CanJam at RMAF2017: NAD HP70 and PSB M4U 8 Wireless Noise Canceling Headphones

I've been a big fan of Paul Barton for a long time. Not only does he produce damn fine sounding gear at PSB Speakers, NAD Electronics, and Bluesound, he also continues to be active in acoustics research at Canada's National Research Council—we'll have a chat with Paul about that in the next report.

I loved the NAD HP50, I thought his RoomFeel tuning was very good in this passive headphone. Now he's made the jump into the digital domain with both his new cans: the NAD HP70 ($379) and PSB M4U 8 ($399). Both cans use the recently released Qualcomm CSR8675 Bluetooth Audio SoC (system on a chip), in fact, Paul was nearing the final stages of the designs when the Qualcomm chip appeared with a feature set so rich he stopped the development in it's tracks and redesigned it to utilize the new part.

Both headphones are now aptX HD enabled Bluetooth 5.0, but that's just the start. The chip's 24-bit DSP has allowed him to fine tune his RoomFeel curve, and the USB port can take computer audio to 24/48 rates. Paul didn't use the built-in noise canceling circuits as he feels digital implementation has too much latency to work well and opted for fully analog feed-forward and feed-back circuits. He says the HP70 does it's thing better for the upper-bass/low-mids, and the M4U 8 is a litte better at canceling the low bass rumble, and suggests the M4U 8 is better for planes and the HP70 for trains.

Both will be winging their way to my labs for measurements and review sometime in November when they launch. I can't wait.

Paul Barton runs us through the two new cans in the video.

View on YouTube.

COMMENTS
AlyssaJohnson's picture

Hello! I'm looking for a present for my husband on his birthday. So I wonder if anyone can tell whether these headphones will be a good idea to give? He works at https://uk.edubirdie.com/literature-review-writing and always listens to music (or whatever) to get rid of the noises in the office and focus on what he's doing. Can you tell your opinion? Thank you in advance!

nattaphoomd's picture

I'm very fascinate and looking forward to hear official release date of those 2cans. Do you have any news about release date?

drm870's picture

Hey, you didn't happen to spend any time listening to either can, did you Tyll? (One of these is likely to be my next purchase.)

QuartBernstein's picture

HP50 was a killer colored headphone for it being closed, but Paul is going in the wrong direction to add these features. It still has the confused wire foam headband.
I'd rather spend that extra hundred, or two, on a more durable (earcups/headband) and comfortable design (headband), perhaps with replaceable parts, like with the Meze or Sennheiser.

Claus's picture

I agree that the HP50 offers a superb sound quality. However, it needs more to convince me to spend money again with NAD. The shape of the headband of the HP50 was flattened for whatever reason which makes it very uncomfortable for me after 30 minutes. This was a bad idea.
Even the German user manual talks about leather as material for the cushions I cannot believe. I am not an expert in materials, but if the skin of the cushions is of leather I pay you a beer. After 2 years of rarely usage the skin started to dissolve itself, showing cracks first, raining tiny black pieces of the skin later everywhere in my apartment. I consider this poor quality. And believe me: I had a 3 days lasting "fun" to find the right repair store in Bangkok to get both cushions replaced.
And the connector to my iPhone shows contact problems constantly which will of course not happen to a BT version.
Sincerely, Claus

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