It’s tempting to ignore the relatively diminutive OPPO PM-3 in favour of its two larger siblings, the PM-1 and PM-2; but that would be a mistake. The closed back PM-3 has versatility which the larger models do not, and for the cost of these headphones, an incredible sound quality is available.
- Four different cables included
- Very comfortable
- Good Isolation
- Strong and light construction
- May get a bit sticky under the earpads in hot conditions
Design and Appearance
The PM-3 looks respectable and will melt into the background. It’s the headphone equivalent of the besuited gent in Piccadilly; you wouldn’t look twice but he gets things done. The OPPO PM-3 is a smaller version of the PM-1, with steel headband, earcup yokes and trim, with leather headband and a good solid feel.
Durability and Build Quality
It seems as if the PM-3 is built for many years’ use like its bigger brothers; the headphones would give off a ‘military grade’ feel if they weren’t so light and comfortable. Cables are built for a more portable use as opposed to the premium ‘stay at home’ cable supplied with the PM-1 and PM-2. The 3m cable is decent nonetheless, and together with the other three supplied cables should serve for years to come.
The OPPO PM-3 strikes a good balance between clamping force and comfort; the earpads see to that. There’s plenty of give in them and they are reminiscent of a comfy chair which is particularly difficult to get out of. The addition of glasses doesn’t throw up any problems either; the PM-3 can be worn for long periods and so it should too!
With nothing playing, the isolation of the PM-3 could be better but this is the trade-off against the comfort level which, as stated, is very high. However with music playing, exterior sound is masked effectively as the ears are bathed in some very sweet audio. Not much tends to make it out of the earcups, so fellow passengers need not know our peculiar music tastes.
The OPPO PM-3 is fairly typical in terms of size, being a portable over-ear model. The weight of them is slightly above average for this kind of use but considering what’s on offer within this package, they’re surprisingly light. The provided travel case, like that included with the PM-1 and PM-2 models, means that these headphones can go anywhere and be tucked away safely if needed; the case is padded and offers a good deal of protection.
(Used with Chord Hugo DAC/Amp)
The OPPO PM-3 is tuned to be fun and comfortable; the bass and midrange are where it’s at, and the treble is toned down slightly to allow them to shine. The result is a very natural and powerful sound.
The 55mm drivers certainly pack a low punch in terms of frequency, but they are quick on their feet; the low end is liquid and very responsive. However it knows its place and leaves room for the rest of the sound to astound. The mid-upper bass level has a bit more presence but again, not to excess. It serves to underpin and complement the midrange and higher frequencies very well.
- Mids (e.g. vocals, acoustic instruments)
Harmonics, vocals guitars and the like are given a very spacious and natural treatment. There appears to be acres of room in the PM-3 as reverb and all those subtle environmental cues can be followed to their conclusions without other instrumentation getting in the way. Guitar distortion, synths and drum parts really give an impression of immediacy and presence.
- Treble (e.g. high hats)
The OPPO PM-3 is on the warmer side of things; the treble is kept to a level where details are brought to the attention but not at the expense of the rest of the frequency spectrum. Drums have a nice crack and cymbals sizzle, but most would not find any discomfort or fatigue coming their way after a long listening session.
Soundstage and Separation
For a closed-back headphone, the PM-3 has a great soundstage which wraps the listener in the audio so much that it’s hard to escape. From this hapless yet happy position it’s still easy to focus in on individual instruments and follow them along, the imaging giving them a real living, 3D feel.
Music genres good for and why
It’s a job to find anything which does not sound excellent with the PM-3. Hip Hop and Dance are given the benefit of the deep bass, guitar-based rock is given a thrilling mid-range definition and the tuning/separation gives classical music a sharp but gentle edge.
There have been some very good headphones released recently and we’re getting used to the fact that standards are constantly being exceeded; yet OPPO Digital’s recent foray into the headphone market really impresses us. The PM-3 is definitely recommended for those who have a variety of uses or situations for their headphones, and enjoy a varied taste in musical genres. The PM-3 does it all brilliantly.