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Who of you still knows the original on ear headphones with black or orange pads  of the Sony SRF-40 FM Walkman back in 1980, or the Sony WM-2 WalkmanII back in 1981 ??

AIAIAI Tracks Headphone series (headphones & headphones with microphone) are on-ear headphones inspired by the function and design of the old iconic walkman headphones.” 

 

AIAIAI Tracks headphones unboxing

The picture above shows the box of the AIAIAI Tracks Headphones with microphone in the color black. The box surface has the same eye catching blackwhite structure as the AIAIAI website background.

In the left top corner you can see a black sticker with the AIAIAI logo in green on it. Furthermore you can see a black band around the box with the product name and a nice picture of the AIAIAI Tracks Headphones. After you slide off the band/binding you can open the box easily with a special black flap on the right side of the box to remove the upperpart of the box. The picture below clearly shows this black flap on the right side of the box, which is initially hidden under the black band. First clever design-part uncovered !!

In the right part of the picture above you can see the actual headphones, and the brace to which the headphones are connected with a clever slider mechanism. Just above the speakers you can see the two additional sets of sliders in the colors green and pink. On the AIAIAI Tracks product description page you can read:

“The simple brace design fits all and ensures a comfortable and secure fit. The slider connecting the ear cup and the brace comes in three sets of different colours for customization.”

In the left part of the picture you can see a band with the inverse structure of the outside surface of the box. Under this band you will find the AIATAT Tracks headphones user manual”, a sheet with AIAIAI stickers and a small bag to transport and stow away your AIAIAI Tracks headphones.

An overview of the bag, stickers and user manual is shown in the picture above (from left to right). In order to close the unboxing section of this review I would like to end with a picture of the backside of the closed box with AIAIAI Tracks headphones. As you can see some of the product specifications and product details are printed onto the black band/ribbon.

 

Technical specifications

Below electronic engineers, musicians or audio-lovers can have a look at the detailed overview of technical specifications.

  • Driver Unit Size: 40 mm.
  • Plug: 3.5 mm. stereo plug
  • Speaker Impedance: 23 Ohm
  • Speaker Sensitivity: 112 +/- 3dB
  • Maximum Operating Voltage: 3-10 V

Unfortunately I’m not an expert in this field, so I can only tell that there is a (significant) difference in speaker impedance and speaker sensitivity of the AIAIAI Tracks headphones compared with the AIAIAI Y-COM in-ear headphones. The difference is probably related to the driver unit size / speaker size.

 

A closer look at some product details

One of the main parts is the simple but elegant designed metal brance, to which the speakers are attached with a clever slider mechanism. In other words on the AIAIAI Tracks product description page:

“The design of Tracks is subtle with a clear focus on organic lines and an overall iconic shape. The simple brace design fits all and ensures a comfortable and secure fit.” 

When I wrote a short review of the AIAIAI Y-COM in-ear headphones about half a year ago, the first product detail that I liked was the 3.0 mm. thinkness of the cable of the AIAIAI Y-COM headphones. The cable thickness of the AIAIAI Tracks headphones is about 2.0 mm. and combined the rubber coating (in comparison with a more plastic coating on the AIAIAI Y-COM headphones) it does give the AIAIAI Tracks headphones a slightly less heavy duty look and feel compared with the Y-COM headphones.

In the picture above we can see some typical AIAIAI headphone details, which are also present on the Y-COM headphones:

  1. A sleek gold-plated 3.5 mm. plug with a nice AIAIAI logo on it;
  2. A thicker Y-part, which splits the cable to the left- and right speaker;
  3. A small microphone embedded in the cable to the right speaker;

In my opinion the presence of the small AIAIAI logo on the plug shows that the designers even thought about the small details. My compliments to the AIAIAI Tracks headphone designers for the robust Y-part which is one of the weak parts in some standard old headphones, like it was the case in the early 80’s !

Furthermore I would like to have a closer look at the slider mechnism that connects the driver unit/speaker with the brace.

