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PM-3 Unit #5 received. Thanks fishpatrol
Hi. I'd like to participate in the loaner program if possible. I will accept all terms. Thanks.
I have received the headphones. My first impression was they were well built, but they can get a little uncomfortable after long periods of time because the ear cups are small in my opinion and I feel pressure on the top.they sound great! Especially for contemporary music of all types but to my ears they didn't excel as much when it came to classical music. Some instruments sounded different then what they do in real life. Overall I like them.
You gave a very good review but there's no comparing these to Beats and you're the first person I've ever heard say they are bass-centric. While they do have excellent bass, it's not exaggerated at all. If anything, they're a little mid-centric. But that's just my opinion. Everything else you said was pretty spot on
Hi. I'd love to participate in the loaner program. I'm in the U.S. And I agree to all terms and conditions.
I personally agree more mid-centric than bass-centric, but also depends on reference point. if @ktmracer12345 mains brighter headphones or is a treblehead, there may be other options that suit his preferences better. the pm-3 does have a subtle bass boost. not as much as bass-orientated headphones such as the beats or v-moda m100 though.
I received the PM-3 Unit #2 today, to give an update. I'll have to wait until tonight to give them a listen - the suspense is killing me!
I'd also like to participate in the loaner program. Have a need for less expensive phones for work. Am in the Los Angeles area, and accept all the terms and conditions. Thanks.
Day 3 impressions:
Soundstage: I was a little disappointed in the soundstage of the PM-3's. Separation is minimal and it's hard to imagine the sound coming from anywhere other than the 6" between the cups. Is this a deal breaker? No. Many headphones have a hard time creating the "outside the head" illusion. But, if you are only using over-ear headphones for soundstage, you might want to look elsewhere. They are only slightly better than my Piston 2's. That being said, I normally use a pair of Q701's so I wasn't expecting the PM-3's to be as good as my normal cans.
Bass: It was brought up that the PM-3's are not bass headphones. It's true! I wouldn't recommend them to anyone strictly looking for bass. Are they a mid-centric headphone? I would probably describe them as a flat/neutral headphone, but I wouldn't have a good argument against someone calling them mid-centric. That being said the bass is where these shine. I am not a big fan of booming bassy headphones. These aren't that type. They hit hard and fast but don't dominate the music. If a perfect headphone ever existed I would imagine the bass would sound very similar to these.
Mids: I wasn't impressed by the mids the first couple days, but they're growing on me. I'll have to save my opinion until later in the week.
Highs: From very first listen they always seemed a little short. My opinions haven't changed. I guess I'm kind of a treble-head. I just wish they had a little more. A little more analytical. A little more crispness in the highs.
Amping: I hooked them up to my O2 amp just to see if it helped. Yes, they do benefit from an amp. But...it's small. These are sensitive enough to not really need the extra headroom from an amp. If I'm in the same room as my amp I'll plug it in. If my amp is across the house I won't make the effort to retrieve it. This is in stark contrast to my Q701's that I won't even use with Netflix if I don't have an amp.
Comfort: I was hoping to get used to the small cups. Still a no-go for me. My wife stole them from me for a few hours last night and she has fallen in love. She doesn't like any headphone I've ever had, so that is saying a lot.
Tomorrow I'll do a write up comparing them to other popular headphones. I'll also do a selection of random songs and rate the headphones on how ideal I believe they are for the given track. I personally don't feel that saying a headphone is a "good rock headphone" or a "good pop headphone" is very useful. Everyone has slightly different definitions of prototypical music genres. You want an example? Listen to Wiz Khalifa's "See You Again". It's probably a rap song, but it opens with Charlie Puth on the piano. Or listen to Fleetwood Mac. One song has a male singer with a prominent drum beat, the next is a female with nothing but an acoustic guitar. Music is too varied to throw genres at headphones. Friday I'll get some pictures up and compile an official review. In the meantime, is there anything that anybody wants in the final review that I haven't posted about yet? My big things I look for in a review are: sound signature, quality, comparisons to similar cans, and value. Is there anything that anybody else likes to see in official reviews?
Just to get an idea of my ideal sound, here is a brief list of my favorite cans and my brief opinions. If you have similar ideals, then my sound opinions will probably have more weight. If you don't, then you will want to make sure to read other reviews from listeners with more similar ideals.
Hifiman HE-1000: Amazing headphone. The best I've ever listened to. 9.9/10 in every category.
Hifiman HE-560: Nearly as good as the HE-1000. Probably my first recommendation to anyone who wants a serious can. 9.8/10 in every category.
AKG K712: It is nearly as good as the 560. 9/10 in every category except bass. I'd put the bass at a 3/10.
AKG Q701: It just doesn't seem to quite be up to the 712. Except bass. It wins in bass. 8.8/10 across the board except bass is a 4/10.
Sennheiser HD800: Not my cup of tea. It just doesn't have a pleasing sound signature. I can understand why they get so much praise, it does a lot of things well. But, if it was sitting next to the HE-560 I'd pick up the Hifimans every time.
