Audio Zenith PMx2 Redux and Quick Impressions

Discussion in 'Headphone Measurements' started by purr1n, Sep 28, 2015.

  1. Rthomas

    Rthomas Friend

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    I'm sure Alex has put in hundreds of hours into creating the PMX2. What I find strange is why doesn't his friend Igor bring him into the design team at Oppo to incorporate these improvements into an updated version?

    My guess is that PM1 and PM2 sales have dried up or at least slowed to a trickle with all the new entrants in their price range.

    I really wish I could try these in the UK. Buying blind is too risky as I'm sure I'll lose at least $500 on resale as the PM2 is not very highly regarded and modded products don't hold their value very well.

    If it is as good as Marvey says it's a shame that more people don't get to hear it.

    Any PMX2 owners in the UK?
     
  2. elvojt

    elvojt New

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    Hi. Can anyone compare AZ pmx2 to Sennheiser HD800S in progressive rock music and modern jazz? Now i'm using Oppos PM-2. Upgrade to AZ costs $900 and also i can buy new Senn HD800S for $1k. Which one performs better? PS. I'm not very satisfied with original PM2 because of not very detailed treble and poor soundstage. What i love in this cans are just brilliiant mids and natural, not fatiguing tone. Thanks for help.
     
  3. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    So it seems the PM-2 has been discontinued (or it's no longer visible on the main Oppo site)... what will become of the PMx2 now?
     
  4. brencho

    brencho Friend

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    it will go the way of the Code-X and the Snow Leopard, rare beasts for only the very lucky and persistent to glimpse.
     
  5. AllanMarcus

    AllanMarcus Friend

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    From what I understand, the PMx2 can be made from a PM-1, but the base headphone just costs more and the resultant headphone sounds the same as from a PM-2.
     
  6. Audio Zenith

    Audio Zenith Custom Title KGB

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    upload_2017-4-6_14-4-36.jpeg


    Hello friends and supporters,

    SoCal CanJam is happening this weekend, April 8-9 and I will be there with NEW PMx2 at Darin Fong's "Out of Your Head" booth. Please come and have a chat with me about neutrality in audio ;-).

    It has been a bit over three years of continuous development and well over a year of production. The main things we kept working on were streamlining the modification process in a way that it would actually make sense to produce PMx2 without losing time and money on every pair. Werealized that no matter how good your product is, acquiringnew customers without the help and support of local dealers and distributors could be extremely difficult. Therefore, in order to attract these dealers, we had to raise theretail price. But, for the new price to work, we had to make major upgrades to sound quality and design.

    Many agreed that frequency response of our PMx2, top to bottom, is where it generally needs to be. The main areas that still needed improvement were distortion, resolution, soundstage and possibly even looks.

    Remembering how some were concerned with durability of velour we decided thatleather earpads would help, while also enhancing the looks.

    Easier said than done, especially if one wants to keep the correctness of original tone. Nevertheless, our measurements below show that the tonality is generally the same. Feedback from the first listening tests demonstrated improvements that we didn't necessarily expect. Airiness, soundstage, imaging quality and size reportedly got better.

    Another welcome change was to visually differentiate new PMx2 a bit further with silver painted grills.

    Distortion is the achilles heel of the OPPO driver we use and we have been fighting with it pretty much right from the start. With a bit more hard work, the new measurements show that the PMx2 distortion on average is 3-5 times lower than original OPPO and is finally on par with the best TOTL headphones available.

    In fact, up to 90db,total distortion measures exemplary 0.235% and a vast majority listen at much lower levels than that. When SPL is increased above this level, the knurled portion of a diaphragm greatly affects the sound boosting low frequency SPL and generating a fairly narrow spike of distortion around 300Hz. Our goal was to normalize the diaphragm motion.To do that, we had to reengineer the original magnetic and damping structures. The results are displayed on the graphs below.

    Taking into consideration all the controversy around our previous measurements, this time we wanted to show how the PMx2 frequency response graphs change depending on the properties of thecoupler. We took three different measurements of the same driver.

