PSB M4U 1 review

An upbeat, unfussy pair of headphones that should find many fans Tested at £219

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

An upbeat, unfussy pair of headphones that should find many fans


  • +

    Clean, lively treble

  • +

    Energetic sound


  • -

    Sound loses composure at high volume

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PSB has already set a high standard with its first pair of headphones – the M4U 2s are simply brilliant.

Can the M4U 1s live up to the expectation?

Sound quality

They certainly can try. While they don’t have their big brother’s noise-cancelling benefits, they perform almost as admirably.

Play David Bowie’s Sound And Vision, and the treble sparkles with clarity and pep.

There’s a touch of hardness to the synthesised instruments, but it doesn’t encroach too much on the overall sound. This is a fast, punchy and energetic performance.

The precise edges to the start and stop of notes are a particular highlight.



These cans are relatively open-sounding as well, with instruments easily picked out in the soundstage. Voices are direct and intimate.

PSB has sensibly steered clear of over-egging the bass. Sure, it could be tauter, but there’s enough weight and impact to underpin any piece of music.

The M4U 1s' downfall is a tendency to get shouty when the volume is cranked up. A touch more subtlety wouldn’t go amiss either.

Build quality

We wouldn’t be too deterred by that blocky build – slip them on and you’re more than likely to find they’re light and comfortable.

They’re built to last, although we can’t help wanting a more refined finish and style.


From the brooding tones of The Dead Weather to cheesy ’90s pop tunes, it’s the willingness to get the best out of a recording that makes these PSBs so appealing.

They’re an upbeat, unfussy pair of headphones that should find many fans.

MORE: Best headphones 2014

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What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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