Oppo’s new PM-1 headphones make ‘planar magnetic’ look sexy

planar magnetics just got sexy oppos new pm 1 premium headphones oppo side

The electronics gurus at Oppo just jumped headlong into the hi-fi headphone race, unveiling a mouth-watering duo of planar magnetic cans, the PM-1 and the PM-2, both of which look ready to smash their way into the exclusive club of premium headphones at the top rung of the consumer ladder.

Oppo’s billing its new creations as a distinct progression in the strange and delicate world of planar magnetics that was years in the making. To craft its new design, Oppo employed a team of “passionate audio and acoustics engineers, chemical and material scientists, and audiophiles.”

For those unfamiliar with the planar magnetic headphone legacy, they are revered in the headphone world for conveying some of the most dynamic, transparent, and stunningly accurate audio reproduction in the genre. The technology trades traditional dynamic transducers for a thin membrane, layered with a conductor circuit, and placed within a magnetic field. The thin transducer interacts with the field when fed an audio signal, creating a vividly precise reproduction of the source material.

The Audeze LCD-3 are generally accepted as the go-to model in the category, and a pair of those kingly cans will run you around two grand.

Oppo’s achingly elegant PM-1 are the top dogs in its burgeoning new family, and will run users a slightly more reasonable MSRP of $1,100. Along with their sleek and succinct exterior, the PM-1 boast some impressive internal components, including a 7-layer diaphragm for the transducers, paired with an “FEM-optimized high-energy Neodymium magnet system.” If you want to understand that last feature better, you may need a physics degree.

To achieve exemplary performance, Oppo uses a “spiraling pattern of flat conductors etched on both sides” of its new transducers, allowing for “twice as many conductors” inside the magnetic field. Oppo claims the design translates into higher sensitivity, minimal distortion, and premium clarity and balance. The company also claims the PM-1’s higher sensitivity is the key that enables them to work efficiently with portable devices, instead of requiring a high-quality headphone amplifier to drive the system as is the norm.

Specs for the new PM-1 include a ludicrous claimed frequency response of a 10Hz-50kHz, a 32 Ohm impedance rating, and a 2 watt pulse max power input contained in an over-ear, open back frame. 

As for construction, the PM-1 are crafted with premium materials, including high grade machined metal components that require “many hours of machining time” as well as “hand-picked lambskin” along the ear pads and headband. The headphones will ship in a wooden box, with a carrying case, detachable cables terminated with 1/4-inch and 3.5mm jacks, and an alternative set of velour ear pads.

To make its new creation more accessible, Oppo has placed the same driver technology into a slightly lower grade model for the PM-2, which will run a more achievable $700 when they ship. The PM-2 will use lower grade metallic components, and swap out the lambskin coating along the pads for synthetic leather.

To supplement its new lineup, Oppo will also soon release a dedicated headphone amplifier, the HA-1. If you’re already a part of the Oppo faithful, the company also highly recommends the headphone output of its popular Oppo BDP-105/105D Blu-ray player as an excellent companion piece to the new headphones (we’ll vouch for that!).

The PM-1 is slated for release in mid-April, while the PM-2 will come out sometime this summer. We don’t mind telling you, we’re fairly jacked to get our hands on a pair of Oppo’s new babies, and we plan on doing so as soon as possible, so stay tuned for our hands on impression.

Product Review

It's only $100, but this soundbar loses its balance to bring the bass

Anker has expanded into audio in a big way in recent years, the latest example being the SoundCore Infini soundbar. At just $99, it makes for a very affordable add-on to your entertainment setup, but is it worth it?
Movies & TV

The best new movie trailers: ‘Captain Marvel,’ ‘Nigerian Prince,’ and more

Everyone loves a good trailer, but keeping up with what's new isn't easy. To simplify things, we round up the best ones each week. On tap this week: The first trailer for superhero movie Captain Marvel, and other fascinating film previews.
Home Theater

'My Dinner with Hervé,' more 'Flight of the Concords' arrive on HBO in October

Whether you're a cable lifer or a staunch cord cutter, there's never been a better time to get down with premium TV. Follow us to find out what's new on HBO each month. October 2018 brings My Dinner With Hervé and Camping.

Here's the Samsung Galaxy S9's new Android 9.0 Pie interface

The Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus are here. The flagship devices boast some awesome new features and a powerful new processor. Here's everything you need to know about these Samsung phones.
Emerging Tech

Robots are going to steal 75 million jobs by 2025 — but there’s no need to panic

According to the World Economic Forum, robots and A.I. will take 75 million jobs from hardworking humans by 2025. That's the bad news. The good news is that they will create far more jobs than that.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Amazon Prime right now (September 2018)

Prime Video gives subscribers access to a host of great movies, but sifting through the massive library isn't easy. Lucky for you, we've sorted the wheat from the chaff. Here are the best movies on Amazon Prime Video right now.
Home Theater

SiriusXM’s $3.5 billion purchase of Pandora just might be music to our ears

SiriusXM is aiming to expand its customer base beyond those listening in the car through a $3.5 billion deal that will see it acquiring streaming service Pandora, in which it already owns a 16 percent stake.
Movies & TV

Best new shows and movies to stream: ‘The Shape of Water,’ ‘Forever,’ and more

Need something to watch this weekend? Check out our list of the best new shows and movies to stream right now. On the list this week: The Shape of Water, Maniac, and more.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

Amazon Prime brings more perks than just free two-day shipping. Subscribers get access to a huge library of TV shows to stream at no extra cost. Here are our favorite TV shows currently available on Amazon Prime.
Home Theater

Roku adds features, subtracts cost with its cheapest 4K streamer to date

Watching 4K content just got even cheaper, as Roku has debuted a new model dubbed the Premiere, which offers 4K streaming and even high dynamic range for just $40, making it the company’s most affordable 4K streamer to date.
Home Theater

Hulu to be the first live TV streamer on the Echo Show smart home hub

Amazon’s Echo Show is about to become the equivalent of a kitchen TV when Hulu becomes the first live TV streaming service to be available on the Alexa-powered smart home hub in October.
Movies & TV

Save a few bucks with the best free feature-length movies on YouTube

Bank account emptier than you thought? Check out our curated list of the best full-length movies on YouTube to find feature-length flicks that are free, legally uploaded, and actually worth watching.
Home Theater

Need to get rid of an unused Netflix profile? Just follow these simple steps

Need to delete an unwanted profile from your Netflix account? It's easy to do, no matter what kind of equipment you've got. Check out our handy how-to guide for step-by-step instructions.
Home Theater

How to crack the code and find the best TV resolution for your needs

720p? 1080p? 4K UHD? What does it all mean? Choosing the best resolution for your TV can be tough, but fear not: We’ll break down the dirty details and help you figure out the right resolution for you.