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Oppo PM-3 : The Portable Planar - Impressions

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  1. megabigeye
    Maybe this, from Dyson Audio? Looks like they might do custom stuff if this isn't exactly what you're looking for. Don't have any experience with it, but it's one of the only ones I've seen under $100.
  2. SDBiotek
    I have the Dyson cable, nothing fancy to look at but works fine.
  3. Colors
    This is a very impressive headphone for $399!

    First headphone (I’m an IEM guy) that doesn’t feel uncomfortable (wide and light). Only other headphones I felt this was comfort wise was the Audioquest NightOwls.

    Soundstage is wide and tall for a closed back. Neutralish sound signature. I’d say comparable to Xelentos in SQ.

    Basically a steal for $399...anyone know why they pulled out of their hardware lines? I realized I’m a little late to the train.
  4. megabigeye
    I'm glad you're enjoying the PM-3. My own relationship with them is very hot and cold and I find them to be very strange.
    For a long time I enjoyed them, and then slowly, slowly they started to seem dull and uninvolving to me, like they just aren't on a par with any of my other headphones.
    And then I put them down for a few months, wondering if maybe I should just sell them.
    And then I pick them up again, and I'm impressed...
    Until I've been listening to them for a few weeks or months and then one day I'll be sitting here listening and realize my thoughts are unconsciously wandering toward, "gawd, this sounds so deadly dull... what am I listening to?... ah, the PM-3, of course."
    And then the cycle repeats.

    And I'm always a little amazed that people call them neutral. I don't think I've ever found them to be anything but dark, with a distinctly downward sloping sound and rolled off sub-bass and treble. I wonder if people's hearing can really differ that much (though I expect people's expectations do differ that much), or if Oppo's tolerances were fairly large and some sets actually sound different from one another. I just can't imagine calling these transparent.
    These headphones seem like the very embodiment of "YMMV."

    Anyway. I don't mean to disparage your new phones and I hope you continue enjoying them!

    As to why Oppo Digital is no more... Your guess is probably as good as mine, but my guess is that:
    1) Oppo Digital (manufacturers of DVD/Blu-Ray Players and personal audio equipment), Oppo Electronics (manufacturers of cell phones and other personal electronics), OnePlus, and Vivo were all owned by parent company BBK Electronics
    2) a. In Q1 2017, BBK Electronics was number 2 cell phone provider in the world; Samsung was number 1;
    b. Oppo Digital makes the best Blu-Ray players on the market, as well as highly acclaimed headphones and headphone amps, but it only focuses on those products, which is not very profitable;
    3) BBK Electronics really wants to be number 1 in cell phones;
    4) BBK subsequently cuts chaff, which is-- unfortunately for audiophiles and videophiles -- Oppo Digital.
    I'd further this theory by wondering if the Chinese market is largely driven by expansion/growth-- taking Fiio, HiFiMan and a recent proliferation of "ChiFi" as examples. Fiio and HiFiMan both seem to introduce way more products annually than any of their non-Chinese competitors. Oppo Digital did not fit this model at all, focusing on one or two best-in-class products rather than ranging from entry level to TOTL.
    Of course, all of this is completely based on amateurish observations and postulation. If an expert comes along and tells me I'm wrong, I'm not going to argue.
    noplsestar and Colors like this.
  5. q4x2
    I'll be posting from technical perspective and of course my opinion. So, technically PM-3 is brilliant, it is measurable. They sharp like scalpel, delivers exactly what was produced by the sound engineer at studio and returned by your hardware. Nowadays, I believe, +- all HIFI labeled hardware can produce quality enough signal to not be bottle neck when you are comparing headphone or/and speakers.
    Thus, probably your music is dull or it is your nature. All we know from childhood, new feels can't be repeated, try it and you can't feel it anymore like it was before you try it. We all the time use our experience and we can't be objective.
    I'm can't say that sound is boring. It is plain and clear, you can find it on graphs. Nothing else. If you need more from it - use EQ.
    Colors likes this.
  6. zensanjay
    Sorry for the late reply. These are the angled version. The music on the cowon sounds more exciting than before. Nearer to the ipod. Little more bass , more depth or should I call it soundstage, more details. Feels more like a speaker - spread out in space. Worthy upgrade. The frame of the headband presses on the leather. Hope there is not much wear. Would have been good if oppo offered this as option. I listen to western classical, hindi movie music. Checked out Madonna ray of light , pink Floyd , yanni. Instruments more depth and detail. Need to figure out solution for the headband material flaking off.
  7. zensanjay
    Feel like they were bit subdued earlier
  8. Colors
    Amazingly enough, my $3 Amazon Basics 4ft. cable improves the treble and makes them “open up” and increasing treble presence, vocal detail and space. Super weird...
  9. megabigeye
    Yes, but these are the only headphones I have that need any EQing, other than just boosting the bass. I don't think anybody has ever referred to the HD 650 as bright, but in comparison to the PM-3 they are... At least to my ears. And compared to my DT 1990, the bass is absolutely rolled off.
    Here's how I'd say they compare to my other phones:
    vs DT 1990: (DT 1990 cost 50% more) PM-3's sub-bass is rolled off, lacks "slam;" mids are less pronounced; treble is way, way less present (DT 1990 are known for bright treble, so no surprise)
    vs HD 650: PM-3 have similar sub-bass extension, but less mid-bass emphasis; mids are significantly less pronounced; treble is less present
    vs qJAYS v1 (PM-3 are almost 100% more expensive): PM-3 have less bass extension, though there's more of the bass that it does have; mids are less pronounced; treble is significantly less present.
    vs RHA T20i (PM-3 are 100% more expensive): PM-3 have less bass extension and less bass overall; mids are less pronounced; treble is less-to-significantly-less present.
    DT-1990 are considered bright but otherwise neutral, HD 650 are considered dark and warm, qJAYS are considered neutral but bass shy (it's what was called "flat" when describing IEMs some 10 years ago), and the T20i are generally considered to be v-shaped-- and yet the PM-3 are the only ones that need EQing! I just can't understand how that could be considered either "neutral" or "transparent."
    And as to their being "sharp like scalpel..." My impression couldn't be further from this. The DT 1990, is sharp and surgical. The PM-3 is not.

