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Oppo PM-1 Planar Magnetic Headphone Impressions Thread - Page 34

post #496 of 3509
We always get shafted... Unless you order from China or a kind soul/vendor in the US.
Edited by conquerator2 - 4/12/14 at 5:18am
post #497 of 3509
Quote:
Originally Posted by dBel84 View Post
 

A preview from Chris Martens but no full review yet : http://www.hifiplus.com/articles/first-listen-oppo-digital-pm-1-planar-magnetic-headphones/

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ssrock64 View Post


Those are some good impressions, with a couple quick comparisons. The way he's describing them so far, it almost sounds like a more resolving HD650 (but I could always be reading it wrong in the hopes that it fits my preferred sound signature).

 

OK, I give up.  I have no integrity.  I had told a couple of my Head-Fi friends via PMs that I was NOT going to post any impressions of the PM-1 on this thread, but on reading Chris Marten's review, and ssrock64's insightful conjecture, I now I feel compelled to go against my prior convictions.

 

I want to say up front that as one of the Beta testers, I feel as if I have little credibility due to the natural bias that can come from spending four months collaborating with a manufacturer, and we can't overlook the influence of our having received a generous reward for the many hours spent testing multiple prototypes, different pads, different headbands, etc.

 

This thread has had some literal ups and downs and I've been reluctant to expose myself to criticism as a result of what I've witnessed, but in the interest of helping those who can take what I say with a grain of salt, without impeaching my opinions entirely, I'm going to throw my hat in the ring.

 

I want to emphasize that I can find no fault with Chris Martens' comments regarding (1) the efficiency of the PM-1 and (2) how it does not disappoint in any significant way.  

 

Nearly every headphone I've owned or spent a significant amount of time with has both exhilarated and annoyed me simultaneously, with my beloved LCD-2 being no exception, but at least its faults are less annoying by far than that which annoys me with other flagships (as with the faults of the HD800 and T1).  It reminds me of a line from a Bob Marley song, where he says (paraphrasing), "Everyone is going to hurt you. The trick is to find the one who's worth it."  That's been how it is for all of us, when it comes to headphones, right?  We learn to put up with that which we find disappointing, all the while wishing we could find a rose without thorns.

 

For me, that's been the LCD-2, a rose with thorns less prickly than any other rose, but the in-close sound stage, the lack of exceptional detail, and the shelved highs, although not truly "annoying," are traits that have nevertheless been something to tolerate.  I have to say, however, that these failings have never been of sufficient magnitude to interfere with my ability to enjoy music. Contrast that to two flagships with which I've never really been able to enjoy music, due to the magnitude of their negative traits:  I sold the Beyerdynamic T1 for its lack of bass energy and, similarly with the HD800, I've come to use it only as a microscope for evaluating and comparing the resolution of other components in the chain.  I don't use the HD800 for listening to music - some could argue this is because I've not supplied it with the appropriate amp, but that's point I'm trying to make here - when you start trying to cure a given headphone's failings, you're not listening to the music any longer - your just in a state of perpetual torment.  The LCD-2 has never done this to me, despite being imperfect (to a lesser degree).

 

Enter the PM-1.  It has detail that I liken to the HD800 (some would say that's impossible, but I'm hearing nearly the detail that I get with the HD800 when using the Beresford Bushmaster MkII  - with the PM-1 plugged into its headphone out - not using an external amp), but its detail has an organic quality you would expect from a planar magnetic - not that dynamic quality of the Sennheisers.  The sound stage is opened up accordingly - things are nowhere near as close to the head as with the LCD-2 - in fact the sound stage is very much not what I am used to expecting with planar magnetics.  The imaging, too, is uncannily good.  Those are the PM-1 traits I find most outstanding, nearly best-in-class, but not really.

 

Every other trait is at a level that is a little less superlative - but not anywhere near mediocre - not at all.  The key phrase in the previous sentence is "Every other trait" - to emphasize that the PM-1 truly has no annoying traits, but where the LCD-2 exhilarates with its bass and slightly disappoints me with its treble and sound stage - in a way I can live with and still enjoy my music, the PM-1 exhilarates me in no particular way, but comes close to doing so with its treble detail and air, while it disappoints me only slightly (definitely something I can live with - and not at all annoying) in its bass energy.

