For wireless transmission, they have Bluetooth 5.0, and in addition to AptX HD, they also support LDAC codec, which actually does make them sound better.
Drop has included a high quality amplifier in them with a collaboration with THX, and this really lets you get the most out of the drivers that you have in these headphones.
But you can also run them in wired mode, so I compared the sound quality output with my RME ADI-2 DAC, and they did sound a little better with it, but the quality on wireless mode is also really great and it reaches quite close to the full potential of their drivers with something like the high end RME DAC.
Another great thing is that they also work in wired mode with a USB connection, so with the type C to type C cable that you get with them, you can directly plug these into your laptop or your phone, and this will use the internal DAC and the THX Amp on the Pandas.
Now a lot of people compare these with headphones in similar price range from Sony, and Bose, but these noise cancellation headphones aren’t really the competition for Pandas, because with these Sonies, you pay for their noise cancelling capabilities, and not the raw sound quality, while with the Pandas, it is purely about how good of a sonic experience their drivers can deliver, which is of course better than these ANC headphones.
Before we discuss their sound quality, I have to mention the companion app that is now available with these. It is called SoundID, and it is made by Sonarworks (who you may know for their room correction and headphone calibration software).
The SoundID app is very different from your typical headphone companion app, because it can work on hardware level with these headphones, and you can upload the parametric equalizer settings from the app to these headphones. This means that you don’t need to have any app running to have your EQ settings applied, and this also means that once you have saved your equalizer settings on the Pandas, they will stay applied even when you connect these to something like a TV which cannot have the app running.
This is a really gaming changing feature, and it basically means that you can customize the sound signature according to your liking, and have those settings saved permanently on the headphones, so once you set it, you will never have to touch the app again, and it will work with every device.
Now the app does have some minor bugs, and it did crash a few times, but this is their first release, so it should improve with time.
I do think that the sonic performance of the Pandas is really impressive, as you are really getting audiophile level sound in a wireless headphone.
I compared the Pandas with these 2000 Dollar HEDDphones driven by a 1000 Dollar DAC/Amp for a real audiophile gear comparison, and I do think that the Pandas are offering a really outstanding value at 400 Dollars.
The use case for a wireless headphone must be quite obvious for you, but being able to get the level of sound quality they have on the go is actually really amazing.
They sound nice on their stock settings, but with adjusting their sound signature with EQ, you can make their tonal balance more refined, and I really think that takes their performance to the next level.
While the app on these makes changing of these settings very easy, the equalizer system they have with this sounds a little different than other EQ methods that I’ve tried, so with the in-built equalizer on my phone, and on my RME in wired mode, the settings that I will share work very well, but for some reason, when I set the same settings with their companion app, it sounds different, and not in a good way.
You can still get a sound of your preference, but you may have to experiment a bit with the app, or you can also just use any other EQ app on your phone. This could again get improved with time with firmware updates, as this is the first compatible version of the SoundID app that they have released for these.
The SoundID app does offer listening tests and sets what it thinks are the best settings according to your listening preferences, and these settings can make them sound better, but not in all cases. So just take the sound test, and see if it sounds better, but all of this changes the sound signature of these headphones, so in the next part I am going to describe what they sound like with their stock settings.
The bass on these is really great, they have planar magnetic drivers, and the bass has that planar character. It is fast, and resolving, and their slam is very balanced, so it hits in a way that I find to be very pleasing. I really enjoyed listening to electronic music on these, because with a slight boost in bass that also has a quick decay, EDM becomes very fun to listen to.
The mid range on these is also excellent, the vocals sound like the singers are very close to your ears, and you can really hear the minute details in their voices, and they sound very natural, which makes it very enjoyable for me.
The upper mid range is the area where I personally feel like I have to make adjustments, so I use the equalizer to make a -2 to -3 decibel adjustment at around 2.5 kHz.
For me, the vocals are just too forward without this, so with this adjustment, it sounds more balanced.
And finally coming to their treble, it is also something that I find to be really great with this small change.
They do have a roll off in the highs which makes them sound non fatiguing, but they sound better to me if you add some gain to the treble region above 12 kHz, because that adds some missing sparkle to their sound, and it makes some instruments sound more distinct, so it makes their overall sound feel less congested, and it still sounds non fatiguing, which is nice.
So they work well for all genres of music, including orchestral music as violins sound really great on these, but one thing I did notice is that they don’t handle very busy tracks extremely well, they still do a great job for wireless headphones in this range, but comparing it to the rest of their sonic performance, this is an area where you sometimes feel that things aren’t separated enough, especially in the treble.
The soundstage on these is also towards the narrower side, but I don’t mind that at all, and I think it is pretty decent for a closed back headphone. It gives their sound its intimate character, and within the limits of the width that they have, the separation is quite decent.
For gaming, these headphones can also work well with the included boom mic. They do offer a lot of detail, so you’re really going to hear all the gunshots or footsteps on a distance, but even some very budget gaming headsets I have reviewed have offered a wider soundstage, so even though these can work well as a gaming headset, getting these specifically for gaming may not be the best idea.
(Available in the video)
The advertised battery life for the Pandas is around 30 hours, and in my test, they did deliver a duration that was close. This is really great for a higher end wireless headphone because most people will only have to charge them once a week.
They also have an IPX6 water resistance rating, which is kind of unusual to see in a wireless headphone.
So in conclusion, the Drop Pandas are actually a really great all rounder pair of headphones, but you will have to tinker with the equalizer to extract the most performance out of them.
I really think that they deliver on all of the promises they make on their website, and these headphones can really do it all. Their wireless performance is really great, and they can also work well as wired headphones, and you can even game with them, and all of that really makes them an extremely versatile set of headphones for someone looking to invest in just one headphone that can also be used in wireless mode.
You can easily get better wired headphones for their price, which is of course not surprising at all, but the great thing about these is that you don’t have to bother with DACs, Amps, or even wires. So these are great for people who don’t identify themselves as ‘audiophiles’, and these are also a nice addition to an audiophiles collection, as it does provide high quality sound on the go.
The only drawback to these for now is that the EQ app isn’t working the same as other EQ methods, and for now, I would just use something like my phone’s inbuilt EQ, or something like the RE Equalizer, but this could get fixed with time.
⭐ Buy on Drop + THX Panda on Drop: https://bit.ly/3n6ZFf5