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PSB M4U 2 - Page 6

post #76 of 536
Quote:
Originally Posted by Curly21029 View Post

...these comparisons to the HD600 are killing me.

 

Could anyone compare passive vs. active (non-NC) unamped? (preferably directly out of a Macbook Pro)  I was really trying to hold out for the M4U 1 before taking the plunge as I have zero interest in active noise canceling, but I'm finding more and more that I'm plugging in 'phones for a "quick listen" that turns into a casual multi-hour rally.  If the active is truly a benefit and doesn't cause any nasty distortion to the frequency response, then it may be worth the additional investment for the M4U 2.

 

Also, are there any white sheets claiming that the M4U 1 is, in fact, the same exact headphone as the 2 version sans the extra electronics?  Any more hints on a release date?  I contacted PSB last week and their response was that they don't have any information about upcoming product releases.


Of all the noise cancelling headphones out there, these sound the best by a mile in passive mode (many don't even work in passive mode).  In fact, with a headphone amp, I would say they sound better in passive mode compared to the onboard amp.  I agree with all the positive reviews.  The M4U2 is at the top of my list based on headphones I have heard.  I am waiting for the V-Moda M-100 and Denon AH-D600 before making a final decision.  The Polk 8000 sounds interesting, particularly with the strong bass.  However, Tyll said they sound as good as his AKG K550 which might be a good thing, except Tyll and I are rarely on the same page with headphone sound and I don't like the AKG K550.  Plus, and this is the dealbreaker, the Polk 8000 doesn't work unamped.  So I can imagine going for a nice walk, the rechargeable battery dies half way through, and I am stuck in silence the rest of the way.


Edited by Craigster75 - 7/27/12 at 4:44am
post #77 of 536
Quote:
Originally Posted by PolkManiac View Post

I finally had some time to sit down and compare these with m desktop setup, and the results are shocking.

 

Let me start by saying that out of my desktop cans (Senn HD600, HD700, HD800, Beyer DT880) the oldest and cheapest HD600 are actually my favorite.  They're not 'the best' of the bunch, that award would probably go to the HD800, but they're my favorite.  They're not as refined as the other cans (except maybe the 650) but I really like their general disposition, very smooth yet engaging and with enough of the detail to suit me.  The Beyers have a much better soundstage and the other 700 and 800 both have better clarity while the 650 has better bass, but none of those cans SOUND as good to me.  I would like an upgrade to the 600 someday - really all I want is the overall sound signature of the 600 with the soundstage of the Beyer, that would be my ultimate headphone.

 

I say all that not because I think the PSB are it (because they're not), but rather to provide an overall idea of what I'm looking for and put the below into some context.  And since the 600 are my favorite of the bunch, that's what I compared the PSB directly to.  The PSB, like the 600, have an overall sound that I find very pleasing, yet they don't sound like the 600.  Here are some impressions from my notes:

 

First, the 600s were tested on my main headphone rig (Mac running Amarra Hifi > Peachtree Dac-IT > Schiit Valhalla > HD600), I consider this setup (while not super high end) to be a fairly respectable system.  The PSB were run in Active mode (meaning I used the built in amp) straight off a 7th ten iPod classic (that's it, no LOD or DAC, just straight off the iPod because that's why I purchased these).  So the setups aren't exactly a fair comparison, but that's how each can is to be used so that how I did the comparison.  Lossless files were used on both setups.

 

Bass:

The Senns have adequate bass, actually I'd say they have very good bass and I've never felt it lacking.  The PSB, however, kicks it up another notch.  And I don't just mean that they have more bass (although they do), I mean that the overall bass response is more pleasing on the PSB.  I don't find it boomy or bloated, these are not a 'bass' can ala the Beats or even the Polk UltraFocus 800, it's just a very natural sounding bas response.  One of my favorite tests is about 3 minutes into the track Why So Serious from TDK score, and these passed even that with flying colors.  The PSB are the best headphones I've ever heard at reproducing bass faithfully.

 

Mids and Highs

I don't know if there is a FR curve for these posted somewhere online, but if there is I'd guess it's relatively flat (with maybe a small hump in the bass to create what Barton calls the 'room feel').  These just sound very smooth and still accurate and detailed enough in the miss and highs.  it's hard for me to describe the sound as anything other than damn near perfect.  These headphones are not going to be the final word on detail, but they're not far off.  I get more detail out of the 600, but not ALOT.  One thing the 600 does well is make lesser recordings tolerable to listen to, since they're not the final word in clarity either they ten to smooth over some of the edges on bad recordings, and this is one of the reasons I like them so much.  The PSB are even better at that.  Muse is actually listenable on the PSB nd on the 600 it's borderline tolerable depending on which album.  I

 

Soundstage

The PSB are a closed design, but they sound bigger and less 'in your head' than any other closed design I've tried (I don't count Denon because they don't seal for sh!t).  They have a surprisingly large soundstage and open sound for closed headphones, but that being said they still give up ground here to even the 600 which I already content lack a good soundstage.  This particularly affects me because I listen to a lot of classical and orchestral movie scores and those types of music benefit from a more open sound.  So the soundstage isn't the strong suit of the PSB, but it's quite acceptable and I go so far as to call it very good.  Although not 'great' in the grand scheme of headphones, it's very good for this type of headphone.  The closed design gives the PSBs greater impact, but you lose some of the air.  Playing the two side by side it's obvious, but when I'm out and about with the PSB I don't feel like I'm missing much.

