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It's unfortunate the discussion has been overtaken by complaints (I admit I've contributed my fair share) but I'm keen to hear whether the pandas indeed turned out as wireless-capable PM3, sound wise - at least in passive mode.
I'm slightly concerned that the sound might have been tuned for a livelier mid-bass presence (let's face it, the PM3 is not the most exciting set of cans).
Also, not everyone will agree, but I always felt the PM3 needed decent amping. Do the active ones in the panda deliver (possibly with some DSP help), or would one need to drive them externally for best results?
Never tried the PM3 myself, so I can't comment on the sound comparison. But the internal amplification versus external (both being solid state) sound identical, save a tiny, tiny noise floor on internal versus something like a Topping stack or a THX 789. You won't notice it in normal use. The headphones definitely deliver on their main selling points.
That said, I too am having QC woes and am in the process of another replacement. For those on the fence because of the quality issues, I'm personally closer to recommending you wait for the next iteration of the Pandas when these first-edition issues get worked out. These things are truly awesome, but they do become a headache when you have to keep returning it. It's the risk you take with a new venture like this, regardless of the size of the company involved, and I knew that when I first purchased it nearly a year ago. I'm okay with it, YMWV.
You got it right. They are livelier PM3s with more midbass, less treble, mids remain the centerpiece but there seem to be some mid treble peaks unless it’s just a poor recording (I’m primarily using then to watch Netflix). The soundstage is bigger, pads are comfier, and the amp does its job. I personally see these as an upgrade overall.