OPPO PM-3

Average User Rating:
4.25/5,
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  1. Peter West
    4.0/5,
    "Strange Days Indeed - OPPO PM-3"
    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.
    bcarr112281, daerron and byzandula like this.
  2. Armaegis
    4.0/5,
    "Wow it's a portable planar that doesn't need an amp"
    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.
     
     
     
    nick n likes this.
  3. nmatheis
    3.5/5,
    "Oppo PM-3 Quick Review"
    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.
    FullSizeRender.jpg FullSizeRender-2.jpg
     

     
     
    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
    FullSizeRender-3.jpg  

     
     
    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...
    FullSizeRender-4.jpg  

     
     
    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!

  4. Soundsgoodtome
    4.5/5,
    "The portables of the future!!! Planar magnetics on the go."
    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.

     
  5. hans030390
    4.5/5,
    "OPPO PM-3 - Great Closed, On-The-Go Planar"
    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.
     
    OPPOPM-3FR.png
     
    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).
     
    OPPOPM-3SealedvsSmallLeak.png
     
    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.
     
    OPPOPM-3LeftFRTHD.png
     
    OPPOPM-3RightFRTHD.png
     
    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.
     
    OPPOPM-3LeftCSD.png
     
    OPPOPM-3RightCSD.png
     
    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.
     
    OPPOPM-3LeftRaw.png
     
    OPPOPM-3RightRaw.png
     
    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.
    arnaud, nick n, miceblue and 9 others like this.
  6. Stillhart
    4.5/5,
    "Oppo PM-3 – Entry Level Luxury"
    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
     
    OppoPM-3-4.jpg
     
     
    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.
     
    OppoPM-3-5.jpg
     
    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.
     
    OppoPM-3-2.jpg
     
     
    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. 
     
    OppoPM-3-3.jpg
     
    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.
     
    OppoPM-3-1.jpg
     
     
    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.
    gevorg, afrobat, esmBOS and 10 others like this.
  7. HarleyZK
    4.5/5,
    "The First portable planar, and does it sure deliver."
    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.
  8. NZheadcase
    4.5/5,
    "OPPO PM3 - Magnificently versatile"
    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. 
    afrobat, LAmitchell, Koolpep and 10 others like this.
  9. DirtySnackage
    5.0/5,
    "OPPO PM-3; Great in all regards. "
    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. [​IMG]
  10. money4me247
    4.5/5,
    "First Truly Portable Planar Magnetic offers an Attractive Smooth Well-Balanced Sound"
    Pros - balanced neutral sound sig, great SQ, optimized for portable use, stylish premium design, comfy, great noise isolation, included hard case & remote
    Cons - price on the luxury end for closed portable mid-fi headphones, sound stage not as good as open headphones
    Oppo PM-3 Review:
     
    Got seriously into the headphone game a few years ago. Owned and demoed an extensive list of closed portable mid-fi headphones before jumping over to open headphones. First high-end open pair was the Hifiman HE-400 as my main with the later addition of the AKG Q701 to complement. Moved onto the HE-560 as my main for the past year. Recently owned the ATH-M50x & K545. Currently also own the K7xx & LCD-X. I have been blessed to have the opportunity to demo all the current flagships including the Oppo PM1 for two weeks during its US tour.
     
    I listen to a wide variety of genres. Favorites include EDM, Electronic, Rap & Hip Hop, R&B, and good female vocals. Enjoy listening to classical, solo piano, new age, and trance while studying.
     
    Wide range of music used during testing from most genres. Ran through the Billboard Top 100s, Top 100 tracks on Spotify, a variety of classical music, Piano music from Yiruma, Philip Wesley, and Tim Neumark, EDM top 100 charts, some Monstercat mixs, DJ Hercio Mixs, Red Lights by Tiesto, and a ton more EDM hits, Lindsey Stirling, female vocals (Adele/Celine Dion/Enya/Evanescence/Norah Jones), male vocals (Jason Mraz/Bruno Mars/Jack Johnson/Train/Enrique/Death Cab For Cutie), legit hip hop (Tupac/Eminim/Jay-Z/Nas/Luda/Lupe/TI), current mainstream popified hip hop (Kanye West/Kendrick Lammar/Nicki/Iggy/Wiz Khalifia), R&B (Whitney Houston/Riri/Chris Brown/Beyonce/Taio Cruz/Jason Derulo/Neyo), some random J-Pop and Asian Pop songs (Jay Chou, Wang Leehom), party mixes (DJ Earworm/Girl Talk/Super Mash Bros), some T-Swift for 'country' hahah, Hotel California by Eagles, Californication by Red Hot Chili Peppers, Forever Young, Hallelujah...
     
