Today we don a pair of flashy headphones and give them a close listen. Billed as “the first social headphones” because of their integrated duo jack, these $170 cans were designed by the same sound engineer who created the Monster Cable “Beats.” We so happen to also have a pair of the Beats Studio by Dr. Dre headphones on hand, so let’s compare the two.
Stifling our giggles at its anatomical-sounding Fanny Wang brand name, it didn’t take us long to get used to these garish red phones, affectionately dubbed by their maker as “On Ear Wangs.” Given that name and their shiny fire-engine-red hue, be prepared for ridicule if you hang out with jokesters. If their ribbing gets to be unbearable, just let them listen to these headphones for a few seconds, and their snide remarks will soon diminish. If it’s just that red color that’s bothering you, they’re also available in white or black with red trim.
Social, indeed. That extra jack included in the detachable cable turned out to be a boon for us in testing. We plugged both the Wangs and our Beats Studio headphones into the two jacks, and noticed that regardless of whether one or two pairs were plugged in, there was no diminishment of the sound. Even though adaptors are easy to find that let two people listen to the same source, including that extra jack in the cable is a lot more convenient, and assures you you’ll always have that capability when you want someone else to hear that great song you’re listening to. Excellent idea, especially for us socialites.
To be fair, let’s point out that the Beats Studio headphones are over-the-ear style, while these Wangs are on-the-ear, not completely enclosing your ear as the Beats do. Fanny Wang also offers an over-the-ear style, and Monster Cable offers on-ear Beats headphones as well.
The fact that the Beats headphones are completely enclosed should have given them an advantage in sound isolation. Surprisingly enough, the Beats still sounded louder to people standing next to me than the Wangs did. By the way, both are highly efficient, creating tremendous volume from an iPhone 4 cranked up to 11.
Sound advice. How did the sound of the two pairs of headphones compare? Even though the Beats headphones retail for $350 (commonly available for between $250 and $300), their sound was only slightly better than these On Ear Wangs. Both have remarkable sound quality, with seriously accurate and powerful bass, lifelike presence in the midrange and some of the crispiest highs I’ve ever heard. However, the thunderous tightness of the Beats’ bass touches the edge of what I call the “scary zone,” nearing the point where the smacking thump of the bass drum sounds like it’s happening right there in the room, almost making me jump.
On the other hand, the Wangs are more travel-ready, folding up into baseball-sized package that will fit into even a thoroughly packed carry-on, and don’t require the batteries that the Beats do. Do the Beats sound $130 better than the Wangs? No. Do they almost look the same? Yes, making me think there was a good reason for Monster Cable to sue Fanny Wang just before CES 2011, attempting to prevent the company from showing its wares on the show floor. But according to Fanny Wang, a judge denied Monster’s temporary restraining order, because “convincing evidence of infringement was not proven.”
They’re brothers. Not only do they look alike, they sound nearly alike too. That makes sense, considering that the same engineer designed both of them. Consumers are the winners here, because for $120 less, you can get almost the same sound and a similar appearance, with a more-portable pair of earphones. A bonus is the dual cable that really does make the Wangs more social.
I think these Fanny Wang On Ear headphones are excellent, well worth the $170 and your consideration.
Article from Mashable