OPPO PM-3

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. 
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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. 

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.
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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.,

Army-Firedawg

1000+ Head-Fier
Pros: Amazingly well made, very neutral and clean sound, feather light weight
Cons: Bass is often quite weak and unfulfilling, padding covering drivers consistently brushes against ears, clamping force may be to much for some


Firstly I've got to give a massive thank you to Jiffy Squid from Head-Fi for accepting me into the Loaner Program for Oppo for if it wasn't for him it's very unlikely I'd have had the honor and pleasure of listening and reviewing these quite wonderful works of art.

The Opening Experience

Getting these cans was like waiting for Christmas with Christmas being delayed because a previous beholder wouldn't follow the rules, so needless to say when I came home from work and seen these I was quite ecstatic (hence the forgetting to remove the case from the GoPro in the unboxing video). The Oppo PM-3's retail for $399.99 from their website which for what you get is an amazing investment worth the money. Upon opening the packaging you're greeted with a very nice denim headphone hard case and 3 sets of individually packaged cables (one with the Apple mic [which wasn't operating in this loaner unit], one with the universal mic, and finally one straight cable [all of which were 3.5mm]), and a letter style package that included the user manual and warranty paperwork.



When you open the case you're immediately greeted with a new leather smell (which is quite impressive seeing this is a loaner unit) and a very nicely laid set of headphone with a silk pouch between the headband and cans that hold the 10ft. cable (also 3.5mm). Something that did not come with these, which I'm quite surprised about, is a headphone 3.5mm to 1/4in. adapter so it can be paired with an amp. though I'm pretty sure the new retail version will. Very quick in terms of the microphone quality I was a bit disappointing because when I was playing with my friends in PS4 party chat they all said I sounded very distant from the mic almost as if in a well even though in actuality I was in my same “gaming position” as I'm always using.



 

 

 

 

 

 

Construction

Onto the V.I.P. of this review and that's the Oppo Planar Magnetic 3 (PM-3) headphones themselves. As mentioned earlier you're greeted with a very pleasant leathery smell which screams class and luxury which is very befitting of these. Upon picking them up you'll instantaneously notice just how uncharacteristically light these are which if I remember correctly is just under 10oz. Further looking over the Pm-3's you'll get a very nice sense of luxury and craftsmanship for these are made of very high quality and lightweight aluminum and very minimal plastic, even the back are covered with a nice piece of brushed aluminum. The ear cups rotate a full 180 degrees nice a buttery without any crinkling or popping sounds which is mimicked by the cups 30ish degree swivel which should accommodate most any adult head size. The ear cups are very soft and comfortable and is padded not with memory foam as I would've thought but instead a very soft foam that feels really nice (reminds me of the Sennheiser Momentum 2 ear cups). On a side note with the ear cups I noticed they both have 2 rubber stops so to keep them quiet when the cup hits the frame, a very small addition but a much appreciated detail that not only keeps them subtle but in better condition as well.



 

 

 

 

 

 

Comfort

Moving onto the comfort, I noticed they had a moderate amount of clamping force which for me was perfect but I will note that it may be too much for some. The fact that they're so light I'm easily able to wear them for upwards of 5hours (average 3.5hrs. consistent) without to much fatigue to my ears, which on that note is the first negative I found in these, the padding that covers the drivers. After even an hour or so the padding quickly starts to agitate my ears because it's constantly rubbing on them, now that could be because I've slightly larger than average ears but seeing the ear cups have a good amount of give, I don't believe that's the case. The isolation factor on these is great, during my shifts at the airport I could very happily put these on with music and be content. Background noise will still come through some but not enough to be a nuisance, in terms of noise bleed on your end there was none, even at higher volumes I couldn't hear anything unless I literally put my ear to the pad.



 

Sound

A quick disclaimer before I begin this next segment, these are the first planar magnetic headphones I've ever listened to so the behavior and characteristics are solely based on my demonstration of this unit. Now onto what is arguably the most important aspect of a headphone is and that's the sound. My sources are my phone (LG G3 running Power Amp Pro.) and computer (HP[something cheap model]), my amp. is a Garage1217 Project Horizon 3 with a JJ E88CC tube and Fiio E11K Kilamanjaro 2; I have no aftermarket D.A.C.s. I listened to these for roughly 20-22hours during my time with the unit and tested it via intentional testing and through general life usage (i.e. playing video games, streaming, and of course musical enjoyment).

Upon first listening to these I was quite intrigued because the sound signature is obviously something I've never heard before, perhaps I hyped myself up too much and am taking the wrong outlook on it. But when I started playing the music, though it sounded super clean and precise, they didn't move me or make me fill satisfied like my favorite and benchmark headphone the Bowers & Wilkins P7. After about 30min. or so listening to these from my computer I kept getting the feeling that these are hungry, that they needed fuel to ignite the potential fire in them. All I had on me at the time was my high impedance tube amp. that I wasn't sure would be a good fit for these seeing they're resistance is quite low then I remember being told that planers take high impedance amps very well and actually usually prefer them for their higher power output. So I tried it and the results were quite impressive, also keep in mind when listening to these that, like most headphones of this price and caliber, they'll chew up and spit out lower quality audio files.

From this point I'm splitting the review into two parts, before amplification and after because these can operate very comfortably and efficiently by just your phone.

Treble

  1. Before

The highs I feel are very neutral in terms of being unbiased but I feel like the headphones somewhat struggle to really push the higher energy sounds to what is potentially there. Is this the fault of the headphone or the less amount of energy given from my phone I'm unsure.

  1. After

The missing potential is instantly apparent for now that the cans have an ample supply of power they produce the most stunning treble I can remember. These can handle Samvel Yervinyan's (the violinist from Yanni's orchestra) most energetic pieces with ease and without flinching.

Mids

  1. Before

The mids in these are very nice and neutral. Also they're very detail ridden, for when listening to Chris Jones' “Long After You're Gone” the guitar just resonated beautifully and each pluck of the string was audibly clean and precise. I'm unsure what the audiophile term is but these really portrayed the artists feelings wonderously

  1. After

No drastic changes other than they sounded slightly more refined and less, stressed, if you will.

Bass

  1. Before

This is where, in my opinion, lies the second downside to these are. For though the bass if BY FAR the most accurate, tight, and fastest bass I've heard, it just doesn't give you a nice sense of warmth. Now don't get confused I'm not a bass head by any means but I do prefer a warm and relaxing sound Going back to Chris Jones' “Long After You're Gone” that entire piece is a beautiful track for the mid upper bass and bass range, and these don't give you a great bass presence. Now also I have to add my third downside to these, and that these are inconsistent. What I mean by this is most songs that I know have a nice bass response these just don't provide it then on other songs that hardly have notable bass to them these put a giant spot light on them. The song “Let It Go” was playing and provided a off putting amount of respectably deep bass that I've never heard before (though I've only heard this song intentionally 3 times so my knowledge is somewhat low).

  1. After

Once the power from the tube amp. was applied (which in and of itself provides a nice bass resonance) these really opened up what they can do. The bass just sung, I mean it was stunning. I got the warmth I felt was missing, though still not what I would like but what I feel this headphone should have seeing it's a rather neutral set of cans.

