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Westone 1 Impressions and Review Thread

post #1 of 125
Thread Starter 
I'm curious to hear some preliminary reviews from those who have (or have heard) the new Westone 1. p0wderh0und23 (Westone) has mentioned that a few members here already have them despite them not being released until September 4.

How close are they to be a "poor man's" W3 or UM3x? I'm looking for a new pair of IEMs for casual iPod/iPhone listening of alternative/rock/pop (death cab, coldplay, etc) and mellower electronica (i.e. house music). I would love to save money by going with the W1 over the pricier UM3x - particularly if the W1 will get me 80% of the way for 40% of the cost (perhaps I'm being overly optimistic here). I'm also curious to know if the W1 could be described as a more "fun" IEM than the UM3x. One of my concerns with the UM3x is that it may be too balanced for popular music, although I've not heard it.

Thanks!

Edit: A few reviews/impressions have been added below and I therefore changed the title of this thread.
post #2 of 125
Hehe, that 80% of the way for 40% of the cost sounds like music_4321's formula for converting between the UM3x and the ES3x.
post #3 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkozlow3 View Post
I'm curious to hear some preliminary reviews from those who have (or have heard) the new Westone 1. p0wderh0und23 (Westone) has mentioned that a few members here already have them despite them not being released until September 4.

How close are they to be a "poor man's" W3 or UM3x? I'm looking for a new pair of IEMs for casual iPod/iPhone listening of alternative/rock and mellower electronica (i.e. house music). I would love to save money by going with the W1 over the pricier UM3x - particularly if the W1 will get me 80% of the way for 40% of the cost (perhaps I'm being overly optimistic here). I'm also curious to know if the W1 could be described as a more "fun" IEM than the UM3x. One of my concerns with the UM3x is that it may be too balanced for popular music, although I've not heard it.

Thanks!
If we told you early, we'd have to kill you...
post #4 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post
If we told you early, we'd have to kill you...
Stop scaring the new folk!

EarphoneSolutions have them for presale. Looks like there is another seller on eBay for the Westone 1, but he will not ship until Sept 4th either.
post #5 of 125
i heard them yesterday, but wasn't comparing them to the w3 or the um3x, rather to the um1. great iem! the cable is better (more tightly wound and a bit sturdier this time), tip selection is great and sound is quite good. my preliminary listen didn't have a lot of time to go through my entire library, but casually listening to classical, trance, hip hop and some whiny rock like kent showed that they are good. a bit rolled off in the highs maybe, but again, i need to listen again. great earphones.
post #6 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by shigzeo View Post
i heard them yesterday, but wasn't comparing them to the w3 or the um3x, rather to the um1. great iem! the cable is better (more tightly wound and a bit sturdier this time), tip selection is great and sound is quite good. my preliminary listen didn't have a lot of time to go through my entire library, but casually listening to classical, trance, hip hop and some whiny rock like kent showed that they are good. a bit rolled off in the highs maybe, but again, i need to listen again. great earphones.
x2
post #7 of 125
I'm really looking forward to these. I'm sure they'll be a great buy, but more so when bought used (better than the UM1's clear shell which probably yellows). And if the tubes are the same as W3, Shure black foams will fit without modification.

I think I might sell off my SF3s to fund this. I'm particularly annoyed with the memory wire cable.
post #8 of 125
the tube shouldn't yellow on the um1 actually unless you are very dirty! these are a worthy purchase for sure. as for sound, i enjoyed the um1 and the w1 isn't a far throw away from it in sound.

the only problem is that perfect fit isn't as easy with such a small body...
post #9 of 125
Thread Starter 
Thanks shigzeo & HeadphoneAddict.

Ideally, I'm looking for something a little cheaper than the UM3x or W3. However, I will spend the extra money if necessary, as constant upgrading is even more expensive than just shelling out more for the right equipment in the beginning. Buy cheap, buy twice.

Anyway, from what I've read about the UM3x and W3 here's what I don't like or what I would be worried about...

UM3x:
Perhaps a bit TOO accurate and analytical for the style of music I listen to (alternative/rock/pop/electronica) - aka not particularly "fun". I think I would prefer something slightly more colored/euphoric purely based on what I've read (but I could be wrong). Also, I'm not sure I like the idea of the music being so upfront (in the studio) vs. being a "few rows back" like with a lot of other phones. Fairly pricey.