    Source: Combination of FLAC files and Spotify Premium tracks
    Amp/Dac: Schiit Lyr 2 & Bifrost Uber w/ Gen2 USB. Also own the WA7+WA7tp, but the majority of my testing for the PM-3 were done with my Schiit stack as I am more intimately familiar with it or unamped & undac-ed through my Samsung Galaxy S5 to stimulate portable listening conditions. Update 4/9/15: I recently acquired the Resonessence Herus and Oppo HA-2.
     
    There is no pair of headphones that I hate, but I do have specific preferences.  I realize what matches my tastes may not match everyone's, so I always try to describe all the strengths and flaws of the gear I review. I primarily judge headphones based on their price:performance ratio and how they compare against similar offerings at, below, and above their value.
     
    ***Just want to add that I purchased the Oppo PM-3 at full retail price and wrote the review while within their return period. I am personally really happy with them, so a bit of bias there though I tried to be as objective as possible. :)***

    Intro:
    Specializing in high end blu-ray players, Oppo Digital is a relatively new player in the planar magnetic headphone niche, comprised mainly of Audeze and Hifiman (along with some Fostex T50RP modders & Fostex reexploring the tech with their new open TH500). In 2014, Oppo released the PM-1 as their flagship and the more affordable PM-2 with the same sound but less premium materials to much acclaim in this community. Their focus on a stylish design built with luxurious premium materials with an easy to enjoy, easy to drive, forgiving warm rich sound found many fans. I had the chance to demo the PM-1s which I was greatly impressed with, but ended up choosing the HE-560 for my primary pair of headphones.
     
    With the recent trend to lighter orthodynamic headphones, the possibility of truly portable orthodynamic headphones seemed ever closer. Finally, amidst much excitement, Oppo has released the first pair of truly portable planar magnetic headphones in the modern era: the PM-3 at $399. I am personally a big fan of planar magnetic headphones and I am really excited about the recent advances & developments made in this field.
     
    2015-03-0910.04.54.jpg
    Image of the packaging
     
    Tech: The Oppo PM-3 is a closed over-ear pair of headphones with a 55mm diameter planar magnetic driver using a FEM-optimized symmetric push-pull neodymium magnet system. It has a 7-layer diaphragm with double-sided spiraling coils. The frequency response ranges from 10 Hz to 50 kHz.
     
    Design: Build quality is excellent following Oppo's track record. The headphones are made up of metal, high-quality plastic, and synthetic leather. Has an extremely premium feel to it. The headphones can swivel either direction to fold flat. The swiveling action of the earcups are buttery smooth and the sliding action of the adjustable headband feels quite solid as well when you click it into place. The Left and Right channels are labeled above the swivel mechanism with a L & R. A thoughtful touch is a tactile bump under the L label, so you can tell whether you are wearing the headphones correctly without removing them. The single 3.5mm input socket located on the left earcup has a very thoughtful gasket design that gives you very solid click when you connect the cable all the way in. The connection is quite solid and the cable will not be pulled out of the headphones accidentally. Do note that the sound quality suffers if the cable is not fully properly connected. The headphones do look quite stylish in both black and white color options with the metal accents. Extremely beautiful pair of headphones. Overall, a very premium finish and gorgeous design that is typical of Oppo headphones.
     
    One thing of note is that many of the other competing headphones in the $400 price range do use real leather as opposed to synthetic leather. The synthetic leather used in the PM-3 do seem a lot nicer than the pleather used in most competing headphones. If I did not read that they were synthetic leather, I honestly would not have known it wasn't real leather. Also, the earpads are non-user removeable, but can be replaced by Oppo.
     
