Drop Wireless Headphones
Apr 23, 201910047 views

Announcing Our First Wireless Bluetooth Headphones

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Bluetooth headphones are known for their convenience—it’s great not to have that cable hanging around—but in the past, they haven’t been able to hold a candle to wired headphones when it comes to sound quality. We’re looking to change all that with our next project, our first foray into Bluetooth headphones. Taking advantage of advancements in Bluetooth technology and battery design, we’re aiming for the best of both worlds: an audiophile sound in a wireless package. These headphones will use Bluetooth 5.0, the latest version of the Bluetooth standard, and communicate over Bluetooth Low Energy for reduced power usage and a longer battery life. Bluetooth 5.0 is faster than older versions and can operate over greater distances. Plus, it allows you to play audio on two connected devices at once. They’ll feature the latest Qualcomm® Bluetooth chipset and THX AAA™ technology, which is known for delivering the world’s highest fidelity audio with infinitesimally low levels of noise, distortion and power consumption. Stay tuned for more updates on this project as it moves through the development process.
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Moose Winchester, Teddy Mai, and 159 others
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When it will be available? What will be the price ? Will ship internationally?
Release date?
Everything sounds awesome but please, could you make big earcups in diameter please? Sincerely, someone with huge ears who struggles to find comfortable over-ear headphones.
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From the comments below, I gather that a regular 3.5mm port will be included. Can I request that the port be balanced? My Modhouse Argons have a balanced port that works with both balanced and single ended cables. I cant see myself buying audiophile hardware without the option to go balanced these days.
Fascinating! Can’t wait to see a picture once this comes “out of the shadows!” What kind of driver tech is this using? The earpads look good (kinda square shaped... makes me think of Planars, which is why I asked about the driver!), how is the headband padding? Any estimates on weight? I like that it uses Bluetooth 5.0, that standard shows a LOT of promise for bandwidth and distance... theoretically several times the range of BT 4.2!! I have an iPhone, so I hope to see some AAC codec love, but I also have a Sony ZX300A with aptX and LDAC. I have an Audeze Mobius, but I think it’s strange that it offers AAC and LDAC, but no aptX! Is this the fruit of the earlier “closed-back preferences” topic post?
Wow, this is pretty exciting! Very cool that these are meant to be used passively as well. I wonder what kind of tuning the driver will have.
How about the price? Is there any chance it will be below $300?
tuanogeb
We're trying to keep it below $300 for the launch price, and we expect to exceed $300 for future sales.
Will
Base from the conversation i read, are these gonna be some sort of Oppo PM-3 or maybe Audeze EL8 in wireless version?
Could we have ear pads that are like hybrids?Meaning velour touching the ears, instead of leather. Then surround ear pad is leather for better isolation/acoustic purposes. More comfortable for humid and hot countries. Especially if these are designed for on the go.
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AndrewSim
The included ear pads will likely be a leather-type material but we have plans to offer more earpad options on Drop in the future.
AndrewSim
We like the way you think ;)
Will the headphones be shipped outside the US?
R2yzor
Yes, it'll ship to everywhere we can.
Will
in this thought, can you send items declared as 10 $ foe example so ppl outside US can skip +20% VAT and Duty fees :P
Wow Cool!
any plan on noise cancelling.
finleym
Not for this headset. We'll probably make a lower price ANC headset in the future on a dynamic driver platform. That said, we're designing this headphone to have strong passive isolation, still designed to commute.
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For now assuming the drivers might be 40mm dynamic, just like other headphones on the market. Possible 15+ hours battery life with Planar drivers?
Mohjong
After exploring several options, we're working with more exotic driver structure. This tech has only been used in a couple headphones; our engineers are calling it Planar Ribbon right now. We'll have a full explanation and final naming as we get closer to launch. We're shooting for 40+ hrs of battery life, we'll see how close we get. There's a lot of power draw in this, AAA amplifier feeding a driver that NEEDS an amp (what's the point of putting an amp in, if we're not going to use a driver tuned for use with amplifiers?).