Soundstage and Depth

  1. Before

The soundstage in is definitely accurate as far as positional ques and identifying individual instruments go but it's not that vast and spacious. I wouldn't say that it was right in your face, but it most certainly wasn't a concert hall either.

  1. After

After an amp. was brought in there still wasn't a huge difference.



Conclusion

In summary, these headphones are truly a work of art both athletically and musically; They're very neutral with clean and accurate sound throughout the frequency spectrum. These headphones, though are very good by themselves, really open up their true potential once external amplification has been added. I'd recommend these to anyone wanting an accurate, super lightweight and neutral headphone but if you're like myself and enjoy a warm, relaxing and welcoming sound then unless your amp. is a warm tube then these might not be for you.

Till next time my friends, also check out my unboxing video here, and my full video review here!

miceblue
miceblue
Tubes tend to have high second order harmonic distortion, which is perceived to sound warm yes; that's how the amp sounds. And yes, I have heard it on the Ember amp and it sounded good, but power has nothing to do with its sound. I have the E12 myself and I find it to be a mediocre-sounding amp compared to some of my other gear despite it having more power output than something like the JDS Labs C5.
Army-Firedawg
Army-Firedawg
It sounding mediocre may just be for the gear you have. What I mean is when I pair my Bowers & Wilkins P7 (which is also a very low impedance can) to the same tube amp. it actually sounds worse, why it does that I'm not that technically inclined but for what I believe it's because the dynamic drivers in the P7's take a difference form of power that low ohm amps give. Now as for the PM-3's to me they sound better when given the power of a high ohm amp. because as @Jeff Y said they scale very very well. The bias you mentioned that the tube provides is a personal preference.
miceblue
miceblue
The P7 is a dynamic headphone driver though, which is directly tied to the output impedance of the amp; the PM-3's planar magnetic design is not, so output impedance doesn't matter in that case.

The power of the amp has nothing to do with it, it's just the way the amp sounds., and it happens to pair well with the PM-3.

kdejonge

Head-Fier
Pros: portable, easy to drive, great isolation
Cons: small soundstage
Oppo is a well known brand in the industry, the SACD player they have is also on my wish list. When I saw the opportunity to participate in the headphone tour for the OPPO PM-3 I didn't hesitate to participate, thank you to @Jiffy Squid and Oppo for allowing me to audition these at home and work. This is my first review and it won't be too technical, just observations from a music lover :).
 
Equipment: Rotel RA-12 amp and IPhone portable. Headphone to compare it to: HE-400i.
 
First the packaging, it arrived to me in beautiful packaging. In it was the Oppo headphone and 3 cables, a normal audio cable in an interesting pouch, an iPhone cable and an android cable. It also contained a 1/4 adapter and a very nice case to carry the headphone on the road. Last but definitely not least are the headphones themselves, they feel rugged and look great. Putting them on feels a little bit cramped but in no way it is annoying. I feel like I could wear these for a long time (and I did).
 
Now listening to the headphones driven by my rotel amp to music like Dire Straits, Counting Crows, Nick Cave, Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck and some metal on SACD, Vinyl and HD.
For sound, the first thing that I noticed is a great bass sound and a very engaging sound. The soundstage as compared to he-400i is lacking but it is still very good for a closed headphone.
 
About the closed aspect, the isolation is great, when using at work I could listen to all kinds of songs without disturbing any of my co-workers. I wore them several hours a day, not tiring at all. One of the things I really notice is that this headphone sounds great with songs that are not mastered great from Spotify. Most things sound very eve, good. This is very different for the HE-400i, great songs sound amazing, low quality sounds bad.
 
I definitely have this headphone on the shortlist for a great headphone at work. It’s closed nature and as it is easy to drive make it the perfect portable headphone for work.  

titaniumgrade5

New Head-Fier
Pros: detailed and neutral
These are detailed, bright, and well constructed headphones. That's what I like. Very neutral.
 
They compete with audio technica woodies around this price. Much of my music sounds great on them.
 
If you like those, you'll like this. The bass is pleasant and treble is great.
 
They are comfortable I think.

RazrLeaf

New Head-Fier
Pros: Clear, but gentle sound; Beautiful; Comfortable on the head
Cons: Weight; Uncomfortable on the neck
Construction, Materials, and Comfort:
For starters, the protein leather is extremely soft and supple, and makes the ear pads and headband luxurious to touch.  Heat retention actually isn't as bad as I was expecting, and wearing the headphones in a 80+ degree room wasn't as bad as I'd feared. Still warm, but definitely bearable (and comfortable if it's cooler or you have a fan).  The hinges and size adjustment feel solid, and seem durable enough.  The pair I have are from the loaner program, and they still feel new to me.  I have a big head (I lengthen both sliders all the way, then shorten both sides by one or 2 clicks each), and find the fit to be comfortable.  The inside of the ear pads are sufficiently large to not touch the tips of my ears, and the soft padding makes it fairly easy to achieve a good seal.  My only gripe is that the PM-3s don't fit very well when you only wish to use one ear, nor do they fit well around my neck.  The ear cups end up pushing into my jugulars.
 
EDIT: It turns out that the tips of my ears did make contact with the driver, but the foam pad that's over the surface to the driver prevented me from noticing at first.  
 
Sound:
For background, I ran the PM-3s directly off of a Samsung Galaxy S4, a Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro, and the ASUS X99-A in my desktop. I spent most of my time listening against my Sennheiser Momentums (the original over-ear variety).  I also took the headphones for a spin in one of my FOH gigs, where I used them plugged into a Mackie mixer.

It was immediately obvious that the PM-3s are about as driveable as the Sennheiser Momentums. They are also much flatter in sound than the Momentums.  The bass is clear, but less forward when compared to the momentums.  Treble notes and sounds come through with more clarity and brightness as well.  I describe the sound as "clear, but gentle" because while there is certainly clarity throughout, the highs aren't as forward as they are in some of the more analytical headphones I've tried. Great tracks with great setups will sound great on this headphone, but Pandora on my Lenovo Y2P doesn't sound terrible.  They are capable of revealing small details, but they don't bring out the details so much that they'll prevent you from ignoring them.

They're also pretty good at deadening out environmental noise. And the microphone quality is decent as well.
 
Final Thoughts:
A great headphone for a lot people. It behaves just as well plugged into a mixer as it does a smartphone.  They're perfect for anyone that wants to listen while in an office, coffee shop, or library with how easily they can be packed. But the inability to wear them around my neck comfortably hurts their  mobility. Neutral and clear, but still gentle sound and their ability to sound great off such a variety of devices makes these headphones an winner in my book.  And at the current price of $400, I consider them a little better than fairly priced (in the favor of the consumer).
 
Audio: 9/10 | Comfort: 8/10 | Design: 8/10 | Value: 6/10 | Overall: 4/5
 
Many thanks to Chris (and Oppo) for making the loaner program possible. It's been a wonderful experience, and I've even been able to share the headphones with some of my friends.

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!