W3:
Perhaps a bit too siblant/fatiguing which definitely sounds like a turn off. Overdone bass which muddies/weakens the midrange. Fit issues for a lot of people - possibly due to the shorter nozzle (which was remedied according to Westone with the W1). Fairly pricey.

Ideally:
Something slightly colored & fun that sounds very good with my styles of "popular" music. Not looking for something that is borderline sterile. Does not need to be the last word in accuracy as long as it's not too far off. Smooth, enjoyable, INVOLVING sound without ever being fatiguing. Ample (not absurd) bass. Easily driven with an iPod/iPhone. Fits well and is comfortable. Isolates well (airplane use).

I was hoping that the W1 would meet my criteria fairly well. While I certainly don't expect it to be a better phone overall than the W3/UM3x, I was wondering if it might suit my needs better? Or am I way off base and should just consider sucking it up and getting the UM3x?

Other non-Westone suggestions are welcome as well.
post #10 of 125
I'm can't wait for some reviews of the W1's to show up. I'm currently IEMless and will be pulling the trigger very soon. I'm deciding between Etymotic's ER4P's or the Westone 1's, after the reviews come out. I'm coming from ER6i's and want to try something different. If the W1's are not worth it, at least I know I enjoy the Etymotic sound signature.

Anxiously waiting,

ATTL
post #11 of 125
Sennheiser IE7 and AH-C710 are for you and cresyn750E are more like junior version of UM3x, it shows great details in mids with balanced highs n lows.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkozlow3 View Post
Thanks shigzeo & HeadphoneAddict.

Ideally, I'm looking for something a little cheaper than the UM3x or W3. However, I will spend the extra money if necessary, as constant upgrading is even more expensive than just shelling out more for the right equipment in the beginning. Buy cheap, buy twice.

Anyway, from what I've read about the UM3x and W3 here's what I don't like or what I would be worried about...

UM3x:
Perhaps a bit TOO accurate and analytical for the style of music I listen to (alternative/rock/pop/electronica) - aka not particularly "fun". I think I would prefer something slightly more colored/euphoric purely based on what I've read (but I could be wrong). Also, I'm not sure I like the idea of the music being so upfront (in the studio) vs. being a "few rows back" like with a lot of other phones. Fairly pricey.

W3:
Perhaps a bit too siblant/fatiguing which definitely sounds like a turn off. Overdone bass which muddies/weakens the midrange. Fit issues for a lot of people - possibly due to the shorter nozzle (which was remedied according to Westone with the W1). Fairly pricey.

Ideally:
Something slightly colored & fun that sounds very good with my styles of "popular" music. Not looking for something that is borderline sterile. Does not need to be the last word in accuracy as long as it's not too far off. Smooth, enjoyable, INVOLVING sound without ever being fatiguing. Ample (not absurd) bass. Easily driven with an iPod/iPhone. Fits well and is comfortable. Isolates well (airplane use).

I was hoping that the W1 would meet my criteria fairly well. While I certainly don't expect it to be a better phone overall than the W3/UM3x, I was wondering if it might suit my needs better? Or am I way off base and should just consider sucking it up and getting the UM3x?

Other non-Westone suggestions are welcome as well.
post #12 of 125

MINI-Review: Westone 1

Quote:
Originally Posted by jkozlow3 View Post
Thanks shigzeo & HeadphoneAddict.

Ideally, I'm looking for something a little cheaper than the UM3x or W3. However, I will spend the extra money if necessary, as constant upgrading is even more expensive than just shelling out more for the right equipment in the beginning. Buy cheap, buy twice.

Anyway, from what I've read about the UM3x and W3 here's what I don't like or what I would be worried about...

UM3x:
Perhaps a bit TOO accurate and analytical for the style of music I listen to (alternative/rock/pop/electronica) - aka not particularly "fun". I think I would prefer something slightly more colored/euphoric purely based on what I've read (but I could be wrong). Also, I'm not sure I like the idea of the music being so upfront (in the studio) vs. being a "few rows back" like with a lot of other phones.

W3:
Perhaps a bit too siblant/fatiguing which definitely sounds like a turn off. Overdone bass which muddies/weakens the midrange. Fit issues for a lot of people - possibly due to the shorter nozzle (which was remedied according to Westone with the W1)?