At first you can see the slider mechanism connected to the metal brace in the right part of the picture above. In order to make the AIAIAI Tracks headphones fit the size of your head and position of your ears, you can easily slide this part in the slot of the brace (in the picture it is a left-right sliding direction).

Second you can see the driver unit/speaker with a ball in the center. The headphones can easily be clicked into the sliders because of the ball(-and-socket) joint design, that provides some additional freedom of movement for the driver unit/speakers resulting in an excellent fit. But also …

“For disassembly you can easily slide off your ear cups and pack them securely for transportation or share your music with a friend. The headphones come with a neat carrying bag for protecting the different headphone parts and keeping the wires from entangling with other items in your bag.”

 

Practical use and first experiences

With the clever slider parts and the ball (-and-socket) joint design it is very easy to first assemble the AIAIAI Tracks on-ear headphones, and second adjust these headphones for a proper fit to your head. :) The AIAIAI Tracks headphones are very comfortable to wear, even after hourse of use when these are connected to my Lenovo X60 tablet or Zune HD 16GB/32GB.

One of the product details that becomes very helpful in daily practice is the microphone embedded in the right speaker cable. The AIAIAI Tracks headphones product page shows compatibility with Apple iPhone, Apple iPod and BlackBerry devices. This means that you can take phonecalls or end them, or simply play or stop a song, via the on/off switch on microphone unit.

This functionality worked remarkably well on the HTC HD2 Windows Phone, despite it is not included in the compatibility desciption. On the Zune HD it doesn’t work, but I can’t complain since it is not guaranteed that this functionality is compatible.

Finally the most important question: “How good is the sound quality ?” I would like to refer to a conclusion in the article: “Short review of AIAIAI Y-COM in-ear headphones” since the AIAIAI Tracks headphones show a very similar experience !!

“Last but not least the sound quality of these headphones is remarkably good!! [...] some musicians or audio-lovers might question the sound quality of the AIAIAI Y-COM headphones. Of course there probably are technically superioir in-ear headphones on the market (like the Shure E530 or the Ethymotic ER4 headphones), however the pricepoint of these headphones is much higher. I have put different styles of music on my Zune HD 32GB:  Rock, Trance, Pop and even Classical music. With all these styles the sound quality is high, which means a very clear sound output at low volumes as well as a good “color” of the music.”

 

Concluding thoughts and wrap-up

“Once again the development has been a collaboration with Kilo Design to ensure a unique expression together with the newest speaker driver technology and material craftsmanship. The 40mm speaker offers a full spectrum sonic experience from the deepest base to high frequency tones.”

It won’t be much of a suprise that I’m really impressed with the exceptional design, that is functional and simple at the same time. Great compliments for the designers and engineers, since even the box includes some clever design features. :)

Furthermore the sound quality and sound “color” are more than ok, but there might be some audio experts out there that will question my statement. However there will be a very large group of end-users that simply can’t go wrong with the AIAIAI Tracks on-ear headphones.

There are two minor points of feedback. If you plan to use the AIAIAI Tracks on-ear headphones with your phone, you might miss a clip to attach the microphone unit to the collar of your shirt, sweater or jacket like we know from some standard wired phone-headphones.

Second the thickness of the on/off button on the microphone unit seems to be smaller in comparison with the AIAIAI Y-COM headphones, which makes it a slightly more difficult to feel. I might be picky, however I’m 110% sure that this doesn’t result in any quality or usability issues.

The overall conclusion regarding the AIAIAI Tracks on-ear headphones can be very simple, you simply can’t go wrong with these headphones if you are looking for a pair of on-ear headphones. If you need more information about excellent AIAIAI in-ear headphones, you might want to check a short review of the AIAIAI Y-COM headphones.  For the highly interesting pricepoint of +/- €55,- / €60,-  you will get a lot of value: a well designed set of headphones that is fashionable as well.

This is an excellent product in which design, function, fashion and quality meet !

 
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