Oppo PM-3 – Opus

Disclaimer: Oppo Japan provided this OPPO PM-3 for the purposes of this review. They did not, however, give me the feeling that I could really give the PM-3 a pummelling before I sent it back. Also note that I didn’t have time to take awesome images of it. Sorry. Fortunately, Oppo hired a very talented commercial photographer (not me) and made use of Lee Shelly (one of our own), for their atmospheric image seen at the bottom of this page. The PM-3 goes for 399$ USD. You can find out more about it here. OPPO is a site advertiser.

The Bowled-Over-By-Oppo train ain’t stopping anytime soon. Oppo’s HA-2 bowled me over with its exquisite workmanship, packaging, branding, and sound; the PM-3 wiggles the barest of fingers against my manly chest, and plop! down I go.

For 399$ bones (USD), the PM-3 feels, looks, and deserves the consideration typically reserved for longer established, more expensive, brands.

But before I get intractably deep in plaudit, I’d like to niggle a bit. Here are the PM-3’s problems:

1. The rubbery cable is nearly a 1:1 copy of the USB cable that comes with the iPhone. Ditto its stress relieves. I’m no chemist, but I know what my eyes see. And my eyes see future painted by unraveling rubber sleeves, and general breakage.

2. Both the ear pads and headband are über comfy. But they are synthetic. When the temperature goes up, they become sweaty, nasty things on your ears. And they can’t be hot-swapped.

3. (Reserved for when I find something truly dastardly about the PM-3.)

The first is quite the charge; the second an extreme annoyance, especially at the PM-3’s price. If I’m wrong, and the first is a mere cosmetic rip-off, pish poo. But the second really is a bugger. I want leather, or velour, and I want it before summer hits Tokyo.

But there is a lot more to like than there is to dislike.

Like the HA-2, the PM-3 is peerlessly thoughtful and exquisitely finished. There is no planar magnetic headphone out there south of a grand that can contend with it. It’s headband adjustment is as thoughtfully designed as the Momentum’s and is snug on even the narrowest head out there. If your noggin is a biggun, it will be snug. Fortunately, stretching it is easy as pie. Its hot-swappable 3,5mm jack trendily sinks into the left headphone, making it a breeze to wear out and about, and by swapping from the 1,2 meter cable to the 3 meter cable, it is great for hitting the comfy chair, whisky in hand. (Evidently the PM-3 comes with a mic’d remote cable. Headfonia’s loaner came with no such cable. For the sake of thoroughness and bravado, let me assume that it is just as white, and that my few quibbles apply.)

The PM-3 is compact and pretty enough that hardcore comfy-chaired whiskers may turn up their nose a bit. Headphones should be harder to enjoy. They should be heavier, and less wieldy. I disagree. And to boot, the PM-3 comes in a fine zipper case. The token 3,5mm to 6,3mm converter plug is thrown in along with beautiful literature and packaging that is beautiful, compact, and well worth keeping. Well done.

PM-3’s cups rotate 180º. Even when scrunched to fit the smallest head, the lead cable keeps several millimeters between it and the band yolk. There’s no way even the most exuberant headphone scruncher will cause it to fray.

The color choices are as polarizing as they are dyadic. Truthfully, I’m either not that much into white, or that much into black. Unfortunately, it’s one or the other. Another thing is that at 320g, the PM-3 isn’t super-duper light for out-and-about use. For the sake of comparison, my Audio-Technica ES10 weighs 200g. And, the ES10’s awful synthetic leather pads can be swapped out for the ones that come with the ESW11LTD.

Suffice it to say that the PM-3 is an eye-catcher. If you like that, and don’t mind the extra 100 grams, it is one of the best portable headphones out there.

One reason for that is that it isolates like a champ. I’m back at Starbucks, sipping a latte. The atmospheric volume of Starbucks in Japan lies between caustic Korean levels, which ring with you for days after, and their could-be-quieter Canadian counterparts, which rat-a-tat with the poundings of wannabe writers. Merely donning the PM-3 cuts down half the noise. Feeding it Shpongle, or Infected Mushroom, or Faithless, does away with all but a coffee mug shattering against the tile as another patron does an about-face without checking behind her. And that at an iPod Nano volume of 66%.

