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Oppo PM-1 Planar Magnetic Headphone Impressions Thread - Page 116

post #1726 of 3442
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smarty-pants View Post
 


That really not an equal comparison, but close...

The differences between the 103  and the 105 are that the 105 adds a dedicated 2CH analog output with high end DAC, digital audio inputs with asynchronous USB input, and a quality headphone amp. If your needs do not take advantage of any of those features, then you would obviously choose the 103.

The differences between the PM-1 and the PM-2 are not nearly as paramount.
ALL of the differences are not clear yet since the PM-2 is yet to be released, but what we do know is that the PM-2 will not have the fancy wood box, it will not have the softer lambskin, and some of the highly precisioned metal parts may be replaced with high density plastic parts.
However, Oppo says that the drivers are identical, and as such, the sound should be identical or very close to the PM-1.
If your reason for passing on the PM-1 is due to the price and fancy trimmings, then the PM-2 will probably be a no-brainer at it's price point.

Personally I am struggling with that exact choice myself. The PM-1 are so beautiful, and the user feedback is so positive, it is very difficult to not pull the trigger.
In fact I probably would have caved already if I had the cash on hand, but it'll be maybe another month until I do, and that is when the PM-2 is expected to street,
so that might make it an easier choice when it does and we start seeing real PM-1 vs PM-2 comparisons.
If I had money to burn though, I would have bought them on day one. :smile_phones: 

Okay Mr Smartypants...:biggrin:

 

I defend the comparison because, per their business model with the BDP's, they are offering a luxury edition and a more practical edition.  Hopefully, like the BDP's, both PM's kick serious booty

post #1727 of 3442

Wow, while I was away there was almost a full page of ESP950 discussion. The ESP950 remains my favorite headphone signature overall, and I will absolutely never sell mine. I think that they take HD600-style sound to another level in a different way than the PM-1 takes HD650-style sound to another, by nature of being electrostats. It's too bad about the build quality, though...

post #1728 of 3442
Quote:
Originally Posted by swspiers View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smarty-pants View Post
 


That really not an equal comparison, but close...

The differences between the 103  and the 105 are that the 105 adds a dedicated 2CH analog output with high end DAC, digital audio inputs with asynchronous USB input, and a quality headphone amp. If your needs do not take advantage of any of those features, then you would obviously choose the 103.

The differences between the PM-1 and the PM-2 are not nearly as paramount.
ALL of the differences are not clear yet since the PM-2 is yet to be released, but what we do know is that the PM-2 will not have the fancy wood box, it will not have the softer lambskin, and some of the highly precisioned metal parts may be replaced with high density plastic parts.
However, Oppo says that the drivers are identical, and as such, the sound should be identical or very close to the PM-1.
If your reason for passing on the PM-1 is due to the price and fancy trimmings, then the PM-2 will probably be a no-brainer at it's price point.

Personally I am struggling with that exact choice myself. The PM-1 are so beautiful, and the user feedback is so positive, it is very difficult to not pull the trigger.
In fact I probably would have caved already if I had the cash on hand, but it'll be maybe another month until I do, and that is when the PM-2 is expected to street,
so that might make it an easier choice when it does and we start seeing real PM-1 vs PM-2 comparisons.
If I had money to burn though, I would have bought them on day one. :smile_phones: 

Okay Mr Smartypants...:biggrin:

 

I defend the comparison because, per their business model with the BDP's, they are offering a luxury edition and a more practical edition.  Hopefully, like the BDP's, both PM's kick serious booty

In the case of the media players, the differences are real features.
In the case of the headphones, the differences are more about luxury.
Don't get me wrong though, I know Oppo Digital's reputation well, and they do not skimp on quality and performance.
They are all about giving the best they can to the end user for the money spent, and I'm sure the PM-2 (and the HA-1) will be no exception.
In other words, they may not have the more expensive parts and luxuries that the PM-1 does, but the performance will not suffer because of it.
 

post #1729 of 3442
Quote:
Originally Posted by keanex View Post

The HD600/HD650 use the same drivers as do a few Grados, but there are definitely sonic differences. 

