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PSB M4U1 - Thoughts?

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by swmtnbiker, Nov 13, 2012.
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  1. Bansaku
    Ok, I will critique this first list as I never saw your edit. I must say, I was shocked that I have everything you listed, more or less. All songs are lossless AIFF/FLAC using Audirvana (direct mode, exclusive mode, integer mode, volume DAC only) through my SoundBlaster E3 (poor Teac is STILL in the shop....) at moderate volume (around -32dB).
    Wang Chung - Everybody Have Fun tonight: To address your concerns you have regarding your headphones, both the main vocals as well as the accompaniment are well defined, coming across as neither forward nor recessed with great airiness and separation in relation to the instruments. The drums (well, drum machine) have great impact for both the kick and the snare; not too much but in no ways weak (very punchy and good body);; It was the 1980s after all and massive sub-bass was virtually non-existent for the time. All in all, it sounds like I am listening through a killer set of loudspeakers. Very impressed with the overall resolve.
    Propaganda - A Secret Wish: I haven't listened to this album in years! In regards to how well it sounds, one word: Fantastic! Very etherial and spacious. The sound is very clean with a thick sense of warmth attached. Instrument separation is well defined, despite the relatively thick sound. Again, being the 1980s, bass is very clean and punchy (both the drums and electric bass), and the synth effects are well rendered and in some instances really tickle the senses!
    Prodigy - No Good: Simply put, blazingly fast, detailed, and punchy. Sub bass is definitely present, but appropriately weighted and complimentary. Mostly coming from the effects and not the drums/electronica bass.
    FLA - Millennium: A while ago I trashed my FLA library as they were encoded in AAC 128 and I never got around to re-barrowing the CDs. However I do own Millennium. Dude, stop taking me back to the good ol'times, it's depressing how much better the music was back then. But thanks, haven't listened to FLA in years! What can I say, FLA on the M4U 1 sounds AWESOME! Being Industrial, there is heavy distortion and processing, and the PSBs simply excel! Lets just say that for being distortion, it is incredibly clean...and fast...and transparent!
    Imogen Heap - Sparks and Speak For yourself: Nicely detailed (despite having a lowish DR rating). Instruments and effects are fast and well rendered with great transparency. Vocals are forward, airy yet full bodied but not peaky nor any harshness to the sibilance. Bass has really good weight on the low end (very complimentary), and mid-bass is clean and punchy. Much like Propaganda, some of the effects tickle the ears with excitement.
    Daft Punk - Tron Legacy: Precise, clean, visceral, transparent, linear sonic laser-like perfection (go computers!)! I listened to this album to death with my beyerdynsmics, and I don't regret selling them in favour of the M4U 1. I think the best way to describe the sound is BIG! I simply could not listen to only the two songs suggested, I got drawn in! 
