(Last Updated On: January 29, 2020)

People aren’t sure what to think of it.

The Panda headphones claim to be the
The Panda headphones claim to be the “world’s highest fidelity wireless headphones” (From: Drop)

Drop, formerly known as Massdrop, is ready to launch the “world’s highest fidelity wireless headphones.” While that’s all well and good, the company is making a move that’s confusing potential buyers.

The Drop x THX Panda headphones have all the makings of a great pair of cans. First of all, they come with a high-bandwidth Bluetooth audio codec, THX’s own AAA amplifier, and phase-correct planar-ribbon drivers. Drop claims that this combination is a first of its kind for wireless headphones, making them all the more special.

The hype is further flamed by the fact that the drivers are essentially carried over from the discontinued OPPO PM-3 headphones. Drop apparently bought the rights to the drivers and repackaged it into what we see today as the Panda headphones

So, what exactly is there to ponder? Well, despite being announced last December with an expected mass production to follow, these headphones have popped up on Indiegogo, a site normally reserved for crowdfunding early prototypes.

Taking the Crowdfunding Route

The issue came up on Reddit shortly after the Indiegogo announcement. The thread starter questioned Drop’s motive for taking the crowdfunding route when it didn’t seem necessary.

”Kind of baffling that after hyping the headphone on their site for the last week, a company known for its preproduction group buys decides to sell its product through a crowdfunding site instead,” wrote Reddit user mark5hs. “Any speculation on what their motivation might be for going this route?”

One commenter explained that by placing the product on a large-scale website, Drop gains a greater reach and more exposure as compared to using its own platforms.

”I’m fairly certain Drop is using Indiegogo because it’s a marketing opportunity. The userbase in Indiegogo is much larger than a niche hobby subreddit like this or Drop.com itself. Think of it was using Drop like normal except going through Indiegogo,” said Reddit user Fc-Construct.

He goes on to provide examples of other established brands using crowdfunding as a means toward a larger market of consumers. However, other Reddit users pointed out that Indiegogo isn’t exactly a platform you’d want to associate with.

The Panda headphones are made in collaboration with THX (From: Drop)
The Panda headphones are made in collaboration with THX (From: Drop)

One user called this move “sketchy,” while another commenter reiterated that Indiegogo has a “terrible reputation.” One more user had high hopes which turned into “mixed feelings” after learning about Drops’ Indiegogo plan.

Investing in a prototype with no guaranteed returns is what makes crowdfunding websites like this a potential risk for interested customers, and rightfully so. There have been countless horror stories from those who threw money at a product that showed promise, only for it to faceplant on the way out the door.

One Bright Side to All This

It isn’t all negativity, though. By placing the Panda headphones on Indiegogo, Drop is offering an Earlybird promotion that slashes 20 percent off the product’s retail price, bring it down to $319 from $399. The estimated shipping date is August 2020.

You get a 3.5mm port in case you want to go wired (From: Drop)
You get a 3.5mm port in case you want to go wired (From: Drop)

But like any working project, the target date could easily move. The product page is currently in the Prototype stage, explaining that there’s a working demo but no final product yet. The disclaimer adds that the “ability to begin production may be affected by product development or financial challenges.”

If you lack faith in the crowdfunding platform, you could just wait for the Panda headphones to go on its eventual mass production and become available through Drop’s official website.