Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › Oppo PM-1 Planar Magnetic Headphone Impressions Thread
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Oppo PM-1 Planar Magnetic Headphone Impressions Thread - Page 13

post #181 of 3062
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beagle View Post

Maybe some of the testers can chime in on the isolation and leakage factors?

When someone else is wearing the headphones, you can hear the music pretty clearly. You wouldn't be able to crank Led Zeppelin in the public library without getting in trouble. I have trouble hearing people speaking to me when I'm wearing the headphones. Does that answer your question?
post #182 of 3062
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

I'm not a headphones guy. I'm a speakers guy. I've never found any headphones that came close to a speaker setup with a carefully equalized response and good room acoustics. I was kind of surprised Oppo chose me for their beta group, but after I started working with them, I figured out why they chose me.

I work in the entertainment business, and I've supervised recording sessions and sound mixes as part of my duties. I always admired the quality of sound I heard in first class recording studios and mixing stages, and wanted to recreate that in my home. I would ask the head engineers at the studios questions to find out what it would take to achieve that and filed the info away in my head for when I got a house where I could build a first class listening room.

I recently got that opportunity when I moved into a new house that had a room that was absolutely perfect for a screening room/listening room. I assembled a first class set of speakers and spent about four months carefully EQing and balancing the levels by ear using acoustic music. The goal was accuracy and realism... a stone flat frequency response. I've developed a very good ear for knowing where certain sounds sit in the range. I can hear an instrument in a song and know pretty closely where it sits in Hz and kHz. As I was balancing my system, I got so I could hear imbalances of as little as 1 or 2dB and could place them precisely in the frequency range. I'd parallel park the response curve using different recordings until the response was absolutely perfect all the way across the range of human hearing.

When Oppo sent me beta copies of the cans to evaluate, I went straight to an equalizer and started working with the response curve the same way I had done with my speakers. I would report back to Oppo in the beta test forum with specific EQ settings that made the cans more accurate. When the next beta copy was sent to me, it would be incorporating my suggestions. When I noted that they were really interested in what I was suggesting, I called up a sound engineer friend and invited him to come over with his test equipment to check the cans out. We reported back to Oppo with a precise curve charting every audible octave. Oppo listened and incorporated it into their next set of headphones they sent me. I was amazed that they cared so much about what we were saying in the beta test group, but I wasn't the only one. The other folks were making great suggestions about comfort and design, and every time, the suggestions were incorporated.

To answer your question, I can't compare these to other high end headphones because that isn't my area of expertise. I can only compare them to real sound... accuracy. I've spent thirty years developing a speaker system that sounds REAL. When I put on a good jazz recording, it sounds like the band is in the room with me. Headphones can never match speakers when it comes to soundstage and the sound pressure of bass resonating in your chest, but they can match the clarity of a speaker system with a totally balanced response. These headphones do that. They are as close to accurate and real sound as I could possibly hope for.

If I had to point to one thing that was unique about these cans, I would have to say the way it handles bass. The bass extension is almost as good as the subwoofer in my speaker system, and it is totally flat, so the sound of the bass is clear, not muddled. Other headphones I've heard have a midbass bump that makes up for missing sub bass, but makes the bass sound muddy. These don't have that. The bass is full ranging and balanced. It never sounds bloated or boomy, no matter how big the bass in the recording gets.

That's great and all, but your reference point is so different from most of ours (which is almost exclusively headphones), that it'd be tough to infer from your subjective impressions. I hope you understand what I'm saying, I'm not trying to condescend at all.

 

Maybe other head-fiers who are deep into speakers and room acoustics are fit to infer from your opinions on the sound.


Edited by jerg - 4/5/14 at 3:50pm
post #183 of 3062
Thanks for the feedback bigshot, so these final voiced production version should be referred to as the BigShot-1, not PM-1 then wink.gif. Hopefully your head profile is reasonably close to the average among us head-fiers!