 

The PM-1 does not have LCD-2 bass, having just a little more energy than the HD650 (again, with a planar magnetic sound, not with the dynamic sound of the Sennheisers).  A lot of people would say the bass energy is perfect - as in perfectly balanced with the rest of the spectrum - and I would have to agree, but I must be a bit of a bass head in that I love the excess bass of the LCD-2.  I have to admit, however, that the PM-1's thorns are less prickly - for sure it's the better headphone from a measurements only perspective, but perhaps the better headphone, too, from the perspective of being the headphone that stands a good chance of annoying no one.

 

Back to the PM-1s efficiency, I'm really enjoying how it sounds plugged straight into the headphone out of the Beresford Bushmaster MkII DAC/amp - which doesn't have enough power to do justice with the LCD-2, yet just enough power for the HD650, and plenty of power for the PM-1.  The claims regarding the PM-1's use with an iPod are a bit of stretch.  It sounds surprisingly good with my Sansa Clip+, but it's much better with a little more power - as with my Meier Stepdance portable (on 9V internal battery) or with the Bushmaster MkII's uber-transparent, but not particularly powerful integrated amp.  That's all the power the PM-1 needs for great dynamics and for the bass to have ALL of the extension, energy, and control it can give you with even more power. 

 

As Christ Martens indicated, there is no Watts-related benefit (dynamics, bass extension and control, etc.) to be enjoyed by plugging the PM-1 into a more powerful desktop amp, even the likes of the CEntrance DACmini CX - which can deliver roughly 700mW rms per channel into 32-Ohm. I'm not at liberty to talk about the OPPO HA-1, but you can imagine what I might say in this context.

 

So, I found Chris Marten's review to be spot on - especially with these comments:

 

Quote (regarding the PM-1's efficiency):

 

In practice, this means you would choose an amplifier, if indeed you even decide you want to use one, more on the basis of sonic qualities than with an eye toward making sure your amp has ‘enough’ power

 

Again, I'm nobody, but consider this to be confirmed.

 

Quote:

 

I would say the PM-1 exhibits a just slightly warmer-than-neutral tonal balance that gives the headphone voicing reminiscent, at least to some degree, of the Audeze LCD-3.

 

Not having any long-term listening experience with the LCD-3, I strongly agree with ssrock64's comment, quoted at the top of this post, where he conjectured, and I can confirm, the PM-1 sounds something like the HD650.  Given that the LCD-3 is a planar magnetic, and Chris Marten is infinitely better qualified to make comparisons, let's go with the LCD-3 over the HD650 as most sounding like the PM-1, or vice versa.  :p

 

Quote:

 

The bass is also well detailed and decidedly full-bodied, though not ‘full-bodied’ in a way that would suggest low-frequency bloat or looseness. Highs are also exceedingly smooth, though they may also be just a touch recessed. I’m uncertain on this point, though, in that I really need to try the PM-1s with a broader range of amps and DACs than I’ve used thus far in order to draw more relevant conclusions (it may be that I’ve used warm-sounding and slightly rolled-off DACs thus far, in which case the Oppo is simply showing me the sound of the upstream components used to drive it).  Stay tuned for more developments and deeper commentary later on.

 

Yes, stay tuned to Chris Marten's follow-up, as I don't hear anything akin to recessed highs, when using the Resonessence Concero as a DAC, or with the Concero as an SPDIF converter to the Beresford Bushmaster MkII or with the very neutral DACmini CX with 1-Ohm output impedance mod. So, my hat's off to Chris Marten for suspecting his sources in this regard and tempering his initial impressions.  And, lest I be misinterpreted here, please understand that, in the end, what Chris Marten writes is to be trusted well above what my limited experience can offer. In other words, saying that I agree with him, is next to meaningless, I admit.  In the end, go with what Chris says, by all means.

 

 :smile:

 

Quote:
 One point I would make is that the PM-1 is absolutely NOT one of the headphones where you have to squint your eyes and grit your teeth, working hard to enjoy the sound. On the contrary, everything about the Oppo—including both the physical feel of the headphone and its sound—is as comfortable and naturally relaxing as a weekend afternoon spent wearing a favourite pair of blue jeans and walking shoes.

 

Yes!  I've already beaten this to death, but I cannot overemphasize that where just about every flagship headphone I've either owned or spent a lot of time with has been both exhilarating and annoying at the same time, there is nothing annoying about the PM-1. It's superlatively bland!  A headphone I predict will satisfy a lot of people with a lot of different gear.

