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Oppo PM-1 Planar Magnetic Headphone Impressions Thread - Page 138

post #2056 of 3150
Quote:
Originally Posted by vkalia View Post
 

 

To be honest, I dont know if the HD650 goes lower or not - I didnt try with any music that has an organ (I will do so tomorrow).   The HD650's bass has more presence, however.   Think about how bass sounds in a concert - it reverbs off the walls and fills the space.  That's how the HD650s sound.  The Oppo sound leaner - that is likely more accurate to the recording, but, to my ears, the greater bloom of the HD650 is more lifelike.

 

Say you wanted to focus on a bass-guitar melody line, would you choose PM-1 or HD650 for that?

 

What I have in mind is, for instance, JJ Cale's Clyde, or, for much "thicker" music, perhaps something from the Grateful Dead, but I don't have a specific track in mind.

post #2057 of 3150
Quote:
Originally Posted by musicman59 View Post


Don't get me wrong they sound greet out of my WA5-LE is just that I think the clarity, definition and detail of instruments and voices is even greater out of the V200 for some reason.
Yes, they do sound great straight out of the AK240 and the Monocle Hybrid Balanced cable the Peter from DHC recommended pairs great with them.

Now you need to try them out of a Chord Hugo my friend. LOL

post #2058 of 3150
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vkalia View Post

Comparison of the Oppo PM1 to the HE500 and HD650:

I finally had a chance to sit down and compare the 3 headphones - not as long a comparitive session as I would have liked, unfortunately, but enough to get a sense of the difference.   I'm going to first explain the differences I heard on each track I auditioned, and then an overall summary.

I listened to the music on my Audio-GD stack - NFB 2.32 DAC and SA31SE amp.    Source was Audirvana off my dedicated Mac Mini.   

My bias - I like a lush, warm sound, and my reference is (where possible) the sound of the live, unamplified instrument as heard in a concert hall.

Track 1:  Kazuhito Yama****a's guitar rendition of Mussorgy's Pictures (ALAC CD Rip)
The HE500s did the best job of representing the attack of each guitar note and pluck - however, the sound was weighted more towards the string, and less towards the body of the guitar, compared to the Oppos, which brought out the sound of the guitar's body a little better but at the cost of losing out a little on the "bite" of the initial pluck.     The HD650s had a better sense of decay than either of the two (in terms of how the note seemed to hang in the air), but the guitar lacked a little bit of the immediacy and presence.
My preference:   Oppo PM1s, but I could see how someone would like the HE500s as well  

Track 2:  "Quarter Chicken Dark" Yo-Yo Ma, Goat Rodeo Sessions (256kbps MP3 Mastered for iTunes)
All three did a really good job of reproducing the initial violins - the HE500s had the most presence compared to the Oppos and HD650s (no surprise that).    However, when it came to the weight of the bassoon, the HD650s did the best job of reproducing what that instrument would sound like live, with its heavy notes reverbing in the chamber.    The HE500 and the Oppo's bass was indeed leaner and possibly more accurate - however, real life bass is never lean (atleast in no concert I've attended), and the HD650s lusher bass gave the bassoon a very real body and impact.
My preference:   HD650

Track 3:  "Bolero" - Charles Munch / BSO  (24/176 HDTracks)
The HE500s did not acquit themselves that well here.   The snare drums are too treble-heavy and lacking in weight, and while they probably gave the most detailed rendition of the music, the music was lacking visceral impact.   The HD650s and the Oppos both did a better job here - the HD650s presented the snare drums better, but the Oppos had the better overall clarity.    I have to admit none of the 3 gave me goosebumps the way the LCD2s (or, rather surprisingly, the Fidelio X1s) do.
My preference:  slight edge to Oppos over HD650s, although on a different day/frame of mind, i might prefer the other