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

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Cotnijoe

Sponsor: iFi Audio
Formerly with Unique Melody
Pros: Beautiful Looks, Sturdy Build, Detailed Neutral Sound
Cons: Slight Clamping Force, Extension, Soundstage
Introduction:

One of my favorite parts of this hobby that I've grown to love over the past few years is trying new things and just experiencing how different components (or combination of components) have their own unique way of expressing what is essentially the same music. I’ve been very curious about Oppo and the Oppo hype train that has taken off in the last year or two, and I was very excited to see that they were putting multiple units of their portable PM-3 planar magnetic headphone on tour. I signed up for the tour and have had one week with it. I’ve compiled my thoughts on these headphones from the past week here and, as always, the impressions here are solely based on my experience with the PM-3 and I am in no way affiliated with Oppo.

 

Packaging and Accessories:

The PM-3 comes in a nicely designed and quality black cardboard box that is well protected by an outer brown box. In the brown box with the PM-3 box are two smaller boxes that contain two cables each including an extra cable for android and idevices (you only get a choice of one of three portable cables for the actual product).

 

Packaging of the Oppo PM-3
 
 

Inside the black box lies the carrying case for the PM-3 (with the PM-3 inside of course). The hard carrying case has a nice denim-like black cloth design and offers very solid protection for the PM-3. There is also a thin white back that covers the PM-3 in the carrying case as well as a small bag for carrying cables or for the 3.5mm to 6.3mm adaptor. Everything layer of protection that Oppo added to the packaging really ensure that not a scratch can make its way onto the surface of the headphones itself.

 

In addition to the carrying case, the PM-3 comes with some cables. The default cable that the PM-3 comes with is a 3 meter cable with a screw on 3.5mm to 6.3mm converter. The cable feels sturdy and fairly standard compared to other cables that you might get with a headphone for home use. However, I am a HUGE fan of the connectors that Oppo used for the cable. It feels like some sort of brushed metal that has a very slick look and the Oppo logo on it. It looks fantastic and feels very sturdy.

 

In addition to the 3 meter cable, there will also include a 1.2 meter portable cable of your choice with either android, idevice, or no microphone options. The portable cables have similar build quality to the long cable. The microphone and buttons are also incredibly good quality. The microphone has a plastic housing with the surface of the button being metal. Overall, every aspect of the PM-3’s accessories really screams amazing build quality. Cable noise is not a big issue with the PM-3 cables.

 

Design, Build, and Comfort:

The PM-3 is probably one of the most attractive portable headphones that are currently available on the market. With its metal and pleather design as well as its brushed aluminum ear cups, it has a mature look with a very solid and modern looking design. The headphone is made almost completely out of metal, with only parts of the ear cup being made of hard plastic, giving it an extremely solid and sturdy feel. The size adjustments have a click system that feel very sturdy, and the ear cups are able to rotate 180 degrees. Due to its heavy duty build quality, the PM-3 does land itself at the heavier end of the spectrum in terms of over ear portable headphones (320g according to Oppo), but despite its weight, the PM-3 is one of the most comfortable portable headphone I’ve had the pleasure of using.

 

The earpads of the PM-3 are not removable, but can be replaced by Oppo if ever needed. The earpads are also incredibly comfortable. They remind me of the earpads that Sony often offers in their headphones (such as the MDR-1A). Thanks to the fantastic earpads, generous padding along the headband, as well as the even distribution of weight, the PM-3 comes out on top as one of the most comfortable and steady portable headphone I have ever experienced. To me, its comfort is only eclipsed by some of the over ear options that Sony offers. That’s mostly because the PM-3 has a bit of a clamping force and fairly shallow earpads that can cause some irritation after time as well as get a little warm. Compared to other fashion headphones in its price though (such as the B&W P7, BeoPlay H6, or the original Sennheiser Momentum), I find these to be one of the best, if not the best, headphones available in terms of comfort.

 

Add all the elements that make up the design of the Oppo PM-3, and you get a slick looking headphone that is very well suited for portable use. With its good comfort, good isolation (due to the slightly stronger clamping and good earpads), lack of cable noise, and great fit, it checks many of the boxes that make a portable headphone great in terms of practicality and efficiency of use.

 

Sound Impressions:

I generally don’t like portable headphones all that much and highly prefer in ears over headphones for portable use. The PM-3, however, has grabbed my attention as I’ve enjoyed the sound from it quite a bit and found it to be a very competitive fashion headphone in terms of its sound. The PM-3 does scale surprisingly well, sounding better through my Asus Essence III compared to my iBasso DX90 > Aune B1 stack, and for that reason, the majority of my listening impressions are done using my Essence III. All genres of music with files ranging from 256kbps and up (with the exception of DSD files) were used for my sound impressions.

 

Desktop Listening with the PM-3 
 

Bass:

I was honestly a bit surprised by the bass of the PM-3 as it’s doesn’t have the traits that I’ve come to expect from planar magnetic headphones. I find the bass to be just a hair north of neutral, as I do find it to still have a little bit more midbass for a just a little extra punch, but it’s a lot flatter than most headphones you will find in the portable department.

 

Planar magnetic headphones are well known for bass, whether it’s having fantastic control despite being elevated (such as the audeze headphones), or being fast and well extended despite being fairly flat (such as the higher end offerings from HIFIMAN). However, I find that the PM-3 doesn’t fall in either of those two sorts of camps that people are used to – and not for the better.

 

While the bass remains clean sounding, I have a few issues with it. First off, unlike other planar magnetic headphones I’ve heard (granted they’re all much more expensive than the PM-3), the bass is lacking a little in extension. This causes the bass to lack a bit of “thump” to it and can sound a little unnatural (almost a little plasticky sounding). I love listening to Gorillaz’s “Plastic Beach” album for some interesting and cool bass textures, and overall, due to its lack of extension, I miss a bit of some of those textures with the PM-3.

 

In addition, the bass lacks a bit of articulation. Bass impact lacks a bit of tightness and can feel a bit softened and slow. What you end up with is a fairly flat bass that doesn’t have the speed of other more neutral planar magnetic headphone bass, while having a bit of a bass bloom feel like you get in warmer planar magnetic headphones, but without the awesomely satisfying impact and thump you get from them.

 

I wouldn’t go as far as to the bass of the PM-3 is bad, as I realize most planar magnetic headphones I’ve listened to are much more expensive than the PM-3, but I did have high expectations coming into this review, and I was left a bit empty handed. Now, comparing it to other portable headphones, I think the bass can very well hold its own, but I didn’t compare the PM-3 with other portable headphones in its price and get completely blown away thinking “WOW! So this is the bass prowess that planar magnetic headphones are capable of!”

 

Midrange

I’m happy to say that I enjoyed the midrange of the PM-3 a lot more than I did the bass. The midrange is very well presented and very well balanced. I may call it just a tiny bit forward. It sound very natural and present a good amount of detail and texture. Individual instruments are impressively articulate and offer a dynamic sound and good separation (despite a fairly unimpressive soundstage), while vocals come off with very good clarity and realistic. The midrange is definitely the strong point of the PM-3 to me and offers a very clean and detailed sound that doesn’t leave much to be desired.