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    2015-03-0910.12.41.jpg

     
    Comfort: Comfort is extremely excellent. Clamping pressure is firm, but not tight. Enough force that the headphones feel very snug on your head and will not fall off even with some extreme movements. Very comfortable fit for me. Oppo rates the clamping pressure at 5 Newtons. The headband has adequate synthetic leather padding so I felt no discomfort or pressure on the top of my head. Due to the extremely light weight of the headphones at 320g, I could wear them for really extended periods of time without any neck discomfort (unlike heavier ortho headphones like the old Hifiman HE-400 or the Audeze LCD-X). The headband is adjustable & I wear mine at 3 notches up. The headband adjusts out to 12 notches. There isn't any markings for the notches, but the headband clicks solidly into place as you adjust it, so your fit setting will not randomly change while in use. I initially had some reservations about the depth of the earpads as my ears are extremely sensitive. However, the depth and dimensions of the earpads at approximately (H:57mm x W:35mm x D:17mm with my measurements) was adequately deep & large enough for me to prevent my ears from brushing up against the interior of the earpads or the driver housing. The lining of the earpad over the driver is quite soft with foam rings circling the driver, so even when I pushed the earcups against my head to simulate too shallow of a fit, my ears did not hit any hard surfaces and the fit was still quite comfortable. The earpads are made of synthetic leather and are quite soft and plushy but do not compress down too much when worn, so the earpads still gave a lot of clearance for the tips of my ears. The breathability of the earpads are much better than most other synthetic earpads and my ears never felt too hot or sweaty with them on. I do live in a hot climate as well. I've had problems in the past with sweaty ears & a stuffy feeling with the pleather of headphones such as the ATH-M50x and the Sony MDR-1R, but I have not experienced this issue with the PM-3.
     
    Do note that comfort judgments are quite personal, so ymmv. However, the PM-3 is among one of the most comfortable closed portable headphones I have tried. Should be extremely comfortable for the vast majority of people. As a point of reference, the most comfortable closed portable headphones out of the ones I have tried (imo) are the Sony MDR-1A/MDR-1R. The PM-3 are significantly more comfortable for me than the ATH-M50x due to the nicer soft & breathable synthetic leather used and the deeper earpads.
     
    Accessories: The Oppo PM-3 comes bundled with two cables: one 3m cable and one 1.2m portable cable (available as a 3-button Apple remote/mic or 1-button Android/Windows phone remote/mic or a plain cable with no remote). There are extremely few over-ear headphones that offer 1-button Android remotes (I can only think of the V-Moda M100), so that is a really nice plus for Android users. Both cables terminate on both sides in straight 3.5mm jacks. The longer cable has a screw-on terminal to attach to the included screw-on 3.5mm-to-1/4 adapter. The cables are well-built and not prone to tangling. There is a Oppo-logo velcro wrap for the long cable that can serve as cable management. There is a small microfiber cloth bag included that can fit the cable and adapter. A sleek flat denim hard carrying case is also included. The headphones can fit into the case with the cable attached, but the cable needs to bend at a sharp angle that may put undue stress onto the connectors. I would recommend removing the cables when placing into the case.
     
    2015-03-0910.17.44-cropped.jpg
    1.2m Cable with Android One-Button Remote/Mic Cable
     
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    3m cable with adapter attached & velcro cable wrap
     
    2015-03-0910.05.59-cropped.jpg
    Microfiber small carrying bag

     
    I feel like the included travel case is a huge plus for these headphones! It is a extremely useful accessory to protect and store your headphones during portable usage. The majority of portable closed headphones even up to the $400+ range do not include hard carrying case. Even the new recently released $400 premium closed portable headphones (MH40 Over Ear & BO H6) only come with a soft cloth case. I do strongly feel at the $300+ price point, a hard case should definitely be included. This is a very thoughtful and welcome addition by Oppo.
     
    2015-03-0910.06.38.jpg
     
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    Images of the included denim hard case
     

    Portable usage: These headphones are extremely well optimized for portable usage!! Easy to drive with an impedance of 26 ohms and a sensitivity of 102db. Very comfortable to wear with a very light weight of 320g. The design is very streamlined and stylish with sleek earcups that do not protrude out at all. They are stylish enough to wear outdoors and in public. The headphones fold flat in both directions which allows for comfortable fit when worn around the neck and fits snugly into the included hard case. Excellent passive noise isolation and no sound leakage at all during normal listening volumes. There is hardly any sound leakage up to painful listening volumes.
     
