Audio Zenith PMx2 Impressions page
post-11682201
Post #31 of 375

VisceriousZERO

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Oct 16, 2012
Messages
2,244
Reaction score
444
Joined
Oct 16, 2012
Posts
2,244
Likes
444
 
mmm.....and Egghead here in Manila, Philippines just delivered to the local headphile community. Two units of the PMx2 just arrived today and I am the first customer :). Initiatial impression: I have the Oppo PM1 that I bought last year from Jaben HK. As impressed as I am with the PM1, this Zenith Audio version of the PM2 is just loads better, no question about it. I am playing some of my favorite classical music (Italian arias, symphony etc.) and I am highly impressed by what I am hearing. It sounds really, really great. Whatever magic Zenith Audio did (with the pads/drivers/etc.), it seems to have worked out well. Kudos to Zenith. You're on to something really great.
 
Congrats to them!
 
   
   Wow this was fast! Rico at Egghead must be a magician to work out such great delivery channels! Huge thanks for the impressions, really happy you enjoy the sound and appreciate the hard work. 
   Best regards
Alex
 
Congrats Alex :) That was fast!
 
     Share This Post       
post-11703896
Post #32 of 375

raypin

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jun 22, 2010
Messages
2,516
Reaction score
990
Location
San Fransokyo
Joined
Jun 22, 2010
Location
San Fransokyo
Posts
2,516
Likes
990
Mmmm.......been pairing different amp and amp/dac to the PMx2. So far, the best and most dynamic-sounding pairing that I really love is the PMx2 and the Woo Audio WA7 Fireflies (Surface Pro 3/Foobar/Alo Audio Greenline usb). I'm blown away. I.AM.AMAZED. It is the Goldilocks headphone, not too hot, not too cold, it is just right. Enjoying this tremendously with jazz instrumentals.
 
     Share This Post       
  • Like
Reactions: rschoi75
post-11704633
Post #33 of 375

rschoi75

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Nov 2, 2014
Messages
335
Reaction score
153
Joined
Nov 2, 2014
Posts
335
Likes
153
They've arrived!!!  
 
I'll be listening in on my woo audio WA7d + WA7tp fireflies as well. I will report back in a while with impressions. 
 

 

 

 
     Share This Post       
post-11706750
Post #34 of 375

raypin

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jun 22, 2010
Messages
2,516
Reaction score
990
Location
San Fransokyo
Joined
Jun 22, 2010
Location
San Fransokyo
Posts
2,516
Likes
990
mmmm.....spectacular transportable  pairing: PMx2 + iFi iDSD Micro via AK 240 (optical out/iDSD @ normal power mode = drives the PMx2 with effortless authority, @ turbo power mode = too much/sound volume rises too fast). Playing 2L Nordic Sound DSD Sampler tracks = woof !!!.......the music just flows unhindered.
 
     Share This Post       
post-11711931
Post #35 of 375

rschoi75

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Nov 2, 2014
Messages
335
Reaction score
153
Joined
Nov 2, 2014
Posts
335
Likes
153
The PMx2's sound absolutely wonderful coming out of both the WA7d +WA7tp fireflies and the Oppo HA-2 portable dac/amp.
 
I would dare to say that the PMx2 is as resolving as the HD800, while sharing none of the latter's notorious sibilance.
 
I don't want to say too much as I'm attempting to write a review on these, but I will say that they are the smoothest can's I've heard in a long, long time.
 
     Share This Post       
post-11712966
Post #36 of 375

raypin

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jun 22, 2010
Messages
2,516
Reaction score
990
Location
San Fransokyo
Joined
Jun 22, 2010
Location
San Fransokyo
Posts
2,516
Likes
990
  The PMx2's sound absolutely wonderful coming out of both the WA7d +WA7tp fireflies and the Oppo HA-2 portable dac/amp.
 
I would dare to say that the PMx2 is as resolving as the HD800, while sharing none of the latter's notorious sibilance.
 
