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PSB M4U1 - Thoughts?

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by swmtnbiker, Nov 13, 2012.
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  1. Star2806
    To Diamondears, I'm so glad you say that they are better than the expensive headphones.  However I have the Philips x1 and cannot tell much difference in the clarity of the individual sounds.  The main difference is the sound signature is more up front in the mids with less bass bloat and the soundstage on the m4u1s is narrower.  I do prefer the m4u1 sound signature and it is energetic for snare drums and cymbals, but to my ears, there is so little difference compared to the x1s and the Yamaha hph200.  I guess that the high end headphones have very subtle differences compared to mid-fi ones and that it is all about accuracy and neutrality.
  2. diamondears
    Really? Can you cite a recording where a certain detail is lost when the PSB is used, and what is that detail that was lost?
  3. goodyfresh

    I said that I've read that people say that.  I myself only got to briefly audition a pair in the store for about 15 minutes, not long enough to really notice such subtle details, so I have no idea if it's true or not from my own experience.  However as I've said, if you look at the square-wave plots on Innerfidelity, you CAN see that there is a good bit of overshoot and a lot of ringing, it certainly does not reproduce an accurate 300Hz square-wave.
  4. diamondears
    I find the high-end ones emphasizing treble to elicit more detail. Cleaner too. Remember they're high-priced, so target are older people that relatively has higher salaries/income, which means they have ears that are less sensitive to treble.

    I find the PSB to be detailed, clean, terrific soundstaging, and really great bass up to sub-terranean levels. X1 couldn't dig that deep (sub-bass), it doesn't have that sub-bass enveloping sound when recording calls for it. I find the L1 to be better than the X1.

    If you can demo and compare, do it. The difference is actually not subtle.
  5. Planarman

    Very well said. They are simply great headphones and right in the sweetspot of quality and value. Anything more, might be better but with steep diminishing returns.

    Quick question: which do you prefer between these and the Nad Viso 50's? Just curious.
  6. diamondears
    I have both, and I'm using the PSB.

    Let me put it this way: If the NAD would have similar comfort (its a pain on top of my head and could barely reach my ears) and mid-bass quality/definition as the PSB, I'll take the NAD.

    Other stuff--sub-bass extension, clarity/cleanliness, separation, mids, soundstaging, and treble are better on the NAD, bit more accurate, but not enough to make me wear it because of the previous sentence.

    The PSB has bit more of the sibilance in treble (the sssss), which makes it sound less clean, less separation and becomes bit shouty on louder volumes. But its bass is the best--has both quantity and quality in it.

    Note that I'm splitting hairs here--on SQ alone, it would be the NAD over PSB.
  7. Planarman

    Excellent points once again. I actually don't have any fitting problems with the Nad's, so I prefer them to the Psb's but by a very slim margin. They're both just so good. I actually left them both for the Oppo pm-3's but it was short lived. Over time, I realized that the pm-3's leave too much out in the treble and that imbalance makes the very good bass actually sound bloated, which it isn't, it's just out of balance with the highs. But I can't justify paying $100 more for inferior headphones (my opinion). So I'm reunited with all things Paul Barton again.
  8. kenshinesca
    Thanks for the input guys.  I was actually thinking about all 3 the Oppo pm3, PSB's and Viso hp50 but now I think I may have to just go for the Nad Viso's if possible if I can find them second hand for a decent price.  I really can't justify paying full price for some of these headphones.  I know these are more affordable but still expsensive for me.  I really wanted to give the pm3's a try because I know they're planar magnetic so I wanted to see if they sounded different, plus it's not as huge as other planar magnetics.
  9. Star2806

    But how do you find the overall level of detail compared to the x1?

    The hp50s clearly have less bass, apart from that they sounded the same.  Also the earcups did not fit well to my ears, they were restricted to an angle, which didn't help in bass response.
  10. Planarman

    They're a steal even at full price. If you can get them brand new and discounted, do it immediately! Haha.