    Noise Isolation Tests:
    1. Sound Leakage: From a 10 feet distance, the PM-3 is still totally silent up to 11/15 volume on the Samsung Galaxy S5. You begin hearing some noise leakage at 13/15. My normal listening volumes on the S5 is 8-10/15. From a 10 feet distance, I could turn the Lyr 2 volume pot up to the 1 o'clock  position before hearing any noise leakage. My normal listening volume on the Lyr 2 is 9 o'clock for the PM-3. For my hardest to drive headphones, the HE-560, I never go beyond 11-12 o'clock for normal listening volumes.
    2. External Noise Isolation: While playing music through the PM-3 at normal listening volumes, I could not hear any external music playing from my Samsung Galaxy S5 at full 15/15 volume from a 10 feet distance. With music playing on the PM-3, it completely masks background noises like the A/C unit fan, the stove vent fan set on high & microwave at a 15 foot distance, and my S5 playing a youtube clip of an airplane jet engine at full volume (link). Voices are also muffled and indistinct. Without any music playing, the PM-3 muffles outside noise approximately 30-50%.
     
    Sound Quality:
     
    The PM-3's sound signature sits nicely right in between the HE-560's extremely neutral presentation (I consider the HE-560's sound signature to be almost perfectly neutral, though some may consider a tad bright) and the LCD-X's darker bassier version of neutral. Very balanced and well-rounded. I would say perhaps a tad bit emphasis on the mid-range and a subtle smoothness over the treble to prevent too much brightness. Treble is not as crisp and airy as the HE-560, which makes the PM-3's treble sound much smoother and not as sharp. This does make the PM-3 quite forgiving and it does not display any hint of sibilance even on my poorly mastered tracks. The sound signature is actually quite close to the Massdrop AKG K7xx**, which I personally consider to be a very close-to-perfect representation of neutral and an amazing value for its sonics at the $200 price point. I think the PM-3 could pass off as a closed version of the K7xx. Overall sound is quite natural to my ear.
     
    The mid-range of the PM-3 is definitely one of its greatest strengths. Very articulate and clean with a good sense of tonality. Piano notes are quite realistic and classical music really excels on these headphones. Female vocals, male vocals, guitars, violins, and trumpets all sound extremely realistic. (Those are the sounds that I have heard live the most so can assess realism better). I really enjoy the way strings are presented on these headphones, you can often even hear the subtle details of the musician's fingers plucking the strings. 
     
    The bass is quite tight and clean (no excess bloat or over-emphasis). It is well-balanced to the rest of the sound signature. I would estimate a very subtle bass bump over the "technical ruler flat neutral measurement" as typical of most headphones (in a similar vein to the bass boost of the K7xx - I do believe it to be approximately by the same amount, maybe subtly more due to the additional bass reverb from its closed design). I do think this results in a very natural sounding sound signature and I personally view this sound signature to exemplify neutral. Bass notes are adequately tight with the characteristic planar speed and linear extension. Very linear bass extension that goes quite deep into the lower frequency range, picking up the low frequency rumbles and textures very well. Bass is strong and visceral when the recording calls for it, but never over-emphasized or over-powering. The bass does not bleed into the rest of the frequency response at all. Bass does have enough weight and impact for my listening pleasure. 
     
    The treble has the characteristic Oppo house sound. It is a very smooth non-fatiguing treble (that I imagine Tyll would probably immensely enjoy). Not as sharp, crisp, and airy as my HE-560 or K7xx, but it is a very enjoyable presentation of treble. You do lose that extra sparkle or micro-treble detail of the HD800 has with the PM-3's presentation, but considering the numerous complaints for the unnatural brightness of the HD800, I can't disagree with the tuning choice for the treble. (note I personally don't find any issue with the HD800's brightness, but I do think that it is too bright to be a true neutral realistic portrayal of instruments). The tuning of the treble of the PM-3 is very safe and is definitely not overtly bright. Maintains a good level of clarity and detail. I do think the treble of the PM-3 do sound very "sweet" (never get any strident or piercing notes).
     
