Today, Drop (formerly Massdrop), the San Francisco company known for marketing limited availability products based on input from community members, announced the launch of their first audiophile-grade Bluetooth headphones.
The new circumaural headphones dubbed the Drop + THX Panda Headphones, utilize a planar magnetic driver paired with THX’s AAA (Achromatic Audio Amplifier) linear amplifier, a mobile amp architecture known for its accuracy and power.
Usually, AAA circuitry is utilized in source components like high-end Digital Audio Players (like the Fiio M11 Pro), but this is the first time it has been implemented inside a pair of headphones.
The Panda is also the first wireless closed-back Planar Magnetic headphone, contrasting with the just-released HIFIMAN Ananda-BT, which is an open-back Planar (also the first and only one its kind).
Battery life on the Drop + THX Panda is stated at 30+ hours per charge, and Bluetooth will be of the 5.0 variety supporting the following codecs: LDAC, aptX, aptX HD, aptX adaptive, AAC, SBC.
The Drop + THX Panda Headphones will launch for pre-order at drop.com Jan. 27th, and the MSRP will be $399.
That’s a low price compared to other audiophile-oriented Bluetooth cans (developed for maximum sound quality, no noise canceling) like the Beyerdynamic Amiron Wireless Copper (our Product Of The Year) which just dropped down to $599 from $749, and the Ananda-BT mentioned above which goes for $999.
Correction: We referred to the Drop + THX Panda Headphone as the “first wireless closed-back Planar Magnetic headphone”, but that is incorrect. Audeze released The Mobius, primarily marketed as a gaming headset, back in 2018.
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Drop + THX Panda Specs:
Driver: Panda utilizes a planar ribbon driver. This driver type is a subset of planar magnetic drivers that utilizes a dual-sided magnetic structure on a braced diaphragm to deliver a carefully-tuned, phase-correct sound. This driver technology has only been used in one series of headphones previously: the highly acclaimed Oppo PM-1, PM-2, and PM-3.
Amp Feeding the planar ribbon driver, you’ll find a discrete THX-AAA™ amplifier implementation designed by Drop in collaboration with THX. This amplifier can drive Panda to comfortable listening volumes for everyone, with headroom to spare. Amplifiers with THX-AAA™ technology are considered the world’s best, as measured by many critics and reviewers.
BT 5.0 Chipset To handle the audio transfer + conversion, Panda features the Qualcomm QCC5124 chipset, with support for codecs like LDAC, aptX, aptX HD, aptX adaptive, AAC, and SBC.
tBattery Panda’s battery life is 30+ hours, with Quick Charge giving 3+ hours on 10 minutes of charge via USB-C.
Acoustic Isolation Panda is fully closed and designed for strong acoustic isolation. The headphones’ sound is the result of passive acoustic tuning, so there’s no need for DSP.
Compatibility Panda has a passive input, which allows it to be used with external amplifiers and non-BT devices.
Weight Despite the battery, amplifier, and heavy drivers, Panda weighs just under 350 grams (only 12.4 ounces).
Communication Panda features dual mics on the right earcup for effective communication and virtual assistants.
I’m an audio writer who started as a young audio salesman/consumer electronics professional back in the late 90s. That’s where I discovered the magic of 2-Channel sound. My thirst for great sound has led me on a delightful music quest that continues today.