PSB is a name well-known in the audio realm. For over 40 years, PSB has been at the forefront of high end audio. Their Alpha B1 speakers are a perfect example of a high quality loudspeaker. Recently, however, PSB has turned towards headphones– and the PSB M4U 2 are their attempt to demonstrate their audio prowess to the world of high end personal audio with active noise cancellation.
The ANC headphone category is stuffed full of great products. Starting with Bose and their QuietComfort line, the ANC game has gotten very heated in the past few years. With competitors such as Beats and Street by 50 coming to play the game the competition is forcing the consumer to carefully study what the options are.
The M4U 2 headphones feature two cables– one with a microphone and one without. Packed with 40 mm drivers, the relatively plain and simple looking outside packs a serious punch. The M4U 2 features extremely comfortable foam ear cups which allows for listening all day. With a 55 hour battery life on a pair of AAA batteries, you don’t have any reason to take them off, either. The M4U 2 also comes with a semi-hard case and folds neatly into it.
The best part about the M4u 2 is of course the sound quality. With ANC on, or just in “active (amplified)” mode, they sound fantastic. Definition is lost while using them passively, however, they still sound great. With no music playing in ANC mode there is a very faint hum. This is something that I’ve noticed in every set of ANC headphones I’ve used, however, the PSB M4U 2 is less annoying than the others.
The PSB is tonally quite neutral. This surprised me as most ANC headphones I’ve heard are bass heavy. Instead, the M4U 2 are fast and dynamic with well pronounced midrange and treble signatures. The sound stage is decent with ANC off, however noise cancellation seems to mess it up a little bit.
The main issue with the PSB M4U 2 headphones is the price. You can buy an arguably similar performance set of ANC headphones from Audio Technica for half the money. No, they won’t have the PSB name and they won’t look quite as fancy, but it’s hard to justify twice the price for the PSBs. Still, you can often find the PSB set much closer to $300 in which case the comparison doesn’t lean towards the Audio Technica set as much.
Either way, if money is no object, the PSB M4U 2 are great sounding, comfortable, and look good enough. You can’t go wrong buying a set.