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PSB M4U 2 Active Noise-Cancelling Headphones (Black)
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- Around-the-ear design with closed, padded ear cups and adjustable headband and folds up for easier s
- Active noise-canceling technology reduces distracting external sounds
- Active listening mode uses built-in headphone amplifier for more powerful and precise audio with por
- In-line remote/microphone for hands-free use with iPod, iPhone, and iPad
- In-line push-to-hear monitor control pauses the audio source and noise-canceling feature for brief c
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|Sold By||ListenUp||Audio Advisor, Inc.||Tech Guruu||TECH&TOYS (NO TAX - Excld. WA State)||Audio Advice Online||ListenUp|
|Item Dimensions||7.87 x 27.56 x 7.87 in||7.88 x 7.88 x 2.88 in||7.88 x 8.25 x 2.8 in||7.88 x 8.25 x 2.8 in||7.88 x 7.88 x 2.88 in||2.88 x 7.88 x 7.88 in|
|Item Weight||0.8 lb||0.75 lb||—||—||0.75 lb||0.8 lb|
|Additional Features||Noise-Cancelling||ios-phone-control, lightweight||ios-phone-control, lightweight, volume-control||ios-phone-control, lightweight, volume-control||ios-phone-control, lightweight||Exclusive Room FeelTM technology, Active Noise Cancelation (ANC), Active Mode and Passive Mode available|
:Designed for people on the move.On a train, on a plane, from your computer to your bedroom, PSB headphones are lightweight and ready to pack up anywhere you want to go. Fold em up into the protective travel case and youll never be far from true hi-fi listening. We even added a thoughtful touch for your comfortdual input connections on either side of the headphones means no more crossed wires. Just plug in the cable on the left or right and be within easy reach of a headphone jack no matter where its situated.All of the music. None of the noise.Sometimes you just want it to be just you and your music in your own personal space. The PSB M4U 2 Active Noise Cancelling Headphones dont let anything come between you and enjoying your music. Thanks to PSBs exclusive Room FeelTM technology, your music will sound so rich and natural youll think youre listening to a set of high-end loudspeakers.All of the music. Non-stop.The M4U 2 model features three convenient modes of operation: Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), Active Mode, and Passive Mode (without batteries). Listen all day and all night with 60 hours of run time in ANC or Active modes. When you're out of batteries, switch to Passive Mode without missing a beat.Ergonomically sound.Listen longer in extra comfort. PSB's unique two-way adjustable ear pads are gyro-suspended for optimal ergonomics and supreme comfort.
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Unfortunately, the HD500's can't be used to drown out neighboring cubicle noise because they are open-air headphones and you can hear everything around you when listening to them. So I started on a quest for some noise-canceling headphones.
I have some older on-ear Sennheiser active noise-cancelers (analog circuitry, pre-digital!) that work okay, and I've tried the Sennheiser PXC 450 noise canceling headphones but was not very happy. They did not fit well (I have an average/medium sized head) and the noise canceling circuitry seems to be very sensitive to movement. The performance and fit was uneven and I eventually returned them.
To date, my noise cancelers for airplane flights have been a pair of Shure E2 in-ear plugs that I purchased in ~2005. These were some of the first high-quality passive isolation in-ear plugs and they have been excellent! The audio reproduction is great and the isolation is superb. Plus, they are small, compact and require no batteries (passive isolation provided by the in-ear silicone plugs). The only drawback is that on very long flights the in-ear plugs can get uncomfortable after a few hours and when you eat or move they can pop out of your ears, otherwise they are an excellent solution.
For office use I tried a colleague's pair of Audio-Technica ATH-ANC7B. If you want something that will just cancel noise and you're not interested in listening to music, or you're not picky about the audio quality, I highly recommend these headphones. For the price they have amazing noise canceling. They cancel just about everything and are reasonably comfortable. However, it seems the price you pay for that excellent noise canceling is slightly distorted audio, which was too much for my taste.
I've also tried some of my colleagues' Bose noise cancelers and had a similar reaction to other reviewers: they are very good at canceling noise, but they tend to compromise the sound quality in order to get that isolation. They also do not provide good sound when the noise canceling is turned off (i.e., they do not sound good in passive mode).
For the past two years I've been using a pair of Audio-Technica ATH-M50 headphones in the office (these are not noise-cancelers, they are over-the-ear sealed headphones). If you play music at a reasonable level it provides enough isolation (along with the sealed design) to effectively drown out most of the surrounding office noise. I've used them heavily in the office and have been very satisfied with them. They are comfortable and have very reasonable audio reproduction, especially for the price. (If you have a small head you might find it hard to get a comfortable fit.)
Given my satisfaction with the ATH-M50 headphones, why do I need a pair of active-noise cancelers? Because I wanted something that would give me reasonable noise isolation at a very low-level of audio, and I wanted an alternate set of headphones to take with me on long flights, to use when my ear canals need a rest from the Shure in-ear plugs.
How do the PSB M4U 2 headphones fare? Pretty good. I'm not giving them five stars, for reasons I'll explain below.
-- Audio quality is very good, as most reviewers have stated. They do enhance the audio slightly (not as flat as my HD500 reference) but the coloration is not obnoxious or overdone. They provide very good audio reproduction in passive mode (turned off) and active mode (noise-canceling turned on).
-- Comfort is very good. Despite their bulk, they are very comfortable. They are definitely heavier than my HD500 reference, but not at the expense of comfort. I can wear them for multiple hours and do not have to shift or reposition while listening to them. I do wish they were slimmer, lighter and less bulky.
-- There are actually two active modes: amplified and amplified + noise-canceling. I don't care much for the amplified mode, it adds too much emphasis or coloration to the audio. When you switch on the noise-canceling it tends to dampen the emphasis added by the amplification. So, for me, there are really just two modes of operation: passive and noise-canceling on.