Besides the voicing, I am looking forward the feedback on the staging. Thanks n3rdling, even though it's not very promising, what time frame did you listen to the prototype, early beta as others have suggested?
I'm also curious about driver and assembly, pocs would be great!
post #184 of 3062
I'm gonna make an assumption. The PM-1 will be tonally warm and will be more comparable to an LCD-2 and HE-500, not the more neutral HE-560 and HE-6.

So I'm gonna guess that everyone is gonna say the 560 is clearer and more reference, while the PM-1 is more musical and intimate.

Thoughts?
post #185 of 3062
Quote:
Originally Posted by mlxx View Post
 

Someone able to take close up pics of the drivers without the pads on please? Would be interesting to see, they look very different.

 

Here is another image, this one from CES 2014

 

post #186 of 3062
Quote:
Originally Posted by HasturTheYellow View Post
 

 

Here is another image, this one from CES 2014

 

Interesting...I wonder if the diaphragm is larger than what is exposed near the centre there. In the press release it is said to be double-sided magnets right?

post #187 of 3062
Quote:
Originally Posted by jerg View Post

That's great and all, but your reference point is so different from most of ours (which is almost exclusively headphones), that it'd be tough to infer from your subjective impressions. I hope you understand what I'm saying, I'm not trying to condescend at all.

I understand, but what I am talking about isn't at all subjective. Flat response is all about accuracy and neutrality, and it is completely measurable. I know a lot of folks talk in flowery terms and make up poetry about sound. But that isn't what I did. I ran test tones in two octave sweeps looking for spikes and dips. Nothing subjective about that. Flat response is what you hear when you are sitting in a recording studio listening to the playback of the mix or if you are sittting in front of a string quartet performing live. It's REAL sound.

Comparing headphones to other headphones is kind of like Goldilocks describing the three bears' beds... it only means something relative to something else. I'm comparing headphones to accurate sound... the carefully balanced and calibrated sound that the studio engineers heard when they were mixing. Objectively balanced response is very difficult to achieve, but once you do that, you can push the response around all you want with EQ or tone controls and get any kind of coloration you want. If you start with heavily colored sound, it isn't easy or even possible to achieve flat balance.

My point is that you can use a good digital equalizer and make these headphones sound like any other set of headphones. Or take them just as they are out of the box and hear exactly what the musicians and engineers intended. That is the best of all worlds.
Edited by bigshot - 4/5/14 at 4:20pm
post #188 of 3062
Quote:
Originally Posted by arnaud View Post

Thanks for the feedback bigshot, so these final voiced production version should be referred to as the BigShot-1, not PM-1 then wink.gif. Hopefully your head profile is reasonably close to the average among us head-fiers!

Besides the voicing, I am looking forward the feedback on the staging. Thanks n3rdling, even though it's not very promising, what time frame did you listen to the prototype, early beta as others have suggested?
I'm also curious about driver and assembly, pocs would be great!

Listened to them on Jan 3rd.  I don't think they were the same revision as the RMAF sets IIRC.  Based on what I know about your hearing/preferences, I don't think you'd be crazy about these Arnaud. 

 

I listened to them in direct A/B with the Paradox, and preferred the latter.  They are both quite accurate tonally but the Oppo's had a little dip in the lower treble I think.  The detail difference between the two was readily apparent - the Oppo sounded lo-fi in comparison.  The Paradox also has a much more open soundstage, whereas the Oppo's was more like the LCD-2's suffocating style soundstage. 

 

I was looking at the Oppo website and saw mention of some 7-layer diaphragm, and I think this could be the issue.  I would guess the diaphragm is pretty heavy for a modern planar and that's why the headphone glosses over so much detail. 

 

There's been mention of the bass extension being incredible but I think it's best to put this into perspective.  If you're coming from the previous generation of popular dynamics like the HD6x0/K70x/DT880, then you'll be in for a treat.  However, if you're well acquainted with the current generation of popular headphones - Audeze, HiFiMan, HD800, Stax - don't expect anything revelatory.  These have nice extension but don't hit harder than the LCD-2, for instance.

post #189 of 3062
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post


I understand, but what I am talking about isn't at all subjective. Flat response is all about accuracy and neutrality, and it is completely measurable. I know a lot of folks talk in flowery terms and make up poetry about sound. But that isn't what I did. I ran test tones in two octave sweeps looking for spikes and dips. Nothing subjective about that.

