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REVIEW: WESTONE 3, the ULTIMATE UNIVERSAL IEM vs everything else - AKA W3 Appreciation Thread - Page 72

post #1066 of 2102
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flavio T View Post
I noticed vocals are quite louder with my UM2 than with the Westone 3, however I haven't decided if that means better.

One thing I think the UM2s are better is that for real long hours of listening, I found my UM2s to be less fatiguing than my Westone 3.
Wow, so are you saying that the UM2's are less fatiguing than the W3's? I thought you felt the W3's rendered the UM2's unlistenable.......
post #1067 of 2102
Quote:
Originally Posted by tstarn06 View Post
While I know I've been down this road before, I have finally heard the W3s living up to their potential - without owning the custom sleeves, that is. It's been two months, and there have been so many of these "false positive" reports from me, I run the risk of sounding like a broken record. However, for the past two days, I have devoted myself to trying even more combos of sleeves with the W3s, and now, finally, I think I have hit paydirt.

A few pages ago (or on another W3 thread, not sure) someone (thank you) posted that they had hit their paydirt by using the small black olives with their W3s, and that was after not being happy with the mediums. I tried some smalls I had sitting around, and thought, "Hey, that's it!" But still, I could not get a good seal in my right ear, which is smaller than my left, but still requires a larger tip for a good seal. Must be something about shape. What else could it be?

So, I left the small olive on the left, and tried a medium on the right. Still, didn't feel snug/right. I inverted the olive in my right ear, the medium, an old trick some of us used with the Atrio M5 a couple of years ago when they came out. I also do it with the PFEs sometimes. And bang, that was it!

Having made that discovery, it all came together. The robust, deep, clean bass (the mid-bass hump nowhere to be heard), the clear, clean mids, and the detailed and crisp highs. Finally, this is that the W3s are supposed to sound like, right? With all the other tips I tried, I either had dulled highs/mids, too much harshness, or a congestion that just made complex music sound, well, congested (which is why I favored the PFEs over the W3s during this tip trial).

I used a simple setup, my Zune80, no amp, no LOD, no EQ (not possible with the Zune). Of course, there is SQ variance based on some tracks, but on the higher quality masters (even at 192k), the W3s really sounded like the amazing IEM they were supposed to be when I got them.

Now, for the much-debated sibilance. It's not completely gone, but on the few tracks it rears its ugly head, I can live with it. I think some tracks are gonna have some harshness, no matter what. It may be dissipated, even eliminated, with dynamic phones (IE8s, Turbines), but it is there with the W3. As I noted a long time ago, I can eliminate the harshness completely with the modded tri-flanges, but they also veil the mids and highs to me, as well as make my head feel like a stuffed turkey.

The bi-flange mods sounded okay, but again, I feel pressure from them that doesn't exist with the olives. Also, about the same level of spotty harshness.

So, after two months (got them for Xmas), I can now say the W3s are doing what I hoped/thought they would do when stuck firmly in my ears. Can't wait to try them out with my Minibox and Touch LOD again.

As for the PFE/W3 comparisons, I still treasure the Phonaks, especially for specific types of music (female vocals, acoustic guitar, and other similar genres), and the two phones will co-exist in my collection for a long time to come. I will not pick a favorite, because they are so different. But all I can say is I am lucky to have them both, from my recent listening experiences.

Oh, I will say that unamped with the same DAP, no EQ, I do much prefer the Westones, which deliver excellent SQ without an amp. To me, the PFEs really need at least the E5 bass boost to start hitting their stride, in terms of meeting the type of SQ that my ears favor. Doesn't mean they can't sound very good without an amp, but for me, they only excel ampless with my Touch HP out. For some reason, I just can't get enough heft from them with the other DAPs I own, especially the Clips.

I realize this is not a very technical post, but it's the best I can do. I have never claimed to be one of the more tech-savvy Head-Fi'ers. I leave that to others.
I have been using the medium black olives, inverted (v1 Atrios-style) since I got them. Very easy to insert and get a perfect seal. I put them in with the wire pointing downard toward my shoulder, then slowly rotate them until the wire is pointing toward the corner of my eyes. They actually feel like they slide into the perfect position and give a great seal.

