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PSB M4U 2 Noise Canceling headphones

89% Positive Reviews
Rated #1 in Noise-Canceling


Pros: Cancel noise is good but not very good

Cons: Not very strong



This headphone is the best I've heard.

I have Sennheiser PXC 450 and Bose QC 25.

PXC 450 has a poor sound if you hear the PSB M4U2 !

Bose QC 25 is impressive about cancel noise, but too much bass and not very musical.


PSB is excellent for listen music in 3 modes and his cancel noise is not the cancel noise of the Bose, but I prefer PSB.


Pros: Good in passive mode, great in active, and decent noice canceling

Cons: My ears get warm, and a bit too big and heavy for laying on my back.

I bought these headphones a little over a week ago, and thought I should post my impressions. I work in a small office, and sit close to my boss, who is constantly on the phone, so I wanted a noice-canceling big headphone for home and for the office. I first listened to these a year ago and fell in love with the sound, but my wallet didn't allow the purchase, and now I own them, and am very happy with them.


Previously I owned the K701's, but sold them because the headband hurt my scalp, and I've been using in-ear phones since. I mostly liked the sound in the K701; the bass was very correct, but sometimes not that fun, and the highs were incredibly unforgiving. The PSB's are more balanced in my view, and have a bit more oomph, especially with the built in amp on. The noice canceling works well in the office, but does change the sound slightly, I can't put my finger on what happens, but it is not as good as with just the amplification on. Either having a stack of batteries handy or a charger seems to be needed, but I think this is a better solution than a built in charger.


Edit: Formatting


Pros: Very detailed and well balance + good enough punchy bass ( I love the amp mode ) Stylish ,,but bulky looking

Cons: Bulky and yes,, a bit heavy

Bought this PSB M4U2 for a few days now,, super happy and excited - bought it from a headphone store.  ( Headphone Bar - w. boardway, Vancouver bc )

I always wanted a noise cancelling headphone with passive mode and uses batteries than stupid rechargeable ones.. and I have been doing my research and listing on headphones for a month before purchase and now my wish has come true  + this headset has a amplifier mode ,, which makes the music sound lively and hearing the vocals are super clear and clean sounding.

I feel that the amp mode is the best mode than the nc mode.,, but still nc mode , is awesome ,, I couldn't even hear my phone ring ,, when I was listening in nc mode,

I wish this headset is a bit lighter and not so bulky design and at times,, is not that comfortable at a long period of time.. other than that comparing to my other favourite headphones - like :

V-moda M80 , B&W P3 and Monster DNA's , the PSB M4U2 is one of my best headset - I own for now.  I haven't tested using my headphone amplifier on this yet,, like the Fiio e17 and Electric-Avenues

PA2V2 amplifier ...I'm wondering how much more detail of sound .. if I use them on m4u2 ,, my next purchase might just get a better amp at $500-600 range.:gs1000smile:


Pros: Natural Representation, Soundstage "Room-Feel Technology", Nice Midrange, Integrated Amplifier

Cons: Noise Cancelling Is not the best, very heavy, On-ear clamping pressure, plastic design, Slight grain in the treble, Bass-transient are not the best

I've owned the Sennheiser Momentums, B&W P7's, and other mid-fi portable headphones but I prefer these in terms of sound quality only.

Why? These headphone's have such an organic/balanced representation of all the sound frequencies that it really sounds accurate/natural opposed to accurate/cold or overly colored.

Sennheiser Momentum: Dull/bloated bass response, overly thick midrange, and recessed high frequencies.

B&W P7's: Unnatural Representation, slightly thin midrange, loose bass, strident high frequencies.

Ultasone Edition 8's: They are like $1499. Better than the P7's and PSB's , but severely overpriced.

Bose QC 15: I tried to like them for their excellent noise cancellation but the sound is so horrible.

Sennheiser PXC 450- Dry, dry midrange, subpar bass response, better noise cancellation than the M4U2's but not better passive sound isolation.


Pros: Amazing active (NC off) sound quality. Full range response.

Cons: Not that comfortable for long periods. Active NC has weird distortion sometimes. Poor Internal build.

Warning: See Update (2014-12-15) below.


First, a disclaimer. My Head is of an above average size. 7 3/4 (XXL)

These headphones are very well made. In the world of plastic, it's nice to see headphones put together with metal and screws, though plastic is still heavily used. Because of this, they are heavy and ridged. The problem with this, is if you have a large head then they clamp uncomfortably to your head. Because of the stylized ear cups, you will find pressure on parts of your years. This is in contrast with most high end Sony or Sennheiser.


With a good headphone amp the fully off state produces good sound with good passive noise isolation.

With the middle "active" setting, you get a nice quality build in headphone amp which improved bass response considerably and is very enjoyable.