I don't want to say too much as I'm attempting to write a review on these, but I will say that they are the smoothest can's I've heard in a long, long time.

mmm....yes, the mids/highs are better than the Oppo PM1. It is interesting though that you compare it with the Sennheiser HD800 while I am inclined to compare it with the Audeze LCD X: the performance gap, to my ears and based on my sonic preference, between the Audio Zenith  PMx2  and the LCD X is much closer. Given that, I am more inclined to use the PMx2 more than my LDC X because of the former's superior ergonomics. I have the HD 800 as well. I'll A/B it this weekend. Right now, I'm listening to Tracy Chapman through the PMx2/Sony PCM D100/ifi iDSD Micro. It is awesome.
 
     Share This Post       
post-11722719
Post #37 of 375

arteom

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Sep 5, 2006
Messages
1,292
Reaction score
86
Joined
Sep 5, 2006
Posts
1,292
Likes
86
Got a chance to listen to the PMx2 at the Denver meeting. I have a pair of HD-800's and a pair of MS-Pro's, was looking for a set of headphones that would jump out, leave an impression. The PMx2 definitely did it!! I knew they were something special as soon as I put them on. Their sound signature was beautifully executed, cohesive in a way I had not heard before. All the details were there, resolved in their own space, attack and decay was on point, the bottom end texture really stood out! Was a remarkable piece of gear, really enjoyed it, will definitely be on my radar when released to market.

For anyone wondering I had them amped by a cavalli ehha, twisted pear opus dac.
 
     Share This Post       
  • Like
Reactions: rschoi75
post-11722768
Post #38 of 375

john57

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Feb 16, 2009
Messages
2,704
Reaction score
185
Joined
Feb 16, 2009
Posts
2,704
Likes
185
I also head the PMx2 at the Denver meet. It has a smoother more even treble and nothing sounded peaky. It is a more relaxed and natural sounding headphone.By looking at the frequency charts at  Audio Zenith PMx2 web site I found the reason why I do not like the treble on the HD800. The treble gradually goes down and drops at 5kHz then goes up at 6kHz and level out from there. That makes the treble on the HD800 to sound a bit disconnected from the rest of the frequency response. It looks like the measuring equipment that Audio Zenith match more to what my ears are hearing.
 
     Share This Post       
post-11722793
Post #39 of 375

john57

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Feb 16, 2009
Messages
2,704
Reaction score
185
Joined
Feb 16, 2009
Posts
2,704
Likes
185
I also compare the PMx2 to the LCD-3 and my impression with the LCD-3 was that the bass is not extended at all. The tympani recordings did not sounded complete and the treble sounded a bit harsher than the PMx2.
 
     Share This Post       
post-11724462
Post #40 of 375

rschoi75

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Nov 2, 2014
Messages
335
Reaction score
153
Joined
Nov 2, 2014
Posts
335
Likes
153
Just put up my review: http://www.head-fi.org/products/audio-zenith-pmx2-headphone/reviews/13463
* edit 06/30/15 - This review seems to have gotten buried along with all the other reviews in the "Head Gear" section, so I've cut/pasted to the main impressions thread for easier reading.
 
 
TL;DR - Overall score of 9/10. Nearly perfect reference level headphone.
 
Pros: Flat and exciting signature. Silky smooth treble & amazing mids. TOTL quality sound, looks, and comfort.
Cons: Expensive, Non-removable ear pads, One man company... so long term support is an unknown, could use a little more sub-bass (imo)

 
Audio Zenith PMx2 Over-ear Planar Magnetic Headphone:
 
*Disclaimer - I am in no way affiliated with Audio Zenith, Oppo Digital, or any public headphone/electronic company. I’m just an amateur enthusiast who works a normal 9 to 5 office job in the import/export field. I usually listen to headphones on average of 2-4 hours per day. My preference is towards slightly warm headphones, with an emphasis on the mids. I was introduced to these headphones at THE Show in Newport 2015, and paid full retail for them directly through Audio Zenith’s website:
 
www.audiozenith.com
 

 
Audio Zenith Background:
 
