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Missed the postman today for the PM-1's. I'll ha e to pick these up tomorrow. Can't wait!
I sent the PM-2 to the next person on the list
Sorry forgot to post last weekend. I received this this past Friday! Will be shipping out to next person by Thursday.
Glad to see it made it.
I do apologize, had a very busy weekend!
Just received the PM-1. Thanks @lenroot77
Coming from an HD 700 the first thing I noticed was reduced treble and more punchy bass. The PM-1 sounded pretty good out of my LG V10 in AUX mode. When I connected my Chord Mojo to the PM-1 that's when the fun really started! My initial feel was that the synergy was too lush sounding so after I applyed my increased treble preset, the synergy was more to my liking. The sound was fast, engaging, and non fatiguing. Mojo drove the PM-1 to it's full potential. I let a few family members try out the combo and they all really enjoyed it.
After a couple hours of listening my ears got a little warm from the lambskin earpads and I had to constantly re-adjust it to be comfortable. I was impressed with the build quality; although the unit looks like it had quite a bit of use hehe.
The PM-1's have very good imaging and a nice wide soundstage. Detail separation is excellent, everything is easy to follow and has it's own space.
So far I am really enjoying them
Is his program still ongoing? I am interested in PM2 and agreed to the term and conditions.
Posted my review of the PM-1: http://www.head-fi.org/products/oppo-pm-1/reviews/17173
Interested in the PM-1 and agree to terms and conditions. Leaving town on Christmas Eve for 2 weeks though so may have to defer until later depending on how many people are ahead of me on the list. Thanks!
The PM-1 Home Run
I got to test out the PM-1 a few months back and have been doing further demos of other competitors to get a full context. My verdict was that if the sound signature Oppo presents is your cup of tea, you cannot beat the value they provide. I tested the PM-1 and from my understanding, it is essentially the PM-2 with more luxurious appointments. For the sake of this review and statement, I am applying the assumption that the $700 PM-2's performance is the same and therefore deeming the PM-2 side-by-side with the Sennheiser HD650 for the best performance to value ratio [I am one of the lucky bunch with an HD6xx on the way, which is likely to change the game on performance to price value, but for now, I'll anoint the PM-2 as the winner].
Amp: Bryston BHA-1 - MSRP $1700
DAC: Creative Labs AlgoRhythm Solo -DB - MSRP $600
Comparison Headphones [with Amazon prices]: Oppo PM-1 $1,100, Audio Zenith Pmx2 $1500, Audeze LCD-3 $1,950, Audeze EL-8 Open-Back $700, Sennheiser HD 600 $270, Sennheiser HD 650 $320, Sennheiser HD 800 $1,000, Sennheiser HD 800S $1,700, Beyerdynamic T1 $1,100, Hifiman HE-400S $300, Hifiman He-1000 $2,400, Stax SR-007a $2,170.
Stevie Ray Vaughan: Tin Pan Alley & Texas Flood studio and live versions
Miles Davis: So What
Antonio Carlos Jobim: Wave
Beyonce: Drunk in Love Kanye Remix
Drake: 9, Look What You've Done,
Kanye West: Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1, 30 Hours, Black Skinhead/I Am a God
Joe Satriani: Bells of Lal Pt. II
Steve Vai: Tender Surrender
I did my demo at Audio Lab in Harvard Sq in Cambridge, MA. The guy that runs the shop is a punk rock disciple from the 70s-80s and our experience together doing these demos really revealed why sound signature preference is so important when evaluating headphones. The point being, he and I were the exact opposites. Every time I would show him a virute of the Oppos or the Senn HD 800, he would say that they sounded like he was in the back of the concert and preferred the Audeze because they put you in the front row.
I find the Audeze to be too mid forward, like the lead singer is shoving the rest of the song out of the way. I have the same problem with Shure's IEMs. The point being, my sound signature is for a laid-back subtle v-shape, with a particular sensitivity to sharp upper mids [which makes the HD 800 a tough listen for me despite all its positive virtues. Thankfully I found the HD 800S has fixed that sibilant spike and created the perfect Sennheiser headphone]
So for the sake of these impressions, the assumption is that you like the sound of the Oppos, the HD 600/650 series, the Hifiman 1000 and any other relatively smooth V shape with a laid back feel. The Beyer T1 is somewhat similar, but I find the mids to be very recessed and it sounds a bit tin canny. However, whilethe DT series sounds like an actual tin can to me, the T1 was actually really nicely balanced with a lot of emphasis at both frequency ends. But when you take out the flagship cans from the equation from Hifiman, Stax, Senn and Audee, the PM-1 emerged as the performance champion.
