Danish studio Kilo has designed a set of headphones that allow users to create different arrangements of headbands, earpads, cables and speakers (+ movie).
The TMA-2 Modular headphones are produced by Danish audio equipment company Aiaiai, and are available with a range of pieces that can be combined to create up to 360 different variations.
Among the options are different sizes and shapes of ear pad, straight or curled cables, and different shapes of headband.
"This is a new way of thinking about headphones," said Kilo Design founder Lars Larsen.
"The main components are separated with jack lock connectors, making three different brace designs compatible with four speaker units with different sound settings," he explained. "These four speakers are then compatible with five different earpads and six cable solutions, creating 360 possible headphone configurations."
One version of the headband is made from polycarbonate coated in rubber, while two nylon options offer either a foam cushion or a moulded silicone pad where they come into contact with the wearer's head. Gold-plated jacks are built into either side to connect to the speaker boxes and ear pads.
Among the five different ear pad designs is one made from memory foam with a layer of a microfibre fabric that covers the entire ear, and a velour-covered on-ear version designed to prevent the user from feeling too warm.
Cables come in five variations, with different lengths and jack sizes for professional and personal uses. All four speaker box options are housed in injection-moulded ABS cases coated in matt rubber.
The pieces can be purchased individually, but are also available in four presets that offer the ideal configurations for different uses, including a DJing option and a set for use in a recording studio.
The modular design is an evolution from Aiaiai's earlier headphone design by Kilo called the TMA-1, which had a detachable cable on the lower part of the earpiece on the left side of the headband.
Like the earlier version, the TMA-2 is finished in a matt-black plastic coating and the ring of each ear pad is finished in black PU leather or fabric.
"The core technology is taken from the TMA-1 setup but updated and improved to accommodate performance and logistics of a new modular platform," said Larsen. "It's still coated injection-moulded structural components, which have been tested and optimised over the years.
"The combination of precise industrialised manufacturing combined with soft tactile materials like leather and fabric creates a great balance in the product," Larsen said.
Larsen first met the team from Aiaiai when they started a nightclub on the roof of the building the two businesses were occupying in 2006, and have been collaborating on product designs for ten years – including a set of headphones with interchangeable parts.
"This idea and decision is a product of years of discussion about how to develop a new relevant platform in this industry while securing a product line in terms of future development," said Larsen. "The basic design DNA and functionality has proven strong over the years."
"Rather than designing the new, this project evolved from good design to better. I like the idea of aesthetic sustainability rather than hunting novelty and newness," he added.