OPPO PM-3

Hifi Enthusiast

New Head-Fier
Pros: Comfort, Sound Stage, and Portability
Cons: Ear pads aren't owner replaceable at this price point
Why did I purchase the Oppo PM-3?
My current portable set of headphones for the last couple of years has been the B&W P5. I recently started searching for a suitable over ear closed design to augment or replace the B&W P5.  I typically listen to my headphones while traveling or before going to bed and needed something that wouldn’t allow much if any music to escape. When researching my next set of portable headphones, I was considering the Audeze EL-8, Sony MDR-1A and the Oppo PM-3.  Based on reading several reviews, in-store listening sessions and taking the price point into account I decided to purchase the Oppo PM-3.
 
The Fit and Finish
The Oppo PM-3 arrived double boxed, with a very nice selvedge denim case, 3.2 meter “long” cable, 1.2 meter “short” iPhone cable, and a 1/4 adapter.  I am very pleased with the overall fit and finish of the PM-3.  I feel that the reviews that I have read have actually done the PM-3 justice in this regard. I had extremely high expectations based on the glowing reviews that I read and I personally expected this headphone to come up short.  The ear cups are extremely comfortable and fit exquisitely snug on my head.  The weight is really unnoticeable in comparison to the Audeze LCD-2 and the overall design actually allows me to rest my head comfortably on a pillow.  The black and silver accents are very classic and professional.  I chose this colorway specifically as a result of not being able to replace the ear pads, which was noted in the reviews.  I figured the white ear cups of the others would age and show wear significantly over time, so I decided to error on the side of caution.
 
Source & Connectivity
For this review, I used the following configuration:
Flac -> Windows PC -> Schiit Audio PYST USB cable à Oppo Digital HA-1
 
Sample Music
·         Adele – “Hello”
·         Alabama Shakes – “Dunes”
·         Regina Spektor – “Blue Lips” (Live)
·         Regina Spektor – “Hotel Song” (Live)
·         Musica Nuda – “Imagine”
·         Modest Mouse – “Ansel”
·         MGMT – “Kids”
·         The Postal Service – “Such Great Heights”
·         Ray LaMontagne “Gossip in The Grain”
·         MAGIC! - “Rude”
·         Club Des Belugas – “Wild is My Love”
 
Comparisons (Audeze LCD-2, B&W P5, Grado 225E)
Right off the bat the Oppo PM-3 sounds more open then I would have expected from a closed back design.  The resonating of Adele’s voice during “Hello” is immediately noticeable.  When comparing the music quality against streaming from Amazon Prime Music to playing a Flac file of this song it becomes apparent that the headphone isn’t the shortfall, but the compression of the music is.  This isn’t a dig on the headphone, but a statement that what you feed the Oppo PM-3 will be accurately represented to your ears.  The streaming quality was enjoyable, but there was a noticeable difference in the delivery. While listening to “Dunes” I could hear the separation of the voices and instruments with the hum of the amplifier nestled in. This was quite impressive for the $400 price point that these sit at.  The atmosphere of the venue really becomes apparent in the live versions of “Blue Lips” and “Hotel Room”, the vocal and instrument separation is night and day between that of the B&W P5.  Additionally the resolution is very clear in comparison.  I really didn’t expect this much noticeable difference between the two headphones.  Several elements that set this headphone apart from the others really become apparent during “Imagine”.  The vocals and strings really shine here and I can’t help but smile. This open, airy and resolved presentation is what really makes the Oppo PM-3 shine above the B&W P5 and Grado 225E respectively.  I find that the PM-3 has very controlled bass and I really don’t find anything sloppy about its representation of the low end.  I am continually drawn into this headphone’s grasp the more I listen. During “Ansel”, the PM-3 remains collected and composed with a lot going on in the music.  The same remains true during “Kids”.  I as I continued to progress, it became more challenging to remove the PM-3 to conduct the A/B comparisons of music.  As “Such Great Heights” ran through the cans, I just sat back and smiled.  Tempo, control and placement are all right!
 
When listening to the same music through the LCD-2, I noticed a wider, deeper sound stage and more detail in the music itself.  I felt the same when I did A/B comparisons specifically with the B&W P5.  The LCD-2 in general just provides more substance to the music that keeps it at the helm of my desktop system. This observation says something about the LCD-2 and it isn’t necessarily a dig on the accomplishment of the PM-3.  The LCD-2 is over twice the asking price of the PM-3 and I feel that it delivers the premium.
 
Final thoughts
The Oppo PM-3 is money well spent in my books. The headphone has brought me to a level of enjoyment that I have been experiencing with my desktop setup (Oppo Digital HA-1/Audeze LCD-2).  It has achieved this at a fraction of the price and is portable and cost effective. I am very pleased with the Sony Walkman (NWZA17SLV) combination and feel that if there is any component that is lacking it would be the amplifier section of the Sony. The unfortunate result of purchasing this set of headphones is that I will now be testing other portable media players to determine if there is better synergy.  Until then, I will continue to enjoy the music with this combination. 
  • Like
Reactions: Evshrug
Rob49
Rob49
Thanks, I have the ZX2 & wondered how the PM-3's paired ?
Hifi Enthusiast
Hifi Enthusiast
Right on, what do you think of the amp section of ZX2?  What headphones have you paired with it?
Rob49
Rob49
If you're saying does it need an amp, I'd personally say no. I've tried it with a Fiio E12 & I prefer it without. Presently, I'm pairing it with Sony MDR-1RNC headphones, which I'm finding very enjoyable, but I'm seriously considering buying the PM-3's

Mr.Tom

100+ Head-Fier
Pros: Fantastic Sound with all types of music.
Cons: Really can't find any.
Being out of work, the last thing I needed to do was to spend $400. on headphones. After a visit to Oppo, and a couple hours of listening to the PM-3's, I had no choice but to buy these Wonderful Cans.
 
I can now leave the house and take my HiEnd sound with me. Thanks Oppo!

hb-subyman

New Head-Fier
Pros: Great sound, great lows, mids and highs, wore headphones for 7 - 8 hours without any pain, very isolating.
Cons: Needs to have two cables one to each can so you can used balanced cables.
I originally purchased the PM-3 cans back in July from OPPO and thought they had no bass response and just did not sound great, so I sent them back.  Since then I tested vmoda M100's, Sennheiser 280's and Momentum 2.0's.  I also have a pair of Sennheiser HD 700 that I love.  The vmoda's were very good sounding headphone with lots of bass and they covered the sound spectrum fairly well, but the highs were just a little subdued but not to much.  Comfort for the vmoda's was not great.  If the cans had more movement to fit your head better and a larger opening for the earpads they would be much better.  Did not spend a lot of time with the 280's because they just did not impress me very much.  The Momentum 2.0's were very good as far as sound quality but just were not very comfortable.  Also, everything was tested with and without a vmoda Verza amp which I think is very good.
 
Now to the PM-3's.  So, after testing all of the above I decided to try the PM-3's again based on all the newer reviews since I had purchase them back in July.  Well, I have let them burn in for 24 hours and they are just amazing cans.  I find they sound better with audiophile music with the amp but they are not bad even with the iPhone and no amp.  The bass shows itself when needed and some say the highs are subdued but I find with the vmoda amp the bass and highs come alive.  The mids are spot on.  I have used my mac as well with audiophile music and they sound awesome.  The soundstage is small but very clean. I slept the last two nights with the PM-3's, fell asleep and woke up in the morning with music still playing with the cans still on my head without any pain and actually was nice waking up to quality music on my ears.  Some might say the cans are a little tight but give them a chance and you will find that they find there way to become more and more comfortable as time goes on.
 
 
 

PinkyPowers
PinkyPowers
How do you compare them to the Senn Momentum 2.0 in sound quality... unamped?

chuzzlewitt

New Head-Fier
Pros: Clear, natural sounding, attractive headphone where every genre sounds great.
Cons: slightly high head clamping force (for big heads) and excellent sound begs for a wider sound stage
Quick disclaimers. I am very new to the $400-$500 class of headphone so my experience is limited compared to many folks here. I drive my headphones from my iPhone only so I have only listened to headphones with a low impedance so I've had a strong bias towards headphones that don't require or are best suited to being amplified with a separate amp.
 
I pitted these headphones against the following: Sony MDR-1R, MDR-1A, PSB M4U-1, Philips Fidelio L2, Sennheiser Momentums (over-ears), Audio Technica ath-m50x, as well as several on ear headphones. I even tried the Oppo PM-1s and PM-2s. I vastly prefer the sound of these PM-3s over all of them. The PM-3s has an outstanding clarity and naturalness that were only rivaled by the much more expensive PM-1s and PM-2s. I preferred the PM-3s to those more expensive open backed brothers because I thought those two had a sound that was too laid back when compared to the PM-3s. If you could combine the sound stage of the PM-1/2s with the sound signature of the PM-3s, those would be my perfect headphones.
 
The PM-3s have the ideal emphasis on bass, mids, and treble. The treble sits lightly on clear mids and are complimented by rich, confident lows without bleeding into the mids. I listen to a variety of genres throughout the whole day and I love how there isn't a genre that sounds off with these. 
 
I debated their price tag for a while since I could find all the others for less than $200 on Ebay or Amazon. In the end, they were the only headphones I wanted to keep coming back to them. I don't want to listen to anything else unless the situation requires me to (running). 
 
Second place would have gone to the PSBs which seemed to really excel in songs with female vocals. Their low end was too weak and undetailed for me though and the PM-3s were more versatile in terms of genres. Oh, and the PSBs are hideous and I am fastidious about appearance of my headphones (which is admittedly strange)
 
If anyone reading this is curios, this is how I would rank them all. Bare in mind that I prefer clear, punchy bass, mids are my ideal zone in terms of emphasis, and I like my highs to be there and be crisp but not too forward and intense. And, all around I prefer a flat signature. I am excluding the PM-1/2s because of their price. 
 
1. Oppo PM-3 (by a healthy margin)
2. PSB M4U-1
3. Sony MDR-1R (easily the best value as you can find these new for less than $150)
4. Sennheiser Momentum (great sound but too congested for me)
5. Audio Technica ath-m50x
6. Sony MDR-1A (too bassy for me but probably my choice for bass heads)
7. Philips Fidelio L2
 
I do think these are all excellent headphones that I would whole heartily recommend to anyone over more mainstream offerings. 
  • Like
Reactions: trellus

thepiper92

New Head-Fier
Pros: Neutral sound (I prefer flat sound for the most part and play with it from song to song), Top tier build quality, good isolation without clamping, comfortable, easy to drive.
Cons: Cable is too long
I just picked up a set of PM-3's about a week and a half ago. Actually, the pair I'm using isn't mine, but the store owner tossed me the demo to use while I wait for my brand new set to come in. This is my first venture into planar magnetic. I was looking at the PM-2, but he wouldn't budge on the price much considering they are discontinued and the one set he had was a demo. I also heard the PM-2 are nowhere near the PM-1, and open back did concern me for listening at home (mom nagging because I do listen to music quite loud). I went into this set expecting a closed in sound, as magic is not real and one can not produce an open sound without some sort of back venting.

What first drew me to these phones, apart from being planars, was the impeccable quality and looks. I know know there is no leather on them, but the faux leather is of a better quality than real leather on other phones. When I slipped them on in the store, I felt immediately comfortable, no clamping, yet the outside world is blocked out. Some have stated they get hot wearing for long periods, but I've listened to them outside at work for 30 minutes in 30 degrees Celsius and have no complaints. The rest of of the cans look sturdy, well designed and...well essentially a Chinese company showing it can kick the quality of other manufacturers who have their stuff built in China. Now I'm not a lover of Chinese stuff, but I firmly believe manufacturers put effort into their stuff when it is made where the company is located.

Setup: I have been using an iPod with FIIO amps since I began getting into higher end portable audio. Currently I'm using a FIIO E12, and a 30 pin to lightning DAC adapter to my iPod. I hope to eventually get a DAC that works with OTG from my LG G5, but the E12 (and whatever the colorizing of sound it does) is my standard for now. Much of my music is lossless, a lot of it 16/44.1 or 24/44.1. There are a few 320 quality mp3 songs. My main listening includes jazz classics (Paul Desmond, Oscar Peterson, Miles Davis, etc), some more modern jazz and funk, classical, classic rock, classic pop, and 90s and early 2000's hip-hop/ rap. There is also some metal in there like Rammstein, and some celtic music, ranging from pure bagpipes, to celtic rock.

Bass: The bass on the PM-3's is somewhat strange. They clearly aren't a bass headphone, but they are capable of massive (to me) bass. With classical music, jazz and most rock, I find bass full and proper, not bloated, but there is the odd song where I feel the need for bass gain to be used on the E12. Now...put on Wiz Khalifa On My Level, and these cans rumble. There is no distortion even with this level of bass, and they extend below audible bass levels, to the points where you hear nothing for the most part, but feel the drivers going. Now, I'm no basshead, apart from the odd tune here and there, but the PM-3 surprise me a lot. On first listen, one would expect neutral, light bass, and with other similar signature phones, you can hear them fall apart when pushed. The PM-3 however, they can dish out what you want.

Mids: The mids on the PM-3 are extremely clear and detailed, to the point where breathing comes through, or even quiet background noises. The soundstage is the only thing that hurts the mids a tad, but the soundstage is about as good as it gets for closed back. I found the mids to be really present in the Bach Cello Suites, where every note sounded with power, yet every note rang distinct. With the business of many parts of the cello, such clear sound is not easily produced in other headphones that I have.

Highs: The highs are very clear, although slightly laid back on these headphones. I believe my E12 does have a warmer amping, or at least I've read it does, so this may be causing the highs to be recessed more than a neutral amping. Listening to Vivaldis Four Seasons, however, the highs of the violins come in strong, brilliant and exciting, letting you really feel the music.

I believe what the PM-3 represent is the superiority of planar drivers, with the ability to play without distortion, and to quickly produce sounds, where dynamics (unless multi driver with crossover) would fail.

My one true complaint about the PM-3 (soundstage and separation not being one, as I cannot fault a closed back for not sounding open) is the cable length. It isn't so much that the stock cable can't be useful, but a second shorter, on-the-go length would be nice, allowing one to slip their player in their pocket and not trip over the cord while walking. After a short bit of research, I found the Moon Audio Blue Dragon, but I am undecided as to whether it benefits the sound enough...paying the price to get a better length is not worth it on its own.

Overall, near perfection, open back is about all that would improve the sound, but that would sacrifice privacy and isolation.
Pros: Never have I heard something closed sound so open. Sounds practically perfect.
Cons: If you want a bombastic, thrilling, party machine, this is not it.
 
 
Thanks to Oppo for the sample
 
Full review here http://www.head-fi.org/t/777779/oppo-pm-3-review-by-mark2410
 
Brief:  Eh? A portable planar you say???  Witchcraft, witchcraft I say!!!
 
Price:  RRP is US$400 or £350, trip to the US anyone?
 
Specification:  Lots see here https://www.oppodigital.com/headphones-pm-3/headphones-PM-3-Features.aspx
 
Accessories:  You get a hard case for them and I got 3 cables.  One with no mic that was 3m long, the other two were “Android and Windows” phone cables with mic’s, one white and one black.  I presume that one should have been an “Apple” one maybe?  I don’t know, the specs don’t really say either, weird.  Oh and a 6.25 to 3.5mm adapter too.  Doh, the big case too.
 
Build Quality:  Par excellence.  The metal construction is extremely solid.  The soft bits feel soft and of excellent quality for pleather.  The eye says tre premium and the hand agrees.
 
Isolation:  Adequate.  I’m not big on closed cans for outdoor use but you could.  Should be fine for on a bus or walking with normal traffic noises.  Not really what I’d choose for a Tube commute or a long flight but vastly better than nothing.  Still, a planar that is closed and svelte enough to be portable?!?!?  Just do try to not get too lost in the music, least you require scraping off the front of some bus you didn’t notice.
 
Comfort/Fit:  Mostly very good.  I did get a slight pinching on my left ear.  Not painful or anything, just a bit of pressure and after a few hours my ear wanted a break to breathe.  The cups were just that tiny bit not deep enough to not be just touching my ear. 
 
Aesthetics:   Ooooh, fancy.  Oh if only the black ones had bare metal backs (like the white ones are) then they would have been perfect.  Even photos of them in white and all that brushed metal, damn.  I normally hate things in white too but I do love bare metal.  They look as classy as they sound.
 
Sound:  A little bit unbelievable.  These are planar headphones, they are closed, they are portable and you can run them off your phone????  You would be forgiven for thinking someone was bull shi… err misleading you.  Yet they are, they actually sounded amazing out of the Iphone 5, double take amazing where I had to check at first I’d plugged the right cable into the right socket.  How????  I have no idea how they have done it, it makes no sense but they have.  These are just outstanding, for a closed headphone to sound so light and quick, so open and spacious.  They are so polite and smooth too yet having highly quick transients and superbly delicate uppers.  The lows too are so casually fast and sustainable.  So polite and reserved and accurately clean.  In my head I can’t stop myself thinking of the HD600 but these are better, lighter, faster and yet closed.  The depth is better too as open cans have massive issues reaching low but these being closed can get there with relative ease.  Tonally so politely balanced with just a slight peak towards the upper mids/lower treble region that very rarely got a little over assertive.  Still vocals are so wide, so spacious and elegantly polite.  Oh god it’s such a mature sounding, proper audiophile tuned headphone.
 
Value:  US$400 for US’ians or £350 for the home of Magna Carta.  VAT does not account for all that discrepancy.  Of course the PM-1 is £1000 so…….probably easier if you just give them your wallet and let them take what they want.
 
Pro’s:  Never have I heard something closed sound so open.  Sounds practically perfect.
 
Con’s:  If you want a bombastic, thrilling, party machine, this is not it.

  • Like
Reactions: altrunox and 435279

DirtySnackage

New Head-Fier
Pros: portable, planar magnetic, nice design, comfortable, neutral sound sig, great all-around SQ, well detailed, not harsh, great isolation
Cons: Not the largest sound stage, bass is tight and accurate but could use more presence
Introduction
 
The OPPO PM-3 is my first delve into both OPPO's headphones, and planar magnetic headphones in general. Being fairly new to the hi-fi audio crowd, the $400 I forked over for these cans are the most I've ever spent on a pair of headphones, and I did not do it lightly. My wallet is still a little on the thin side, but I am happy to report that these headphones well warrant their price, and they are really are great.
 
Packaging, Accessories, Etc.
 
