Update: Want to win your own pair? Check out our competition here.
A couple of weeks ago, we were approached by a PR firm for Fanny Wang Headphone Co., of California fame. When I first saw the name, I was intrigued. I’d not heard of Fanny Wang Headphone Co. before, and the name sounded a bit odd, so I thought I’d best check this out.
It seems Fanny Wang Headphone Co (let’s drop the full name, they’re just Fanny Wang now) is not named for a delightful Chinese lady named Fanny Wang. Rather, the company is the brainchild of two Silicon Valley design types, David Adam and Tim Hickman. Seems they make headphones that are designed for the fastionistas amongst us all, because to look at, the headphones certainly catch the eye as you can see above.
Ausdroid tried out the 3000 model, curiously called ‘Over Ear Wangs’. Said to be designed for “urban hip hop while offering enough range to satisfy the diverse tastes of the modern music fan”, I put these headphones through their paces with my unusual collection of music, and came away fairly satisfied sound-wise, but wanting a bit more in terms of design and comfort.
During the week I spent reviewing these cans, I was using them with my Motorola RAZR M, but I also tried them out on my desktop PC, and my son’s portable DVD player, too.
In the box
I’ve used a variety of headphones, but I am far from an audiophile. I enjoy my music, and I like it to sound clean, clear and crisp. I don’t want to hear distortion, weak bass, floppy trebles or devices rattling in my dinner.
The Over Ear Wangs did not disappoint in these areas — they offered quite reasonable audio reproduction compared against my other headphones, had chunky bass performance and nice clear high notes, however the sound did seem to be a little flat in some areas. Perhaps I was expecting Sennheiser type performance, which these do not match, but for headphones that are less than half the price of a decent pair of Sennheiser cans, these were pretty good.
The Active Noise Cancellation worked about as well as any other ANC I’ve used. I tested these on a Qantas 767, and on a couple of Sydney trains, and to be fair, the ANC worked as it should — background droning noises were all but wiped out, at the expense of a bit of hissing that was audible in the background of whatever was playing. This is a relatively common side effect of noise cancellation, and it’s easily ignored for the benefit it brings.
Even with the ANC turned off, the headphones offered good noise isolation, meaning noisy conversations and other background noise that ANC won’t (can’t) filter was muffled significantly.
Comfort and style
There’s no argument that these headphones make a bit of a statement. They’re big, bold and loud (colour-wise), and they’re designed to be seen and noticed. The review pair — as you can see — are black with red highlights, and they’re by no means subtle. They’re large on the head as well, though they are — size-wise at least — quite comfortable and not particularly noticeable in terms of weight.
However, and this might be just because I have a big scone, after wearing for 45 minutes or so, the headband became noticeably uncomfortable to wear. Not only was it pressing down on the crown of my head, but the horizontal pressure (ear to ear) was a little more than I would call pleasant, leading in one instance to a bit of a headache after using the headphones for half an hour.
For those with smaller heads, this is unlikely to be an issue — so if you have a big noggin’, you might want to think carefully about buying headphones like these.
These are headphones not for the faint of heart. They’re big and loud, and they deliver bass in ample amount to rattle your fillings loose. They fulfil their promise of a great range, being equally at home playing some bass-filled dub-step (Xilent – Choose Me II) and some tunes from yesteryear (Louis Armstrong – What a Wonderful World).
The Noise Cancellation feature was a welcome addition, but if you’re a regular traveller, you’d probably prefer something with a slightly higher-end noise cancellation quality, e.g. something from Bose.
Over Ear Wangs are not something I’d be wearing to the gym, nor for any real active past-times; they’re just too big. However, for listening around the house, commuting or for occasional air travel, they’re not a bad set. For the price (below), you’d want to be getting a fair bit of use from these, otherwise you might be better off with a cheaper, less bulky alternative. I certainly noticed the extra bulk carrying these around for the last week in my daypack, so if you’re not accustomed to carrying a bag, you won’t be carrying these around either.
Recommended retail is $399, and you can find these – and other models – at your capital city Myer store, or at Myer’s Online Shop.