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PSB M4U1 - Thoughts?

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by swmtnbiker, Nov 13, 2012.
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  1. Raymond Zhang
    The clamping force goes down pretty quickly, or you just get used to it. The soft padding helps with that a lot. Make sure to tell us what you think of the sound! And I actually like the cable, lol. It seems sturdy enough, fits into most jacks snugly, and it's the perfect length.
  2. ch96066
    Happy owner of a red pair for a couple of weeks and probably 60hours of use. Most of these through PC running spotify premium, using a split usb cable to power my Fulla amp from an external powered usb hub. Also used my Audiolab 8200CD as DAC (foobar2k/Asio, usb in, rca to 3,5 out). A lot of different styles thrown at them (classical, rock, metal, blues, hip hop, electronica etc.).
    By the way, a lot of it found through this huge database of reviews. Even if you don't agree with the reviews, just using it as potential treasure trove pays huge dividents to anyone's musical education. http://www.robertchristgau.com/cg.php
    Rest came from going through allmusic reviews. Another huge resource. www.allmusic.com
    I 'll start with the aesthetics, comfort etc. and then come to the SQ. Package, as noted by most, is complete and the second pads pair is certainly welcome. Cable looks flimsy, but no apparent tear/sound issues so far. They look plasticky but not cheap, the pad/headband feels quality leather (faux or real) not sure. Regarding fit, they seal quite well and have a lot of microadjustment ability through the cups mechanism. They are not deep or wide and bigger ears may fill uncomfortable. Same goes for the clamping force/weight depending on head size. I am lucky in both accounts and putting them on for 2-4 hours continuously is relative easy. I just move them around a little from time to time for ease. So overall happy with the fit and finish. No cracking issue yet, but still new.
    Coming to SQ. First thing to mention is that I cannot get them to tire me listening to them. I know that I have sensitivity around 3,5-4KH and then around 7KH. So whatever EQ / roll-off/roomfeel etc. PSB have applied it works for me.
    Since I am not good at listening low to mid to high differences, I relied on experts advice on tracks to test. http://www.forbes.com/sites/geoffreymorrison/2014/02/20/best-headphone-test-tracks/#153428021580
    To these I added some tracks from Chesky's headphone's test CD. Especially the test ones for the 360 sound stage. Also some bass mekanik tracks for the raw low end.
    Comparison cans were the usual novice user's suspects: koss ksc75, HD668B. Both modded with dynamat. So a wide price range gathering, missing a mid priced contender (Sony mdr 7506 anyone?). Key findings and ranking as below:
    General Listenability: M4U1 / KSC / HD. HD's sound really changes with different modding, so it is a hit or miss affair.
    Soundstage expanse: KSC / HD / M4U1. Being closed shows especially in the Chesky test tracks.
    Naturalness: M4U1 / KSC / HD
    Bass: M4U1 / HD / KSC
    Vocals: M4U1 / KSC / HD
    Treble: M4U1 / KSC / HD
    Comfort: KSC / M4U1 / HD
    Summing up this rough ranking, it is evident (to my ears at least) that M4U1 is the upgrade I hoped it would be in terms of SQ. KSC's for mobility and M4U1 for dedicated listening and I am set for now. HD's on country house duty. Unless I test something that sounds clearly better, I am not upgrading further on the cans side. Mogami 2534 and neutrik jacks are on the way, a dedicated 5V linear usb PSU is under consideration and that's it.
    In short, I cannot say if this PSB is the best of the 300ish USD bunch, but I feel that my roughly 200USD (through ebay) are spend with no regret's whatsoever.
    Hope this helps any prospective buyer.
  3. Jess70

    Nice review !
    ch96066 likes this.
  4. ch96066
    Quick update: just hooked up the Mogami 2534 with Rean Neutrik jacks.
    I think that these are the best 25USD i have spent for a long time. Initial impressions are clear gains in separation, sound stage wideness and depth, quieter background, fuller bass. Everything sounds more organic, defined and alive.
    1 step closer to having the band in front of me (if there is one). Very happy!
  5. Bansaku

    I know eh? Glad to see that you hear what I have been preaching throughout this thread. Like I said before, PSB dropped the ball on the cable. I wonder is Paul Barton hooks up his loudspeakers with #26 AWG speaker wire, from the Dollar Store!? [​IMG]
    BTW very nice cable!  A simple upgrade that brings you one step closer to achieving ultimate transparency!
    ch96066 likes this.
  6. punit
    Wow, these are really good HP's. Very musical & engaging - like a good tube amp. Really worth the money.
  7. Bansaku