 

Treble

The treble region from the PM-3 is also something I found to be good – despite it not fitting my personal taste. The treble is fairly smooth and inoffensive with a bit of a treble roll off. Because of that, the treble can lack overall energy and lacks some air. The treble, nonetheless, has very good speed and articulation as well as a fair amount of detail. I do, however, find the treble to lack a little texture in its decay. As someone who likes the treble sparkle and air of something like the HIFIMAN HE560, I was honestly happy with the treble presentation of the PM-3 and I think it’ll be a great option for those that are more sensitive to harsh trebles.

 

Soundstage and Imaging

As it’s been said many times by many people – the soundstage leave quite a bit to be desired. I actually found the soundstage to have adequate height, but the PM-3 can feel quite a bit claustrophobic when it comes to width. It’s a closed in sounding headphone. Despite that, I found the imaging to be quite good with the little space that is being offered up and overall separation is nonetheless excellent. If you’re willing the compromise an open sound for a non-fatiguing sound and very good isolation (being a closed back headphone), I don’t see the soundstage as being a deal breaker, although I have to note that I feel that size of the soundstage is fairly unimpressive even compared to other portable headphones.

 

PM-3 as a Portable Headphone (Oppo PM-3 Via iBasso DX90 > Aune B1)

While most of my listening impressions were done with my desktop set up, I recognize that the PM-3 is designed and intended to be used as a portable headphone. And with all the good designs that make it a very good choice for portable use, I thought I at least owed it to talk about its sound with my portable set up.

 

As I’ve also stated earlier, the PM-3 scales quite well and its sound with my Asus Essence III is certainly a few steps up from its sound running through my portable set up. In general, with the Essence III, you get a better soundstage, a good amount more detail throughout the sound spectrum, and better extensions overall as well (particularly bass extension – much better on the Essence III). Everything is generally more natural and more refined, which is not shocking to say comparing a 1000+ desktop set up to a portable set up.

 

However, I did find that the sound of the PM-3 out of the Essence III can be a bit boring, and my portable stack spices up the sound a bit. Most portable devices were not tuned to be as flat and revealing as an expensive desktop system, and the DX90/B1 stack helps breathe more energy and life into the music with the PM-3. The bass hits a little harder while still remaining well controlled, and treble has a little more energy and life while still remaining far from being harsh. I found the overall listening experience of the PM-3 to be more enjoyable with my portable rig despite it losing some level of detail.

 

I think the PM-3 makes for a fantastic sounding portable headphone. However, for me, I’ll still be sticking with my Earwerkz Supra 2. My take on portable gear is to “get the most out of the sound for as little as possible.” The Supra 2 happens to be about the same price as the PM-3 (in fact, the universal version is the same price at 399 USD), but I still favor the sound of the Supra 2. Compared to the Supra 2, the PM-3 has a larger soundstage with a slightly better bass extension. But the Supra 2 has a cleaner sound overall with more detail and texture in the mids and highs. I also find the separation to be better on the Supra 2 and the overall sound to feel more open (better treble extension) despite the soundstage being even smaller than that of the PM-3. The Supra 2 also much smaller (obviously) and has better noise isolation. So for me, I still prefer using my IEM for portable use.

 

 Portable Set Up with the PM-3
 

Conclusion and Ending Thoughts:

I like the PM-3. Despite the bass not being where I feel it could be and its fairly small soundstage, it is probably one of my top recommendations for those looking for a good looking portable headphone. The PM-3 is a beautifully designed headphone that functions very well for the purpose of portability (or even just for use at home since it scales fairly well) and a nice neutral sound. While I have yet to hear the new sennheiser momentums 2.0, I think the PM-3 has overall better sound than the likes of the BeoPlay H6, B&W P7, Bose QC25, just to name a few of the top portable headphones.

 

For those looking for good sound without compromising look – let me correct that – while making a fashion statement, the PM-3 is definitely one to look into. Quality sound with quality swag.

Cotnijoe
Cotnijoe
The PM3 will certainly have less bass than the M50x, but I also think that its way better for classical music than the M50x is. I'm personally not a super big fan of portable headphones, as I feel that IEMs do a better job at a better price. But I think the PM3 is one of the best options at around 400 dollars for a portable headphone. The other one I do like is the BeoPlay H6, although its no where near as comfortable for me as the PM3. Another option to look into would be the Sennheiser Momentum 2. I have yet to give them a listen though. Hope this helps a bit!
D
Diego Davila
@Cotnijoe thanks for replying, I also read reviews of IEMs like Westone, RHA and Shure for example, and the reviewers said what you have mentioned. They can sound better than some of the bigger headphones out there. One thing though I always worry about is how durable can be over extended period of use, because the cables can break? or is not sturdy enough? anyway, thanks for your help!
Cotnijoe
Cotnijoe
Honestly, as long as you dont abuse the cable, you're fine. If you're worried about the cable breaking on you, you can always look for IEMs that offer replaceable cables. I've never had a cable fail on me before, but I do take good care of my stuff. If you plan on stuffing your IEMs in your pocket then tugging them out when you need them, maybe IEMs aren't the best choice for you!

Kyaku

100+ Head-Fier
Pros: Craftmanship, packaging, comfortable, clear mids, great vocals. Decent value for entry level closed Planars.
Cons: Too many high expectations due to postive loaner reviewers. Cup is shallow. lows and highs roll off.
Intro:
 
So please don't flame me for my first review. My impressions are unbiased and subjective to my tastes in music and my preferences in sound signature. I acquired this set of headphones through the Loaner Program, which i might add thank you so much Jiffy Squid. After reading multiple high regarded reviews from people who also acquired through the loaner program, also other respected reviewers, i had my hopes set on high. I was eyeing this pair of headphones for quite awhile. I was either going to get an OPPO PM-3 or an Audeze EL-8 closed Planar. So when i found out there was a loaner program which i thought was amazing. I was super excited, and was anticipating to hear greatness. I feel a lot of the reviews are subjective due to gear and music genre preference. So this review won't be super detailed. But more my experience and impressions through my ears in music preference and gear.
 
Packaging and Accessories and Design and Fit:
 
So when the set arrived to me, it came in a cardboard box packaged tightly with two smaller white boxes containing an Android cable, and an Apple cable. Then there was this simple but classy black box that had the OPPO logo on it. Very neat very nice. Upon opening the black box there was very nice zippered case to carry the headphones in. Inside there was a small coin pouch that contained a 3 meter cable (could be wrong but it was damn long) and a 1/4 adapter. And of course the headphones itself. I know this has been gone over many times. But i have to repeat it, they're so beautiful. Photos do no justice to how i felt they looked. Only drawbacks i have to say is that the leather isn't real, but they do feel great, cups are really shallow that they touch my ear and when the low end rumbles i feel them vibrate. To me is annoying. The fit i have a bigger head than the average Joe, definitely not the largest though, so anyone with really big heads should stay away. Also i found the headband kept slipping on me, so i had to re-adjust quite a bit depending on what i was doing.
 
