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Oppo PM-1 Planar Magnetic Headphone Impressions Thread - Page 158

post #2356 of 3442

Yep, you read my mind. I was going to mention Grados but wanted to let someone else say it, so I brought up the more obscure Senn 414.

post #2357 of 3442
Quote:
Originally Posted by rgs9200m View Post
 

I love the Oppos and find them musical and addictive and resolving, but I do know what you mean vs. the Audezes (LCD3 in my case that I own).

Similarly, the Audezes (and HD800s for that matter) fall one step short of the Stax SR009s (that I own) in the area of "liveness" and "being there".

 

But personally realism and presence for me is not the only factor that determines musical enjoyment.

And even I myself am surprised that I feel this way.

It seems there are different roads to musical pleasure, and I think it pays to have an open mind about what's good for you.

 

For some reason, the Oppos hit some important pleasure center in my brain, and I'm thinking this is true for others here too, along with the gushing reviewers.

The Oppos seemed designed from the heart and by ear, not by an abstract engineering design model.

(I think this dichotomy is why they are causing such polarizing opinions here, and so much attention.)

 

In that sense, they are doing something very right, and have a unique set of sonics, and therefore I think that qualifies them as (overused adjective alert!) awesome.

I think they are a breakthrough headphone.

 

If any other headphones you can think of were designed much more from the heart than the head, I'd be curious to hear what they are (maybe this topic should have a thread of its own).

(Believe it or not, I think the original Sennheiser 414 --yellow pads, toy-like construction and all-- may be in this camp.)

 

Senn HD414 photo:

http://www.head-fi.org/products/sennheiser-hd414

Good way to look at it  :)

post #2358 of 3442

The local distributor kindly lent us one of his demo PM-1s and HA-1s, which just arrived this morning. 

 

They do seem to have a very "studio monitor" presentation which puts neutrality ahead of a wider perceived soundstage. I'm one of those people who feels this particular FR (along with the LCD-X) can sound somewhat "muffled".

post #2359 of 3442
Quote:
Originally Posted by rgs9200m View Post
 

I love the Oppos and find them musical and addictive and resolving, but I do know what you mean vs. the Audezes (LCD3 in my case that I own).

Similarly, the Audezes (and HD800s for that matter) fall one step short of the Stax SR009s (that I own) in the area of "liveness" and "being there".

 

But personally realism and presence for me is not the only factor that determines musical enjoyment.

And even I myself am surprised that I feel this way.

It seems there are different roads to musical pleasure, and I think it pays to have an open mind about what's good for you.

 

For some reason, the Oppos hit some important pleasure center in my brain, and I'm thinking this is true for others here too, along with the gushing reviewers.

The Oppos seemed designed from the heart and by ear, not by an abstract engineering design model.

(I think this dichotomy is why they are causing such polarizing opinions here, and so much attention.)

 

In that sense, they are doing something very right, and have a unique set of sonics, and therefore I think that qualifies them as (overused adjective alert!) awesome.

I think they are a breakthrough headphone.

 

If any other headphones you can think of were designed much more from the heart than the head, I'd be curious to hear what they are (maybe this topic should have a thread of its own).

(Believe it or not, I think the original Sennheiser 414 --yellow pads, toy-like construction and all-- may be in this camp.)

 

You are correct - everyone has their own standards of what they like.   Some people like a V-shaped sound signature.   Some like the polite, do-nothing-wrong sound of B&W, Dynaudio or even (*shudder*) Harbeth.   Some like their music to have visceral impact and sound lifelike.  As a SET tube guy, I am all for music that sounds "real" as opposed to measures well - and having been in the audio hobby for 18 years, I have developed a very good sense of what I like and I dont really see it changing too much.    For the kind of music I listen to, timbral accuracy and visceral impact are very important - but it is absolutely fine if others have a different preference.     

 

That being said, a headphone's characteristics are - or should be, within some variation of human perception - something that can be described objectively.   What will vary is how we value those characteristics.  

 

In that context - the Oppos are not designed to be particularly euphonic with any exaggerated frequency bands.   Nor do I think that they have a "unique set of sonics" - relatively neutral with warm, somewhat attenuated highs is hardly unique.   Everything from NAD HP50s to Senn HD600/650s to LCDs have this characteristic (and with good reason - it is the type of sound that is perceived as more natural).

 

I also think it is overstating to say the the Oppos are designed from the "heart" - atleast, i hope they are not.   Good products are never designed from the heart - they are designed using good science, good engineering and a sound understanding of how human perception affects our preference for sound.  Gear with audiophile/high-end aspirations try to present the sound in a way that is perceived as realistic by the listener - and this requires good science/engineering, IMO.   And Oppo has done a good job there.

 

Even within this targeted sound palette of "neutral with warm highs", every headphone has its own unique sonic signature.   Oppos have theirs, LCDs have theirs, etc.  It is fine to prefer one or the other and I have no comments on what someone else prefers:  that is their right and prerogative.    But in terms of the sonics themselves, the Oppos do lack the slam and impact of both the LCDs and the HD650s.   They have a few other advantages (size, easy to drive, etc) which compensate.   

