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AirPods Max vs. Drop + THX Panda Wireless Headphones

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
51,085
12,639


We've compared the AirPods Max to several other competing sets of headphones from companies like Bose, Sennheiser, and Sony, but recently, the Drop + THX Panda Wireless Headphones have been getting some attention, so we thought we'd see how they measure up to Apple's over-ear headphones.


Priced at $400, the Drop + THX Panda Wireless headphones are the first headphones that offer THX AAA Amplification, for what Drop says is the "world's lowest possible levels of distortion." They're also equipped with "planer-ribbon drivers" for additional distortion resistance and more realistic sounding audio, and they're supposedly super comfortable with plush foam earpads wrapped in leather.


These weren't on our radar until we started hearing from the YouTube community, so they're not as familiar as other, more popular brands, but they have some impressive features. That said, these are not better than the AirPods Max, which is not unexpected given the disparity in price points.


When it comes to sound, MacRumors videographer Dan, who tested the headphones, said the Drop + THX Pandas are "dead even" with the AirPods Max in terms of sound quality, and perhaps even a little bit better.


The AirPods Max are more comfortable than the Drop + THX Panda headphones, with the latter exerting more pressure on the temples and the cheeks while the AirPods Max are able to better distribute weight. The mesh ear cups of the AirPods Max are also more comfortable than leather ear cups, as leather along with the tight seal can get hot.


Compared to the AirPods Max, the Drop + THX Panda headphones are lacking Active Noise Cancellation, but there is enough of a seal around the head that it drowns out most outside noises.


The Drop + THX Panda headphones come with a hardshell case that fits the headphones plus additional cables, and they come with a USB-C cable for charging and a 3.5mm audio cable if you want to use them in a wired capacity. Comparatively, the AirPods Max have the Smart Case, which is not particularly protective.


When it comes to battery life, the Drop + THX Panda headphones can last for up to 30 hours, which is 10 hours more than the AirPods Max. As for controls, the Drop x THX Pandas have a little joystick that can be used to skip tracks and control playback.


All in all, the Drop + THX Panda headphones may be ideal for those who want good sound quality and don't mind the lack of Active Noise Cancellation, but the AirPods Max win out in comfort, ANC capabilities, Spatial Audio, head detection, and ease of use with Apple devices thanks to the H1 chip that allows for fast pairing and fast device switching.

Article Link: AirPods Max vs. Drop + THX Panda Wireless Headphones
 

newyorksole

macrumors 601
Apr 2, 2008
4,266
4,874
New York.
Idk man. The look/feel/quality of the APM is just too good Lol I wouldn’t even look in the direction of THX or a lot of these other cheaply built/looking headphones.
 
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ipponrg

macrumors 68020
Oct 15, 2008
2,109
1,782
These weren't on our radar until we started hearing from the YouTube community, so they're not as familiar as other, more popular brands, but they have some impressive features. That said, these are not better than the AirPods Max, which is not unexpected given the disparity in price points.

That's because they are targeting a different crowd. I think sound quality by your definition would be different than others. The Panda purchasers likely prefer passive noise canceling over active.

Regarding comfort, your head shape is better fit for the Airpods Pro Max. There are people (my boss included) that actually complain how uncomfortable the Max is due to the shape of their head.

Idk man. The look/feel/quality of the APM is just too good Lol I wouldn’t even look in the direction of THX or a lot of these other cheaply built/looking headphones.

I don't own the Pandas, but I have been a participant in the Drop community and know people that own this. Many of the "cheap looking cases" don't really speak to how good the sound is. I would probably look at these headphones as more boutique vs major brand produced. Boutique products are nice because they are much focused on the community.
 
Comment

SBlue1

macrumors 68000
Oct 17, 2008
1,677
1,956
Don't forget, there is one thing that not all but most Apple and Beats headphones have that no other headphone headphones company has and that is a deal breaker for me, and if more people would try it I would say for them as well. I am talking about iOS Headphone Accommodations.

As someone who has lost a big portion of high frequency hearing due to playing guitar I feel like having brand new ears when I listen to music with this feature on! Its like trying glasses on for the first time, everything is so clear now. I hear music the way I used to hear it when I was young! LOL!

I know I know I posted this a couple of times but if you own any EarPods or some of the newer Beats headphones and you are 30+ do yourself a favor and try something like the Mimi hearing test app. Once you complete the test you get an audiogram which is basically the set of frequencies that you can't hear clearly anymore and that you can use in the Headphone Accommodations settings to adjust sound to your personal hearing.

This is the single best feature of IOS 14. I just wish it would be included in MacOS and tvOS.
 
Comment

turbineseaplane

macrumors 604
Mar 19, 2008
6,643
9,746
Lost me at ‘the Drop + THX Panda headphones are lacking Active Noise Cancellation’.

They’re not a comparable product.

Considering a ton of reviews of the APM are basically saying they are too heavy and unwieldy to be of much use outside the house (not impossible, just maybe less than ideal), the lack of ANC in this category isn't necessarily a deal breaker for all.
 
