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PSB M4U1 - Thoughts?

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by swmtnbiker, Nov 13, 2012.
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  1. goodyfresh
    Hi guys.  So I am heavily considering getting these headphones.  There's a very nice hi-end audio store downtown here that has them on sale for the same price you can find them for on Amazon and such.  I have a few concerns though.

    I've noticed in many reveiws that people have issues with one or the other of the drivers on these failing after some time, or in some cases after almost no time at all.  I myself have had this issue with some supposedly "nice" headphones before. . .even a pair of Momentum On-Ears which have a power-rating of 200mW, but in which the right driver blew out after only two hours using them new out of the box!  So, I am very very concerned about all the reports of this ocurring, as well as the fact that the M4U1 apparently have a power-rating of only 30 measly milliwatts!  Why were these headphoens made with such an incredibly low power-handling rating, and should I be concerned about getting them for that reason?

    Keep in mind that in the stoer where I tried them out I had the chance to listen to:  The Sony MDR-1A, the M4U1, and Sennheiser Momentum Over-Ears.  I thought that the Sony MDR-1A sound about as good (a bit warmer though) than my current headphones, a pair of V-Moda M-80s, but with better isolation and a bit better detail, or so I thought I could hear, and a better soundstage overall.  The Momentums sounded super-duper unremarkable, I was disappointed with them.  But then, the M4U1 BLEW ME AWAY, those things sound SUBLIME.  I really want to be able to get them!  But I am concerned. . .their power-rating is only 30mW, while the Sony MDR-1A are rated for 1500mW!  Am I likely to blow out the drivers if I am driving them from a Fiio X3 2nd Gen DAP, and if so, would they not be worth getting?
  2. Bansaku
    Have no worries. The M4U 1 are very solid in both construction and performance and in my experience can take whatever life can throw at them. Any issue people are reporting from Amazon (I could not find a single reference from a professional reviewer having problems) are usually swiftly rectified by Amazon or PSB's warrant. Most reports of drivers crapping out are with the M4U 2, and that has to do with the amp mostly.
    As for your concerns with the specifications, try not to read too much into numbers. Regardless of what manufacturers print, most of the time it's to impress the potential buyer and are generally meaningless. The M4U 1 can take a lot of power like a champ. My Teac UH-H01 can drive a 300Ohm headphone with ease, but it is only rated for 45mW/channel at 32Ohm. Likewise, the 30mW rating of the M4U 1 is plenty fine. Owning both the Momentum and M4U 1, both get equally loud with no distortion with power to spare; Your ears will give out long before the drivers do. Sony's claim of 1500mW (IEC, whatever that means) is as trustworthy as their claims the MDR-1A's F/R is 3Hz-100 000Hz. Technically, just looking at Sony's specs, the MDR-1A are superior to an LCD-1, T1, and HD800 but we all know that is NOT the case. PSB,  Top Tiered masters of the Loudspeaker, would not release a flagship headphone that can not take some power, and believe me, the M4U 1 are not lacking.
    Trust your ears, not the numbers. You stated that you thought the M4U 1 sounded sublime and blew you away. That my friend is your answer. Considering how difficult they are to find outside of Amazon, buy them now!!
  3. Star2806
    My m4u1's I got from ebay turned out to have cracks on the headband where they have the pivot for the earcups on either side.  They have been sent back and now I have ordered the NAD HP50's.  People are saying that they sound the same but with better build quality.
  4. goodyfresh

    Thank you for the advice!  I think I'll save up my money (right now I've got 100 put aside, so I need to save another 200 over the next few weeks!) and buy the PSB M4U 1 from that store, Take 5 Audio, downtown.  I could get them cheaper from some places online but, only by abnout 80 bucks, and this store happens to offer its very own warranty coverage on products for something like two years after purchase, so. . . . :wink:

    That being said, I'm still iffy about one thing. . .the bulk >_<  Those things are BIG and CLUNKY, man, and the fact is, I'm mostly looking for something for PORTABLE use outside the home with my Fiio X3 2nd Gen.  Sure, the MDR-1A are also bulky, but not nearly as much!  What do you think?