Track 4:  Metallica "Am I Evil", Garage Days (ALAC CD Rip)
Back when i used to do jujitsu/MMA stuff, this was the song I listened to amp myself up and even now.  The initial sequence of Lars beating on the drums, and then the guitars kicking in... aaaah.    Sends chills down my spine.    The Oppos presented a nicely balanced sound - drums had heft, guitars were in front of the drums (as they should be) & the vocals were neither too far forwards nor overshadowed by the guitars.   Compared to the Oppo's balanced sound, the HD650s were definitely skewed a little more towards the drums - they had more impact but by comparison, the guitars (starting with the riff at 1:48 or so) lacked a little bite and seemed recessed compared to the vocals and drums.     The HE500s, as you might expect, were skewed the other way - the drums lacked some of the body compared to the Oppos, but the guitars were more etched.    If you like a more guitar-intensive presence, you'll like the HE500s.   The Oppos made me want to go mosh with my golden retriever - who was not impressed and went and hid under the desk.
My preference:  Oppos (although those who like forward guitars will love the HE500s)

Track 5:  "So What" Miles David (24/192 HDTracks)
The HE500s presented the music with a clarity that both the Oppos and the HD650s were missing - a lot of details, very clearly presented and with a  clear, sparkling (in a good way) sound.
My preference:  HE500s

Track 6:  "Take Five" - Dave Brubeck (24/192 HD Tracks)
The HE500s did a very good job here - cymbals had a shimmery presence to them, and the the trumpet shone through with a lot of clarity.   The HD650s had noticably more bottom end presence and bass compared to both the HE500s and the Oppos - the cymbals lacked just a little of shimmer, and the trumpet was a little smoother (normally I like smoother - in this case, I preferred the HE500's trumpet).     The Oppos straddled the middle - and in this case, that didnt work to their advantage.   I feel the presentation of both the HD650s and the HE500s was more interesting - both of them presented a particular interpretation of the music, while the Oppo's presentation seemed like a compromise.
My preference:  Tie between HE500s/HD650s

Track 7:  The Power of the Orchestra / Rene Leibowitz - "A Night on Bare Mountain"
This track has excellent dynamic range and is one of my go-to tracks for determining how much slam and impact a headphone has.   The HD650s did a very, very good job here - thumping when thumps were called were for, going from pianissimo to fortissimo when needed.    The Oppos, by comparison, lacked the same thumpiness and weight on the instruments, due to a slightly lower bottom end, but the better attack and initial "bite" to the sound made the instruments sound a lot more vibrant.    The HE500s also lacked the rumble and thump of the HD650s, but their better treble was both their strong point and undoing - it made some portions of the music sound amazingly lifelike and timbrally rich - but it also took away a little from the impact of some parts.    This one is really hard to grade, as each presentation has its own appeal
My preference:  Wash (although if you put a gun to my head, I'll pick the HD650s)

Summary
The first thing that comes to mind is how good all 3 headphones sound - my preferences bias me more towards the HD650/PM1 compared to the HE500s, and the above is reflected in how often I chose those.    However, the differences are relative - all these 3 headphones presented the music in a way which I found enjoyable and which i could listen to for extended periods of time.

The second thing to note is - your listening preferences are going to dictate which one you prefer.  If you listen to music analytically, you'll find the the HE500s more towards your taste.  If your goal is a rich, full-bodied sound with lifelike bass (not to be confused with "lean and accurate bass" - there is no such thing.   Think bass that shakes the paint off the walls and hangs around in the room).   The Oppos are technically better than either of the two, IMO.   Both the HD650 and HE500 have a voicing bias, whereas the Oppo - while also warm and smoothly voiced - is the most balanced of the lot.    That can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your preferences.   If you have a strong preference for PRaT or for a clear, airy sound, you'll prefer one of the other.     I personally wouldnt be able to settle on just 1.

If the HD650s had a little more bite in the high end, or the Oppos had a little heft in the bottom end, that would be a different matter.     IMO, the Oppos do better across a broader range of music - but where the HD650s excel, they REALLY excel.

The most surprising thing to me was how good the HD650s still are, and how well they hold their own against newer headphones.    I was planning on selling the HD650s now that I have gotten the Oppos, but now I am actually considering selling the HE500s and keeping the HD650s.  That being said, to be fair to the HE500s, they arent really voiced according to my listening preferences, so my own preferences are having a big impact on my evaluation.

Hope this helps.

This is one of the most helpful and detailed impressions I've read so far. Thanks!
post #2059 of 3150
Quote:
Originally Posted by ariess View Post

To those who have the PM1's, my question is whether you are better off returning them for PM2's when they are out next month? I think the PM1's are great but you can save $400 by giving up the wooden box, real leather for synthetic, velour pads, and maybe a few minor parts not being aluminum (frames will still be aluminum) with same sound quality. With the PM2's as an option so soon, isn't it hard to justify the extra price of the PM1? If not, what is it that makes you want to stay with the PM1's?


