The PM-3 is Oppo’s third planar magnetic headphone, following the PM-1 and PM-2. Unlike the PM-1 and PM-2, the Oppo PM-3 is a closed back design. Not only is outside noise reduced, allowing more of the music to be heard, music leakage from the headphone is also limited. The Oppo PM-3 utilizes a new 55mm round planar magnetic driver featuring much of the technologies pioneered in the PM-1. The lightweight yet durable 7-layer diaphragm and strong Neodymium magnets play a key role in the PM-3’s weight reduction and in turn its portability. The Oppo PM-3 is the first truly portable closed back planar magnetic headphone to hit the market and Oppo hits the ball out of the park with it. Plush padding, soft materials, and near perfect clamping pressure make the PM-3 one of the most comfortable headphones I have worn. (more…)
Review Types Archives: Headphones
Oppo’s previous personal audio releases, the HA-1 Headphone Amp and PM-1 and PM-2 headphones, scored very well with Reference Home Theater. Now they are supplementing their personal audio lineup with the new HA-2 Portable Headphone Amp and DAC. Even with the high bar set by their headphones, the Oppo HA-2 performs even better. Packed with an ESS 9018-K2M DAC and a hybrid Class AB amplifier, the Oppo HA-2 offers up a lot of performance in a slim, elegant, well-built chassis. Plus, Oppo delivers all of this for $299.
When Oppo is mentioned, most Hi-Fi aficionados think of reference quality Blu-ray players. Now they can add headphones and headphone amps to that list. Oppo is taking a serious interest in the lucrative headphone market, and I don’t mean a run-of-the-mill Beats clone. Oppo has high-end personal audio in mind with the new HA-1 Headphone Amp + DAC and the PM-2 Planar Magnetic Headphone. The HA-1 has been available for several months, but the PM-2 is a new release. The PM-2 is a more affordable version of the earlier released Oppo PM-1.
They share the same internals that produce the sound and only vary in material finish and included accessories. At $699, The PM-2 is not a low end headphone, but is a low priced planar magnetic headphone. Oppo has the planar magnetic $995 Audeze LCD-2 and $900 HIFIMan HE-560 beat in price with only the $500 HIFIMan HE-400i costing less than the PM-2. The Oppo HA-1 is a hefty amp, capable of powering any of the popular power hungry planar magnetic designs including the $1,300 HIFIMan HE-6. This headphone amp and its ESS ES9018 DAC will happily sit in a reference personal audio system as the anchor.
I won’t lie, I am spoiled by the recent flux of high-end planar magnetic headphones and haven’t listened to a $79 pair for quite some time. For a company with a reputation like Grado, I will make an exception. Grado Labs has been around since 1953 when Joseph Grado began making phono cartridges in his kitchen. It wasn’t until 1989 that they released their first headphone and, within a couple years, the subsequent SR line.