 

Ultimately, what matters is that we are all able to find a product that matches our preferences - and thankfully, the Oppo fills good niche here.


Edited by vkalia - 6/5/14 at 8:13pm
post #2360 of 3442

Thanks HiFiAudio. Actually, I've never been a fan of audio systems or speakers that mask things. For example, I sold my Harbeth SHL5 speakers because I felt they never got to the root of the music at any frequency.

While  the PM-1 does not scream up top or in the upper mids, they are definitely present and all the important details are there.

And the lower mids sound firm,controlled, and transparent and well connected to the bass, for example with drums, which sound to me like one of the PM1's strengths actually, with speed and attack, electrostatic style.

 

I got some flack for recommending the PM-1 on the Stax III  thread to someone who was troubled by exaggerated high frequencies. 

Someone seemed offended that I even dared to compare the Oppo to a Stax SR007, but I stand by my assertion that the PM-1 reminds me more of Stax phones than any other phones,

and has a strangely similar insight and speed as the SR009, like the Oppo designer used the Stax flagship as a role model.

 

I think a PM-1 owner should consider this limited offer for an amp:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003UWUEZG?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creativeASIN=&linkCode=xm2&tag=bestprinte-20


Edited by rgs9200m - 6/5/14 at 8:14pm
post #2361 of 3442

OK, I listened closely to my LCD3s in the same setup with the same music as my PM-1s, and I find that, while the LCD3 has more air, more depth, deeper more profound bass and sharper highs and an overall more powerful,  bigger sound,

the PM-1 definitely has more speed, while the LCD3 has a trace, just a trace, but detectable, of syrupy-ness and hangover, while the PM-1 has a more natural attack and things starting and stopping,

and hence sound more natural overall.

The PM-1 has a more delicate, intimate, tubelike sound, but also with reasonably deep, controlled, detailed, and well-integrated bass.

There is no sense of separate subwoofery bass fog, just a bass that is connected to the instruments that produce it.

 

This fine quality of speed was always something that was a hallmark of Stax phones alone, but I'm surprised and a little shocked that the PM-1 is knocking on Stax's door here, even on Stax's best example of this, the 009.

 

Also, there is more fatigue with the LCD3, with them picking up digital glare and transmitting it, for better or worse, honestly.

So I guess there is some coloration in the PM-1 that targets this glare, but it is done so right that, well, I like it, absolute sound or not.

 

So, to summarize, despite some warm coloration, the speed just makes the word Natural come to mind with a capital 'N'. 

Maybe calling something natural with a coloration sounds contradictory, but there are many sonic factors that go into being natural, and to me, speed is a rare one.

 

(As a footnote about the Audeze sound signature, I had problems with the LCD2 Rev 1 for a definite hangover and slowness that bothered me and I wrote about several times a few years ago.

Audeze has *almost* eliminated it and I thought it had vanished in the LCD3, but there is still a trace of it that the PM-1 makes me notice.)

I am listening to my LCD3 as I write this.

 

So, the reason I feel the PM-1 has carved out new territory is a combination of pretty powerful non-lumpy bass along with speed and resolution and freedom from fatigue, and that's what I feel is the source of its unique goodness.


Edited by rgs9200m - 6/5/14 at 9:17pm
post #2362 of 3442

Here are a couple of short, compelling (HD!) live performances from Michael Jackson and Dionne Warwick I used for my comments above. I hope you like them. (Get'em before they're gone, taken away by the youtube lawyers...)

Make sure you watch them in HD.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HF5a7Cr4B-4&index=57&list=PLZeoOesQN24WFQ1GEvMcSj7zQkc8Cl5Nj

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0wCuwUneSM&index=58&list=PLZeoOesQN24WFQ1GEvMcSj7zQkc8Cl5Nj

 

(At least I think the Dionne Warwick one is live; it's definitely not the studio version.)


Edited by rgs9200m - 6/5/14 at 9:32pm
post #2363 of 3442
Quote:
Originally Posted by rgs9200m View Post
 

Thanks HiFiAudio. Actually, I've never been a fan of audio systems or speakers that mask things. For example, I sold my Harbeth SHL5 speakers because I felt they never got to the root of the music at any frequency.

While  the PM-1 does not scream up top or in the upper mids, they are definitely present and all the important details are there.

And the lower mids sound firm,controlled, and transparent and well connected to the bass, for example with drums, which sound to me like one of the PM1's strengths actually, with speed and attack, electrostatic style.

 

I got some flack for recommending the PM-1 on the Stax III  thread to someone who was troubled by exaggerated high frequencies. 

Someone seemed offended that I even dared to compare the Oppo to a Stax SR007, but I stand by my assertion that the PM-1 reminds me more of Stax phones than any other phones,

and has a strangely similar insight and speed as the SR009, like the Oppo designer used the Stax flagship as a role model.