    Also, I know this question comes up a lot but, how do you think they compare to the NAD Viso HP50????
  5. Bansaku

    It really comes down to the individual. Personally, Gen 1 Momentums seem big on my head, but then again I see folks out with big bulky Phillips, beyerdynamic, Shure, and yes Sony all the time (not to mention certain fashion brands). Personally I don't find the weight to be that heavy, and their bulk isn't that cumbersome.
    Myself, I have not heard the Viso HP 50, but I have worn them; The headphone select was dead in the store so I was only able to try the fit. I have a small elf-like head and ears and the NAD clamped too much, more so than my Momentums.
  6. goodyfresh

    Meh, let's be honest man, the Momentum Over-Ear are pretty dang over-rated, anyways!  I had a chance to listen to them in the store alongside the MDR-1A and the M4U1 and OH BOY I could NOT have been more disappointed with Sennheiser's showing this time around >_<  Unless the pair I tried out were some kind of dud, I would have to classify the sound of the Momentums as being dull and uninteresting, with an extremely closed-in and artificial soundstage and clearly artificial dynamics.

    So, one further question for ya.  The power-output rating of my Fiio X3 2nd Gen player is apparently 200mW at 32ohms.  Are we POSITIVE this wont' be a problem for the drivers in the M4U1, even at quite high (not dangerous for my ears, though) volumes?
  7. surenintendo
    Judging by the low distortion on Tyll's Innerfidelity graph (http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/PSBM4U1.pdf), it shouldn't clip at 100db. So unless the wirings are earbud-thin, then I don't see the drivers frying :p
    And like what previous posters said, the M4U2 is prone to dying due to faulty wire connections, since it's pretty complex to put together (you can see like 8 wires here: http://blog.tracer.ca/2014/12/psb-m4u-2-headphone-failure-and-fix.html [​IMG])
  8. diamondears

    NAD is a bit warmer, there's more "surround" sub-bass in it, and it's clearer/cleaner on the mids and treble. PSB is bit more trebly, more sibilant, less clean/clear on the midd snd treble due to more sibilance. But to my ears PSB is more articulate, defined and tighter on the bass. It has surround sub-bass too, but I felt the NAD is sort of adding more subbass than what the recording calls for and bit inaccurate on the mid-bass in terms of quantity (lacks mid bass).

    Its very close, which is expected as they are brothers, but if you are to choose based on SQ alone, pick the PSB if you like more treble sibilance, and its more comfortable if you have a bigger head.
  9. Bansaku
    Perhaps in comparison to the NAD the PSB have a more forward midrange and treble, but I would not use the term sibilance* to describe the M4U 1's sound. You make the M4U 1 out to be similar to the Grado SR 60 or beyerdynamic T70 (both I own).
    * By sibilance I mean exaggerated, harsh, or peaky F and S sounds 
    M4U 1

    My 2 cents.
  10. diamondears
    I own both right now, and the PSB has obviously more sibilance (the "sss" sound). Its not a sibilant HP, but has more ssss compared to the NAD.
  11. goodyfresh

    Daaang, the M4U1 seriously has a WONDERFUL frequency-response, doesn't it?  I think I'm going to get it :)
  12. Broo0d
    Is there anyone heard the Oppo PM-1/PM-2 OR the new hifiman 400s
  13. kenshinesca
    I think the PSB m4u 1 and Oppo PM-3 might be my next purchase.
  14. diamondears
    Get the PSB. Disregard from your psychology the cheap price. It is more accurate than the $1,000 or more HPs.
    Planarman likes this.
  15. goodyfresh

    Weird.  I've read a number of people say that accuracy is the one and only area it could really do better, because the Room Feel tech used to achieve the soundstage sacrifices some detail.  You can kind of see that in the graph of the square-wave response in the measurements on innerfidelity. . .there's a lot of overshoot and ringing there.
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