First review so bare with my ramblings and lack of use of "buzz" words
I had heard a lot about PSB's first venture into headphones and although I'm a tad late on the uptake and impressions have been well documented, I felt I still wanted to share my thoughts.
I hear some would have no reservations in recommending them. Well I have a couple of reservations myself and thought I'd bring my thoughts to the table (not that they are worth much but hey ho on we go).
I picked up a set last night to audition. I think they look quite cheap and much too "plasticy" for my liking. I can only guess that this is due to money being spent on R&D and not design. They look like the b@st@rd child of Beats and Inspiration, but that's just the looks so can be forgiven. The ones I have must be from the first batch as there are stress fractures all over the paint on the headband, none serious looking but would not like to see these in a few months when the paint is flaking off.
Another gripe is the weight. They are a hefty can at over 300gms and quite noticeable on ones head at first, but you get used to it and they are up there with some of the comfiest cans I have tried, so again, worthy of noting but forgivable.
Then there's the fit. I don't have a pea head by any measure but at the smallest setting they are still a tad loose on my head and slip forward slightly if I look down, they don't fall off but the weight mixed with the size means the weight easily pushes them forward so not great if you are looking down at an ipad for example or typing on a laptop. That is an issue for me though and possibly not a problem for anyone else. Not a great clamp then.
I also have a small problem with getting a seal but that is a small problem as I find one eventually. They do leak a bit more than I would've liked (and expected). I was listening in bed last night at a moderate level and the Mrs could hear and name the tune everytime but that is in the "dead of the night" so in the day should be a tad different. So isolation isn't fantastic but not terrible either. My Ultrasone HF450 beat them on that front, so the Mrs says! (but that front only and for obvious reasons).
I have no use for the NC so will only comment briefly on that in my Bose comparison.
Now onto the sound.
The first thing I noticed was how well separated the instruments are. It's almost as if they are coming from different drivers within the cup! I had to re-start the first track (Pointer Sisters-Automatic, back off it was on random!) as I hadn't settled myself properly for it and was in a state of shock at the presentation of it.
Soundstage is MUCH better then any closed can I have tried, again as if the sound is coming from different drivers. Spacious airy but tightly presented
The sound signature is (no surprise as it's been mentioned a billion times and I couldn't agree more) very neutral and no matter what I was listening to (hence it being on random) it was happy to play it and play it well. The music feels beautifully layered and is not forced but delivered confidently and precisely.
The only closed can I have left (I've recently had a huuuuuuge clearout due to usage :-() that is close on price is my AIAIAI TMA-1 Studio's and as I mention, this is a quick assesment based on less than 3 hours listening. I will just say, other than if I was moving a lot and wanted then to sit easily on my head without movement (if mixing records etc), I could not see a time when I would pick them up over the PSB's.
I had the misfortune (I'm joking.....well slightly ;-) of taking some Monster Inspiration in trade for a set of SR225's (They were unopened and so knew I could sell them for what I traded them for £150). Anyway, I sold them to a friend who wanted a set for traveling and they fitted his bill. Well due to him having them I asked if I could open prior to giving him them. I spent a few hours (poss same time as I've auditioned the PSB's so far). I was not drawn in at all with the Inspirations, for the money I paid they were fine but considering the RRP is almost double and puts them in the same bracket as the PSB's. They cannot hold a candle to the PSB's. The inspirations are so veiled and unengaging in comparison it's shocking. Again for the price I paid they are OK but when put against the PSB's there is such a gap in sound quality on every level. I couldn't possibly imagine how someone could choose the Monsters? No wait.....ah yes I can imagine why, they are muppets following a brand! Though the build quality is better, that's about it!
I have tried the Bose Qc15 as well and although the NC is better on the Bose (and noticeably to). The sound quality the PSB's produce would have me choosing them at every stage. The Bose are nicely built and light with a decent fit but are beat quite comfortably in sound. I have little to no use for the NC though.
Whether I am going to end up buying a set of PSB's still remains to be seen. If I can find a can that equals or gets damn close to these soundwise but fits better and is less weighty then I will be sure to try them. I am very keen to try the AKG K550's but reading about the fitting on those is worrying for me as they are also suppose to be for "the larger head" and have seal issues. I also have the T50RP "Mad Dogs" in mind but there's little chance of an audition on those which worries me a tad. I wouldn't order a mail order bride no matter how fit she is on her picture (if you catch my drift).
I will say that Peter has created a fantastic set of cans for a first attempt, he's hardly new to the music world but even so, you don't have to be an engineer to know the differences and difficulties between speaker and headphone production.
I would wholeheartedly recommend the PSB's for an audition. Providing they fit you well, you will no doubt get a set of the later produced line so the problems they had initially should not affect you, though if I remember correctly, they offer a 2 year warranty anyway so obviously have faith in what they are flogging and would swap if a problem did arise.
I would love to hear what other people have pitted against these to give me some food for thought and hopefully help me decide on my "everyday" can.