Oppo PM-2 vs. Audeze EL-8
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wgb113

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Looking to upgrade from a pair of AKG K712 Pros.  Amp/DAC combo is an Oppo HA-1.  Portability is a plus but not necessary.  
 
I like the AKG sound but find the K712s to hit a pressure point below my earlobe.
 
Thoughts?  I realize not many have heard the latter yet.
 
Bill
 
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wgb113

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Too soon I suppose. Went and listened to the Oppo PM-1 with std leather EarPods today with the HA-1 and brought my AKG K712s along. BIG difference in sound but to me the Oppos were a lot more colored, especially in the lower mids/upper bass. Not that they were bad sounding at all, just not as neutral as I'm used to. They made the AKGs sound very thin.

As a result I left without ordering the PM-2 and asked them to give me a ring when the EL-8 came in.

Bill




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Too soon I suppose. Went and listened to the Oppo PM-1 with std leather EarPods today with the HA-1 and brought my AKG K712s along. BIG difference in sound but to me the Oppos were a lot more colored, especially in the lower mids/upper bass. Not that they were bad sounding at all, just not as neutral as I'm used to. They made the AKGs sound very thin.

As a result I left without ordering the PM-2 and asked them to give me a ring when the EL-8 came in.

Bill
 
yea, i thought the oppo's were very warm. think they are still quite close to neutral, but definitely a radical departure from the akg sound sig if that's what you are used to.
 
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wgb113

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Bumping this since the EL-8s are starting to arrive.
 
I won't have the loaner pair of PM-2s from Oppo until late-April so I'll have to wait to visit my Audeze dealer for a listen myself until then.
 
Also curious as to how the Sennheiser HD700 might stack up against both headphones.
 
Bill
 
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I was part of the Oppo PM-2 loaner program. I spent an absurd amount of time with those things on my head. That said, I have not heard the Audeze EL-8.
 
I will say this. The Oppo PM-2 does not scale with amplifiers, at all. I got to try them with the Oppo HA-1, a chinese O2+ODAC knock off, and straight out of my Oneplus One. Could I tell a difference? Yes. But it was not enough to persuade my lazy self to switch to an amplifier if I was already playing music out of my phone. There is not a doubt in my mind that the EL-8 will sound "better" (whatever that means) than the PM-2 on your Oppo HA-1 (great DAC/Amp by the way).
 
Think of the sound signature of the PM-2 being slightly lower-mids focused, with good bass extension, and the treble is just gone. If you like to hear the lovely overtones of instruments, you'll hate the PM-2. If you love the airy highs of open headphones compared to closed headphones, run. I myself enjoyed the PM-2, for it's intimacy with vocals and stringed instruments of any kind, as well it's excellent bass. But I myself found the absence of highs overdone, and I prefer polite, laid-back treble.
 
I imagine the EL-8 will stick to the Audeze house sound. A touch warmer than neutral. But I am speculating so much about this I'm marginally disgusted with myself.
 
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wgb113

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I was part of the Oppo PM-2 loaner program. I spent an absurd amount of time with those things on my head. That said, I have not heard the Audeze EL-8.

I will say this. The Oppo PM-2 does not scale with amplifiers, at all. I got to try them with the Oppo HA-1, a chinese O2+ODAC knock off, and straight out of my Oneplus One. Could I tell a difference? Yes. But it was not enough to persuade my lazy self to switch to an amplifier if I was already playing music out of my phone. There is not a doubt in my mind that the EL-8 will sound "better" (whatever that means) than the PM-2 on your Oppo HA-1 (great DAC/Amp by the way).

Think of the sound signature of the PM-2 being slightly lower-mids focused, with good bass extension, and the treble is just gone. If you like to hear the lovely overtones of instruments, you'll hate the PM-2. If you love the airy highs of open headphones compared to closed headphones, run. I myself enjoyed the PM-2, for it's intimacy with vocals and stringed instruments of any kind, as well it's excellent bass. But I myself found the absence of highs overdone, and I prefer polite, laid-back treble.

