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Niche Canadian company takes on Sony with new wireless earbuds and headphones

Canadian audio brand, PSB Speakers, has released the details of its latest headphones: the $499 M4U 9 wireless headphones and $199 M4U TWM wireless earbuds. Both devices make use of audio personalization software from Audiodo, as well as PSB’s own RoomFeel technology. The new headphones are expected to be available at retailers in June.

These are not the hi-res, UWB-based headphones that PSB teased earlier in 2023, which have yet to be released.

PSB M4U TWM wireless earbuds in charging case.
PSB Audio

The M4U 9 are a clear evolution of the company’s M4U wireless, noise-canceling headphones, sporting a nearly identical design to previous versions, but the M4U TWM earbuds are a significant departure for PSB. The company’s previous wireless earbuds, the M4U TW1, used a wrap-around earhook design with conventional, dynamic drivers. The TWM, by contrast, uses a much smaller shape, bringing it in line with models from Sennheiser, KEF, and Grado, but inside, the new earbuds make use of dual hybrid planar drivers, one dedicated to low frequencies and the other dedicated to the highs.

Man wearing PSB M4U TWM wireless earbuds.
PSB Audio

Planar magnetic drivers have been showing up more and more on high-end audiophile wired in-ear monitors (IEMs) like the Audeze Euclid, which cost well over $1,000, but the M4U TWM are the first true wireless earbuds we’ve ever seen that integrate the technology. If these earbuds live up to the standard set by wired planar IEMs, they could deliver audio performance that rivals and possibly exceeds what we’ve come to expect from Sony, Sennheiser, and Master & Dynamic.

Here’s hoping that this turns out to be the case, because, without features like active noise cancellation, transparency mode, or wireless charging, the M4U TWM are going to have to get by on their sound quality alone. According to PSB’s measurements, the TWM may actually be smaller than the bulky Sony WF-1000XM4, but judging from these photos, the TWM aren’t exactly sleek.

They support Qualcomm’s aptX Adaptive Bluetooth codec for hi-res audio if you’re using a compatible Android device as the source, and PSB claims you’ll get eight hours on a single charge, with three full recharges in the case, for a total of 32 hours of use.

PSB M4U 9 wireless ANC headphones.
PSB Speakers

The M4U 9 headphones also benefit from aptX Adaptive support and the company says that it has incorporated a set of new graphene-infused drivers, which it claims will improve damping, stiffness, and efficiency.

The ANC is powered by four digital MEMS microphones, while two additional mics are used for voice capture on phone calls. A three-position switch lets you choose between ANC with RoomFeel, Active with RoomFeel, or a Passive mode. PSB pegs the battery life for the M4U 9 at about 25 hours if you’re not using ANC.

Audiodo, which PSB is using for personalized audio on both products, is similar to systems like Sonarworks’ SoundID and MOSAYC in that it attempts to compensate for your ears’ natural response and sensitivity to different frequencies, by providing an EQ that matches what you can hear. Audiodo has been incorporated into products from Skullycandy, Tribit, and PSB.

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Simon Cohen
Contributing Editor, A/V
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