If the steady line of autograph-hungry Fanny Wang headset fans at a Manhattan electronics store was any indication, these new bass-boosting over-the-ear headsets may give Monster Cable's DJ-friendly Beats by Dr. Dre headset a run for its money. At least that's what Fanny Wang CEO Tim Hickman hopes.
Fanny Wang's 2001 Over Ear DJ ($250) and Active Noise Canceling headphones ($300) make visual fashion statements as well as audible ones, with their first-in-class 50mm earpiece drivers. A small switch kicks in the bass booster, or sets the headset to a "clear channel" setting for jazz and other music where the bass boost isn't essential.
Hickman said that Fanny Wang basically got pulled into its relationship with the NFL after three players got an earful of the new headsets. He said the company has received dozens of requests from pro football players, thanks to the locker-room buzz that the first three generated.
The Fanny Wang Active Noise Canceling headphones utilize a Maxim chipset and four microphones--two inside and outside each earpiece--to monitor ambient noise and to ensure that only the desired audio stream makes it to users' ears. The 2001 Over Ear DJ Wang comes in Tuxedo (white), Stiletto Red, Chrome Angel and Red Velvet while the Active Noise Canceling headphones come in black.
Both headphones have an iPod-compatible inline remote control as well as a unique "duo jack," which allows you to connect another headset to the line in case two people wanted to share the same audio stream.During the recent launch event at the Datavision store in midtown Manhattan, New York Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara, who signed autographs for headset buyers, seemed to like the Fanny Wang headphones that Hickman demonstrated to him, even though the headset bore colors that more closely resembled those of the rival Miami Dolphins than the Giants.
Hickman said that Fanny Wang headsets offer a handful of features not provided in competing headsets from Bose and Monster Cable. "We also do a lot of really smart battery-management stuff," he said.
The Fanny Wang headsets shut down after going unused for 15 minutes and, unlike popular competing headsets from Monster Cable and Bose, they can be used even if the batteries are dead. In addition to Datavision, the headsets are now available now from Amazon, Microcenter and the Fanny Wang website.
And for the record, Fanny Wang is more closely related to Betty Crocker than to Vera Wang. Like Crocker, Fanny Wang doesn't exist.
Robert S. Anthony is a New York-based technology journalist. He writes a tech blog called The Paper PC.