The PM-3 comes in a stylish dark grey/black box that has a sort of grain feel to it with a silver OPPO logo placed in the bottom right corner of the top. Inside the box is a hard denim carrying case which houses the headphones themselves. The headphones come with a 3 meter cable and an additional cable for portable use, chosen by the buyer while checking out. I chose the android cable for use with my S5, but an Apple variant and a straight cable are also available. The extra cable comes in it's own packaging, while the longer cable comes in a small drawstring bag which also holds the included 3.5 to 1/4 adapter.
 
Headphones
 
Build Quality
 
The headphones themselves are a combination of metal, plastic, and synthetic leather. The headband and the parts that hold the ear cups are all metal, but the ear cups themselves are plastic. The back of the ear cups have a nice brushed metal look, which I like much better than the original glossy design that OPPO had on the prototypes. The headband is not hinged, and therefore it does not fold inward, but the PM-3 does fold flat either way to become more portable. The ear pads and headband I believe both use the same type of synthetic leather, which, might I add, is the most comfortable synthetic leather I have ever felt. The ear pads are nice and thick while the material within is supple and soft, which makes these headphones very comfortable to wear. While I don't know the exact measurements of the openings on the headphones, I can definitely say my ears fit very comfortably inside the headphone, albeit with little room to spare.
 
Comfort
 
To reiterate what I stated above in the Build Quality section of this review, I find the PM-3 to be very comfortable. The clamping force is a little high, but the pads are soft and thick enough to sort of mold onto the head. My ears fit within the openings on the ear cups, so that also is a big plus.
 
Sound Quality
 
Overall the sound quality of the PM-3 is very neutral, though a teensy bit of coloration was added to give a bit of excitement to the signature. I find the sound signature to do everything very well, but even within the category of "very well," there are still certain things the PM-3 does better than others.
 
The highs on the PM-3 are smooth instead of sharp, which means that you will be hard pressed to find someone who finds these headphones fatiguing in regard to treble. The tradeoff, however, is that they are not as airy and clear as some other headphones. Even though the highs are smooth, this is definitely not an indication that the PM-3 lacks detail or clarity, or that OPPO threw these characteristics out the window when designing the PM-3, because they definitely do exhibit good detail and clarity. I believe the designers of this headphone tried to find a sweet spot between an overly bright treble and a veiled treble, and I believe the resulting signature is very pleasing, though your opinion may differ.
 
The mids definitely stand out on these headphones, as vocals and stringed instruments are clear, detailed, and accurately represented. I discovered new things I had never heard before, and even when I didn't, I was still blown away by how well each instrument presents itself separately instead of being blended into the track. Suffice to say, if you like music with a lot of instrumentation, you are in for a treat.
 
The bass is a bit mixed for me, as it is very tight and accurate, but I feel as though it is a little lacking in respect to the rest of the frequencies. The extension is very good, with most of the low frequencies being picked up without a problem, but I found myself wanting a bit more of a slam in some songs. That being said, I would rather have too little bass than too much bass, so I am completely happy with the signature in that regard.
 
The soundstage is another place where the PM-3 falters a little. The stage definitely isn't as wide as an open back pair of headphones would be, but when the noise isolation and ear cups are taken into consideration, it is much easier to forgive this shortcoming. Even at loud listening volumes, these headphones leak little to no sound.
 
Portablility
 
These headphones can definitely travel. They hit all the checkboxes that one could have for a pair of headphones to leave the house. The PM-3 are stylish, they are easy to drive, they isolate excellently, and they come with a very nice carrying case.
 
Amplification
 
The PM-3 is rated at an impedance of 26 OHMs, which means that any smartphone or ipod should be able to sufficiently drive them. In a completely silent room on my S5, I can get to around 11/15 before I have to turn it down because it is too loud, and I listen to music loudly. They might not go loud enough unamped if you were to use them in very loud scenarios.
 
I don't have much in the ways of amplification, but I have been using a portable Fiio E6 with my phone, which can actually make the PM-3 go VERY loud. The second bass boost setting on the E6 (the blue one) is also very good with the PM-3. At home on my desktop I use my O2, which definitely brings out more bass and detail in the headphones. In comparison to just the S5, both the E6 and the O2 make the headphone sound better.
 
Conclusion
 
The OPPO PM-3 is a wonderful headphone definitely worth it's price of $400. With it's wonderful build quality, stellar sound quality, and great portability, the PM-3 nails every mark it sets out to. Though the bass could be a little more present, and the soundstage a little wider, these are minor gripes in comparison to the PM-3's many strengths. If you are looking for a great portable headphone, I would highly recommend these.
 
This is my first review on Head-fi. If you have any advice or suggestions, please let me know.
smile.gif

DirtySnackage
DirtySnackage
thanks money4me247. I am unashamed to admit I did use your review for reference as I thought it was excellent, and I believe we share many similar thoughts on these phones.
DirtySnackage
DirtySnackage
I would say mids are definitely most present, and I would say that highs and bass are almost equal. I guess it would bass>highs but not by much.
money4me247
money4me247
@DirtySnackage, no worries. i'm glad you found my review useful! :)
 
@cs098, I would agree with dirtysnackage's assessment. in terms of quality, these headphones are pretty well-balanced across the entire frequency response. I do think the very articulate mids are its strongest aspect, followed by the tight planar bass, and then the smooth treble. but honestly, it really depends on exactly what you are looking for & your sound signature preferences how you end up ranking everything.

dudlew

1000+ Head-Fier
Pros: Natural and cohesive sounding; Well made; well thought of accessories
Cons: Just a little bit less bass than I would like; Treble not uber extended; Non user replaceable pads
The OPPO PM3, what’s there to say about it? Quite a lot actually. But I am going to try and cram everything into my... journey with this wonderful headphone.
 
 
First about me:
 
I am a music lover. I love music in general, and love listening. It doesn’t have to be the best gear for me to listen to music, but it must sound good to me, or I have trouble listening.
I live ‘out of circulation’ so to speak, in a small island nation, so I am not in a position to try anything much.
 
I also am not looking for open cans.I like the isolation that closed backs give me, and I don’t want massively large headphones. I listen at home, at work, and sometimes on the go. Home is a noisy environment, so open phones are out. And I have fit issues with iems and want to stay away from the trouble of maintaining them. So as you see my choice of headphones boil down to at most semi portable closed back headphones.
 
My gear list :
 
Amps:         Fiio E11K, Burson Audio Soloist SL
 
Sources:    Mac Mini running VOX and iTunes, IPod Touch 3rd gen. 64gb with Sendstation LOD, Schiit Modi 2 uber
 
Headphones:    Beyerdynamic DT235, Sony MDR-7520, OPPO PM3
 
Cables:    Blue Jeans LC1, Ecosse Conductor, Van Den Hul D102 MKIII, Surf Cables RCA interconnect and PM3 single ended headphone cable, Generic USB Cable
 
So as you can see, I don’t have that much…. I have more cables than gear 
bigsmile_face.gif

 
I listen to a wide variety of music, which includes classical, rock, reggae, electronic, jazz, pop, alternative, soca, soul, R&B, disco and some others. I am not much of a country fan.
 
Remember all that I am writing is my opinion and just that.
 
 
Introduction:
 
With that out of the way, I first started hearing about the PM3 on this site obviously. I was following MacedonianHero’s thread on his quest for his ultimate portable headset. And saw his update as to when he considered the PM3 the king of his hill. I read his views and thoughts and came to the conclusion I needed to check this headphone out. I did more research and saw threads about it and it being compared to the Audeze EL8 and I read a lot of reviews. I must admit I got a bit conflicted after hearing one person saying these are rolled off in the treble, then someone else saying they were bright, but I kept reading, PMed a few people on their thoughts compared to different phones and decided…. What the hey?? Why not? 
Then I had trouble getting them, no store in the US would ship outside of the US, and I had to contact OPPO directly and do it over the phone.  I wouldn’t lie at the end of it all I paid US$650 for this headphone.
 
 
 
Packaging, build, comfort and isolation:
 
They were finally in my country and then I went to get them and pay the duties
frown.gif
. The Customs lady said open the box. So I did. In that box was another box sealed in plastic wrap and protected by packing and a much smaller white box that held the short cable. So I opened the big box. In that box was a white cloth like bag that held a denim case. I was then told to open that case. In that case were the headphones, the long cable in a draw string bag and the ¼” adaptor. The Customs Lady looked at all of this with an awestruck and exasperated look on her face at the same time. She could not believe the amount of packing and packaging of this thing. I was in awe myself and wished I had a camera to capture the look on her face. 
 
View attachment
 
 
Left Customs and headed back to work
frown.gif
. Yeah I had to do the work thing, but had the phones out and setup in no time. Took my time and examined it. The best built headphone I had ever seen. Previously that fell to the 7520, which has creaking issues. The PM3 felt just as solid and better put together. Everything was precise. The clicking of the headband adjustment, the buttery smooth spinning of the cups, the nice fake leather that felt really soft nice. I had to admire them. It didn’t have the locking cable attachment, but the cable still clicks firmly into place after almost two months of ownership and unplugging and plugging back in the cable almost every day. Nicely done. That it came with the hard denim case and had all of the nice little touches just made my owning it feel really sweet.
 
View attachment View attachment
 
 
 
 
Put it on, and It is comfortable. Not as comfortable as the Sony MDR-1R, but comfortable none the less. I can understand some people’s complaints about fit and comfort and even the clamping pressure, but for me it is good enough. It was heavier than I was accustomed to, clamped stronger than any other headphone I had maybe except the Senn HD497 that I had to stretch out, but it was not uncomfortable and I have worn it for a couple of hours straight and no real issues. I have also not have any seal issues and the sound does not change much with the turn of the head as it does with the 7520. Isolation wise, it’s on par with the 7520, maybe just a smidge better. Needless to say, once music plays, it’s all good.
 
View attachment
 
 
Sound:
 
Where do I start? As a whole, the PM3 is my best sounding headphone. I enjoy it the most. Everything just goes well together, I do not think there is any real stand out part of the sonic spectrum or any real deficiency to talk of. So with that out of the way, let me break it down a bit.
 
Bass:
After being accustomed to the 7520, these sounded bass light. I was a touch disappointed in this area, and I love my bass. It did not lack extension, quality, articulation, or any of those things. What it lacked was volume. And as I said, coming from the 7520, it was obvious. But truth be told, I modded my 7520 to reduce the bass. It had too much boom. But deep down I am a closet bass head. So it always left a smile on my face there. The more I listened to the PM3 however, the more I began to appreciate the bass. It was a bit truer to the recording than the 7520. If the song was bass light, it was painfully obvious. If the song was bass heavy, it let you know that as well. Many times I was listening to some music and found myself checking to see if the bass boost on the E11k was on. Other times I would reach for the switch and put it on. I would be lying if I said I did not wish for more bass, but at the end I can say I am satisfied. I do realize that the bass presentation of a pair of speakers with even 8 inch drivers with room reinforcement is going to be more visceral and much fuller sounding than most if not all headphones ever will be and I have learned to accept that. There are tracks whose bass will wow you on speakers, and leave you wanting more on headphones.
 
Mids:
I love these things here. Smooth, clear, rich, refined, natural. I don’t have a phone that sounds any better. I cant think of any better way to describe it than to do a comparison. I was listening recently to some Sting; The Soul Cages album. I had on the PM3 and was just enjoying the music. I was listening to flac via VOX, the M2U and the Soloist. When I switched to the 7520, the mids sounded a bit unnatural, not as full, clean or clear. Also the feeling realness I got with the PM3 was not there. In the mids, to me it was no contest. The difference was not night and day, but it was quite noticeable. I can still enjoy the 7520, and even though it has the PM3 beat in the bass department, it clock gets cleaned in the mids. Where there might be a little variation is in the male vocal range where it might be ever so slightly bumped, but I think that adds to the mids clarity and makes vocals sound great.
 
Treble:
Well I guess I have sensitivity to highs. I find absolutely nothing wrong with the highs of the PM3. Again they are clean and clear. No grain. They are cleaner than the 7520 highs and also extend a bit more. This is where there are a few slight short comings in my view. I do feel that there is a small hole in the transition from mids to highs and I do feel that at some times there is a slight emphasis to the middle part of the treble that can sound a touch harsh when pushed. Both issues do not really bother me and I guess I am now accustomed to them. Is the trebles rolled off? A bit, yes. It does not seem to extend as much as say the Shure 440 that I had the pleasure of sampling a while back. Lacking that last bit of sparkle maybe. But I am pleased with it. No complaints.
 
I do find that it has a naturalness about it that I just love. All the parts form a nice cohesive unit and that translates to me to give a nice sense of ambience, and presents a nice 3d sounding signature. I have no open cans to compare to, or even great speakers, but the soundstage does not sound all that wide. What you do get though is good instrument placement and a sense of layers in the music both vertically and front to back. The soundstage does not really leave your head and expand beyond the walls though, but it is the closest to speaker hifi in terms of soundstage and instrument placement that I have gotten out of a headphone. You feel like you are in an acoustic space all be it a small one.
 
Compared to the 7520, the PM3 just sounds better. The detail retrieval is not better, there is less bass in terms of quantity, it is heavier..... But..... it is more cohesive and natural and gives a realism that the 7520 just cannot match. They are both good headphones, but overall the PM3 is just better. If you really like your bass very hard hitting and visceral, the 7520 would be a better bet, although I am not sure how hard hitting even that is compared to some bass cannons out there. If you are after a more natural and better put together sound, of the two the PM3 wins hands down.
 
View attachment
 
View attachment
 
 
 
Conclusion:
 
Am I happy? Yep. No complaints from me. Except for maybe the AKG K81 DJ and in the end the Sony MDR-1R, I think I did pretty well with my blind headphone buys, and at the end did enjoy all of my headphone purchases that I have made over the years.
This one is my favorite though. Is it the best value? I would not think so. I do realize that there is most likely a premium being paid for the technology, the accessories and the build. I am sure there is great sound to be had for less. But in the end, I feel like it is worth the price and am happy that I own such a wonderful pair of headphones. It’s the total package, not just the sound quality, that makes this a wonderful product.
 
View attachment
L
lltfdaniel
I also agree that the pm-3 sounds great as i also own them.
DadRanger
DadRanger
Nice review. Just wonder how much is the sound different with amp and without amp. I use iPhone to listen music most of the time. Does PM3 sound the same driven by iPhone?
dudlew
dudlew
@DadRanger I do notice a bit of scaling.. It sounds good out of my ipod touch, but better with the E11K attached and better still through my Burson.... but its not something huge per say. I still think the sound is good out of my ipod and the characteristics of the headphone hold true in my opinion.. the differences to me come about in refinement and dynamics.. the better you feed it, there will be increases in dynamics and refinement. the bass becomes tighter and hits a bit harder, the sound gets a bit more focused, sounds clearer. But these are not huge leaps for me, but noticeable

Frank I

Columnist/Reviewer at Headphone.Guru
Pros: Outstanding Value and Ridiculously Low Pricing for the Quality of soud.
Cons: Nothing worth talking about
HA-2-with-PM-3-on-stand-small
When I was reviewing the PM-1 planar headphone for OPPO I mentioned to Jason Liao (VP of product development at OPPO) how good the PM-1 sounded when paired with the Chord Hugo. The sound was so synergistic that while speaking with Jason I asked if it was possible to get a closed version of the PM-1 to use portably. Jason mentioned they were working on a closed version and may have a prototype ready to show at the Rocky Mountain Audiofest .

One of my first stops when I arrived at Rocky Mountain was to visit CanJam and head over to OPPO’s booth and see if the portable closed headphone was there. I not only found the PM-3 but also the HA-2 amplifier/DAC available for audition. Immediately seizing the opportunity like a kid in a toy store looking for his fix I dug right into a session. I was impressed with the sound coming from the combo; so much so it was reminiscent of what I had experienced with the Chord Hugo and PM-1. The sound of the paring was synergistic and musically engaging.





OPPO PM-3 Design

The PM-3 design is derived from its sibling brother the PM-1. The driver technology was derived from OPPO’s technology derived from the PM-1. The PM-3 uses a planar magnetic driver and the sound coming from a light push pull symmetric design is similar in sound signature to the PM-1. The headphone is built with the same high quality construction found in OPPO products. The PM-3 weighs 10 ounces and is light enough for portable use. The PM-3 is shipped with a 3-meter cable terminated with a ¼ jack and includes a 1.2-meter portable cable. OPPO gives the customer the choice to select the right cable for the device being used .You can order the cable with an inline microphone which will allows you take incoming calls if your using a smart phone The Denim carrying case is included. The PM-3 is designed to fold flat and fit nicely in the denim traveling case. The price is $399.

oppoha21



OPPO HA-2 Portable Headphone Amplifier/DAC

The HA-2 is an attractive slim beveled aluminum design. OPPO’s design choice was interesting in that the amplifier does not look like most of the portable products out there. The amplifier has a genuine leather casing with stitching. The finish is first rate and typical OPPO high quality construction. Aesthetically attractive and the look an feel of a modern device-the HA-2 is an eye appealing and hip looking piece of gear.

The amplifier is a hybrid class AB design with a USB DAC that support 384 kHz PCM and also does DSD 256. It offers s high performance digital conversion for Apple iPhone/iPods and iPads and a can also be used with many Android devices.

The HA-2 has a built in rechargeable battery and also can serve to charge mobile devices as well on the go. The internal battery can be recharged in 30 minutes fully using the rapid charge supplied with the unit.

The DAC used in the HA-2 is the high quality high end ESS Sabre 9018 –K2M chip and delivers high quality sound with low noise and distortion.

The HA-2 has two USB DAC inputs ports; one for Apple devices and the other for Android devices. The 3.5 mm input would work with other portable players that do not support USB. The amplifier has two gain adjustments. The High Gain deliver 300mw into 16 ohms for more power hungry headphones and Low Gain is designed for sensitive in ear monitors. The HA-2 uses an analog volume control with bass boost for the bass head. The entire HA-2 package is loaded with features and sells for $299.



The Journey

The PM-3 and the HA-2 were hooked up to the iMac with the supplied USB cable. Listening to Alabama Shakes’ new album “Shakes Sound and Color” had me totally involved in the music. The sound coming from the track “Don’t Want to Fight” had my body moving to the hard hitting beat and Brittany Howard ‘s vocal was clear and articulate. I was really into the recording and her soulful voice had me hooked.

Melody Gardot’s “Mira” from her “Absence” album has a Caribbean flavor. The vocal performance from this track has Melody involved in her performance.Closing my eyes I could vision her moving around and dancing while singing this wonderful track. The percussion was first rate and believable. The treble extension was awesome with this combination. The soundstage is within the headphone and never felt as if it was out of my head. The bass extension was good and impactful. The HA-2 bass boost control added some more heft to the bass and is a nice feature on the portable amplifier. It subtly increased the extension of an already excellent bass presentation.

