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Oppo PM-3 : The Portable Planar - Impressions

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  1. SteveOliver
    57mm high by 37mm wide
    starfly likes this.
  2. starfly
    Thanks. That rules them out for me then :) I'll just stick with my MDR-7520.
  3. SteveOliver
    Yes the ear cup is "compact" even for my not tall ears, probably the smallest I have in my headphone collection.
  4. phthora
    Try them on, if you can. There are exceptionally comfortable for having such a small opening. And that is about the only thing less than stellar about their build.
  5. Thebb
    Hey guys, just pulled the trigger on these and now am wondering what the best way to power them. I have narrowed down my options to two setups:
    1) AK70 to PM-3s
    2) iPhone 6S > HA-2 SE > PM-3
    Both would be using Tidal HiFi or lossless audio.

    Hoping someone here has compared these two or has an idea of how they would sound.

    If cost is not an issue, which of these provides better overall sound?

  6. kendosperling
    I would go with the AK just because of the handling and convinience. I am sure both options will be great with PM-3 and SQ would be equally good.
  7. PaganDL
    Hi Thebb,

    PM3 are efficient enough to be powered by any of the gear you mentioned due to its low impedence & being planar magnetic, the only thing I have from your list you mentioned aside from the PM3 is Tidal (just hi quality, not hifi).

    What's important to to note is how good is your source, in this case, Tidal is usually not an issue quality wise.

    You can have the best gear in the world but if your source is terrible, it won't matter.

    Hope this helps.
    Thebb likes this.
  8. Thebb
    So, I already got my PM-3 paired with HA-2 SE. Yesterday was my second, albeit very short, listening day. I have been getting a hiss background noise that is more present in some tracks than others, but always there nonetheless. I've been running the OPPO HA-2 SE through USB from my Macbook streaming Tidal. If I connect the PM-3s directly to my Macbook the hiss is more noticeable. I want to run a few more tests when I have some time trying different setups as well as comparing source with different headphones, but wanted to know if anyone has experienced this as well with this setup or HP?
  9. noplsestar
    Hi, does anybody of you know where I can get replacement ear pads for the PM3´s in Europe (or elsewhere)?
  10. PaganDL
    Hi Thebb,

    Have the HA 2 but do not have the SE version or a Macbook but have used both enough to tell you two things.

    First, the HA 2 SE is tweaked slightly to cater to more sensitive IEM and considering both the HA 2 & SE version have ridiculously good dacs which are already highly sensitive, it may be a good or bad thing (source dependant once again) on music track quality how the HA 2 SE picks up noise from track hiss.
    Just out of curiousity, what tracks are you listening to on Tidal ? Depending on when it's recorded, especially if the original master was from vinyl, or from early recordings, 1920's to 1980's in particular. Keep in mind, noise in general is always present so is hiss, just depends how well your gear picks it up.

    Second and more likely issue than the first when it comes to sound quality, macbooks or any computer for that matter, have really terrible onboard sound. While a portable DAC like the HA 2 SE bypasses this to some degree, it is still more amplifier than DAC and can only process what is there to begin with, in this case, usually crappy onboard sound.
    I would suggest looking into something like an external computer user interface which is basically an external soundcard with recording options used by the pro audio industry for the past few decades, basically the original form of DACs used way before most in mainstream audio thought it was a good idea, especially those so called audiophiles.
    Some pro audio brands and models I recommend and have used in no particular order are Lexicon Alpha, ESI Pro, Focusrite Scarlett...
    These do a more than excellent job soundwise and don't break the bank while using quality components.

    One last thing, most audio gear has some noise and in most gear nowadays just it's usually so low most don't notice or have other gear which makes it even more non existent. (This doesn't include all the audiophiles out there who spend ridiculous money on 'clean power converters', etc ) There is some pro gear which does the same or better for much less though usually for different reasons but I digress.

    Hope this helps.
  11. Thebb
    Hi Pagan, thanks for the input.

