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Oppo PM-3 : The Portable Planar - Impressions

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  1. Charlie Norwood
    I hear you, but the $101.47 would be for the labor involved in making the cable as well as the other costs of running a business - generally how things work in this economy. I don't have the space, free time, nor desire to build my own cables, so I have no problem paying a premium to have a professional make one for me. I will agree that it appears you can get better quality metal from other cable makers at the same price range though.
     
    megabigeye likes this.
  2. Slim1970
    The iDSD BL sounds good with just about any headphone. The 3D+ feature really opens up the sound on the PM-3's. The PM-3's are easy to drive so they don't really need a balanced source. But I like options and having two cables is not a bad idea. You could use the SE 6.5mm at home with the iDSD BL. Then use the 2.5mm balanced cable on the go with a portable source or amp of your choosing. It might even be perferred since most DAPS or truly portable amps don't have the power of the iDSD BL to drive headphones. I consider the iDSD BL a transportable device because of it's size.
     
    Charlie Norwood likes this.
  3. Charlie Norwood
    Yeah the BL is great because it’s easy to pack with you but just a little to big for mobile use, which is where the xcan comes in - I have no problem carrying that in my pocket and walking around - especially as it doesn’t need to be wired to my phone. So yeah, 2 cables eventually, but for now I’m thinking the 6.5 termination will suit me best. Might take a flyer on that chifi earmax balanced cable just for fun - might be good For traveling when I want to bring xcan and pm-3 but not the BL.
     
  4. Slim1970
    Sounds like a plan. Good luck in your headphone journey! There are so many ways you go in choosing gear. But always choose what sounds best to you.
     
  5. megabigeye
    Totally agree about there being a cost to running a business. I just recently ranted at somebody about how the price of a $50 DIY DAC isn't really comparable to the DFR's price because AudioQuest has R&D and marketing and employees, etc. But even so, I really can't quite understand how this could reasonably add up to more than $100. R&D? That's all taken care of by Mogami and Eidolic. Labor costs? Only if they're charging $1,200/hour, as it shouldn't take much more than five minutes to solder up a cable (there are only eight solder points on balanced). Marketing? If that even exists, I doubt that it's much more than sending reviewers a cable to use. From looking at the website, it seems like it's one guy assembling cables, and with a little bit of internet sleuthing I found that he's doing it at a residential address.
    So it's one guy, at his house, assembling $28 worth of materials and then charging $130 for the product. I mean, I guess he has to pay for the website?

    I feel like I'm being hard on the poor guy, which makes me feel a little bad. But if there's a sucker born every minute, he doesn't seem to be opposed to taking advantage of that fact.

    And my comment about extrapolating to the other cables? Well, I'm a bit of a cable skeptic. Not because I don't think people can hear a difference, but because it seems like a lot of money for what is ultimately a crapshoot. Sharpening the treble? Tightening the bass? Sounds noble, but you have no control over how much those things are affected. What if you don't like the sound it achieves? Those things could be done with greater control and precision with EQ and you can do it exactly to your liking.

    My personal opinion is that cables should be transparent, and if you want extra treble, or whatever, then it should be applied in a way that you have control over it.

    Anyway, my main point isn't to discourage you from buying a cable if you want it, but to be wary of what you're actually getting for the price. To me it's not worth it.
     
  6. Charlie Norwood
    No no it's all good! To me, in this hobby, everything is kind of just a 'what am I comfortable spending?' and not so much 'is this worth the money?' because it's all made up! It used to be that if you wanted like 6+ drivers in an IEM you had to look at like $2K and up, but ChiFi turned all that on its head and proved that some or many of these audiophile companies, once they got to a certain level, were just pulling prices out of thin air. Is RHA really going to say that their 10mm Planar IEM is worth $900 when TinHiFi has a great (possible better) one at $160? I don't begrudge RHA for charging what they want, but it's still a little eyebrow raising.

    Cables are 100% a YMMV thing. I've personally heard a difference and/or improvements depending on the cables and the materials. Especially when it comes to more power. Coming from my phone, there's no sound difference in cables, but when I start dialing things up in turbo mode on the Black Label -- that signal is begging for fatter pipes.

    It's possible I'll get a Forza cable and not be able to hear one difference from the stock pm-3 cable - but I'm willing to run that risk. This is also why I've been liking the ChiFi cables. They provide modest upgrades or different terminations at an affordable price - so it doesn't matter to me if the sound is perceptibly better over a headphone's stock cable if they perform a certain function better (look/comfort/termination). For all the IEM's with removable cables in my sig, they all had pretty bad stock cables and the sound improvements and/or changes were easily noticeable with new ones. (And I'm seriously considering how much it would cost to have the XB90EX and SZ2K recabled)

    At the very least, a new custom cable on the PM-3 will look cool as hell at work/the coffee shop.
     
    megabigeye likes this.
  7. iFi audio
    Yup, his prices have always been reasonable.

