Home Headphones oBravo HAMT3 Mk 2 headphone review — the magic of AMT

oBravo HAMT3 Mk 2 headphone review — the magic of AMT

by Mikhail Khilko

I have never thought that I will be able to get acquainted with the headphones of oBravo brand. As I have already said earlier, this brand has been one of the first I have encountered during my audio journey. And now I for a long time use as one of the main. Not so long I have already written about Cupid, the budget offering from this manufacturer. And now it is the time of over ears.

To tell you the truth, over ears is not quite my kind of thing. I prefer IEMs, they are more convenient for me. But long periods of isolation mean that you try something different, especially given that I have liked the IEMs a lot. Over ears go over the same concept — the hybrid constructor. Do you know many hybrid over ears with Hale transducer? I don’t.

So, let’s look closer to HAMT3 Mk2.

Accessories and packaging

The headphones are supplied in a rather large box from recycled cardboard. It’s made in the shape of trapeze and has a special projection on the top, through which you can put out a leather strap that acts as a holder for convenient transportation. And its color is similar to the color of the box.

On the upper part of the box there is data about manufacturer and model. The box is common for several models, so they just put a mark across the needed one. Also the box sports a sticker with information about manufacturer. Usually you can find specifications from the other side, but not in this case. Here we have a sketch of headphones and the company name. Due to neat simplicity the packaging looks rather original and unusual. It also has a link to company website. There you can see that the brend is a boutique one and also find some specs — coaxial construction, 40mm Hale and 50mm dynamic transducer. 32 Ohms of impedance and 105 dB of sensitivity. The weight is 398g.

The box opens without any unexpected behavior and inside we find rather large zipped case, that is stiff and has enough inner space. It can clearly protect the headphones and they reside inside with comfort. There are also foam insertions where you can place different accessories — cables, adapters and everything your audiophile life needs. I will not go too deep into accessory range since it is clearly not a main thing here. Apart from headphones the owner gets cable and the range of covers. You might want to see how they are used in a company video or in brand paperwork. It’s stylized but rather easy to understand. The booklet looks very attractive by the way and it is printed in a white recycled cardboard. It’s original and looks neat.

Design and comfort

The headphones have non-typical build. There is a square-style headband with soft covering from alcantara. On the both sides there are joints for ear cups made of rather thin metal. Seems slightly strange for rather expensive model. But don’t be too fast with conclusions. First of all it goes well with style, and next, the practicalities of such decision will be discussed later.

Ear cups are made of metal. Outer part is covered with wood and carved company logo in it. Looks striking and stylish. The only downsides to such approach is that metal is easily scratched. But even this looks charming.

The size adjusting has enough room and formally it can be adjusted over the horizontal axis. But due to flexibility you can still slightly adjust them vertically.

It’s also unusual that cushions are larger than ear cup. This means that the ear cups are over ear. They are also covered with alcantara and are moderately soft. They have materials combined with inner part made of fabric.

As a result, the headphones seem rather large, but the positioning in head is rather reliable and comfortable, though not very supporting of fast movement. The weight however is distributed correctly and the clamp force is not excessive.


There are special connectors for cable attachment. It’s not a proprietary MMCX now that you had to correct to accept 3rd party cables.

HAMT3 mk2 have their own connectors projected from the body. I suppose that this solution is made for reliability and absense of space inside the ear cups. The installation is simple and there are no complexities with that. It’s not, however, as fast as click and attach.

There are no L and R marks. The headphones are fully symmetrical, so everything is determined by cable connection. The same approach is in erib-1a, by the way.

The insides

The headphones, as well as IEMs of the manufacturer, use the approach that is more used in “big” audio, the acoustic systems. This means that they have twitter and woofer. For the latter the company uses dynamic transducer. For the first the choice is made depending on model — planar or AMT transducer. AMT is also called Hale transducer, by the inventor Oscar Hale. This model sports exactly it and that’s why it has such weight and highs. This driver requires magnets probably even more that any other and this all results in additional weight.

Tuning

Now let’s go back to the ear cups attachments. The thin metal is used here for another thing – to be able to put ear cup out of the binding, but be careful not to lose anything. First of all I mean special shells that are inserted at the edges of bars. They can be put out of the cups and serve for fixation purposes. But first of all I recommend to put the ear cushions away. It’s simple, you just have to pull them, there are no hidden mechanisms, twisting or anything else. The fixation is done with silicone parts that go into the ear cup.