No amp, you say? Hell no. And no real need. Neither at normal listening volumes, nor at Starbucks volumes does the PM-3 doesn’t tax the iPod Nano in any way. No fizzy distortion, no bottoming out of bass, no closing of the sound stage.

Sound impressions after the jump:

Oppo PM-3 – Opus
4.06 (81.13%) 53 votes

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Back before he became the main photographer for bunches of audio magazines and stuff, Nathan was fiddling with pretty cool audio gear all day long at TouchMyApps. He loves Depeche Mode, trance, colonial hip-hop, and raisins. Sometimes, he gets to listening. Sometimes, he gets to shooting. Usually he's got a smile on his face. Always, he's got a whisky in his prehensile grip.

97 Comments

  • Reply March 24, 2015

    George Lai

    I hope Oppo will be working on a DAP 🙂

    • Reply March 24, 2015

      ohm image

      You and me both, George.

      • Reply March 24, 2015

        Arnold Pangilinan

        A DAP that looks like the HA-2? Me likey! The reason I have not purchased the HA-2 is because I have the Theorem 720 and AP100. But if Oppo will make a DAP in the same gorgeous HA-2 looks, I will be all over it! Assuming it sounds good as well…

        • Reply March 24, 2015

          ohm image

          The HA-2 is large. I’d like for Oppo to concentrate on truly pocketable devices, especially if they get into the DAP market. Something like the AK100 (mark I) but thinner, featuring the great amp of the HA-2, if not the same DAC. That, and less output noise.

          Simple, straightforward interface, gapless, good battery life. BAM!

          • Reply March 25, 2015

            Arnold Pangilinan

            If Oppo can make it smaller and still sounds good, yeah, BAM! 🙂

  • Reply March 24, 2015

    Manish Maharjan

    How does it compare to the he-400i?

    • Reply March 24, 2015

      ohm image

      Sorry, I do not have that headphone.

    • Reply September 15, 2016

      Marc

      I have had the HE 400i for a year and have just acquired the PM-3 for closed-back listening on-the-go. Main home ‘phones, (‘earspeakers’ as they’ve always called them!), are Stax L-700 with SRM-006t valve energiser, which is a pairing in a completely different league to the other two (at ten times the price). The 400i is superbly transparent and suited to every type of music bar none. They’re not as revealing or well balanced as the Stax, of course, but they come close enough to my ideal. I’d iinitially intended to go with the temptingly cheap HE-300, but I’m very glad I splashed out a bit more on the 400i. The only slight criticism is the fairly tight pressure on the ears, although the hybrid velour/faux leather pads are comfy in themselves. The Oppo has a completely different tonal balance, accurately described in the review above. Bass is ok, but it has added mid warmth and lacks the top end clarity of the HE. The mid frequencies are fairly well integrated with the bass and the smooth treble, but after listening on the HEs, there is definitely a sense that there’s something missing, indeed several things. On the other hand, the HEs are open-backed, they radiate out a large amount of sound, and are too large for the outdoors, hence the decision to try the Oppo. As long as you’re not expecting too much, with their thoughtful design and superb build at a modest price, they are a great buy to go with a DAP, iPod, or smartphone. Hope this helps.

      • Reply September 15, 2016

        Marc

        Correction: for HE-300 (which are even cheaper, but have dynamic drivers), please read HE-400S (planar).

  • Reply March 24, 2015

    Tibor

    Thanks! Could you tell me if they will work well on tubes please? Alo PanAm for example? I haven’t heard any planars yet, so I hope this will be a good start. Thank you!

    • Reply March 24, 2015

      ohm image

      It all depends on what you expect from the sound. The PM-3 is a warmer sound. Many tube amps warm up sound. If warm adn warm is good, then why not? But if you prefer for opposites to attract: warm amp, cool headphones, then you may not like the combo.

      Also, the PM-3’s low impedance will require a pretty low-Ω amp and a lot of tube amps aren’t quite up to that. The Pan Am, however, works just fine with the PM-3.

      • Reply March 25, 2015

        Tibor

        Yes, the PanAm works better with higher impedance headphones, for this reason I bought an 75 Ohm impedance jack, which helps with dynamics of Phillips X1 for example, so maybe it would work also with PM-3 in other areas.
        So yes I like warm sound, PanAm is a hybrid so it doesn’t add much of warm, so thank you for your opinion.
        One more question, how is the cable terminated on the phone? 3,5 mm jack? Is there enough room to use aftermarket wires?
        Thank you very much and have a nice day!

