Fanny Wang headphones are known for their oversize earcups and booming bass. Needless to say, they're more geared to hip-hop and electronica music.
Now, California-based Tim Hickman, one of the main folks behind Fanny Wang headphones, has introduced a new brand, California Headphones, with a more natural sound. The two launch models, the on-ear Laredo ($99.95) and the over-the-ear Silverado ($199.95), are due to hit stores in August.
I got an early pair of the bigger Silverados, and these guys are made out of metal and leather and seem to be built like tanks. They do fold up into a more compact footprint (though not flat), and they have a dual-cord design with both cords detaching from the earcups (the cord is covered in "durable" knitted zebra cloth). The company says the headphones have retro style "inspired by the aviation look during World War II," which seems pretty evident the moment you see them.
Both models are acoustically tuned for a "live concertlike audio experience" for rock, country, and alternative music, and after listening to them for a few hours, they definitely have much more balanced sound than the Fanny Wangs and seem to match up well against other models in this price range, though Audio-Technica's stellar ATH-M50s can be had for $130 online right now.
Once we get our hands on final review samples of the Laredo and Silverado, we'll post reviews of both models. We're curious to see how comfortable the on-ear Laredo is and how much better the step-up Silverado sounds in comparison.
On a side note, Hickman has already raised over $120,000 on Kickstarter for the headphones, exceeding his goal of $100,000 with 15 days to go in the campaign. We're not sure the company really needs the money, but Kickstarter is turning into a nice way for companies to spark preorders.