Founded in late 2014, San Diego, CA based Audio Zenith is a budding headphone modification company which focuses its efforts exclusively on modifying the Oppo PM-2 planar magnetic headphone. While his company has only been around for a little over six months, owner Alex Zaets has been tinkering with Oppo’s planar magnetic headphones for quite some time, as a result of his relationship with Oppo’s lead headphone designer Igor Levitski1. He has been tinkering even longer in the realm of digital signal processing, and previously attended high-end audio shows under the company name of “Acoustic Zen/Million Dollar Sound” to show off his dsp work with. TAS reviewer Robert Greene even went as far as to say, “[Alex's system] was gorgeous, to my ears some of the most beautiful and musically truthful sound at that or any other show. And indeed [he] got the room really out of the system to a startling extent.”3
 
Audio Zenith is the first officially sanctioned aftermarket dealer of modified Oppo headphones. Being a small startup, current production is limited to only a handful of modified PMx2’s per month, and all are modified/tuned to order.  Please contact Audio Zenith for lead times, as they may change based on demand.
 
 
PMx2 Introduction:
 
Pronounced “PM times 2”, the PMx2 headphone is a result of over two years of work, and more than two thousand measurements in an effort to achieve, what Alex considers to be, the perfect reference level sound signature. From fine-tuning the drivers to developing five different zones of pad density, it’s safe to say that developing the PMx2 was a massive labor of love on his part. After spending a few days with the end result, I think it’s also safe to say that his efforts have paid off quite nicely.
 
 

 
Specifications:
 
The PMx2 shares the same specifications as the stock PM-2. 
 
Headphone Specifications
Acoustic PrincipleOpen back
Ear CouplingCircumaural
Nominal Impedance32 Ohm
Sensitivity102 dB in 1 mW
Clamping Pressure5 N
Cables3 m detachable OFC cable (6.35 mm)
1 m detachable OFC cable (3.5 mm)
Cable ConnectorsOutput: 2.5 mm mono mini jacks
Input: 6.35 mm stereo jack, 3.5 mm stereo jack
WeightPM-2: 385 g (without cable), PMx2:  490 g (without cable)
Included AccessoriesCarrying Case
6.35 mm and 3.5 mm cables
User Manual
Driver Specifications
Driver TypePlanar Magnetic
Driver Size (Oval)85 x 69 mm
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
* credit Oppo Digital 
 
 
Changes vs the Stock Oppo PM-2:
 
- Neutral tuning vs stock PM-2’s warmer signature.
- Custom velour pads, which have been developed to have five different zones of firmness for proper driver placement, seal, and acoustic dampening. *Alex noted that he went through dozens of variations of custom pads to solve areas of uneven air pressure resulting from a circular driver and an oval pad. (please refer to pictures)
- Pads are not removable.
- Driver has an altered magnetic structure, and magnetic field distribution.
- Each driver is tested and matched to the other.
- Minor cosmetic changes such as “Audio Zenith” branding to cover up the stock “Oppo” branding. I’m not really partial to the design, but I don’t think it’s terribly bad either. It still has an attractive, black suit & tie feel to it. 
- Price increase of $700 USD vs Oppo PM-2.
 
Unboxing / Design:
 
The Audio Zenith PMx2 is very similar to the stock Oppo PM-2 in its presentation.  The headphones come housed in same box as the stock PM-2 with only the logo being altered.
 

 
 
Inside the storage box you will find the standard Oppo PM-2 fare:
- Oppo’s denim travel case with the logo being the only thing altered
- Short 3ft cable w/ 3.5mm termination
- Long 10ft sleeved OFC cable, same as the stock PM-2 cable + Audio Zenith branding.
- Soft cable pouch
 

 
 
The headphones themselves share nearly all of the crowd-pleasing aesthetics of the original PM-2 headphones. Although I appreciate Alex’s refined sense of style in not going overboard on altering the design of the already attractive PM-2, I would have preferred an even more subtle branding effort (but that’s just me).
 
The Oppo logos have been replaced with Audio Zenith name, and the adjustment sliders now feature the Audio Zenith logo. Alex points out that the logo serves to not only aid in branding, but also to help the user remember the adjustment position. I find that even though it does help, the issue really wasn’t that big of a deal to me in the first place. In the end, the thing that stands out to me the most is the fact that Alex thought about all these minute details, when I would have just overlooked that aspect of convenience.  Overall the PMx2 keeps all the luxurious aesthetics of the original PM-2, while altering just enough to differentiate it from it’s former self. 
 