  • Reply March 24, 2015

    Tronco

    And while you’re at it…how does it compare to the Alpha Dog?

    • Reply March 24, 2015

      ohm image

      The Alpha Dog is a bit more ‘linear’ in that the contrast between highs and lows is more obvious and mids don’t jump out as much. Ditto bass.

      But to be honest, they are nothing alike: taking the Alpha Dog outside would be like putting on skiis to hit up the laundromat in July. The PM-3 is a big on the heavy side, but it is elegant and portable.

  • Reply March 25, 2015

    Hasina Ihaja Rajaonarison

    Hello, how does the OPPO PM3 sound vs. the HIFIMAN HE-500? Thanks.

    • Reply March 26, 2015

      ohm image

      My friend, I do not own the HE-500. It is a fine headphone, I just don’t enjoy it enough to purchase it.

  • Reply March 25, 2015

    Thomas Pan

    Any comparison to the MDR Z7?

    • Reply March 26, 2015

      ohm image

      The MDR Z7 is awesome. I borrowed it just for a shoot. Amazing. Not a Planar Magnetic, but great. Super comfy, super beautifully designed. I’ve not had them back to back and probably won’t. That sony is incredible though.

  • Reply March 26, 2015

    Ilias K

    It will be very interesting to see in a future review how it compares to other planar headphones, like the HE-400i. From first impression, the Oppo seems to have an edge in both pricing and ability to be driven by almost every player, without the need for additional amp

    • Reply March 26, 2015

      ohm image

      I will compare it briefly to the MyST IzoPhones-60 in the next few weeks, but even so, the PM-3 is really the only truly portable Planar headphone. It stands alone.

  • Reply March 30, 2015

    Taylor Zheng

    How does the Oppo PM-3 compare to the NAD Viso HP50?

  • Reply April 6, 2015

    Daphen

    Hey, do you have a review for the audeze el-8 on the horizon? 🙂 would love to see a comparison between these and the el-8 closed back. Even though I’ve heard both. 🙂

    • Reply April 6, 2015

      Headfonia_L.

      Waiting for both to arrive…

      • Reply April 6, 2015

        Daphen

        Great, that’s going to be fun. Would love to hear your thoughts when they do arrive. 🙂

      • Reply April 11, 2015

        Daphen

        They haven’t showed up yet I guess? I’m going to buy a sealed headphone to use at the office and after auditioning both the EL-8(Closed back) and the PM-3, I just can’t decide.. Are there any other ~$1k I should take a look at? (Have to be fairly easy to drive, will be driven through my laptop with an E17 at the office)

        • Reply April 11, 2015

          Headfonia_L.

          Still waiting…

          • Reply April 23, 2015

            Daphen

            Now can I please have some impressions of the pm-3 vs the closed back el-8? Pretty please?

            • Reply April 23, 2015

              Headfonia_L.

              But I don’t have the PM3 yet 😀

              • Reply April 23, 2015

                Daphen

                Crap.. so you haven’t heard the pm3? How about the one who wrote this review? 🙂

                • Reply April 23, 2015

                  Headfonia_L.

                  Well, Nathan doesn’t have the EL-8s (yet). Belgium to Japan is a bit far to exchange headphones 😉

                  • Reply April 23, 2015

                    Daphen

                    Bummer. Do you like the closed EL-8? You could at least tell me that much, haha. 😀 I thought the vocals sounded really strange but I’m absolutely loving the build quality.

                    • April 24, 2015

                      Headfonia_L.

                      The first 15 minutes I was listening to the EL8s they both sounded very weird but then they became normal. They must have been tired from a long trip. That or my ears/brain adapted to them. I’d recommend to listen a bit longer to them but yes, the closed one does sound more forward.

                      They are well built but there’s a lot of plastic and the wood/veneer looks very cheap.

                    • April 24, 2015

                      Daphen

                      Well, looks is subjective. Do you think they sound good for their MSRP?

                    • April 24, 2015

                      Headfonia_L.

                      Oh yes, very good. The open one might finally kick my beloved HD650 of it’s mid fi throne. Then again it’s double as expensive too.

                      But yes, really good sounding.