I use a Cowon X5L--> mSeed Spirit amp-----> W3, and the volume very low, 10/40. Simply amazing!
post #1068 of 2102
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flavio T View Post
I noticed vocals are quite louder with my UM2 than with the Westone 3, however I haven't decided if that means better.

One thing I think the UM2s are better is that for real long hours of listening, I found my UM2s to be less fatiguing than my Westone 3.
I have not gone back (and can't/don't want to) but do remember that as stage monitors UM2s did have more a mid presence - and over time I got to crave it. Without comparison (and after adjusting bass) I'm finding these very balanced throughout and occasionally will come across a song whose vocals are a bit too recessed, but overall they sound better & better over time. Like AndrewF, the niggling differences were bugging me until I realized that these are just an out and out different IEM and should be approached that way - doing so their combination of extended range & soundstage are pretty much unmatched in a universal IEM - and where I could pick out new high details with Etys, new mid details with UM2s, with W3s I hear new details in music throughout the spectrum. - They even reveal a slight edge to Atrac3+/352 vs. AAC350 in my RH10 vs. A829 in a couple of albums.

Curiously, I'm finding the same thing physically - these just don't seem to have the staying power of UM2s and most of my sessions are no longer than 2 or 3 hours before I have to remove & adjust these (they cause my ears to sweat more and then start to itch! - a property of the extended range?). This is OK for me as I try not to have sessions longer than that without a break. OTOH, they actually seem marginally more comfortable than the UM2s (if that's possible), fit slightly more flush, and are even more comfortable to sleep on, so there you go...
post #1069 of 2102
CNET showin' some more love for the Westone 3:

Videos - Free video downloads and streaming video - CNET TV

"Coming in at Number 4, The Westone 3 True-Fit earphones. If you don't mind paying three or four hundred dollars for a good pair of earphones, you're nuts. But Jasmine France says these are apparently worth it. And they're durable. They better be at that price...."
post #1070 of 2102
Good review man!
I'm enjoying me W3 too...
post #1071 of 2102
Quote:
Originally Posted by fredman22 View Post
Curiously, I'm finding the same thing physically - these just don't seem to have the staying power of UM2s and most of my sessions are no longer than 2 or 3 hours before I have to remove & adjust these (they cause my ears to sweat more and then start to itch! - a property of the extended range?). This is OK for me as I try not to have sessions longer than that without a break. OTOH, they actually seem marginally more comfortable than the UM2s (if that's possible), fit slightly more flush, and are even more comfortable to sleep on, so there you go...
Try not pushing the tips into the tip all the way in. I have mine with about 2mm spacing left, and insert the tip into my ear just enough so it seals. I can wear mine at work for a whole day without taking them off, and barely feel anything.
post #1072 of 2102
Quote:
Originally Posted by forsberg View Post
Try not pushing the tips into the tip all the way in. I have mine with about 2mm spacing left, and insert the tip into my ear just enough so it seals. I can wear mine at work for a whole day without taking them off, and barely feel anything.
x2, shallow insertion with the medium gray silicons and medium shure olives allows me to wear the W3's for very long periods of time without any ear fatigue.
post #1073 of 2102
Quote:
Originally Posted by forsberg View Post
Try not pushing the tips into the tip all the way in. I have mine with about 2mm spacing left, and insert the tip into my ear just enough so it seals. I can wear mine at work for a whole day without taking them off, and barely feel anything.
I'm familiar with this technique and have used it successfully with UM2s. But while this worked for UM2s for up to 6-8 hours at a time (!), it doesn't for W3s (for my ears anyway) and right around 2 - 4 hours they need adjusting due to sweat & slippage regardless of insertion depth, but as I've said - it's not really healthy to listen to these more than 2-3 hours without a break, so I'm OK with it.
post #1074 of 2102
I have officially joined the W3 gang. Great pair of IEM's! I prefer its sound signature over the IE8's. Both are fantastic though, especially the IE8's in a quiet room... too bad I use my IEM's mainly on the go and need ++isolation.
post #1075 of 2102
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by obentou View Post
I have officially joined the W3 gang. Great pair of IEM's! I prefer its sound signature over the IE8's. Both are fantastic though, especially the IE8's in a quiet room... too bad I use my IEM's mainly on the go and need ++isolation.
Welcome to the club!
post #1076 of 2102
Has anybody purchased their Westone UM56 from this place?

