Disclaimer: I purchased the PM-2 from Oppo’s Australian distributor, Interdyn at a discount. Thank you Interdyn. The Oppo PM-2 regularly goes for 699$ USD. You can find out more about it here. Oppo are a Headfonia sponsor.
No one expected the Oppo Inquisition. Admittedly, the radar here for headphones from a bluray manufacturer was thin at best.
So, it’s meet to say that whilst reviewing the Oppo PM-3, my socks were knocked so far off that I ended up purchasing a pair post-hoc. The Oppo HA-2 DAC/amp, while not as awesome a product, wore my socks threadbare. And now coolly naked, I’m a proud owner of the PM-2.
Honestly, I’ve never, ever, been so happy to put on a pair of headphones.
First, the design reasons: the PM-2 are über comfy phones. And, they are über well-designed. You know: 180º swivelling ear cups, brilliantly plugged fast-switching pads, dual detachable 2,5mm mono cables, smooth edges, perfectly machined aluminium skeletals, a nighttime-friendly raised L-side nub indicator, a chunky, fabric-sheathed 6,3mm home cable (plus a dinky, rubbery one for out and about). The dinky one sucks. And, I should mention, is pointless. The PM-2 is an open headphone. In order to get it to play loud enough to overpower even a quiet park, you’ll have to bump up the volume to ear-hurting levels. If you try the same thing on the metro, you’ll be murdered by a violent noise pollution hater. The name of that noise pollution hater is Bartholomew. He’s from Sicily, but not originally. (His past is murky and I’m doing my journalistic best to suss it.) But then again, the PM-3’s cables were just as shyte. It’s one of the few real bads an Oppo headphone fan should expect.
The tote case is basically the same as the PM-3’s, just larger. The literature is as neatly arranged, legible, and properly copy-edited. And while not as terse as Apple’s, Oppo’s is clearer, conciser, and easier to read than just about anyone else’s – an envious second place if I do so say.
Quality and follow through are Oppoian hallmarks. As are the small, silly misses.
The stock, faux-leather pads are the first. They are comfy-ish in cool weather. But come May, they cling stickily to whatever stickiness you have shining around your jaw and ears. They are good for nothing until November. As a natural, and profuse sweater, I lost no time, switching them for Oppo’s ~60$ PM-2 lambskin pads. The change was brilliant. Fake leather wasn’t good pre-protein. It isn’t any better today. It’s stupid to try.
The PM-2 clamps a bit less than does the PM-3. For a planar magnetic, it is light, pretty, and nerdy not in the least. No, it would not survive a toss through a properly winterized window. No, it would not win a pit fight with the IzoPhones-60. But no, even after university 101 science-for-dummy-arts-students-long hours on the head, it never hurts, clamps, presses, or rubs. Largely, it just turns into a noticeable pillow around your ears. And that, combined with its wonderful (if not perfectly tuned to my preferences) sound, is the main reason that time after time, I can’t wait to put it back on.
It is the most comfy and handsome mid-to-high-end headphone I’ve seen; it certainly is the nicest one I’ve worn.
The most perplexing thing to me is that despite not absolutely adoring its sound signature, I absolutely adore the PM-2. It’s not that it doesn’t sound good to my ears. It’s just that I prefer more high-frequency accent, more bite, more space.
The PM-2 is pretty flat, pretty neutral. It’s not dark, but next to the IzoPhones-60, and certainly next to the DT880 it just sounds laid back.
Treble has energy and a bit of what I shouldn’t call plastic wrap, but which for the sake of time, I will. It’s 22:20; I need a shortcut. It’s the sort of sound that smooths over the toppest of spikes with a thin layer of nylon. Grado-like crystal clear organic or electronic percussion are out. In their place is a bit of haze, but only just so. That haze doesn’t stick out, nor does it worry your favourite tunes. And treble extension is as good as any headphone I’ve heard. It’s just not emphasized with an abundance of sound pressure.
Mids run flat, tracking perfectly to the bass. They’re well-defined, well-resolved, and pretty spacious. But the contrast from them into the treble isn’t super huge. Maybe that’s why the PM-2 doesn’t sound as open as its design would lead you to believe. And they’re not overly organic. Neither are they aggressive. They’re comfortably blasé either preference.
More after the Click