                    • April 24, 2015

                      Daphen

                      Cool. I’m quite confused regarding the pm-3 vs el8 closed. I have no idea which one to go for, haha.

                    • April 24, 2015

                      Headfonia_L.

                      I will be getting the PM3 eventually, I just don’t have enough time

                    • April 24, 2015

                      Daphen

                      Do you think you’d feel fatigue if you wore them for 8 hours a day?
                      The closed EL-8 that is.

                    • April 24, 2015

                      Headfonia_L.

                      Oh yes, no doubt about that. That’s why the sennheiser HD650 is so great, you can hardly feel it, but that’s an open one of course

                    • April 24, 2015

                      Daphen

                      That’s a shame. Do you like the bass on the closed el-8?

                    • April 27, 2015

                      Headfonia_L.

                      Of course

                    • April 27, 2015

                      Daphen

                      I have an EL-8 on the way now, but I’m not sure if I should just return them. How do they perform with rock/acoustic indie music?
                      Man, I’m so torn about this purchase..

                    • April 27, 2015

                      Headfonia_L.

                      They both sound great. Don’t worry

    • Reply April 7, 2015

      ohm image

      Lieven’s review will be a fun one to see.

  • Reply April 11, 2015

    Tibor

    Hey! Could anyone compare these with Master & Dynamic MH40? Both are for 399 and I want to spend some money 😉

    • Reply April 15, 2015

      ohm image

      Both are warmish and comfy, and the PM-3 is now out of my office. I purchased one, so I’ll compare both later.

      The PM-3 is not quite as robust feeling but is tooled far better. MH40 is an amazing headphone so it will be fun to compare them.

      • Reply April 15, 2015

        Tibor

        I know that they are both different kinds, but if they share similar sound signature, I would like to know your thoughts! Thanks 🙂

  • Reply May 4, 2015

    Rich

    Great write up as always Nathan. How does the PM-3 compare to the Ultrasone Editon 8? Always looking for a good portable closed headphone for traveling with for use with my Calyx M DAP or HRT Microstreamer/iPad or iPhone.

    • Reply May 8, 2015

      ohm image

      Rich: I do not have the Edition 8, though am trying to line up a good price on one to review. Also, I purchased a PM-3 for myself, so I’ll be able to talk about them more. But, direct comparisons will take time. I’m sorry.

      And thank you for the encouragement.

  • Reply May 5, 2015

    jxh

    reading this fine review i was thinking there is a lot of similitude between the oppo and the B and W P7; do you think so ?

    • Reply May 8, 2015

      ohm image

      jxh: I do not own the W P7, nor know what they are actually. I’m afraid I can’t help.

    • Reply May 8, 2015

      dalethorn

      I’d like to know too since I have the P7.

      • Reply August 11, 2015

        linuxprophet

        HI Dale.

        I have the PM-3s and am looking to purchase the P7s. This portable audiophile stuff is becoming a drug craze! You can’t seem to get enough.

        Do you recommend? I am also thinking of the X5 MkII to pair with the excellent FiiO E12A. By the way, the Oppo PM-3s sound better with the E12A than with their own HA-2. The latter is a perfect combo with my reference Shure 846CLs.

        • Reply August 11, 2015

          dalethorn

          The P7 is well made, and sounds a little dark – not a lot, just a little. I’d bet it’s pretty similar in that way to the PM3, but I’d also bet the PM3 bass is better, given good amps for both.

    • Reply May 23, 2015

      Hugh Rutland

      It’s a lot cleaner sounding as well as more balanced than the p7 is from my memory. I no longer have my p7 as I sold it off to get the pm-3 after hearing it but the pm-3 is a nicer overall package imo.

      Just in terms of sound the p7 has a bit more sparkle in the treble and a fair amount more bass than the pm-3 does. The pm-3 sounds faster, cleaner (especially the bass) but a bit less exciting due to slightly rolled off treble. Soundstage is pretty equivalent between the two.

      I really liked both soundwise and I would say the pm-3 is a bit more technically proficient. In terms of comfort and portability the pm-3 also wins for me and that pushes it over the edge as the better headphone in my opinion.

  • Reply May 20, 2015

    Devon Day

    I wonder this headphone would go up against the Master and Dynamic MH40.

    • Reply May 28, 2015

      ohm image

      Give me a while. My MH40 is out on loan.

