Here at MajorHiFi, I recently got a chance to get my hands on the new PSB M4U 8 wireless, active noise cancelling HD headphones. These are PSB’s first wireless set of cans so I’m excited to see how they perform and how they sound. Are they worthy of all the anticipation? Today I’ll find out with this PSB M4U 8 Wireless Active Noise Cancelling HD headphones review.
PSB M4U 8 Wireless Active Noise Cancelling HD Headphones Review
In the Box
-PSB M4u 8 wireless active noise cancelling headphones
-Zipping, semi-hard carrying case
-Micro fiber cleaning cloth
-Carabiner for carrying case
-Audio 3.5mm cable
-Micro USB charging cable
The headband of the PSB M4U 8 headphones is thick and strong. It is made of spring steel metal but is also flexibility and comfortable. Because of its composition, it is a little bit heavy. However, its heaviness is redeemed because of its thick, comfortable cushion on the underside of the headband. The cushion is coated with leatherette and contributes significantly to the comfort of the headphones.
The earcups of the PSB M4U 8 Bluetooth headphones are large and oval shaped. Like the headband, they are a bit heavy due to their durable metal body. Additionally, the right earcup is home to all the controls for the headphones: playback controls, Bluetooth controls, ANC controls and phone call controls. Aesthetically, the buttons and switches are too big. However, from a practicality perspective, their position and size are easy to find while wearing the headphones.
I like the earpads a lot. They are the perfect thickness for my ears. Additionally, they do a great job of blocking out sound around me, even when noise cancellation is turned off. The PSB M4U 8 headphones also include an extra pair of earpads in the box.
As an audiophile, I’m glad to see that PSB included support for aptX HD for the M4U 8 headphones. I was a little bit perplexed, however, because outside of aptX, there is no information on what Bluetooth codec the headphones uses with normal phones which don’t support aptX. The headphones can also connect via NFC for folks with Android phones.
The battery life of the PSB M4U 8 noise cancellation headphones is about 15 hours. PSB admits that the battery life can vary depending on how you’re using the headphones but on average, 15 hours describes the battery life for listening to the headphones wirelessly and with noise cancellation turn on!
Lastly, I was particularly impressed with the headphones’ strong connectivity and range. Especially since these headphones are PSB’s first wireless pair, I was impressed that they stayed connected to my phone well over 30 feet, even without line of site.
Active Noise Cancellation
The active noise cancellation of the PSB M4U 8 wireless headphones performed well! It cancels the noise around you using four microphones instead of two. The noise cancellation is strong, although it left high mid frequencies in tact. As a result, voices still stand out pretty clearly, which is a good or bad thing depending on how you plan on using the headphones. If you are hoping to block out voices, you may want to look elsewhere for noise cancelling headphones. However, if you want to be able to hear voices for flight numbers, or when people want to get your attention, you’ll particularly like the noise cancelling with the PSB M4U 8.
The low sub frequencies of the PSB M4U 8 are thick and robust. As a result, hip-hop, pop, and EDM music perform fully and powerfully. A boost at 80 Hz gives bass synths and kick drums extra energy. There is another big broad boost at 100 Hz which contributes, unfortunately, to cloudiness in the low end and low-mids, although it gives a lot of energy to bass guitars on many mixes.
Because of the big low end boost, the low-mids are a little bit too cloudy for genres requiring a lot of mid-range detail like classical, bluegrass, and folk. Additionally, cuts at 1kHz and 4 kHz make vocals sit less intimately in the mix. This cut seemed much less significant when I listened to the headphones via aptX, but when I was just listening on my phone the resulting sound was quite dull. The high mid frequency cuts also negatively affected my perspective of acoustic stringed instruments like electric guitars guitars, strings, and acoustic guitar which benefit from a little bit of bite in some recordings. However, this sound signature worked much better for music with synthesized instruments, especially instrumental EDM songs.
The high frequencies of the PSB M4U 8 are modest, perhaps because of the relative levels of the low-end. While there small, relatively narrow frequency boosts at 8.5 kHz and 11kHz, there is another significant cut at 10 kHz. As a result, vocals don’t have as much air. However, recordings with bright, harsh sound signatures (like some jazz recordings) actually benefit from this reserved high end response.
The PSB M4U 8 doesn’t have much sense of soundstage at all, although I wasn’t quite expecting it considering its active noise cancellation. A little bit of soundstage returned when listening without ANC turned on, although it performed the best via aptX or just wired.
While PSB boasts that its RoomFeel technology makes recordings sound more realistic, it didn’t sound great to me. Especially when I was listening via aptX, I sensed a little bit of phasiness almost, and much preferred the clarity of listening wired. I wish there was a switch to turn RoomFeel off, because I would have opted to listen without it given the option.
The sound signature of the PSB M4U 8 wireless active noise cancelling HD headphones wasn’t quite for me, although I can imagine there are folks who might like it. If you particularly listen to instrumental EDM, or if you have a lot of bright and harsh records, you might like these headphones. However, regardless of your preferences, I’ll admit the headphones sounded much better via aptX and/or wired than via straight Bluetooth with my phone. Additionally, its active noise cancelling is strong, but also keeps high-mid frequencies in tact for vocal articulation.
The PSB M4U 8 Bluetooth active noise cancelling HD headphones are available for the best price here:
Impedance: 32 ohms
Driver size: 40 mm
Power handling: 30 mW