Once upon a time, before OPPO formed its smartphone division, the company was releasing various other consumer electronics under its OPPO Digital division. It is from this division that the OPPO PM-3 headphone came into being. We’ve mentioned this particular headphone in 2015 during out audiophile headphone showdown, but we never did a proper review for it. Well, now that we have the headphones in our offices proper, it’s time we take a good look at the PM-3.
If you were to tell me that the PM-3 was designed by Apple, I would actually believe you. The OPPO PM-3 is beautifully designed, featuring a sleek, compact design, making it the perfect pair of headphones when you’re out and about. One other important point to note is that the PM-3 is a closed-back headphone.
Besides the uh…”unorthodox” design of the PM-3, OPPO has also used a rather unique piece of tech in this particular pair of headphones: planar magnetic drivers. Planar magnetic drivers function in the same principle to dynamic drivers in that two magnetic fields interact with each other to cause motion.
However, the difference with planar magnetic drivers is that the motion generated would be channelled across a thin, flat film, allowing the force to spread across the diaphragm. Generally speaking, headphones that utilise planar magnetic drivers are huge, which makes the PM-3 size a huge surprise.
Now that we’ve gotten the looks and tech out of the way, let’s get to the performance. I am happy to say that the PM-3 is a very impressive sounding pair of headphones. Firstly, the PM-3 is a closed-back headphones, which means that the sound is pumped directly into your ear without any outside sound mixing into it like open-back headphones. As such, this also means that sound leak isn’t an issue when it comes to the PM-3.
WORLD OF SOUND
The PM-3’s sound signature has much in common with the sound signature of monitor headphones. What that means is that, for the most part, the highs, mids, and lows of a song is given equal focus. No one part of a song overpowers any other part, allowing you to identify the various instruments that form the music without needing to strain your ears to do so. The bass is surprisingly punchy as well, make it great for people like me who are EDM junkies. While an amplifier isn’t really mandatory to properly use the PM-3, having one would allow the PM-3 to reach its true potential.
A QUESTION OF TASTE
While I personally love how the PM-3 sounds, I’m well aware that the PM-3 isn’t going to impress everyone. So let’s run through some of the flaws that the PM-3 has. For one, while the PM-3 has a decent soundstage, it will not be beating open-back headphones. The other part that people may not like is the monitor-style sound signature. While I like the fact that the PM-3 gives equal emphasis to all sectors of a song, this also has the effect of making it sterile and boring. For some, this boring sound may be fatiguing, meaning you won’t be using the headphones for an extended period of time.
IS THE PRICE RIGHT?
But let’s say that you’re okay with how the PM-3 sounds like, you’re going to need to decide if the PM-3 is worth the price. With a price tag of RM1,699, the OPPO PM-3 is not exactly a budget-level headphone. Just for comparison’s sake, the headphone that I’m currently using, the Audio Technica ATH-M50x, is priced at around the RM850 mark. The PM-3 is considered to be an entry-level audiophile headphone, and as such, it sports a higher than average price.
Personally speaking, if I had the discipline to save up some cash, I would buy the PM-3 without any hesitation. For me, the PM-3 is exactly what I look for in a headphone. The compact size and the powerful, balanced sound suits my tastes very well. If you like your music well-rounded and powerful, the PM-3 is a headphone that will make you very happy indeed.
Verdict: A powerfully balanced set of headphones that looks and feels great
Total Score : 9.4