    The overall speed and control of the PM-3 is one of its greatest sound quality assets. The PM-3 is very fast with every note presented quite tightly with adequate spacing. Great transient response with a clean attack and decay. It also presents a well-balanced sense of control over the macro and micro dynamics over the whole dynamic range. The subtle and acute changes in volume levels are quite perceptible but maintain a smooth coherency throughout. The PM-3 definitely lean more towards an organic presentation rather than an analytical/clinical delivery due to the subtle smoothness of its treble, the hint of richness in the midrange, and its full-bodied sound. The overall resolution of the PM3 is quite good with a high level of detail retrieval and great sense of clarity.
     
    Of course, the sound stage of all my open headphones (k7xx, he-560, lcd-x) are better the closed portable PM-3, but I think that is the trade off for sleek closed earcup design & great noise isolation. The passive noise isolation of the PM-3 are extremely good. The PM-3 does still have good imaging and instrument separation, just a smaller sound stage compared to open headphones (typical of closed headphones). I would say the sound stage of the PM-3 would probably not be lacking in comparison to other closed headphones (perhaps the k550 will beat it in terms of sound stage, but I categorize the K550 of having the best sound stage of any closed headphones I have ever heard). I would categorize the PM-3 as having a more intimate presentation. However, this does not mean that the PM-3 is lacking in focus, instrument separation, or imaging. The PM-3 actually images very well and you can distinctly place the location of each instrument and singer. The imaging is quite realistic throughout as during a Yiruma piano track when he began to speak, I could place exactly where he was in the room. During orchestral pieces as well, I could distinctly hear where each instrument was. I would say that primary distinction in sound stage is that the PM-3 does give you the feel of listening in a smaller room or crowded club as opposed to a concert hall or outdoors concert. The stage seems a bit smaller and you feel like you are sitting closer to the music in comparison to my open headphones. Do remember that my comparison of sound stage of the PM-3 is against open headphones (K7xx, HE-560, LCD-X) that have the best-in-class sound stage out of any open headphones! A more fair comparison would be against other closed portable headphones, but unfortunately, I do not have any on hand to do a direct comparison against.
     
    Measurements: http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/OppoPM3.pdf (credit: Tyll Hertserns)
    ***Added onto my review on April 9th, 2015. I have not edited my sonic impressions after viewing these measurements***
    Reference here for frequency response correlations to instruments and audiophile terms. (credit: Independent Recording Network)
     
    oppopm3fr.jpg
    ***Please note that comparing measurements from different sources is not as reliable due to differences in measurement set-up. Compare frequency response curves from the same source for the best results. Full list of all headphones measured by Tyll: http://www.innerfidelity.com/headphone-data-sheet-downloads***
     
    Direct Comparisons: (the links take you to the head-fi review page for each product)
     
    Against the Massdrop AKG K7xx: Biggest difference is that the K7xx has a more spacious presentation compared to the PM-3's more intimate presentation. The K7xx has excellent sound stage for open headphones, so it is not too fair to do a comparison in that aspect. The K7xx does indeed win in the sound stage department hahah. The treble is the next difference. A smoother treble on the PM-3 compared to the airy treble of the K7xx. Approximately the same amount of bass quantity, though perhaps a subtle bit more on the PM-3.
    **Note: The AKG K7xx is a special edition headphone based on the AKG K702 65th Anniversary Edition offered by Massdrop.
     
    Against the Hifiman HE-560: Similar differences as with the K7xx vs PM-3 comparison. The HE-560 does have a lot better detail retrieval, speed, resolution, and much larger sound stage. Spacing between notes is more pronounced on the HE-560. Much crisper, airy sound on the HE-560. Less bass quantity on the HE-560.
     
    Against the Audeze LCD-X: LCD-X has more bass presence, impact, and quantity (more bass emphasis compared to the PM-3) & perhaps a subtly more 'sparkly' treble, but the PM-3 do hold their own in terms of sound quality. Quality of mid-range is quite similar as the PM-3 really excels in the mid-range and provides a similar richness to the texture here. The PM-3 do share the organic tonality of the Audeze headphones while sounding more neutral to my ear. The speed of the PM-3 is quite comparable to the LCD-X. 
     
