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The "I'm Not Blown Away By Westone 3" Thread

post #1 of 88
Thread Starter 
Disclaimer: This is a very unprofessional critique with very unprofessional terminology. It’s to try to help the regular guy.

Reference IEM’s: Just coming from SE530 (sold) and UM2 (kept) but have also owned the following for extensive periods (ER4P/S, ER6i, E2, E3, E4, SE420, UM1, TFPro, Super Fi Pro).

I have only listened for an hour or so. I’ll need more time but I am definitely not blown away by any means and I concur with Catscratch comments but perhaps not as harshly. First let there not be any confusion that still to date SE530 has THE BEST midrange of any IEM ever made. W3 is recessed somewhat but like Catscratch says, it almost sounds as if there is a blanket over this frequency. I wonder too if this recessed midrange is what gives the illusion of a larger soundstage which I do like. Other comments….

Packaging: Not a big deal but certainly the cheapest packaging for any IEM perhaps over $75. This packaging may start looking pretty trashed upon a resale. Gonna have to be careful. Funny the carrying case is now virtually same one Etymotic uses.

Tips: Why are some concerned with the fragility of the IEM stems? They are so short already how could they possible break? The only tips I find worth a damn are using Shure olives or modding a tri flange to a bi-flange with the base stem cut flush. I don’t understand the point in Westone shortening the stem on W3?? There is far too much distance for the music to travel once it exits the nozzle…over a ½ inch in most cases with most of the tips. Talk about allowing for a muffled and deteriorated sound. Doesn't seem right to me. I can’t imagine how a UM56 would improve the sound at all with such a short stem. Also, as far as the supplied tip choices go, IMHO all silicone/plastic tips tend to make the upper midrange and treble sound steely/plasticky and artificial. I’d bet the old Shure yellow foamies do well on the W3’s.

Bass: Quite heavy and thumpy. Slams hard. Makes it's presense felt. Wouldn't want any more and it's almost too much (I'd trade some for more midrange)
Midrange: Definitely the weak spot. I wouldn’t say it’s terrible but it is certainly a step down from SE530.
Treble: Pretty decent but can sound a little plasticky on some recordings. More detailed than SE530 and I prefer it to SE530 but it walks a very fine line between just enough versus moving towards siblance. This, of course, could be a function of the recording too, not the IEM.

What I found most peculiar about W3 is that it sounds exactly what I thought the TFPro should sound like before I heard it. In other words I find W3 has many similarities to Super Fi Pro sound sig but with more control everywhere and certainly more comfort. As we know TFPro and Super Fi Pro sound nothing like each other.

I’d say W3 is definitely better than UM2 but not by leaps and bounds or anything. I’d call the main difference lighter airier treble and better overall extension top to bottom with W3. Switching back to UM2 and you really hear how aggressive that UM2 midrange and warmth is.

At this point (and I need more time to listen) I simply cannot say these are hands down better than SE530. I never cared much for TFPro so I'll leave that comparison out. Each one does certain things very well. W3 is a brighter, perhaps, livelier presentation….SE530 darker, more laid back but VERY controlled (some could perceive as boring). I sold my SE530’s to help fund W3. Not a big mistake or anything but I’m not sure I have gained much in terms of an overall better IEM. As good? Yes, probably but not better. Perhaps my opinions will change with much more listening. Sources used were a Nano and a more powerful boombox. Like TFPro, I could see how W3 excels more with an amp. That’s about all I can think of for now.

12/10 UPDATE: FIT IS CRUCIAL WITH W3

Refer to this thread.
http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f103/i...59/index3.html

12/13 UPDATE (from page 9 on this thread)

Yes, I have always been a believer that it takes 6-10 hours for the frequencies to "settle in." Placebo or whatever but they never sound right at first.

Using the regular complys just like I would with my UM2's.

Nano on "jazz" setting.....really excellent.