 
  
 
 
 
 
 
Sound Signature:
 
The PMx2 has been tuned for a flat response.  Please don’t make the mistake of assuming flat equals boring, because these headphones are anything but.
The PMx2 is Neutral, exciting, and supremely smooth.
 
 
Oppo PM-2 Frequency Response1:
http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/OppoPM22014StockPads.pdf
 
Audio Zenith PMx2 Frequency Response1:
http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/AudioZenithPMx2.pdf
 
Testing for this review was done on the following set-ups: 
- Macbook Pro > Schiit Wyrd > Woo Audio WA7d (stock sovtek 6c45) + WA7tp (mullard 12au7) > PMx2
- iPod Touch 5g > Oppo HA-2 > PMx2
- Astell & Kern AK100ii > PMx2
 
 
Bass:
 
Rating: 9/10 = classical/jazz/instrumental/rock, 7/10 = edm, rap.  
 
At first I was going to award the PMx2 an overall “8/10“ on the bass, but after some more critical listening I decided to split the ratings for the bass quality based on the genre of music. I think it would be a terrible disservice to these headphones to oversimplify the bass rating when each genre of music demands a different approach to bass.
 
Overall the bass is fast, accurate, and detailed, as one might expect from a planar magnetic headphone.  The mid bass is wonderfully rich when listening to classical, jazz, and instrumental music. It hits the low notes of live instruments to perfection, with no bleeding into the midrange. However, it does lack the gut rumbling low-end extension, and sheer quantity needed to really immerse oneself into edm or rap music. When compared to the stock PM-2, the sub-bass of the PMx2 sounds attenuated (as shown by Tyll’s FR charts).
 
 
Midrange:
 
Rating: 10/10
 
While the PMx2 is tuned flat across the spectrum, the sonic signature is decidedly mid-forward. This headphone really shines when reproducing live instruments and vocals… especially anything acoustic. The PMx2 brings out the best in any string instrument, and listening to the piano is just pure bliss. The mids sound balanced across the entire range, with no section being emphasized more than anything else. It is a true “Reference” headphone in every way in terms of the midrange.
 
 
Treble:
 
Rating: 10/10
 
The Original PM-2’s treble was the weakest part of the headphone’s signature in my opinion. It was rolled off, and overly laid back, leading to a somewhat boring listening experience. I’m happy to say that the PMx2 have remedied this.  
 
The PMx2 is absolutely a "top of the line" product in terms of clarity and precision, while still retaining musicality and smoothness. It is supremely clear, without being clinical or overly analytical at all. It is a world-class mixture of silky smoothness, and just enough sparkle to keep things exciting, but not enough to make the music sound piercing. This is just my personal opinion, but I think the treble is some of the best I've ever heard. It can definitely go head to head with anything out there. This includes the LCD-3, Ether (demo'd at Canjam 2015), HD800 w/ grace m920 (demo'd at Canjam 2015), HE-1000K (demo'd at Canjam 2015). Given that the canjam demos were held in loud, stuffy, and crowded rooms, I'll reserve any definitive judgement on it.
 
The best way I can describe the quality & finesse of the PMx2’s treble is with a cooking analogy.  It’s like a perfectly seasoned dish… Just enough sparkle in the treble to make the music feel alive, and exciting, while not overpowering the whole. It makes you want to sit in for another song, and another. Similar to how an expertly seasoned dish should make you want to take another bite, and another. As everyone knows, too little seasoning and it’s bland, but a pinch too much and it’s completely uneatable.
 
Sound Stage:
 
Rating: 8/10
 
Similar to the stock PM-1/PM-2, the sound stage is more intimate compared to other open backed headphones. I’d liken it being at a small dinner theater show versus at a stadium concert. Still, you can definitely sense a feeling of airiness when compared to closed back headphones.
 
Imaging/Separation:
 
Rating: 9/10
 
While the soundstage isn’t as big as comparable open back headphones, the imaging on the PMx2 is second to none. As long as the recording shows it, you will hear every instrument clearly, and can imagine exactly where they would be. Main vocals seem to float right behind your eyes. I can’t say anything bad about this aspect.
 