I don't want to get too off topic, but they don't. Very similar, but different. The hd600 do use the same drivers as the hd580s, but are more closely matched.
post #1730 of 3442
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssrock64 View Post
 

Wow, while I was away there was almost a full page of ESP950 discussion. The ESP950 remains my favorite headphone signature overall, and I will absolutely never sell mine. I think that they take HD600-style sound to another level in a different way than the PM-1 takes HD650-style sound to another, by nature of being electrostats. It's too bad about the build quality, though...

 

wow thx.. so i think ill go woo wee for my esp950 and digital eq| balance first before going to others cans.

post #1731 of 3442
Quote:
Originally Posted by moodyrn View Post


I don't want to get too off topic, but they don't. Very similar, but different. The hd600 do use the same drivers as the hd580s, but are more closely matched.

 

As far as I know they changed the H600 drivers from the HD580 a long time ago. From my understanding the HD600 and HD650 replacement driver are the same thing.

post #1732 of 3442
Quote:
Originally Posted by keanex View Post
 

 

As far as I know they changed the H600 drivers from the HD580 a long time ago. From my understanding the HD600 and HD650 replacement driver are the same thing.

I don't own the headphones but according to Tyll at Innerfidelity they strongly resemble each other but he stops short of saying they're the same.  From what I understand the 2 phones sound quite differently, would be hard to achieve just by playing with damping and driver selection/matching imo.  But then I don't own them.

 

Going to look up this ESP950, never heard of it but I'm curious.

post #1733 of 3442

I received my PM-1 on Tuesday 4/29 and have listened to them continuously and by various different methods.  So since I’m new here (posting-wise), you can take my thoughts thus far with a grain of salt.

 

Oh and sorry for the really lengthy post!

 

Build Quality

 

I’ve seen several people questioning the build quality of these and I have to state that these are among the finest built products I’ve seen.  While I still feel like I want to be incredibly delicate with them, they certainly do not “feel” cheap.  They feel substantial to the touch and while I’ve not handled a lot of other top-end cans, it’s the best among those I’ve handled.  Compared to my other main HP, the HD650’s they certainly look and feel nicer; absolutely worlds better than my previous Audio Technica’s, and Shure headphones.  When pulling headphones apart, twisting, and overall usage, there is nary a creak or squeak, which adds to the sense of quality and durability.  The lambskin leather that they used is incredibly soft to the touch and feels very nice on my head.  For personal preference for wearability, I really prefer the leather over the velour pads.

 

The wooden box that it came in is an incredibly nice way to boost the perception of quality for these headphones and Oppo is certainly trying to start the customers off with a great first impression.  While it screams, “Classy” and “Quality,” truthfully, I will be storing it away for safe-keeping.  My two young daughters will gawk and aim to put their fingers on it as much as possible.  At any rate, I actually find myself more drawn to the denim carrying case for a more practical storage/transport method.

 

Speaking of the denim case, it is fairly basic, but it feels sturdy enough that I feel comfortable putting in my laptop bag.  I like the simplicity of each of the accessories and the denim case is no exception.  While I initially thought, “Why denim” I am now happy with their decision to do this type of carrying case, as opposed to a hard-shelled rubber or any other type of case.  I do wish there was a tiny bit more room to allow for the cable connectors to be still connected while in the carrying case, but that’s just a minor gripe.

 

If I had to point out a major flaw in the physical aspect overall of the PM-1 overall, it’d definitely have to be the mini (literally) cable that they provide.  It simply is just too short for anything except using with my laptop on my couch or my desk.  It also is about the only component that really feels cheap and it is truly out of place with the rest of the PM-1, overall.  I know it’s replaceable with aftermarket cables, but still, for high-end headphones, you’d expect more.  Especially considering the fact that Oppo is trying to cater to more than just the audiophile market, they need a 3.5mm cable that can better represent their product.

