Walking up to the Oppo Table, I waited patiently for the next available headphone. On the Oppo Stand was a PM-1 headphone that was displayed proudly. They really are a marvel to look at. A spot opened up and I sat in to listen to the headphones... I wasn't aware that the PM-2 was there so my initial impressions kind of perplexed me...
Before I continue further, I should note that it was noisy at the meet (as one could assume) and the music used to test wasn't mine. Though I tried my best to find songs/artists/albums that I was familiar with (or closer to what I am familiar with).
Oppo PM-2 Impressions
The first initial impression was that the headphones were sweet vocally, and the treble was a little edgy. The low-end had a thorough punch to it that offered good impact. The bass body wasn't the largest, however, and sub-bass texturing wasn't as strong as I'd want it. In essence, the midrange as a whole seemed a thinner (in contrast to the PM-1). I do have to say that the PM-2 offered great detailing throughout the treble though it did roll off quite early (more-so than the PM-1 IMO). As implied, the treble on the PM-2 is more present and higher in quantity in contrast to the PM-1. However, it is also edgier and surprisingly doesn't extend as far.
I figured out I was listening to the PM-2 after I put it down and an Oppo rep was explaining to another person the differences between the two models. I then took the PM-1 and took a listen. I do have to say, I wasn't as perplexed this time...
Oppo PM-1 Impression
Leather pads were used on the PM-1 when I listened to them. The PM-1 with velor pads was on the stand. I did get a chance to hear them, but didn't do it as analytically as I normally do. Nor did I get to make any comparison between them.
While I would describe the PM-2's sound as sweet and punchy, I would call the PM-1's warmer and thicker as a whole. In a way, I felt the same way about this as I did when going from the RE-400 to RE-600 (HiFiMan IEMs), though the RE-600 is technically less accurate (in terms of neutrality), it was technically stronger. The same can be said about the PM-2 to PM-1.
As stated, the bass was thicker, but it also extended better into the lower octaves allowing it to have better depth and texturing, something I felt the PM-2 lacked on. The midrange offered a smoothness to it, it wasn't as analytical as the PM-2 proved to be, however, it was still very detailed with great dynamics. In the high end, the treble was subdued a bit, more refined (in comparison to the PM-2), but also a lot more detailed with better extension.
PM-1 vs PM-2
For starters, the signatures are different (no speculation here). That I could tell for sure. The PM-2 had a sweeter midrange and more pronounced treble while the PM-1 was warmer and more refined in the treble. The PM-1 also has more bass body and better extension. With that said, the PM-2 is closer to neutral than the PM-1 is, however, the PM-1 is still technically better IMO.
Do note that I was NOT the only one at the meet that felt the PM-2 had a little more treble energy than the PM-1.
The PM-1 and PM-2 have some key differences in design. For one, the housing on the PM-2 is indeed made out of plastic instead of metal. The frame and headband still uses metal instead of plastic though. The metal has changed though. Any part of the PM-1 that has a glossy finish has been replaced with a sandblasted one. Leather has been replaced with pleather... And although I didn't hear it stated, I do not believe veneer pads are included with the PM-2.
With that said, the main aesthetic queues of the PM-family are shared. From a design/look, the PM-2 is my preferred design. Yes, the glossy finishes stand out on the PM-1, however, compared to the PM-2, they look out of place. Though I should note that the PM-1 does stand out more because of the glossy parts.
Regardless, the PM-family is designed beautifully and they look great in person too. Essentially, they look and feel luxury while holding a very strong industrial design.
Comfort and fit
The pads that the Oppo come with are rectangular and create a smaller profile. They fit quite comfortably and snug. The weight didn't seem so much of an issue. So initial impressions are positive in this regard, but I didn't wear it for that long.