Amber Rubarth’s binaural recording was excellent listening with the PM-3 and HA-2 and had more space within the stage than a normal lossless recording. It was evident while listening to this binaural recording that the soundstage width had more space and better layering than regular recordings. Amber’s vocal was crystal clear with excellent inner detail and free of any sibilance. The percussion was in the rear of the stage to her right and had nice detail and I could easily hear hands hitting the drum skins. The PM-3 and HA-2 were working synergistically and were able to dig out the inner detail of this excellent recording.

Switching to the Copland and not expecting much from the PM-3 and HA-2 on this wide dynamic and torturous recording, I was pleasantly surprised with the delivery of ” Fanfare for the Common Man”. The thunderous whack of the tympani is a real test for any device to reproduce. The PM-3 had sufficient speed to make the track believable and the HA-2 kept up with the performance and was able to play the recording without clipping or falling apart “ Appalachian Spring” from Copland is a beautiful piece of music. The PM-3 while having a smaller stage than many other more costly headphones was still able to produce all the frequency range of this recording without a hitch. The performance was still musical and the PM-3 and HA-1 delivered the performance with dynamic and enjoyable musicality.

Using the UE 18 IEM on the same recordings really showcased how a high end IEM could perform. The sound coming from the UE 18 had the orchestra spread out in a wide and layered stage with air and space. The sound using the low gain setting on the HA-2 was noise free and had no audible distortion. The musicality was on another level and the HA-2 was able to scale up while using a flagship IEM that cost almost 4X more than the PM-3. The HA-2 handled the higher end IEM with musicality and finesse. The sound was incredible, transparent and musical.



AK240 Balanced and the PM-3

Hooking up the PM-3 to the AK240 balanced was a revelation. Gone was the loose bass. The PM-3 loved the additional power that the AK240 had over the HA-2. The soundstage was much more defined with better air and space between the performers. The PM-3 loved the additional power (as most planar do) the AK240 was giving it. It was if I gave it a tankful of high-test gas. The performance level soared.

The additional power the AK240 provided took the PM-3 to a different level of musicality. The improvement was far from subtle. The PM-3 had more and better focus with increased bass slam. The bass was now tight and focused. The performers were more focused in the soundstage with more air and separation between the musicians.Using the same Copland track, the PM-3 was faster than it was while using the HA-2. The layering of the orchestra improved with more of the hall and space audible. The tympani whacks had more impact and made the performance more enjoyable and involving.

Listening to the DSD recording of Patricia Barber track “Company” from Modern Cool the PM-3 had similar extension that I hear while using the PM-1 and the Audeze LCD X headphones. Listening to Nardis from Barber’s “Café Blue” was more of the same eargasms. The treble extension on Nardis had the cymbals shimmering and was never splashy or restricted. They just sounded like live drum cymbals.

Performance like this is rare in many flagship headphones yet the $399 PM-3 delivered what many portable headphones in this price range fail to do (sound real). The fact that this type of bass and treble extension in a product this reasonably priced is a major achievement for OPPO. The PM-3 soared to another level and showed it could scale up to higher levels using more expensive gear.



Conclusion

The PM-3 and HA-2 products released by OPPO Digital are amazing products for the price. OPPO has been releasing outstanding products for a number of years. OPPO’s entry into personal audio with the introduction of the PM-1 and PM-2 full range headphones last year had the industry buzzing. They followed it up with their Swiss Army knife HA-1 amplifier that was built like a tank and did many different things and became a new benchmark in affordable high-end audio.

oppopm33

The PM-3 and HA-2 are making another splash (rightfully so). The PM-3 has the same build quality the PM-1 and PM-2 are known for in a smaller lighter package. The isolation is as good as many IEM monitors. The PM-3 folds neatly into the sleek looking Denim bag and is easy to carry and use. The PM-3 worked well with the AK240 balanced digital player and eliminated the need for a separate amplifier. The performance was extraordinary and really showcased the PM-3 strengths. The bass delivery was extended and midrange was to die for. The treble extension with the PM-3 was not compromised or left me feeling anything was missing.

oppoha23

The HA-2 is another marvelous achievement from the sleek modern beveled aluminum to the striking volume control and lovely leather case. The $299 amplifier has a no compromise ESS 9018 sabre DAC. Users using a MacBook, iPad, iPhone or android device will benefit using the HA-2. The amplifier is fully transportable .The sound from the iPad and MacBook was drastically improved and more in tune with reference listening that music enthusiast want in portable devices.

The HA-2 had a few shortcomings when compared to the more expensive AK240 internal amplifier. The bass and treble extension on the more expensive AK240 went deeper and had more slam. The HA-2 could not compete with the AK240 treble extension and the transparency was better on the 10 times more expensive reference digital player as it should be.

OPPO is known for building battleship products at real world prices. The PM-3 and HA-2 offer extraordinary value and follow in the same tradition of value and high quality. OPPO is to be commended for offering reference level sound and build in value oriented products that perform as if they should cost twice as much.

Value and musicality is what we come to expect from OPPO and the PM-3 and HA-2 offer that and more. The PM-3 and HA-2 are musical products designed to provide years of enjoyment for all music lovers. The PM-3 and HA-2 deliver exceptional sound for a ridiculously low price. The PM-3 and HA-2 are serious products that are attractively priced and deserve your consideration. Highly Recommended

Specifications

Designs and specifications are subject to change without notice.

Headphone Specifications

Acoustic Principle Closed back

Ear Coupling Circumaural

Nominal Impedance 26 Ohm

Sensitivity 102 dB in 1 mW

Clamping Pressure 5 N

Cables 3 m detachable cable (3.5 mm with 6.35 mm adapter) 1.2 m detachable cable (3.5 mm)

Cable Connectors Output: 3.5 mm stereo jack Input: 6.35 mm stereo jack, 3.5 mm stereo jack

Weight 320 g (without cable)

Included Accessories Carrying Case User Manual

Driver Specifications

Driver Type Planar Magnetic

Driver Size (Round) 55 mm diameter

Magnet System Symmetric push-pull neodymium

Frequency Response

In Free-Field 10 – 50,000 Hz

Long-Term

Max Input Power 500 mW according to IEC 60268-7

Pulse Max Input Power 2 W

iPad®, iPhone®, iPod® and iPod touch® are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. All trademarks are are the property of their respective owners.

Specifications

Designs and specifications are subject to change without notice.

General

Dimensions (W x H x D) 2.7 x 6.2 x 0.5 inches, 68 x 157 x 12 mm

Weight 6.2 oz, 175 grams

Frequency Response 20 Hz – 200 kHz

Audio-in Level 1 Vrms

Line-out Level 1 Vrms

Recommended Headphone Impedance 16 Ohm – 300 Ohm

Maximum Headphone Output Power 300 mW into 16 Ohm 220 mW into 32 Ohm 30 mW into 300 Ohm

Headphone Amplifier Output Impedance 0.5 Ohm

Output Jacks 3.5 mm stereo headphone 3.5 mm stereo line-out

Input Ports Analog: 3.5 mm stereo audio-in Digital: USB A for iPod / iPhone / iPad; USB micro-B for smartphones with USB OTG feature and computers.

DAC Chip ESS Sabre32 Reference ES9018-K2M

Input Format Stereo PCM, Stereo DSD (DoP v1.1 or native)

PCM Sampling Frequencies 44.1 kHz – 384 kHz, 16 / 24 / 32-bit

DSD Sampling Frequencies 2.8224 MHz (DSD64), 5.6448 MHz (DSD128), 11.2896 MHz (DSD256, native mode only)

Profile USB 2.0, USB Audio 2.0

Included Accessories Power Supply Unit (Rapid Charging Charger) USB A – USB micro-B data and rapid charging cable USB A – Lightning data cable (for Apple devices) USB micro-B to micro-B data cable (for Android and other smartphones) 3.5 mm – 3.5 mm stereo audio cable Silicone rubber band (2 pieces) User guide and warranty documents

Battery

Built-in Battery type 3000 mAh lithium polymer rechargeable battery

Battery Operation Time Approx. 13 hours for analog source via Audio-in; approx. 7 hours for digital sources via USB

Charging Time Approx. 1 hour 30 minutes

“Made for iPod”, “Made for iPhone”, and “Made for iPad” mean that an electronic accessory has been designed to connect specifically to iPod®, iPhone®, or iPad®, respectively, and has been certified by the developer to meet Apple performance standards. Apple is not responsible for the operation of this device or its compliance with safety and regulatory standards. Please note that the use of this accessory with iPod, iPhone, or iPad may affect wireless performance.

iPad, iPhone, iPod and iPod touch® are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.

Compatible iPod/iPhone/iPad Models USB works with iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C, iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, iPad (4th generation), iPad mini, iPod touch (5th generation).

The HA-2’s USB input B works with Android devices that support USB OTG (USB On-The-Go) and USB Audio Class 2.0. Not all devices are compatible.

Android is a trademark of Google Inc.

All trademarks are the property of their respective owners.



www.oppodigital.com

- See more at: http://headphone.guru/oppo-pm-3-headphone-and-ha-2-portable-amplifierdac/#sthash.Dmg8W7mO.dpuf
  • Like
Reactions: Jazz1 and cpauya

JRoyen

Head-Fier
Pros: Clear, fast, accurate, ultra-resolving with a pitch black background immersed in a very neutral sound catering to vocal-heads
Cons: Slightly claustrophobic sounding with not as much air, soundstage, separation or liveliness, as larger open-backed headphones
These headphones really grew on me. I think the fairest way to compare them is against other sealed headphones of comparable size. I was hoping to borrow a pair of NAD HE50, which I have heard in the past, but couldn't get them in time. 
 
However when I do pit them directly against the superb Hifiman HE-500 paired with my O2+ODAC, the PM3 is simply more tonally right. While the bass isn't as full or impacting (with more of a slap than a full slam,) it's much more accurate and *yes* slightly more extended. 
 
Vocals really shine on these headphones -- although they aren't perfect and horns (in the same relative range) are actually more natural and full sounding on the HE-500. Listening to Donald Fagen's voice on the Nightfly, strangely the HE-500 sounds more nasally and even honky in comparison. 
 
The soundstage is obviously degrees smaller and less airy on the PM3, as well instrument placement is also less enhanced. I'll even admit they are *slightly* boring in the way a pretty girl dressed down with little to no makeup might be less exciting or even engaging. :) However they are able to more clearly resolve real information, almost nothing is padded or masked. The PM3 also have the blackest background of any planar I've ever heard, even the HE-560. Kudos.  
 
Again, any knock against these headphones is going to be physical limitations on the relative size of the diaphragm and sealed portable design.  Obviously I would like less of a claustrophobic feeling, a tad more separation, imaging, air and liveliness outside of the head; the HE-500 does all these things in spades. The PM-3 simply can't impart the same energy to as forcefully move the pinna.
 
Yet I still find a good degree of the same planar speed, clarity, pinpoint accuracy and ornate delicateness about their sound which is more palpable than dynamics. Planars represent the closest to a wire with gain, even more than electrostatics.  I might not ever again be able to go back to dynamics.
 
It's truly hard to criticize the way these headphones were engineered. Thankfully more headphone manufacturers have begun concentrating on first getting the human voice and upper mids/lower treble range correct, which then allows sound to more naturally fall into place. No complaints there. The PM-3 do everything fundamentally right in theory and practice.
 
The balanced sound signature allows these to be played *loud* with no fatigue. This is a great quality for a portable played in loud environments. The only real fatigue for me was the way the cups touch my ears, it can be annoying. Although I absolutely love the detachable cable on one side, simply perfect for everyday wear. And the build quality is very decent, practical (dare I say impeccable) for $399. And they are very easy to clean and store. 
 
I already know that OPPO can create one of the best portable sealed headphones. In 2015, we have finally gotten planars for the masses. Now I would like to know if they can create a truly non-portable open-backed audiophile planar headphone with larger dimensions and greater impedance. I certainly wouldn't put it past them. Keep the same frequency signature and it might just be heaven.
 
The PM3 get 4.5 out of 5 stars for me on their own. But easily 5 out of 5 when placed in the sealed portable category, an absolute pleasure.
 
And I just wanted to that OPPO for giving me the opportunity to audition these impressive phones for a week.
  • Like
Reactions: nick n
daerron
daerron
I'm also a HE-500 owner and seriously considering these, so thanks a lot for your impressions. Since you've tried them on a loaner program, do you intend to buy them?
Barra
Barra
Out of curiosity, how quiet can you play these and still get the dynamics? I was thinking about getting these being closed so that I can wear in bed without disturbing my wife. But at night I play the volume low which can kill the dynamics on most HPs, especially bass slam. While I am not playing EDM to sleep to, the easy listening electronica does have an easy listening low end rumble that requires dynamics to sound right.,

HarleyZK

100+ Head-Fier
Pros: Bass extension, fun factor, detail, imaging, portability, value.
Cons: Midrange could be a bit more forward, lower treble can be a bit etched at high volume.
Before we get into the review, I apologize for this being a bit rushed compared to what I would want it to be. I'm trying to pen this before I head out for the easter weekend.
 
Introduction
 
Oppo, a name not originally associated with HiFi headphone audio, has come together to create an first for a headphone here in the PM-3. This all started when Oppo, usually noted for their Blu Ray players, entered the high end headphone market with their PM-1, then PM-2 models - later this culminated in their drive for an efficient, closed Planar Magnetic headphone. These criteria would come about as the PM-3, which may be considered the first truly portable planar magnetic headphone on the modern market. Typically when one thinks about Planar Magnetic headphones the names Hifiman, Audeze, Mr Speakers or JPS may appear first in ones minds, so what does a newcomer have to offer. Quiet a bit it seems with this particular model - so lets jump into it shall we.
 
 
Design, Comfort, Build Quality and Packaging
 
The PM-3 comes in a small - well kept cardboard box with the typical external marketing spiel - once you open this up there is a hard cardboard case. Inside you will find a portable travel case, which fits the headphones snugly - with the cable unplugged. The travel case has a nice ruggedness to it, and the size is more than adequately sized to fit it into a backpack.
 
Once you take the headphone out of the case, you are presented with the headphone and its cable. The stock cable that came with mine was the 3m long cable, and it is not suitable at all for traveling on the go. Outside of North America I believe that you need to buy the cable from the dealer - I'm waiting on my short cable to arrive. Sony offer a cable that is suitable for using these in balanced configuration is one so desires. The long 3m cable is quite prone to tangling as mine has been making kinks sitting on its own in a bag.
 
The build on the cans is very sturdy, these seem like they could take a beating. They are entirely high grade plastic, metal and high quality pleather. The pleather that Oppo produces must be the best quality pleather I've ever seen on a can, it could be easily mistaken for the real thing. The cans have a slight blue speckle to them in sun light, only appearing on the plastic edges of the cups. The cans feel rather light on the head, the feel roughly like the weight of a HE400i, heavier than a HD600, 650 and lighter than the Vibro, Alpha Dog, HE500, HE6 or any other Audeze. The headphones are very comfortable, I’ve been able to wear them for a 2-3 hours at a time issue free. If you wear glasses these can lose a bit of bass from the loss of seal but not in a huge way - just something to take note of.
 
Sound
 
The sound of the PM-3 is rather well balanced, but leans towards a bassier, and slightly brighter sound than the PM-1 or PM-2. The sub bass is quite prominent, with plenty of rumble down low and great extension. Think LCD2 (non fazor) when talking about the bass extension down low - but these have more quantity. These are a lot more bassy than the PM-2. The upper bass is slightly less forward than the sub bass, but still with a notable quantity. Yes these have great planar bass - not quite as quick as the bass of a HE560, Alpha Dog or LCDX but still quicker than dynamics like the Z7, HD600, W1000X or Shure 1540. The bass is easily the most prominent out of my planar cans (LCD2, HE500, HE400i, Alpha Dog, Vibro). The mids do not suffer from bass bleed here even though the midrange is a bit back from the bass.  These have a mild U shape rising in the upper mids and lower treble by a small amount is seems - from doing some frequency sweeps. Don’t get me wrong, these definitely do not strongly etched or very bright, to me this range is slightly pronounced. This may be a problem if you are someone who listens loudly or hates a peak in the 4-5 kHz range. Going back to the mids, they are definitely not strongly lush or romantic like some cans can be - so for those who want their midrange to be forward or utterly central to the sound than these might not be for them. The upper treble dips a bit and loses volume but it is not strongly noticeable.
 
The sound staging is not ground breaking, but does have reasonable depth and width for a closed can. I would say the NAD Viso HP50 has a bigger soundstage, so does the HD600, Alpha Dog, ZMF Vibro, Sony Z7 for example. These do not sound cluttered though, as the detail level, resolving ability and imaging are fantastic for a $400 dollar closed headphone.
 
The PM-3 does scale up with better amps and dacs, but not at an extreme level - they sound a fair bit more resolving and crisp out of my Fiio X3 over my macbook, then further going to the NFB 15, then again slightly more resolving with a Musical Fidelity HPA M1.
 
Isolation is quite good on these, I enjoyed my music walking around a few busy streets, the bus was no problem for me to hear my music well, but on a noisy train I did have to crank the volume up over my normal listening level of around 75 dB. Leakage does not bother my family from even a few feet away when they are reading. The Sig DJ has better isolation and so do my JVC FX850 IEMS, but these are about on par with the Alpha Dog and Vibro on isolation and leakage.
The PM-3 has been a treat mainly with electronic music, trance, house, DnB and pop - where it absolutely shines. It also has plenty of energy and speed for my metal and rock music. They have plenty of verve for Jazz music is you are into a bassier sound with plenty of upper energy. For classical and acoustic I tend prefer my Alpha Dog and Vibros as closed cans.
 
PM-3 vs Alpha Dog
Straight up the PM-3 is a much bassier, harder hitting and more impactful can, has a more fun energetic sound, better suits contemporary styles, more efficient, lighter and is more comfortable. The Alpha Dog has quicker, higher quality bass, better sound staging, slightly better resolving ability/detail, more balanced, more forward midrange and more impressive imaging, better treble extension.
 
PM-3 vs Sony Z7
The PM-3 sounds quicker, more detailed, more resolving, has more sub bass rumble, less bass bleed in the mids, better imaging, better treble extension and is portable. The Z7 has a better soundstage, is more lush, less bright and fatiguing, has more prominent lower mids, is more comfortable by a hair and is slightly easier to drive.
 