 

Another (slight) concern that I have is with the input jack on the headphones itself.  This concern is partially inline with the design of the selvedged denim carrying case.  I want to be able to take these back and forth from home to work, but if I am constantly going to have to unplug and plug the cables into the headphone, I worry about the connections from this continuous wear and tear.  Though, this may prove to be a moot point if the durability matches the sturdiness I have experienced from the headphones, thus far.

 

Sound

 

While the sound is incredibly subjective, based on an individual’s hearing acuity and preference, people still clamor over hearing more about these headphones.  So I’ll do my best to give valuable feedback to those interested.  As a reference to where my impressions and opinions are formed from, they are going to mostly be compared to the HD650’s and my regular stereo system experience.  I don’t own other high-end headphones to give a good comparison to those, though.

 

The components that I used to power my headphones ranged from my HTC One, Macbook Pro, Denon AVP-A1HDCI headphone output, and Little Dot MKII+ headphone amp.  My disc transport is an Oppo BDP-83.  My listening habits with headphones tend to be quite a bit louder than on my speaker system due to the personal nature of headphones, but my time with the PM-1 has not been limited to just loud listening sessions.  At work, I generally listen quietly so I continue to be aware of my surroundings.

 

The first thing that comes to mind whenever I reflect on my experiences with the PM-1 is attack speed.  These are my first planar magnetic headphones.  My in-ear monitors, UE900, are balanced armature design, but all other head gear are standard driver design.  My GR Research LS9 loudspeakers use nine BG Neo8 Planar Magnetic tweeters, so I am familiar with planar magnetic sound (though in very different application, of course).  As I listened, the separation between different instruments was greater than I was accustomed to listening to on my HD650.  There are numerous hard rock and metal tracks that are especially difficult to resolve, but the PM-1 handled them better than I’m even used to on my LS9.  With the amount of layering of heavy guitars, bass, vocals, and drums very often tend to get muddled together, but that is not so with these headphones.  Also, cymbals and hi-hats crash very crisply and cleanly.  With the fast response, I was able to further appreciate Kirk Hammett’s swift finger movements during his solos.

 

Speaking of instruments, these headphones are especially good at recreating all that I’ve heard so far.  From acoustic guitar, amplified guitar, heavy distortion effects, to violins and cellos, to full orchestral ensembles, the headphones really sounded serene.  As impressed as I was with string instruments, what I just can’t get enough of is listening to pianos through the PM-1.  There are several modern music groups that I regularly listen to that use piano in their repertoire of instruments, like Muse and A Great Big World that really have just come alive.  Diana Krall’s and Nora Jones’ pianos sound fantastic, as well.  After listening to these and going back to the HD650, I’ve realized there was a good amount of that I was missing on those, experience-wise.

 

Vocals are also very sweet sounding, too.  The terms “Sibilance” and “shrill” never even come into play.  There are a few female vocals that can sound strident, Celine Dion and Sarah Brightman come to mind, but the PM-1 never sound piercing.  The airy quality of both of them are still very present.  Other vocalists, like Carrie Manolakos and her cover of “Creep,” sound divine when they hit their vocal peak.  Male vocals, like Michael Buble are also very good, too.  I don’t particularly like when transducers make male vocals sound overly weighty (or even to thin), but the PM-1 sound pretty natural and smooth.  The PM-1 just is very good at producing very clean sounding vocals.

 

I did notice a very slightly recessed high frequency range overall, especially when compared to my LS9s.  I only say “very slightly” because I still hear all the high frequency details, but it is not as pronounced as my LS9; the high frequencies are not muffled or non-existent.  While you are still able to plainly differentiate various levels of recordings, they certainly did not emphasize or amplify the poor quality recordings at all. When paired with my Little Dot MKII+ they do not ever give me the impression of being “too warm.”

 

Regarding soundstage presence, I have to reference my loudspeakers.  The LS9 output a massive soundstage that I have not been able to reproduce via headphones.  Granted, I have not spent nearly as much on headphone equipment as I have for my regular system, but it hasn’t even come close, even from the high-end headphones that I have auditioned in the past.  I was hopeful that the PM-1 would be able to get me closer and it has; however, they still don’t quite match what I am hoping to achieve.  The PM-1 still produce a good sense of direction and depth, but just not as wide as I had hoped.  I know people say that the HD800s have the biggest soundstage of all cans available, but I personally haven’t had the opportunity to experience them.  Still, the expansiveness and 3D layering surpasses my HD650 in many regards.