The full Noise Cancelling mode is inconsistent. It seems, based on the quality of your input, their can be a bit of a feedback loop where noise is introduced to the noise cancelling feedback.

Compared to headphones like the Bose, Sony or Audio Technica, this is a dirtier implementation.


The travel case, detachable cables and other accessories round out a very well thought out package.


Ultimately I regret my purchase, not because of the NC feature, value or any of these things, but simply due to them lacking the all day comfort I need for hours of coding at my job. Again, please take into consideration the size of your head vs. mine when reading this review.


These headphones were purchased used.


Update (2014-03-05): I still have these headphones. I'm not sure if this is intentional, but the headphones come with a second set of pads. I found these to be stiffer. This allowed the headphones to sit properly on my head and are more comfortable. Again, not as comfortable as Senns for example, but comfortable enough that the amazing sound quality is worth it. 


Lastly, I can't seem to add a photo. I apparently lack permission. 


Update (2014-12-03): Still using these headphones. So I apparently do not regret buying them. I can't find a pair of NC headphones that comes close to the overall quality and sound of these. One feature of note, is that they act as a headset for making phone calls. This is something I do regularly at work through our internal VOIP system. I also use the feature on my phone. 


Update (2014-12-15): 



Pros: Sound, Build Quality

Cons: None so far!

Just got my PSB M4U 2 headphones after a dilligent search for the right cans for my lifestyle.  I am a "limited audiophile".  Limited since my main genre is classic rock from the 60's and 70's.  If you need a broader range of music style to consider, then please press on.  This review may not be that helpful for you. I am also a frequent traveller, so the noise cancelling consideration is important for me.  I originally bought some AKG K495NC's, which were returned due to discomfort on the ears during long plane trips, and also considered and tried out the Sennheiser PXC 450's, which were a little too large for convenient carrying in my travel bag, and also the speakers actually were touching my ears causing no small amount of discomfort.  Then my PSB's arrived!  I have had them on 4 long plane trips (over 3 hours each), and as I write this article I am listening to Pink Floyd's "Animals", and am euphoric over the quality of the sounds.  Perfect bass for my taste (but hip-hop addicts may need a little more), and all the elements of the mids and highs are discernable.  I am happy as a lark!  The noise cancelling has an extremely low, almost undetectable hum of quiet noise, which is a necessity on phones of this type.  The QC 15's from Bose may be a little better at noise cancelling (seems about the same to me), but the quality of sound blows Bose away.  A friend has a set of Grado's (not sure the model, but PS1000 sounds familiar), and I think these babies sound better.  With the noise cancelling off and the amp activated (internal amp included), they are as good as set of cans as I've heard in awhile, and that's saying a lot!  The build quality is phenominal, but they may look a little strange on your head.  PSB chose functionality over style with these cans, so they have a larger wrap-around quality with pivoting earpieces (360 degrees) for a very good fit.  I took the redeye back from Vegas a couple of weeks back, and slept like a baby, which I usually do anyway.  The point is I had no discomfort or extra heat from my headphones.  Kind of like football refs - if you don't notice them then they are pretty good.  All in all, I have no complaints, and look forward to many years of happy listening with my new PSB M4U 2's!


Pros: Noise Cancellation, Active, and still usable if batteries drain. Comes with lots of accessories

Cons: Somewhat large and heavy.




A few weeks ago, I met a very nice gentleman who was a distributor of this product. I had never heard of PSB let alone the M4U 2 and I was given the opportunity to demo this product. A very big thanks to John of Lenbrook Asia for this opportunity.





On The Head


Isolation - average. Maybe similar to the LP2  for my sized head. The Ed8s & Signature Pros isolate more. Whilst the clamping force though somewhat akin to the Ed8s & Signature Pros. It's weight on the head though is heavier than the aforementioned headphones.


The size of the earcups are just a tad small for my ears despite being circumaural. As such overall comfort-wise I'd probably feel its comfort to be less suitable for my head-size. But it may be more suitable for others with (smaller?) heads & ears.


Here's a picture showing the depth of the earpads.






Absolute top knotch! Comes with 1/8"->1/4" plugs, airline converter jacks (very useful!), hard case, different cables (with phone capability), extra earpads, cleaning cloth, etc.




Aside from the noise cancellation, it has an active & passive mode too (where passive mode can be used when the 2xAA battery drains). It also has dual jacks, one on each side of the earcup giving you flexibility which side you prefer your cable to fall on. I continually switched sockets on the earcups on the planes depending on which arm rest had the socket.





The cables don't tangle which is great, but they do have somewhat of a memory effect on how they were coil-stored. They're not microphonic though which is great.


The hinge also appears to be quite strong.





So how does it sound?