Gear used and compared to also music genre used:
 
Pc setup: foobar connected with Kimber optical toslink cable to a Pro-Ject Dac, Oyaide rca interconnects to a Heed Canamp. Also TEAC UD-H01 USB DAC
Portable set up: Fiio X1 and iPod Classic 5.5 rockboxed connected to Cayin C5.
Headphones compared to: Akg K7xx, Akg Q701, Akg K142, Grado Ms1, Grado Ms2i, Ultrasone Pro 900, Audio Technica AD700. Hifiman HE400.
Music Genres used: 90's Hiphop and Rnb, Trap, Drum n Bass, EDM (Trance, Electro House etc...) Classical, and Final Fantasy Piano soundtracks.
 
Note: I wont get into straight comparisons to my gear, because i didnt bother comparing one on one due to disappointment. If you want to know what i thought compared to something i have by memory just ask, and ill try to answer you honestly to what my recollection is.
 
Sound: 
 
Being someone who owns 80% of open headphones, i don't expect any comparisons to soundstage, so i won't waste your time with that. So lets start with isolation, as i stated earlier they hug very close to your ears( touches mine, in my case) isolation is great, very little sound leakage even at high volumes. Ill get into each range briefly.
 
Lets start with the Highs, being someone who listens to a lot of Electronic music, i crave for extended highs that blend well with the rest of sounds. I found myself disappointed in this department. I prefer something with more crisp. I can say the highs here are very smooth and neutral.
 
Next the Lows, were tight and punchy, but they felt like they wanted to do more, they wanted to extend a little further, but couldn't quite get there. And when it almost extended to where i wanted it. It would vibrate against my ear which threw everything off again.
 
Lastly the Mids, probably the sets biggest strength. Incredibly balance complimenting the highs and lows where they lack. IMHO if it wasn't for the mid range this set would be completely lost.
 
Conclusion:
 
 After being so excited receiving it, i did a quick run through for 10 - 20 minutes switching through different genres that I listen to. I have to say i was disappointed. After taking it off i kept being enticed and seduced by its sexiness, of course i gave it a second shot. I must of carried it with me everywhere i went for the next two days. Total usage was about 16 hours. I had the set for 7 days and it sat inside the package it came in for the last 5 days. In the end when it was time to listen, i found myself reaching for other sets. Overall sound was good, but just wasn't my cup of tea. Being for what it is though a portable Planar with low impedance is however impressive. I feel there is still room for improvement. Did they achieve what was promised? I suppose so. Its better than other mid range priced sets, but for the same price tag there's better non-planar options. Again i had high expectations for them, and was disappointed in the end.
Koolpep
Koolpep
So, since they had the PM-3 on offer at Oppo refurbished for $319 I bought one. Going to get to the bottom of my meet impressions of it being boring. Maybe I will try it with a balanced cable as well.....
Kyaku
Kyaku
24bitbob, for closed on the go portable, im using the ultrasone pro900. It compliments my tastes in genre really well. At home i find myself reaching for the akg k7xx quite a bit, i have to add though it synergizes well with the Heed canamp amplifier. Portable im using ipod classic 5.5 imoded with a Cayin C5 amp. I havent gotten a chance to expand my collection lately as im saving for a business. However im quite satisfied with what i have for the time being. After my business launch ill be starting to buy summit fi end of the spectrum. Ive downsized my collection quite a bit. To just the essentials that which i use the most.
Koolpep
Koolpep
Ok, after a month of use I can happily report back and say: I was wrong. Or my taste changed. The PM-3 are a keeper. Funny enough, even the guys from the meet are eager to testy the PM-3 again, so even though we found them a bit "meh" back then, something about them makes people even remember them.... Their naturalness, smooth body and impact when needed is there. Maybe it was brain burn in that was needed or I drove it from the wrong amps but the PM-3 is now my favorite in the office (need closed cans there) - amazing sound quality and I don't want to miss it anymore.
 
Driving it with the ifi iDSD micro is a revelation - equally with the hifiman 901s I have for review currently - amazing how good this headphone can sound.

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.

Peter West

New Head-Fier
Pros: affordable, comfortable, lightweight planar magnetics, very good isolation, portable, does not need external amp, serious mature sound
Cons: Smaller soundstage, trebles rolled off, might be sensitive to source
I might give up doing reviews. I keep running into things that change for no good reason. It makes it hard to render a consistent and informed opinion. I end up questioning my own abilities to hear anything let alone report it accurately.
 
And so we come to the OPPO PM-3 which were sent to me as part of the PM-3 tour now underway.
 
I had just returned from four days at the Dayton Hamvention (with 22,000 of my closest Ham Radio friends) to find the OPPO PM-3s waiting for me. I quickly plugged my Cozoy Astrapi DAC into my IPhone and thought the PM-3s sounded pretty good and maybe a bit darker than what I was used to from my other headphones (Audeze LCD-X, on-ear Sennheiser Momentums, Fostex T-50RPs and a bunch more I didn't use for this review) but overall pretty nice.
 
So the next morning I fired up the Fostex HP-A8C DAC and started streaming various artists over Tidal and in comparison... I wasn't thrilled. In fact, compared to the more modest Momentums I was very unhappy. The sound from the PM-3s didn't have the bass punch of the LCD-X or the brightness of the Momentums. The Audeze's can hit you like a sledgehammer while the PM-3s felt more like getting hit with a plastic bat. The Momentums livelier and more interesting presentation was obvious. What the heck was going on?
 
I really thought the PM-3s weren't going to make it. So, in desperation I plugged them into my Astell and Kern AK-100 II DAP and they sounded wonderful. 
 
So what happened?
 
I don't know. Could it have been a better impedance match between the PM-3s and the AK-100? Is it possible I didn't have a cable plugged in fully (and this after swapping out headphones over and over again I doubt it but I'm searching for answers here)? I don't know but everything now seemed to have changed. The PM-3s sounded much, much better. The bass was near perfect and the treble was more focused and the overall clarity was terrific just as I'd expect from planar magnetics. The soundstage isn't as wide as some headphones but the sound is more compact and intimate. (Play Norah Jones and you'll immediately understand what I'm trying to say here.) These aren't toe-tapping headphones but something more serious and worthy of your attention.
 
Let me explain it this way:
 
If we use the Fostex T-50RPs (at $99 and bought so I could have a low-price reference headphone), the Momentums (at $140 which I had to buy on sale at this price) and the Audeze's (at $1800 again bought so I could have a top-notch reference headphone) as comparison headphones we could place the PM-3s very near the relatively flat sound (with a rather delightful presence midrange) of the T-50RPs the first time and then, after the change, the sound was much closer to the excellent - near perfect - Audeze's. There was that much of a difference.
 
I tried adding amplifiers to the AK-100s (Cypher Picollo and Fiio E-11) and they made no appreciable difference to the now excellent sound. With everything going so well, I went back to the Fostex and PM-3s and everything sounded very good. I plugged in the PM-3s directly into my IPhone and again I was very impressed. I have no idea how to explain this anomaly. 
 
So let's move on.
 
With our new more enjoyable sound let's look at the other attributes of the PM-3. They are comfortable as heck and when it comes to planar magnetics which are usually really heavy, these guys are lightweights yet really well built. The ear pads are okay but might get hot outside in the summer heat. But they look pretty good. The PM-3s come with a variety of cords (iPhone, Android and a really long 3m cable) and a carrying case and bag. All in all a nice package.
 
