PROS / With the PSB M4U 2 headphones, you get up to 55 hours of play time if active noise cancelling is turned off.
CONS / These 12.8-ounce headphones were the heaviest of the 11 speakers we reviewed. They were also among the least comfortable.
VERDICT / If you’re alright with heavy, non-Bluetooth-enabled headphones, these are great for achieving loud volumes with decent sound quality and noise-cancelling abilities.
The PSB M4U 2 headphones are one of the loudest noise-cancelling headphones in our review. Both with and without active noise cancelling (ANC), they project a lot of audio. They also do a fair job at cancelling it.
Noise-cancellation headphones, like the PSB M4U 2, use battery-powered ANC to isolate and remove outside noise. During our sound tests, we found the PSB M4U 2 headphones cancelled 7.9 decibels more, on average, with ANC on versus off. During our tests, the headphones cancelled, on average, 75.1 decibels. To put this into perspective, these headphones can cancel out the noise from a garbage disposal but not an airplane taking off.
During our sound quality test, reviewers noted that these headphones were loud – louder than the 10 other headphones on our list. The volume increased when we turned ANC on. These loud and clear headphones featured a tad too much treble, and when you turn the ANC off, they lose some of their crispness. In addition to loud audio, the ANC feedback static is very audible when audio isn't playing.
Since these are not Bluetooth noise-cancelling headphones, the battery should last longer. Our full-volume battery life test recorded 19 hours of continuous playback. That's longer than most of the other headphones on our list. You can also listen to the headphones passively, without ANC turned on, and the battery lasts about 55 hours in standby mode. They are powered by two AAA batteries, so be sure to pack some extra batteries for a long trip.
In addition to producing high volumes, the PSB M4U 2 headphones were the heaviest. They weigh 12.8 ounces. It doesn't take long once you put these headphones on before the top of your head hurts due to the weight of the headband resting on your head. Reviewers reported that their ears were fatigued from wearing these headphones after just a few minutes, too. The ear cups are large, but they fit snugly on your ears in a clamping fashion.
The one slider button design is easy and labeled but awkward to reach while wearing the headphones. You can easily toggle between ANC, on and off, and ambient easily though.
The PSB M4U 2 headphones have a much longer battery life than many of the best noise-cancelling Bluetooth headphones, but they're so heavy we don't recommend wearing them for a long flight or commute. You also have to remember to carry AAA batteries, which can be inconvenient.