 

If there were a line in the center of the universe that designated a purely neutral sound, these would be just a tad to the right but they are by no means bright or overly forward sounding.

 

Overall my desktop rig is better and sounds better, but only marginally better on most material and actually worse on some material.  So the desktop rig isn't going anywhere, but the PSB performs MUCH better than I though it would in comparison.  

 

I honestly don't know why this headphone isn't a bigger deal.  


Thank you for the fantastic review.  I did a less formal comparison with Ultrasone Signature Pros and feel the M4U2 held its own against them as well which is incredible considering the Sig Pro is 3X the price!

post #78 of 536
Quote:
Originally Posted by Curly21029 View Post

...these comparisons to the HD600 are killing me.

 

Could anyone compare passive vs. active (non-NC) unamped? (preferably directly out of a Macbook Pro)  I was really trying to hold out for the M4U 1 before taking the plunge as I have zero interest in active noise canceling, but I'm finding more and more that I'm plugging in 'phones for a "quick listen" that turns into a casual multi-hour rally.  If the active is truly a benefit and doesn't cause any nasty distortion to the frequency response, then it may be worth the additional investment for the M4U 2.

 

Also, are there any white sheets claiming that the M4U 1 is, in fact, the same exact headphone as the 2 version sans the extra electronics?  Any more hints on a release date?  I contacted PSB last week and their response was that they don't have any information about upcoming product releases.

I don't have a really good headphone amp that I can use to test passive mode on these.  The Valhalla is very nice, but doesn't play well with low impedence headphones so I didn't even bother hooking them up to that. 

 

In passive mode right off an iPod they are good, but the output is obviously weaker and sound not as full as wehn in amped mode.  I don't see myself ever really using them in that configuration and would not recommend this as the ideal use.  I also plugged them into av Fiio E17 in passive mode and the results were closer.  I don't think the E17 is bad, but am not as pleased with it as others seem to be, I would say its good but not great.  Here's how I would rank what I've heard so far:

 

1 - PSB in Active mode plugged directly into 7th Gen iPod Classic

2 - PSB in Passive mode plugged into Fiio E17 connected to iPod using LOD

3 - PSB in Passive mode plugged directly into iPod

4 - PSB in Active Noise Cancelling mode plugged directly into iPod

 

If I were to illustrate the gaps between the various options it would look something like 1.........2...3...4.  I also tested using the Macbook Air and my iMac as sources and the results were the same, although I tended to like the iPod more as a source which is a little strange I suppose.

 

The option you don't see listed there is the headphones in passive mode with a good desktop amp.  I would guess that given the sound character of the headphones they will scale very well with a good desktop amp.  I'd like to order an Asgard or something along those lines at some point to test it, but I've no other purpose for that right now and won't be using these in that manner so likely will not be purchasing that in the near future (need to get my vinyl rig up and running first).

post #79 of 536
Quote:
Originally Posted by PolkManiac View Post

Here's how I would rank what I've heard so far:

 

1 - PSB in Active mode plugged directly into 7th Gen iPod Classic

2 - PSB in Passive mode plugged into Fiio E17 connected to iPod using LOD

3 - PSB in Passive mode plugged directly into iPod

4 - PSB in Active Noise Cancelling mode plugged directly into iPod

 

If I were to illustrate the gaps between the various options it would look something like 1.........2...3...4.  I also tested using the Macbook Air and my iMac as sources and the results were the same, although I tended to like the iPod more as a source which is a little strange I suppose.

 

So the integrated amp is pretty good then...

 

Crap - this is making these sound even better.. Is it bad that I'm hoping the M-100's don't meet my expectations, considering what I've heard of this headphone? I really can't decide yet biggrin.gif

post #80 of 536
Quote:

Originally Posted by PolkManiac View Post

 

These headphones are not going to be the final word on detail, but they're not far off.  I get more detail out of the 600, but not ALOT.  One thing the 600 does well is make lesser recordings tolerable to listen to, since they're not the final word in clarity either they ten to smooth over some of the edges on bad recordings, and this is one of the reasons I like them so much.  The PSB are even better at that.  