It's like ER4P (detail) , SE530 (rockability/punch) and TFPro (huge soundstage) rolled into one IEM.
post #2 of 88
Nevermind, found the answer towards the bottom of the review. Was asking on source, amp and cables. Good comparison by the way, makes me feel a little better not having pulled the trigger on the W3 yet.
post #3 of 88
Nice impression. I dont see any too negative comments and therefore title need to be changed
post #4 of 88
An interesting counter opinion to read. Though I haven't heard W3 yet, I can see how it probably won't blow me away as well. My own experience is, top end universal IEM usually isn't about which is better, but rather it is more about finding the right sound for personal taste.
post #5 of 88
The sound for me is too warm. I prefer bright sound. I have to aggressively EQ them to get any usable treble. The highs are just terrible in my opinion.

Anyone have a suggestion for a better treble IEM?

The W3s are ridiculously comfortable though.
post #6 of 88
Thanks for your thoughts Spyro. I'd already decided I wouldn't join the fracas as I'm happy with the SE530. Nice comparison in language I understand!
post #7 of 88
i dont know to explain but do you also think that sound (or signature whatever) coming like if its coming from a radio? you know that sibilant thin sound..
post #8 of 88
Couldn't this have just gone into one of the other W3 threads? It's a regular review.

It's becoming confusing with all the W3 review threads cropping up!
post #9 of 88
Sooz, while piling all reviews of this very IEM in a single thread might be cleaner (at least in this period), I think that someone's review can deserve it's own thread, just like happens with every other headphone.
post #10 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by antonyfirst View Post
Sooz, while piling all reviews of this very IEM in a single thread might be cleaner (at least in this period), I think that someone's review can deserve it's own thread, just like happens with every other headphone.
Maybe. But I think because they're so new, it's just confusing to know which thread is which anymore
post #11 of 88
I think another thread is better sooz . It's far more difficult to dig through pages looking for a specific post once a thread hits 1000 pages .

Appreciate the observations, Spy. Keep em coming.
post #12 of 88
Thanks for the impressions!
post #13 of 88
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by djh01 View Post
The sound for me is too warm. I prefer bright sound. I have to aggressively EQ them to get any usable treble. The highs are just terrible in my opinion.

Anyone have a suggestion for a better treble IEM?

The W3s are ridiculously comfortable though.
Wow. I find them somewhat bright. You need to look at Etymotic ER4P or S.



I am not trying to grandstand with the new thread. There's been so much love for this IEM I thought I would devote a different type of thread that talks about why I don't find it the be all end all. Certainly no intentions to crap on the IEM as it sounds pretty damn good.
post #14 of 88
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by prscustom View Post
i dont know to explain but do you also think that sound (or signature whatever) coming like if its coming from a radio? you know that sibilant thin sound..
Just a little artificial sounding. Again, it's not bad but I expected it to retain more natural-ness. UM2 doesn't reveal as much treble but it is more natural sounding where W3 sounds more colored/fabricated.

As I mentioned I think there is a very fine line between getting the treble just right versus revealing too much and running into siblance/bad recording problems. I'm guessing it is the most difficult frequency to get right and please everyone.


I do not think that an real Ety treble fan would like the W3 treble for the reason I mention above. As hyper-detailed as an ER4 is (a little too much for me) it still retains a good degree of natural-ness.
post #15 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spyro View Post
Wow. I find them somewhat bright. You need to look at Etymotic ER4P or S.
I am not trying to grandstand with the new thread. There's been so much love for this IEM I thought I would devote a different type of thread that talks about why I don't find it the be all end all.
Certainly no intentions to crap on the IEM as it sounds pretty damn good.
Ha ha! Okay, I give in
And I do agree with you on one point. The W3 sound how I imagined the TF10 would sound (before I heard them), and also the Sennheiser IE8, if it had 3 drivers. But I like the TF10, (and you didn't, if I remember correctly?) Anyway, I definitely think the W3 sounds more open and encompassing than the TF10, that's for sure. But I do still like my Trips!
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