Experts agree that the PSB Speakers M4U 2 noise-canceling headphones can't match the noise-quieting power of the Bose QuietComfort 15. Its audio quality, however, is definitely superior. They're pricier than the Bose headphones, and some users find them less comfortable, but if you want the best overall sound from noise-canceling headphones, experts say you can't do better than the PSB M4U 2.
Best sound for noise-canceling headphones. CNET's Steve Guttenberg says PSB Speakers M4U 2 noise-canceling headphones offer excellent sound quality. "The bass, midrange, and treble balance is flawless," he says, "so it sounds great with rock, electronica, jazz, classical, and in fact every type of music." The editors at TheWirecutter.com agree, saying the PSB's sound is "incredible, and much better than the Bose." When it comes to noise cancellation, they admit, the PSB M4U 2 can't match the Bose QuietComfort 15's performance, but it's still better than average. Some users at Amazon.com note that these pricey headphones need about a day of use, known as "burn-in time," before they sound their best.
Doesn't fit everyone. The PSB Speakers M4U 2 headphones get generally good reviews for comfort. Guttenberg notes that with these headphones, "I'm less aware of the mild noise-canceling 'pressure' that's a common problem with many powered noise-canceling headphones" -- a sensation similar to the pressure you feel when changing altitude in a plane. However, users at Amazon.com are somewhat divided on the comfort issue. Most users find the headphones extremely comfortable, even for long-term use. Some, however, say they're too heavy and squeeze the head too tightly, causing headaches. Also, because these are closed-back, over-ears headphones, the vinyl pads may become warm or sticky with prolonged use.
A few caveats. At $400, the PSB Speakers M4U 2 are among the priciest noise-canceling headphones we've seen. However, they have one advantage that some other models lack: They can run in passive mode, with all noise-canceling features turned off. This means that unlike the Bose QuietComfort 15, they'll still work when the batteries run out. However, there are a couple of minor problems to watch out for. First, we found a few complaints from Amazon reviewers that the M4U 2 breaks easily -- a troubling problem for such pricey headphones. The headphones are backed by a two-year warranty.
A panel of audio experts at TheWirecutter.com tests 11 sets of noise-canceling headphones and names their favorites. The PSB Speakers M4U 2 are recommended as a runner up, with better sound quality but worse noise cancellation than the top-rated Bose QuietComfort 15.
Review: The Best Noise-Canceling Over-Ear Headphones, Geoff Morrison, Sept. 6, 2012
The PSB Speakers M4U 2 are among the headphones tested by ConsumerReports.org. Sound quality, sensitivity and, where appropriate, noise reduction are rated, and headphones are scored and ranked.
Review: Headphones, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not Dated
Steve Guttenberg gives the PSB Speakers M4U 2 a score of 4 stars out of a possible 5. He says the headphones perform admirably with a wide variety of music, their noise cancellation is above average, and the ear pads are very comfortable.
Review: PSB M4U 2, Steve Guttenberg, Oct. 1, 2012
There are about 30 reviews here for the PSB Speakers M4U 2. Owners give the headphones 3.9 stars out of 5 overall, saying their sound is superb but their noise cancellation is inferior to Bose's. A few users also find them uncomfortable.
Review: PSB M4U 2 Active Noise Cancelling Headphones Featuring Room Feel, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of May 2014