  • Reply June 5, 2015

    Rich

    Good write up on the PM-3s! I recently purchased the PM-3s as I was looking a portable planar to complement my XCs. Do you recommend upgrading the headphone cable that came with the PM-3s? And if so any specific cable recommendations? I was thinking of the Alpha Design Labs (Furutech) IHP-35.

    • Reply June 19, 2015

      ohm image

      I’m still using the stock cable, though the one from the Master&Dynamic MH40/30 works equally as well and is far, far tougher.

  • Reply July 13, 2015

    Brian

    Guys, I am
    looking for a little advice please. I am pretty new to the whole higher end
    music thing, I am by no measure an audiophile and don’t know the correct
    terminologies, so please be patient with me. I will try to explain everything
    as best I can. Recently my ipod classic crashed on me so I bought a Fiio X5 2nd
    generation player, which I am more than happy with, currently all my music
    files are MP4 (any advice?) as I just dragged them from my itunes library.
    While in the store, I also made an impulse buy of a pair of OPPO PM3
    headphones. It seems I made a little bit of a rookie error and didn’t really
    spend as much time test driving them in the store as I should have. Now, don’t
    get me wrong, there is no doubt that these are great headphones but to be
    honest, I am finding the sound a little disappointing for my taste and
    expectations. I like my music loud(ish) with some base but not overwhelming. I
    also like to be “immersed”, probably with a fuller, warmer sound.
    What I am finding with the current set up, is that although it is very accurate
    and certain vocals or instruments sound amazing, the sum of all parts together
    feels a bit thin, detached and quite linear. I am finding my ear concentrating
    on an individual instrument as opposed to feeling “wrapped” in the whole song.
    At volume, It feels to my ear quite shrill and almost synthetic and emotionless
    (but not distorted). It’s a weird thing to say but it almost feels that the
    depiction of some instruments is so accurate and pronounced, that they don’t
    gel with other instruments and almost sound out of tune. The sound all seems to
    be foreground with little in the way of depth and background…Crazy I know but I
    am just trying to explain as best I can.

    The other
    frustration is that when I am listening to some tracks where I know there is a
    lot going on in the background (for example the strings on Street Spirit by Radiohead
    or the little background riffs and soft drumming on a lot of MUSE tracks) but they
    just aren’t relayed. I know they are there but they are not being projected… The
    same goes for big emotional piano or string sections (again Muse tracks or
    Roads by Portishead) I am left feeling like the headphones have a lot more to
    give…but don’t. I am even finding myself sometimes reverting back to my crappy old
    40 quid Sony MDR-XB500’s…like an old comfort blanket. I have played with the
    gain and equalizer on the Fiio but still don’t really get what I am looking
    for.

    Will a
    portable amp help with the issues that I have (badly) described? If so, do you
    have any recommendations (not too pricey or bulky) please? Do the headphones
    need time to settle in? Are my expectations too high for the setup? Again,
    sorry for the length of post but I am trying to decide whether to go down the
    road of a portable amp or just call the job a bad one and look for alternative
    headphones. Any help greatly appreciated thanks.

    • Reply July 13, 2015

      dalethorn

      One little bit of advice – to get the best help from the forum gurus (not me) just one or two questions would be answerable. But just from reading yours, you need a personal one-on-one consultation.

      • Reply July 15, 2015

        Brian

        Thanks Dale, having had a think about it, I reckon I am going to sell them on. They are excellent headphones but just not to my taste. Even if an amp did help (which is unlikely), I don’t really want to carry one around with me. In my view, if I am spending 500 bucks on a pair of headphones, I want them to sound good to me out of the box….time for a new search. thanks.

        • Reply July 15, 2015

          dalethorn

          I’ve had a lot of $500 headphones, and have compared many of them to each other directly. All of them (no exceptions) have had issues, and the more expensive have more issues than the cheaper ones, because you notice more with the pricy headphones. I’ve found over the past 4 years that different tuning apps, whether they are multiple DSPs like Accudio or Audioforge or just bass and treble controls, can make those small changes that will fix the last little nagging sonic blemishes to make your experience nearly perfect. Many audiophiles try these things and take the wrong approach, to try to rebalance a headphone or whatever, when all they really need to do is correct the most obvious glitch or glitches (and hopefully no more than 2).