    The first coupler was most suitable for a closed back design, with minimal absorption and the highest air pressure maintained within. The second coupler was built using instructions onSBAF headphone measurements section andissimilar to oneused by many members here. Thethird coupler is what we believe to be the most realistic representation of how listeners are actually hearing our headphoneand can be verified using online test tone generators similar to this one: http://onlinetonegenerator.com/frequency-sweep-generator.html

    The pricing for the modification of customer's sets of OPPO PM-1/PM-2 was increased slightly to $899.00 which, unlike before,includes a new set of earpads ($59.00 plus TAX and shipping, directly from OPPO).Basically the real price difference for modification is $135.00 vs previous version of our PMx2.

    Price for the brand-new Audio Zenith PMx2 (the only one with silver grills) is now $1899.00.


    Oppo PM-2 and Sennheiser HD-650 distortion measurements at the same 95db on the same coupler were given for comparison purposes only.


    upload_2017-4-6_14-4-36.jpeg


    upload_2017-4-6_14-4-36.jpeg


    upload_2017-4-6_14-4-36.jpeg



    upload_2017-4-6_14-4-36.jpeg


    upload_2017-4-6_14-4-36.jpeg


    upload_2017-4-6_14-4-37.jpeg

    upload_2017-4-6_14-4-37.jpeg
     
  7. cskippy

    cskippy Creamy warmpoo

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    Looks great! I might suggest revising the waterfall and spectogram, as in their current state they don't offer anything meaningful.
     
  8. Northwest

    Northwest Almost "Made"

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    I purchased a PMx2 late November, 2016. Can that be upgraded to this version?
     
  9. Audio Zenith

    Audio Zenith Custom Title KGB

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    Would be happy to. I generally use different software for measurements and applied all default settings for these REWs. Could you please suggest what has to be changed for displaying more useful waterfall and spectrogram?
    Thanks in advance.
     
  10. Audio Zenith

    Audio Zenith Custom Title KGB

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    Please PM me, so I can pull measurements for your set to find out if changes are even necessary.
    Thanks a lot.
     
  11. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    Since you've provided the HD650 distortion plot, can you post the waterfall and spectrogram as well for comparison?
     
  12. Clemmaster

    Clemmaster Friend

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    Unfortunate price increase, just when I snagged a PM-2 for $400 :(
     
  13. Audio Zenith

    Audio Zenith Custom Title KGB

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    Ok. I applied all @cskippy recommended settings to new PMx2 and am including HD-650 plots as well (same coupler, same settings).
    Hope this helps ;-).

    New Waterfall.jpg New Spectrogram.jpg HD-650 Waterfall.jpg HD-650 Spectrogram.jpg
     
  14. Audio Zenith

    Audio Zenith Custom Title KGB

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    The real price difference for new mod is $145.00 and you snagged PM-2 for at least $300.00 less than retail.
    If you like the sound, this may end up as a fairly good deal ;-).
     
  15. Clemmaster

    Clemmaster Friend

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    I don't know if I like the sound :D
    Never got around to trying it at the meets, since your table is always busy :p

    Do you have demo pairs you can pass along?
     
  16. philipmorgan

    philipmorgan Member of the month

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    Thanks to the SBAF loaner tour, I got to try the AZ PMx2's.

    I thought it had a very "reference-ey" feel. Made the 650's seem kind of wild and uncontrolled in the bass (no surprise) and the upper midrange (somewhat of a surprise as the 650's aren't know for forward midrange but compared to the PMx2's they feel that way). By comparison the AZ's felt kind of like studio monitors. Not clinical, but very neutral in a good way.

    Resolving ability seemed comparable to the 650's.

    Great build quality too. Maybe 1 notch below the Utopias there. Didn't quite have the ethereal speed I remember from the Utop's, but still very good technicalities IMO.
     
  17. Bill-P

    Bill-P Level 42 Mad Wizard

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    Just wanted to chime in a bit and say... I got to try the PMx2 on loan at @brencho's before they went with @TheIceman93. And I also got to try them multiple times at the recent shows in LA as well. Here are my impressions.