    And to repeat, by no means do I mean to disparage these headphones. I'm not even trying to saying that I don't enjoy them-- sometimes I really do. Like you said, maybe it's my ears or maybe it's my music (really doubt the latter, kinda doubt the former, even though I know I do have some hearing issues). If you hear it as reference or neutral or transparent, great. I'm glad for you. I just don't and can't hear it that way.
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2018
  10. megabigeye
    Yes, I DIY'd a cable with some very inexpensive Canare and thought the treble came forward a bit, but then sounded somewhat tizzy and uneven. Applying about +6dB in EQ also sounds a bit tizzy and uneven, but I don't doubt that it might be the app I'm using.
  11. FastAndClean
    i sold them for that, for half of the money i got DT1350, it was a good decision
  12. noplsestar
    After buying the Campfire Audio Cascade I don’t look back to the PM3s. The cascade is double the price, but it also delivers a technical upgrade. But I kept the PM3s for my girlfriend. Still good headphones, just not the best (portable) closed backs any more :wink:
    Colors likes this.
  13. SteveOliver
    I don't think they ever were the best portable closed back headphone, they were the best value portable PM headphone available and perhaps still are.
  14. noplsestar
    You may be right ... but at least they still are IMO the best looking portable headphones :wink:
    SteveOliver likes this.
  15. good sound
    I can't think of a "TRULY" portable closed back headphone released prior to the PM-3 that was better. Even now with the arrival of the Campfire Audio Cascade and the Mr. Speaker Aeon Flow it would be difficult to name a "TRULY" portable closed back phone that outperforms the PM-3. Despite Campfire Audio's claim that the Cascade is portable I argue that in the true sense of the word, it is not. To me a TRULY portable headphone is one the was purposely designed for mobile use as its primary function. The Cascade and certainly the Aeon Flow can not say that. Let's be honest the very nature of headphones allows for the portable moniker to be applied to virtually any and all headphones, with the exception of certain electrostats that require an externsl energizer. We need to more properly define the term "suitable for portable use".
    Chris Kaoss and Slim1970 like this.
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