AIAIAI Studio Wi-fi+: lastly low-latency headphones for music producers

Wi-fi is more and more the norm in relation to earphones. Even some laptop computer producers are ditching the headphone jack. (You look, — you freaks.) And, whereas Bluetooth actually affords a whole lot of comfort, there’s one group of customers who cannot fairly benefit from it: music producers. You see, the latency launched by the brand new era of Bluetooth units might be as excessive as 40ms, even underneath best situations. And for older {hardware}, this may stretch effectively past 100ms. It is not simply the {hardware} that may be an issue. For a very long time, Android was identified to have severe latency points over Bluetooth, though the scenario has , not less than in response to Google. This makes it extraordinarily tough to maintain issues on time when you’re recording and almost unusable for reside monitoring.

Then, in December final yr, AIAIAI launched what it claims to be the “world’s first wi-fi headphones for music creators,” the $350 . The primary promoting level is a particular which guarantees a continuing latency of 16 ms. It is not zero latency, but it surely’s shut sufficient that sporting wi-fi headphones within the studio feels cheap.

AIAIAI Studio Wireless+

Terrence O’Brien / Engadget

Now, earlier than we get into the wi-fi specifics, let’s speak in regards to the TMA-2 headphones extra typically. Like the remainder of the AIAIAI vary, these are which let you change varied elements if crucial, on account of harm or altering wants. This additionally implies that you could assemble them after they first seem. But it surely’s a reasonably fast and simple course of, even when it appears a bit daunting at first. It took me lower than 10 minutes from opening the field to connecting the headphones to my laptop computer. Mainly, you probably have already assembled a Lego set, you possibly can handle a pair of AIAIAI.

Studio headphones use the ““, they usually sound nice. They are not probably the most impartial headphones I’ve ever used, however they are not terribly unbalanced. I discovered the excessive frequency response to be just a little higher and the bass much less boosted on my Sony MDR-7506 AIAIAIs are nonetheless nice for mixing – go in understanding the tone is heading in the direction of the darker facet, however the soundstage may be very open and large.

AIAIAI Studio Wireless+

Terrence O’Brien / Engadget

The 2 largest complaints I’ve in regards to the sound are comparatively minor. Like to have , there may be some noise launched when utilizing them in 2.4Ghz low latency mode with the transmitter. It is a slight static which you could begin to hear with the amount at round 50%, however turns into extra noticeable at over 75%. You possibly can largely mitigate this by altering the amount on the supply fairly than the headphones themselves, but it surely’s value being conscious of.

The second challenge is that the Studio Wi-fi+ are oddly quiet when utilizing them over Bluetooth. With my Jaybirds or Sonys, I normally set the amount on my cellphone to 75 or 80%. However even at 100%, I discovered myself wishing for just a bit extra quantity on the AIAIAI. Informal dialog is not going to dominate your music, but it surely won’t present the extent of masking you’d need on an airplane.

The Studio and Studio Wi-fi+ additionally include plush Alcantara-covered ear cups. I wore them for hours with none issues. These are among the most comfy headphones I’ve ever used. At first, I had slight considerations in regards to the headband, which is all rubber and has no apparent padding. However these turned out to be unfounded, as there is a comfortable don across the within the band that gives greater than sufficient padding for marathon recording classes.

AIAIAI Studio Wireless+

The battery life can also be greater than sufficient for marathon classes. AIAIAI says the Wi-fi+ will final over 80 hours in Bluetooth mode. Frankly, I haven’t got the endurance or the time to check this declare. I can let you know that I used them virtually day by day, in a mixture of Bluetooth and low latency modes for 3 weeks and nonetheless had some juice left. I did, nonetheless, check the 16 hour battery life declare utilizing 2.4GHz particularly, and bought 15 hours and 58 minutes. It is surprisingly shut – and I used to be even capable of acquire a bit extra life by turning them again on in Bluetooth mode.

What was each superb and complicated, nonetheless, was that regardless of the low battery beep after I turned them again on, my MacBook and iPhone had been exhibiting 40% battery life remaining. 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 in entrance of my laptop computer for almost a full hour, enjoying the occasional video and listening to music earlier than the headphones fully shut down and would not flip again on. However, even till the top, macOS insisted that there was 40% left, so one thing is fallacious. I requested AIAIAI if they’d any theories as to why this may be and can replace this assessment if and after I hear once more.

Oh, and even after you have fully drained the battery, you possibly can nonetheless join the headphones to your audio supply of selection utilizing a daily previous TRS cable.

AIAIAI Studio Wireless+

In fact, the actual 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 let you know: it delivers. Now that is not zero latency. You possibly can detect it in very particular circumstances, however that is not sufficient to make a distinction. I recorded reside utilizing my laptop computer and a MIDI controller, and practiced finger drumming on the and had no issues.

The one time I observed the tiny 16ms lag was when monitoring reside whereas recording in the identical room as my guitar amp. With the ability to hear the amp on headphone energy virtually appeared like my guitar was dual-tracked. However the impact wasn’t sturdy sufficient to trigger me any issues.

AIAIAI Studio Wireless+

Terrence O’Brien / Engadget

I do not assume I used to be ready for the way liberating it was, although. Whereas sure, switching the headphones on and off, or dragging the lengthy, heavy, coiled cable from my MDR-7506s is a ache, my “studio” is extraordinarily small. It’s the entrance third of a completed attic, and it serves as each an workplace and a visitor bed room. So there’s not a lot area to maneuver round and it is a bit crowded.

Nonetheless, having the ability to choose up my guitar, with out first eradicating my headphones or worrying about maintaining the cable out of the best way, was superior. And going forwards and backwards to swap a pedal on my board, or a drum machine on my desk with out pondering, made experimenting that a lot simpler. A giant a part of any inventive endeavor is getting right into a state of move and staying there. Even the smallest impediment can disrupt this, and the AIAIAI Studio Wi-fi+ removes a kind of obstacles.

AIAIAI Studio Wireless+

This freedom of motion would undoubtedly be much more appreciated by folks with bigger and higher geared up studios. The vary of the two.4 GHz transmitter can also be fairly strong. I used to be capable of stroll from my attic all the best way downstairs earlier than I began shedding connection.

Now the query is whether or not this comfort is well worth the $350. And I’d say, for me not less than, the reply is sure. Though I have a tendency to construct my studio on a shoestring price range (in any case: I am not knowledgeable musician, life in New York is dear and I’ve two youngsters), this looks like an indulgence value making. For those who’re the kind to provide music fully out of the field (on a pc utilizing solely software program devices), the attraction won’t be so sturdy. However having the ability to shoot, untethered and report, whereas not waking up my household in the course of the evening, is a godsend.

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