Pros: Great fit and comfort. Very balanced and neutral sound. Great cable.
Cons: A little high in price. Discounts can be found though. Gotta pay up for quality!
Just got the UM3x (with removable cable) purchased from the Gear Lab and sent direct from Westone after selling my UM2's and Triple Fi' 10's. Here are some detailed un-boxing pics (including pics of the UM3x in my ears), and then some initial first impressions after 4 hours of use and comparisons to the UM2 and UE Triple.Fi 10.
So that's exactly what you get in the box (at least at this point in time.) Hey, I expected less tips, so it was great to get a bunch of em. Quite a few in various sizes and materials. But I will probably never use the ones that came in the case, because I use Shure Olives and love em.
One thing I thought would be bigger is the box. As you can see in the pics, it is quite small, but I guess Westone decided to save some packaging and keep it little. No biggie. The Triple.Fi 10 box was waaay bigger, but so are the Triple Fi's themselves and their case :) This packaging stuff makes no difference to me anyway.
I like the different style case, but not sure yet if it is any more useful than the UM2's round case. Nice to have something different though, as I have been using UM1 and UM2 round cases for years.
Build quality looks great. Sturdy, and future proof with the removable (IE replaceable cable.) This also gives the option of upgrading to a higher quality cable if needed. But this cable is great just like Westone is known for. No microphonics that I can notice anyway.
It does have the mold-able wire in the first few inches of the cable by the earphones. Not sure if I like this, but when I get to moving around on the stage I may find it more stable. Never had much problem with the UM2 cable, but I did have to adjust it sometimes during or after fast songs where I play guitar and move a lot. We'll see...I sorta don't like the moldable feel around my ears though. it seems a little harder on the skin. Didn't like it with the Triple Fi's either, but I think it can easily be gotten use to, and for home use i doubt it would ever be a real deal breaker for anyone.
Here are some pics of the UM3x in my ears:
I am listening to some of my music in iTunes on my Macbook. So far have gone through Some Jason Mraz, John Mayer, Rascal Flatts, Sandra, McCracken, Kieth Urban, Lincoln Brewster, Jim Brickman, and some old school Journey and Def Leppard.
Initial impressions are that these are very honest monitors and sound incredible and very neutral and balanced to my ears. They pretty much reveal anything..Good or Bad. What I mean is..like on a Sandra McCracken tune which is like Irish Folk Acoustic stuff, I could actually hear Sandra go flat at the end of a verse where she got a little lazy vocally and missed it just a bit.
I notice things that sound "big" in the UM3x, that I never heard enough of in the mix with the UM2, but did hear in a different way with the Triple Fi 10. I guess the sound stage being bigger then the UM2 helps a lot. The UM2 is a very good sounding IEM in my opinion, and probably overly sufficient for most musicians. It excels because it does sound great on stage, yet is still affordable especially on the pre-owned and ebay market. My impression in comparison to the UM2 is that the Bass is immediately noticeable as being stronger (similar to the Tripe.Fi 10), but in a balanced recording studio monitor sort of way, that is not overpowering. The bass is also a little more clear and detailed to my ears than with the UM2. I imagine this can also be shaped with various tips, but I really like it so far with the Shure Olives.
The treble is perfect to me so far, but I had no complaints in this area with the UM2. After several hours of listening. No fatigue at all. The highs are crisp without being piercing and that is a great thing for an IEM to be able to pull off IMO. There is just more of everything! I am honestly hearing instruments, vocals, percussion, and effects that I never even knew were in many of the songs in my iTunes Library. Part of that is because my ears are not fatigued as they were with the Triple.Fi 10.
I absolutely loved the UM2 for live band use, and I think it is pretty much the perfect IEM for on stage use for vocalists, except that if you are a drummer or other instrument player it lacks a bit in instrument detail, that you could really use to help play tighter and with more feel. But it is great at bringing out vocals sitting in that mid frequency range, and great for vocalists to be able to hear their voices clearly to better sing on pitch. I think the UM3x has a similar feel in the mids, but just has a little more of everything, and a little more detail in vocals.
On guitar and drums stuff, I can hear things so clear such as the sliding of the hand on the strings, percussive playing, pick hitting the strings, etc. Drums are the same way. I hear the drum tip hitting the cymbal and the kick hitting the drum head in some recordings. I hear delay effects, reverbs, and chorus that I have never even noticed in these songs I have listened to many times before.
Honestly I could say some of the same great things about the Triple Fi 10. They sound great also..but a different sort of great. The Triple Fi 10 was definitely not as neutral to my ears. Powerful bass and detailed high end. But so much high end detail was harsh to my ears and fatiguing, And with that IEM, I could never get a good fit. It actually hurt my ears after a short time no matter what tips I used, and there was no way I could use them on stage in our venues, because of the visibility issues. They just stick out way too far for me. I realize most people would never have to deal with that, but I am a musician that is filmed regularly in our services, so it is much better to have less visible IEM's on stage, so that when you are on the jumbo screens you don't look like Frankenstein with bolts coming out of your ears If a regularly video'd musician loves the Triple.Fi 10 (and there area many reasons to love them), i would suggest getting custom molds if nothing else for the visibility issues.
Another thing I would say is that the UM3x pretty much reveals the fact that there is a loss of quality in the music such as artifacts that are in compressed recordings. The more compressed your music is..the more artifacts and consequently, because of the compression, the less detail you will hear. So this may not be the IEM for folks who want something to just make music sound good no matter what type of compression is used. Don't get me wrong..compressed music still sounds good, and I would rather notice that the music has been compressed and still get all the bonuses that come along with the UM3x's sound than to buy a less revealing IEM.
Cuz here's the thing...just like with a good set of neutral studio monitors, when the recordings are not compressed or you are listening to these as IEM's on stage playing with a live band...they are gonna be revealing all the good stuff too in a balanced way! For me that is exactly what I am looking for.
So those are some of my first impressions and pics. Hey...if the price of admission is a little steep..at least you get this nifty Westone sticker in the box: :)
You can also register them and get an extra year of warranty. Way to go Westone! That is faith in your product quality right there!
Well. the UM3x's have been in my ears for four hours now, Still rocking, and still very comfortable. Liking them more and more. Doubt the honeymoon will end any time soon. Glad I spent the extra $$$. Can't wait to use em live with a band!
Update 1: Still haven't used em with a band, but three weeks later I am still really liking the UM3x! Will update more after a few more weeks.
Update 2: I have been using these now for over 3 months and my impressions still stand as with my detailed statements above and comparison. I have been using them on stage in a live band as IEM's with an Aviom monitoring system and also using them with my iPod Touch 4th Gen. There really didn't seem to be any burn-in change that I can hear, but changing to Shure Olive tips made a lot of difference in comfort and isolation. I have no plans of getting anything else for stage use!