 

Bass and low frequency handling is pretty impressive; however it’s not quite perfect.  What is impressive is the attack and decay of the bass.  Kick drums really have a ton of impact and are not bloated in the slightest.  This is where the PM-1 surpasses my expectation and experience when compared to the HD650 and the LS9.  The LS9 are incredibly good for loudspeaker response, but the PM-1 are just that much better.  What is not as good are the infrasonic frequencies.  The frequency rolls off pretty quickly at about 20-25Hz and it is especially apparent while I was watching bass-heavy movies.  It’s still present, but not nearly authoritative.  The infrasonics seem to be on par with the HD650’s, though.

 

Due to me not being able to watch many movies until after my daughters and, sometimes my wife, are all fast asleep, I find myself watching more movies using headphones and so the PM-1 have been working marvelously for this.  The HD650 were no slouch in the movie department either, and just like with music, the PM-1 improve on most every aspect of the sound.  The dialog does seem a bit more in front of you, which I prefer, as opposed to in your head like I was getting from the HD650.

 

Miscellaneous

 

Regarding sound leakage, I find that these leak sound more than the HD650.  It seems more apparent what is being listened to at a lower volume.  I don’t know how it compares to other open cans, though.  The velour pads seem to leak just a bit more than the leather pads, also.

 

Also, speaking of the velour pads:  I switched back and forth between the two pads and found just a small difference in a few aspects of sound.  The soundstage appears to be more open, but then it seems to be at the expense of the lower frequency punch with the velour pads.  So depending on what I am in the mood for, expansiveness or kick/punch, I will have to keep each set of pads at the ready.

 

As I said before, I prefer the fit and feel of the lambskin better.  Oddly enough, the velour pads felt warmer and made my ears feel warmer after longer listening sessions.  You would think the opposite should be true, but that’s just what I experienced for myself.  So for comfort, convenience, and leisurely listening, I definitely will be keeping the leather pads on.

 

I wanted to touch on the sensitivity of these headphones as well.  Studying up on these headphones before their release, they were touted as being sensitive enough to be played through just your smartphones and would yield great results.  My experience is just that -- while they are fantastic with amplification, they are also quite pleasing just being played through my HTC One.  A handful of hours I spent listening to the PM-1 were just through my HTC One’s headphone jack.

 

Conclusion

 

I have to applaud Oppo for the PM-1.  For a first-generation product, they really hit it out of the park.  The PM-1 may not be for everyone, especially if you are looking for truly analytical headphones.  Both instruments and vocals continue to impress me as I listen, though.  The midrange really is something special and likely is what will make these headphones stand-out from others.  The swift attack and decay through it’s frequency range are among the best I’ve heard from any monitor, also.  There is just an overall sweetness to the sound that really draws me and I find myself really falling in love with these headphones.  Ultimately, there are just a couple things that I wish were different.  I wish the PM-1 was more pronounced in the infrasonic frequency range, but I realize that likely would come at the expense of all other frequencies.  I also wish the 3.5mm cable was longer and a sturdier quality.  I guess, Oppo can’t do everything right the first time, they need to save something for future products.


So are they worth the price tag?  In my experience so far, yes.  They have been a worthy upgrade over my HD650.  With a similar sound characteristic to the HD650, they simply improve on nearly all aspects over the HD650.  Overall, their sound signature shows highs that are just slightly recessed but still very intricate while the bass is very pronounced and authoritative.  While they do not sound veiled to my ears, they certainly are not exactly the most analytical either.  They are not a bottom-heavy can, but they certainly are not lean.  As I stated before, they are not a perfect monitor, nor are they a be-all-end-all solution, but they do a lot very, very well.

post #1734 of 3442

Also, just for reference, here’s a list of the albums that I listened to:

 