    May'n - Welcome to my Fanclub's Night: FANTASTIC choice! My favourite song from Macross Frontier! One that I can't listen to on too many headphones, You say May'n's voice is shrill. No, it's squeaky, very very squeaky! On lesser headphones her voice is like sibilant nails on a chalkboard, but not with the M4U 1! Well, at sane volumes anyway. Honestly, listening to this song on my PSBs is akin to listening to the DTS Blu-ray on my loudspeakers! May'n's voice is VERY smooth and detailed, forward but doesn't overpower. As for the arrangement, an assault on the senses; fast, airy, good body and spacious. A very treble/upper mid oriented song but the PSBs control any potential glare or peakiness like a pro.
    Honestly, the songs I listened to I had not previously done so with my PSBs. It was as much as a discovery as it was a test. Overall I am quite impressed, especially in regards to how much better they rendered the music over my Sennheisers and beyers. Well, I hope this helps out.
  2. ericf
    Thanks a lot!
    What a great coincidence that you had those tracks!
    From what you say, I think I can deduce that I will like the PSB M4U 1 headphones. Amazon.co.uk had the grey ones down to 148 pounds last week but, a couple of days ago, the red version was dropped to that price as well. It's about 30% off so it's a pretty good deal. The PSB M4U 1 isn't sold where I live, so I had to buy across borders.
    The Imogen Heap albums are, indeed, surprisingly, a bit compressed for such airy music, but the Deluxe version of Speak For Yourself actually has a DR average of 9 which is slightly better than the original CD.
    So you like Marcross Frontier as well! Great!
    Yeah, a squeaky voice is the correct description. The arrangement for Welcome to my Fanclub's Night is exceptional! It might be my favorite Yoko Kanno track. Though I did like a lot of Maaya Sakamoto's songs.
    Thanks for the recommendations.
  3. JWolf
    At Advanced MP3 you can get the PSB M4U 2 headphones for £171,75 using the 25% off voucher that's good until November 30.
  4. JWolf
    There are some differences between 16 and 24-bit. I used Fleetwod Mac's Rhiannon which is 24/192. I dropped it to 16/192 and there are differences, but nothing night and day. The 24-bit is better. For example, the midrange has more energy which can be heard on the attack of the drums. The difference is not night & day. Drop down to 16/44.1 and the differences become even more noticeable.
  5. ericf
    Thanks JWolf.
    I did buy the Ibasso DX90 through that site but I ordered the red version of PSB M4U 1 from Amazon UK for 148 pounds.
    Now I just have to wait for them to arrive.
  6. JWolf
    I will say that the amped mode of the M4U 2 can be very nice and it eliminates the need for a headphone amp. Also if the batteries  die, you have unamped mode which is the same as the M4U 1. You won't find a headphone amp for almost £24.
    Anyway, when you get your M4U 1, get a headphone splitter (1 jack into two jacks) and use both cables into each ear of the headphones. Try that vs just a single cable and you'll find the sound to be improved. if the M4U 2 had a red model I'd have gotten that. It's a nicer look than the black.
  7. sikki-six
    Dropping the bit rate from 24 to 16 does nothing to the mid-range. All it does is increase the noise floor, which you aren't going to hear either way.
  8. JWolf
    I do say it is close, but if you have good enough equipment and good enough ears, you may be able to hear the difference. It's not night and day by any means. But it is there.
  9. ericf

