Oppo is known for their high end DVD and Blu-Ray players. The Oppo PM3 is the third headphone to date, all of them using planar magnetic drivers. The PM3 is the first modern planar magnetic headphone that’s truly portable.
The PM3 comes with 2 cables – a 3m cable for home use and a shorter 1.2m cable for portable use (with option for android or apple inline remote). It also comes with a nice denim covered hard case.
The PM3 looks very well made with a good mix of pleather, plastic, and aluminum. The headband padding and ear pads are made of quality pleather. The driver cups/housing is plastic with the cups having a brushed steel texture. The aluminum gimbals connect the cups to the headband and allows the cups to turn sideways and making it easy to store in the case. The headband adjustment gives solid clicks when adjusted and allows for fine increments to get the optimal fit. In short, the PM3 looks extremely well built and according to Oppo has been tested under strenuous stress tests to ensure durability. The only problem I have with the headphone bulid-wise is that the pads are not user replaceable, it must be sent to Oppo to be have them replaced.
Comfort is very subjective. My ears are not particularly large and they fit in the 57mm height of the pad. The issue I have with a lot of portable circumaural headphones is the depth of the pads being not enough, causing my ears to press on the drivers leaving them sore after an hour or so. Even though the PM3 is quite comfortable initially, the pads compress enough so that my ears do touch the drivers and end up sore after a couple of hours. I don’t think it’s bad enough to be a deal-breaker, but I would have liked if there was a bit more space. Another issue is that the PM3 weighs 320g which is heavy for a portable, and while there’s good amount of headband padding, the top of my head does feel the pressure from the weight after a while.
Oppo nailed the tuning on this headphone, as it’s one of the smoothest, most neutral headphones I’ve heard. Starting from the bass, it’s very well controlled without any particular area being the focus or emphasized. Bass extension is very good as well. However it’s not really among the fastest bass I’ve heard, thus the low level bass detail doesn’t come through as well as higher end planars like the HE-560, which is whole different class/type of headphone.
The midrange is the star of the show. Due to the well-controlled bass the midrange comes through as very clear and uncolored. Vocals have a chesty presence, and the timbre of pianos and guitar strings sound very natural. Overall the midrange is neither forward nor recessed, but instead perfectly integrated into the upper bass and lower treble. Resolution/detail retrieval in this area is excellent and is probably the best of any closed portable headphone I’ve heard.
The treble is similarly well behaved as the rest of the spectrum. The lack of any treble peaks prevents any sort of sonic fatigue, though it is not laid back or recessed except for some roll-off in the upper treble, causing a lack of airiness. Cymbals and snares sound realistic without any tizziness or splashiness.
Soundstage-wise, the PM3 is merely okay. There’s good imaging and layering of the music, but it still sounds very closed in. This is probably related to the rolled-off upper treble. Isolation is quite good for a circumaural portable, though I would still pick well-isolating IEMs for noisier environments like on subways and buses.
I mostly used the PM3 out of the headphone out of the Fiio X3 Gen 2 and via its line-out to the Cayin C5. The PM3 was pretty easy to drive as it need just slightly more power than my RE400.
Overall I loved PM3 and will be sad to see it go. Oppo has created a serious competitor for the under $500 closed headphone market.