    From memory against the PM-1: I do believe that the PM-3 are actually tuned to be more neutral than the PM-1s. I remember that the PM-1s had a lush, smooth, rich texture and a lot of added warmth with very full bass notes with longer decay times (not exactly bloated, but much fuller presentation than the tight distinct lean presentation of bass notes of my HE-560s). This trait on the PM-1s was quite enjoyable, but did make it seem like you threw a warm fuzzy blanket over the recording. The PM-1s seemed to lose a bit of detail, crispness, airiness, and resolution in comparison to the other planar magnetic flagships. The resolution of the PM-1 was excellent, but the warm presentation shifted to focus more to the texture of notes rather than the individual notes and micro-details. The PM-3 do not share the PM-1's warm presentation, but rather has a cleaner, more neutral presentation. The PM-3 also does not have that extra warm texture added to their sound signature, which I personally prefer. It seems like a trade-off with that fuzzy warm rich feeling to the texture but gain a bit more spacing between notes (better attack/decay) & a better sense of detail. Hard to really comment on the exact differences in detail retrieval, micro-detail, and resolution without a direct comparison. Oppo headphones have not been known for their sound stage, and I would approximate that the sound stage of the PM-1s and PM-3 are quite close and comparable. I do remember the PM1s sounding quite intimate, and I do think the PM-3 have a similar presentation. The Oppo house sound also has a very smooth treble rather than a sharp and crisp presentation, so the PM-3 is akin to the PM-1 in that aspect as well.
     
    ***Update 4/9/15: comparisons against the Alpha Prime, Closed EL-8, and AKG K553 coming soon***
     
    Amplification: I tested the PM-3 unamplified through my Dell XPS m1530 & Samsung Galaxy S5 against the Schiit Bifrost+Lyr 2 combo & Bifrost+Woo Audio WA7+WA7tp. Did direct by-ear-volume-matched non-blinded comparisons of short segments of songs that I am intimately familiar with (spent the most time using Heartbeat by Vincetone & Canon in D Major). Switching between different set-ups took less than 5 seconds.
     
    I found that the PM-3 performed the worse from my 2007 Dell laptop with a little bit of roughness to the details, a slightly grainy edge to notes, and a looser bass response. (could possibly be due to an issue with my laptop's headphone out or sound card though). Sound was noticeably improved on the S5 with a better overall balance of the frequency response, cleaner details, faster articulation of notes, and a tighter bass response. I do strongly believe that the PM-3 will perform well using most modern day portable devices. The PM-3 do scale up nicely with the addition of a mid-entry amplifier and dac. (unfortunately, I no longer have any entry-level budget equipment to test with). I would say the most noticeable difference was increased bass presence/impact, wider sound stage, richer texture, and a higher level of resolution for micro-details. I had difficulty confirming the exact subtle technical performance differences between the Lyr 2 and WA7, though the WA7 does have an overall warmer presentation. With the refined smooth tuning of the PM-3, I doubt that they will be very picky with external components.
     