    Also I don't think the superiority of planar technology trumps a well balanced headphone. Like I said, after spending extended time with the pm-3's, they just weren't worth the cost. The Psb's and Nad's cost less and sound better. Planar is not a gimmick, but the technology, alone, doesn't make it superior to dynamic. Likewise a 4k television isn't going to look better than a 1080p television if the gamma, color, blacks, and contrast are messed up. Just my 2 cents.
  11. diamondears
    I prefer both the NAD and PSB (and it's not something I can't get over with, it's actually an easy decision) over the LCD-2f, LCD-2.2, HE-400, HE-400i, HE-560, T1, RS1i/SR325is/SR80i, Philips X1/L1. There is/are something always lacking or off/inaccurate on these HPs, but the NAD and PSB are so accurate that, yeah, couldn't justify spending much more. I bought the LCD-2f brand-new at $1,200 (Rosewood version) and I couldn't justify the extra $900. That's $900 bucks. Paul S. Barton is a philanthropist.
  12. diamondears
    The NAD has more detail if you consider the sub-bass. Thats a detail the X1 lacks, but the L1 has. You can say the X1/L1 has more mid-bass, but that's because it's emphasized (meaning boosted up), the NAD doesn't. The PSB is better than the NAD on this, much better. The PSB's bass especially mid-bass is really excellent. If the PSB doesn't have the tiny bit of added sibilants (sssss sound) and stringy-ness and the bit of shouty-ness at loud volumes, its brother NAD would have to run for the money.

    On the mids and treble, X1/L1 has more "detail", but that's, again, because they're emphasized/boosted up. X1 mids are forward, and that "tinny" voices and sounds are more noticeable, which to me isn't accurate. Moreover, NAD and PSB's RoomFeel technology makes the mids way ahead of the X1 IMO.

    As to treble, X1/L1 again emphasizes. So one could say more detail. But more detail than what the recording is, actually. NAD is the best on the mids and treble. Perfectly accurate. As I said, if NAD has the mid-bass and comfort of the PSB, PSB has to run for its money.

    I thoroughly considered the X1/L1 because I'm looking for an open back so I can hear family talking to me, and the L1 is a much better HP IMO than the X1 in terms of SQ alone.

    The NAD didn't have less bass, its just that the X1 has mid-bass emphasis. Its like a 2-way speaker boosting up its mid-bass to make up for lack of sub-bass/extra woofer. The NAD is like the 3-way speaker, but tiny bit lacking in mid-bass definition.
  13. Planarman

    I couldn't agree more.
  14. goodyfresh

    I agree too.  In the store where they let me demo the M4U 1 I also got a chance to demo the Senn HD800, and the Audeze LCD 2 and 3, and honestly, the only one I actually found SUPERIOR, sound-wise, to the M4U 1 (except with regards to sound-stage and lack of sibilance, of course, the former of which woudl HAVE to be better in high-end OPEN-backed cans than in ANY closed-back cans) was teh LCD 3, which of course costs over FIVE TIMES as much (well now six times, since the price of the M4U 1 has dropped to 250 last I checked) as the M4U 1.

    That being said, I actually could not really decide whether I liked the M4U 1 or the Sony MDR-1A more, which I also got to demo there at the store.  The MDR-1A is certainly not as accurate, frequency-response-wise, as the M4U 1, but the bass isn't outright bloated, just fairly warm, and I don't mind warmth as long as the mids aren't notably recessed and the treble is good, both of which are true with the MDR-1A.  I also felt like the MDR-1A resolved details a LITTLE better than the M4U 1, and it didn't have nearly the sibilance/lispy treble sound on cymbal hits and such that teh M4U 1 has.  Also, the MDR-1A is WAY more comfortable than the M4U 1.  Not that the M4U 1 was not VERY comfortable, of course it is, but the MDR-1A is seriously the most comfortable pair of headphoens I have ever tried in my entire life.  It also definitely has better build-quality than the M4U 1, and is quite a bit better for portable use due to its ligther weight, even though it doesn't fold.   Overall there are pros and cons to each, and I'm having SERIOUS trouble deciding which one of the two headphones to save-up for as my go-to pair of closed-back over-ears.  The MDR-1A costs 299.99, by the way.
    Whichever one of the two (MDR-1A vs M4U 1) I end up choosing to get once I've saved up the money a month or two from now, one thing I can definitely say is that both cans perform HARDLY any worse than many other headphones three, four, or even five times as expensive!
  15. diamondears
    I took a very close look on the Sony, and I just couldn't like the funky bass range. But its mids and treble are good, just tiny bit of a metallic or tin sound and less clean, but nevertheless good.

    I suggest you try a recording that has all the frequencies, especially the really low bass (sub-bass), like electronica, dance, orchestral with really low organ accompaniment. You'll notice a substantial difference there. Use a DAC and amp that can deliver them too (really transparent ones). And 16/44 quality. I find that less than that, the sub-bass gets totally lost on the recording no matter what the DAC and amp are.
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