 
Headphone Comparisons: 
 

 
 
PMx2 vs Audeze LCD-3:
 
- The PMx2 sounds more forward in the midrange and treble, while being slightly lighter in the bass department.
- Both headphones are excellent in terms of clarity and imaging, with the LCD-3 having a slight edge on the imaging. 
- The PMx2 is also more aesthetically attractive, and comfortable to wear. The LCD-3 is kind of attractive in a steam-punk sort of way, but I wouldn't wear it in public. They are also very heavy, and uncomfortable to wear for long listening sessions (*the aftermarket "Lohb" strap fixes this issue).
- In terms of soundstage, the LCD-3 is the clear winner. The LCD-3 sounds very airy and open compared to the more small theater feeling of the PMx2. 
 
PMx2 vs Fostex TH900:
 
- The most obvious difference is the bass. It is the defining quality of the TH900. It's plentiful in quantity, rich and digs down deep. The PMx2's bass is much more refined and reserved in comparison.  
- TH900 is unabashedly V-shaped, and the PMx2 is decidedly flat. Both have top of the line qualities for their respective styles. 
- The TH900's treble is somewhat sibilant to sensitive ears vs the smoother signature of the PMx2. 
 
PMx2 vs Sennheiser HD650: 
 
- I think the HD650 and the PMx2 share much of the same qualities. I view the HD650 is a slightly less refined, looking and sounding, PMx2.
- Both have fantastic performance in the midrange and treble. The HD650 has an edge on the quantity of bass, but the PMx2's bass is faster, and tighter. 
- Both are top notch headphones regardless of price, but when you do consider the price... the HD650 is the clear winner. It can be found for ~$280.00 usd when on sale at various websites now days. 
- The PMx2 is a great upgrade for those of us who already own the HD650, but didn't necessarily get along with the stock HD700 and/or HD800. *Note I emphasize stock. I've heard some amazing modified examples of the HD800. 
 
 
Conclusion:
 
Overall Score: 9/10
 
The PMx2 is nearly a perfect headphone in my book. It takes an already attractive looking headphone and boosts the sound quality to another level. I would have rated this headphone a perfect 10/10 if it were not for the attenuated bass (one of my favorite parts of the original PM-2), and the small-ish soundstage of the PM-2.
 
Is it worth the msrp of $1398.00 USD?
Yes, if you’re in the market for a top of the line headphone, with a budget to match. If you’re a person who needs that last 10% of sound quality, then absolutely these will satisfy your “upgraditis”. I believe these can hold their own with the current line up of TOTL headphones such as the HD800, Ether, LCD-3, HE-1000 etc., and even be the preferred choice for some (when taking into consideration sound, price, comfort, aesthetics, etc…).
 
No, if you’re on a budget. In this situation, I’d highly…. highly suggest the HD600/HD650 (when on sale for  $225/$280 usd respectively).  The PMx2 is very similar in signature to the HD600, just more refined in sound and looks.
 
 
Critical Listening Song Choices:
*All songs were played through Tidal or ALAC files for testing, but I’ve attached the corresponding youtube links as well.
 
1) L. Boccherini - La Musica Notturna delle Strade di Madrid - Op. 30 n. 6
 
2) Yo-Yo Ma - Prelude from suite No. 1 in G Major for Cello, BWV 1007
- The always amazing Yo-Yo Ma. The cello sounds lifelike and vibrant with the PMx2. 
 
3) Post Modern Jukebox - All about that bass – jazz cover ft. Kate Davis
- My wife loves these guys… ok I’ll admit I kinda like them too. It’s definitely a guilty pleasure. The PMx2 makes the stand up bass and piano sound incredibly life like.
 
4) Stevie Wonder - If it’s Magic
- Silky vocals, great soundstage, and amazing sounding harp.  
 
5) Matoma & The Notorious B.I.G. - Old Thing Back (feat. Ja Rule and Ralph Tresvant) - ** Explicit Lyrics/video is NSFW **
- my current go to song for checking out bass quality.
 
6) System of a Down – Revenga – Mezmerize
- Need a track to test the speed and accuracy of your headphones, while listening to some killer vocals? System of a Down’s surgical precision will satisfy you.
 