I am unsure if it was asked previously: when will these ship and be available? Cheers
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It’s a pretty big stretch but that’s the range we’re shooting for
Will
Thank you for avoiding the temptation to overcommit! Secret to success is to under commit and over deliver! :-)
Please use a standard 3.5mm to 3.5mm wire, instead of a proprietary standard. Also can you confirm if these will have usb-c Port for charging? Finally, can we listen to music while charging? Thank you!
badgooner
Yes to 3.5mm, yes to USB C. It's probably possible to use the 3.5mm while they charge, I'm not sure about wireless while they charge, I'll ask the engineers.
these need to look cool and awe inspiring, sound quality is not the first priority :)
bklynbound01
How about both?
These need to support LDAC and APT-X HD.
iamlilysdad
That's the plan
Will it still support wired 3.5mm?
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Houses
Yes.
Hope this releases this month so I can take it with me on vacation in a few months. I'm currently eyeing the sony wh1000xm3 atm.
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caseyduran
If you can get version 2, I recommend that over version 3. This is still in the works, we are getting first protos soon, then it’s more rounds of tuning.
Will
Why do you recommend XM2 over XM3? I understand that the XM3's have improved noise cancelling, and the earpad openings are bigger as well...
I wonder on which headphone it would be based on? I think sound quality should be astonishing. At least I hope so....
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umidikim
This is a new headphone, designed by Drop, based on discussions across the audio community.
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I know not everyone will agree on this, but noise cancelling is IMHO a nice touch to have. Also a detachable cable is a must have.
Focus on the necessities before you try to go all fancy with the Bluetooth 5.0 and etc. Start with something that sounds good on a passive wired connection. Don’t rely too much on dsp. Then add the wireless components. Make sure it has adequate battery life (I’d say 24 hours). Make sure they’re comfortable (either lots of padding or a soft comfort strap). Make sure it has solid passive noise isolation before you start tinkering with ANC.
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Just community members who aren’t necessarily reviewers like Metal, Joshua, Z, etc. But are say, fairly active and have been on Massdrop for a fairly long time.
I appreciate the omission of ANC... if I want max isolation, I go for IEMs, but closed headphones are enough for the home or typical on-the-go use. Any name proposals for this headphone yet? Picking a name is fun!!
Would it support playing the stereo quality sound with mic on? My current bluetooth headphone either allow hand-free OR stereo quality music but not both. :(
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zaafar
That’s how Bluetooth works... Music takes up bandwidth, and communications (mic input) takes up more bandwidth (as well as 2-way communications instead of 1-way). Phone calls with microphone audio actually switch to a different Bluetooth codec in order to carry the data. If microphone input just added 1/3 as much demand on the bandwidth (mic in, left channel out, right channel out), that would be one thing, but I think it actually takes up more than that. I’m not an engineer, but if you think of stereo as two channels incoming to the headphone at the same time, and the info could be encoded in such a way that they can be transmitted simultaneously, BUT you have to interrupt that stream of radio to send mic audio back from the headphone to your phone, then you have to chop up both streams into micro-sized bursts of info (packets) and the microphone ends up getting half the bandwidth. Again, I’m not an engineer, and I could be totally wrong. Bluetooth 4.2 added the capability to have a host device pair with two devices simultaneously (I guess my phone does that when it is paired to my headphones and my smart watch at the same time, allowing me to control my volume setting from my watch), so maybe there is a way to take advantage of that. Bluetooth 5 has noticeably more bandwidth than previous versions (if your phone/source also has Bluetooth 5), so maybe that could help, but each application used would have to be programmed to take advantage of that (my iPad Pro and my Audeze Mobius have Bluetooth 5, but PUBG Mobile still loses sound quality when I enable the mic). Nothing is impossible with enough time and development, but I wouldn’t get your hopes up too much yet.
Partner creative to include the SXFI chip in it please
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So I can enjoy my movies in 5.1 audio.