 

Lastly, I have to say that the slim, fold-flat design, in combination with its efficiency, will see this headphone used with everything from FiiO X3s to Tera Players. 

 

Mike


Edited by zilch0md - 4/12/14 at 6:43am
post #498 of 3509

Wow thanks Mike!

 

You have just described the perfect headphones for my tastes.

post #499 of 3509
Quote:
Originally Posted by zilch0md View Post
 

 

 

OK, I give up.  I have no integrity.  I had told a couple of my Head-Fi friends via PMs that I was NOT going to post any impressions of the PM-1 on this thread, but on reading Chris Marten's review, and ssrock64's insightful conjecture, I now I feel compelled to go against my prior convictions.

 

I want to say up front that as one of the Beta testers, I feel as if I have little credibility due to the natural bias that can come from spending four months collaborating with a manufacturer, and we can't overlook the influence of our having received a generous reward for the many hours spent testing multiple prototypes, different pads, different headbands, etc.

 

This thread has had some literal ups and downs and I've been reluctant to expose myself to criticism as a result of what I've witnessed, but in the interest of helping those who can take what I say with a grain of salt, without impeaching my opinions entirely, I'm going to throw my hat in the ring.

 

I want to emphasize that I can find no fault with Chris Martens' comments regarding (1) the efficiency of the PM-1 and (2) how it does not disappoint in any significant way.  

 

Nearly every headphone I've owned or spent a significant amount of time with has both exhilarated and annoyed me simultaneously, with my beloved LCD-2 being no exception, but at least its faults are less annoying by far than that which annoys me with other flagships (as with the faults of the HD800 and T1).  It reminds me of a line from a Bob Marley song, where he says (paraphrasing), "Everyone is going to hurt you. The trick is to find the one who's worth it."  That's been how it is for all of us, when it comes to headphones, right?  We learn to put up with that which we find disappointing, all the while wishing we could find a rose without thorns.

 

For me, that's been the LCD-2, a rose with thorns less prickly than any other rose, but the in-close sound stage, the lack of exceptional detail, and the shelved highs, although not truly "annoying," are traits that have nevertheless been something to tolerate.  I have to say, however, that these failings have never been of sufficient magnitude to interfere with my ability to enjoy music. Contrast that to two flagships with which I've never really been able to enjoy music, due to the magnitude of their negative traits:  I sold the Beyerdynamic T1 for its lack of bass energy and, similarly with the HD800, I've come to use it only as a microscope for evaluating and comparing the resolution of other components in the chain.  I don't use the HD800 for listening to music - some could argue this is because I've not supplied it with the appropriate amp, but that's point I'm trying to make here - when you start trying to cure a given headphone's failings, you're not listening to the music any longer - your just in a state of perpetual torment.  The LCD-2 has never done this to me, despite being imperfect (to a lesser degree).

 

Enter the PM-1.  It has detail that I liken to the HD800 (some would say that's impossible, but I'm hearing nearly the detail that I get with the HD800 when using the Beresford Bushmaster MkII  - with the PM-1 plugged into its headphone out - not using an external amp), but its detail has an organic quality you would expect from a planar magnetic - not that dynamic quality of the Sennheisers.  The sound stage is opened up accordingly - things are nowhere near as close to the head as with the LCD-2 - in fact the sound stage is very much not what I am used to expecting with planar magnetics.  The imaging, too, is uncannily good.  Those are the PM-1 traits I find most outstanding, nearly best-in-class, but not really.

 

Every other trait is at a level that is a little less superlative - but not anywhere near mediocre - not at all.  The key phrase in the previous sentence is "Every other trait" - to emphasize that the PM-1 truly has no annoying traits, but where the LCD-2 exhilarates with its bass and slightly disappoints me with its treble and sound stage - in a way I can live with and still enjoy my music, the PM-1 exhilarates me in no particular way, but comes close to doing so with its treble detail and air, while it disappoints me only slightly (definitely something I can live with - and not at all annoying) in its bass energy.