Sound isolation is very good and important to me as my wife works right behind me in our home office and the PM-3s block out her phone conversations. The closed headphones also don't leak as much as the Audeze's which are way too loud for our tiny office space when it comes to keeping family peace.
 
I am going back to being mystified as to why I had such a poor experience earlier today so I put the PM-3s into my cheap and cheerful Fiio E-10K DAC which is USB out of my MacBook Pro. Again going back to Tidal and I'm listening to Lucinda Williams whose voice I know as well as anyone else's and Lucinda sounds very very good. It's not the bright happy sound of the Momentums. It's darker, fuller bass that rumbles sometimes like thunder far far away (likely a sub bass sound) and again the magnetic planar sound really enhances vocals when it comes to presence but there is a slight lack of brightness when compared to the Momentums (but if you weren't comparing you'd never know). I think it safe to say the sound is more rounded, mature and serious compared to the Momentums and some of the other less expensive headphones. Nothing compares to the Audeze's but I can clearly hear a family resemble coming from the PM-3s. Not bad at a quarter the cost.
 
So now we've gone from a set of headphones I was thinking I was going to pan - badly - to reviewing a set of headphones I am considering buying for myself as I've got a big bunch of headphones at under $200 and the Audeze's at $1800 and nothing in between. I was considering Mad Dogs (especially now they're at close out prices) but the OPPO PM-3s are more what I'd expect to pay around $600 to $800 for sound this good.
 
So let's put this all into perspective: If you've wanted the planar magnetic sound (and I do) and the Fostex T-50RPs just don't cut it as your only headphones, then I can fully recommend you consider the OPPO PM-3s. Aside from a few quick swaps I've been wearing and listening to the PM-3s for over 8 hours now and my ears (and neck) are not complaining.
 
Comfortable, even stylish, great build, with great sound without the need of extra amplification right out of your IPhone I think a lot of people are going to be very happy with their PM-3s.

Armaegis

Modern Modder Man of Manitoba
HTML... uphill, both ways!
Pros: comfort, build quality, isolation, nice even sound
Cons: pucker on the ears, very warm
Mini review of the Oppo PM-3
 
Build quality is very nice, and unless you look really close you wouldn't even notice the difference from the PM-1/2. The pads are different though, and not nearly as nice or comfortable as the PM-1. They're good pads, but the PM-1 pads are extra comfy and real leather makes a difference. These ones don't breath very well and get warm very quickly.
 
The frequency response is reasonably balanced with a gentle downwards slope, except for one dip in the treble and the early rolloff, but no peaks (remarkable for a closed cup).
 
The overall tone is slightly elevated from the midbass down but not overly humped. I feel like there was a bit of a distortion blip somewhere in here, but that could have been a hair or dirt particle. So it has good extension, but isn't really powerful and doesn't have real impact.
 
It has a noticeably closed sound, but it also has a closed feeling caused by that pucker effect on my ears due to how it seals on my head. It's rather uncomfortable until I pop my ears (when I pinch my nose shut but try to push air out my nostrils).
 
Soundstage is ok, but sounds like it's slightly behind my ears. Some would say it's cozy. Unfortunately, the whole pucker thing makes it feel slightly claustrophobic for me.
 
Isolation is very good. I'd say above average for a closed can.
 
Interesting phenomena: the bass develops a “thicker” feeling after wearing it for a while and feels more satisfying; more impact and energy. I think this is just the clamp and heat from my head letting the pads settle and seal better. It's related to that pressure/pucker effect too however. Maybe I'm just really sensitive to this, but after a couple songs my ears feel odd. It sounds better... but I keep wanting to pop my ears. If I take the headphone off even just for a second, it'll take a half minute to settle back in (the midbass comes back right away, but the deep energy takes time).
Addendum: This odd puckering feeling does not develop if no music is playing
 
There's something in the sound that bugs me. The sound is smooth and clean, but lacks clarity? no that's the wrong word. Everything sounds... a bit wet. String and metallic percussive sounds lack shimmer and air (probably that treble dip). I guess I could say it sounds polite, but this changes when I use it on the go.
 
I really like it as a portable; seal and comfort improves a lot with slight movement and the PM-3 settles in without that puckering feeling. In this state the sound is really good. The midrange is still nice and clean, but bass has more energy, and that top end no longer has the wet feeling. Never discount the effects of physiology guys, especially with sealed headphones.
 
It can be driven from a portable player. I have a puny Sansa Fuze and it gets more than loud enough. There's no other planar that can claim that right now. It does sound a bit better with more power behind it, but I wouldn't consider it mandatory. Save that stuff for a home rig and keep your portable life simple.
 
 
 
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nmatheis

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Great build quality and luxury feel. Good sound. Very portable for planars. Choice of Android or Apple compatible cable.
Cons: Cramped earcups. Small soundstage. Rolled off low and high ends.
INTRODUCTION
 
Oppo PM-3 Audition Program
 
I'd like to give a shoutout to Oppo and @Jiffy Squid for organizing the PM-3 audition tour, giving me the chance to determine if the PM-3 are right for me!
 
 
ABOUT ME
 
I'm a 43 year old music lover who listens to a wide variety of genres and artists (but mostly electronic, metal, and modern composition these days). As with a lot of people my age, I've got some hearing issues - upper frequency loss and mild tinnitus. 
 
My portable music journey started with the venerable Sony Cassette Walkman and then progressed to portable CD players, minidisc recorders, and finally on to DAPs like the Rio Karma, iRiver IHP-120, iPod, iPhone, and the newer crop of DAPs from Fiio and iBasso. 
 
My headphone journey started with Sony MDR e888 and Eggos back in my minidisc days. I moved on to full-size Beyerdynamic and Ultrasone cans and Shure E2 and E3. Those all served me well for quite some time. Then I rediscovered headfi...
 
 
REVIEW
 
SPECS
 
From Oppo's PM-3 Page
Headphone Specifications
Acoustic PrincipleClosed back
Ear CouplingCircumaural
Nominal Impedance26 Ohm
Sensitivity102 dB in 1 mW
Clamping Pressure5 N
Cables3 m detachable cable (3.5 mm with 6.35 mm adapter)
1.2 m detachable cable (3.5 mm)
Cable ConnectorsOutput: 3.5 mm stereo jack
Input: 6.35 mm stereo jack, 3.5 mm stereo jack
Weight320 g (without cable)
Included AccessoriesCarrying Case
User Manual
Driver Specifications
Driver TypePlanar Magnetic
Driver Size (Round)55 mm diameter
Magnet SystemSymmetric 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 Power2 W

 
 
ACCESSORIES
 
Oppo provides a nice, compact denim case, a 3m cable without mic or controls, your choice of 1.2m Android or Apple cable, 1/4" adapter, and drawstring pouch for cables.  I would've liked an additional 1.2m non-mic cable included, as I wouldn't use the cable with mic and controls very often and found myself getting tripped up with the 3m cable.
 