The price seems to be much lower than competitors, so it might be too good to be true. It, however, looks like a pretty reputable site.

Also quick question Larry: it seems that you advocate shallow insertion for universal tips for the best sound with the W3, but your custom tips seem to be deeply inserted and provide the best sound. Is that just the unexplainable nature of universal vs. custom tips that they sound best each with their own separate depths of insertion?
post #1077 of 2102
Quote:
Originally Posted by PeterDLai View Post

Also quick question Larry: it seems that you advocate shallow insertion for universal tips for the best sound with the W3, but your custom tips seem to be deeply inserted and provide the best sound. Is that just the unexplainable nature of universal vs. custom tips that they sound best each with their own separate depths of insertion?
I've always wondered this as well. I was previously using the medium gray tips for my W3. I'd end up with sound that was quite heavy in bass and mids with rolled off highs. After listening to the IE-8, I fiddled with the W3 and realized that I could get a better sound with them just in and almost falling out.

I switched to the silicone mediums and have been fine since. I'm now getting a high frequency response that I never used to get before. I'm really not sure why. I don't know if it's the difference in seal, a difference in tip material, a difference in depth of insertion. It may well be a combination of all three.

Anyway, the customs seem to do the opposite... or do they? They're likely just different, i.e., in construction, material, design etc. They're their own tips and work in their own way. Insertion distance is only one factor.
post #1078 of 2102
I posted this because Larry asked me to (this is my second go-round with these tips, and even I am tired of hearing myself on the W3 fit conundrum). For the umpteenth time, and I hope the final one (unless I move to the UM56), I have rediscovered tips that deliver excellent W3 sound, and it is really fantastic. Unfortunately, I have to use the Touch "acoustic" EQ to get there, but with the modded tri-flanges (stalks cut near to flush at the bottom) and that EQ setting, the W3s sound powerful, is all I can say. Wow. Same with my Clip and Sony DAP (need some mid/high EQ uptick). I am going to try and to do a more detailed comparison with the Senn IE8s, but for now, I would say they are both excellent phones, but the W3s have the added advanage of delivering excellent isolation as well. Advice to W3 owners ... don't give up.

As to the insertion depth mystery, seems any sleeves I tried that are not as long as the tri-flanges deliver that hated harshness that many ex-W3 owners found. It's not always there, but with the shorter tips, it rears its ugly head too often. And I can't go with the "on the outer ear canal" tip location, because it ruins the isolation. Plus, no tip I have or that came with the W3s can give me the SQ of the tri-flange when just sitting on the outer ear canal. Not sure why the depth is what eliminates the sibilance for me, but it seems the UM56 customs, which also go much deeper than any of the other sleeves save the tri-flanges, do likewise. Which is why they are so appealin. Maybe some day.

With the tri-flanges, the biggest downside is on some tracks, bass-heavy ones mainly, my Zune80 doesn't work well with the W3s because the Zune has no EQ, and the bass not only overwhelms the mids and highs, but the sparkle is doused as well.

Not a big deal, and it is only on certain tracks and genres, but enough that when I want to listen to the Zune for certain types of music, I go to either the Senns or the PFEs - hardly a negative experience.
post #1079 of 2102
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PeterDLai View Post
Has anybody purchased their Westone UM56 from this place?

The price seems to be much lower than competitors, so it might be too good to be true. It, however, looks like a pretty reputable site.

Also quick question Larry: it seems that you advocate shallow insertion for universal tips for the best sound with the W3, but your custom tips seem to be deeply inserted and provide the best sound. Is that just the unexplainable nature of universal vs. custom tips that they sound best each with their own separate depths of insertion?
It is a mystery to me. All my customs (4 pairs) need deep tips to work for me. When I got my Freq Show they didn't go as deep as my Livewires, and the treble was recessed and not sparkly. They were also looser and could break the seal too easily, so I sent them back to have them remade. They came back 3 weeks later being 2 mm deeper and tighter fitting, and the treble was filled in better and the excess lower mids were less irritating to me as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aimlink View Post
I've always wondered this as well. I was previously using the medium gray tips for my W3. I'd end up with sound that was quite heavy in bass and mids with rolled off highs. After listening to the IE-8, I fiddled with the W3 and realized that I could get a better sound with them just in and almost falling out.

