Canadian high-end loudspeaker manufacturer PSB Speakers has announced its first dip into the headphone market with the release of its Music for You (M4U) 2 Active Noise Canceling, over-the-ear headphones. Built for comfort as well as true-to-nature, hi-fidelity sound quality, the closed back, circumaural cans feature 40mm dynamic drivers, audio-enhancing amplifier technology, and an ergonomic four-point gyroscopic ear pad mount that's said to automatically adjust to the precise contours of the wearer's head.

The new M4U 2 headphones benefit from three modes of operation. The Active Noise Canceling (ANC) technology features a proprietary four-microphone system to cover a broader spectrum of noise reduction, registering sound both inside and outside the ear cup. A Digital Signal Processor introduces analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog conversion processes to the incoming analog signal, and an included active amplifier enhances the source audio to conserve the batteries of a connected digital music player while also lowering distortion.

The amp provides between 5dB and 15dB additional gain, depending on the impedance of the connected music player, with support from 35 Ohms in passive mode to 10,000 Ohms in active/ANC mode. Usefully, sounds from outside can be allowed in via a button which activates the external microphones and mutes the sound so a user would be able to hear what a flight attendant is saying, for instance, without having to remove the headset.

The user can also opt for Active Mode with Room Feel EQ technology, PSB's term for its unique transfer function that's said to give the same open dimensional sound to the headphones that you might expect from high-end loudspeakers. Both of these systems are battery-powered, and users can expect up to 55 hours of usage before the two AAA-sized batteries need some attention.

Where other ANC headsets might simply close down when the juice runs out, the M4U 2 headphones can be used in passive (no power) mode, too.

Troublesome trailing wires under the chin can be effectively avoided thanks to the inclusion of dual input connections left and right. The specification-hungry will no doubt be interested in a reported total harmonic distortion of 0.5 percent with ANC active and 0.25 percent in passive mode, a frequency range of 20 - 20,000Hz at ±1.5dB and a sensitivity of 102dB at 1kHz/1mW.

The eye-catching design comes courtesy of New York designer David Farrage of DF-ID, and the lightweight (12.8 ounces / 362 g with batteries) folding headphones are available in either black or white for US$400. The product is being distributed in the UK by Armour Home and is priced at £299.

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