I'm not returning mine, if not just to keep the box and the headphone stand.

post #2060 of 3150
Quote:
Originally Posted by x RELIC x View Post
  Quote: (Click to show)
 

This is one of the most helpful and detailed impressions I've read so far. Thanks!

Ditto

post #2061 of 3150

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by swspiers View Post
 

For some of us, 'scalability' is a result of bad design and engineering.  Needing a specific coloration to the amp in order to sound good is pretty pathetic.  For some of us.  Your mileage may vary.

 

But a planar that can run on less than a watt. Sounds worth the price of admission to me.  In an objective sort of way, that is  :bigsmile_face:

 

To be specific, I mean scalability in terms of resolving and dynamic contrast capability. I do not consider tonal coloration to be the same as scalability and agree with you that doing so is lame. Whether "better" DACs or amps really do resolve more or compress less is an other topic which probably belongs in the bowels of the sound science section. In the objective sense, ultrabike's measurements seem to indicate highish ~3% distortion at 300Hz and a broad scoop in the upper-midrange. This is pretty serious and should not be taken lightly. Measurements do lie sometimes, but existing measurements do jive with what I am hearing.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by zilch0md View Post
 

I'm wondering if your conviction that the PM-1 is worth no more than $300 (respecting this as a subjective statement and therefore, absolutely valid), is solely due to "scaling poorly with better equipment" or is your value estimate due to other factors, as well? 

 

On pricing: this is based on direct comparison with the HD600 and HE-560 on a variety of amplification, CK2iii, EC4-45, EC ZD, a few more modestly priced AGD and Yulong combo units, etc. Honestly, I didn't hear the PM-1 as any better than the HD600. At most, the PM-1 was a sidegrade to the HD600 with the PM-1 having a smoother less grainy sound and less flubby low and sub-bass. The HD600 was way more resolving, had better FR, better dynamic capability, clarity, etc. The HE-560 overall I found far superior to the PM-1.

 

The differences started to get further apart with better upsteam equipment. Both HE-560 and HD600 were able to return more in terms of resolution and dynamics, especially as we moved on to better equipment from lower-end Chinese combo units to mid-level CK2iii/Gamma 2 to EC4-45/M7. (BTW the PM-1 did perform poorly on the high-impedance output of the ZD).

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by zilch0md View Post 

 

Would you say there is at least some (any?) scalability to be enjoyed with the PM-1?  For example, is there anything to be gained by using something like a DACport LX to a 300mW rms portable amp vs a 15mW rms Sansa Clip?  (This is not a trick question, please keep reading...)

 

If so, where would you draw that line?  In other words, what chain would you recommend as being only just nominally sufficient to achieve 95% of whatever scalability the PM-1 can enjoy?  (And... Are we talking about a line in the sand defined by scaling the ouput power, quality of the DAC, or something else?)

 

Oh yes, there definitely is some scalability, especially in terms of power / current / output impedance. Powering the PM-1 from something like an O2 or especially Magni or Vali would be a good step up than from an iPod or Clip. I think Maxvla was trying to make a point and exaggerating. I think it's great that the PM-1 does well from say a Vali. But Maxvla does have a point: It really doesn't get much better as we move up with better DACs, amps, etc. as would be typically expected from a $1000K+ headphone, especially one which performs no better than its peers such as the LCD2r2, HE-560, HE-500 with jerg pads, HD650, HD600, etc.

 

BTW, lots of other headphones perform well with modest amplification. The PM-1 really isn't that special in that regard. Much (but not all) of the "power requirements" and "hard to drive" arguments here on HF are kind of BS'y.

 

My assessment of the PM-1 would have been much different had it been priced at $350.


Edited by purrin - 5/13/14 at 4:46pm
post #2062 of 3150
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thad-E-Ginathom View Post
 

 

Say you wanted to focus on a bass-guitar melody line, would you choose PM-1 or HD650 for that?