    1. Brighter PMx2 (tuned to Darin Fong's preference) + Ragnarok: not bad, but a bit thin and hot in the upper mid for me, or something in the mid treble was a bit annoying. Otherwise very good everywhere else. I relayed this to Alex on the spot and he told me that PMx2 was tuned to Darin's preference. So yeah, good sound, just tonality wasn't my cup of tea.

    2. Regular PMx2 tuning at the last LA Audio Show. Heard it on 2 amps:
    Schiit Lyr 2 = just as hot as Andromeda without EQ to me. Maybe less hot in certain places, but overall sounds just like Andromeda to me. Alex may disagree but I honestly thought they were too similar. Maybe this has to do with the Lyr 2's upper midrange emphasis. With PMx2, the upper mid emphasis of Lyr 2 comes out very obviously.

    Schiit Ragnarok = okay, MUCH more like it. Sounds pretty much like my reference HD580 now in terms of tonality, maybe with better bass extension. Can't comment on soundstage or imaging or details now because show condition = horribad. But at least I did not detect anything bad tonal balance wise.

    3. This time I heard them along with @brencho. This is the loaner pair. And... what I heard was quite unexpected. Here are the pairings:

    Light Harmonic Geek Out 2 Aluminum fw 2.1 via balanced out = too bright. Same upper mid lower treble peakiness/hotness. Too thin as well. HD580 basically sounds the same but with more body and less upper midrange peakiness. Code-X was even more calm on this system. Granted, Code-X does have a peak in the high treble that I do notice from time to time depending on the track, but both HD580 and Code-X were far easier for me to listen to. PMx2 this time sounds almost like how it did with Lyr 2.

    Schiit Mjolnir 2 = same as above. Now PMx2 sounds exactly like how it did with Lyr 2 at the LA Audio Show. Makes me wonder if this pair was also tuned toward Darin's preference again at this point.

    Pono player = okay, finally, more listenable. Less crazy in the upper mid and lower treble, and much smoother listening experience overall. Balanced out here too. Problem is, some things sound overly glossed over in the Pono player to me compared to my AK120. Plugged my Andromeda in to confirm. Andro sounds smoothed over even without EQ on Pono. Low bass was also somewhat lacking both with Andromeda and PMx2. My AK120 is a bit hotter in the upper mids than Pono but I could just EQ 4KHz down by 2dB, and all of the details are retained + there is low/sub bass.

    Also in this case, PMx2 has good airiness and somewhat decent soundstage but it's still too intimate (or may too forward?) compared to the slightly more laid back HD580, and then Code-X sounds even more laid back. Imaging-wise, it goes from 580 > Code-X > PMx2 to me as well.

    Would be interesting if we had a Ragnarok on hand. I think with Ragnarok, PMx2 might have pulled ahead. Just with what we had on hand, PMx2 wasn't performing up to par IMO.

    Don't get me wrong. PMx2 is still a very impressive headphone. It does indeed sound very tonally correct. Just that it seems it needs to be paired with specific gears in order to sound good. I guess the same things can be said of Code-X and HD580 as well. I think the problem is that both my system and brencho's are just too tuned to the Code-X/HD580 sound, so PMx2 wasn't a good fit for them. I should have tried PMx2 on @TheIceman93's Lake People amp but I didn't want to keep him with us until way too late. Ah well, maybe next time!
     
  18. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    The massively high OI of the Pono does not do the Andro any favors IME. It is a smoother sounding DAP, whether or not one finds it smooth to a fault is going to be a matter of preference and pairing though.

    Also how long had the Pono been on for before it was used?
     
  19. Bill-P

    Bill-P Level 42 Mad Wizard

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    Oh, forgot to mention. My Andro is modded now. Even more so than what I had at the last LA Audio Show, where Alex told me it was a bit hot in the upper mid still, and I agreed. This time it's a bit smoother then.

    Also, Andro with higher OI = better than Andro with low OI IME. Anything with less than 3 ohm OI with Andro = bad to me.
     
  20. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    I don't like too low OI with the Andro either, but the Pono has a really high OI and the Andros suffer with that pairing.
     

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