Drop + THX Announce Panda Wireless Premium Planar Ribbon Headphones

January 16 2020, 00:20
Drop, the company formerly know as Massdrop, now also a product design company targeting enthusiasts, announced its first premium wireless headphones, engineered in collaboration with THX. Combining the acclaimed THX AAA linear amplifier with a planar ribbon driver already tested and proven by Drop, the Drop + THX Panda headphones are able to offer 30+ hours of battery life, and where demonstrated at CES 2020, before being made available in the community-driven commerce platform.

Designed to offer a natural and distortion-free wireless experience, able to please demanding music enthusiasts, the new Drop + THX Panda wireless headphones will launch for pre-order January 27 with an MSRP of $399, and have everything that’s needed to be another massive success story from Drop.

“For years, the Drop community has asked for a wireless audiophile offering, but historically, wireless and audiophile were mutually exclusive," says Will Bright, chief product officer, Drop. "With Panda, we paired an audiophile driver with the cleanest linear amplification and lossless Bluetooth to finally achieve audiophile sound in a wireless solution. This is a full audiophile experience, packaged for music lovers of all kinds. Panda is about a shift, not a compromise."  

“We are pleased to partner with Drop to extend our THX-AAA technology, until now, from professional and audiophile amplifiers, into this high-quality first-of-its-kind wireless headphones. Together, Drop and THX bring powerful, clean, dynamic, and natural-sounding performances to life in a wireless Bluetooth experience,” adds Jason Fiber, general manager and senior vice president, Mobile, THX Ltd.
The Panda features a planar ribbon driver with a dual-sided magnetic structure on a braced diaphragm to deliver a carefully-tuned, phase-correct sound. This is the same driver technology that has only been used in the highly acclaimed Oppo Digital PM-1, PM-2, and PM-3 headphones, which have been discontinued when the parent company decided to close that division to focus on manufacturing smartphones.

Feeding the planar ribbon driver is a discrete THX-AAA (Achromatic Audio Amplifier) implementation designed by Drop in collaboration with THX. This amplifier can drive Panda to comfortable listening volumes, with headroom to spare. And finally, an updated Bluetooth 5.0 chipset - the Qualcomm QCC5124 - is able to handle the audio transfer and conversion, with support for codecs like Sony’s LDAC, aptX adaptive (which means access to aptX HD when the source is compatible), AAC, and SBC. And since the Qualcomm platform allows, Drop also implemented dual mics on the right earcup for effective communication and virtual assistant support. And all this, while providing a generous battery life of 30+ hours, with Quick Charge allowing for 3+ hours on 10 minutes of charge via USB-C.
The elegant and minimalist fully closed design of the Drop + THX Panda headphones offers strong acoustic isolation and contributes to a balanced response, without the need for DSP. And there is also a passive input, which allows using the headphones with external amplifiers and non-Bluetooth devices. Despite the battery, amplifier, and heavy drivers, the Panda weighs just under 350 grams (only 12.4 ounces).

As Drop explains, every specification of the Drop + THX Panda headphones has been derived through analysis and validation from Drop’s audiophile community of three million active members on Drop.com. Independently of the success of the project, this is an interesting example for all other audio manufacturers, establishing an interesting threshold for the industry.
www.thx.com | www.drop.com
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