          But I think the reason most audiophiles go through so many devices isn’t because they’re looking for perfection or something really better, it’s mostly just a process of discovery.

          • Reply July 16, 2015

            Brian

            Thanks Dale, I guess the company that comes up with the perfect $500 headphone would be able to charge a lot more than $500 🙂

            I appreciate your advice, it’s all a bit of a learning curve for me at the moment.

            Cheers

            Brian

    • Reply July 17, 2015

      linuxprophet

      I have the PM3’s and also FiiO X5/E12A combo.

      I have not tried the cans without the E12A.

      I understand the PM3’s require a number of hours of burn-in time. I intend to do that before I can comment honestly on them. But for now, compared to the excellent Shure SE846CL’s I am impressed.

    • Reply September 4, 2015

      Kris Samarakoon

      The guys that review these say they benefit from a tube amp to show what they are really capable of.

  • Reply July 30, 2015

    bigtb1717

    I’ve been considering the PM-3s myself. Currently I’ve listened to, and liked the Bose QC25 headphones, but my current headphones are cheap ear-buds. I like balanced sound. I actually purchased some Klipsch Image One on ear headphones a while back, and returned them because the bass seemed to overpower some of the finer details. Sounded great with some music, but the bass was just too aggressive for some songs. Didn’t sound natural.
    I listen to many genres of music (classical, classic rock, some newer pop, country, rock), and may even watch a movie with them once in a while. I realize there is no perfect headphone, but I don’t want something that is terrible with certain types of music. Something versatile would be good. Would the PM-3s be a good fit? I would hate to pay $400 and be disappointed. Heck, anything less than wowed would be a bit of a let down for $400. Would I be better off with the Bose (don’t really need noise cancelling, but I do want closed back for use around others)?

    • Reply July 30, 2015

      dalethorn

      I have the QC25, and in active mode the sound is fairly neutral. But Bose apparently achieves that sound via an electronic DSP, rather than using acoustic dampeners in the earcups to treat resonances, like most premium headphones. So while it’s satisfactory to me for listening on a plane, at home you’ll eventually miss the tonality of music you’d get with a better headphone. Hopefully someone here who has the PM3 can tell you a few things that weren’t in the review.

      • Reply July 30, 2015

        bigtb1717

        Thanks for the quick reply.

      • Reply August 30, 2015

        raylucas

        I fly 20-25 international flights a year and my wife probably logs more than that domestically in the US. So, I bought a pair of QC25 for travel and they are a godsend on long hauls and short prop flights alike. You can’t go wring with the noise cancelling. The sound is pretty good on the QC25. Not great, but it gets the job done on flights. You’re paying for the ANC and name here, not necessarily a very resolving sound.

        I recently was able to audition the Oppo PM-3 though the Headfi.org loaner program, and the sound between the PM-3 and QC25 was night and day. The Oppo cans have a sound that at first seemed to be lacking bass quantity, but I soon realized I was hearing texture and quality in the low end that was not present in the 25s. The mids are full and the treble smooth, which makes for great long listening sessions at home and at the office…when ANC is on. Even though they run without batteries, the Bose are horrid when the battery runs out. Time for Klipsch x10 buds at that point in the flight.

        As has been stated many times, the PM-3s don’t need extra amping, but I found driving them with a Fiio e17 via USB from my PC to get the best sound at the office. I was able to bump up the bass to get that little extra kick, while retaining the texture of the bass that I quickly came to appreciate. That said, they sounded fine from my HTC One M8 for Windows. It just depends on what you’re going for. At home I amped them with the Schiit Audio Asgard 2 on low gain, fed by a Sonos device and FLAC files. Sound was resolving, quick, and just a ton of fun. The closed cans fit nicely alongside my Senn HD-650 and AKG K7xx.

        So, in comcludion, I own the QC25 and will soon be ordering the PM-3. They were good enough that my wife said, just order them. Oh and get me a white pair as well. That’s a very telling sign. I’ve either worn her down on my audio habit, or they sounded that good. I’m gonna say the latter, because I came home a couple of times during my audition period and she was listening to the PM-3s. She never does that with the AKG and Sennheiser headphones.

        If I was forced to choose one on sound alone, the Oppo’s win hands down. If ANC is your driving factor, Bose is hard to beat. If you can afford both, I’d suggest buying the right tool for the job. Hope this helps.