PM-3 vs ZMF Vibro
The PM-3 once again is bassier, harder hitting and has more rumble in the sub bass, it has more treble, extension, energy and upper detail. The Vibro has a larger soundstage, more lush and forward mids, slightly better imaging, more laid back treble, is marginally more resolving and sound more suitable to acoustic music, classical than the PM-3.
 
PM-3 vs HE400i
The PM-3 has less treble at 9-10khz, more treble at 4-5khz, more sub bass and bass in general. The HE400i lower mids are more prominent than the PM-3, the PM-3 has more forward upper mids. The PM-3 has a smaller soundstage, but comparable imaging and detail levels. The HE400i is more comfortable for me. The HE400i sound cleaner and a bit quicker overall.
 
PM-3 vs PM-2
The PM-2 is very weak in the bass department compared to the PM-3. The PM-2 is more lush and laid back than the PM-3 which is brighter and has less midrange quantity. The PM-2 and 3 are about on par with each other in terms of imaging, the PM-3 sound more detailed being brighter, the 2 by comparison is slightly smeared by its dark presentation. The PM-2 has a slightly larger sound staging.
 
PM-3 vs LCD2F
The PM-3 is brighter than the LCD2F with more lower treble, the LCD2F has a bit more upper treble however. The PM-3 is bassier, and has much less involving mids. The PM-3 has poorer imaging, detail, resolution, transparency and a smaller soundstage.
 
Here are my rough rankings on some categories.
 
overall bass quantity
PM-3 > Z7 > LCD2F > HE400i = Alpha Dog > Vibro > PM-2
 
In bass Quality
Alpha Dog = LCD2F = Vibro > HE400i > PM-2 > PM-3 > Z7
 
In bass extension
Alpha Dog = LCD2F = PM-3 > Vibro > Z7 > PM-2
 
In midrange from more warm to least
Z7 > LCD2F > Vibro > PM-2 > HE400i > PM-3 > Alpha Dog
 
Lower Treble/upper midrange by quantity most to least
PM-3 > Alpha Dog > PM-2 > Vibro > Z7 > HE400i > LCD2F
 
Upper Treble amount most to least
Alpha Dog > HE400i > LCD2F = Vibro > PM-2 = PM-3 > Z7
 
Detail level
Alpha Dog = LCD2F > Vibro = HE400i = PM-3 > PM-2 > Z7
 
 
Conclusion
All in all, the PM-3 offers a wonderful option for closed portable usage, especially as the first portable planar magnetic on the market at this time. I would say for the quality you get at the price of $400 these are quite excellent, of course diminishing returns dictates that these are not twice as good as some $200 closed cans, but these certainly do an excellent job for portable usage. These do have a fun energetic sound, so if you are wanting something great for EDM or other contemporary styles I could not recommend these more.
 
 

As always YMMV, try before you buy and all that. All tests were done through the NFB 15, Fiio X3 and Musical Fidelity HPA M1.
manbear
manbear
Nice review! Could you add the he-400i to the bass quality rankings? I'm interested as a 400i owner considering the oppos.
Raizel
Raizel
Awesome review.
5
506638
Hi, interesting review. I was very disappointed Oppo manufacture those cans. They are great to wait in a doctor waiting room or in the chair at a dentist. But when one listen closely to them, one hear lacks everywhere. I guess it is the case with many closed headphones. It is for portability, no for home listening. Please note that a guy does a mod to Mod Jack 2.5mm x2 that I think is very usefull.

kleefurd

Head-Fier
Pros: Great sound. Easy to listen to. Comfortable. Packaging is well thought of.
Cons: Hardware can be improved. A little bulky for being a portable. Still needs an amp to get the best out of the cans.
Never owned a Planar Magnetic headphones and have been wondering what the fuss is all about. Only impression I had on them were "expensive". But yet, over the period of time that I have read all the reviews here, it seems that everyone who owns a pair have nothing but good things to say. So when OPPO released the PM-3, it fulfilled two things that compelled me to get one. Price and Closed Ear Design. 

At US$399, this is a mid priced and reasonable asking price for something that is the "entry level for the high end". And since I only use headphones when I am traveling, closed design is very important for me. 

SOUND

The PM-3 is considered "neutral" for me, since I listen to music primarily on studio monitors when I am at work or at home. Easy to listen to at low levels, and no fatiguing. Bottom end is not boomy and the mids are smooth. The highs are pretty controlled, and overall detailed. I am sure using better quality amps will coax an even better sound from these cans. 

COMFORT

The clamp is comfortable for me, and the longest that I have worn these cans so far has been about 3 hours and they are very comfortable. 

BUILD

The build is good, something that is expected for the price one has to pay for these headphones. The only thing that I think could be improved is the connector on the headphones. For some reasons, I think adding a nice screw thread is not too much to ask for, and it will prevent one from pushing the plug into the jack too hard, and give a sense of "secured connection". Something I hope OPPO and other headphone designers will take into consideration in the future. Otherwise, it is well built, the ear pads are comfortable for long hours of wearing, and the headband is nice. 

I have only spent about a week on these cans and they are growing on me. I really like them. Hope that after running them in, the sound will get better. It should. In a few months' time, I should be investing into a higher end Planar Magnetic headphones, just because with these entry level ones, the sound is already so amazing. I cannot imagine how the mid-high end ones will sound. Time to find out. 
  • Like
Reactions: all999
kleefurd
kleefurd
Thanks for the "note" on how well the PM-3 performs without the need for an amp. I thought the PM-3 did gain some nicer bottom end with the TEAC HA-P50, but I do like how it sounds just with the iPod Nano. Looks like you are enjoying the PM-3 with your Note and iPod Touch 5g. Nice!
Mark Up
Mark Up
Nice review. I record, mix, master music also. I'll still prefer my custom mastering towers, or mixing setup (Dynaudio BM6A Mk1 Black with a -3 db treble cut the new grey series lack and a custom sub in a good space that gets down to 20 hz). Headphones for occasional alternative views. 

That said, I've auditioned probably a hundred pairs to settle on the Senn HD650, for a mid focused sound, easy on the ears, I wish they had 1 db more "air" (above 10 khz) and a low shelf boost  that peaks 2 - 4 db 20 hz (with a curve starting at 40-50 hz, since there is plenty at and above 50 hz), and the Shure SRH1540 when I want a more subs and clarity) but still better than average mids also.

Unlike the ATH-M50 they don't have the resonant build up, or their big treble spike, near 10 khz that makes them hard to listen to. I just wished the Shures had 1-2 db more at 20 hz, and maybe 1 db less in the higher bass area. They're not perfect, but a perfect closed alternative to the Senn. HD650 cans. So the PM3 have intrigued me. Have you heard the phones above? How do they compare?

I think many judge the bass quality on mid bass, and may not know what sub bass is (I don't mean you). I've heard some rave about some having great bass that did nothing under 30 hz. I work with every genre, but a lot of it is Hip Hop so I need to hear an 808 boom that is mostly at 20 - 30 hz, as they'll happen from time to time. It's not so much about boosted bass, but fully extended response. 
kleefurd
kleefurd
HI Mark, looks like you have a nice set up and studio going there. I think we have very different "ears" though. I started out as a blessed engineer, working from Quested, Genelac, NS10M (mono bloc driven) to large 3-way Quested, recently adding Adam S2A and Eve Audio 205s to my home studio. I never got used to working with Dynaudio or Genelac, though I love listening to music from them. 

In the studio, it has always been the AKG K240 Studio, nothing else, until recently when I ventured out and used HD25, Beyerdynamic DT1350 and recently the OPPO PM-3. They are "neutral" to my ears, as with Westone in-ears (although I think Westone is already very mid-heavy to my ears). So we pretty much reference things a little different. Probably also due to the fact that I am in Asia and sounds are a lot different from where you are. 

That said, I have heard the Sennehisers, Shure and AT headphones you mentioned, and I think they are all too mid-heavy to my liking. "Honky" is the word I used to describe them, probably because of the monitors that I have always been using, which is a little more flat. 

As for the OPPO PM-3, the 808s can be picked up, but they do not go crazy in your ears. To a fellow engineer, I would say the PM-3 is very "sweet" sounding, and quite "forgiving" even though at the same time it is revealing. It is a very strange sound, and I believe it is the technology behind these Planar Magnetics. As if there is a really Oxford-type transparent multi band compressors working in the background taming everything, until one really badly recorded track come on... When it sounds bad in the PM-3, it is "to the thrash", really really really bad. 

It is hard to describe the sound, you have to go listen to them. They are very fun, and I have been reaching for it these few days while tracking some demos. They are fun to work with, and I am able to get a cleaner rough mix with them (referencing to Eve Audio Monitors) then the DT1350. The bottom end of the PM-3 is quite clean and clear, so any over compression and enhancement will bite you and you know you have to ease off the fader/knob. 

I recommend that you go try them, they make a very interesting reference headphones. Not grossly expensive, and offer an insight as an engineer making music for the masses out there who are ever adopting the new technology and sound. I think this is the next step in headphones voicing, as more and more new headphones get tuned in a very interesting way. In a good way. They are very musical to me. 

Stillhart

CanJam@RMAF 2015 Karting Champion
Pros: Pleasing sound, easy to listen to, planar speed and control, inexpensive, high quality materials, easy to drive
Cons: Small soundstage, cables aren't up to par with the rest of the unit, the fit can be picky
Oppo PM-3 – Entry Level Luxury
 
View attachment
 
 
Intro and Background
 
Entry-level luxury -- this term may seem like an oxymoron, but many people realize that even entry-level luxury can be a significant improvement over the best of the rest.  As it is with the BMW 320i or the Nikon D3300, so it is with the Oppo PM-3: top-tier quality and performance at a manageable price for mere mortals.
 
Oppo made a big splash last year with its PM-1 and PM-2 headphones.  They had the full package:  great sound quality, great build quality and great looks.  The PM-2 even had all this at a great price.  They showed that you can have your cake (great sound) and eat it too (great looks and quality).  They raised the bar and already we’ve seen Audez’e responding with the EL-8, a new design that’s better looking, sturdier, and priced to compete with the PM-2.
 
Oppo has now released the PM-3 and is looking to take another big step away from its competition, who is only just starting to respond to the last Oppo.
 
The Basics
 
The PM-3 is a closed-back, portable, planar-magnetic headphone priced at $399 USD.  There are few choices of planar headphones in this price bracket, none of which are both closed-back and portable.  Its main competition at this price point comes from portable, closed dynamic headphones like the Sennheiser Momentum, Focal Spirit Pro, etc.  But of course, comparing a dynamic to a planar is not usually an apples-to-apples comparison.
 
I won’t bore you with technical specs on this headphone.  Just know that, being portable, it’s fantastically easy to drive.  I have no problem driving it off my phone, from my DAP, from my PlayStation controller, etc.  Driving it off my big amp is trivial…I have the volume at 4 out of 80 during quiet evening listening.
 
When you buy these headphones, you also get a really nice carrying case.  The ear cups on the headphone pivot 180 degrees so you can lay them flat (on the front or back side).  This makes them really “neck-able”.  It also allows Oppo to make the case nice and slim, which is great for a portable.  It’s very easy to slide into a computer bag or backpack without creating any uncomfortable bulges.
 
View attachment
 
Also included is a 3m cable (with a fun little baggy to hold it) and a 1.2m cable.  There are options for the 1.2m cable without a remote, with an Android remote, or with an Apple remote.  I believe you choose which you want when you order.  As I have a loaner unit, it came with all three.
 
The PM-3 has a removable cable, which attaches via a 3.5mm TRS connection.  I’ve found that the V-moda cables (including the Boom-pro) work well, as does a cheap Monoprice cable that I had lying around.  This is great news, since the cables that come with it are nothing to write home about.  They get the job done, but they’re somewhat thin and the rubber on the wire has enough friction to make it a pain to try and detangle.
 
The ear pads are not user-replaceable.  However, they are replaceable by Oppo.  This was done in order to give a better seal for bass response.  I think it’s a fair compromise, though some may not.
 
Don’t let those last two nitpicks get you down though.  Overall, this thing just exudes quality.  It’s got a fair amount of metal, and the plastic parts are very high quality.  It’s stylish and understated with just a hint of bling -- in a word:  classy.  In order to get that kind of quality at a low price point, something’s got to give.  If the included cable isn’t to your liking, it’s easily replaceable and there are plenty of high end cable companies making alternatives.  You’ll certainly be able to afford it with how cheap the PM-3 is.
 
Comfort
 
I find myself somewhat torn on the comfort part of this review.  You see, sometimes I find them uncomfortable but most times I completely forget they’re there.  I’ve worn them for hours on end at work or in the evening gaming and really felt no fatigue.  Yet, sometimes if they’re not sitting just right, they can be annoying.
 
I attribute this to the smallish earpads.  The circumference is on the small side, so my ears are always touching the inner wall of the pads.  They’re also deep, but very soft and marshmallowy.  This means they have a tendency to touch your ear to the foam protecting the driver.  Neither of these are necessarily bad, but if it’s not sitting just so, it can be bothersome.  Once you find a comfortable spot, though, it’s easy to forget they’re on.
 
View attachment
 
 
I find the weight to be heavy enough to be “not light” but light enough to be “not heavy”, so right in the middle, I guess.  The headband is well-padded and comfortable, so the weight isn’t burdensome.
 
The clamp can be a little tight.  I’ve found that if you extend the ear cups a bit lower than your first instinct, it makes the clamp less forceful.  I have also read that you can stretch them to relieve the clamp, but as this is a loaner unit, I chose to avoid that.
 
Sound
 
“Yeah, yeah, great, but how does it SOUND?”  Well, dear reader, it sounds good!
 
Overall, it sounds like a slightly brighter version of the PM-2.  It has the Oppo house sound, which is a mid-forward sound, slightly on the warm side of balanced, with a laid back treble. In this case, the bass and mids are very neutral and the treble is slightly laid-back, which gives it that warm feeling without sounding particularly dark (i.e. bass-emphasized).  I’m a big fan of this sound as it’s just so easy to listen to for long sessions.  It’s a very smooth, musical sound that will appeal to a lot of people.
 
The treble is, as I mentioned, laid back.  Yet it doesn’t feel particularly rolled-off.  It’s not veiled like the HD650 or innocuous like the LCD-2.  It’s there, just… smooth and fast enough to give good imaging and separation.  The treble is definitely south of neutral, which give it that laid back sound, but that laid back sound also detracts from the airiness and soundstage, which I’ll get to momentarily.
 
The mids are the star of the show.  Up front, musical, and just great with anything I’ve thrown at it.  To me, they’re as good as any of the greats like the HD650 or the PM-2.  Not much else to say; they’re quite good.
 
Bass is, to me, the biggest draw of planar magnetic headphones.  What we expect to hear is bottomless bass with detail and control like you’ll never hear in a dynamic.  Impact and body are almost always there, though quantity can feel lacking to those who are used to a more boomy, pronounced bass.
 
The PM-3 has that extended, bottomless bass.  It has a fair amount of impact and body for a planar (I’m sure helped by the fact that it’s a closed-back design).  But that body also gives it a little bloom, which detracts from that super controlled and detailed bass that I’d expect.  It doesn’t bleed into the mids at all, though. 
 
View attachment
 
Interestingly, I don’t think it’s a bad thing.  It sounds closer to dynamic bass, while still being very detailed and extended.  It’s almost like a best-of-both-worlds kind of thing.  I will caution that these are in no way bass-head cans.  Those who aren’t used to planar bass might find these to be a bit bass-light until they let their brain burn in for a few days.
 
Now we get to my least favorite part of the write-up:  the soundstage.  It is the one major weakness of these headphones.  In short, it’s small, even for a closed headphone.  I have a strong preference for open headphones with a big soundstage, but we all need closed cans once in a while.  I understand that there are tradeoffs.  But even my current closed headphone, the SoundMAGIC HP100 has a notably bigger, airier sound.  It’s going to be a major turn-off to some folks, and that’s the real disappointment.
 
Despite the small soundstage, however, these headphones still manage to image and position quite well.  That planar speed lets even the small soundstage have separation between instruments.  It never feels congested.  And that’s the saving grace; if you can deal with the small soundstage, you’ll find that it’s not a bad sound like most small soundstage cans.
 
If I had to pick one headphone that these compare to the most (that’s not made by Oppo), I’d say the Sennheiser HD650.  While the smaller soundstage is obviously going to be noticeable, otherwise the sound balance is very similar.  However, the PM-3 is planar so the bass is more detailed and far more extended.  The treble is also missing that “Sennheiser veil”.
 
The Bottom Line
 
I like these headphones.  The sound is pleasing, smooth and easy to listen to.  You get a taste of planar speed and control, without having to shell out the big bucks.  It’s easy to drive, sturdy and looks fantastic. 
 
The catch?  Somewhat lower quality cables, the fit can be a little picky, and the soundstage is on the small side.
 
I think those trade-offs are very minor considering what you get for $399.  This headphone gets my enthusiastic recommendation to anyone who is considering it.  And I will put my money where my mouth is:  I’m buying a pair of these to be my “daily driver” at work.
 
View attachment
 
 
One More Thing…
 
I’d like to extend my heartfelt thanks to Oppo Digital for making the loaner program available to us.  Thanks to the hard work of @Jiffy Squid, I was able to test the Oppo PM-3 at home for a week and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time with it.  As of the posting of this review, the loaner program is still available HERE and I highly recommend you avail yourself of it if you’re on the fence at all.
kcboy
kcboy
thank you very much @Stillhart, sorry for asking, will the vocal standout like lifelike and will the bass sounds like as you are in the cinema? There are so many portable amps out there and im having hard time choosing one. Im very new in this field. Thank you once again.
mikemercer
mikemercer
Jazz1
Jazz1
I like these but returned them. The Pleather bothered my ears with heat. I also got little squeaky noises as I moved my head and the Pleather ear pads shifted ever so slightly on my ears. No one else has mentioned this, so maybe this is just about me, and no one else with have this kind of issue.
 