When you take the ear cushion away, you will see AMT driver. It’s supposed that you have to take the insides up front. On the outer part you will see those projections that can be filled with covers we have spoken of in the beginning. This changes response on lows. Lows can be modified from flat, linear and analytical presentation to accentuated. For me the best accent is its absence so I will describe sound for it. Also you can see the crossover elements in form of large condensers there.
The assembly is done with reverse actions. We get the insides in, then assemble the ear cushion and after that put the ear cup in its place. There can be several complexities. First of all, the installation of covers. They are rather small and its not convenient to install them. Secondly, you may have problems putting the insides back since there are no guides inside the cup and you may spend some time to correspond the insides to projections for fixation. However, I coped to do it without any problems so it’s not that hard. Nevertheless, I would like to see a more thought over mean of tuning.

I won’t speak much about such things as cable, it’s standard here, though having some custom things such as marking of left and right channel. I think it has been made intentionally.

Sound

But closer to business — to the sound of the model. As I have said, I have evaluated the sound using the most analytical tuning, so please mind that you may add the quantity to lows. Even more, the overall frequency response can be slightly changed. Having the accent, the model becomes slightly v-shaped. Without the accent the frequency response is flat with slight tending to treble. The headphones are very detailed and technical, it’s probably one of the best over ears in terms of that. It also has quite wide soundstage that is usually just not there for closed cans. Here it is sometimes larger than in some open ears. Highs are very good, almost phenomenal. They are neat, well layered, have dark background, great dynamic range, naturalness and speed. Besides that, the headphones can be called natural and monitor. First of all they are natural and then engaging, emotional and honest. They sound natural without bringing anything from themselves, but revealing the recording and transmitting all its peculiarities. So in most the end result is determined by source and the quality of recording. The manufacturer does not put any specifications and it’s unusual. The headphones are not too hard to drive. Of course they play the best from desktop rig, but even in case with portable players the sound is quite good.
Let’s traditionally start from lows. Very linear, non-colored presentation has enough weight. The headphones don’t go too much to micro and macro details and follow the balance between warm and cold sound. Thus, not adding anything from itself, the model is able to transmit outstanding lows.

First of all, the bass is deep, without emphasizing of different parts, be it subbass or midbass. The presentation may seem too dry but it also depends on the recording and source capabilities. The technical ability is good and slams have correct character. The variety allows to transmit all nuances of recording not only in terms of timbre and textures, but also with size and intensity. Even more, here you won’t find typical dry shapes. Despite the absence of accent, the headphones are not too dry and show correct weight and shape where slams need it. The presentation can hardly be described since the headphones don’t add anything from themselves and sound natural. The bass sounds convincing, with transmission of nuances and timbres, providing a solid foundation according to recording requirements. Speaking about this, the headphones are not basshead, so this tuning may be lacking in quantity for someone.

But tuning is here if you need it. Bass can be added. Again, the headphones won’t turn out to be basshead, but will instead provide more shapy and expressive presentation. It also becomes more monolythic in this frequency range.

Mids go the same way. Great balance between micro and macro details, weight, emotions and nuances. This brings good character and timbres. The headphones don’t add anything from themselves but due to great refinement they open the composition very well. Speaking about peculiarities, it follows the same rules as bass. Mids are distinctive, detailed and precise. But they also stay whole enough, so you will get emotions and instrument characters and not only dry information.

Highs really shine here. Of course, lows and mids are good, but highs are outstanding. Here you get everything you might want from good highs. Quick attacks that transmit all recording nuances well. The attacks have enough weight and are convincing, but you can easily find separate instruments there. It’s clearly seen in tracks with much going on simultaneously, where different parties and decays not only stay distinctive, but keep naturalness and character. At the same time the decays are very good in terms of complexity and length. They are also neat and have great weight balance.

The soundstage has good width. Despite close construction, it’s not perceived like such. Headphones sound wide, monumental if the recording requires it. There is slightly enhanced separation but at the same time everything sounds whole. Having good dynamic range the headphones pay attention to each and every instrument, ensure they communicate with each other well and sound natural and well positioned. There is no abundance of shape but everything stays distinctive due to black background.

The depth is good as well but is slightly narrower than width. And nevertheless most of time you won’t notice it, since the presentation is very organic and natural, with enough air.

The criticalness to recording is less than average. The headphones have enough technical ability and can work with details without dragging them out of the composition. Of course, I mean that headphones are not as critical as they could be. There is no sense in listening to bad recordings, since they won’t show full potential of headphones.

Conclusions

The unusual approach to product creation proves itself well if the product becomes better than the competitors. In case with oBravo HAMT3 mk2 its fully justified. The combination of materials, transducers, emotions and precision. Everything you need to get pleasure from music.

Translated by: Vadim Kolchev

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