Here are some pics I took of the closed case and exposed to show how the headphones and cable fit inside.
View attachment View attachment
 

 
 
BUILD & ERGONOMICS
 
My first reaction upon taking out the PM-3 was, "Wow, these look and feel great!!"  They have a premium look and feel and construction seems top-notch. No concerns with the build.
 
Ergonomically, they were a mixed bag.  The headband and earcups were well-cushioned and quite comfortable to wear for extended periods.  The downfall is the quite small cup size.  I've got small-ish ears that don't stick out much, and these seemed cramped to me and my ears were just touching the drivers.  For someone with large ears, I'd be concerned that you'd have to stuff your ears in and then they'd be touching the drivers.  I felt like I was just above the sweet spot for these with ear size.
 
PM-3 with my trusty Fiio X5 for size reference
View attachment  

 
 
SOUND
 
Listening parameters: I listened to the PM-3 through my iPhone 5S and Fiio X5 with or without my E12DIY with LME49600 + OPA627.  For comparison, I used my HiFiMan HE400 (open planar) and AKG K553 (closed, dynamic).  Songs were a mix from various genres I enjoy.
 
So, how do they sound? Well, I'm going to keep this section simple. I appreciate reviewers who wax eloquent, describing each peak and valley - but that's not my forte. 
 
To be blunt, the PM-3 have a pretty neutral sound signature that is easy to listen to for extended sessions but unltimately suffer from rolled-off low and high end and small soundstage compared to the headphones I used for comparison.
 
Compared to the HE400 and K553, I found the PM-3's low end lacked punch and warmth, making the low end sound more sterile than I'd prefer.  Bass speed was more than adequate to keep up.  EQ-ing up the mid-bass helped warm them up a bit, but I couldn't achieve the level of sub-bass punch I like for electronic music.
 
I didn't find anything to complain about with the mids.
 
Compared to the HE400 and K553, the PM-3 lacked sparkle up top.  This could be a pro or con depending on your listening preferences.  I prefer more sparkle and found them lacking.  This can definitely be a pro for extended listening sessions, though.
 
Compared to the HE400 and K553, I found the PM-3's soundstage quite intimate.  I expected more at this price point but expect the role off upper end is at work here.
 
One last pic...
View attachment  

 
 
ISOLATION & MICROPHONICS
 
Isolation was fine and was better than the K553.  Microphonics were minimal.  Not much to complain about here.
 
 
SUMMARY
 
The Oppo PM-3 are an attractive, well-built pair of closed planar headphones with a neutral sound signature that's easy to listen to.  That said, I found they lacked low and high end extension and energy and soundstage that I missed compared to other headphones in my arsenal.  A good first attempt from Oppo, but there's room for improvement!
 
 
Thanks again to Oppo and @Jiffy Squid for giving the Head-Fi community the generous offer to audition these in-home.  Very nice!

money4me247
money4me247
enjoyable read & good pictures. just a note, your bold and size tags are showing up as text.
nmatheis
nmatheis
@subguy812 - Agreed.  PM-3 are an ok 1st attempt but not overly compelling given the choices in this price range.
 
@money4me247 - Gracias, Señor!  I'm used to posting via mobile and have text shortcuts set up for tags.  Didn't occur to me that they wouldn't work if I posted on my laptop.
rwalkerphl
rwalkerphl
What are the stronger contenders for a travel headphone? Are we talking Momentums and P7's? I am using the HE-560 at home right now, but looking or a backup over/on ear to go with my CIEM's for travel Thanks :)

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.

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.
 
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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).
 
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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.
 
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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.
 
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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.
 
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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. :)

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
 
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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.
 
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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.
 
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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. 
 
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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.
 
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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.

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.

NZheadcase

500+ Head-Fier
Pros: Beautiful finish; great balanced sound;
Cons: Needs a bit more soundstage, needs a bit more 'extra' considering the price
Sunday 22 March 2015, Auckland New Zealand --- On Friday, the Met service here in Hobbit land announced that we were going to have another great, sunny, summer weekend. So, as any sane Head-fier would, I decided to do what most made sense on this glorious weekend. 
 
I locked myself in my room and listened to music. Specifically, with these beauties. My aim? To get a personal measure of what the PM3 is really all about.
 

 

 

 

 

 
Please note that the following is not a formal review by any stretch of the word. This is more my personal observations about the looks, the sonics, and the usage scenarios that I have subjected these headphones to. Much of what will follow is with the the intention of understanding what the Oppo PM-3 brings to the table. I will be mentioning other headphones here and there which are not pictured above, but have also been used to evaluate the PM3. 
 
Hopefully, some of you can form a general idea of what it will be like to own the PM3, and how it would fit into your (audio) lifestyle.
 
Gear Used: 
 
Oppo PM3; Fostex TH900; LCD 2.2, Alpha Dogs, ATH M50, Shure SE215, RHA MA750; Centrance HiFi-M8; Oppo HA2; Burson Soloist; NAD M51
 
PM3 and Fostex TH900
 
Let’s get the obvious out of the way. This is not a fair comparison, nor does it make much sense as it is Planar to Dynamic. The price difference is also very wide. The only things they share in common is that they are both closed, and both look good. However, l decided to have a go anyway. 
 
The leather on both is synthetic. They are both luxurious to the touch and luxurious to wear. The leather on the PM3s look slightly more attractive though, and look more leather-like than do the TH900. The TH900s look classier, and more like a lux product mainly due to the cups, but the PM3 is no slouch. I would describe the PM3 as a gentleman’s headphone. It is stylish, but not garish. Fetching, but not striking. The design is tasteful and will not look out of place even if you are wearing a business suit.
 
The biggest difference is that the Fostex has better soundstage. It is cavernous compared to the PM3s. The bass is far more exciting, and kicks harder, though that is not revelatory in any way. I consider the bass on the TH900 to be the best in class for all the dynamics I have listened to. However, the PM3’s sound is more natural, more organic. It is more balanced hence I enjoy the midrange better on the PM3’s. The TH900 has quite an obvious V-shaped presentation that it is the more exciting listen, but sometimes fatiguing. I love it, but I won’t listen to it for more than a couple of hours. I have used the PM3s for 4.5 hours at the longest stretch.
 
Noise isolation and leakage is also better on the PM3. Less comes out, less comes in, which means that it is the better phone for the office. On the go, it’s the PM3 as well. I would never use the TH900 while walking, for fear of them falling off and damaging the beautiful cups. They are quite easy to knock off your head as the clamp is light. I’m getting a panic attack just thinking about it right now.
 
The TH900 is the overall better headphones for enjoyment at home. Better resolution, more excitement, more detail. However, the PM3 is the more versatile headphone, owing to its noise isolation and portability.  It is beautiful in its own right, and is not left behind in audio quality, as the TH900 is nowhere near three times the better headphone as the price would suggest.
 
PM3 and LCD 2.2
 
This is an easy one. For this one, I will state my conclusion right off the bat. The LCD 2.2 is the better headphone in every way except portability and isolation.
I apologize to those who were hoping the PM3 is a closed LCD 2. It is not. The soundstage, bass, midrange, detail retrieval, and the looks (personal and subjective) all go to the venerable LCDs. They are more natural, and overall the better listen.
 
They are clearly a step or two above the PM3…when comparing side by side at home.
 