 

The PM-1 does not have LCD-2 bass, having just a little more energy than the HD650 (again, with a planar magnetic sound, not with the dynamic sound of the Sennheisers).  A lot of people would say the bass energy is perfect - as in perfectly balanced with the rest of the spectrum - and I would have to agree, but I must be a bit of a bass head in that I love the excess bass of the LCD-2.  I have to admit, however, that the PM-1's thorns are less prickly - for sure it's the better headphone from a measurements only perspective, but perhaps the better headphone, too, from the perspective of being the headphone that stands a good chance of annoying no one.

 

Back to the PM-1s efficiency, I'm really enjoying how it sounds plugged straight into the headphone out of the Beresford Bushmaster MkII DAC/amp - which doesn't have enough power to do justice with the LCD-2, yet just enough power for the HD650, and plenty of power for the PM-1.  The claims regarding the PM-1's use with an iPod are a bit of stretch.  It sounds surprisingly good with my Sansa Clip+, but it's much better with a little more power - as with my Meier Stepdance portable (on 9V internal battery) or with the Bushmaster MkII's uber-transparent, but not particularly powerful integrated amp.  That's all the power the PM-1 needs for great dynamics and for the bass to have ALL of the extension, energy, and control it can give you with even more power. 

 

As Christ Martens indicated, there is no Watts-related benefit (dynamics, bass extension and control, etc.) to be enjoyed by plugging the PM-1 into a more powerful desktop amp, even the likes of the CEntrance DACmini CX - which can deliver roughly 700mW rms per channel into 32-Ohm. I'm not at liberty to talk about the OPPO HA-1, but you can imagine what I might say in this context.

 

So, I found Chris Marten's review to be spot on - especially with these comments:

 

 

Again, I'm nobody, but consider this to be confirmed.

 

 

Not having any long-term listening experience with the LCD-3, I strongly agree with ssrock64's comment, quoted at the top of this post, where he conjectured, and I can confirm, the PM-1 sounds something like the HD650.  Given that the LCD-3 is a planar magnetic, and Chris Marten is infinitely better qualified to make comparisons, let's go with the LCD-3 over the HD650 as most sounding like the PM-1, or vice versa.  :p

 

 

Yes, stay tuned to Chris Marten's follow-up, as I don't hear anything akin to recessed highs, when using the Resonessence Concero as a DAC, or with the Concero as an SPDIF converter to the Beresford Bushmaster MkII or with the very neutral DACmini CX with 1-Ohm output impedance mod. So, my hat's off to Chris Marten for suspecting his sources in this regard and tempering his initial impressions.  And, lest I be misinterpreted here, please understand that, in the end, what Chris Marten writes is to be trusted well above what my limited experience can offer. In other words, saying that I agree with him, is next to meaningless, I admit.  In the end, go with what Chris says, by all means.

 

 :smile:

 

 

Yes!  I've already beaten this to death, but I cannot overemphasize that where just about every flagship headphone I've either owned or spent a lot of time with has been both exhilarating and annoying at the same time, there is nothing annoying about the PM-1. It's superlatively bland!  A headphone I predict will satisfy a lot of people with a lot of different gear.

 

Lastly, I have to say that the slim, fold-flat design, in combination with its efficiency, will see this headphone used with everything from FiiO X3s to Tera Players. 

 

Mike

 

I have not kept up with this thread. I would like to say that I find these comments wonderfully humble and I appreciate them very much. I've now got an eye on this hp again.

post #500 of 3509

Waiting for the PM-2 myself.  If it sounds the same but looks a bit cheaper without the fancy box, etc. than that is perfect.  I'd rather save the money!

 

If the PM-1's will be shipping soon, any word on the PM-2?

post #501 of 3509
Quote:
Originally Posted by pfillion View Post

Wow thanks Mike!

 

You have just described the perfect headphones for my tastes.


Nice. Appreciate the humility and disclaimers to (but don't sell yourself too short).

I had the PM1s on the shopping cart. After reading this I think I will check out.

Only concern is did Oppo choose too many listeners whose hearing requirements are similar? Sounds like LCD2 and 3 and HD650 (all sound dark to me; I bought the X and XC) were the preferred anchors for a few of the beta testers? Did Oppo ask one lead tester who else they should engage that person referred similar ears?

For me the LCD 2 and 3 and HD 650 sound shut in or too anchored in mids and lows. The HD800 (don't own it) is too brittle and trebly (only sounded good via alo studio six with ALO cabling). The T1 has been the most natural sounding of my cans (thru all my amps) until the new Audeze cans came along. The LCD-XC is the best closed headphone option I know of but is clearly the brightest of the Audeze lineup. The X is the perfect balance and perfect pair of headphones I have heard and own (only drawbacks being the size and weight).