-- My only significant complaint is that they are too efficient in active mode (when turned on); meaning they provide a very comfortable level of sound with a relatively low-level input audio signal. This means you don't have to turn up the volume on your player very high to get a respectable level of sound. This will, undoubtedly, be an asset when used on an airplane (which I have not yet had the opportunity to try), but in the office this is a detriment.
The above means that if you want to listen to a low-level of music, with noise-canceling on, in the office, you're going to be amplifying a low-level signal that, on most phones and tablets, is a noisy signal. The audio circuits in many modern mobile devices are of variable quality. Relying on getting a good signal-to-noise ratio from a less-than-perfect audio source, especially at low-level signal levels, is not good practice. I suspect iPhones and iPads were used as the reference input, which is a shame because most of the devices out there are Android devices and it is not the case that only Apple users want good quality sound! Anyway, when you amplify a noisy signal you just get a louder noisy signal. So my advice is that you only pair these with a player that has a high quality audio output. Unfortunately, I can't tell you which devices those are, but I can say that the results with my Samsung S3 phone are pretty good and my second generation Nexus 7 is good enough. A first generation Nexus 7 tablet would not be good enough, the audio circuit on that device is too noisy.
Hope this helps, when I get a chance to try them on an airplane I'll amend this review, but I expect the results to be good enough. :)
EDIT: Finally had the opportunity to take these headphones on a long airline flight (to Europe from the west coast of the US). They were very good in the airplane environment, and, as I suspected, the additional gain was an asset on the airplane. They were extremely comfortable for an entire five hour flight from the west coast to the east coast. I'm very happy with the results. I'm currently in a hotel listening to music from my Nexus 7 with the headphones in passive mode and they sound terrific.
One thing that helps to deal with the over-eager amplification of these headphones is to get yourself a simple little in-line attenuator (like the sort of thing you'll find in the Shure EAADPT-KIT Adapter Kit). I've got one that I bought years ago from Radio Shack and it works perfectly. With one of these devices you can turn up the volume on your phone or tablet and then use the attenuator to turn it down to just the right volume. It sounds counter-intuitive, but it really helps with the less than stellar signal-to-noise ratio of the typical phone or tablet, not to mention that it gives you a much more convenient and finer resolution volume control to adjust while listening to tracks compared what you typically get out of the +/- rocker on the typical phone or tablet (which typically changes the volume level too much with each +/- increment). It's especially useful for listening to a random track selection where the volume may be changing due to variations in the recording levels of the tracks. Well worth the tiny investment. :)
When the built-in amplification is turned on, you may well hear intermittent crackling noises if you are indoors near a wifi connection. And if you plug directly into the headphone jack of a power amplifier or receiver, you may hear hum or other noises.
I called PSB and was told this is a known problem arising from the high gain of the built-in electronics. The suggested work-around: When you use these headphones with a home theater amplifier or receiver, turn off the built-in amplification. And when you are connected to a portable media source (I listen to mp3s saved to my cell phone), put the device in airplane mode, so it will not pick up RF noise.
Both of these workarounds work -- not ideal, but this is one price you must pay for the really excellent sound of this headset.
PS: I listen mostly to classical music, so I want a headset with flat, accurate response. That is what this headset provides. It does sound, as PSB says, like a simply superb speaker system.
When they worked, they were great headphones, which is how they earned the two stars, but to die after 18 months seems a little short-sighted for $400 headphones.
Pros: Great sound, pretty good noise cancellation.
Sound reproduction is excellent. I've been a musician for 40+ years, mostly playing tabla, and in bands with other acoustic instruments, so I know what I'm looking for. No other headphones or earbuds I've owned previously do nearly as good of a job.
When you use the noise cancellation it reduces the noise 'floor' sufficiently to be able to hear the music better. I also love the 'room-feel' effect. Together they give everything a real live feel and sound.
The noise cancellation is pretty decent. In the office it removes tons of low level sound. I never know the hvac system was so noisy. When nothing is playing it seems to enhance voices because the background noise is so reduced. I even use them when driving on long trips to reduce the road noise. I listen to podcasts so I can still hear passengers and external sounds so I'm not totally isolated. I was surprised at how much the road noise adds to fatigue while driving. On planes, it reduces the noise considerably, but not totally. If you fly a lot, and you need a lot of reduction, you should probably look elsewhere.
Altogether these are the best headphones I've owned.
Cons: Terrible terrible terrible build.
I initially bought a pair of the PSB M4U-1 and liked them so much I decided to spring for the noise cancelling version as well.
After six months they developed a pretty constant crackling sound,apparently an issue with the noise cancelling system.
The company I bought them from replaced them.
After another six months, the same problem popped up, and since they were still under the original warranty the seller replaced them again.
Six more months and the same problem for a week. Then the left channel dropped out altogether. The seller suggested I contact PSB.
PSB was utterly unhelpful. No return, since it was out of warranty, and they have no repair service (really! for $400 headphones?!). The only option was to offer a refurbished set for $200, which I declined.
A year later, I've sent mine to a repair place in Brooklyn. I'll update this if possible when I get them back. If they're unfixable, I hope Oppo comes out with a noise cancelling version of their PM-3s soon.
In the meantime I've been using my M4U-1s and they're great, but a fair step lesser experience than the M4U-2.
<< UPDATE>> My M4U-1 headphones have fallen victim to the headband cracking problem. They still work, but I'm going to have to figure out a way to repair them before the left side splits off completely. Downgraded to a single star. So much promise, such a bad product.
Most recent customer reviews
These headphones have a very nice and balanced sound and handled many genres of music well.Read more