AIAIAI Unit-4 Wireless+ Portable Studio Speakers Review

Small enough to take anywhere and cable-free with next to no latency. AIAIAI’s latest product is a little bit niche, but hard not to love.

Tech & Gadgets
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Danish audio maker AIAIAI has built a cult-like following amongst DJs, producers and everyday audiophiles thanks to its cool, minimalist design and the proprietary tech found in its headphones that deliver super low latency, studio quality sound wirelessly. With its latest release, AIAIAI Unit-4 Wireless+, the brand has expanded its range into full-sized speakers, porting over its design language and technology into what it calls “the world’s first fully wireless, fully portable studio monitors.”

Full-sized wireless speakers have become more common as technology has evolved and as brands look to cash in on consumers’ need for convenience. However, what sets AIAIAI’s Unit 4 apart is not just that they are battery powered – each speaker houses an impressive 77Wh battery for 20 hours of playback, capable of charging to full in just two hours – but that they do not depend on Bluetooth and the inevitable sound compression that comes with it. Well, not entirely, at least; while the Unit-4 speakers do offer Bluetooth 5.2 as a connectivity option that’s perfect for casual use, where they shine – and where most other wireless speakers can’t compete, currently – is when they’re connected with the included X02 Transmitter, a low-latency dongle that features ‘W+ Link’, AIAIAI’s aforementioned proprietary tech. This allows the speakers to deliver completely uncompressed sound from your audio source with just 16 milliseconds of latency, a practically undetectable delay for the average human ear and invaluable for DJs, producers and musicians who need an instantaneous sonic response.

The Unit-4 speakers come as a pair that can be used together as a left and right channel, or individually in either stereo or mono. They feature a two-way design housing 1-inch silk dome tweeters and 4-inch high excursion paper cone woofers, each of which is individually powered by dual 30W amplifiers (that can reach a peak of 80W); and, as you’d expect from studio monitors, the Unit-4 have a flat frequency response range of 50Hz to 20kHz, making them ideal for music production. AIAIAI says the speakers have been “designed for portability while delivering reference monitor performance” and one of the accessories available for them is the Unit-4 Carrying Case, a velvet-lined briefcase style bag that comes with a shoulder strap for easy transport – they weigh 2.5kg (5.5lbs) each, though, something to keep in mind.

In terms of design, the Unit-4 speakers are inspired by the unmistakable angular shape of stage monitors; this wedged shape is purposeful, and, when placed horizontally, the speakers angle upwards to direct sound towards the user. They can also be used upright or on speaker stands, with holes on the bottom of each unit for this. Each speaker has a removable magnetic metal grill, as well as a light ring in the center that illuminates to indicate volume level, battery life and connectivity status. There are just two buttons on the back of each speaker: one to choose the connectivity mode and the other to select the sound channel. Setting them up is as simple as plugging the X02 Transmitter into your audio source and clicking the mode selector on the back to activate ‘W+’ – the dongle and speakers will then connect to each other automatically. You can switch between wireless (‘W+’) and Bluetooth modes at the touch of a button, and the same goes for selecting your left and right channel arrangement. AIAIAI has kept things minimal on the top of the speaker, too, with one button for power and two to adjust volume up or down. All in all, the stripped-back UI encourages a kind of get up and go approach that plays into the speakers’ portability, and in addition to these buttons the only other things you’ll find on the back of speakers are two input sockets (for a 3.5mm mini-jack and a 6.3mm TRS) and one for a charging cable. Whilst in keeping with AIAIAI’s typically minimal design language, the Danish brand designed its Unit-4 speakers in partnership with Swiss design collective Panter&Tourron, whose previous work includes projects for Balenciaga, Hermès and Hublot.

AIAIAI Unit-4 Wireless+ Portable Studio Speakers Monitors Bluetooth DJ Pioneer Denon Technics

Circularity is a key part of AIAIAI’s philosophy and the brand has built most of its products to be modular with individual components replaceable or repairable. This remains true with the Unit-4 and the entire speaker can be disassembled with just two types of screwdriver; AIAIAI has stated that it will be offering replacements for parts that wear down over time, including the speakers’ drivers. All plastic used in the Unit-4 comes from recycled post-consumer waste, adding to the speakers’ sustainability credits.

While the speakers lack any physical knobs to adjust EQ levels, like any modern audio device the Unit-4 comes with its own app. The ‘AIAIAI Unit-4’ app allows users to adjust the speakers levels, create sound profiles, update firmware and even adjust the light ring’s brightness. It’s available on both iOS and Android.

AIAIAI’s Unit-4 Wireless+ portable studio monitors may be somewhat niche, but they’re unlike anything else currently on the market. They’re available now via the brand’s website priced at £700 GBP / $800 USD / €800 EUR.

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