7) Dragonforce – Through The Fire and Flames – Inhuman Rampage
- Torture test. Herman Li and Sam Totman on the guitar can be awesome on the right set of headphones, and painful on the wrong set.
 
8) James Horner – Glory – Closing Credits
- RIP James Horner.
 
 
Sources:
 
1) Innerfidelity.com - T.H.E Show Newport 2015 Highlight: Audio Zenith PMx2 
 
2) Audiocircle.com - The Show, Newport 2012
 
3) Direct Q&A with Alex Zaets via telephone.

 
     Share This Post       
  • Like
Reactions: Schopenhauer
post-11731743
Post #42 of 375

rschoi75

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Nov 2, 2014
Messages
335
Reaction score
153
Joined
Nov 2, 2014
Posts
335
Likes
153
Nice. Congratulations on your purchase! Sometimes taking a risk on the underdog, or unknown player, pays off BIG TIME. I believe this is one of those times.
 
Pretty much anyone who has ever measured these sets agrees as well. Even the salty old dogs on the competing web forum (I'm not allowed to mention the forum name) were very impressed by these headphones. Phrases like, "perfect tonality" and "nearly perfect measurements", were mentioned by people who rarely promote any product so positively.
 
     Share This Post       
post-11732971
Post #43 of 375

punit

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Feb 28, 2010
Messages
1,695
Reaction score
184
Location
Dubai
Joined
Feb 28, 2010
Location
Dubai
Posts
1,695
Likes
184
  Just put up my review: http://www.head-fi.org/products/audio-zenith-pmx2-headphone/reviews/13463
* edit 06/30/15 - This review seems to have gotten buried along with all the other reviews in the "Head Gear" section, so I've cut/pasted to the main impressions thread for easier reading.
 
Great Review. Have the PM 2 & like it for its smooth sound. Its a good complimentary can to my HD 800. Thinking of sending it to Alex for modding to PMx2 in the near future.
 
     Share This Post       
post-11736435
Post #44 of 375

DarktoreS

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
May 2, 2011
Messages
211
Reaction score
188
Location
France
Joined
May 2, 2011
Location
France
Posts
211
Likes
188
Website
www.dmaudio.net
My PMX2 arrived today with the new Audeze Deckard, I am amazed by the work of Alex ! The result on Deckard is splendid, even if the LCD-2F remains my favorite for classical music ! I'm just conquered by the perfect realization finishing Alex, one can easily believe that the headphone is out of the factory without any intervention ! And the sound, which class on all levels as I said thank you ALEX ZAETS!
 
We French have a reputation for being rarely satisfied, you have exceeded my expectations !
 

 
     Share This Post       
post-11739011
Post #45 of 375

Schopenhauer

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Mar 27, 2014
Messages
567
Reaction score
162
Joined
Mar 27, 2014
Posts
567
Likes
162
 
Must say that I'd love to give these a listen; sounds right up my alley.  Would be great if a loaner tour could be arranged (similar to the Oppo tours).

Will definitely do the loaner after demand for reviewers is fulfilled. We are small operation and taking each unit up to our standards takes quite a bit of time :wink:.
Would also love to see/participate in a loaner tour. From everything I read about the PMx2 on this site and some others, it appears to have the signature I've been looking for. "Perfect tonality" is a phrase I often read about the PMx2; and as far as I'm concerned, tonality is perhaps the most important quality in a headphone.
 
Essentially, I'm looking for a headphone whose treble extension and resolution exceed that of the LCD-2.2 without succumbing to the brightness of the HD800. In other words, I want a headphone in between those two that preserves what I perceive are the strengths of the LCD-2.2: e.g., effortlessness, linearity, smoothness, non-fatiguingness, etc.
 
I would say that the PMx2 is pretty much at the top of a shortlist that includes the ZMF Omni (which I'll get to hear as a participant in the upcoming loaner tour), JH Angie, and Campfire Jupiter. But given that it's a significant investment (and understandably so with everything Alex has put into developing it), it would be great to have a listen beforehand, provide impressions etc.
 
     Share This Post       

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 1)

Top