Pros: Cable, fit, looks, balanced sound
Cons: Veiled sound
*I listened to the Westone 4Rs using iPhone 4S and the latest iPod Classic (6th Generation). The below sums up my listening experience from these sources only.*
The Westone 4Rs fit my ears better than any other earphones. With good tips, like Shure’s Grey Flex or ‘Olive’ tips, they feel snug without causing any discomfort. The nozzles on the 4R are shorter than that of Shure SE535 so the sound isolation isn’t quite as good, though they still do a reasonable job of blocking out external noise. As explained in the user manual, pulling your ears up and back helps to get a deeper fit when inserting.
The excellent cable is a sensible length (unlike the too-long Shure’s), tends not to tangle and has a short plastic ‘memory wire’, which keeps the Westones in place. The cable attaches to the earpiece with a two-pin connector, which is a less fiddly solution than the swivel connectors of Logitech’s UE 900 or Shure’s SE535.
The Westone 4Rs are warm tonally. I find their sound fairly balanced, with no frequency standing out above the others. The imaging is amazing too; there is a 3D quality that I’ve seldom heard from other earphones, though this only becomes apparent when the volume is quite loud.
I wanted to like these earphones, I really did. I ultimately sold them because they sound slightly veiled to me, as if the sound passes through a piece of material on its way from the drivers to my ears. I sensed a loss of sparkle and detail that I just couldn’t get past. I wouldn’t go as far as calling the sound muddy or cluttered, there just didn’t seem enough ‘air’ surrounding the music.