Comparing headphones to other headphones is kind of like Goldilocks describing the three bears' beds... it only means something relative to something else. I'm comparing headphones to accurate sound... the carefully balanced and calibrated sound that the studio engineers heard when they were mixing. Objectively balanced response is very difficult to achieve, but once you do that, you can push the response around all you want with EQ or tone controls and get any kind of coloration you want. If you start with heavily colored sound, it isn't easy or even possible to achieve flat balance.

My point is that you can use a good digital equalizer and make these headphones sound like any other set of headphones. Or take them just as they are out of the box and hear exactly what the musicians and engineers intended. That is the best of all worlds.

You are 100% right in saying that accuracy is accuracy, regardless of the reference point. But the devil is in the details, and the most interesting information everyone would like to know at this point is how each sonic trait of PM1 are relative to other "reference headphones" they understand. For instance, how extended is the treble compared to headphone X? How warm is the overall tonal balance compared to headphone Y? How strong are the dynamics compared to headphone Z? Relative statements, even when just compared to 1 comparable headphone, provide us with way more information than absolute statements.

 

A perfect example is Jude's post about his brief impression of PM1 here:

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/712932/oppo-pm-1-planar-magnetic-headphone-appreciation-thread/105#post_10427681

 

"Its bass is more neutral than the LCD-3, more present than the HE-6. Its bass extension, control and detail is excellent, and competitive with its peers."

 

That gives a ton of information that we (or at least those of us who auditioned or own LCD3/HE6)  can digest.

 

 

 

I do appreciate your tone sweep results though! Lack of peaks or dips is great.


Edited by jerg - 4/5/14 at 4:25pm
post #190 of 3062
Quote:
Originally Posted by jerg View Post
 

Interesting...I wonder if the diaphragm is larger than what is exposed near the centre there. In the press release it is said to be double-sided magnets right?

 

Yes the diaphragm is the entire oval shape. You can actually see more of it underneath the black padding, but none of the images I have seen on the Internet show the diaphragm in more detail. Unfortunately I have only listened to the PM-1s, so I do not have access to them so I can take some more detailed images.

post #191 of 3062

Thanks n3rdling, that surely helps to keep my feet on the ground ;)

 

Still looking forward to get to hear these. Currawong/anakchan, you're arranging for demos here during the spring festival right?

 

arnaud

post #192 of 3062
Some of the Beats models have a pretty decent FR curve. It's helpful that the FR on the PM-1 is flat but it tells us nothing useful at the same time. Speed, decay, sound stage, prat, distortion, frequency comparison's with other phones is what everyone is looking for. I'm sure I forgot another handful of attributes as well. Treble amount being comparable doesnt mean the treble sounds even close between models. No poetry needed.

Ok, I'll try and be patient now :-)
post #193 of 3062
Quote:
Originally Posted by n3rdling View Post

They are both quite accurate tonally but the Oppo's had a little dip in the lower treble I think.

Many headpones have a bump up in the upper mids/low high end. They do this to make them sound louder and "in your face" with electronic music. But if you listen to acoustic guitar, jazz, chamber or orchestral music, a colored headphone will never do, because acoustic instruments have a baseline response in reality that we all recognize. Electronic instruments can be adjusted to sound any way the performer wants, so that baseline doesn't exist. But even with electronic instruments, a carefully calibrated response will give you exactly the same sound the performer intended, because studio monitors are always calibrated flat. The Oppos don't have any bump or dip. They have a perfectly balanced response. You could easily add the "in your face" bump to them with a 3 or 4dB boost around 3kHz and they would sound exactly like what you are used to with colored headphones. You could also create the "fat bass" sound of some cans by doing the same around 80Hz. Specific sound signatures are just deviations from flat. If a set of headphones is capable of reproducing a flat response, it can be EQed to sound like any sound signature you want.