Ideally:
Something slightly colored & fun that sounds very good with my styles of "popular" music. Not looking for something that is borderline sterile. Does not need to be the last word in accuracy as long as it's not too far off. Smooth, enjoyable, INVOLVING sound without ever being fatiguing. Ample (not absurd) bass. Easily driven with an iPod/iPhone. Fits well and is comfortable. Isolates well (airplane use).

I was hoping that the W1 would meet my criteria fairly well. While I certainly don't expect it to be a better phone overall than the W3/UM3x, I was wondering if it might suit my needs better? Or am I way off base and should just consider sucking it up and getting the UM3x?
If you can afford the UM3X I would get those, or the W3 with a set of UM56 custom tips to balance them out more and make them more fun and enjoyable/less fatiguing. You get what you pay for, and the extra $250 will get you a lot. That's not to say the W1 aren't very good for the price.

MINI-REVIEW: I have not tried them with a wide variety of amps or tips - only the grey silicone tips with 4G Nano, 2G Touch, iPhone 3GS and iBasso D10 (AD744/EL8201 opamps).

The W1 are like a UM3X with less detail and a little less extension on both ends of the frequency spectrum. The W1 are a great IEM, being fairly neutral and transparent, somewhat more forward than the W3, with NO hint of any excess brightness, and a present but not pounding bass that has usable extension to 25Hz. There is no midbass hump like the W3 or Image X10, so there is nothing to encroach into the mids. They don't have the edge or brightness of the Phonak Audeo PFE either, so you don't need an amp to tone them down with an iPod such as a Nano or Touch. They could benefit from am amp with bass boost, but they don't demand it.

Female vocals are engaging and transparent and Eva Cassidy "Live at Blues Alley" is about as enjoyable as anyone needs it to be. The sound is very open, treble is not sibilant (with medium silicone tips), acoustic instruments and especially cello and violin have great texture, and the bass is balanced with the rest of the spectrum and not bumped up. They could use another dB or two in the bass for impact, but it is still fine the way it is now. The deep bass in the Batman "The Dark Night" soundtrack seems to be all there. I did note that some of the deepest bass extension is lacking in Bella Sonus "Enamoured" where it contains some 20Hz notes in the begining. Like I said before, with test tones roll-off begins just a little by 25Hz which is still fairly present, but 20hz is pretty quiet vs my ES3X which let me hear down to 16Hz. This is about the same as the bass roll-off in my HD600, so that says something right there. The 16,000Hz notes are also a bit harder to hear too vs my ES3X without turning up the volume, but I also have 47 year old ears with high frequency hearing loss.

I would not call the W1 a "fun colored earphone" like the W3, X10 or Nuforce NE-7M and Denon C700. But the W1 are not bland sounding like the Sleek SA6 were either. The W1 are good with most genre, but excel at my favorite genre like jazz and classical, new age, acoustic, folk and vocals. They are also good with electronic like Infected Mushroom, Dark Night Soundtrack, Nick Notis, Aaron Spectre, Karunesh, and more. With my favorite music I could listen to them all day and not always be thinking that I should grab better earphones. These are likely my favorite single driver BA universal IEM.

Most of my alternative rock or hip hop is low bit rate stuff for the kids, but they still do okay with Boys Like Girls, Metro Station, All Time Low, Green Day, Good Charlotte, The Afters, Forever The Sickest Kids, Rihanna, Sean Kingston, Kanye West, etc although the low bit rate does hurt the sound and causes some additional bass and treble roll off. The W1 will certainly let you appreciate the improvements going from a 128K MP3 song to one at 256K. I have the Black Eyed Peas "THE End" in 256K and "Boom Boom Pow" is pretty powerful sounding. So, the one area I am least qualified to comment on due to lack of music is the genre you listen to the most.

[EDIT - ADD MORE COMPARISONS]

The Phonak PFE are also a single BA IEM, and possibly what I would call "hyper-detailed" and tilted towards the top end vs the W1. And sometimes that is a little too much or can be fatiguing, even with the PFE black filters on the wrong iPod. The W1 have enough clarity and transparency in the lows, mids and highs to disappear, are more forgiving of the program material, and I think a little more accurate than the PFE. Bass and mids are on about the same level as the PFE, but the highs do not intrude like sometimes with the PFE. With my 4G Nano and PFE I would always suffer from sibilance with the grey or black filters, while my iPhone 3GS was fine with the black filters - the W1 don't have this issue with the 4G Nano and still sound fine with the iPhone 3GS. The W1 still don't have the same degree of extension at both ends as the PFE, but the W1 sound more balanced or natural. The W1 are also more efficient than the PFE, and you don't need to turn up the volume as much.