So my desire is to know how the PM1s compare to the LCD-X headphones. All the references so far are to the 2 and 3.
post #502 of 3509
Quote:
Originally Posted by conquerator2 View Post

^ I call taxes, VAT, import and customs fees.

 

Well, you can use a mail forwarding agent. 

 

It is quite easy - send them the package, they forward it on to you anywhere in the world.   The only issue is, when they receive packages without an invoice, you have to fill out the customs valuation yourself.   

post #503 of 3509
Quote:
Originally Posted by zilch0md View Post

 

 

OK, I give up.  I have no integrity.  I had told a couple of my Head-Fi friends via PMs that I was NOT going to post any impressions of the PM-1 on this thread, but on reading Chris Marten's review, and ssrock64's insightful conjecture, I now I feel compelled to go against my prior convictions.

 

Thank you for posting your impressions. Looks like we have something sweet to look forward to :smile:

 

It will be nice when others get to listen to them, and we can then provide some information to help out other prospective buyers.

post #504 of 3509
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaemonSire View Post
 

Waiting for the PM-2 myself.  If it sounds the same but looks a bit cheaper without the fancy box, etc. than that is perfect.  I'd rather save the money!

 

If the PM-1's will be shipping soon, any word on the PM-2?

Can't be any sooner than June according to their website, worth waiting a few months in order to save some money (about 400US). I can go without the fancy box which will go in storage anyway and won't go out with the phones, it's for home listening use only.

post #505 of 3509

 

WAV on SD cards > Windows 7 latptop > Foobar 2000 WASAPI event mode > USB (data only) > Resonessence Concero SPDIF > Beresford Bushmaster MkII > OPPO PM-1  (with both the Concero and the Bushmaster MkII running on separate battery packs)

post #506 of 3509
I would like to thank bigshot for all of the informed, and patient, posts. His insight on frequency balancing and the effect of one frequency altering the sound of other frequencies has been something that I've observed and felt but have not been able to cognitively understand very well until now. This alone has me looking at the PM-1's as I find I'm usually trying to balance or compensate the sound of my headphones with amps or EQ and finding that it always comes up a little short, not to mention expensive. I agree that starting with a more balanced FR is the best approach to listening to the kind of sound you want to hear. When the mood strikes some EQ or amp selection can be used to create the desired listening session, the desired emotion. Want to rock out? Crank up the bass.

That's the funny thing about us humans, there is no real evolutionary benefits to listening to music. It won't put food in our bellies or keep us warm. The enjoyment of music is purely an emotional response to an arrangement of frequencies to create pleasure that is unique to humans. My wife plays music for our dog when we leave the house and I'm pretty sure he really doesn't care. Some may argue that music brings people together socially and that may benefit a community, but we often choose to listen to music alone when wanting to focus on the pure enjoyment of the sound. At the end of it all music is there for the heart and soul to enjoy. That is why I've been pursuing a headphone that mimics realistic, live musical notes, and that's why I'm interested in the PM-1.
Edited by x RELIC x - 4/12/14 at 2:10pm
post #507 of 3509
I am getting the 560. But I'll be certainly looking at the PM-2/400i.
post #508 of 3509
Some reviewers say it's dark, some say it's not. I'll have to wait for the new owners to chime in.

I'm also sold on the HE-560 for it's balanced sound. I won't pay for another dark planar headphone, even if it's light and comfortable.

It's amazing how fast the planar phones evolved in terms of comfort and balance.
post #509 of 3509

Unfortunately my order has been cancelled  :(  something to do with being unable to validate the card. This is despite my Entropay visa being prepaid - the funds are already there! Thought I had a way around needing a US billing address, I guess not!  :mad:

post #510 of 3509
Quote:
Originally Posted by zxc View Post

Some reviewers say it's dark, some say it's not. I'll have to wait for the new owners to chime in.

I'm also sold on the HE-560 for it's balanced sound. I won't pay for another dark planar headphone, even if it's light and comfortable.

It's amazing how fast the planar phones evolved in terms of comfort and balance.

 

You also have to remember there are a number of impressions around from current and demo models... 

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