Best new studio monitors 2023: AIAIAI Unit-4 Wireless+ | Juno Daily

As 2023 draws to a close and we look ahead to 2024, we’re bringing you our picks of the best new gear this year, from drum machines to turntables.

Best new studio monitors 2023: AIAIAI Unit-4 Wireless+

AIAIAI do things differently. Since bursting onto the scene in 2010 with their original TMA-1 modular headphones, the Danish brand have shaken things up. The stylish looks of the TMA series have certainly inspired a few other manufacturers to up their game in recent years, while even giants like Pioneer DJ have adopted the customisable, modular approach with headphones like their HDJ-CUE1s. What’s more, AIAIAI’s forward-thinking eco credentials – from lifetime buy-back and refurbishment programmes through to the use of recycled plastic – have helped push the music tech world to recognise its environmental responsibilities.

What AIAIAI haven’t done is venture outside that world of headphones. At least until now. The AIAIAI Unit-4 Wireless+ speakers mark the brand’s first foray into different territory, although they take a typically original approach to the concept of studio monitors. They’re a two-way active design, but that’s just about where the conventional approach ends. Let’s consider for a moment that term, ‘studio monitors’; the Unit-4s are built with rechargeable internal batteries, so your studio is now essentially anywhere you want it to be. If that’s not enough, they’re actually fully wireless thanks to the same Wireless+ transmitter we’ve seen on the TMA-2 headphones. It’s worth taking a second to point out that this could all easily become gimmicky, but AIAIAI pull it off with the kind of slick professionalism you might not trust other brands to achieve. If you’re not familiar with Wireless+, it’s a far cry from the Bluetooth wireless connections, offering true lossless sound and extremely low latency (you can read a more thorough explanation of how it works and its benefits in our review of the TMA-2 Studio Wireless+ headphones here).

Studio monitors are ultimately judged on sound quality rather than portability or wirelessness, but thankfully the Unit-4s don’t disappoint in that respect. They’re surprisingly neutral and balanced for compact monitors, with their four-inch woofer and one-inch silk-dome tweeter delivering ±2 dB frequency response from 50 Hz to 20 kHz and extension down to 40 Hz. App-controllable sound profiles also allow you to tune the monitors appropriately, for a range of indoor and open-space settings. Set them up in a tiny bedroom for a quick mix with friends, or head to a spacious forest clearing for a production session; whatever floats your boat, you should be able to find a sound that works.

The Unit-4s won’t be for everyone, but they hit a unique niche. They’re certainly the most portable monitors we’ve ever seen, and ideal for anyone who wants to collab with friends in different settings or have the option of making and mixing music while travelling. Perhaps most exciting of all, though, is that they prove AIAIAI’s philosophy applies to more than just headphones; there are eco credentials here thanks to 100% recycled plastic construction, and a certain degree of modularity with a glue-free design allowing you to dismantle the entire speaker with just two screwdrivers and a cheeky hint that in future you’ll be able to “upgrade and replace components such as batteries, driver units and wireless electronics”. If this represents the future of AIAIAI’s unique approach, we say bring it on.

Greg Scarth

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