Drop + THX Panda Review (and Measurements)

Discussion in 'Headphone Measurements' started by purr1n, Jan 22, 2020.

  1. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Many audiophiles will remember Oppo's foray into headphones only a few years ago, with the PM-1, PM-2, and eventually PM-3. The PM-3 was fan favorite because it was portable, affordable, and efficient (it didn't need any special amplification and sounded just dandy from an iPhone). It's a shame that Oppo stopped making these because there's been continued interest since they suddenly disappeared from the market.

    So in comes Drop to resurrect the PM-3 as the Panda, but their style, has added their flourishes: revised tuning, a THX AAA amp with feedforward distortion correction, and wireless Bluetooth functionality. How 'bout that? How many of you guys were wishing there was a wireless PM3? Well you guys got your wish. The tuning has be revised very slightly. If there was any compliant with the PM3s sound, it was that it might have been too murky in the lows. Drop pulled the bass back just a bit, still retaining most of the original's V-shaped response. This tuning will be favorable to consumers and many audiophiles, particularly people on the go, who may in be airplanes or trains (where a bit of boost in the lows and highs will help cut through the environmental noise).

    drop panda.png

    Anyway, listeners will be able to experience fantastic extended hefty bass down to 20Hz reproduced with ease (expected for a closed planar) and highs to 20kHz. Being a closed headphone, there are no peaks or disconcerting cup reverberations in the midrange (the inside cups are well damped). Sounds are rendered distinctly with the overall presentation being close and intimate.

    There's no noise cancelling. However, the seal is excellent. I can barely hear anything outside of the headphones and people outside have no clue to what I am listening to. There is a little bit of added weight from the internal amp, Bluetooth receiver, and what I presume would be a battery; but it's nothing to be concerned about. The squishy pads are immensely comfortable and fit snugly around the ears. The top of the headband doesn't cause any issue for people with ridges on top of their skull like myself. I have a big head and wear quite a few headphones (including the Panda) with the headband at max size.

    Drop Panda Frequency Response
    EARS coupler + SBAF compensation (perceptual neutral approximately straight vertical line across)
    upload_2020-1-22_17-28-9.png
     
  2. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    I'll be back with CSDs and distortion later tonight.
     
  3. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Drop Panda Distortion L channel
    upload_2020-1-22_19-3-50.png

    Drop Panda Distortion R channel
    upload_2020-1-22_19-1-34.png
     
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  4. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Drop Panda CSD L Channel
    FPC Drop Panda L.jpg

    Drop Panda CSD R Channel
    FPC Drop Panda R.jpg

    Consistent with the V shaped response I described earlier. There's a bump in the lower treble, but no ringing on top of that which is a good thing. In other words, evident bump in the highs, but no earache, at least for most people.
     
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  5. crenca

    crenca Almost "Made"

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    The pm-3's are just a bit too small to fit over my ears, being essentially 'on ears'. Are these the same inner cup/pad dimensions?
     
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  6. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    If you have big ears (pinna) this could be an issue. While I have a big head, my ears are average sized in relation (they don't stuck out much either) and the fit while comfortable was snug.

    Here is a comparison to Dan Clark Audio Ether. What's not quite shown is that the Ether is deeper.
    IMG_20200122_194127.jpg
     
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  7. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    They do not appear to be user replaceable. At least not easily.
     
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  8. Roget

    Roget Rando

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    Thank you purrin. Can you show burst responses?
     
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  9. msommers

    msommers High on Epipens

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    Any comparisons in terms of tonality to known headphones? You mentioned hefty bass, where/how would slam/snap of bass fit in?

    Thanks for the measurements :)
     
  10. Baten

    Baten Friend

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    That was fast! Thanks purrin. Looks intriguing but I'm confused why they didn't pull any DSP shenanigans considering them being wireless and amped. Huh.. these could have been Mobius killers. yet they're basically wireless PM-3s.
    Not that that's a bad thing :)
     
  11. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Oh, these results are from the passive input. Let me get Bluetooth. I don't think an impulse response will be possible via Bluetooth (lossless), but maybe I can get an RTA with pink noise. It's my understanding they didn't do any DSP.

    Maybe, maybe from the burst responses per @Roget's request. There's some loose correlation here between the measurements and what we hear. Please keep asking stuff despite the dislikes you keep getting. You might have to wait a bit for the more time consuming measurements. I'm simultaneous reviewing three pieces of gear and want to cover all the bases, options, functions, etc.

    I apologize for not being able to provide just two measurements from just one setting, provide you guys with a single number, and just leave to go on to the next piece of gear.
     
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  12. msommers

    msommers High on Epipens

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    I'm not sure where this came from...
     
  13. Riotvan

    Riotvan Got lost for three weeks at Delft City Hall

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    I think he's revering to @Roget.
     
  14. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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  15. sidq

    sidq Rando

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    Is the battery replaceable in this guy? Not that I'll ever hit that point in all likelihood, I just prefer the idea of it.
     
  16. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    I know what you mean. It's unlikely, but the "just in case" thing always gives comfort. I honestly don't know anything about that and will forward these inquires to @Will
     
  17. Will

    Will Massdrop

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    Had an interesting exchange around this in the DROP discussion. The answer is, technically yes, but not easily. When people ask "is the battery replaceable?", sometimes they're asking if they can replace it like AA's in a gameboy, and sometimes they're asking you if used a custom battery, sealed in the housing (Airpods, etc).

    There's no AA behind a panel, but if you're willing to carefully disassemble the right earcup, buy the off-the-shelf battery from digikey, and bust out the solder, it's replaceable.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2020
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  18. Will

    Will Massdrop

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    They're replaceable, I wouldn't say it's the easiest. There are six plastic clips on the underside of the earpad so the optimal motion is to "unhook" them from the inside of the cup toward the outside of the cup.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2020
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  19. jboehle

    jboehle Rando

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    This is up for preorder now. $319 for the first 1000.

    EDIT: added link
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2020
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  20. msommers

    msommers High on Epipens

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    Link?

    Oops sorry thought it was to be ordered through IndieGoGo but still through Drop. That's a big drop in price, seems worth the risk to me. Cheers for letting us know.
     
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