyday outdated TRS cable.

AIAIAI Studio Wireless+

In fact, the true cause to purchase the AIAIAI Studio Wi-fi+ is not for the epic battery life, it is for the particular low-latency mode and let me inform you: It delivers. Now, this isnt zero latency. You may detect it beneath very particular circumstances, nevertheless it’s not sufficient to make a distinction. I recorded reside utilizing my laptop computer and a MIDI controller, and practiced my finger drumming on the and had no points.

The one time I observed the miniscule 16ms of lag was when monitoring reside whereas recording in the identical room as my guitar amp. Having the ability to hear the amp over the feed from the headphones virtually made it sound like my guitar was double tracked. However the impact wasn’t pronounced sufficient to provide me any bother.

AIAIAI Studio Wireless+

Terrence O’Brien / Engadget

I do not assume I used to be ready for a way liberating this was, although. Though sure, taking headphones on and off, or dragging across the lengthy, heavy, coiled cable of my MDR-7506s round is a ache, my “studio” is extraordinarily small. It is the entrance third of a completed attic, and it does triple obligation as my workplace and our visitor bed room. So, there’s not a number of area to maneuver and it is kinda cluttered.

Nonetheless, with the ability to decide up my guitar, with out first taking off my headphones or worrying about conserving the cable out of the best way was nice. And strolling backwards and forwards to swap out a pedal on my board, or a drum machine on my desk with out pondering, made experimentation that a lot simpler. A lot of any inventive endeavor is about getting right into a move state and staying there. Even the tiniest hurdle can disrupt that, and the AIAIAI Studio Wi-fi+ removes a kind of hurdles.

AIAIAI Studio Wireless+

This freedom to maneuver about would most likely be even higher appreciated by folks with bigger, extra nicely outfitted studios. The vary on the two.4GHz transmitter is fairly strong, too. I used to be capable of stroll from my attic all the best way to the bottom ground earlier than I began to lose connection.

Now, the query is whether or not that comfort is well worth the $350. And I might say, for me at the very least, the reply is sure. Although I have a tendency to construct my studio on a price range (in spite of everything: I am not knowledgeable musician, life in New York is pricey and I’ve two youngsters), this looks like an indulgence value making. Should you’re the sort who produces music solely within the field (on a pc utilizing software program devices solely), the enchantment won’t be as sturdy. However with the ability to mill about, untethered, and file, whereas additionally avoiding waking up my household in the midst of the night time, is a godsend.

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