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Relentless Power

macrumors Nehalem
Jul 12, 2016
34,984
37,007
From a consumer standpoint, will someone opt for a name brand they never heard of with ‘Drop Panda’? I think consumers generally favor brands that they’ve heard of before like Apple, Samsung, Bose, Sennheiser, etc, then they make their choice based on price point and reviews. Not saying that these aren’t ‘good headphones’, but it probably doesn’t really help that most haven’t heard of this brand either.
 
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NightFox

macrumors 68020
May 10, 2005
2,422
2,031
Shropshire, UK
Don't forget, there is one thing that not all but most Apple and Beats headphones have that no other headphone headphones company has and that is a deal breaker for me, and if more people would try it I would say for them as well. I am talking about iOS Headphone Accommodations.

As someone who has lost a big portion of high frequency hearing due to playing guitar I feel like having brand new ears when I listen to music with this feature on! Its like trying glasses on for the first time, everything is so clear now. I hear music the way I used to hear it when I was young! LOL!

I know I know I posted this a couple of times but if you own any EarPods or some of the newer Beats headphones and you are 30+ do yourself a favor and try something like the Mimi hearing test app. Once you complete the test you get an audiogram which is basically the set of frequencies that you can't hear clearly anymore and that you can use in the Headphone Accommodations settings to adjust sound to your personal hearing.

This is the single best feature of IOS 14. I just wish it would be included in MacOS and tvOS.
Wow, thank you so much for this gem - it's fantastic. Too many people think Apple's accessibility features are purely for people with significant accessibility needs and don't appreciate that many of them are just as beneficial to assist with the natural deterioration of the senses that comes with age.
 
Comment

sideshowuniqueuser

macrumors 65816
Mar 20, 2016
1,091
864
Don't forget, there is one thing that not all but most Apple and Beats headphones have that no other headphone headphones company has and that is a deal breaker for me, and if more people would try it I would say for them as well. I am talking about iOS Headphone Accommodations.

As someone who has lost a big portion of high frequency hearing due to playing guitar I feel like having brand new ears when I listen to music with this feature on! Its like trying glasses on for the first time, everything is so clear now. I hear music the way I used to hear it when I was young! LOL!

I know I know I posted this a couple of times but if you own any EarPods or some of the newer Beats headphones and you are 30+ do yourself a favor and try something like the Mimi hearing test app. Once you complete the test you get an audiogram which is basically the set of frequencies that you can't hear clearly anymore and that you can use in the Headphone Accommodations settings to adjust sound to your personal hearing.

This is the single best feature of IOS 14. I just wish it would be included in MacOS and tvOS.
Thanks for the heads up on that, and thanks for repeating it (even though MacRumors seems to have a policy of punishing people who repeat stuff in comments, even when just replying to multiple other comments with similar answers, so be careful!!!)
 
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and 1989 others

macrumors 6502
Sep 21, 2016
327
1,589
I went out on a limb and Bought a pair of V-Moda Crossfade 100 a fee tears ago (wired, but have a BT equivalent). Amazing sound. 50mm drivers, massive base and memory foam cups.
Would recommend, much cheaper than Apples efforts and renown with big club DJs.
 
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sideshowuniqueuser

macrumors 65816
Mar 20, 2016
1,091
864
When are you going to do some comparisons with other headphones that are actually of the same price as the AirPods Max, instead of cheaper ones all the time?
 
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ignatius345

macrumors 68040
Aug 20, 2015
3,151
4,189
What about the weight? I got a pair of APM last month and the weight is still the main negative for me. It's not as noticible sitting still, but as others have pointed out it really shows when you move. Also feels weird to lie in bed with them on, as they tend to pull toward the back of your head.

The aluminum is pretty and all, but I'd frankly have been pretty happy with a high quality plastic or something, shaving off some grams and hopefully some dollars from the price. I suppose I could've waited for the rumored "sport" edition. Ah well.
 
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clerkpalmer

macrumors regular
Sep 20, 2016
181
109
The comments here show a lack of knowledge of the audiophile community. The Drop Panda is a planar headphone based on the very popular Oppo PM3 which was a favorite among audiophiles before they were discontinued. Drop formerly “mass drop” has been catering to audiophiles for years and is extremely well respected. The Panda is an excellent comparison for the APM and in fact there are dozens of discussions on this topic already. The Drop name carries plenty of weight among audiophiles.

I happen to own both headphones and think the comparison is very relevant. The Drop Panda sounds better to me overall but it is very close. The APM have more bass but the mids on the Panda are much better. The Panda sounds slightly warmer and balanced.

The Panda is 400 which already considered pricey for BT headphones and the point of this comparison is that for 400 you can get high end BT headphones that sound as good or better than the APM. If you don’t need ANC or the Apple centric features, the Panda is an excellent alternative and will save you some money. And the Drop Panda blows away the Bose and Sony ANC offerings when sound quality is concerned. The Drop Panda should be on anyone’s short list if they are considering the APM.
 
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