30 Seconds To Mars - Love Lust Faith + Dreams, This Is War

311 - Greatest Hits ‘93 - ‘03

Adele - 21

Apocalyptica - Cult, Inquisition Symphony, Plays Metallica

Avenge Sevenfold - Avenge Sevenfold, City of Evil

Ben Folds - Songs For Silverman

Bruno Mars - Doo-Wops & Hooligans

Carrie Manolakos - Creep Live At (Le)Poisson Rouge Single

Celine Dion - Let’s Talk About Love

Chanticleer - How Sweet The Sound, Sound in Spirit

Dave Matthews Band - Crash, Under The Table And Dreaming

Dixie Chicks - Home, Wide Open Spaces

Diana Krall - When I Look Into Your Eyes

Eagles - Hell Freezes Over

Enya - A Day Without Rain, Paint The Sky With Stars

Eric Clapton - Pilgrim

Foo Fighters - One By One

Frozen: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Gary Hoey - The Best of Gary Hoey

A Great Big World - Is There Anybody Out There?

Hans Zimmer - The Dark Knight Rises, Inception, Man of Steel, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight

Jack Johnson - In Between Dreams

Janet Jackson - Velvet Rope

John Mayer - Heavier Things, Room for Squares

Katy Perry - Prism

Linkin Park - Hybrid Theory, Live In Texas, Living Things, Meteora, Minutes To Midnight, Reanimation

Mana - Suenos Liquidos

Maroon 5 - Songs About Jane

Metallica - ...And Justice For All, Black Album, Death Magnetic, Kill ‘em All, Load, Master of Puppets, Reload, Ride The Lightning, S&M, St. Anger

Michael Buble - Call Me Irresponsible, Crazy Love, It’s Time, To Be Loved

Michael Jackson - HIStory

Muse - Absolution, Black Holes & Revelations, Origin of Symmetry, The Resistance, The 2nd Law

Nine Inch Nails - The Downward Spiral, With Teeth, Year Zero

Nora Jones - Come Away With Me

Paramore - Brand New Eyes, Paramore, Riot!

Pink Floyd - The Dark Side of the Moon

Sarah McLachlan - Closer: The Best Of Sarah McLachlan

Tool - Lateralus, Undertow, 10,000 Days

Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo Soundtrack, The Social Network Soundtrack

Wicked: Original Broadway Cast

You’ve Got Mail: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

 

And here’s a list of movies I watched with these headphones:

 

Avengers

Captain Phillips

The Dark Knight Rises

Gravity

Man of Steel

Metallica - Through The Never

Pacific Rim

Pitch Perfect

Saving Mr. Banks

Zero Dark Thirty

post #1735 of 3442
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aetherhole View Post
 

Also, just for reference, here’s a list of the albums that I listened to:

 

< snip snip >

 

And here’s a list of movies I watched with these headphones:

 

< snip snip >

 

You write very coherently for someone who's watched 10 movies and listened to 900 albums in one week. A member of the "Sleep Is Optional Club", no doubt.

 

Thanks for sharing your observations and insights in such detail. 

post #1736 of 3442

Sounds to me like the PM-1 is just the HD650 2.0 :atsmile:

post #1737 of 3442
Quote:
Originally Posted by DougD View Post
 

 

You write very coherently for someone who's watched 10 movies and listened to 900 albums in one week. A member of the "Sleep Is Optional Club", no doubt.

 

Thanks for sharing your observations and insights in such detail. 

 

Yeah, sleep has dwindled just a tiny bit (or a lot) in the last week... I just couldn't get these cans off my mind, or my head!

post #1738 of 3442
At a much higher price, though... Let's hope the PM-2 is that!
post #1739 of 3442
Matt's impressions on the PM-1 make it sound like my ideal headphone for me.


Oh, how nice it would be to not have only $20 for two weeks.
post #1740 of 3442
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad Lust Envy View Post

Matt's impressions on the PM-1 make it sound like my ideal headphone for me.


Oh, how nice it would be to not have only $20 for two weeks.

I hear kidneys fetch a nice price and one only needs 1 :D

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