I must admit I have been a big fan of Aiaiai headphones for sometime now from the launch of the Tracks to the TMA-1 which has been highly praised by many and even the polarizing TMA-1 Studio which came out last year had a likability to it despite the polarizing and misunderstood nature of its sound.
There is a pattern to how Aiaiai work though and over the last few years each stock headphone has had a number of “editions” come out such as the Fool Gold for the TMA-1 so it is no surprise that the Studio got a work over this year with the launch of the new Young Guru edition in dashing black and red.
So who exactly is this Young Guru chappie then? Gimel “Young Guru” Keaton is pretty much one of the top sound engineers in R&B at this moment in time working with the likes of Jay-Z, Alicia Keys and Drake to name but a few and managing to grab a heralded Grammy in his spare time for his work. For most audiophiles who read the rags and buy the gear the endorsement of someone who actually knows how to engineer and produce music rather than sing a rap tune or two is far more assuring in terms of the likely level of input and expertise they put into the final product.
Certainly when word got out earlier this year that Young Guru was to be involved the initial question was in what way? By all accounts the fabled man himself got stuck right in from the physical design to the driver and final tuning process so I actually honestly believe the story on this one in terms of what he put into it and it is just not a bland endorsement.
What I can tell you right away is that the Young Guru edition, whilst retaining that brighter sound signature of the original Studio edition that marked it as a radical step away from the dark attenuated on-ear TMA-1, does have some added coloration that gives it a different personality and tonal presentation.