    I first noticed on some classic jazz records, which like you said is an early recording. It was really noticeable here, like to the point I wasn't really enjoying the music (Duke Ellington's Money Jungle album). Very distracting. So I switched to newer recordings, The Postal Service - Give Up Masters album and I still heard it, much lighter but still there. Like I said it was quick listening session so I want to test different setups, change some things up, connections, cables, source, HP, and see how that changes things. Hopefully will have some time tonight, if not tomorrow or over the weekend to really sit down and compare.

    This OPPO combo is my portable build which is why I was testing it directly with my laptop. I have a Bifrost DAC for my desktop.
  12. itman
    Hello people, may I asked someone who has the Momentum 1 or the Akg701, how is the sound compared to these?
    And how good is classical music on the oppos?

    This community is amazing!
  13. PDC3
    I have the AKG Q701 and definitely prefer the sound of the Oppo PM3. The bass has more impact and the treble has clarity without being fatiguing. The AKG semi open design does give a sense of room space whereas the PM3 are more intimate. For cool jazz or chamber music I will turn to the AKG but otherwise select the PM3 when it’s time to rock out, swing to big band or immerse in full orchestra. The PM3 are more comfortable and will play louder and with more authority from a smartphone or tablet, although I more often use them with the Oppo HA2 portable DAC Amp.

    I also have the Momentum on ear and those have a boost in mid bass and in treble that I’ve learned many folks on this site will call a “fun” tuning. In comparison the PM3 is more sedate. I like that for indoor listening but choose the Momentum for walking about, when the Momentum pop helps move my feet.

    In short, if I can have only one, then the PM3. But the fun of this part of the audio hobby is how different HP provide different yet satisfying experiences for less cash than buying different speakers. Enjoy!
  14. PaganDL
    Hi Thebb,

    Hope things are working for you, if you don't mind, keep me posted...

    Also, just noticed your setup for desktop, the tubes on your Bottlehead Crack may be adding to the noise as Mullards in general are known for being a little to highly noisy depending, especially in their 12 series with most amps while the Tung Sol are a little sensitive to picking up noise, especially the 5998, recommend tube rolling those if you can to see if it changes anything.

    Previously, I did mention in the pro audio world, things like hum &/or noise isolaters exist which if you're going to change cables or connections anyway, wouldn't hurt to see if it changes anything overmuch. Radial Engineering &/or Sescom are two brands I would recommend which don't break the budget & are unobtrusive as well.

    Last thing, this is highly subjective & personal but Bifrost may or may not contribute to some noise issues as well so as said previously, look into some of the computer interfaces I mentioned.

    By the way, good choice & taste in music.

    Hope this helps.
  15. PaganDL
    Hi itman,

    Don't have the other two headphones you mentioned but have done demos enough to know while good for classical & this is highly subjective & personal, those headphones aren't for me.

    The PM3 has no problem with classical or any genre for that matter, just depends on your taste.

    Keep in mind, if you want to be technical, which is why it's tricky to compare, Momentum 1 & 701 have dynamic drivers, wheres PM3 are planar magnetic, hence the name.
    Main difference being one has a driver which moves as well as vibrates more than the other, think a small speaker driver vs a flat sheet which has less physical movement caused by an electric current &/or signal going through it.
    In most cases, Dynamic driver (the small speakers) generally not only need more signal to move &/or vibrate but also takes a bit more to stop.
    Whereas, a Planar Magnetic Driver can move & stop with more speed and precision.
    This is also where tuning and impedence rating comes in as the latter is defined by how little electric resistance it needs to be efficient. (lower is generally better)
    Imagine controlling waterflow through a tap, the more you turn, obviously the more water comes through. This is where volume & audio level comes in by turning the volume knob on your gear to where you can hear comfortably and clearly the details from your source (music, speech, etc) not how necessarily how loud it is.
    This is subjective but impedence can be seen as how little you need that tap or knob to turn to enjoy it.
    A good way to test equipment & gear to see how good it is, by seeing how low the you can consistently make it to enjoy it without being too loud.
    If something is just loud, doesn't mean the detail is always good &/or clear either but that's another topic.

    Hope this helps.
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