Oppo PM 3 Planar Magnetic Headphones Review
Oppo is a chinese company producing high end, luxury electronics. Their design and research is spread between the Silicon Valley in the US, Dongguan and Guangdong in China.
They produce class leading hifi, audio/visual, home theatre, mobile phones and other products. Oppo has a few innovations under their belt and seem to stir up every market they enter. Only in 2014 Oppo released a few headphones and headphone amplifiers. Namely the PM-1, PM-2 open planar magnetic headphones, as well as the highly regarded HA-1 and HA-2 headphone amplifiers. Many of their products are available from samma3a.com Reviews of the Headphones were absolutely positive, from inner fidelity to AudiophileON they were unanimously voted as best in class, wall of fame or “near perfect”. How is that for a first try? Seems Oppo can do no wrong…. But can’t they? Let’s take a look at their latest headphone release the portable Oppo PM-3.
For this review I listened to the PM-3 straight out of the iPhone 6, an Astell&Kern AK100 and from a iFi micro iDSD.
- Type: Over Ear Headphone (Circumaural)
- Drivers Size: 55mm diameter
- Drivers Type: Planar Magnetic, symmetric push-pull neodymium
- Frequency Response: 10 - 50,000 Hz
- Sensitivity: 102 dB in 1mW
- Impedance: 26 Ω
- Microphone sensitivity: ??
- Maximum Input: 2 W
- Weight with cable: 320g
- Connector: 3.5/6.3mm single ended
- MSRP: $399
When you take the PM-3 from it’s box, you are quite surprised, it looks like this company builds headphones for many years. The materials, the hinges, everything feels rock solid and luxurious to the touch. It also looks beautiful. The PM-3 is available in black and white. I have bought the black version and tried the white version before at a headhphone meet. Both sound identical, I find the black version slightly more elegant looking. They are sturdy and thought through designed, still lightweight enough to get the title of the world’s lightest closed back planar magnetic headphone.
Metal, aluminium and leather. Plus a very cool looking denim carry case. It’s a utilitarian look, functional and useful. The hinges extend with very satisfying clicks, the cables sockets for the removable cable click in and hold well. You can tell this is a long lasting headphone. It’s a closed back headphone, so that means it seals outside sounds off and also doesn’t leak music to the outside. There are only a handful (if at all) closed planar magnetic headphones available and I am happy to report this is the best one, I have heard so far.
With only 320 grams (10 oz) this headphone can be worn for many hours without sore sports. The headband is made of nice leather that is filled with memory foam. It’s very comfortable, I am usually quite sensitive to the pressure on top of my head and the PM-3 works very well. I forgot I wore it pretty quickly.
The PM-3 comes in a denim (yes, the Jeans material) stiff carry case, the ear cups fold sideways, so the headphone can be stored quite slim. In the box is a small pouch for the cables. It comes with 2 cables standard, one 3m cable with a 3.5mm plug, a 6.3mm adapter and another cable with in-line microphone and remote that is “Made for iPhone” with a length of 1.2m.
Bombastic. Actually on the first listen I wasn’t really blown away by the PM-3, a few weeks later I purchased it. Why? Well, the PM-3 is probably the most detailed and blanked closed headphone in its price range. Maybe even way higher. It’s hands-down, my best closed back headphone. I use it for hours in the office and enjoy it more than I ever expected. The PM-3 has an amazing frequency range with a slightly exaggerated bass. It simply doesn’t do anything wrong.
Bass: The bass on this headphone is slightly pronounced. Impactful and round but also crisp and fast. A speciality of planar magnetic headphones. Since this exemplar is closed you have the added benefit of a nice reverb as well - so while it’s not a bashed headphone, it delivers when the song asks for it. The bass extends deep and is layered and detailed.
Mid-range: Lush. Near-perfect. It’s rendering the mids with ease and it might have a bit of a lower mids and upper bass boost. It’s very neutral maybe a tiny bit withdrawn - but it might be just finding the hair in the soup.
Treble: Yep, details galore. No sibilance and no harshness but plenty of detail. It’s not holding back in the treble area at all. At all I would say that these headphones have a slight U or V shape signature. I tend to think more U than V but again, this is nitpicking.
Sound Stage and instruments separations: As a closed headphone producing a large soundstage is terribly hard. Also the Oppo does not succeed to sound like an open headphone but the soundstage is good. sound is dynamic and absolutely pleasant. Separation of instruments is very good.
Pros & Cons:
- extraordinary build quality
- replaceable cables and earpads
- the most neutral/correct sounding headphone
- value for money is VERY good
- pleasing, fatigue free sound signature
- vocals (male and female) are absolutely realistic
- in the beginning it can sound a bit boring depending from which headphone you come
- limited soundstage
I bought this headphone before Samma3a.com was carrying it. I admit, I am a convert. I had it on loan for a few days and wasn’t blown away by it at first. But something nagged me and I gave in and bought them when I was looking for a good headphone to use in the office, where I can’t use open headphones. The more I listened to them the more I appreciated their total honesty. They just play the music as it is.
It’s a very easy to drive headphone - so you can use it when out and about with your iPhone or Android device. But when stationary and you give it a good amp, they scale well and sound better with it.
I rarely give advice like this, but if you are not a bass-head who needs earth shattering bass but love music the way it’s recorded - go get this headphone if you are in the market for a closed headphone. If you like more bass quantity, get the Master&Dynamic MH40 who are equally well made but have a better low end. The PM-3 is the Jack of all trades and master of most in every other aspect.