    ***Update (4/9/15)***
    Portable Amp/Dacs: I tested the PM-3 with the Resonessence Herus and Oppo HA-2 individually on my S5 and laptop. Greatly enjoyed both pairings and they were adequate to drive the PM-3 without any noticeable clipping. Improved detail resolution and sound stage with both the Herus and HA-2. Precision of the imaging is stellar on both portable devices. The Herus has a brighter presentation than the rest of the dacs I own. This pairing can help improve the treble clarity and sharpness of the PM-3 without any excessive edginess. The Herus would be a good match if the treble presentation is too smooth or recessed for your personal tastes or if you like to subtly dial down the warmth in the sound signature. The PM-3's tuning and presentation prevents the sound from ever getting piercing or strident even with a bright dac. Link to the head-fi Herus thread here. I am still getting familiar with the HA-2; may comment in more detail on its sound later. Initial impressions are extremely positive and I feel that it is a great pairing for the PM-3. So far, the HA-2 does not appear to significantly alter the PM-3's overall sound signature to my ears, but it does improved the overall clarity throughout the frequency response. I immediately noticed improved sub-bass quality, deeper lower frequency extension, and better defined solid bass impact with the HA-2. The HA-2 is more revealing of subtle micro-details in the texture and improved the overall tonality with a realistic weight and presence to the notes. The bass boost feature provides an extremely clean bass 5dB boost frequencies below 100 Hz that tapers to 500 Hz. There is no muddiness or bleeding into the rest of the frequency response. You actually cannot hear a difference in the sound at all with bass boost on/off if you play music that does not have any notes below 500 Hz. I normally have the HA-2 set on low gain, no bass boost, volume pot at 1-2 out of 5 with the S5's volume maxed out. The HA-2 can even drive my HE-560 without any clipping to my preferred listening levels (maxed out volume on the S5 with analog volume pot at 2-3 out of 5 on high gain). Do note that precise volume-matching was a lot harder to do here with the Herus on the S5 having large volume steps, while the HA-2 allows extremely precise fine-tuning of volume levels with the combination of the Sabre dac chip's bit-perfect internal digital volume control and analog volume pot. There is no digital signal processor in the HA-2 and the bass boost is performed by pure analog audio circuits for a clean signal path. Link for HA-2 head-fi thread here.
    ***End of Update***
     
    I will refrain from estimating the exact percentile of improvements in this section as I know that different people have different sensitivities to the sonic changes from different equipment. I am comfortable saying that there is a noticeable difference adding an mid-fi amplifier and dac during a direct back and forth comparison, but they do perform admirably unamped from my smartphone. Additional gear not required to thoroughly enjoy the PM-3 (imo).
     
    From my personal experience, I do personally feel like even the best most resolving headphones only scale up to maybe 5-15% with the addition of external components generally. The overall sound signature and technical performance of the PM-3 was largely consistent in a broad sense throughout different set-ups. I never felt like there was anything lacking in terms of sound quality regardless of set-up, but I did eventually notice variations, subtleties, and improvements after extended direct comparisons. I always recommend people unhappy with their sound to switch headphones rather than fiddle with external components. However, if you are generally happy with their sound signature and performance, the PM-3 will go that extra mile with additional investments in your overall set-up.
     
    Value Judgment:
    You will be paying a premium for these headphones and these headphones do indeed offer premium build quality, design, and sound. I consider these to be in the upper mid-fi portable closed headphone category. The overall mid-fi portable closed over-ear headphone category ranges from $200-$500.
     
    I consider well-reviewed $200-$300 options to generally be satisfactory for portable usage and provide a great value for sound. There are indeed other options that offer a more competitive value if purely looking at it from a dollar per sound quality perspective. Examples include the K545 (sub-$200 on sale), K551 ($200ish), Momentum Over-Ears 1st generation (can be found on sale for $150-$200 nowadays), and HP50 ($300) for great high quality sound with a neutral sound signature. 
     
    I generally think that $400 headphones are often simply over-priced for their sonics in comparisons to competitors. The more expensive $400 headphones often do not have that much of a sonic improvement over their less expensive brethren, and I do feel like you are simply paying more for the brand name, build quality, and difference in sound signature, rather than sound quality. I do personally feel that way about the B&W P7 and Masters MH40 from my demoing experience with them. I have not had the chance to listen to the new BO H6 yet.
     
    From my audio memory (so take with a grain of salt), I will say the PM-3 definitely greatly technically outperform the ATH-M50x, V-Moda LP/M80/XS/M100, Sony MDR-1R/MDR-1A, Ultrasone Pro900, Yamaha Pro500, and P7 (though those headphones may be preferable for some people looking for their specific coloration of the sound signature). The PM-3 significantly outperform the ATH-M50x (a classic reference point for good-valued headphones) in terms of comfort, design, and sound quality. The PM-3 have a more neutral well-balanced sound signature, better imaging/sound stage, quicker transient response, and greater detail resolution, though the ATH-M50/M50x does have a fun v-shaped sound signature that I greatly enjoyed. I do also personally believe the PM-3 also outperform the K545, Momentums gen1, and MH40 (specifically in terms of realism, overall balance, speed, detail retrieval, and resolution). I do feel like the sound stage of the AKG K550/K551 does best the Oppo PM-3 though. The K550/K551 have the best sound stage for a closed headphone that I have heard, though they are unsuitable for true portable usage. I have not gotten a chance to run direct blinded volume-matched comparisons against other closed portable headphones yet, so it is hard for me to say talk about the definite amount of sonic improvements in comparison to the other strong offerings in this category. (note: all the headphones mentioned above I have either owned or extensively demoed & these are my personal impressions so ymmv)
     