        • Reply August 30, 2015

          Headfonia_L.

          How do they hold up during flights?

          • Reply August 30, 2015

            raylucas

            QC25s hold up great. Lots of plastic, so they are light. They come with a great case and a spot for an airline adapter and extra battery. Had them for 7 months and they’ve been with both me and my wife on trips probably every other week. We treat them nicely, keep them in the case and they’ve done great thus far.

            Additionally, I found the included Oppo hard zipper case to be a nice addition. I wouldn’t feel bad at all.aboit taking the PM-3s on a flight if the QC25s were not available. If I were going to be staying somewhere for longer than a week, I’d probably pack the PM-3s and a Fiio e17. Number of evening hours in the hotel might force my hand. First world problems now that I think of it.

        • Reply August 31, 2015

          dalethorn

          That’s a perfect description, thanks!

  • Reply August 27, 2015

    WillieMaykit

    Great review 🙂 I just purchased the PM-3 (pick them up Saturday) to replace my KEF M500s for my morning commute. The M500s are fantastic but struggle on the Underground.

    @Nathan – I found going to Yodobashi to test the PM-3’s isolation. The stores I went to (Kyoto and Shinjuku) were great because the stores were really noisy

    • Reply September 1, 2015

      ohm image

      How loud do you listen?

      • Reply September 3, 2015

        WillieMaykit

        Without an amp, I found I had I had to turn my iPhone 6 plus up to 3-4 bars from the top when walking around. On the tube (London Underground) I would have to play at full volume as the background noise would drown out a lot of the detail.

        The HA-2 solved the volume issue though I still had to turn it up to 4 on the tube. With the PM-3 the volume issue largely goes away. The volume on the HA-2 is set to 2-3 as the PM-3 isolates reasonably well.

  • Reply October 10, 2015

    Sebastian

    That’s a great review.

    I received my PM-3 last week and I can’t stop to wear them. I tested the noise isolation on NYC subway and, in comparison with my previews Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7BK, the OPPO do much better job.
    I really like the smooth of the sound and the balance between all the spectrum.
    I’m using the PM-3 with the TOPPING NX2 DAC and iPhone 6s connected by lighting connector.

    The only think I could complain is that I need to put the iPhone on full volume and the NX2 at 8 power, so, almost full volume both devices.
    Does anybody recommend other DAC on the same budget of the TOPPING that can take the full advantage of the PM-3?

    • Reply October 11, 2015

      dalethorn

      The PM3 sensitivity is 102 db per one mw, presumably at 26 ohms. The NX2 puts out 100 mw at 32 ohms, so according to the specs, it would seem the PM3 should play midrange tones up to 122 db (very, very loud). So “8 power” on the NX2 — does it get *much* louder when you go from 8 power to full power? If not, then maybe something in the USB connection is not working right?

      • Reply October 11, 2015

        Sebastian

        Yeah, at 8 power it sound loud, and at 10 very very loud, so it get louder form 8 to 10.
        The usb that comes with the NX2 looks cheap quality, I’ll try to replace it to see what happens.
        Did you test the PM3 with other DAC than the NX2? do you have any recommendation?
        Thanks a lot for your response

        • Reply October 11, 2015

          dalethorn

          I didn’t test the PM3, but I have many amps and similar headphones with sometime problems, so my interest is to investigate and learn those problems.

    • Reply December 4, 2015

      ohm image

      I’m very glad you enjoyed the review and are enjoying the phones. They are great.

  • Reply January 28, 2016

    Kevin Booth

    How would the Oppo PM-3 work with the Astell & Kern Jr.?

  • Reply March 5, 2016

    Michael Gunin

    Do you think PM3 would be a significant upgrade to ATH-ESW9? I’m thinking between PM3 and and Momentum v2.

  • Reply July 12, 2016

    Dragos

    Is there any possibility to pair this cans with an amp/dac in order to get soundstage and clarity?

    • Reply July 13, 2016

      dale thorn

      What is your gear now, source, etc.?

      • Reply July 13, 2016

        Dragos

        Mainly my 5s which sounds a bit better than my integrated laptop soundcard. Also, even if I have portable cans, I am prone to home set of amp/dac as well as portable. The main thing is to get the experience and carry it in my heart.