I also thought sound isolation could have been a little bit better from outside noises. I did like the sound and it was very comfortable to wear. I decided my B&W P7 would meet my mobile use needs for now, and my Hifiman 400i's was just as satisfying (though not isolating as it is an open headphone). The materials and construction of the PM-3 seemed very good! I'm going to look at the Audeze EL-8 Titanium's next.

hans030390

1000+ Head-Fier
Pros: Looks, Build Quality, Overall Presentation, Portability, Sound Quality, Easy to Drive
Cons: Might be too Small or Tight Fitting for Some, Perhaps a Touch Bright Sounding at Times, Wish Pads Were Easier to Remove
OPPO has taken an interesting approach to their product lineup and launch timeline compared to what I feel like I’m seeing from most other manufacturers. OPPO started with the pricey PM-1, which I thought sounded pretty good, if not overpriced and a bit sleepy sounding. They then moved to the PM-2, which was essentially just a PM-1 with cheaper build materials and without the pretty wooden box. It was an interesting choice to start from the top and work their way down, not to mention how infrequently you see this copy-but-made-cheaper sort of product launch. But, anyway, the PM-2’s new pads and slightly refined internal damping, which Tyll at Innerfidelity brought to light, helped bring out a more neutral sound at the expense of some smoothness and refinement that I really enjoyed from the PM-1. I thought both models, while handsome and pleasing in many ways, just weren’t quite where they needed to be for the price.
 
OPPO continued their downward pricing trend with the launch of the PM-3. The PM-3 is meant to occupy a different headphone category than its older siblings. It’s still a planar-magnetic headphone, but smaller and more portable, easier to drive, and, oh, it’s closed instead of open. At $400, it gets close to being half the price of the PM-2. With the closed isolation and frequency tuning, it’s meant for a more on-the-go sort of situation, like in an urban or otherwise noisy environment, while still retaining some level of general balance. When you consider what OPPO was aiming for, I think they did a great job meeting their goals and then some. Sure, I have a few minor quibbles, but for all you get at the price point, there’s not a whole lot to complain about.
 
Comfort, Looks, Build Quality, and General Presentation
 
It’s no surprise that the PM-3 is a nice looking headphone with good build quality. Like the PM-1 and 2, it has a sleek, simple, and modern look. It shares a lot of their physical traits and design elements, actually. Lots of black and grey with a healthy mix of plastic and metal, though now you have the option of a white PM-3. Both color options look great in person. The brushed metal back is a nice touch. The PM-3’s edges aren’t quite as rounded as you get on the PM-1 or 2, but it’s almost not worth mentioning.
 
I do not like that the pads are not removable on the PM-3. I have to imagine there are ways to keep the same level of pad seal while allowing easily removable pads, but, hey, I didn’t engineer these. I just hate pads I can’t remove myself and always will.
 
UPDATE: See comments below. Looks like the pads are removable, but it's not the easiest method around.
 
Comfort is not bad on the PM-3. The PM-1 and 2 are more comfortable due to larger and deeper ear pads. If your ears are on the larger side of things or stick out, you may have difficulties getting the PM-3 to fit around your ears perfectly or have issues with your ears touching the inner lining of the pads. I think most will be fine here, but it’s something to keep in mind. Personally, it’s the clamping force that gets me. It’s a bit strong out of the box on the PM-3. You can bend the headband to adjust for this, but do make note that this may impede the PM-3’s ability to get a good seal and produce the strongest bass it can. If you have issues with its clamp, play around with bending the headband until you get it right. It’s a sturdy headphone, though do treat it with care nonetheless.
 
Like the PM-2, the PM-3 comes in a classy looking box, but not a wooden one, and includes a nice denim case. Coupled with its sleek looks and strong build quality, the PM-3 fits right in with the rest of the OPPO lineup. It feels like a premium product. When you consider the price, I think you get more than what you’d normally expect in these areas. But what about the sound?
 
Sound Quality
 
Remember that the PM-3 was designed to work well for loud environments. It has inherently decent isolation and a tuned frequency response to work best for its intended purpose. When I first put the PM-3 on, I thought it had powerful bass and was a little bit bright. It doesn’t exactly have a U-shaped sound signature, but it’s not entirely neutral either. The slight brightness is certainly outweighed by the low end response.
 
The PM-1 and 2 always had some extra warmth to their sound, but they were generally flat or slightly thick at best when it came to low bass. With their rolled-off top end, both sounded a bit mid-centric and, at times, a bit sleepy. The PM-3 is not that. Compared to the PM-1 or 2, it kicks the bass up a couple notches and has a less warm tonality. Once you get into the low-mids and upper-bass of the PM-3, the response just gets stronger and stronger the lower you go. It has a lot of kick and impact. Generally, the bass on the PM-3 sounds strong and powerful, though at times it can get a little thick sounding. Think perhaps a bit too full-bodied rather than too muddy. But for a headphone being so bass-heavy, I actually think it’s more clean than not. It trends a fine line, really.
 
However, I have heard some say they do not hear the PM-3 as particularly bass heavy. I think there are a few possibilities that can explain this. First and foremost, the PM-3 is very sensitive to getting a proper seal if you want the full bass output. Even thin glasses have a measurable effect on the bass output. I don’t think it’s too difficult to assume, then, that even certain styles and lengths of hair or particular face shapes and features might prevent one from getting a perfect seal on the PM-3. Or it could even be different ear shapes and sizes affecting perceived response. Then you must consider how some judge bass differently. Some focus more on the upper-bass than the low-bass when quantifying it. Some also come from backgrounds with headphones with even more bass or, perhaps more commonly, headphones with higher distortion in the bass (which will often give the perception of more or stronger bass). Let’s also not forget the possibility of product variation, though I get the feeling OPPO is pretty consistent. You can see that trying to understand varying opinions can get tricky quickly.
 
The midrange as a whole on the PM-3 is relatively clean, clear, and neutral. With the strong bass and slightly emphasized treble, it might sound a little recessed to some. I don’t necessarily hear it that way, but there are a couple different ways you could look at the PM-3. I think it could be slightly better integrated with the bass and treble, to a lesser extent, but that’s just me nitpicking.
 
Treble on the PM-3 is interesting. Throughout the entire range, it never quite reaches the strength of the bass output, so any extra emphasis still doesn’t stick out too much. And emphasis or not, the treble is smooth and clean sounding. So, sure, it can be a touch brighter in spots than normal, but it rarely sounded harsh or too fatiguing even for someone with laid-back tastes like myself. The general treble emphasis on the PM-3 lies in that upper-mid to lower-treble transition area, not too unlike what I heard on the HD600. It’s not lit up quite like the K7XX, for those familiar with that headphone. If anything, the upper-treble on the PM-3 is a tiny bit rolled-off. I don’t hear anything as missing on the PM-3, but relative to some other headphones, it might lack that tiny last bit of sharpness, sparkle, and clarity you get from the upper-treble.
 
The PM-3 will never be the airiest or most expansive sounding headphone. It’s closed and on the intimate side of things. The soundstage is well integrated but a bit small. There’s not a ton of depth to the sound, but layering is thankfully not particularly blurred.
 
Sure, the PM-3 might not be quite as balanced tonally as the PM-1 or 2. It’s a bit cooler sounding and has a more “fun” sound signature. But, damn, it’s fun, engaging, and addicting to listen to! I can see this working really well in a louder environment, which I have not yet had an opportunity to really test it in yet.
 
In fact, the PM-3 actually has some improvements over the PM-1 and 2 to my ears regardless of having a more “fun” sound or not. For one, it seems to have more clarity across the frequency spectrum than its predecessors do. Transients seem faster and cleaner. Low-level details aren’t quite as masked. The PM-1 and 2 just have an inherently slower sound in comparison. No doubt, the PM-3’s frequency response plays into this perception, but I think it has some genuine improvements outside of that. For one, distortion seems better on the PM-3, but I’ll get into this in a bit. The PM-3 just seems to sound a bit cleaner and clearer in most ways than the PM-1 or 2. Snappier, if you will. Simple as that.
 
All in all, I think OPPO came close to nailing what they were aiming for. The PM-3 is not inherently meant to be the most neutral headphone ever, and that’s fine. It has a really engaging sound and seems to make some technical strides over the PM-1 and 2. Ideally, I think the treble response could be evened out a bit more so it’s not quite as bright sounding, and the mids could sound a bit thicker and better integrated, but I’m really nitpicking and don’t have much room to complain when you’re already getting so much at $400.
 
Let’s take a look at how they measure for me.
 
Measurements
 
First, I would like to mention a couple things about my measurement setup and methods:
 
- I use an in-ear mic for measurements, and my results only compensate for an inherent bass roll-off from my mic’s PSU. As such, these results are meant to at least somewhat match what I hear, given the coupler is my own head and ears. Since your ears and head likely aren’t physically identical to mine, you may hear things differently. My results are more meant to emphasize my point of view, not be some sort of averaged or absolute truth for all. Also note that flat on my setup generally means flat. No need to over complicate reading these.
 
- If possible, I take measurements of each channel from both ears. Given the PM-3 has a flat style ear pad, this is possible. I take four measurements of each channel from each ear, totaling to eight measurements per channel. These are then averaged.
 
- Harmonic distortion results are inherently limited in my setup and really only good for showing major problems. Results below 100Hz can be hit and miss as well and are the most limited or bottlenecked portion of my measurements.
 
- If you’ve seen any of my other measurements floating around on the internet, the PM-3 measurements are only comparable with other results from this year. Why? Because I got a new in-ear mic that I can fit deeper into my ear canal. This generally means I get more treble in measurements with my new mic. So, if you see anything from me that I measured last year, just make note that it’s not entirely comparable to results of anything I’ve measured from this year. There are more similarities than not, but for the sake of keeping things simple, try not to worry about comparing ’14 and ’15 measurements.
 
Now, with that said…
 
Frequency response results show a strong bass emphasis that is about 8 or 9dB up from the 1KHz point at 20Hz. It has a fairly linear decrease to the 300Hz point. I think the PM-3 could use a bit smoother transition from bass to mids, even if it meant you get more warmth in the midrange. It’s not that the bass sound disconnected, because it doesn’t, but the tuning does make the midrange sound a bit thinner than it could otherwise. The midrange is largely pretty good, though you can see that upper-mid through lower-treble emphasis I heard during listening tests. Personally, measurements are what they are, but I didn’t hear the PM-3 as rolled sounding at the top end as the graph makes it look like. Lacking air, yes, but not particularly rolled.
 
View attachment
 
If you look at Tyll’s measurements for the PM-3, you can see how one might hear parts of the midrange as a bit depressed and disconnected relative to everything else. And depending on how you look at his results, especially the raw results, you might be able to see a bit of that upper-mid through lower-treble emphasis relative to some other headphones.
 
Here’s a quick look at how the response changes when I wear thin glasses. As you can see, even a small leak in the pads, and I do mean small, causes a noticeable drop in bass. Ignore that the response doesn’t look exactly like the graph above. This was just one quick measurement take for easy comparison’s sake, not a full set of averaged measurement takes. This was also just from one channel (left, I think).
 
View attachment
 
Harmonic distortion results are pretty good as a whole. Keep in mind that the bass distortion creeps up because the response as a whole becomes more and more elevated as you go down the spectrum. It’s all relative. But, still, my setup is limited here and generally is the bottleneck for bass distortion results in low-distortion headphones. Tyll’s harmonic distortion results look pretty good and, interestingly enough, get very low at 100dB! Oh, and what’s this? No 300-500Hz distortion spike like the PM-1 and 2! Might play into the PM-3’s clean sound.
 
View attachment
 
View attachment
 
CSD results for the PM-3 are pretty good. Not the absolute best I’ve seen, but nothing to complain about. Naturally, the treble spots that are a bit emphasized aren’t going to decay as quickly as other spots. Left and Right, in that order.
 
View attachment
 
View attachment
 
Next up is the eight measurement takes that I averaged together to get the full frequency response measurement. Differences in various takes are largely due to in-ear mic insertion depth, though the headphones placement and fit does play a bit of a role too. Whereas Tyll moves the headphone to account for different placements, I have tactile feedback to let me know if a headphone is fitting right and like I’d normally wear it. Maybe you’ll find these raw results useful, and maybe not. But here they are.
 
View attachment
 
View attachment
 
Conclusion
 
I think the PM-3 does really well for its targeted, on-the-go sort of sound and price point of $400. I find them very fun and engaging to listen to, if not a touch brighter than I’d like at times. Think of them a treading that line between being somewhat neutral and natural sounding and the typical U-shaped, fun sound signature. It’s more the bass emphasis that makes them less than neutral than the slight treble emphasis, but, hey, the bass can actually be pretty fun. Measured results look pretty good for my setup. No terrible surprises or anything of the sort.
 
With the generally good sound quality, sleek looks, strong build quality, and overall premium presentation, I think the OPPO PM-3 is a great headphone and worth your consideration if you’re in the market for this sort of headphone. Sure, I’d like to tweak a few things before calling them perfect, but I highly recommend the PM-3.
hans030390
hans030390
Ah, very nice find! OPPO had told me otherwise, but this is awesome to hear. I will update the review to reflect this. Thanks!
Lorspeaker
Lorspeaker
great read ! thanks....came to check out the pm3 after listening to it for half an hour thru the slick portable HA2 amp by Oppo...
build quality is v good, great isolation, didnt hear any glaring weakness with the amp on HIGH gain..nothing recessed nor rolled off...v punchy..separation is good enuf for classical music.
Great pair to snag if u are out looking for a smart looking setup imho.
gelocks
gelocks
Daaaammmnn Hans, hadn't looked at this. Excellent review. :)

Mikualotic

New Head-Fier
Pros: Planar closed back. Great sound signature.
Cons: Small sound stage.
First planar headphone. I heard new sounds. Great sound isolation. They look fantastic and sound amazing. I would consider it the answer to the stylist audiophile headphone.  

jinxy245

1000+ Head-Fier
Pros: Build quality, realtively easy to drive, addictive sound signature
Cons: non-replacable earpads
       Having participated in the Oppo PM3 lending program, I was afforded a good amount of time to demo this headphone more extensively and under better conditions than in a store or headphone meet. I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect. All the usual suspects in reviewing were chiming in with positive reviews, yet here on Head-Fi, I noticed a number of opinions counter to these. The most common observation I read was that of the headphone being boring, or lifeless. Once I spent some time with these ‘phones in hand (and on my ears) I decided I’d give my 2 cents as well, since I found them to be very capable headphones.
 
       The accessories included are a semi-rigid denim carrying case, a screw-on 6.35mm adapter and 2 cables (if you order through Oppo). One is 3 Meters long and there’s a shorter Android or IOS compatible cable with an integrated remote and microphone both of which are terminated with a 3.5mm jack. This seems an adequate, if not a particularly plentiful lot of accessories for this price point ($399 MSRP), but considering this is the bottom rung of the Oppo headphone ladder, one can argue that adequate is…well, adequate. My one small grip would be that it’s necessary to unplug the cable for storage in its case. The case itself appears to be sturdy and is thin enough to toss into a backpack or potentially even a briefcase.
 
       One of the benefits of participating in a lending program or “headphone tour” is that if you’re not one of the first to get the headphone, you get an idea of how durable it will be, and burn in is not an issue. I found the build quality to be excellent, with not much plastic, actual aluminum, and high quality pleather that I wouldn’t guess to be synthetic by look or feel (you can smell the difference). Some would expect genuine leather, however I find the better quality synthetics to be just as durable & comfortable. There were some small smudges on the ear cups, but they wiped away easily with a moist cloth. The biggest nit I have to pick, and this may be a deal breaker for some, is the omission of user replaceable ear pads. This is something I expect from any headphone priced north of $100, and so seems particularly hard to swallow here.
 
       The use of metal does add some weight, as these are 320 g., or just over 11 oz., but I never found them to be too heavy for long listening sessions. Clamping force was damn near perfect for me, (ymmv) and the adjustments were easy and familiar. The sliders adjusted with a solid click and held the position well. The ear cups are on the small size, so there is contact between your ear & the pads, but this was never uncomfortable for me, and likely created a better seal for noise isolation, although I could see a problem for those with larger ears. I found the isolation to be just about the best of any closed back that I’ve had experience with, and with music playing, the world just slips away. (I’ve owned the Sony ZX-700, Shure 840, Beyer COP [possibly a tie], and I still have the 1st gen. Momentum and Torque t402v).
 
       Before I offer my listening impressions, I’ll start with a little about myself. I’m pushing 50 and have less than perfect hearing (50 is pushing back). I’ve been a music lover for as long as I can remember, and I learned to listen a little more critically during the few years I sold audio equipment. My fascination/infatuation with headphones began about 3 years ago, and has only gotten stronger. The majority of my listening was done listening to FLAC, WAV & various MP3s with my Fiio X3 (1st gen.) or through my HP all in one PC and Audioquest Dragonfly, occasionally assisted by a 2nd hand ALO National (which proved to be unnecessary). My musical taste is fairly eclectic (rock, punk, metal, jazz, folk, blues, world, dubstep, classical etc.) but the majority of my listening was with classic rock, jazz and instrumental (rock/fusion).
 
       I’ll begin with the bass, which I found to be the most addictive quality of this headphone’s sound signature. The bass was on the neutral side, with a boost in the sub bass region, adding just the right amount of rumble for my taste. Although I would caution that Bassheads need not apply, I personally never found the bass lacking. There wasn’t as much mid bass “wow factor” as the Sennheiser Momentum, but I found the bass tighter and no less pleasing. There were occasions I thought the bass to be a tad loose, but I soon discovered that only occurred with lower bit-rate recordings, and even then I didn’t find it to be bothersome.
 
       The midrange is very well done (IMO) dancing elegantly between very articulate/detailed, and smooth/mellow. This was particularly engaging with acoustic music, accenting finger scrapes and bow plucks without any unnatural punctuation. Vocals, both male and female sounded natural and had plenty of detail. Many have said that music lives in the midrange, and the Oppo delivers admirably in that department.
 
       The treble I found to be subdued for my tastes, but articulate none the less. I usually enjoy a little more zip in the treble, but I still found plenty to enjoy. There was no veil to speak of, and I never felt detail was lacking. I sometimes had to listen a bit harder for some of the cues I can hear more readily with brighter headphones, but it was all there.
 
       Soundstage was wider than deep or high, but also immensely enjoyably. I didn’t experience the confined feeling I usually get with closed back headphones, which is something I usually find bothersome with the Momentum. Listening to a Binaural recording of C.C. Coletti reimagining Led Zeppelin songs was particularly revealing. Like all binaural recordings I’ve experienced, a wide stage is cast in this recording, and the PM3 conveyed that beautifully.
 
       I found myself enjoying my time with the PM3 and I wanted to reconcile the “boring” comments I’ve read with my experience listening to the Oppo. As I reflected on the disparity, the word cohesion kept coming to mind, and so I looked it up (thank you Dictionary.com). “Cohesion: cohering or tending to cohere; well-integrated; unified.” That hit the nail on the head for me. I’m not sure there is one thing about the sound of the PM3 that is particularly stellar. Sure, I loved the bass, but I’ve heard deeper (Ultrasone comes to mind) as well as tighter/ better defined (some offerings from AKG, Sennheiser etc.). I can make similar observations about the mids, treble & soundstage. They’re all good (very good IMHO) but I think it’s how it all works together that really draws me into the music.
 
