What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Tue, 11 Sep 2012, 11:14am


Tested at £300

PSB’s first headphones are truly brilliant – hear them now!

Write your own review


  • Amplifier improves sound and saves portable’s battery
  • brilliant all-round audio


  • Some rivals are a smidge more comfortable and silence-inducing

If the PSB name isn’t familiar to you, you can be forgiven: although the company’s been around for some 40 years, we’ve not been blown away by any of its speakers for a while.

This, its first pair of headphones, though, really is something worth shouting about. Not that anyone wearing a pair would hear the racket, because the PSB M4U2s boast a combination of effective noise-cancelling and a solid around-ear seal to block out a great deal of din.

PSB M4US: Noise cancelling

Most interesting, though, is that as well as the facility to switch the noise-cancelling on or off (on the right cup), there’s an extra notch in the middle of that switch that activates the built-in amplifier but leaves the noise-cancelling switched off.

As well as improving the overall sound quality, this has the benefit of extending your portable player’s battery life, as it isn't working as hard to power the headphones. Very neat.


PSB M4US: Sound quality
So, how is the sound? Awesome. While the overall balance is pretty uniform, there’s no denying that the M4U 2s sound their best with the amplifier activated, so keep some spare AAA batteries handy – rechargeable ones, preferably – when you’re out and about.

Whether the noise-cancelling is or isn’t activated has little real bearing on the sound they produce at normal volumes, though. Either way you’ve got substantial punch, weight and texture at the bottom-end (play Phat Planet by Leftfield for ample proof), plenty of sparkle and control at the top, and some of the most direct, clear and well-projected vocals we've heard.

PSB M4US: Verdict
It's only when you crank it that the high frequencies get a little shouty in noise-cancelling mode.

In truth, the long-standing Bose QuietComfort 15s probably have the edge in terms of comfort, compactness and the effectiveness of their noise-cancelling tech, but if you want to turn your office, flight or train journey into a private listening experience of exceptional quality, these are the headphones to get.

MORE: Best noise-cancelling headphones to buy in 2014


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