    Glad you are liking them! I am (always) curious to know the story behind them, if you don't mind telling us where and what made you purchase the M4U 1.
  8. YUHaveNoNames
    Anybody else find that the room-feel stuff messes with the bass a little, seemed inconsistent between songs when i tried them kind of like early T1s.
  9. punit
    I bought PSB Synchrony One speakers around 4 years back after auditioning quite a few speakers as they made quite an impression on me. Hence was curious about what Paul Barton can achieve with Hp's.
    Couple of months back I was just walking around the mall after dropping my kid to a play area & just went to the electronics section to pass the time. I walked into one of the Hi Fi shops & was trying out various HP's for fun. They also had Focal Spirit  & various Denon HP's. I put on the PSB M4U1 & was quite impressed by the sound - great mids & sound stage, nice bass, smooth treble & also quite comfortable .I put it back & made the mistake of looking at the price, it was at 40% discount. So walked out with one even though I do not need another headphone.
  10. HungryPanda
    Just received my new M4U 1's today and have to say they sound great right out of the box. Just listened to Stevie Vai's Modern Primitive album and it was truly amazing. looking forward to burning these in. I had bought Sony MDR 1A's but found them useless for walking around due to the wind noise. These will do the job nicely and look good in Monza Red.
  11. Jess70

    The sound and comfort improves quite a bit with time IMO. Less clamping with time.
    HungryPanda likes this.
  12. HungryPanda
    I don't find they clamp too bad, I have a small head anyway.
  13. crazedmodder
    Had these for a bit over a month now and absolutely adore them.  These are not portable cans for me, I have a Vsonic IEM that I use on the bus/metro/out of home, and as such these are mostly home use only (on my PC).  I have been using them for gaming, music, shows, and movies (in that order).
    I never had really good headphones before but I tried out my brother's M50s and liked them.  The M4U1 are better in my opinion and I was blown away from the moment I first listened to them.  Listened to my friend's M50x's as well and liked the sound but was not wowed from the start.  I let my friend and my brother listen to the M4U1 and they were seriously impressed as well.
    Not much new to say about the sound that is not covered in this thread.  Vocals come through amazingly clear and I really like female vocals with these (Adele, Feist, Florence and the Machine, Lana Del Rey, Lorde).  It took me a long time to get used to the mids when gaming because I often heard other player's footsteps and thought that they were right next to me when they were actually behind a few walls.  Not a bad thing, actually good, just required a bit of brain recalibration.
    The stock wire has mega microphonics.  I got sleeving and it helps reduce tapping microphonics but now I get rubbing microphonics [​IMG] Ordered a cheap wire from eBay and it has almost no microphonics because it is super soft/supple.  Hopefully it lasts unlike the Monoprice cable that I ordered which lasted all of 2 days before losing one channel.
    The stock ear pads were not nearly deep enough for my ears and the tips of my ears touched the plastic covering the driver.  To remedy this I ordered Brainwavz full size pads which were still not deep enough but way better.  I saw some modding guides where people were putting foam inside their pads under the foam ring that was already there so I took the original pads, cut out the fabric covering the center and stuffed them inside the Brainwavz pads.  I cannot post pictures because I am a newbie but if you take the Brainwavz pads there is a gap between the foam/pleather ring and the fabric backing.  That is where I stuffed the original pads.
    Original pads: 2 hours to pain, 4 hours to unbearable
    Brainwavz pads: 4 hours to pain, 6 hours to unbearable
    Brainwavz pads stuffed with original pads: have used them up to 8 hours with no pain
    Originally I was not planning on pairing these with a DAC, especially because the audio output on my desktop PC I actually quite liked the sound of but I really did not like the sound from my phone or laptop output (phone was better than the laptop though).  I ordered an Encore mDSD after reading good reviews on it and seeing that people were using it with smartphones.  I do not feel like it changed the overall sound compared to my desktop pc's audio output but added a bit more power in lower frequencies.  I am glad I got it because for me it pairs well with the headphones in terms of sound and driving them (they are super easy to drive), and it was not expensive.  Not really much else to say here because I do not have any DSD files to try the more advanced features of the DAC (I tried some sample files but Foobar just decoded them itself).
  14. DynamikeB
    Just got a red pair of these (second hand) and they sound awesome.  Great detail and clear sound.  Also they are really comfy.  I just them a few hours and they sit on top of my list with the Thinksound ON1 (these would be my favorite on ear).  
  15. HungryPanda
    I really like mine,. After my wife listened to them she bought NAD HP50's as Paul Barton did those too and they do sound very close. I think the PSB's have a better take on treble. My wife has the Thinksound On1's as well :)
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