Contrary to common thought among audiophiles, headphones don't have soundstage the way speakers have soundstage. Two transducers shooting directly into your ear canal can only create a straight line of sound directly through the middle of the head. It can't create a 360 degree sound field like speakers. All a headphone can do is present the range of frequencies clearly and in a balanced manner, so the small aural cues that indicate distance embedded in the recording- specifically bounce back and reverb- are clear and present. A flat frequency response does this the best because coloration in the wrong frequency range can introduce auditory masking blocking frequencies an octave above. I had this vividly demonstrated to me by an engineer friend. He played some music for me and boosted the mids at 1-2kHz about 4-5dB. Suddenly, the treble around 3kHz became muffled like a pillow had been put over the speaker. I would have never guessed that a boost in one spot would affect a completely different range, but hearing was believing.

If the bounce back thud off the wall behind the snare drums sits around 1kHz, a boost at 500Hz would be disasterous to the distance cues. A typical 3kHz upper mid boost makes the high end of the treble on the cymbals disappear, so the frequencies above that have to be boosted to compensate. That's why when you see response curves of headphones, there are always images of rocky mountains on the right side of the chart. It isn't easy to balance the high end. Most headphones have to settle for kludges to get them to sound OK. The same is true of the low end... Most headphones don't have balanced extension down to 20Hz, so they boost at 80 to fill in the gap.
post #194 of 3062
Quote:
Originally Posted by m2man View Post

Speed, decay, sound stage, prat, distortion, frequency comparison's with other phones is what everyone is looking for. I'm sure I forgot another handful of attributes as well. Treble amount being comparable doesnt mean the treble sounds even close between models. No poetry needed.

Well there is no audible distortion. That's pretty much a given considering the planar design. Sound stage I just explained. Speed and decay are a part of the recording. PRAT is a part of the music itself. Headphones are a thousand times faster than the typical reverb and decay and a hundred thousand times faster than the rhythms in recorded music. The dynamics on the Oppos is fantastic, again because of the planar design.

I think the problem is that "flat response" isn't understood by most people because they have never heard flat reponse, and wouldn't know it was flat if they did. When you work a bit with equalizers and carefully refine response curves, you find out that "treble being comparable" most definitely *does* mean that the treble sounds the same between different transducers. Frequencies are what we hear. The balance of frequencies is what makes one set of headphones sound different from another. You can take really good headphones capable of a flat response and EQ them into sounding like any other set of headphones. I've done this myself.

Over the past few decades, technological advances have pushed distortion levels, dynamics and noise floors far below the thresholds of human perception. The big wild card is frequency response. The more you know about frequency response, the more you know about high quality sound.
post #195 of 3062
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post


I understand, but what I am talking about isn't at all subjective. Flat response is all about accuracy and neutrality, and it is completely measurable. I know a lot of folks talk in flowery terms and make up poetry about sound. But that isn't what I did. I ran test tones in two octave sweeps looking for spikes and dips. Nothing subjective about that. Flat response is what you hear when you are sitting in a recording studio listening to the playback of the mix or if you are sittting in front of a string quartet performing live. It's REAL sound.

Comparing headphones to other headphones is kind of like Goldilocks describing the three bears' beds... it only means something relative to something else. I'm comparing headphones to accurate sound... the carefully balanced and calibrated sound that the studio engineers heard when they were mixing. Objectively balanced response is very difficult to achieve, but once you do that, you can push the response around all you want with EQ or tone controls and get any kind of coloration you want. If you start with heavily colored sound, it isn't easy or even possible to achieve flat balance.

My point is that you can use a good digital equalizer and make these headphones sound like any other set of headphones. Or take them just as they are out of the box and hear exactly what the musicians and engineers intended. That is the best of all worlds.


Isn't that is the whole point of this hobby?  To re-create what you hear at a live performance, be it in a studio, concert hall or arena.  It is for me.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Headphones (full-size)
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › Oppo PM-1 Planar Magnetic Headphone Impressions Thread