Oppo PM-3 Headphone Review

Preface

It has long been debated whether a $2000 pair of headphones makes much difference compared to a $20 pair of headphones. Truth is, it does. However, there is a price point in which the gain versus amount spent diminishes so significantly that you are basically just spending money for the sake of spending money. For Australia, that figure is around AUD$300. Well, until I discovered Oppo’s PM-3 Planar Magnetic headphones.

Introduction

Planar Magnetic headphones for those who have not heard of them before, have been around for a while now. However, due to their steep price tags, have traditionally been reserved for those privileged audio aficionados who can afford to spend several thousands of dollars on a pair of headphones.

Now, thanks to Oppo and their PM-3 Planar Magnetic headphone, the entry barrier into the Planar Magnetic world has been significantly lowered, enabling a lot more people to enjoy the Planar Magnetic sound experience.

You can read more about Planar Magnetic in Tyll Hertsens’ How Planar Magnetic Headphones Work.

Design

The PM-3s are stunning looking headphones. With their classic, plain and simple design, they will never go out of style. And unlike those contemporary designs you find in headphones such as the Beats Studio, the PM-3 looks great on anyone – young or old, guy or girl, its elegant design will look great on absolutely anyone.

Performance

The Planar Magnetic difference is real, and I can confirm – once you go Planar, you would never go back. The difference is so noticeable, even an amateur who knows nothing about audio can hear the difference.

I had a colleague (who has no knowledge about headphones or headphone technologies) try the PM-3s and was instantly shocked by the difference in sound quality produced by the PM-3.

A word of warning: Do not try them unless you are prepared to make a purchase. Once you have tasted the superior sound that is Planar Magnetic, you will have a real struggle to use a pair of traditional Dynamic headphones afterwards.

Build Quality

Though the PM-3s are considered ‘cheap’ for Planar Magnetic headphones, they are far from ‘cheap’ with an RRP of AUD$599. So it is only right the build quality reflects this price tag, and it certainly does.

The build quality is top notch, and there is no better way of showing this than the number of years a manufacturer is willing to stand behind their product.

Oppo offers not 12 months, not 2 years, but 3 years of warranty on all their headphones (for full details, see What warranty am I entitled to). I cannot think of another manufacturer that provides 3 years of warranty for their products. Even Apple only provides 12 months for their iPhones.

Conclusion

Unfortunately the PM-3s are still a bit out of reach for the masses. However, for those who were looking at spending AUD$300 on a pair of new headphones, my recommendation is to spend that bit extra and get a pair of PM-3s. You will not regret it and within a week, will realise that they are worth every penny.

But keep in mind, the PM-3s, like all headphones in general, are not for everyone. Though the PM-3s will cater for most people and genres. I recommend you try them out for yourselves in stores. And with the PM-3’s low pricing, they are now ‘cheap’ enough that even general electronics stores stock them, so there is no need to make a dedicated trip to a specialist store to try them out.

Product Photos

Figure 1. Box packaging.
Figure 2. Extra bundled 1.2 metre cable.
Figure 3. Usual documentation on top carry case.
Figure 4. Headphones resting inside carry case.
Figure 5. All the contents of the package.
Figure 6. Headphones resting on top Surface Pro 4 Type Cover.