I imagine the EL-8 will stick to the Audeze house sound. A touch warmer than neutral. But I am speculating so much about this I'm marginally disgusted with myself.
That's similar to how I'd describe the PM-1 w/ original leather pads out of the HA-1. Did you find any appreciable difference in the sound with any of the other pads?

I've not heard a pair of Audezes, I like the AKG sound and have been living with a pair of HD650s for a couple of weeks that are nice sounding, but a bit more polite than I like.

I'm after a pair of cans that have a similar sonic signature as my KEF LS50s with dual 8" subs.

Bill
 
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That's similar to how I'd describe the PM-1 w/ original leather pads out of the HA-1. Did you find any appreciable difference in the sound with any of the other pads?

I've not heard a pair of Audezes, I like the AKG sound and have been living with a pair of HD650s for a couple of weeks that are nice sounding, but a bit more polite than I like.

I'm after a pair of cans that have a similar sonic signature as my KEF LS50s with dual 8" subs.

Bill
Pads, in order of brightness (& harshness in lower treble) Pleather > Velour > Lambskin
In order of bass extension Velour = Lambskin > Pleather
 
If I wasn't listening, I wouldn't be able to hear the difference. I used the velour pads by far and away the most simply due to comfort. I marathon listen to headphones for about 6 hours at a time and generally sweat with leather and pleather pads.
 
Feel free to check out my review. http://www.head-fi.org/products/oppo-pm-2/reviews/12513 I'm usually not into self promotion, but I had to refer to it to answer your question about pads and feel that it might answer even more questions that you didn't know that you had.
 
I have not heard any AKG products, nor your speakers. I have heard a lot about and have heard the HD650, but I not comfortable comparing them to the PM-2, because I am not familiar with them.
 
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Pads, in order of brightness (& harshness in lower treble) Pleather > Velour > Lambskin
In order of bass extension Velour = Lambskin > Pleather

If I wasn't listening, I wouldn't be able to hear the difference. I used the velour pads by far and away the most simply due to comfort. I marathon listen to headphones for about 6 hours at a time and generally sweat with leather and pleather pads.

Feel free to check out my review. http://www.head-fi.org/products/oppo-pm-2/reviews/12513 I'm usually not into self promotion, but I had to refer to it to answer your question about pads and feel that it might answer even more questions that you didn't know that you had.

I have not heard any AKG products, nor your speakers. I have heard a lot about and have heard the HD650, but I not comfortable comparing them to the PM-2, because I am not familiar with them.

I probably have less experience than you with headphones. That being said, you really have to try some AKG's. They offer a different prospective from most main stream cans.
 
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I probably have less experience than you with headphones. That being said, you really have to try some AKG's. They offer a different prospective from most main stream cans.

I have heard the K545 or K550 (can't remember) extremely briefly and not with my own music, I found it to be extremely lacking in detail. But I think the person was using Pandora, so that explains that.

I have also briefly heard the K512 and enjoyed it. A bit tinny, but I liked it.

I really wish I had a chance to spend more time with some AKG products as well as some Grado's. I just wish my wallet had the same idea. Chi Un Fi 8 is coming up, so I'm stoked for that.
 
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If the op finds the HD 650 too polite he definitely won't like the PM-2.

You might want to give the EL-8 a go.
 
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  I was part of the Oppo PM-2 loaner program. I spent an absurd amount of time with those things on my head. That said, I have not heard the Audeze EL-8.
 
I will say this. The Oppo PM-2 does not scale with amplifiers, at all. I got to try them with the Oppo HA-1, a chinese O2+ODAC knock off, and straight out of my Oneplus One. Could I tell a difference? Yes. But it was not enough to persuade my lazy self to switch to an amplifier if I was already playing music out of my phone. There is not a doubt in my mind that the EL-8 will sound "better" (whatever that means) than the PM-2 on your Oppo HA-1 (great DAC/Amp by the way).
 