    Okay. I'll try that. I do have a splitter at hand.
    Thanks, JWolf.
  10. JWolf
    I'd like to read about your findings please. Thanks.
  11. GregH
    I have both the Schiit Asgard 2 and Modi 2 Uber set to arrive next week.
    I sure hope my M4U 1's sound good through this Schiit!  :-D
  12. JWolf
    I know I posted this before, but it may have gotten lost with the quote.
    At Advanced MP3 you can get the PSB M4U 2 headphones for £171,75 using the 25% off voucher that's good until November 30.
  13. ericf
    So can I really add anything to the discussion on the PSB M4U 1 headphones?
    Not much. But I can state my opinion on what I think about them.

    The cups are big and enclosed my ears without squashing them.
    The clamping force is fairly strong, depending on what you're used to.
    They don't clamp as hard as the Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7 but the Sennheiser HD598 headphones
    are much more comfortable. I had these on for listening sessions of about 90 minutes before they became a
    bit hot and uncomfortable.
    As there has been some discussion on the quality of the cable, I used the cable that came with the Philips Fidelio X2 when listening to these headphones.
    When doing comparisons between this headphone and Audio-Technica's ATH-MSR7 it was obvious that the sound became more similar with this cable than with their own cables. I was unable to use two cables with a splitter since the PSB M4U 1 only played music in one cup when I tried. Perhaps I have the wrong kind of splitter.
    Having listened to them for the last week, I can say that they are very versatile.
    I've listened to music ranging from classical/orchestral to heavy industrial,
    and these headphones have rendered the music very well over all genres.
    When I listen to them without trying to compare them to other headphones, they sound almost perfect.
    The low end is there, the midrange is clear and present and the treble is crisp with plenty of detail.
    With some recordings, I've felt that the treble is a touch too bright. If you will think so, too, depends on
    your own preferences. I can say that Survivor's album Vital Signs (original CD from 1984) is too
    treble heavy for me when used with HRT Microstreamer through Foobar2000. The 2010 remaster from Rock Candy
    is a lot louder and is brickwall limited but it doesn't sound as bright as the original CD through the HRT Microstreamer.
    When playing the original CD on my iBasso DX90 the sound is fuller, with some weight to the bass and with a smoother treble presentation.
    The DX90 has been reviewed as being very analytical and neutral so the way it presented the music was a surprise to me.
    That said, I've switched between the iBasso DX90 and the HRT Microstreamer depending on the situation but have probably
    listened to about 70% of the music on the DX90.
    As for comparisons, as I have the Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7 headphones, I did listen to a few tracks to compare the two headphones.
    In my opinion, the PSB M4U 1 is the more balanced of the two, but the MSR7 presents music with more punch to the bass and the treble is a touch smoother.
    The bass can be a little too accented at times, but it's mostly just right. Voices have more body with the ATH-MSR7.
    I never could get a fix on how to determine soundstage and imaging so I'll leave that to others.
    In closing, I believe that these headphones are for you if you want a pair that have a balanced sound.
    The Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7 have more punch in the bass and a smoother treble.
    The bass on the PSB M4U 1 is a bit fuller than the Sennheiser HD598's and a fair amount fuller than the Beyerdynamic DT880's.
    With the Philips Fidelio X2, the bass is more accented, the midrange is slightly recessed and treble is crisp.
    Thanks for reading.
    My music list is under the spoiler tag so that the post doesn't take up too much space.

    Musical Styles
    (Art Rock)
    Jane Siberry - The Walking (1987)
    Franz Berwald - Symphony Singulière (1845) Recording from 1968.
    Seven Lions - Days to Come EP (2012)
    Encephalon - The Transhuman Condition (2011)
    Front Line Assembly - Hard Wired (1995)
    (Film Music/Symphonic-Electronic)
    Daft Punk - Tron: Lecacy Soundtrack (2010)
    (Future Pop/Crossover)
    Biomekkanik - State of Perfection (2008)
    Biomekkanik - Violently Beautiful (2015)
    Devin Townsend - Ocean Machine: Biomech (1997)
    Dream Theater - Images and Words (1992)
    Yngwie Malmsteen - Trilogy (1986)
    Front Line Assembly - Hard Wired (1995)
    KOTOKO - Epsilon no fune (2009)
    Dave Steward & Barbara Gaskin - The Bid Idea (1990)
    Roxette - The Look (1988) Original CD edition (Not 2009 remaster)
    Sheryl Nome starring May'n - Universal Bunny (2009)
    Survivor - Vital Signs Original CD Edition (1984)
    Wang Chung - Points on the Curve (1983)
    Wang Chung - To Live and Die In L.A. (1985)
    Michael Jackson - Thriller (1983) (There are too may versions out there. The one I listened to is the European Japan for Europe pressing (CDEPC 85930  DI8P-11) that is a bit bright but still good sounding.
    More info on versions here: http://forums.stevehoffman.tv/threads/michael-jackson-thriller-best-sounding-cd.251437/page-3
    Airplay - Airplay (1979)
    (Synth/New Age)
    Jean Michel Jarre - Oxygene (1976)
    Jean Michel Jarre - Zoolook (1984)
    (Synth Pop)
    Big Money - Lost in Hollywood (1992)

    Individual tracks:
    (Dark Ambient)
    Synaesthesia - Consciousness - From Desideratum  CD 1 (1995)
    May'n - Welcome to My FanClub's Night from 'Macross Frontier.'
    Icaks likes this.
  14. goodyfresh
    So are you saying the MSR7 actually have MORE bass than the M4U 1, or what/?
  15. ericf
    Yes, they do.
    The PSB M4U1 have a more 'natural' bass and the ATH-MSR7 have a slightly emphasized bass.
    The ATH-MSR7 can sometimes feel a little too in your face with the upper mirange and lower treble but then again that's always a trade off with headphones.
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