PSB M4U 8 Headphone Review

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Heard of PSB before? Me neither, but after a quick Google, I found out that PSB Speakers is a Canadian loudspeaker company, founded back in the 1970’s. Initially selling speakers of many kinds, they soon expanded into the headphone sector, with the M4U 8, being their latest, premium level pair of cans to hit the market. We were fortunate enough to get a pair sent over for us to try out.

Features:
– Wireless amplified, tri-mode, closed back design
– Bluetooth HD wireless connection with aptX and NFC (automatic connection)
– Active Noise Cancelling Mode with RoomFeel
– Active Mode with RoomFeel / Passive Mode (batteries not required)
– Rechargeable batteries with up to 15hrs playback on active mode

The headphones arrived in a well presented, large box and once opened, I was greeted by a PSB logo’ed hard case. Open the hard case, and there are the headphones. The headphones are predominantly black in colour, with a black leather feel/white stitching, padded metal headband, a hint of chrome. The headband is adjustable, each ear can fold away and tilts, for added flexibility. There is a premium feel to the headphones, given how they are presented, the included carry case and their retail price, but they don’t look that premium to me. They are well constructed but compared to the likes of Bose or B&O, they look a little dated and clunky. If the performance is good, I’m less concerned about how they look. Also included in the box is a 3.5mm cable, micro USB cable, 1/4″ & flight adapter (old school!), replacement ear cushions and cloth.

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On the right hand can, are the controls, including power on/off, ANC on/off, change tracks etc and I noticed that both left & right cans include a 3.5mm port for when using the passive option. Under the left can, there are 2No. rechargeable AAA batteries, which are removable, replaceable and handy to have. Forget to charge, forget the 3.5mm cable, then you do have the option to pop to a shop for replacement batteries.

The headphones come complete with something PSB call ‘RoomFeel’, which produces ‘Room Gain’, “the energy and clarity that a room adds when listening to high-quality loudspeakers”. This sounds a little vague, to me and will be hard to compare, if only PSB use this technology, but nonetheless, it should add quality to the sound.

Although there are those 3.5mm inputs on either can, the M4U 8 is actually a wireless pair of headphones, utilising the latest 24bit Bluetooth aptX HD technology. Fun fact, you can also use these headphones on your PC or laptop, via the USB cable and it will provide both sound and charge to the headphones! The M4U 8 includes ANC or Active Noise Cancellation, and use 4 microphones to offer a ‘transparency mode’, allowing you to hear the outside world for a short period of time.
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As for performance, I’m not quite sure what to say, other than it was superb and by far the best sound I have heard from a pair of headphones in a long time. The sound is rich, distinct and full of life. Pinpoint accuracy for sounds, allowing you to hear a drummer hitting his drums, from left to right, with that bass drum punching through. I listened to a variety of tracks, ranging from chart hits to a more heavier rock song and in all instances, I was blown away. I used them for a few times, maybe an hour each time and at no point was there any discomfort or adjusting required. The headphones are well cushioned and very comfortable to wear. The controls are easy to use, although it takes a little getting used to, to ensure you press the correct button the right can.
Note, to gain the full benefit of the Bluetooth aptX, you will need a compatible device. A list of them can be found here: aptx.com
As for the ANC, it too was very good, so good in fact, that it was almost impossible to hear myself speaking, resulting in me singing far louder than anyone should (unless they’re professional). Thanks for the four built-in microphones, it does a good job of blocking out a lot of different frequencies. Switching the ANC on & off several times to compare, I’d recommend always having ANC on, regardless of your surroundings.

Overall, I was very impressed with the PSB M4U 8’s performance. Yes, they may look a little clunky and outdated compared to others on the market, but if you can see past that, these are an exceptional pair of headphones for the money!

They are available to purchase now with an RRP £299.99. For more info, visit the official PSB M4U 8 webpage.

 

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