Think of the sound signature of the PM-2 being slightly lower-mids focused, with good bass extension, and the treble is just gone. If you like to hear the lovely overtones of instruments, you'll hate the PM-2. If you love the airy highs of open headphones compared to closed headphones, run. I myself enjoyed the PM-2, for it's intimacy with vocals and stringed instruments of any kind, as well it's excellent bass. But I myself found the absence of highs overdone, and I prefer polite, laid-back treble.
 
I imagine the EL-8 will stick to the Audeze house sound. A touch warmer than neutral. But I am speculating so much about this I'm marginally disgusted with myself.
I received my PM-2 loaners this afternoon and I must say your assessment is spot on as far as sound signature. I listened to my "test tracks" through my Asgard 2 and found the PM-2s to be a great match.  I just started listening out of my Valhalla 2 which really shouldn't be a great match to the 32 ohm PM-2s, but so far it seems to be quite a pleasing pairing. In the coming days I'll try the PM-2s on my Lyr, Vali and Magni as well as on my phone.
 
For an old fart like me, having lost much of my HF hearing due to an over exposure to live R & R, the roll off on the PM-2s is not missed. I'm really liking them, as their sound signature is different enough from the other HPs I own to be a nice fit into my collection. 
 
I think the PM-2s are "keepers". ( Of course I can't keep them, but I do think I'll be purchasing them, and probably the HA-1 as well just to complete a system.)
 
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I see a lot of comparisons between the PM3 and the EL8.
But the PM2/EL8 open seems like a more interesting head-to-head IMO.
 
I'd especially like to hear what people who have heard both, think of the bass quantity and quality from these cans.
 
I find both very tempting :-/
 
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wgb113

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I agree ^^^.  By the time my turn comes for the loaner PM-2 my dealer should have the EL-8 in so I'll post some feedback then.  In the meantime I just picked up a pair of HD700s.  I gave a very brief listen last night and wasn't wowed.  Sometimes I find that to be a good thing though.
 
Starting to wonder if I reach for the AKG K812 or Sennheiser HD800 or if I should just suck it up and live with the NAD HP50 until they/PSB come out with their new Room Feel models or AKG releases their first headphone with the target response curve.
 
Bill
 
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Here's a post of mine from the PM-2 thread.  At the end, I mention my reaction to directly comparing the PM-2 and the EL-8 to eachother.
 
   
I finally got to hear these at the SoCal CanJam and I couldn't agree more!  And don't forget that the treble can be tuned by using the different pad types.
 
I have been on a quest to find an open-back headphone that is at least as good in overall SQ as my HD 650's but that also has the sub-bass power of my ATH-M50's, all for a reasonable price. 
 
I know I was asking for a lot, and for a long time, I was afraid that they might not exist.  Every good sounding headphone I tried sounded great at low-to-medium SPLs, but they were all brought to their knees whenever I played back tracks with clean, powerful bass at high SPLs.  The bass would either begin to audibly modulate the higher frequencies or cause the driver to reach its excursion limits and begin to physically (and very audibly) distort.
 
The only headphones that have passed this test (that I've heard so far, and I've heard most of them) are the HD 800, but they are $1500, and aren't really an option right now.
 
So it put a huge smile on my face when I was able to play the first track of The Dark Knight OST (which at 3:27 contains significant amounts of subsonic bass) and as I turned up the track louder and louder, I heard absolutely zero audible distortion while the bass was literally fluttering my earlobes!
 
The PM-2 will definitely be my next reference headphone purchase.
 
Thank you, OPPO!!! 
 
 
Also, I was able to do a direct A-B comparison with the Audeze EL-8 open-backs at the OPPO booth using the HA-1, and to my ears, the PM-2's were better in every way.  I have nothing against the EL-8's.  I actually was really hoping they would sound at least as good as the PM-2's, but to me, the EL-8's were completely outclassed in every SQ category.  And my opinion didn't change even after I heard the EL-8's at a couple of other booths. So its the PM-2 for me!!!
 
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