PSB came to the world of headphones from the world of serious home speakers not so long ago, only about a year ago. The company often received and still receives all sorts of praise from users and reviewers in its “home world” – it is most often praised for its excellent price to quality ratio. Going a little ahead we can say that PSB headphones deserve the same appraisals. As you can see from the table in the introductory article the PSB M4U-1 stands for Music For You-1 is about one third more affordable than its “opponents”.
By the way, you can buy the “older brother” of our “test” headset – PSB M4U-2 – for the same or even slightly less money than you are asked for Sennheiser Momentum and V-Moda Crossfade M100. M4U-2 differs from its younger “congener” by the presence of an active noise-suppression system, a built-in digital amplifier and an effects processor DSP . You can bypass all that and get a music signal that is identical to the M4U-1.
So far PSB headphone range is limited only to the two above mentioned models. However, having seen one of them personally we can say that the company has properly started its “invasion” to the market and if it will continue in the same vein then it will be a success for sure.
Unlike Sennheiser Momentum and V-Moda Crossfade M100 in the construction of which leather and metal are prevailing, the main material of the case of PSB M4U-1 is plastic. Metal is also present, but it is relatively little – only a pair of metal pads on the inside of the headband, cup elements “peeking” out through the backs of the holders oblong figures with PSB logo , and retractable bars that connect the holders to the headband are made of it.
The plastic of the PSB M4U-1 is predominantly glossy. During the use of headphones it is quickly covered by fingerprints – which is traditional for this kind of plastic.
The cord of PSB M4U-1 is the same “feature” as the one of V-Moda Crossfade M100: you can connect it to the left or right earcups.
The design of PSB headphones is foldable. Also, like V-Moda, their cup-holders are bent inward toward the headband, but the cups remain parallel to the cup-holders. As a result we get pretty compact, but still much bigger in size than folded Crossfade M100.
Ease of use
PSB M4U-1 is the biggest headphone in the test. In terms of dimensions they are somewhere on the border between overhead and full-size models, and if it were not for the small earcups sizes and earcups diameter, we would probably refer them to the category of full-size.
The big size of PSB M4U-1 doesn’t cause any ergonomic inconveniences, but because of them the headphones can be incompatible with the image of the owner when you use them outside the house – although the design is quite neutral and to “flashy” style of some Skullcandy they are far away.
Dimensions aside PSB M4U-1 stands out by its weight: 340 grams! However, even this weight can be quite acceptable for portable headphones if their ergonomics is thought out well enough. It seems that PSB M4U-1 has just such ergonomics – at least when you put on these headphones you don’t think “how heavy they are”!”. Moreover, even after two or three hours of wearing them you don’t feel any fatigue from their weight.
The pressing force of the cups of PSB M4U-1 is rather strong – but not too much beyond the reasonable limits. In terms of noise isolation, the headphones are only slightly inferior to V-Moda Crossfade M100. In other words, you can listen to music in them comfortably even in noisy environment.
Remote and microphone
The remote control of PSB M4U-1 is as simple as V-Moda headphones – there’s only one button. The remote control has no problems with ergonomics. The built-in high-quality microphone “writes” speech and does not “catch” unnecessary sounds.
The sound of PSB M4U-1 reminds in many respects the same one of Sennheiser Momentum: here is the same even “middle” with natural timbres, treble is presented in the similar way – only without the peak forcing hissing and whistling consonant sounds, in a whole the level of resolving ability is comparable. But something in the sound of M4U-1 significantly distinguishes these headphones from the Senkhs. As you can easily guess, it’s the bass.
If the Sennheiser Momentum has not so much in quantity, but it is fast and detailed, the PSB M4U-1 has more in quantity, but its speed characteristics and detailedness are more modest. By the last two parameters the bass of PSB M4U-1 is comparable with the bass of V-Moda Crossfade M100, which means that the quality level is good in general, but during the playback of phonograms with high-speed “volleys” of bass beats the headphones don’t “stumble” – they play the beats much smeared and not very distinct. Quantitatively, the bass in PSB is not as much as in V-Moda – to my subjective senses it is less by about one third.
To sum up, the sound of PSB M4U-1 is natural and detailed enough, with a little “spice” in the form of forced bass. This “spice” noticeably affects the perception of the sound: first, it adds some volume to it, and second, it makes it more powerful, weighty, assertive and dynamic.