PSB M4U2 with more mids? Better Sennheiser HD380s?
Aug 20, 2015 at 7:55 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 1


New Head-Fier
Aug 20, 2015
Hey everyone,
About 6 months ago I bought the PSB M4U2s, being told by many people that they're the best you can get in their price range (around £250/$400). They are great, but there are two problems: 1) they keep breaking, and 2) it feels like there's something missing from the sound.
Because of 1), I thought I don't want to have keep having to send them back and get replacements every few months - they've broken twice now. So I thought I should get some new phones. But searching for the right pair online is pretty difficult in the absence of trying them out*. So I thought I'd come here and get some help, because I think what I want is fairly specific, and people seem to really know their stuff on here!
Going back to 2) above: the M4U2s lacked a certain something. I don't speak the technical language so I'm not sure how precisely I can articulate this. Many people have said the M4U2s simply play the music as it is, as in, they don't artificially emphasise any aspects of the music, in the way that Beats would emphasise the bass for example.
While some people might like this, and the M4U2s are extremely crisp, I'm not sure it's for me. The 'play it as it was recorded' sound feels a bit...lacking in energy to me. It's hard to describe, but it feels like, in a sense, the music is a bit slower. I've read other people talking about headphones that make the music sound 'fast', 'bright', and this is something that I want; I want phones that make the music sound more energetic and fast-paced than it would otherwise.
I own a pair of Sennheiser HD380s which I bought years ago. While they're not perfect, one thing that I really loved about them, and still do, is how much they emphasise the vocals - they're much, much louder with the HD380s than any other phones I've tried. The flipside to this is that there's not enough bass, and the high end (I think) is consistently emphasised - it's not just the vocals that are very loud, it's also the drum cymbals, for example.
Ideally, I'd like a better version of the HD380s - that can get the bass and drums emphasised as well as the vocals, essentially.
As well as these two requirements - more 'energetic' sound, and more mids/vocals emphasised - the phones I want need to be portable. One problem with the HD380s is that, although they can take a good knock and are extremely comfortable, they don't really isolate any noise at all. The M4U2s do isolate noise well (the 'active noise cancelling' feature helps...), but I don't think I trust their portability given that they keep breaking.
NOTE: The other thing I have considered is getting a portable amp: one that would emphasise the mids/vocals on phones which are otherwise very good, and portable, but just don't emphasise the vocals as much as I'd like (as most phones, with the exception of the HD380s, seem to do this). Is there a portable amp that specifically boosts the mids/vocals, and makes the music sound more energetic? Or any portable amp that would help me given what I've described?
Many thanks for any help, it would be much appreciated!
* I have tried various phones in shops/from friends/etc but didn't really like many of them. The Bose QC25 sound quality is average despite the amazing noise cancellation. B&W P7 were good with some songs but not so good with others. The Sennheiser Momentums are good but feel like they're lacking something. The BeyerDynamic DT770 are the 'industry standard', my friend who works in a music studio tells me - again, I found them a bit flat sounding, like they were lacking something in presenting the music in such a pure way (even though I'm sure this is necessary for production...).

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