Audeze LCD3: So dark! I want to like them, but they are just too dark. I need a bright headphone and this is not it. I'd take the HE560 over the LCD3/HD800 combo any day.
Beats Studio: Take everything great about the Q701's and these are the exact opposite. No soundstage. Treble will leave anyone wanting. Instead of the bass hiding in the background it takes over the entire sound signature. No detail. Not revealing.
Day 4 impressions:
I ran out of time to write much today, but I'll throw in a few comparisons to my other cans and also some song evaluations. I've been trying to get pics and write the main review before I send them off.
OPPO PM-3 vs AKG Q701:
The AKG has massive soundstage, anemic bass, amazing 500 hz+, and a build quality I'd consider to be subpar. The OPPO's just about the exact opposite. Perfect Bass, very little soundstage, missing a bit on the highs, and a build quality that is nearly perfect. If you like to analyze music, the Q701s will be the better headphone. If you want fun, the OPPOs are for you.
OPPO PM-3 vs Xiaomi Piston 2's:
Let's see: Good bass, lacking in the highs, a build quality that is way above its price point, built with a lot of metal when the competition is using plastic. This would be a decent description for either headphone. If you like the Piston 2's sound signature you'll love the PM-3's.
Tracy Chapman - Give Me One Reason: The PM-3s are perfect for this song. The bass guitar keeps a prominent beat and the PM-3s play it perfectly. They make it fun without hiding Tracys vocals. The fact that Tracy has a relatively deep voice hides most of the imperfections that I sense in the sound signature.
Kate Bush - Wuthering Heights: Piano, high female voice, originally recorded in analog, high chimes. This song is Kryptonite to the PM-3s. A perfect storm of all the PM-3s weaknesses. It made me wish I had my Q701's on.
Hans Zimmer - Firmware Update: I had no idea how much bass the opening had until I heard it with the PM-3s. A great song to impress your friends. The small soundstage hurts a bit, but the PM-3s do enough right to make up for it.
Jamie Lidell - Compass: Nope! Just No! If this is what you normally listen to, the PM-3's are not for you.
Nelly - E.I.: Yep! This is where the PM-3's shine. They will hit the bass hard, but still keep up when the beats get fast. Perfect!
I didn't find the PM3 centric in any one frequency. It is about as neutral and balanced as my Etymotics ER-4S. Except the treble hump is moved up a little.
So if someone's not used to a neutral phone, much less a planar, I would actually give them more time to adjust and form and opinion. Yet I did convert a lot of people over to them during my week.
Neutrality can be boring in a dynamic, but actually has the potential to be exciting in a fast and texture rich planar. Apparently the people who auditioned were mostly also in agreement.
And for the record, I think PM3 do voices as perfectly as any headphone, perhaps a little too good even.
q701 has a much stronger emphasis the treble region & relatively diminished bass quantity for an overall bright sound signature. technically, the q701 has an extremely impressive sound stage for an open pair of headphones in its price range. the pm-3 has a good sound stage for a closed pair of headphones, but the q701's sound stage will a quite an easily to appreciate difference. it should be noticeable the 'speed' differences between these headphones with planars often having an edge against dynamic headphones in this specific aspect. still speed of the q701 should be extremely competitive for a pair of dynamic headphones and this will be a much smaller relative difference.
basically, noticeable difference in sound signature against the tuning of the PM-3 that should be relatively easy to pick between based on personal preferences. I would not say one sound signature is universally preferable than the other as it just depends on individual taste. I did greatly enjoy the q701, but personally found the pm-3's sound sig to better match my tastes and what I personally view to be a more neutral sound signature. ymmv of course
Day 5 impressions:
Fatigue: I rarely study with my Q701s because I've taken them off within a few hours anyway. I've done entire study sessions in the PM-3s. They have little to no fatigue. Honestly, if I need to take them off its because my ears are hot. Not because they are fatigued.
Comfort: I've already talked about the small cups, but the other room for improvement is the pad material. My ears get super hot in the synthetic leather. I don't have a good answer for OPPO to improve it. A change to velour would help comfort but would also hurt the bass. Perhaps larger cups is the answer.
Overall I've really enjoyed the PM-3s. The build quality, the ability to play right out of an iPod, and the closed cups mean they've immediately shot to the top of recommended Christmas gifts. If you've become addicted to hi-fi sound and now need something to satiate you when you aren't at your listening station, these cans are probably the answer. The build quality means you can throw them in your backpack without worrying about them. They're premium headphones and one of the better values in music. I won't hesitate to recommend them to anyone looking for a portable closed headphone.
Thanks again to Jiffy Squid and the folks at OPPO for letting me demo the PM-3's! You've created an amazing product that's worthy of all the praise they received.
I have 2 requests for me to ask if I could review this headphone to give a comparison against the Sony Z7. So if possible can I be added to the loaner program? I am in Canada BTW.