       The more I used them, the more I just simply listened. I wasn’t amazed by details, or wowed by thunderous bass; I simply enjoyed whatever was playing. Getting “lost in the music” is a cliché often bandied about in reviews, but I find that phrase particularly appropriate here. I’d sit down, start the music, and the next thing I know an hour (or two…or three) has past & my wife is wondering What am I doing for so long? That is one very important thing I look for in this hobby. A way to escape, or rather engage in the music. There is no higher praise I can give than to say that a pair of headphones is able to achieve that…and the Oppo PM3 deserves it.
jinxy245
jinxy245
No doubt the M50xs are a great headphone...everyone's ears are different though. 
jinxy245
jinxy245
@Amplicific BTW, IDK why I didn't mention it before, but Why don't you sign up for the listening tour? Unless your location isn't supported by Oppo, it's a great way to get a 1 week audition.
beyerdude
beyerdude
I initially paired the PM3 with a Fiio X5 2nd Gen and found them to be a little boring/flat - still great, but the pairing with the HA2 which I now use is definitely not boring - there is an initial feeling that there could be a little wider soundstage, a bit more sparkle in the treble but then .....whoa.......suddenly you are engrossed in the music and it's several hours later in the day - to me this is preferable than being initially wowed by the wideness of the soundstage and the sheer clarity but having to remove the headphone 1/2 hour later because it's too damn fatiguing. My other impression is that despite being billed as a portable headphone and usable with iPhones etc any experience I have had based on this would have had me sending them back/selling them in an instant - it's just not possible to experience these headphones at even a fraction of their potential unless you have a very capable source/amp (whether portable or home based)

Soundsgoodtome

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Easily driven from mobile devices, detail retrieval, listenable for hours, aesthetics, price
Cons: Rolled treble takes away upper register clarity, on the heavy side, doesn't stay on if your head with certain movements, soundstage only ok
The PM3 is Oppo's 3rd headphone offering, a closed back planar magnetic. Thank you to @Jiffy Squid and Oppo for allowing us Head-fiers to audition these at the comfort of our own home and time, tour units are always well appreciated!! I don't own these headphones but I am now considering one in my shortlist of possibly future phones!

Before the announcement of the PM1 and HA1, Oppo was an unknown brand to me. I've not even heard of their fantastically priced Blu-Ray players that cater to the videophiles as well as their cell phones that they've released for the Asian markets.  When Oppo first announced their intentions, it was bold. Above $1k headphone along with a DAC/AMP in the same region, I was skeptical as how a company can just come out and command prices out of the blue but it would seem that their following PM2 proved that they can create such headphone and sonic qualities at a more affordable price, the thing that made Oppo a well regarded company. Then comes the PM3, closed back taking on its sibling counterparts in a portable setup that's not one bit picky on source. It's really something of a wonder how Oppo was able to make the PM3 sound so good out of lesser sources.

EDIT: The detail graph with the green bars seem inaccurate on how I rated the headphone so to put a number on the qualities; audio quality is 9/10, comfort 8.5/10, design 8.5/10, and value is 10/10. Overall a 36/40

The build quality jumps out upon opening the box, everything is built with great attention to detail and the metal used to construct the headband, gimbles, and cups are very well crafted. It screams of class being held and being worn. The headband clickers have a fantastic feel to how they adjust, adjustments feel and sounds solid unlike some headphones where it feels/sounds like cheap materials are inside that's getting ready to go after years of use. This thing feels like it'll last generations from father to son type thing. The metals they used on the build is very nice, solid feel and the machining is PRECISE. It's got some bulk to the metal but nothing ridiculous. I don't know how I feel about the black brushed backing and the midnight blue cups but it does look nice and the difference in color is really subtle, the polish corners creates great lines that's very pleasing to the eye. The downside to a luxurious build like this would be the weight, it seems to be around 475G which is on the hefty side of portables. With the weight a sudden down tilt of the head forward or backwards (like sitting down on the sofa really fast) would cause the headband to slide off the direction of your movement. So headbanging is out.

*Edit: Correction on weight, it is in fact lighter than the HE560 and Oppo claims 325G, however it does feel heavy as I believe most weight is on the headband itself or the way the pressure is distributed.

Pads are very soft and very comfy, no problem wearing this headphone for hours out. Some people might have issues with fit of ears and the earpads but I've never been one of those, Your Mileage May Very. The cable is nice and doesn't yell obscene audiophile, which is great because when you wear this out and about it doesn't look like you have braided twine running to your headphones. They've also included a nice denim covered hard case to keep your headphones safe during travel in luggage. The box presentation is simple but elegant, something that comes off a shelf or behind a glass counter and not hanging at your electronics aisle.

My listening rig consists of a Dell Laptop > Audio-GD NFB 11 > Audio-GD C2 Class A > Oppo PM3.

THE SOUND. Let's start with it's most prominent range and that is the mids. The mids has a nice balance of a dry and wet sound, a lean towards dry but this helps in clarity. The mids are slightly forward but not enough to make them stand out and over run the bass and treble, more-so the bass as the highs are rolled off for your hearing pleasure*. The lower mids are clear and are not encroached by the bass. The upper mids/lower treble starts to have a bit of roll-off which in some instruments can make the sound slightly veiled, as if a layer can be removed here for that uber clarity. This is most obvious in violins, guitars, etc. It's not enough to take away from being able to hear the particular instrument  but it is enough to make it sound either distant or somewhat turned down.


The bass does extend well to the sub-bass region when pushed to extremes by the music; listening to The Rite Of Spring on Gustavo Dudamel's Discoveries CD (newer release) shows how well the bass reaches down into the nitty-gritty sub-bass goodness region. However for the majority of listening the sub-bass does seem very subdued, it takes a certain db level in the 50hz region to get them to really shake. The 75-100hz bass region is very well presented however, more so when amped out of a beefy amp (like the Audio-GD C2 Class A in my home rig). It's not basshead nor overpowering but those that like to get the emotion from this frequency range will be nicely awarded. Speed is somewhat on the loose side of what I'm used to out of a planar magnetic but nothing like the bloat a dynamic driver is capable of. 

*The highs and upper regions of the mids does have a roll-off. Depending on how you like your sound, this could be a positive or a negative. A positive in a sense that this is a headphone you can listen to hours on out without fatigue (for those of you that are treble sensitive) and that it has enough forgiveness to be a good all-arounder even with your loudness wars tracks or those that are not mastered masterfully. I wouldn't call it a dark headphone as the highs are present but it does not have that sparkle/sheen that most extending headphones are able to produce. I believe this is a nice compromise between having treble and having treble that may cause headaches due to the music or for those that are sensitive. The only negative I see in this presentation however is the is a lack of clarity in the upper regions where you will find violin and guitar work. Along with the headphone's relatively closed in soundstage this can be problematic in big bands/symphonies and the sound is swelling around a lead instrument. With all that said, I believe this to be a small glitch/compensation in an overall good presentation of sound from a closed back offering. 

Soundstage/Imaging is typical with most headphones, more so on the soundstage than imaging. The soundstage of the headphones can put the sound just outside of your ear. It does go slightly deeper towards the front and separation is great which creates a small stage effect. A front row listener but great instrument separation to not sound crammed in. Keep in mind that this is a closed-back planar magnetic, with that in mind I think it's a fantastic soundstage for what it is. This won't be good for gaming and it won't put instruments around you in the space of the room but it can make things feel like you can look to your left to follow a bass line or look to your right and watch a solo riff or further back in the stage and watch a drummer go ape.
 

Notable mentions!
-
The one thing that jumped out at me for this headphone is how good it sounds out of a portable source! As of now I'm DAP-less but I did do extensive listening on my Samsung Galaxy S3 (Wolfson DAC). Running 500kbps OGG Vorbis CD rips through Neutron, as well as Spotify Premium 320kbps vorbis, this thing sounded amazing. I don't think I've ever heard my cell phone sound this good, seeming like there's a DAC and AMP externally to the PM3! It's that good! I can only imagine what it's like out of a proper DAP. With a nice DAP or portable DAC/AMP this could very well be end game headphones for someone comfortable in the mid-fi region of sound and price.

However if you're asking scalability, the PM3 really doesn't scale all that much. A noticeable touch of clarity, separation, and bass presence with my home rig but out and about this thing was like carrying a backpack of mid-fi DAC/AMPs in my pocket which was just my G-S3. Volume can get up to 100% with sound levels getting around hearing damaging levels, I find myself mostly listening in the 70-90 volume depending on the album's output.

- The price. For $399 MSRP this is a great deal of a headphone in this spendy hobby. Oppo is known for value on their products and I think this qualifies as one of said quality products with affordability. The PM3's commanding price is well worth in terms of build and sound quality.

- It look's classy as all hell. Sharp as a tack, these don't yell LOOK AT MY HEADPHONES but with close attention you can adore many of it's aesthetics.

In Conclusion, Oppo has created what I would like to call a well crafted do-it-all headphone at an easy to swallow price. There are just too many positives to take away from how I feel about the PM3s even with its minor shortcomings and that is that they're worth every 399 dollars. If you're looking for something that can be an end game can without diving deep into the headphone world, this is it. If you don't have a great source or amp but want something that will compete with higher end cans out of a cell phone or until you're able to get better gear, this is it. If you're looking for on-the-go sound without lugging along a giant brick of a stack and still have that home-system sound, this is it. A fantastic offering by Oppo and the PM3 really deserves the recognition.

 
Soundsgoodtome
Soundsgoodtome
From my understanding the PM-1 and PM-2 have less treble energy than the PM3. I've heard a pushed backed treble that extends well while still able to show detail; but the PM3s to me are not that. They lack the upper-most shine and detail apparent in say the HE560. I mainly use violins as a way  to listen to these frequencies (having grown up playing one) and the sound is not complete. However that does not mean it's a bad phone as to many this makes them listenable for extended time, it just means it was tuned this way.
Soundsgoodtome
Soundsgoodtome
@aznever

I had the chance to listen to someone's EL-8 today at the Bottlehead Headquarters-Fi meet and I would say they are superior to the PM3. Was it double the price superior? Probably not but to many it would warrant the bump up in price. The tuning is also different on the EL8 so it's not a direct comparison of the same flavor. Apples and Pears
Imusicman
Imusicman
A great review. Thanks. I'm loving my PM-3's with upgraded Norne Silver cable straight out of the QPIR. Great pairing at home or on the move.

money4me247

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: balanced neutral sound sig, great SQ, optimized for portable use, stylish premium design, comfy, great noise isolation, included hard case & remote
Cons: price on the luxury end for closed portable mid-fi headphones, sound stage not as good as open headphones
Oppo PM-3 Review:
 
Got seriously into the headphone game a few years ago. Owned and demoed an extensive list of closed portable mid-fi headphones before jumping over to open headphones. First high-end open pair was the Hifiman HE-400 as my main with the later addition of the AKG Q701 to complement. Moved onto the HE-560 as my main for the past year. Recently owned the ATH-M50x & K545. Currently also own the K7xx & LCD-X. I have been blessed to have the opportunity to demo all the current flagships including the Oppo PM1 for two weeks during its US tour.
 
I listen to a wide variety of genres. Favorites include EDM, Electronic, Rap & Hip Hop, R&B, and good female vocals. Enjoy listening to classical, solo piano, new age, and trance while studying.
 
Wide range of music used during testing from most genres. Ran through the Billboard Top 100s, Top 100 tracks on Spotify, a variety of classical music, Piano music from Yiruma, Philip Wesley, and Tim Neumark, EDM top 100 charts, some Monstercat mixs, DJ Hercio Mixs, Red Lights by Tiesto, and a ton more EDM hits, Lindsey Stirling, female vocals (Adele/Celine Dion/Enya/Evanescence/Norah Jones), male vocals (Jason Mraz/Bruno Mars/Jack Johnson/Train/Enrique/Death Cab For Cutie), legit hip hop (Tupac/Eminim/Jay-Z/Nas/Luda/Lupe/TI), current mainstream popified hip hop (Kanye West/Kendrick Lammar/Nicki/Iggy/Wiz Khalifia), R&B (Whitney Houston/Riri/Chris Brown/Beyonce/Taio Cruz/Jason Derulo/Neyo), some random J-Pop and Asian Pop songs (Jay Chou, Wang Leehom), party mixes (DJ Earworm/Girl Talk/Super Mash Bros), some T-Swift for 'country' hahah, Hotel California by Eagles, Californication by Red Hot Chili Peppers, Forever Young, Hallelujah...
 
Source: Combination of FLAC files and Spotify Premium tracks
Amp/Dac: Schiit Lyr 2 & Bifrost Uber w/ Gen2 USB. Also own the WA7+WA7tp, but the majority of my testing for the PM-3 were done with my Schiit stack as I am more intimately familiar with it or unamped & undac-ed through my Samsung Galaxy S5 to stimulate portable listening conditions. Update 4/9/15: I recently acquired the Resonessence Herus and Oppo HA-2.
 
There is no pair of headphones that I hate, but I do have specific preferences.  I realize what matches my tastes may not match everyone's, so I always try to describe all the strengths and flaws of the gear I review. I primarily judge headphones based on their price:performance ratio and how they compare against similar offerings at, below, and above their value.
 
***Just want to add that I purchased the Oppo PM-3 at full retail price and wrote the review while within their return period. I am personally really happy with them, so a bit of bias there though I tried to be as objective as possible. :)***

Intro:
Specializing in high end blu-ray players, Oppo Digital is a relatively new player in the planar magnetic headphone niche, comprised mainly of Audeze and Hifiman (along with some Fostex T50RP modders & Fostex reexploring the tech with their new open TH500). In 2014, Oppo released the PM-1 as their flagship and the more affordable PM-2 with the same sound but less premium materials to much acclaim in this community. Their focus on a stylish design built with luxurious premium materials with an easy to enjoy, easy to drive, forgiving warm rich sound found many fans. I had the chance to demo the PM-1s which I was greatly impressed with, but ended up choosing the HE-560 for my primary pair of headphones.
 
With the recent trend to lighter orthodynamic headphones, the possibility of truly portable orthodynamic headphones seemed ever closer. Finally, amidst much excitement, Oppo has released the first pair of truly portable planar magnetic headphones in the modern era: the PM-3 at $399. I am personally a big fan of planar magnetic headphones and I am really excited about the recent advances & developments made in this field.
 
View attachment
Image of the packaging
 
Tech: The Oppo PM-3 is a closed over-ear pair of headphones with a 55mm diameter planar magnetic driver using a FEM-optimized symmetric push-pull neodymium magnet system. It has a 7-layer diaphragm with double-sided spiraling coils. The frequency response ranges from 10 Hz to 50 kHz.
 
Design: Build quality is excellent following Oppo's track record. The headphones are made up of metal, high-quality plastic, and synthetic leather. Has an extremely premium feel to it. The headphones can swivel either direction to fold flat. The swiveling action of the earcups are buttery smooth and the sliding action of the adjustable headband feels quite solid as well when you click it into place. The Left and Right channels are labeled above the swivel mechanism with a L & R. A thoughtful touch is a tactile bump under the L label, so you can tell whether you are wearing the headphones correctly without removing them. The single 3.5mm input socket located on the left earcup has a very thoughtful gasket design that gives you very solid click when you connect the cable all the way in. The connection is quite solid and the cable will not be pulled out of the headphones accidentally. Do note that the sound quality suffers if the cable is not fully properly connected. The headphones do look quite stylish in both black and white color options with the metal accents. Extremely beautiful pair of headphones. Overall, a very premium finish and gorgeous design that is typical of Oppo headphones.
 
One thing of note is that many of the other competing headphones in the $400 price range do use real leather as opposed to synthetic leather. The synthetic leather used in the PM-3 do seem a lot nicer than the pleather used in most competing headphones. If I did not read that they were synthetic leather, I honestly would not have known it wasn't real leather. Also, the earpads are non-user removeable, but can be replaced by Oppo.
 
View attachment
 
View attachment
 
View attachment
 
View attachment
 
View attachment

 
Comfort: Comfort is extremely excellent. Clamping pressure is firm, but not tight. Enough force that the headphones feel very snug on your head and will not fall off even with some extreme movements. Very comfortable fit for me. Oppo rates the clamping pressure at 5 Newtons. The headband has adequate synthetic leather padding so I felt no discomfort or pressure on the top of my head. Due to the extremely light weight of the headphones at 320g, I could wear them for really extended periods of time without any neck discomfort (unlike heavier ortho headphones like the old Hifiman HE-400 or the Audeze LCD-X). The headband is adjustable & I wear mine at 3 notches up. The headband adjusts out to 12 notches. There isn't any markings for the notches, but the headband clicks solidly into place as you adjust it, so your fit setting will not randomly change while in use. I initially had some reservations about the depth of the earpads as my ears are extremely sensitive. However, the depth and dimensions of the earpads at approximately (H:57mm x W:35mm x D:17mm with my measurements) was adequately deep & large enough for me to prevent my ears from brushing up against the interior of the earpads or the driver housing. The lining of the earpad over the driver is quite soft with foam rings circling the driver, so even when I pushed the earcups against my head to simulate too shallow of a fit, my ears did not hit any hard surfaces and the fit was still quite comfortable. The earpads are made of synthetic leather and are quite soft and plushy but do not compress down too much when worn, so the earpads still gave a lot of clearance for the tips of my ears. The breathability of the earpads are much better than most other synthetic earpads and my ears never felt too hot or sweaty with them on. I do live in a hot climate as well. I've had problems in the past with sweaty ears & a stuffy feeling with the pleather of headphones such as the ATH-M50x and the Sony MDR-1R, but I have not experienced this issue with the PM-3.
 
Do note that comfort judgments are quite personal, so ymmv. However, the PM-3 is among one of the most comfortable closed portable headphones I have tried. Should be extremely comfortable for the vast majority of people. As a point of reference, the most comfortable closed portable headphones out of the ones I have tried (imo) are the Sony MDR-1A/MDR-1R. The PM-3 are significantly more comfortable for me than the ATH-M50x due to the nicer soft & breathable synthetic leather used and the deeper earpads.
 