The W3 with UM56 tips become more balanced and accurate than with silicone, modded tri-flange or complys tips. They still exceed the W1 for detail and extension, have a little more bass impact, and a little more distant seat from the stage than the W1, giving the W3 a bigger soundsatge. The W1 still have a great sense of air and ambience, but put you closer to or on the stage like the UM3X. That's why I said in the review that they remind me more of a UM3X with less detail and less extension.

The W1 ear-pieces are designed like the W3 in shape but are noticeably smaller in depth and width. They have a reverse image of a one instead of a three, with green surrounding the black 1 instead of red - so it doesn't look as much like a black widow spider now. I think these are very comfortable, and I don't have a problem getting the grey silicone tips in and sealed. I wonder if the nozzle is maybe half a mm longer or something.

[EDIT - update 09/01/09]

The 4G Nano actually sounds pretty good with the W1 without EQ, as does the iPhone 3GS. Most of my W1 listening is with the 4G Nano, with no EQ.

It's interesting that I've complained a bit that the Phonak PFE and other IEM (like C700, Super.fi 5 Pro and Livewires) were sibilant with the 4G Nano and 2G Touch, but the W1 are great for those players. The W1 are also good with my P-51, Pico and D10 amps, while the C700 have a little bit of extra bass and treble with them. The W1 on those just sound more accurate than the "fun phones".

I like the fact that the W1 bass is not boomy or overly boosted, and the highs do get slightly more sparkle with the 4G Nano. So, there is still a synergy issue with the W1, and with the wrong source they can sound duller. For instance, the W1 are okay with the 5.5G iPod video but they are better with the 4G Nano and iPhone, while the C700 with it's boosted bass and treble are better with the older 5.5G Video and 2G Nano (which have a reputation for some roll-off at the ends). If I play the Denon C700 with the 4G Nano the highs get a little edgy, while the W1 takes it in stride with more balanced highs. But with a 10 year old sony portable CD player the C700 sound better and the W1 sound too flat or dull.
post #13 of 125
Why doesn't anybody send me review samples. Motherboards, graphics cards, amplifiers...

;__;

Anyways, how would rate bass impact? Will it tickle your ear drums when they need to? I found my SF3s to be pretty light until I hooked up my E5 and foams.
post #14 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post
If you can afford the UM3X I would get those, or the W3 with a set of UM56 custom tips to balance them out more and make them more fun and enjoyable/less fatiguing. You get what you pay for, and the extra $250 will get you a lot. That's not to say the W1 aren't very good for the price.

MINI-REVIEW: I have not tried them with a wide variety of amps or tips - only the grey silicone tips with 4G Nano, 2G Touch, iPhone 3GS and iBasso D10 (AD744/EL8201 opamps).

The W1 are like a UM3X with less detail and a little less extension on both ends of the frequency spectrum. The W1 are a great IEM, being fairly neutral and transparent, somewhat more forward than the W3, with NO hint of any excess brightness, and a present but not pounding bass that has usable extension to 25Hz. There is no midbass hump like the W3 or Image X10, so there is nothing to encroach into the mids. They don't have the edge or brightness of the Phonak Audeo PFE either, so you don't need an amp to tone them down with an iPod such as a Nano or Touch. They could benefit from am amp with bass boost, but they don't demand it.

Female vocals are engaging and transparent and Eva Cassidy "Live at Blues Alley" is about as enjoyable as anyone needs it to be. The sound is very open, treble is not sibilant (with medium silicone tips), acoustic instruments and especially cello and violin have great texture, and the bass is balanced with the rest of the spectrum and not bumped up. They could use another dB or two in the bass for impact, but it is still fine the way it is now. The deep bass in the Batman "The Dark Night" soundtrack seems to be all there. I did note that some of the deepest bass extension is lacking in Bella Sonus "Enamoured" where it contains some 20Hz notes in the begining. Like I said before, with test tones roll-off begins just a little by 25Hz which is still fairly present, but 20hz is pretty quiet vs my ES3X which let me hear down to 16Hz. This is about the same as the bass roll-off in my HD600, so that says something right there. The 16,000Hz notes are also a bit harder to hear too vs my ES3X without turning up the volume, but I also have 47 year old ears with high frequency hearing loss.

