Review: Drop Panda Boom Mic turns audiophile Bluetooth headphones into a gaming headset [Video]

Drop Panda sitting on desk

Just over a year ago, we took a look at the pre-production version of the Drop Panda Bluetooth wireless headphones. Packed with high-end features like planar magnetic drivers and a THX AAA amplifier catered to audiophiles, they sound great and also feature a discrete design for use on go. Recently, we were sent a final production pair with the boom mic attachment that can enable the Panda to be used as a gaming headset. Be sure to hit the video below to hear how it sounds. 

Keep in mind that gaming is not the main focus of the Drop Panda. At $399 for the headphones themselves and $49 for the boom mic, that makes it one of the most expensive gaming headsets out there. But, if you’re set on picking up the Panda already, the boom mic adds some additional versatility to an already incredible sounding pair of headphones.

Out of the box 

While the standard Drop Panda already comes with a 3.5mm cable for use with wired sources, the boom mic comes with a four-foot TRRS cable for audio and microphone, as well as a six-foot extension cable that splits both audio and microphone into different connections. This makes it great to pair with an external sound card like the EPOS GSX 300 for some added control to both audio and microphone sound. 

Additionally, the mic also features in-line controls with a volume slider and a microphone mute toggle. The microphone mute toggle has a nice solid click to it, but there isn’t a whole lot of play in the volume slider, and that makes it a little tricky to make fine adjustments for volume. 

Drop Panda for gaming

With planar magnetic drivers and a THX AAA amplifier, the Drop Panda has a great clear sound for gaming. If you’re a competitive player, you’ll probably want some way to tweak EQ to minimize the low-end like can be done with most gaming headsets with app control, but for a natural sound, it’s great. It made Destiny 2’s sound design shine with all of the little environmental details that are thrown in. On Forza 7, I noticed some different sound layers that I hadn’t noticed before which made racing more fun and engaging. 

Drop Panda Boom Mic: Video

As a closed-back headset, stereo separation is great, and the soundstage is okay, but not nearly what you can find on open-back gaming headsets like Drop’s own PC38X headset created in collaboration with Sennheiser or just a great pair of open-back headphones like the Philips Fidelio X3. But once again, those other headsets don’t have the same high-quality wireless capability as the Panda and are completely different beasts.

With that four-foot TRRS cable, that also means it will work with a vast variety of devices, though. Playing Destiny 2 on the Xbox Series X worked great, and the sound coming through the headset was huge. The full, clear sound is a pleasure for casual gaming. 

But, the Drop Panda does have great passive noise cancellation thanks to the closed-back, over-ear design. This helps you to stay focused on the action and not background noises in your environment. 

How does the mic sound? 

While wireless headsets often suffer from a thin-sounding microphone, wired variants don’t have the same signal bandwidth limitations and sound much more natural – especially the Panda Boom Mic. And, because of the adjustable boom, it’s easy to get the microphone in a good position without picking up too much breath noise. While it has a pop filter, the arm is a little shorter than other gaming headset mics so I’m not even sure that it’s necessary all of the time. I was really impressed with how natural the microphone sounded.

Adding the microphone also makes the headset great for video calls. Sure, it has built-in Bluetooth microphones as well if you want to stay wireless, but the wired mic takes call quality to the next level. 

9to5Toys’ Take

Of course, the Drop Panda isn’t meant to be a dedicated gaming headset. It’s a wireless Bluetooth headset for those who put audio quality above all else. And at $400, it’s not a budget option, either. But, for just $49 more, adding the boom mic opens up another world of possibility for the Panda. 

Buy Drop Panda + Boom Mic

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