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PSB MU4 2 mini review plus vs Monster Inspiration vs Bose QC15 my 2 cents........and pos a few hundred more to buy some!

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

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.

post #2 of 4

I didn't notice your review until now.  Thanks for posting your impressions!  I agree that the M4U series are two amazing sounding closed headphones and that much seems to be all but consensus at this point. (neutral, airy, tight always seem to be mentioned... and for good reason)

post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
Yeah. Apart from the fit I would've ordered them there and then. That said, when I dropped my "loaner" set back off last night and the guy told me that the set I had been using were 1 of the first demo 30 sets to hit the UK a while back and due to that reason, they have been battered by people in the business trying to find fault, bend them etc etc.... Therefore I am very interested in getting some for myself to see if a new set will fit/isolate better. I read the new versions are made using higher quality materials and some say they sound better, though I feel a placebo effect may be in there?
I just need to sell a few more sets to warrant having them! I definitely want some though as my contact can get me a set for £180 which is roughly $280 but still £80 cheaper than rrp here and roughly $120 cheaper over with you. I just had my heart set on a set of Mad Dogs but am tempted to get these instead..........or as well as :-D
post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 

Well, just to update this review.


After finding out that the loaner set I tried had been well used and really put through their paces regarding toughness i.e they had been bent, twisted, fitted on gargantuan heads etc etc.... I decided to bight the bullet and get myself a set. I got them at real bargain price from my friend as well so couldn't really say no!


Anyway, initial impressions out of the box were good but not great, they seemed to lack the openness and separation of the loaner set. And although after contacting PSB direct and being told that "they do not require any burning in", I ran pink noise through them over night and they opened up. I am a bit of a sceptic so trust me when I say "I heard the difference!". They seemed sharper, wider (soundstage) and more separated.


The fit are fine as well. They do not slide about on my head like the loaners. The onboard amp is a great addition to these cans though I have since bought a Fiio E17 which really does these justice in my opinion, I use it via optical on my macbook so as to get the higher quality and am really happy with what I am achieving, considering the initial outlay. I have spent more on other cans/set ups that have not matched these at all.


All in all, if this is the 1st go at cans from Paul, and I for 1 honestly cannot wait to see what happens next! I really REALLY want to see a set of big hitters coming out of the PSB stable. He has produced a set of game changers in my opinion.

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Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › PSB MU4 2 mini review plus vs Monster Inspiration vs Bose QC15 my 2 cents........and pos a few hundred more to buy some!