In Passive Mode

  • personally, these didn't sparkle for me - but then again I've been coming from Fostex TH900's, FitEar To Go!334, Unique Melody Merlin's, etc. Having said that, passive mode appears to be a bonus feature anyway, not its main selling factor - its ability for continued use even after the batteries are drained. My understanding is other NC/Active headphones stop dead when the batteries are dead - not good for a long overhaul flight.
  • although the SQ didn't sparkle for me, I still found acceptable detail in this mode.  Bass extension is decent but not deep. By comparison. The TH900 & V-Moda range extends deeper. They're not warm (nor bright for that matter) by any means.


In Active Mode

  • this is where the M4U 2 shines. I have to admit, I've always had a prejudice against double-amping but in this design, it seems to work quite well.
  • just switching on active mode, the detail jumps up, bass extensions increase, & overall sounds quite dynamic.
  • the trebles on the other hand didn't seem to extend further however, feels more brought forward.
  • the soundstage perceives to be larger in active mode initially but flicking back & forth, at least to my ears, they're really the same. Its more the improvements in the aforementioned aspects seem to make one think the soundstage increases too.
  • I seem to detect a hiss though (noise floor) when in active mode is enabled.


Noise Cancellation Activated

  • This is another selling feature of these headphones. Especially with the amount of accessories that come with these headphones, (at least to me) it tends to target more for the traveller.
  • the NC does (as with other NC headphones) cut out a certain range of frequencies so SQ is affected. Having said that, when I'm on a plane though, I don't mind so much...better than the low hum reverberating throughout the cabin.
  • again as with most other NC headphones, it does create a "suction" feeling the ears, but by no means uncomfortable.
  • on the plane, I actually used the NC feature quite a bit for watching in-flight movies more than for listening to music. So actually it's quite well suited for travel if it's the intent of the manufacturer to target travellers.




Pros: Sound quality, comfort

Cons: so far, none

Had these for just over 2 months now and have a couple hundred hours with them. These are a very balanced headphone in terms of the frequency range they are capable of. Paul Barton (the man who designs PSB speakers) suggests this is 20-20,000 Hz @ ± 1.5 Hz, and I believe him.


I find these to be VERY comfortable. They weigh in at almost a pound, but a nice pleather padding on the headband and nice soft pleather ear-cups make them literally disappear. Unless I move my head in some direction with speed, I don't notice that I'm wearing them. I've had them on for over 10 hours straight, and never suffered warm or sweaty ears, or any discomfort at all. Perfect cans for my head it seems!


The removable cable is nice, and the ability to use either cup to connect the cable to is a bonus. There are 2 cables that come with these cans, but I've no use for the (included) ipod/iphone cable as I don't use an ipod/iphone. PSB also includes a pair of ear-pad replacements as well as a cleaning cloth for them and your first set of batteries.


These headphones operate in 3 different modes...Passive, Active, and Active w/Noise Cancellation. I currently have no need for the noise cancellation, so I don't use that mode. If you don't have batteries, the Passive mode offers a very nice sounding headphone experience. The Active mode offers a slightly enhanced low-end presence without disturbing the remaining frequencies and it nearly doubles the life of my Cowon D2. This enhanced low-end that PSB calls in-room feel is supposed to create a sound similar to that of your loudspeakers in your home. I can't really argue with this, as I've done and do comparisons with the M4U 2 headphones and the Stratus speakers with different music.


I've only listened to music with these cans thus far, no movies yet, but the sub-bass and bass performance is really quite good. I mostly listen to Drum & Bass (Big Bud, PFM, Logistics, LTJ Bukem, etc) and it shines through the M4U 2 as nicely (maybe even nicer than...?) as it does through my big-boy speakers (PSB Stratus). An oldie but goodie from the early 90's is a great way to hear the quality of the extension on these: LFO - LFO


I'm not the best person for describing sound-stage etc, as I listen to electronic music which really has no stage (?), but I was literally put right in the middle of the club while listening to Diana Krall - Live in Paris. There's much more "stage" in this CD than there is in any of my DnB CDs, and I can clearly hear where the music is coming from. I love what I'm hearing from these. Instruments are clearly separated and sound very real.


These are not just a "noise canceling headphone" as I've got a couple hundred hours on them without even using that feature and have enjoyed them immensely. Paul & Company (PSB) have produced a very nice set of "introductory" cans for their consumers.


edit: ssrock64, yes I compared them to the Shure SRH1440 and also to the AKG K701/K702 (I don't remember, it was a few months ago). The PSBs won that round, but IIRC both were below (if just) the PSB price.


PSB M4U 2 Noise Canceling headphones

PSB Speakers gets up close and personal with your hi-fi. We’ve taken our 40 years of bringing real sound to real people and packed it into our exciting new Music for You (M4U) series of high performance headphones. You’re listening to music more than ever before, but now you can do it in comfort and style with PSB’s true-to-nature sound quality. Our new headphones bring you so close to the music. It’s like the music is meant just for you.

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