 

I think a PM-1 owner should consider this limited offer for an amp:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003UWUEZG?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creativeASIN=&linkCode=xm2&tag=bestprinte-20

I also share that trait, being a fan of extremely accurate speakers (large in size) with exceptional impulse response and dispersion with blu-ray media with variety of content.   The clarity of various audio content while using the PM-1's is very easy to listen to for extended sessions.   I am not one that likes bass or highs to be overly present, masking vocals, various instruments.   I have a background playing various instruments, not ever serious, but enough to shake my head at comments about things like they sound more like a recording then a live performance.  That IMHO was just plain amusing, but to each their own opinion.   I do use the pm-1 with a ha-1 with balanced cable, with audio sourced/stored from my iMac using Audirvana Plus or JRiver.  Planars certainly compare nicely against electrostatic headphones, yes with drum solo's or other complicated instrument mixes that would sound muddy on a lot of dynamic cans.  

 

Here's some links to some better quality 192 kbps youtube content that scales nicely on a good DAC with PM-1, various genres.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=fmWQXknDE88

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&list=RDG6O_6dIuI9c&v=G6O_6dIuI9c

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=gYApFUxWzuQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=Zn7eWTsj9wU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=7tSdrL7PZBM


Edited by HiFiAudio - 6/5/14 at 10:45pm
post #2364 of 3442

Hey Hifiaudio, thanks for that and those great links! I appreciate it.

(There probably should be a thread dedicated to recommended links for music on utube...)

post #2365 of 3442
Quote:
Originally Posted by ogodei View Post
 

 

I have never gone down the speaker taps route, I've been to busy playing with dedicated headphone amps so I cant say much on that subject.  The speaker amps for headphones thread has some good info on that.

 

As far as drums being a dull thud on the PM1s, I don't hear that myself on my set.  Totally random speculation:  Your Pioneer, while having plenty of power, might have high output impedance on the phone jack which is interacting with the low impedance PM1s?  Admittedly unlikely as planar phones are supposedly less susceptible to this type of distortion but some receiver makers don't pay too much attention to their phone jacks ( like speakers on good TVs).  Are there any specs available for the headphone out on that unit?

 

My suggestion is try the PM1s on another player, a DAP or even your phone.  If you are still perceiving that quality, try out a little bassier can.  Might be you just are used to a more fuller sound.  For the record, I don't much subscribe to break in significantly changing the sound of a can so don't hang on to these hoping for the miracle.  Your appreciation of their sound may change though, that happens to me all the time.

 

I've let them run overnight for two nights, re-seated the earpads, and fiddled quite a bit with how they were sitting on my head before sitting down and listening to them for an extended period of time.  They do seem to have more bass than during my preliminary listening, but I still feel they're lacking in "oomph" at the very lowest frequencies.  In a few movies I've tried and even in a few songs, some of the very lowest frequency content is entirely inaudible.  Things get better when the volume is cranked but this puts the volume way past my preferred listening level.  The dull thud is less of an issue than before, after significant listening with various recordings it seems that it's limited to a narrower band of frequencies as the low bass transitions into the mid bass.

 

I certainly don't think the bass is "flat" as others have mentioned, I think it's down several dB at 20 Hz relative to 100 Hz.


I've tried finding info on the headphone output of my receiver in the past without luck.  I was interested in whether the headphone output had its own amplifier or if it was using the main amps stepped down for a headphone.  My speculation is that the impedance is relatively high because it significantly alters the sound of my Shure IEMs (9 ohm) though my Sennheisers (16 ohm) seem mostly unaffected.  Part of my interest in the PM-1's was that the purely resistive impedance was supposed to make them resistant to this.  I've used them directly from my iPhone as well as a PC and they sound pretty much identical out of every device.

 

I find this all very unfortunate because I like every other aspect of the PM-1's sound as well as the look, quality, and comfort.  I definitely want a headphone that's planar magnetic so I don't have many options.  I'm still going back and forth on whether or not to return these.  My biggest concern is returning them only to demo other headphones and find that I liked the PM-1 more.

post #2366 of 3442
Easy solution...u hv another 28 days to try it out...if u still dun like it after 30 days, then return it
post #2367 of 3442

I see Digital Trends also has PM-1/HA-1 reviews upcoming

 

Couple of early look video looks on Youtube, the 2nd one listed below about the HA-1 is a bit more in depth

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=FDyBrIPz5T0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=7Oe75fXxl8I

 

 

 

 

post #2368 of 3442
Quote:
Originally Posted by Markj View Post


Correction. Had to return PM-1 due to really bad fit. Really uncomfortable, don't recommend. Eating my words.

That is something very personal. I find them very comfortable and love their sound.

post #2369 of 3442
Quote:
Originally Posted by musicman59 View Post

That is something very personal. I find them very comfortable and love their sound.
Not personal but very public. OPPO could have had the decency to post product dimension on their page, especially for headphones not available for demo and and being in over $1K luxury market. Bad engineering, bad ergonomics.
Edited by Markj - 6/7/14 at 5:02pm
post #2370 of 3442
Quote:
Originally Posted by Markj View Post


Not personal but very public. OPPO could have had the decency to post product dimension on their page, especially for headphones not available for demo and and being in over $1K luxury market. Bad engineering, bad ergonomics.


I also find them very comfortable... I wouldn't call these "Bad engineering"....

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