After years of making award-winning universal disc players that push the limits of bang-for-the-buck performance, this January Oppo Digital released a set of audiophile-grade headphones built around a set of proprietary planar magnetic drivers, dubbed the PM-1. Unlike their other previous value-centric offerings, the $1,099 headphones had all of the trappings of a luxury product. They were made from metal and lambskin leather. They shipped in suede-lined humidor-quality boxes for home storage, along with a selvedge denim carrying case for the road, and dual sets of ear pads and cables.
Though some critical listeners docked Oppo’s unique driver design for falling short of true “reference quality”, most agreed their construction offered a distinct advantage for portable devices. Its sensitivity of 102 dB/mW and nominal impedance of 32 ohms allowed for spectacular dynamic focus and punch across wide range of devices including smartphones, without the help of an external headphone amp, making them an ideal option for audiophiles on the move.
The release was unquestionably an important step for the boutique electronic maker’s future. But the launch of the PM-2 a mere six months later proves Oppo has no intention of leaving behind its value-oriented legacy: their second pair of headphones features the exact same drivers and primary physical components for $300 less.
How they pulled off such a feat is a textbook example of smart restraint. The wooden presentation box was first on the chopping block; synthetics are used instead of real leather. Plastic also replaced metal for chrome detailing. The result is an outstanding combination of performance and price that makes the PM-2s an easy recommendation for buyers looking to explore the distortion-reducing benefits of planar magnetic technology. For audiophile-level performance, you won’t find a better value.
Nominal Impedance: 32 Ohm
Sensitivity: 102 dB/mW
Weight: .85 pounds (without cable)