I switched to the silicone mediums and have been fine since. I'm now getting a high frequency response that I never used to get before. I'm really not sure why. I don't know if it's the difference in seal, a difference in tip material, a difference in depth of insertion. It may well be a combination of all three.

Anyway, the customs seem to do the opposite... or do they? They're likely just different, i.e., in construction, material, design etc. They're their own tips and work in their own way. Insertion distance is only one factor.
I don't have to wear the medium grey silicone so loose that they can fall out, but just deep enough that they grab the ear canal in the boney region and hold on and seal. I get good isolation this way, and a nice balance between bass punch and treble sparkle. I have also found that Image X10, SA6, q-JAYS and IE8 all need a shallow insertion to sound best to me. h.

Not all my earphones have sounded best with a shallow insertion. When I used my stock SE530 before I had them made into customs, I would use a yellow foam or black foam tip with them pushed as deep into my ears as possible, and they sounded best that way. Same with my ER6i, E4c and SE310 - all needed a deep insertion for the best treble and bass balance, as well as soundstage. When I added the deep custom UM-56 tips to the SE530 they got even better.

But, the SE530 didn't snug up tight to my ear with the UM-56 like the W3 do, and they stuck out enough to snap a sound nozzle off one SE530 earpiece in my sleep. I couldn't go back to using normal tips with SE530 because of how much better they were with custom tips. So while waiting for the W3 to come out and pair with my UM-56, I spent months getting someone to make the SE530 into full customs - the SE530 came back sounding like Livewires with a bigger soundstage. They decided it wasn't cost effective to mod any more SE530.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tstarn06 View Post
I posted this because Larry asked me to (this is my second go-round with these tips, and even I am tired of hearing myself on the W3 fit conundrum). For the umpteenth time, and I hope the final one (unless I move to the UM56), I have rediscovered tips that deliver excellent W3 sound, and it is really fantastic. Unfortunately, I have to use the Touch "acoustic" EQ to get there, but with the modded tri-flanges (stalks cut near to flush at the bottom) and that EQ setting, the W3s sound powerful, is all I can say. Wow. Same with my Clip and Sony DAP (need some mid/high EQ uptick). I am going to try and to do a more detailed comparison with the Senn IE8s, but for now, I would say they are both excellent phones, but the W3s have the added advanage of delivering excellent isolation as well. Advice to W3 owners ... don't give up.

As to the insertion depth mystery, seems any sleeves I tried that are not as long as the tri-flanges deliver that hated harshness that many ex-W3 owners found. It's not always there, but with the shorter tips, it rears its ugly head too often. And I can't go with the "on the outer ear canal" tip location, because it ruins the isolation. Plus, no tip I have or that came with the W3s can give me the SQ of the tri-flange when just sitting on the outer ear canal. Not sure why the depth is what eliminates the sibilance for me, but it seems the UM56 customs, which also go much deeper than any of the other sleeves save the tri-flanges, do likewise. Which is why they are so appealin. Maybe some day.

With the tri-flanges, the biggest downside is on some tracks, bass-heavy ones mainly, my Zune80 doesn't work well with the W3s because the Zune has no EQ, and the bass not only overwhelms the mids and highs, but the sparkle is doused as well.

Not a big deal, and it is only on certain tracks and genres, but enough that when I want to listen to the Zune for certain types of music, I go to either the Senns or the PFEs - hardly a negative experience.
I like to see all honest opinions of the earphones to be posted, even if you have to use one particular source or one particular EQ to make them sound like they should to you. That knowledge will help others who may be in the same situation.

I know you posted about some other tips that worked, but you had to use two different sizes for both ears to get them where you didn't need EQ. I forget what that combo was.
post #1080 of 2102
Hmm, I can't even remember. Might have been the medium Comply in my left ear and the large Comply in my right. Oddest thing is my right ear canal is actually smaller, but the inside of my ear doesn't mesh well with the W3 housing, so I can't get it to sit flush (hence, the seal breaks and SQ suffers). I may try more odd size combos, but for now, I will stick with what works consistently. Happy camper with the W3s right now.
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