        • Reply July 13, 2016

          dalethorn

          I really like the DragonFly Black, although some people will say to get the DragonFly Red to get more power. You could pay $300 USD for the Oppo HA-2, but I think the DragonFly DAC/amps now surpass the sound of the HA-2. There is an exception – I believe the HA-2 would be better for brighter headphones, but the PM3 should go well with a leaner DAC like the DragonFly.

          • Reply July 13, 2016

            Dragos

            Thank you for your replay! It really helped me in drawing my decision. Also, it surprised me how few are talking about this amp/dac when it comes to PM3. Usually the discussions are around HA2 or maybe E18K. So I will be back with a brief review of dragonfly red with PM3 and also with HD598 which are brighter. Again thank you very much!

            • Reply July 14, 2016

              dale thorn

              Note that the HD598 impedance jumps from about 50 ohms to 300 ohms around 90 hz, so since the DragonFly does not have its own power, you could hear loud sound at midrange and treble frequencies, but possibly have a weaker bass around 80-100 hz, if the DragonFly can’t meet the power demand when the impedance is actually 300 ohms.
              http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/SennheiserHD598.pdf

              • Reply July 14, 2016

                Dragos

                I see. Now it does make sense that it is a wiser decision to buy the dragonfly black instead of red one for PM3 solely. Still, thanks to your comment I postponed the payment in order to go there and test the black, red and HA-2 with PM3, HD598 and maybe a future acquisition, the HD650.

                • Reply July 14, 2016

                  Dragos

                  Any word of advice before going in that pit of marketers who will twist my head with such an elegancy that will make me cry for not having enough money to buy all the products?

                  • Reply July 14, 2016

                    dale thorn

                    I would say, know which basic sound pattern you like (warm, accurate, etc.) most. For me, the planars give better bass on average, where some dynamics such as Beyer are treble monsters. Then match the amp, and with planars it’s best to have good power – DragonFly Black I would not recommend for planars or high impedance dynamics, since it was made for cellphones.

                    • July 15, 2016

                      Dragos

                      And the winner is HA2:) I went there and listened to all of them. Each of them sounds differently. Most fun to listen is the Dragonfly red. Because it is more laid back then anything else it is complementing the sound of PM3 and gave some soundstage to the cans, although it is odd to feel the soundstage through closed back ))) Still the HA2 gave something that I wanted, brightness to the voice and bought me right there. PM3 are doing great with voices. For instance, take Jarre’s Brick England and start right from 0:55, it will blow you away. The combination of laid back cans with a soft touch of HA2 brightness puts a mysterious or magical layer on the voice. Good news, HA2 also gave some speed to the sound.
                      Dale, you were right, Dragonfly was not able to drive the bass from HD598 and indeed the mid and treble sectors where loud. Although, the HA2 has a terrible bass boost which probably will stay off for all of its life 😀 it did a great job with HD598.
                      Oh btw I tried HD650 with HA2 and…I would say it is a marriage between an american and immigrant who wants to get the citizenship. At highest volume it makes HD650 sound almost loud, but the cans are not driven, not even close. So with someone is borrowing you the HD650 for the weekend it might be an ok experience, but if you want to buy HD650 in order to pair it with HA2 you might have something in your oven burring, right now.

                    • July 15, 2016

                      dale thorn

                      No reply button for Dragos on July 15 post!!

                      Anyway, the HD650 will also have a big impedance hump in the upper bass, requiring lots more power.

  • Reply October 28, 2016

    Bruce

    I just picked up a pair of PM-3s and they sound amazing. Now, I’m just not sure which dac/amp combo to go with. I listen to most of my music on my 2015 MacBook Pro, so I’m looking for something portable. I was leaning toward the Schiit Fulla, but reviews haven’t been so great. Does anyone have suggestions?

  • Reply January 9, 2017

    OffRamp

    I buy quite a bit of the gear these guys recommend but this is after reading a few reviews over and over. I use a few other sites but this is my main one. I also use Ohm Image for reviews.
    So if you are looking for an amp head over to the amp section. I ordered a Vorzuge amp on Ohm Image’s review for example and have never looked back. It works great with my pm3’s but it is a single ended amp and I keep that in mind for my options when I use it. In my view you have to understand what your amp needs are and go from there. For me it’s whatever these guys really like l might just buy it…one day.

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