    We'd also ask Matt about that. He's been doing this for a while so he might have some firm idea what would work for you best.
    Considering what you have now, we'd stick to 6.5mm termination and use iDSD BL alone. But if you'd like to involve xCAN too, then we'd use a 3.5mm TRRS to use balanced circuit of xCAN and then an adapter to 6.5mm to have something with iDSD BL's headphone out.

    You missed several important things. He runs a legal operation, hence pays his taxes, hires staff, as a business owner needs to have a bookkeeper etc. And large chunk of his income goes into large quantities of materials he needs. He transitioned from DIY for friends to daily job years ago, we've seen his place.

    Ultimately, the total cost of any product goes far beyond just materials. In real life being a manufacturer ain't as easy as you've described :ksc75smile:

    Nonetheless, it's your choice to use EQ instead of tinkering with cables. The more options we have at our disposal, the better!
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2019
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    Charlie Norwood and megabigeye like this.
  8. Charlie Norwood
    I emailed Matt and he replied with in 15 minutes - unbelievable service. He recc'd the copper series with extra bass upgrade as the easy choice for a basshead and I placed the order immediately.

    Thanks again for leading me to Forza!
     
  9. iFi audio
    You're welcome. You'll have a pleasant ride with Matt, he's a very easygoing guy.
     
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    Charlie Norwood likes this.
  10. gazzington
    I wish they still made these headphones. Really like them. I might buy another while I can as back up. Has anybody found anything that sounds as good and is closed back?
     
  11. wilsonlaidlaw
    I had my PM3 headphones stolen during a burglary at my French house in June, along with the HA2-SE DAP and iPod Touch plus loads of other stuff. I decided not to source new PM3 phones and an HA2-SE DAP, solely because of the service issue in future years. I have bought a pair of Beyerdynamic T5P (2nd generation) closed back phones (the top of their range), which were supposedly ex-demo from the UK importer/agent but when there was a problem with those (they were first generation, which cannot work with the Impacto DAP but discovered before I left their premises), they replaced at no extra cost with a brand new pair of 2nd generation. I also bought their Impacto Universal DAP, which is a very small device sitting in the middle of a dedicated cable where the digital input cable can be changed to suit various inputs (USB-A, USB-C, Mini USB, Lightning). Although I don't like the ergonomics as much as the PM3/HA2-SE, I would say the sound is better. Bass definitely deeper and stronger plus the frequency response curve flatter, without the slight peaks and troughs of the PM3. They are a bit bigger and heavier as a downside. The only thing I really do not like about them is the very short analogue cables from the Impacto DAP (sealed in at the DAP end) to each individual headphone, so that the DAP is always sitting on your chest. Jason at Custom Cans is making me a pair of braided silk covered 1.2M extension cables. I did some research on this forum before I bought the T5P phones and the universal answer that I got back was that they were even better than the PM3 phones, which I had previously liked a lot. I was worried that the T5P's would seem a bit middle of the road after the PM3 but everyone said not and that I should be delighted with them. They were 100% correct.

    Wilson
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2019
    Chris Kaoss and gazzington like this.
  12. gazzington
    Thanks for an in depth reply. Weirdly I've always fancied some beyer headphones but do not know which ones to go for but maybe T5 could be the answer. Thanks
     
  13. Chris Kaoss
    Hey guys.
    I was falling in love with the planar technique since i was getting my Quad Era-1.
    Now, i want to catch a closed back for travelling.

    Is the PM-3 worth the money despite the eol state?
    Its the comfort, the look while wearing them and, at least the sound signature, i'm interested in.
    In that case, the T5p isn't suitable for me. :wink:
    Got the T1 to compare with in size.

    Your opinion is highly appreciated.
    Thank you all.
     
  14. wilsonlaidlaw
    I would agree the T5P phones are big and a bit heavy but that is because they have very large magnets and wide diaphragms, so form follows function. I find they are just as comfortable to wear as my previous PM3 phones. I would however say they are unsuitable for either running, jogging or cycling.

    Wilson
     
  15. Chris Kaoss
    Hi Wilson.
    I'm with you. But i got the T1 next to me, which are still the same looking, except the headband.

    The PM-3 looks better while travelling,imo.
    :dt880smile: :jecklinsmile:

    If the T5p is close to T1 in sound signature, i'd miss the dynamic and energy a planar can deliver, i think.
    But i didn't listen to the T5p yet.

    Should i have?
     
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