Provides: On-ear audio reproduction with dual-output splitter
Developer: Fanny Wang
Compatibility: Any device with standard 1/8″ headphone jack
Despite being optimized to deliver “thumping bass,” Fanny Wang’s on-ear headphones still manage to deliver a well balanced and enjoyable listening experience, even if club dance beats are not your primary taste in music. WIth a (disputed) unmistakable design and some genuinely thoughtful extras, these cans are a competitive entrant into the sub-$200 headphone range. A few minor drawbacks, however, may keep them from being a clear choice for all listeners.
Do They Sound Good?
In the world of headphones designed for amateur audiophiles, there are two camps: cans capable of delivering bone rattling bass at the expense of natural, balanced sound, and those whose purpose is to emulate more expensive studio headphones, which reproduce sound as accurately as possible. Despite advertising itself as a member of the former camp, Fanny Wang actually delivers headphones that are surprisingly clear in mid- and high-range reproduction. There is no mistaking these for reference headphones, as their sub-$200 price attests, but unlike some competitors with bone-shaking aspirations, Wang’s cans provide well balanced sound and clarity outside the low range.
As a word of advice, the custom-designed titanium drivers in these headphones benefit greatly from a burn-in (or break-in) period. Right out of the box, the sound is somewhat sterile, but it warms up after a few days of heavy listening. At the low end, bass sounds natural and is well articulated, with equally strong reproduction of electronic and acoustic bass on Mark Keali’i Ho’omalu He Mele No Lilo, and Wang’s as-advertised “thumping” bass on Narcotic Thrust’s When the Dawn Breaks. Midrange vocals as part of general pop/rock are well balanced with the overall sound, but if your musical tastes are mainly acoustic/folk, you might want to look elsewhere. Toad the Wet Sprocket’s Windmills was adequate; instrumentals are well represented, but the accompanying vocals do not really shine on these cans. Highs, especially female vocals like Camille’s Le Festin sparkle, again highlighting that these headphones are not for bass alone.
This point is…debatable. That is to say, Fanny Wang is currently in litigation with Monster, which claims in a lawsuit that the Wang headphones copy the look of the Beats by Dr. Dre line (the audio engineer responsible for the Monster cans apparently worked on the Fanny Wang drivers). The similarities are superficial, though the wavy embossed pattern on the Fanny Wangs and their lack of Monster or the beats “b” logos make them distinct even to a casual observer. The Wang headphones are available in a choice of white, red, or black, with coordinating cord and delightfully tactile faux fur carrying case. The cord even comes with a thoughtfully placed splitter to enable sharing your music/movie quite easily.
Despite being a great-sounding pair of headphones, the Fanny Wang on ears do have a few drawbacks. The first is the above mentioned carrying case. While it feels great, the soft polyester provides no drop/crush protection. For a nearly $200 investment, that could be important for some listeners.
The second potential drawback is the sizing of these headphones. They are great for small-to-medium sized heads, but can be uncomfortably tight on larger heads. The tight fit ensures that little background noise invades the listening experience, but the tradeoff can be some sore ears.
And finally, if you are the eco-friendly environmental type, the Fanny Wang packaging will be an immediate turnoff. The headphones ship in a hard plastic container that is almost 50% empty space; although they represent the glass-enclosed display pedestals Apple is fond of for product launches, the simple fact is that the packaging encloses a lot of empty space.
All around, Fanny Wangs are a worthy entrant in the sub-$200 headphone market, unless the tight fit or wasteful packaging represent enough of a drawback. For a music collection of primarily bass-heavy pop or rock music, you would be hard pressed to find a more stylish and better sounding pair of headphones. Doling out style and substance in equal measure, the Fanny Wang on ear headphones are a pleasant blend of well-balanced sound across the entire range with a definite visual impact.
Buy the Fanny Wang On Ear Headphones