Accessories: The Oppo PM-3 comes bundled with two cables: one 3m cable and one 1.2m portable cable (available as a 3-button Apple remote/mic or 1-button Android/Windows phone remote/mic or a plain cable with no remote). There are extremely few over-ear headphones that offer 1-button Android remotes (I can only think of the V-Moda M100), so that is a really nice plus for Android users. Both cables terminate on both sides in straight 3.5mm jacks. The longer cable has a screw-on terminal to attach to the included screw-on 3.5mm-to-1/4 adapter. The cables are well-built and not prone to tangling. There is a Oppo-logo velcro wrap for the long cable that can serve as cable management. There is a small microfiber cloth bag included that can fit the cable and adapter. A sleek flat denim hard carrying case is also included. The headphones can fit into the case with the cable attached, but the cable needs to bend at a sharp angle that may put undue stress onto the connectors. I would recommend removing the cables when placing into the case.
 
View attachment
1.2m Cable with Android One-Button Remote/Mic Cable
 
View attachment
3m cable with adapter attached & velcro cable wrap
 
View attachment
Microfiber small carrying bag

 
I feel like the included travel case is a huge plus for these headphones! It is a extremely useful accessory to protect and store your headphones during portable usage. The majority of portable closed headphones even up to the $400+ range do not include hard carrying case. Even the new recently released $400 premium closed portable headphones (MH40 Over Ear & BO H6) only come with a soft cloth case. I do strongly feel at the $300+ price point, a hard case should definitely be included. This is a very thoughtful and welcome addition by Oppo.
 
View attachment
 
View attachment
 
View attachment
Images of the included denim hard case
 

Portable usage: These headphones are extremely well optimized for portable usage!! Easy to drive with an impedance of 26 ohms and a sensitivity of 102db. Very comfortable to wear with a very light weight of 320g. The design is very streamlined and stylish with sleek earcups that do not protrude out at all. They are stylish enough to wear outdoors and in public. The headphones fold flat in both directions which allows for comfortable fit when worn around the neck and fits snugly into the included hard case. Excellent passive noise isolation and no sound leakage at all during normal listening volumes. There is hardly any sound leakage up to painful listening volumes.
 
Noise Isolation Tests:
  1. Sound Leakage: From a 10 feet distance, the PM-3 is still totally silent up to 11/15 volume on the Samsung Galaxy S5. You begin hearing some noise leakage at 13/15. My normal listening volumes on the S5 is 8-10/15. From a 10 feet distance, I could turn the Lyr 2 volume pot up to the 1 o'clock  position before hearing any noise leakage. My normal listening volume on the Lyr 2 is 9 o'clock for the PM-3. For my hardest to drive headphones, the HE-560, I never go beyond 11-12 o'clock for normal listening volumes.
  2. External Noise Isolation: While playing music through the PM-3 at normal listening volumes, I could not hear any external music playing from my Samsung Galaxy S5 at full 15/15 volume from a 10 feet distance. With music playing on the PM-3, it completely masks background noises like the A/C unit fan, the stove vent fan set on high & microwave at a 15 foot distance, and my S5 playing a youtube clip of an airplane jet engine at full volume (link). Voices are also muffled and indistinct. Without any music playing, the PM-3 muffles outside noise approximately 30-50%.
 
Sound Quality:
 
The PM-3's sound signature sits nicely right in between the HE-560's extremely neutral presentation (I consider the HE-560's sound signature to be almost perfectly neutral, though some may consider a tad bright) and the LCD-X's darker bassier version of neutral. Very balanced and well-rounded. I would say perhaps a tad bit emphasis on the mid-range and a subtle smoothness over the treble to prevent too much brightness. Treble is not as crisp and airy as the HE-560, which makes the PM-3's treble sound much smoother and not as sharp. This does make the PM-3 quite forgiving and it does not display any hint of sibilance even on my poorly mastered tracks. The sound signature is actually quite close to the Massdrop AKG K7xx**, which I personally consider to be a very close-to-perfect representation of neutral and an amazing value for its sonics at the $200 price point. I think the PM-3 could pass off as a closed version of the K7xx. Overall sound is quite natural to my ear.
 
The mid-range of the PM-3 is definitely one of its greatest strengths. Very articulate and clean with a good sense of tonality. Piano notes are quite realistic and classical music really excels on these headphones. Female vocals, male vocals, guitars, violins, and trumpets all sound extremely realistic. (Those are the sounds that I have heard live the most so can assess realism better). I really enjoy the way strings are presented on these headphones, you can often even hear the subtle details of the musician's fingers plucking the strings. 
 
The bass is quite tight and clean (no excess bloat or over-emphasis). It is well-balanced to the rest of the sound signature. I would estimate a very subtle bass bump over the "technical ruler flat neutral measurement" as typical of most headphones (in a similar vein to the bass boost of the K7xx - I do believe it to be approximately by the same amount, maybe subtly more due to the additional bass reverb from its closed design). I do think this results in a very natural sounding sound signature and I personally view this sound signature to exemplify neutral. Bass notes are adequately tight with the characteristic planar speed and linear extension. Very linear bass extension that goes quite deep into the lower frequency range, picking up the low frequency rumbles and textures very well. Bass is strong and visceral when the recording calls for it, but never over-emphasized or over-powering. The bass does not bleed into the rest of the frequency response at all. Bass does have enough weight and impact for my listening pleasure. 
 
The treble has the characteristic Oppo house sound. It is a very smooth non-fatiguing treble (that I imagine Tyll would probably immensely enjoy). Not as sharp, crisp, and airy as my HE-560 or K7xx, but it is a very enjoyable presentation of treble. You do lose that extra sparkle or micro-treble detail of the HD800 has with the PM-3's presentation, but considering the numerous complaints for the unnatural brightness of the HD800, I can't disagree with the tuning choice for the treble. (note I personally don't find any issue with the HD800's brightness, but I do think that it is too bright to be a true neutral realistic portrayal of instruments). The tuning of the treble of the PM-3 is very safe and is definitely not overtly bright. Maintains a good level of clarity and detail. I do think the treble of the PM-3 do sound very "sweet" (never get any strident or piercing notes).
 
The overall speed and control of the PM-3 is one of its greatest sound quality assets. The PM-3 is very fast with every note presented quite tightly with adequate spacing. Great transient response with a clean attack and decay. It also presents a well-balanced sense of control over the macro and micro dynamics over the whole dynamic range. The subtle and acute changes in volume levels are quite perceptible but maintain a smooth coherency throughout. The PM-3 definitely lean more towards an organic presentation rather than an analytical/clinical delivery due to the subtle smoothness of its treble, the hint of richness in the midrange, and its full-bodied sound. The overall resolution of the PM3 is quite good with a high level of detail retrieval and great sense of clarity.
 
Of course, the sound stage of all my open headphones (k7xx, he-560, lcd-x) are better the closed portable PM-3, but I think that is the trade off for sleek closed earcup design & great noise isolation. The passive noise isolation of the PM-3 are extremely good. The PM-3 does still have good imaging and instrument separation, just a smaller sound stage compared to open headphones (typical of closed headphones). I would say the sound stage of the PM-3 would probably not be lacking in comparison to other closed headphones (perhaps the k550 will beat it in terms of sound stage, but I categorize the K550 of having the best sound stage of any closed headphones I have ever heard). I would categorize the PM-3 as having a more intimate presentation. However, this does not mean that the PM-3 is lacking in focus, instrument separation, or imaging. The PM-3 actually images very well and you can distinctly place the location of each instrument and singer. The imaging is quite realistic throughout as during a Yiruma piano track when he began to speak, I could place exactly where he was in the room. During orchestral pieces as well, I could distinctly hear where each instrument was. I would say that primary distinction in sound stage is that the PM-3 does give you the feel of listening in a smaller room or crowded club as opposed to a concert hall or outdoors concert. The stage seems a bit smaller and you feel like you are sitting closer to the music in comparison to my open headphones. Do remember that my comparison of sound stage of the PM-3 is against open headphones (K7xx, HE-560, LCD-X) that have the best-in-class sound stage out of any open headphones! A more fair comparison would be against other closed portable headphones, but unfortunately, I do not have any on hand to do a direct comparison against.
 
Measurements: http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/OppoPM3.pdf (credit: Tyll Hertserns)
***Added onto my review on April 9th, 2015. I have not edited my sonic impressions after viewing these measurements***
Reference here for frequency response correlations to instruments and audiophile terms. (credit: Independent Recording Network)
 
View attachment
***Please note that comparing measurements from different sources is not as reliable due to differences in measurement set-up. Compare frequency response curves from the same source for the best results. Full list of all headphones measured by Tyll: http://www.innerfidelity.com/headphone-data-sheet-downloads***
 
Direct Comparisons: (the links take you to the head-fi review page for each product)
 
Against the Massdrop AKG K7xx: Biggest difference is that the K7xx has a more spacious presentation compared to the PM-3's more intimate presentation. The K7xx has excellent sound stage for open headphones, so it is not too fair to do a comparison in that aspect. The K7xx does indeed win in the sound stage department hahah. The treble is the next difference. A smoother treble on the PM-3 compared to the airy treble of the K7xx. Approximately the same amount of bass quantity, though perhaps a subtle bit more on the PM-3.
**Note: The AKG K7xx is a special edition headphone based on the AKG K702 65th Anniversary Edition offered by Massdrop.
 
Against the Hifiman HE-560: Similar differences as with the K7xx vs PM-3 comparison. The HE-560 does have a lot better detail retrieval, speed, resolution, and much larger sound stage. Spacing between notes is more pronounced on the HE-560. Much crisper, airy sound on the HE-560. Less bass quantity on the HE-560.
 
Against the Audeze LCD-X: LCD-X has more bass presence, impact, and quantity (more bass emphasis compared to the PM-3) & perhaps a subtly more 'sparkly' treble, but the PM-3 do hold their own in terms of sound quality. Quality of mid-range is quite similar as the PM-3 really excels in the mid-range and provides a similar richness to the texture here. The PM-3 do share the organic tonality of the Audeze headphones while sounding more neutral to my ear. The speed of the PM-3 is quite comparable to the LCD-X. 
 
From memory against the PM-1: I do believe that the PM-3 are actually tuned to be more neutral than the PM-1s. I remember that the PM-1s had a lush, smooth, rich texture and a lot of added warmth with very full bass notes with longer decay times (not exactly bloated, but much fuller presentation than the tight distinct lean presentation of bass notes of my HE-560s). This trait on the PM-1s was quite enjoyable, but did make it seem like you threw a warm fuzzy blanket over the recording. The PM-1s seemed to lose a bit of detail, crispness, airiness, and resolution in comparison to the other planar magnetic flagships. The resolution of the PM-1 was excellent, but the warm presentation shifted to focus more to the texture of notes rather than the individual notes and micro-details. The PM-3 do not share the PM-1's warm presentation, but rather has a cleaner, more neutral presentation. The PM-3 also does not have that extra warm texture added to their sound signature, which I personally prefer. It seems like a trade-off with that fuzzy warm rich feeling to the texture but gain a bit more spacing between notes (better attack/decay) & a better sense of detail. Hard to really comment on the exact differences in detail retrieval, micro-detail, and resolution without a direct comparison. Oppo headphones have not been known for their sound stage, and I would approximate that the sound stage of the PM-1s and PM-3 are quite close and comparable. I do remember the PM1s sounding quite intimate, and I do think the PM-3 have a similar presentation. The Oppo house sound also has a very smooth treble rather than a sharp and crisp presentation, so the PM-3 is akin to the PM-1 in that aspect as well.
 
***Update 4/9/15: comparisons against the Alpha Prime, Closed EL-8, and AKG K553 coming soon***
 
Amplification: I tested the PM-3 unamplified through my Dell XPS m1530 & Samsung Galaxy S5 against the Schiit Bifrost+Lyr 2 combo & Bifrost+Woo Audio WA7+WA7tp. Did direct by-ear-volume-matched non-blinded comparisons of short segments of songs that I am intimately familiar with (spent the most time using Heartbeat by Vincetone & Canon in D Major). Switching between different set-ups took less than 5 seconds.
 
I found that the PM-3 performed the worse from my 2007 Dell laptop with a little bit of roughness to the details, a slightly grainy edge to notes, and a looser bass response. (could possibly be due to an issue with my laptop's headphone out or sound card though). Sound was noticeably improved on the S5 with a better overall balance of the frequency response, cleaner details, faster articulation of notes, and a tighter bass response. I do strongly believe that the PM-3 will perform well using most modern day portable devices. The PM-3 do scale up nicely with the addition of a mid-entry amplifier and dac. (unfortunately, I no longer have any entry-level budget equipment to test with). I would say the most noticeable difference was increased bass presence/impact, wider sound stage, richer texture, and a higher level of resolution for micro-details. I had difficulty confirming the exact subtle technical performance differences between the Lyr 2 and WA7, though the WA7 does have an overall warmer presentation. With the refined smooth tuning of the PM-3, I doubt that they will be very picky with external components.
 
***Update (4/9/15)***
Portable Amp/Dacs: I tested the PM-3 with the Resonessence Herus and Oppo HA-2 individually on my S5 and laptop. Greatly enjoyed both pairings and they were adequate to drive the PM-3 without any noticeable clipping. Improved detail resolution and sound stage with both the Herus and HA-2. Precision of the imaging is stellar on both portable devices. The Herus has a brighter presentation than the rest of the dacs I own. This pairing can help improve the treble clarity and sharpness of the PM-3 without any excessive edginess. The Herus would be a good match if the treble presentation is too smooth or recessed for your personal tastes or if you like to subtly dial down the warmth in the sound signature. The PM-3's tuning and presentation prevents the sound from ever getting piercing or strident even with a bright dac. Link to the head-fi Herus thread here. I am still getting familiar with the HA-2; may comment in more detail on its sound later. Initial impressions are extremely positive and I feel that it is a great pairing for the PM-3. So far, the HA-2 does not appear to significantly alter the PM-3's overall sound signature to my ears, but it does improved the overall clarity throughout the frequency response. I immediately noticed improved sub-bass quality, deeper lower frequency extension, and better defined solid bass impact with the HA-2. The HA-2 is more revealing of subtle micro-details in the texture and improved the overall tonality with a realistic weight and presence to the notes. The bass boost feature provides an extremely clean bass 5dB boost frequencies below 100 Hz that tapers to 500 Hz. There is no muddiness or bleeding into the rest of the frequency response. You actually cannot hear a difference in the sound at all with bass boost on/off if you play music that does not have any notes below 500 Hz. I normally have the HA-2 set on low gain, no bass boost, volume pot at 1-2 out of 5 with the S5's volume maxed out. The HA-2 can even drive my HE-560 without any clipping to my preferred listening levels (maxed out volume on the S5 with analog volume pot at 2-3 out of 5 on high gain). Do note that precise volume-matching was a lot harder to do here with the Herus on the S5 having large volume steps, while the HA-2 allows extremely precise fine-tuning of volume levels with the combination of the Sabre dac chip's bit-perfect internal digital volume control and analog volume pot. There is no digital signal processor in the HA-2 and the bass boost is performed by pure analog audio circuits for a clean signal path. Link for HA-2 head-fi thread here.
***End of Update***
 
I will refrain from estimating the exact percentile of improvements in this section as I know that different people have different sensitivities to the sonic changes from different equipment. I am comfortable saying that there is a noticeable difference adding an mid-fi amplifier and dac during a direct back and forth comparison, but they do perform admirably unamped from my smartphone. Additional gear not required to thoroughly enjoy the PM-3 (imo).
 
From my personal experience, I do personally feel like even the best most resolving headphones only scale up to maybe 5-15% with the addition of external components generally. The overall sound signature and technical performance of the PM-3 was largely consistent in a broad sense throughout different set-ups. I never felt like there was anything lacking in terms of sound quality regardless of set-up, but I did eventually notice variations, subtleties, and improvements after extended direct comparisons. I always recommend people unhappy with their sound to switch headphones rather than fiddle with external components. However, if you are generally happy with their sound signature and performance, the PM-3 will go that extra mile with additional investments in your overall set-up.
 
Value Judgment:
You will be paying a premium for these headphones and these headphones do indeed offer premium build quality, design, and sound. I consider these to be in the upper mid-fi portable closed headphone category. The overall mid-fi portable closed over-ear headphone category ranges from $200-$500.
 
I consider well-reviewed $200-$300 options to generally be satisfactory for portable usage and provide a great value for sound. There are indeed other options that offer a more competitive value if purely looking at it from a dollar per sound quality perspective. Examples include the K545 (sub-$200 on sale), K551 ($200ish), Momentum Over-Ears 1st generation (can be found on sale for $150-$200 nowadays), and HP50 ($300) for great high quality sound with a neutral sound signature. 
 
I generally think that $400 headphones are often simply over-priced for their sonics in comparisons to competitors. The more expensive $400 headphones often do not have that much of a sonic improvement over their less expensive brethren, and I do feel like you are simply paying more for the brand name, build quality, and difference in sound signature, rather than sound quality. I do personally feel that way about the B&W P7 and Masters MH40 from my demoing experience with them. I have not had the chance to listen to the new BO H6 yet.
 
From my audio memory (so take with a grain of salt), I will say the PM-3 definitely greatly technically outperform the ATH-M50x, V-Moda LP/M80/XS/M100, Sony MDR-1R/MDR-1A, Ultrasone Pro900, Yamaha Pro500, and P7 (though those headphones may be preferable for some people looking for their specific coloration of the sound signature). The PM-3 significantly outperform the ATH-M50x (a classic reference point for good-valued headphones) in terms of comfort, design, and sound quality. The PM-3 have a more neutral well-balanced sound signature, better imaging/sound stage, quicker transient response, and greater detail resolution, though the ATH-M50/M50x does have a fun v-shaped sound signature that I greatly enjoyed. I do also personally believe the PM-3 also outperform the K545, Momentums gen1, and MH40 (specifically in terms of realism, overall balance, speed, detail retrieval, and resolution). I do feel like the sound stage of the AKG K550/K551 does best the Oppo PM-3 though. The K550/K551 have the best sound stage for a closed headphone that I have heard, though they are unsuitable for true portable usage. I have not gotten a chance to run direct blinded volume-matched comparisons against other closed portable headphones yet, so it is hard for me to say talk about the definite amount of sonic improvements in comparison to the other strong offerings in this category. (note: all the headphones mentioned above I have either owned or extensively demoed & these are my personal impressions so ymmv)
 
The PM-3 does offer significant sonic improvements over the more value-oriented options, but you are now definitely in the area of diminishing returns. I do personally find these headphones to be worth the premium price for me, but I would recommend you to do your own listening evaluations.
 