    The PM-3 does offer significant sonic improvements over the more value-oriented options, but you are now definitely in the area of diminishing returns. I do personally find these headphones to be worth the premium price for me, but I would recommend you to do your own listening evaluations.
     
    For shoppers interested in planar magnetic headphones at this price point that do not require noise isolation/portable usage, I would highly recommend checking out the Hifiman HE-400i ($499 msrp, $425 open box at razordog). I greatly enjoyed the HE-400i and feel like they offer a tremendous performance:price value. The other open planar magnetic options in this price range include the HE-400, HE-500, Fostex TH500, and PM-2. For people interested in a closed-back planar magnetic for non-portable home usage and require noise isolation, there is the $1.8k Audeze LCD-XC and Mr. Speaker offers modded Fostex T50RP ($299 Mad Dog, $449 Mad Dog Pro, $599 Alpha Dog, $999 Alpha Prime) that receive a lot of positive feedback around here. Audeze has also recently released the $699 EL-8, available in open-back or close-back configurations, that will be a good option to consider for at home usage. The extreme weight (460-480 grams) and bulky larger size of the EL-8 would make me hesitant to recommend them for true portable on-the-go usage. I will hopefully get the chance to demo them in a few weeks and run some direct comparisons, so I will update this review after that. After that, the only planar magnetic headphones currently available on the market are the premium flagship-type options from Audeze (LCD-2/LCD-X/LCD-XC/LCD-3), Hifiman (HE-560/HE-6/upcoming HE-1000), Oppo (PM-1).
     
    For people just looking for a closed portable pair of headphones regardless of technology, my personal favorite mid-fi pick is the AKG K545 for the best sound quality per dollar value. I am also personally greatly interested in trying out the new Momentum Over-Ears Gen2, Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7, and BO H6. For people looking for home usage and do not require portable usage at all nor noise isolation, I would recommend looking into the multitude of stellar open headphones available on the market.

    Conclusion:
     
    Sound signature is quite close to neutral with a full bodied and well-balanced sound comprising of 'sweet' smooth treble, deep fast bass, and an excellently rich articulate midrange. Sound quality maintains a high level of detail retrieval, resolution, clarity, speed, and imaging.
     
    Greatest strength is the attention to detail paid to its portability function: very light-weight & comfy, sleek stylish design, easy to drive, great passive noise isolation, and included hard travel case & bundled remote/mic for your choice of device. Very solid option for people who require portability or noise isolation.
     
    Greatest con is that its sound stage does not match the performance of open headphones. I would approximate that its sound stage is at least better than average among the majority of closed backs if not better than most closed headphones. Would require more in-depth direct comparisons though to really rank its sound stage among its closed back peers.
     
    A great & very competitive offering even among the extremely crowded $200-$500 closed portable mid-fi headphones niche. One of the most inexpensive planar magnetic options out there for people interested in trying out orthodynamic headphones (prices for planar magnetic headphones start at $300 for the old Hifiman HE-400 and goes up to $2,000 for the Audeze LCD-3). One of the few closed planar magnetic headphones options out there (only others are the upcoming Audeze EL-8, Audeze LCD-XC and modded Fostex T50RPs like Mr. Speaker's line-up). Currently, the PM-3 is the only truly portable modern planar magnetic on the market.
     
    Highly recommended for anyone looking for a closed portable pair of orthodynamic headphones with a well-balanced neutral sound signature and excellent overall sound quality!!! 
     
    product link: http://www.oppodigital.com/headphones-pm-3/
     
    2015-03-1013.32.29.jpg
    Image of all my gear used during testing
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