 

What I have in mind is, for instance, JJ Cale's Clyde, or, for much "thicker" music, perhaps something from the Grateful Dead, but I don't have a specific track in mind.


I played electric and upright bass guitar in an earlier life. I'd go for HD600 or HD650. Depends upon your style and how much range you use. The reason is that I like to hear the timbre, articulation, and attack of the strings with more clarity. Again it depends. Do you prefer $$$ Trace-Elliot or Peavey?


Edited by purrin - 5/13/14 at 6:30pm
post #2063 of 3150
Quote:
Originally Posted by purrin View Post


So the oppo pm-1 which is a planar magnetic headphone made out of machined aluminum, lambskin leather and comes in a giant, cherry wood finished box should cost about the same as a pair of beats pros? Makes sense to me!
post #2064 of 3150
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimmyf1312 View Post


So the oppo pm-1 which is a planar magnetic headphone made out of machined aluminum, lambskin leather and comes in a giant, cherry wood finished box should cost about the same as a pair of beats pros? Makes sense to me!

Or...a hundred other much better $300-400 headphones? Your post makes no sense.

 

Edit: and I think he means he thinks the sound quality is equivalent to that price-point etc. Of course premium material/build adds a premium on cost.


Edited by jerg - 5/13/14 at 6:03pm
post #2065 of 3150
Quote:
Originally Posted by vkalia View Post
 

 

To be honest, I dont know if the HD650 goes lower or not - I didnt try with any music that has an organ (I will do so tomorrow).   The HD650's bass has more presence, however.   Think about how bass sounds in a concert - it reverbs off the walls and fills the space.  That's how the HD650s sound.  The Oppo sound leaner - that is likely more accurate to the recording, but, to my ears, the greater bloom of the HD650 is more lifelike.


this is so stupid..

 

any sound producing chain should reproduce the recording has it is and not ADD|remove anything to it..

 

if there is reverb the sound.. it should be in the recording not in the phone.

post #2066 of 3150
Quote:
Originally Posted by jerg View Post

Or...a hundred other much better $300-400 headphones? Your post makes no sense.

What I'm saying is, the build materials and time and money it takes to build a planar magnetic headphone and the cost of everything else it's a (little) silly to put these in that price bracket of "around $350" (and you know it)
post #2067 of 3150
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank I View Post
 

Now you need to try them out of a Chord Hugo my friend. LOL

And you need to listen to them out of the new McIntosh MHA-100 :veryevil:

post #2068 of 3150
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimmyf1312 View Post


What I'm saying is, the build materials and time and money it takes to build a planar magnetic headphone and the cost of everything else it's a (little) silly to put these in that price bracket of "around $350" (and you know it)

I appended my earlier post.

 

Pricing is always based on a combination of R&D costs, material/labour costs, and marketing success. Sound quality plays a part, but probably much less of a part than the other three factors. Of course for those who value sound quality above everything else, pricing on a lot of audio products feel more skewed.

post #2069 of 3150
Quote:
Originally Posted by jerg View Post

I appended my earlier post.

Pricing is always based on a combination of R&D costs, material/labour costs, and marketing success. Sound quality plays a part, but probably much less of a part than the other three factors. Of course for those who value sound quality above everything else, pricing on a lot of audio products feel more skewed.

Have you tried them yet? Btw I've been following your he-560 thread since day 1. I'm very interested in hearing those too.
post #2070 of 3150
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimmyf1312 View Post

So the oppo pm-1 which is a planar magnetic headphone made out of machined aluminum, lambskin leather and comes in a giant, cherry wood finished box should cost about the same as a pair of beats pros? Makes sense to me!

 

$250 for sound quality (personally, I'd take the $350 HD600 over it). $100 for fine leather, aluminum (isn't all aluminum which ends up on a headphone machined?), and a cherry veened box probably made in China which will end up in storage (just like my SR-009 and Abyss boxes)

 

Makes perfect sense. PM-1 is comfy though with a great form factor. +$50. OK. $400.

 

The other argument is that nothing really makes sense in this hobby. The pricing of the Abyss makes no sense either. But then again maybe it does make sense because there's no other ortho I prefer over it. But then again, it's pretty stupid because we get a lot of good stuff for $5K. Then again maybe not, after all, Porsche Caymans with a modicum of options are crazy expensive, not to mention the 911.

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