Back before the turn of the year, I received a message from Jason Liao, Oppo Digital’s Chief Technology Officer and Vice President of Product Development, asking if I would like to sample a very early prototype of Oppo’s new PM-1 planar magnetic headphone. Naturally, I said, “Yes, I’d love to try it,” and a few days later an unmarked box from Oppo appeared in my office.
The headphones within that box showed a great deal of promise, but also some sonic shortcomings and of course came with almost no accessories or documentation. Even so, what I could see and hear about the product based on my experiences with that early prototype made me all the more eager to hear the final production version.
Early this year, at the CES 2014 event, Hi-Fi+ Associate Publisher Pete Trewin and I had the opportunity to meet with Jason Liao and to compare notes on the PM-1 over lunch. But our luncheon turned out to involve a special surprise in that we also got to meet the designer of the PM-1, who turned out to be none other than the planar magnetic driver guru Igor Levitsky (the man who is the guiding technical force behind the well-regarded planar magnetic driver-equipped loudspeakers from the US-based firm BG Radia).