For shoppers interested in planar magnetic headphones at this price point that do not require noise isolation/portable usage, I would highly recommend checking out the Hifiman HE-400i ($499 msrp, $425 open box at razordog). I greatly enjoyed the HE-400i and feel like they offer a tremendous performance:price value. The other open planar magnetic options in this price range include the HE-400, HE-500, Fostex TH500, and PM-2. For people interested in a closed-back planar magnetic for non-portable home usage and require noise isolation, there is the $1.8k Audeze LCD-XC and Mr. Speaker offers modded Fostex T50RP ($299 Mad Dog, $449 Mad Dog Pro, $599 Alpha Dog, $999 Alpha Prime) that receive a lot of positive feedback around here. Audeze has also recently released the $699 EL-8, available in open-back or close-back configurations, that will be a good option to consider for at home usage. The extreme weight (460-480 grams) and bulky larger size of the EL-8 would make me hesitant to recommend them for true portable on-the-go usage. I will hopefully get the chance to demo them in a few weeks and run some direct comparisons, so I will update this review after that. After that, the only planar magnetic headphones currently available on the market are the premium flagship-type options from Audeze (LCD-2/LCD-X/LCD-XC/LCD-3), Hifiman (HE-560/HE-6/upcoming HE-1000), Oppo (PM-1).
 
For people just looking for a closed portable pair of headphones regardless of technology, my personal favorite mid-fi pick is the AKG K545 for the best sound quality per dollar value. I am also personally greatly interested in trying out the new Momentum Over-Ears Gen2, Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7, and BO H6. For people looking for home usage and do not require portable usage at all nor noise isolation, I would recommend looking into the multitude of stellar open headphones available on the market.

Conclusion:
 
Sound signature is quite close to neutral with a full bodied and well-balanced sound comprising of 'sweet' smooth treble, deep fast bass, and an excellently rich articulate midrange. Sound quality maintains a high level of detail retrieval, resolution, clarity, speed, and imaging.
 
Greatest strength is the attention to detail paid to its portability function: very light-weight & comfy, sleek stylish design, easy to drive, great passive noise isolation, and included hard travel case & bundled remote/mic for your choice of device. Very solid option for people who require portability or noise isolation.
 
Greatest con is that its sound stage does not match the performance of open headphones. I would approximate that its sound stage is at least better than average among the majority of closed backs if not better than most closed headphones. Would require more in-depth direct comparisons though to really rank its sound stage among its closed back peers.
 
A great & very competitive offering even among the extremely crowded $200-$500 closed portable mid-fi headphones niche. One of the most inexpensive planar magnetic options out there for people interested in trying out orthodynamic headphones (prices for planar magnetic headphones start at $300 for the old Hifiman HE-400 and goes up to $2,000 for the Audeze LCD-3). One of the few closed planar magnetic headphones options out there (only others are the upcoming Audeze EL-8, Audeze LCD-XC and modded Fostex T50RPs like Mr. Speaker's line-up). Currently, the PM-3 is the only truly portable modern planar magnetic on the market.
 
Highly recommended for anyone looking for a closed portable pair of orthodynamic headphones with a well-balanced neutral sound signature and excellent overall sound quality!!! 
 
product link: http://www.oppodigital.com/headphones-pm-3/
 
View attachment
Image of all my gear used during testing
HarleyZK
HarleyZK
@DavidA I've owned both the L1 and the PM-3 - the PM-3 is a lot better to these ears. More detailed, faster, better imaging and better soundstage. The L1 at $103 is an amazing value, I'd be very happy to get a pair at that price if I didn't own higher end cans. The PM-3 has less bass than the L1, more treble and a lot more resolving and involved mids. Not saying they are bass light though, they have plenty of presence and extension - just not thick and dark like I felt the L1 were. The Oppo and L1 are a similar size, and both are comfortable - the PM-3 earpads are more roomy though.
mikemercer
mikemercer
oh bro
I'm just like ALL OF US.
 
I just happened to fall into audio and then the music biz at a young age.
Brought my PM-3s to Canjam!!  Seriously though - haven't been able to scribe my PM-3 review (finishing the final EL-8 review though)
so I just recommended your review to a few readers - 
KEEP IT UP
Audio addict19
Audio addict19
Damn good review! Very in-depth. Think I will be purchasing a pair since i hate the fit of the HP50. Can't wait to see how well the PM-3 scales on my CD player vs. my mobile sources. 

ryanjsoo

Reviewer for The Headphone List
ryanjsoo's Reviews
Pros: Comfortable, Build is very solid, Pleasing to the eye, Highly detailed sound, Portable planar magnetic technology
Cons: Treble can be overly smooth and recessed, Very slight veil, Heavy

Introduction – 

Both Oppo and Bowers and Wilkins provide buyers with strong offerings within the under $400 USD price range. Both sport slick metal housings, closed back design and tout class leading audio performance. However while these two headphones might be similar on the spec sheet, their real world performances couldn`t be more different. This is a comparison I`ve thought up after a year of owning the P7`s and around 6 months with the PM3.

 

About Me – Some background, Gear of choice, Preferences and Biases

I generally prefer a slight v-shape to my sound, but still closer to neutral. I like a lot of detail and clarity, but can appreciate a smooth, laid back sound such as that on the X10`s. I prefer a more neutral midrange within a relatively tight tolerance, but I`m probably more forgiving of brightness over darkness. I`m not particularly treble sensitive and can tolerate large amounts without fatigue, though too much ruins the enjoyment. If I use a different eartip/pad/cover during the review I will note that and describe the sound changes.

Read More

 

Accessories – 

dsc03348.jpg


The unboxing experience is very professional with both headphones, however I`d give the P7`s a slight advantage here. The P7`s are beautifully displayed within a molded, silk lined plastic inlet with a pull tab that reveals the purse-like carry case, extra cable and papers.











The Oppo PM3`s on the other hand present less refined but more extravagant, packaged within an astounding 3 boxes. A plain protective shipping box contains a nice black box like the P7`s with a brushed textured box inside. The zippered denim hard case lies inside the inner most bod along with a 1.2m cable of your choice, a 3m cable with screw on 1/4inch adapter and papers. Of note, the P7`s come stock with an iPhone cable but include a non remote cable as well. Despite some reviews stating that you receive 4 cables with the PM3, I only received 2. Buyers have the choice of no remote, Android or iPhone cables (just have a different remote) and all units come with a 3m cable. So while the P7`s may present better, the PM3`s do come with a more usable selection of accessories.










 

Design – 

P7









The P7`s immediately draw the eye with a striking design melding aluminium face-plates with embossed Bowers and Wilkins logos, lambskin leather ear cups and headband and very solid feeling twisted stainless steel links. The headphones utilize a sliding mechanism for the headband with almost unlimited amounts of adjustment between the end stops. The mechanism is perfectly weighted and holds its position well during use. The P7`s fold up completely and become quite compact considering their size. They don`t swivel much, but the metal links have some degree of flexibility for comfort.

dsc03359.jpg


Although the P7 has thin ear pads, they are are still very comfortable, with soft and plentiful cushioning. In addition, the already supple lambskin leather softens over time, further increasing comfort. During usage, the P7`s are well-sealing and, as a result, can be a little hot. The ear cups are large and deep, fitting most people comfortably.

The headband is less agreeable for me. Like the ear pads, the headband is quite thin, but is packed with much denser foam. This is no problem initially, but repeated long listening sessions (>2 hours) result in discomfort. Regardless, the earcups are encompassing and isolate all frequencies of external noise well. They are fully replaceable, and attach via two magnetic prongs. The earpads have built in acoustic chamber to augment bass response and seal with the drivers through a thin ring of memory foam. This also grants access to the hidden 2.5mm cable jack for replacement.

dsc03364.jpg


They have a nice stock cable that is made of rubber but has a smooth finish that doesn`t catch on clothes. Textured aluminium trim enables easy manipulation of the plug and grip on the remote. Buttons are relatively easy to differentiate, the centre multi-function button is slightly raised above the volume buttons. Unfortunately the cable uses a proprietary, recessed 2.5m connector. It`s nice to have the option at least, but replacements will likely have to be purchased though B&W themselves.










 

PM3











The Pm3`s by comparison offer a cleaner look. Their less flashy build is very mature, almost equally well-finished as the P7`s and perhaps a little more solid in the hand. The ear cups employ an aluminium and plastic blend for weight saving, which feels just a little less premium than the P7 but chamfered edges retain an eye catching look. Notably they showcase no branding, only small Oppo and PM3 markings on the headband twisting mechanism. As a result of their symmetrical build, Oppo have added a small bump on the left frame, though with the single entry cable also on the left, it`s not too hard to differentiate between sides. The headphones do not fold like the p7`s, but fold flat, they are not as wide, but still take up more space in your bag.









The PM3`s are heavier than the P7`s and have stronger clamp force, but much wider ear pads spread the load more evenly and the softer, wider headband creates comfort even from the heavy headphone. Oppo claims that the earpads aren`t removable, but they`re actually not too difficult to change, you can see my video guide here and read more about earpad maintenance/conditioning here. The earpads have a plastic frame at the base that clips onto the body of the headphone at 6 points. In addition, replacement earpads can only be ordered directly from Oppo, you`ll have to contact their support e-mail to order a new set.

The size adjustment uses a conventional clicker with 15 steps. It feels solid and is made from thick steel, but there are no markings on the slider which makes re-adjusting the headband a bit tedious (you have to shorten the headband all the way to use the included case). The Faux leather used is of high quality, it`s about as breathable as the p7`s but not as soft and they do not change over time. The strong clamp force and wide ear pads produce great passive noise isolation, about as good as you could hope for without active noise cancelling and better than the P7`s.  The ear cups are very plush, with adequate cushioning, but they are quite a bit shallower than the p7`s. Ironically, since the ear pads contact so much skin, the force is dispersed and comfort is retained as there are no hot spots. Some people may have issues with this, but the general consensus is that the PM3 is more comfortable than the P7.

 

dsc03343.jpg
Like the P7`s, the PM3`s have a single side cable entry cable, though it uses a regular 3.5mm port. The port is slightly recessed but most case friendly cables will fit well,  I`m using a V-Moda speakeasy cable for reference. This is much more practical and makes cable upgrades a snap, especially pertinent since the stock 1.2m cable is pretty mediocre. All portable PM3 cables are rubbery and thin without adequate strain relief and the plugs are very smooth, making them difficult to use. A cable upgrade is almost a must and with the V-Moda cable I find that the sound is similar if not a little better whilst the build and usability is far superior.


dsc03342.jpg


 

Sound – 

This is where the headphones drastically depart. The P7 impresses with a mild V-shaped signature combining powerful bass and bundles of clarity. However the PM3 immediately flaunts a much flatter response, with increases in midrange details and presence, a superior sense of body and unmatched precision. The P7 has a very expansive soundstage for a closed back headphone which, in culmination with great bass extension, is ideal for classical. Imaging is great and instrument separation is spacious. The PM3 feels much more intimate, partly due to the more prominent midrange and partly a result of the slightly recessed treble response, at least when compared to the P7`s. This, in addition to the PM3`s slightly veiled mids, produces a sound that can be congested at times. Instrument separation suffers drastically but imaging remains quite good. The P7`s are slightly more sensitive than the PM3`s and neither are particularly prone to hissing. They both sound fine from a mobile device but scale nicely with a dedicated DAC/AMP. I feel that the PM3`s with their less sensitive planar magnetic drivers do benefit more from amping but the P7`s also gain a lot from a good source. They are both well suited for mobile use.

Bass – 

The PM3 has a more linear bass response with a small sub-bass boost, it`s flat elsewhere. The bass is very well extended with great texture and PRAT. It`s very punchy and well textured. Despite the P7 using smaller 40mm drivers (vs 55mm in the PM3), the Bass on the P7`s is equally well extended, perhaps even slightly more so, with much greater slam, favouring impact over speed. As a result of the P7`s large mid-bass boost and moderate sub-bass boost, it can get a bit flabby/boomy and bass gets lost quite easily in complex passages (not too noticeable unless comparing to a headphone such as the PM3 with a focus on accuracy and detail) but it is well suited to certain music. The P7`s have more bass quantity all round but it remains of great quality, the PM3`s do resolve a little more detail in the bass region however. I never feel that the PM3`s are bass deficient and it really does depend on preference, the bass response is very good on both headphones. Of note, the recessed midrange on the P7`s further accentuates the perceived level of bass and draws attention to the outer extremities of the FR.

Mids – 

A small dip in the lower mids saps a little body from the P7`s in favour of midrange clarity, producing a clear if slightly recessed midrange. Vocals can sound a little thin however. They are still quite detailed and refined, I find that the sound is smooth enough for any genre. The PM3`s have much more midrange detail and more presence. A slight lower mid boost gives the sound nice body but they do have a very slight midrange veil. I`d give the advantage to the PM3`s here any day, but they do sound a fair bit darker.

Highs – 

The highs are quite controversial on the PM3`s and whilst they are a little recessed, it is not to a great degree and there is still some excitement to the sound. The highs actually resolve a lot of detail, they are definitely not sparkly or shimmery,  but they do avoid sounding thin. The treble response is very good and non-fatiguing, it`s just a hair below flat with a slight top end roll off. The P7`s have a very good treble response that is more extended than the PM3`s with much more shimmer. They are a brighter sounding headphone that are very slightly brittle at the top end, but still very good. Treble resolves more details on the P7`s with almost equal body but much more air. It`s not overly accentuated and doesn`t fatigue during long listening sessions. I find the highs to be better overall on the P7`s, but those looking for a more neutral, smoother treble response with slightly more texture will prefer the PM3.

 

Verdict – 

dsc033512.jpg


The sound of the P7`s is extremely well sculpted and specifically designed by Bowers and Wilkins. Whilst not for accuracy, it does portray a reasonably realistic and wowing sound. The headphone is very dynamic and enjoyable, working with all genres of music, it avoids pursuing an overly bassy sound but it is on the borderline for me.

Meanwhile, the sound on the Oppo PM3`s is masterfully designed, with slight deviations from ruler flat reference creating a headphone that is accessible to both audiophiles and general consumers. It is a sound that works with all genres and even directly coming from the P7, the PM3 immediately impresses with more midrange detail and presence and a tighter bass response, but treble sounds dull by comparison.

Both headphones are a solid choice, I personally prefer the P7`s slightly more in terms of sound, but due to comfort reasons I use the PM3`s a lot more. The PM3`s have great sound quality that is technically superior to the P7`s but they lack the last bit of engagement that the Bowers and Wilkins provide.

 

Accessories –

P7 – 8/10, The P7`s are very well packaged and come with everything needed to get started, but the case is impractical for day to day use.

PM3 – 8/10, The PM3`s come with many additions, the denim case works well but the stock cables are rubbish.

Design – 

P7 – 8/10, The P7`s have an exquisite and very handsome design, it is a little more flashy than the PM3 but still looks mature. The headband adjustment mechanism is spot on, isolation is good, the leather is of unbeatable quality but comfort falls short with a flawed headband design. Easily removable ear pads, but cables have a proprietary plug design. The headphones fold for travel.

PM3 – 8.5/10, The PM3`s look great if slightly more inconspicuous. They have no markings on the headband clicker which is tedious however passive isolation is excellent, the pleather is still soft and comfort is superb. The cables are easily removable with a standard plug, but ear pads can`t be replaced by the user and have to be replaced by Oppo. They fold flat for travel.

Bass – 

P7 – 7.5/10, Boosted and lavish, slightly sloppy, but nicely sculpted. Mid bass is quite pronounced but mids are not overly warmed. Still sounds clean. Well extended.

PM3 – 8/10, Flat bass with slight sub bass boost. Focus on quality over quantity, bass remains well textured and very enjoyable for all types of music. Very satisfying and punchy response. Equally well extended and not fazed by complex passages.

Mids – 

P7 – 7/10, Lower mid scoop leaves vocals without adequate body, slightly warm with great clarity. Vocals sound a little scooped but are detailed and clear.

PM3 – 8.5/10, Not a lot of clarity, but more a focus on smoothness and details. Very refined and natural sounding with good body.

Treble – 

P7 – 9/10, Sparkly, airy and extended, not overly accentuated.

PM3 – 8/10, Slightly recessed and rolled off, very smooth but also very textured. Might be a little dull sounding to some.

Soundstage, Imaging and Seperation –

P7 – 9/10, Among the best closed back headphones. Seperation and imaging are excellent, the soundstage has great width and depth.

PM3 – 7.5/10, The soundstage is intimate, sounds a lot more like an iem than a headphone. Imaging remains spot on but seperation is compromised.

Verdict –

P7 – 8.75/10, The P7 is an excellent headphone in all regards. I would not feel compelled to upgrade or buy the PM3`s if not for my personal issues with comfort. They have a wonderful design, strong sound and great features for portable use. They are equally comfortable in the lounge chair running out of a dedicated source.

PM3 – 9/10, Equally well accomplished in design and only slightly edged out in build, the PM3 although the heavier of the two actually maintains better comfort. The sound is less exciting but equally engaging with a fast paced, toe tapping bass response, hyper detailed yet natural midrange and non-fatiguing treble. The PM3`s are slightly better for travel on account of their higher passive noise isolation and more practical case. They are not as sensitive and benefit from a good amp.

It does come down to personal choice in the end, they are equally distinguished, but the PM3 is a slightly better headphone overall. This means nothing if you prefer a bassier signature however and you are best to try and test both for comfort and sound reasons. They are both very polarizing with the P7 pursuing a hyper lavish and broad scale sound and the PM3 impressing with a very neutral, balanced sound signature.


Thanks for reading! This comparison was taken from my blog, please have a look if you like my style of review, I frequently update it with new guides and reviews:
 
https://everydaylisteningblog.wordpress.com/2016/03/20/bowers-and-wilkins-p7-and-oppo-pm3-a-detailed-comparison-after-6-months-ownership/

PinkyPowers
PinkyPowers
Thanks for this thorough comparison. A lot of people, including myself, often look at these two headphones and wonder at which is superior. This is a very helpful review.
ryanjsoo
ryanjsoo
No problem, glad it`s helping people out, wished there was more in-depth comparison when I chose to buy the PM3`s.

Za Warudo

1000+ Head-Fier
Pros: Excellent tonality, exceptional build quality, handsome looks
Cons: heavy for a portable headphone, not the last word in comfort, non-user-removable pads
My review is based on the loaner pair that Oppo sent to me as part of their PM3 loaner program.  My gratitude to Oppo for giving me this opportunity to demo their product.
 
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.
 
Packaging, Accessories:
 
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.
 
Build Quality:
 
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:
 
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.
 
Sound:
 
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.
 
Amping:
 
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.
money4me247
money4me247
very nice concise overview :)
peareye
peareye
Sounds similar to what I am hearing...We both have good ears! ...nice review.
Top