 

Great review. I agree with pretty much everything except the above. I find the PSB gives you what is there. It does not gloss over anything.

post #81 of 536
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beagle View Post

 

Great review. I agree with pretty much everything except the above. I find the PSB gives you what is there. It does not gloss over anything.

It could very well be the setup that's producing that effect then.  It may be the DAC inside the iPod that's 'glossing over' some of the edges.  Since I don't really have a way of testing the PSB on the Peachtree it's not possible for me to validate that at the moment.

post #82 of 536
Quote:
Originally Posted by BRSxIgnition View Post

So the integrated amp is pretty good then...

 

Crap - this is making these sound even better.. Is it bad that I'm hoping the M-100's don't meet my expectations, considering what I've heard of this headphone? I really can't decide yet biggrin.gif

I'm sure the M-100 will be a great headphone and I will be in on the PP run, but there's just no way they're going to sound as good coming straight off an iPod.  They will compete (and may be better who knows) with the PSB in passive mode, but I don't see how they can possibly be on par when running off an iPod and using the PSBs in Active mode.

 

So this really boils down to what you're after.  If you want the absolute best sound you can get plugging your headphone into an iPod and don't mind swapping out batteries every 60 hours or so, then the PSBs are the best option I've heard and can imagine.  If you want to carry around an extra amp to power your headphones then the PSBs are still competitive, but are no longer an automatic because you bring almost every other headphone on the market including the upcoming M-100 - the PSB are superb, but they're not the best headphone in existence.

 

A couple notes:

 

1 - I keep saying iPod, but obviously I"m referring to portable devices in general.  I don't have any illusions that the iPod is the best sounding portable device on the market.

2 - It seems as if I'm speaking in absolutes alot of the time, but obviously this is all just one man's opinion.  While I can make a case for every argument I've made here, obviously I can't 'prove' any of it.


Edited by PolkManiac - 7/27/12 at 7:06am
post #83 of 536

Excellent write-up comparison PolkManiac ! It seems there's a consensus on the exceptional sound quality of these headphones from everything I've read on-line about them. How do you feel about the comfort, etc? I find them very comfortable myself, and had no issues wearing them for 10+ hours/day.

post #84 of 536

Where's the best place to order these for direct Canadian shipping?

 

Crutchfield service looks good - but they only ship to the states, so I'd have to use a proxy in that case.

post #85 of 536

I've heard the M100 a few weeks back, and I was given a PSB M4U 2 to review (which I've yet to do, been busy). I'm not too certain if it's an equal comparison since the M4U 2 has an active amp, and noise cancellation. According to the distributor, the advantage of the M4U 2 over other NC/active headphones is that if the battery drains, it still can be used in passive mode - which, I've been told, others can't.

 

SQ-wise, in passive mode, I personally found it uninspiring - this is even off an external DAC/Amp (VentureCraft Go-DAP 4.0 & V-Moda VAmp). It's just enough to listen. However when switched on to active, the SQ changes dramatically. Its seems to have a larger soundstage, and FR seems more extended in lows and highs. Definitely more "exciting". In this mode it's probably a fairer comparison however I can't really give my concrete thoughts now since it's been about a month since I listened to the M100 prototype. My unfounded gut feelings from memory though is still to lean towards the M100 over the M4U 2.

 

When in NC mode, it does cut out frequencies naturally which affects the SQ considerably. Having said that, it does the NC quite decently and the batteries lasted more than 6 movies worth. I was very contented watching the movies on the plane with the M4U 2 and even listening to music despite the frequency cuts - better than the airplane engine reverberating through the cabin.

 

The M4U 2 isolates more than the M100 too.

 

So, back to why I'd say the two aren't really comparable, if I had both headphones I'd probably grab the M100 for city/town use whilst I'd probably grab the M4U 2 for airplane/bullet train use. I don't have Bose/Senn NC's so sorry, I can't comment about the M4U 2 vs those other NC headphones.

 

I'll write up a more proper review with photos in the next few weeks.

post #86 of 536
Seems like its M-100 for me, then change if it doesn't fit my needs.. Let's just hope they stop getting delayed and they actually get released early August.

I'll have to hold onto my money until then.redface.gif
post #87 of 536
Quote:
Originally Posted by MRiNiCK View Post

any website as to where I might purchase this.?

You can get them at Crutchfield, I think the shipping is free too.

post #88 of 536
Quote:
Originally Posted by BRSxIgnition View Post

Seems like its M-100 for me, then change if it doesn't fit my needs.. Let's just hope they stop getting delayed and they actually get released early August.
I'll have to hold onto my money until then.redface.gif

Specific name for the M-100 I want to do some researching on these.
post #89 of 536

There's a whole thread here on the M-100, and that's the name.  You're not going to find much on them online because they don't exist yet.  They're made by V-Moda.

post #90 of 536

Very interesting comments above... thanks to all! beerchug.gif

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