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First Look: PSB M4U 1 headphones: First-class audiophile sound for $300

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First Look: PSB M4U 1 headphones: First-class audiophile sound for $300

3:04 /

For audiophiles who prize sound quality over everything else, the M4U 1 is hard to beat for the price.

Hi. I'm David Carnoy, executive editor for CNET.com, and I'm here to give you a tour of another headphone. This one, a higher-end over-the-year model that delivers first class sound. The English company, PSP, is primarily known for its speakers, but last year, it introduced its first ever headphone, the Active Noise-Cancelling M4U 2 which was hailed by many critics, including CNET, as one of the world's best noise-cancelling models. Now, PSP has put out he M4U 1, a less expensive non-noise-cancelling version of the same headphone. It's another winner particularly if you like very accurate clean-sounding headphones that don't over-accentuate the bass. In fact, I'm calling these the Beats for audio files because, well, they look a little like Beats headphones, but they have a neutral sound profile. Yes, they have a more oval shape, and the red finish is more of a burgundy, but they do share the same shiny polycarbonate plastic folding headband. At 12 ounces, they're not light, but they do seem fairly durable and fold up into a protective travel case. As part of the package, you get two 5-foot long cables. One is plain, and the other has an inline remote with microphone for making cell phone calls-- but we tend to prefer shorter 4-foot cables. One of the pluses of this headphone's design is that you can plug either cable into the left or right earcup. You can also plug another set of headphones into the open jack and have two people listen to the same music or movie at the same time. And props to PSP for throwing in a spare set of earpads-- that's an extra we'd like to see more headphone manufacturers include, especially at this $300 price point. As for performance, this is a remarkably clear-sounding headphone. The clarity isn't the result of boosted treble or mid-range frequencies-- no. The M4U1 just sounds neutral and doesn't overemphasize bass. While we like this headphone's clarity, it's worth noting that if you listen to a lot of low bit rate MP3s or streaming audio, the M4U 1's clear presentation might not be desirable. That's it with better recordings to appreciate just how good these headphones are. As noted, this is first and foremost an audio file headphone. It was designed to be as neutral-sounding as possible, so bass lovers might not be satisfied with its low-end prowess. It's also fairly comfortable to wear for hours at a time, but other competitors, such as the Sony MDR-1R are more comfortable. You'd try to decide between this model and the Active Noise-Cancelling M4U 2, it really comes down to where you listen to your music, and if it's important for you to have noise-cancelling headphones to muffle ambient noise. Most Active Noise-Cancelling headphones don't sound as good as their passive counterparts, and that's the case here, too. The M4U 1 sounds slightly better than the two, and they're around $300. Audio files who value sound quality over everything else, it's hard to beat for the price. I'm David Carnoy, and that's the PSP M4U 1 headphone. Thanks for watching.

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