It's closest comparison was the HD 650, which when paired with the fantastic CLAS DAC and the pulse pounding Bryston amp, performed like a $2,000 headphone. When I compared the performance of the HD 650 to using it on my mediocre portable Creative Soundblaster E5 to the Bryston amp, it was like eating a pile of steroids. But the PM-1 does a grat job of performing well on even the Soundblaster. It's baseline performance level on lower performing amps was better than any other headphone I tried besides the EL-8, which is meant to be plugged into an iPhone for the mass market.
The PM-1s major victory over the HD 650 was its open sound and perhaps perfect soundstage for contemporary electronic based music. Listening to Hip Hop on the PM-1 was a dream come true. Perfectly balanced the vocals, the rolling lead instruments and the crush of subbass 808s and percussive bass kicks. The Pm-1 [and the Audio Zenith Pmx2 mod] are probably the best headphones for Hip Hop and electronic music I've heard under $2,000.
My favorite track to test bass is Drake's "9". It opens with a massive crush of bass rumble before adding on new elements to thesong one at a time. It's a great way to get an itemization of th performance capabilities of the cans. first the bass rumble starts with a background synth and some muffled vocals. then Drake's voice comes in with a ton of reverb and space. When the bass kicks begin and then the high hat roll and main synth crash through, you can clearly pick apart distortion and any flaws. the PM-1 felt a little sharp on this song, but that is more of a virtue to its authenticity than anything. Switching to Beyonce's Drunk in Love remix, we again have a clear distinction between the rolling subbass 808s and the bouncy bass kicks. When Mike Dean and Kanye remixed Drunk in Love, they did an amazing job of distorting the bass a bit to fit Kanye's Yeezus era aesthetic, while adding some haunting and subtle background synth waves. The result, when hearing it all spread out and swell around you on the PM-1s, is an absolute masterpiece. The PM-1s have the perfect equilibrium for soundstage on this song.
The HD800 series pulled everything too far and to the back of the head. I felt my ear drums literally reaching out to try to grab some of the backing synths. The Audeze cans stuffed the bass and vocals into my ears and left me straining to hear everything going on in the background [although the LCD 3 is still pretty close to perfect here, just a little too forward for me.]. I felt across the board that with push and pull dynamic with the Audeze and HD 800 series respectively. the PM-1 strikes the perfect balance. The soundstage fit the music better than any competitor in the sub-summit fi category except for jazz. Only with songs from Miles Davis and Tom Jobim that I found the more extreme ends of soundstage reach provided form Audeze and the HD800 to be more pleasing. Suffice it to say, the PM-1 is the all-around workhorse that fits more ears and tastes than anything.
And boy does that planar bass come in to play here. When you just put on the HD 650, the bass feels tight and the treble feels smooth. But then when you switch to the PM-1, the HD 650 truly does sound veiled and the planar bass feels like a different level. The bass is tight on both of them, but the impact slam was just so mother flippin profound and energizing on the PM-1. I found myself looping the first 4 measures of the beat on Drunk in Love over and over and over [and over] again, just to feel the exhilaration of the bass slam.
The main flaw in Hip Hop is that mainstream albums are usually mastered to be a little sharp in the upper mids and treble, because it needs to counteract the fact that 99% of listeners are hearing the song on Beats or apple earpods. So when you listen to that same track on hifi gear, it can sound thin up top and too sharp. While the Audeze cans muted this down with their sound signature, I found the PM-1 at the end of the day to take the cake for most Hip Hop and electronic music. It navigates so perfectly in the middle ground between the Audeze and HD 800 sound, it just hits that sweet spot. It has a lot of the treble sparkle that the HD800 can produce at brilliant levels, but the sibilance is kept in check. Where the T1 can feel brittle and thin, the PM1 provided full body and musical texture. There wasn't really a downside.
