Hi-Fi corner: Oppo’s PM-3 bring practicality to premium planar headphones

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It’s been true for some time now that you could spend a boatload of cash on a pair of headphones if you want, and in many cases, you’d get a handsome return on your investment. But now Oppo has come along and absolutely changed the game for premium headphones. Meet the PM-3, a $400 planar magnetic-style headphone that blend practicality with premium sound and a luxurious feel.

Oppo’s first go at a premium headphone, the $1100 PM-1, were a knockout when it came to sound quality and comfort. Unfortunately, they are the sort of headphone that should be kept in their high-gloss lacquered cherry-wood storage box, right next to your humidor and bottle of Johnny Walker Blue. One of the PM-1’s few limiting factors is that they are open backed, so it’s easy to hear everything going on around you, and those around you will easily hear whatever you’re listening to. The PM-3, on the other hand, are closed-backed, providing better sound isolation, and a bit of reinforcement in the bass.

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The PM-3 maintain a luxurious feel and exhibit excellent build quality. In addition to an extra-long standard headphone cable, Oppo makes an iOS-compatible three-button inline mic cable, and a single-button inline mic cable for Android devices.

Our only grip is with the PM-3 clamping force, which seems a little bit excessive. Those with wider noggins may find them a little tight, but between the exceptional sound quality and extremely comfortable earpads and headband, it is easy to excuse.

If you’re going to spend $400 on a pair of headphones, then you’re probably serious about sound quality and style. The PM-3 deliver both in spades, and challenge headphones costing twice as much.