Why? In short, because it’s less fatiguing and more natural, IF done right. Ever listen to a song on headphones that only plays a certain instrument for one ear? It’s weird, uncomfortable even, especially when it’s just one instrument playing at the beginning of a song, and if you hear a couple songs like that back to back you might start getting a headache. I haven’t heard Creative’s latest (yet?), but we hear in “binaural,” not stereo. In a natural state, our ears are out in the open air, able to hear a source of sound with both ears, but with the added info of our head getting in the way between our ears. Crossfeed and the more advanced DSPs try to take this into account, and make sound more natural by creating a binaural mix. So, if music is mixed in the studio for playback on speakers (as almost all music is), or a movie/game is trying to immerse the listener in surround sound and therefore mixed for a 5.1 or 7.1 speaker setup, then a DSP like Super X-Fi tries to take into account that both ears should be hearing a version of all sounds. Some DSPs have a bad rep because they also add a lot of reverb to simulate a room with speakers inside, and all those extra reflected sound waves muddy the sound and especially make stereo music sound weird, BUT with Creative’s previous products you could actually reduce the reverb, even all the way to 0%. Binaural processing is immersive in movies and useful in games, but I would argue that even music is more like the artist and engineer intended when they made a stereo speaker mix. Best regards, A binaural nutcase/fan.
Great, really looking forward to this. Please stick to the KISS principle. Focus on sound, battery life and comfort, and don't over complicate the whole "can connect to multiple devices" feature. Keep it as simple as possible when it comes to connecting/reconnecting and switching to devices and allow for the user to have complete control over this (don't have the headphones keep trying to reconnect to some device I've walked away from for example, and in general don't have the headphones try to guess too much what I am trying to connect to). Someone suggested 10 devices memory list. Please don't. 3 is enough.
coffeepot
https://drop.com/talk/22902/talk/2424537?utm_source=linkshare&referer=R6FTNP ^ This gets at most of your questions, lemme know if there's an area where you need more detail.
Why do I have a feeling these are wireless cascades?
TheRequiem
They definitely do share physical similarities, hopefully they won't share the same price tag.
QuateyQ
Right? I doubt it’d be the same price, but shit a wireless AAA cascade for even $500 or $600 would be worth it IMO.
what are the controls going to be like?
Qwervy
Put your right hand up to your right earcup like you're in a headphone ad. Know where your thumb lands on the bottom rear side of the cup? Everything will be controlled by your thumb from that point. We're exploring options, but the leader is a nub (like a thinkpad, or the "joystick" on the New 3DS). It'll be simple and intuitive, no fat touch surface or buttons to activate with your hair or the side of your airplane headrest.
Should be able to connect to at least 2 devices simultaneously and retain info on 10 or more. Should tell which device it is connected to by name as with QC35.
sounds interesting -- I'll listen for updates I've been wearing ANC bluetooth headphones on the 1+ bus ride to work, and a different brand ANC all day in the office lately. I'm worried it's the cause of an annoying high pitched ring I hear all the time now. I ran across this headphone note while looking for another brand of bluetooth headphones to try in the office. Could be the one! Having the ANC with a switch to disable it entirely would be a good option for people who feel it ruins the sound.
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I think you are right - but I'm not sure that an audiologist would do more than give a diagnosis. A good idea would be to use more passive audio protection - ANC isn't intended to be hearing protection.
fogcat5
Ringing can be a byproduct of other issues as well, more than likely tinnitus but only a professional could make the definitive call. If you aren't experiencing any other issues (imbalance, congestion, vertigo, etc..) then the visit may not be warranted.
If still in the design stage... the volume knob on the Microsoft Surface Headphones is the best mechanism I've seen to date.
I would be happy to see these headphones to have these functions; Bluetooth 5.x ANC Ambient Sound Mode Aptx, AAC, MQA if possible ? :) 25-30+ Hours battery life 30m range 2 connections at the same time GOOD microphones for calls Noice canceling microphones USB-C Charging 3.5mm Cable option Leather or good Pleather Lightweight metall parts (if plastic please no noisy plastics at least) Softcase for carrying around when traveling. Last thing maybe an app where you can control the headphone and EQ if you like. I would buy it if it had all these things and a good amp :)
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I prefer the Mobius’ sound over the EL8 (though the EL-8 open sounded more natural than the closed version, it still had some weird FR valleys that sounded unnatural). Similar problem with the AudioQuest closed headphones. My wife and I each enjoyed our Oppo PM3 more, also the Mr Speakers ÆON and Ether C (I prefer the ÆON actually), etc. The Oppo were the closest price competitor to these though, I would be really interested to see how the Drop model would stack up.
Evshrug
I didn't really love Mobius but I've always been a fan of ÆON from looks to sound!