Sunday, December 30, 2012

AIAIAI Tracks: Subtle Becomes Too Simple

When using open-ear headphones, you have to remember that they do not provide sound quality as deep and rich as their full ear counterparts. That being said, I proceeded to approach reviewing AIAIAI’s basic headphone offering, the AIAIAI Tracks, with a little reservation.

This Denmark-based company is certainly no short-comer to the market, as Copenhagen is known for producing some of the best audio equipment in the world. I wanted to see how they could improve an intrinsically flawed design and deliver excellent sound quality while building on a simplistic design.

First Impressions
The packaging of a product always sets the tone for what to expect. While I was accustomed to headphones that came with all the little bells and whistles, such as sticker logos and flashy product line cards, AIAIAI Tracks took the less distracting route and brought in only an instruction card with how to assemble your product. Yup, that’s right – the headphones actually require some assembly.

The over-all theme here is simplicity, and they do this very well. The bright colors of the headphones stand out against the contrast of the box's white color. The headphones themselves look decent enough to stand out, but don’t hold up enough against most of what’s available in the market. I understand they went for simple in this design, but in my personal opinion they made it a little too simplistic on this one, bordering on not getting enough for what you pay for.

The headphones feel pretty durable, with the headband being solid enough to withstand a lot of punishment but lightweight enough to not be a bother to transport. The ear cup foams are comfortable to wear, even on long listening sessions. They don’t look like they won’t rip easily too, so that’s another plus.

The cables feel good to the touch and don’t tangle, even when you carelessly throw them in your bag. Over-all, the headphones are light, strong and well-made as well as look good to boot.

What you get in the box are: the headphones with remote and microphone, the steel headband, two pairs of different color headband connectors and an instruction manual.

The controller was a pain though. The buttons were hard to press and would not respond unless you gave them a firm push with the thumb. Having a built-in controller should make your headphones easier to use, but that little annoyance made it frustrating to deal with. No bells and whistles to be found here – just straight-to-goodness earphones.

Sound Quality
As I mentioned earlier in this article, open-ear earphones come with the intrinsic problem of not being able to deliver rich sound quality due to the lack of noise isolation. Headphones of this class normally make up for this by delivering better sound at louder volumes, and the AIAIAI Tracks headphones are a bit disappointing in this aspect.

As always, I used Far East Movement’s track Like a G6 to test sound quality. Right off the bat, I noticed that there was a big gap in the bass department. It was there, but not strong enough. Even boosting up the EQ to higher levels didn’t improve the sound much, and for acclaimed “award-winning” headphones, it was surprising that the pair didn’t deliver.

The other sound levels were just okay – for an expensive pair of headphones, I was expecting to be blown away, but was left disappointed. It’s not that the sound was bad, mind you. It was just not enough.

Final Rating
As before, here are my final scores of the headphones:
  • Construction: 4 / 5
  • Sound quality: 2.5 / 5
  • Aesthetics: 3 / 5
Over-all, I was left disappointed by this pair. Without considering the price point, the pair was just an okay pair. It was well-built, sure, but both sound quality and aesthetics were mediocre at best.

Bringing back the price factor, there are a lot of other headphones available in the market that are cheaper and can deliver better performance. If you’re looking for a basic pair of headphones for everyday use that will last though, you could pick up this pair and not be disappointed.

Suggested Retail Price of AIAIAI Tracks: Php3,250.00

AIAIAI Tracks is available in the following stores:
  • Astrovision
  • Beyond the Box
  • Digital Hub
  • Digital Walker
  • Egghead
  • Futureworld
  • PC Hub
  • Technoholics

Editor's Note: This article was written by Arbi Bautista, a special writer and contributor of Glich's Life. Arbi is an IT Consultant in one of the biggest global IT companies. He is a music and photography enthusiast, and a great public speaker too. Revisions to this article were done by yours truly prior to posting. You can follow Arbi on Twitter (@sowhatifimmaria). - Glenn / Glich


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