I would say that the planar drivers became especially crucial for the mids. Having a laid back sound sig often makes the mids feel too distant, but the PM1 holds the mids just close enough to your brain for you to get a full taste. I thought the mids had greater texture and detail on the LCD3, but the PM1 was close enough that the tradeoff wasn't a compromise. The biggest surprise was listening to Wave by Tom Jobim, an incredibly delicate composition, and feeling significant intimacy from the piano for the first time. I felt like I was laying on the piano with my stilettos in the air. As a 6' tall guy, that's pretty hard to imagine. The strings that come in later in the song used to feel like one or two violinists off in the corner, but on the PM1 seemed like I was sitting second row for the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra. While the HD 800 may be the most ideal headphone for listening to jazz and bossa nova because of the euphoric soundstage experience and treble performance, I found the PM1 to be a more relaxing and fun experience while not sacrificing on imaging and soundstage wonderment.
So my final sound grades:
Analytical listening 9/10
Sound versatility 9.8/10
Overall sound 9.5/10
Genre strength: Everything, but especially Hip Hop. This is THE Hip Hop Hifi headphone.
Design, Comfort and Other Musings
The design is impeccable. Aesthetically, the PM-1 is essentially the Audi A7 of headphone design. Impeccably sleek, contemporary looking with luxurious accents. It is both simple and extravagant at the same time. Oppo just has some of the best aesthetic design concepts in the business. They used a fantastically supple lambskin for the headband and the chrome accents are just perfectly shaped and the shine is just muted enough for it to navigate the fine line between classy and tacky. The connectors the cables have a nice metal housing design which looks good when hanging from the bottom of the cans. the earpad selection both looks good and functions well. I went with the velour earpads because they both were more comfortable, less humid feeling and produced better low end. The difference in low end performance with the velour earpads was noticable. It should also be noted that on the otherworldly Audio Zenith Pmx2 mod, they stress that their modded earpads are a vital part of enhancing performance on the mod. I haven't been able to compare them at the same time, but from my impressions of the PMx2 when I demoed them, there is a significant difference.
As for comfort, well, these are at the top of the list. The only more comfortable headphones I have worn are the Hifiman HE-1000 and Stax 007 because of their suspended headband. I don't know why every headphone in existence doesn't have a suspended headband, but oh well. The headband on the 007 is one fo the greatest inventions of all time, behind the internet and chick-fil-a sauce. The HD800s are incredibly comfortable, but I find the giant housings often cover most of my face and encroach on my shoulders when I'm sitting. The PM-1, much like the HE-1000 and Senn HD 650/600, is just shaped perfectly for the curvature of your ears. The PM-1 comfortably fits my ears in, seals them off, and comfortably sits on my face with no pressure. This is something the HD 650 definitely does not do well, as I often feel a pinch on my jaw from their clamping. But the PM-1 arrived out of the box with perfect clamping force.
Buy these. Buy the living $#!T out of these. I would recommend the PM-2 since it's a lot cheaper and the Audio Zenith Pmx2 is only $400 more than the PM-1 MSRP and is on the same performance level as the He-1000 and Stax 007 in my book. From everything I've heard, the PM-1 is an older and more luxurious version of the exact same sounding PM-2. Plus if you have the budget eventually, you can always send the PM2 to Audio Zenith to have it modded. I don't know if they do the PM-1, but either way it's worth it if you have the money.
The HD 650 is my workhorse while the HE-1000 is my end game goal. The PM-1 is the perfect step up from the HD650 on your way tot he HE-1000. In fact, I don't think I would even go anywhere else after securing an Oppo. It fits my sound signature perfectly and gives me emotion, impact and detail in every spot I need it on every song I want. The performance for the price is truly an accomplishment and has won me over.
I'd like to try the pm1. I agree to the terms.
I agree to the terms. I am quite interested in the PM-2. Thank you!
I would like to thank Jiffysquid (Chris) for allocated another Pm-1 to the program after the last series of unfortunate events, the anticipation to test these headphones has been killing me. They have been delivered to my local post office on 11/30/2016 and I will be picking them up tonight beginning my demo session.