I took the LCDs and the PM3 to work the other day (and paired both to the M8). My office is relatively quiet, though it is a big open space there is just a bit of a murmur at any given time. Even then, the LCDs just didn’t work. They are so open that any sudden decibel spike in the area takes away from the overall experience. The immersion is broken quite often, when you are not in isolation, and that is pretty annoying. The LCDs let through Annalisa’s annoying cackling laughter from the corner and I tell ya it is worse that a cat scratching a chalk board! (**shudder**)
 
Earlier I mentioned that the PM3 is not a closed LCD 2. It may not be, but you could say it is a junior LCD2 - that was made closed. Basically take all that the LCD is, compress the soundstage a bit, dial all the other bits a bit, and make it a closed headphone. It is not as simple as that but the description works in my head. The PM3 out-LCDs the LCDs when on the go or in a public space. LCDs are not ideal while walking down the street, no matter how many celebrities do it.
 
PM3 and Alpha Dog
 
I purchased the Alpha Dog with the intent of using them at work. They’ve served me well in that role for about ten months now. I wanted the Planar Magnetic sound at work because my first two experiences with Planars was so powerful – the LCD 2.2 and then after while the HE500. They did not disappoint.
 
That is why I also spent a bit more for the PM3 than I wanted. A planar that is closed back, portable, costs less than an Alpha Dog and doesn’t make me feel awkward while walking? Shut up and take my money! The prospect was too good that I took the plunge even without very many write ups on them. They were good looking enough that I surmised I might attract non audiophile buyers and recoup my cash by selling them online - should they disappoint. They didn’t.
 
So here were my two choices for “Work” headphones. What is the verdict? Let’s talk about some details first.
 
The Alpha Dogs are not ugly ducklings. To me they evoke a certain retro charm – whilst in your hands.
 
On your head, well, awkward is a kind word. Oh yeah, yeah, we only care about the sound, blah, blah, blah.  Remember that I got them for the office, not the house. It would matter not one bit if my main use for the dogs is in my listening room. At work, you will often get the quizzical look that says, “really?” If I were single, the Dogs would have ensured I got exactly nowhere with any of the hotties at work. On the street, let’s not go there. People can be mean. Seriously. If you ever went through highschool, you’ll know what I meant.  And besides, it makes it more difficult to be an advocate of good sound, when your headphones look uhm, strange.
 
Case in point, a colleague of mine passes by the front of my desk every single day en route to the coffee machine. No interest in the Alpha Dogs whatsoever. First day with the PM3s? “Hey! Cool headphones! Can I have a listen?” After ten minutes, I offered him the Alphas, and he goes “Sure.” Obviously I have the world’s most judgmental officemates, and this only happens to me, and nowhere else.   
 
Sorry, I’ve rambled on. Back to the important stuff.
 
The AD and the PM3 isolate equally well. The ADs feel more sumptuous on the head owing to the thicker, more lux pads. The angled pads lift up the drivers and that gives the illusion of better soundstage. I say illusion because even though the Alpha Dogs evoke a spacious stage, they are a bit flawed. The PM3, HE500, and LCD 2.2 wrap you in a 360-degree sphere of sound. While the size of this sphere is not TH900 and T1 level, within it, you get the solid, sumptuous planar magnetic sound sig. The ADs seem to me to have this gap in the front and back of about 10-degree wedge. So you have two bubbles of sound on your left and on your right, but nothing in between. I would say this is in about 20% of the recordings that I listen to. Not a big amount, but significant enough.
 
The PM3’s bass is hands down better than the AD, whilst the AD has better treble extension. Mids are about the same to my ears.  The PM3s are also quicker and more visceral. You feel the snap of the snare drums more, and the bass is more impactful. The PM3 also sounds more natural and organic. Of all four Planars I have on hand, the AD sounds the least realistic i.e. sounding like the “real thing”. Sounds really good, but conveys the least degree of the “sense of being there”.
 
This leaves me in a bit of a quandary. I can tell that the ADs have now lost their main role, and will surely lose headtime to the PM3s – to a serious degree. There are still some tracks where I think the ADs perform well above the PM3’s but is that enough justification to keep them? I don’t  know. This coming week, will test further and use my most favorite amp for the ADs, the Pan Am. I did not have this amp charged as I’ve left the charger at work. If I still feel the same way after extensive listening, I may have to let the ADs go.
 
All sonic characteristics considered, the PM3s are at least equal of the ADs. They are more aligned to my tastes than the AD though, and that might be the clincher. Plus they look far sexier and are the more versatile pair.
 
On The Go and Final Thoughts
 
I never expected the PM3 to be so excellent when on the go. I had high hopes as a transportable phone, and one that can be used in public areas like a café and such, but while walking down a relatively busy road? Never expected anything much.
 
The headphones that I mainly use when walking around are my IEMs (Shure SE215le and RHA M750) and the V Moda M80. These are really, really good. And while nowhere near desktop setup good, they were good enough. I could live with that. Enter the PM3. I can no longer say as much. With the PM3, the HiFi M8 or the HA2, I perceive that I am getting as close to my home setup as I can possibly go while hitting the pavement.
 
It is uncanny how the PM3s soundstage seems to float around you while you are walking. Perfect instrument placements, natural timbre, a sense of defined space – all while you are moving in space yourself. It was exhilarating and slightly panic-inducing the first time I did it. I had to stop every so often simply to focus my entire attention to enjoying the music.   I had to make sure I was not in the middle of the road, and that’s where the panic comes in. None of my other (portable) sets come close. Good sound, good soundstage, enjoyable presentation, yes - but not to the PM3’s level.
 
Any negatives? Yes. As I said before, the soundstage is not as good as the ADs. The ear cups feel a little too small even for my smallish ears. Maybe the AD’s cups have spoiled me too much. The lack of soundstage makes the PM3s sound congested on some tracks. It does well with male and female vocals, jazz in intimate settings, acoustic, pop, a bit of slow rock.  This is not a set for classical, orchestral or epic Hollywood type music.
 
I also can’t shake the feeling that Oppo could have done better, could have squeezed more performance out of it. Maybe it is because I’ve been comparing it to the wrong headphones. Maybe if I compare it to other closed backs in the same price range I won’t feel this way. Hmmm…maybe. For the price, I think they are fair, but Oppo could have given a bit more. That 1.2 M cable for us here in NZ would have done nicely. Or replaceable pads with bigger pad options.  
 
Overall, I am very happy with the PM3. It holds its own with the big boys, and even displaces some mainstays from their role. Great sound, great versatility. Winner all around. 
NZheadcase
NZheadcase
Thanks @tuatara. Yeah I got the call too. :) Very happy with this development.  
Chefano
Chefano
I have an TH900 and I love it, put a smile on my face everytime. But as you said, they are bulky, fragile and leak a lot of sound.
Im looking for a commuting th900 and came to a PM3 and a Momentum 2. 
Have you listened to the Momentum 2?
 
Regards!
masterfuu
masterfuu
great review, in market for PM3s also used to own TH900 agree with your point of view a very expensive headphone but slightly lacking in sound refinement for asking price.

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.
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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.
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