I would not call the W1 a "fun colored earphone" like the W3, X10 or Nuforce NE-7M and Denon C700. But the W1 are not bland sounding like the Sleek SA6 were either. The W1 are good with most genre, but excel at my favorite genre like jazz and classical, new age, acoustic, folk and vocals. They are also good with electronic like Infected Mushroom, Dark Night Soundtrack, Nick Notis, Aaron Spectre, Karunesh, and more. With my favorite music I could listen to them all day and not always be thinking that I should grab better earphones. These are likely my favorite single driver BA universal IEM.

Most of my alternative rock or hip hop is low bit rate stuff for the kids, but they still do okay with Boys Like Girls, Metro Station, All Time Low, Green Day, Good Charlotte, The Afters, Forever The Sickest Kids, Rihanna, Sean Kingston, Kanye West, etc although the low bit rate does hurt the sound and causes some additional bass and treble roll off. The W1 will certainly let you appreciate the improvements going from a 128K MP3 song to one at 256K. I have the Black Eyed Peas "THE End" in 256K and "Boom Boom Pow" is pretty powerful sounding. So, the one area I am least qualified to comment on due to lack of music is the genre you listen to the most.
You have briefly compared them to the PFEs. How do these 2 compare on clarity, lows/mids/highs, accuracy more specifically?

You also seem to prefer them to the W3s, although you did mention up-front that the W3s are better with the UM56 (really much more expensive than the UM3X together!) How do these compare? Thanks.
post #15 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post
If you can afford the UM3X I would get those, or the W3 with a set of UM56 custom tips to balance them out more and make them more fun and enjoyable/less fatiguing. You get what you pay for, and the extra $250 will get you a lot. That's not to say the W1 aren't very good for the price.

MINI-REVIEW: I have not tried them with a wide variety of amps or tips - only the grey silicone tips with 4G Nano, 2G Touch, iPhone 3GS and iBasso D10 (AD744/EL8201 opamps).

The W1 are like a UM3X with less detail and a little less extension on both ends of the frequency spectrum. The W1 are a great IEM, being fairly neutral and transparent, somewhat more forward than the W3, with NO hint of any excess brightness, and a present but not pounding bass that has usable extension to 25Hz. There is no midbass hump like the W3 or Image X10, so there is nothing to encroach into the mids. They don't have the edge or brightness of the Phonak Audeo PFE either, so you don't need an amp to tone them down with an iPod such as a Nano or Touch. They could benefit from am amp with bass boost, but they don't demand it.

Female vocals are engaging and transparent and Eva Cassidy "Live at Blues Alley" is about as enjoyable as anyone needs it to be. The sound is very open, treble is not sibilant (with medium silicone tips), acoustic instruments and especially cello and violin have great texture, and the bass is balanced with the rest of the spectrum and not bumped up. They could use another dB or two in the bass for impact, but it is still fine the way it is now. The deep bass in the Batman "The Dark Night" soundtrack seems to be all there. I did note that some of the deepest bass extension is lacking in Bella Sonus "Enamoured" where it contains some 20Hz notes in the begining. Like I said before, with test tones roll-off begins just a little by 25Hz which is still fairly present, but 20hz is pretty quiet vs my ES3X which let me hear down to 16Hz. This is about the same as the bass roll-off in my HD600, so that says something right there. The 16,000Hz notes are also a bit harder to hear too vs my ES3X without turning up the volume, but I also have 47 year old ears with high frequency hearing loss.

I would not call the W1 a "fun colored earphone" like the W3, X10 or Nuforce NE-7M and Denon C700. But the W1 are not bland sounding like the Sleek SA6 were either. The W1 are good with most genre, but excel at my favorite genre like jazz and classical, new age, acoustic, folk and vocals. They are also good with electronic like Infected Mushroom, Dark Night Soundtrack, Nick Notis, Aaron Spectre, Karunesh, and more. With my favorite music I could listen to them all day and not always be thinking that I should grab better earphones. These are likely my favorite single driver BA universal IEM.

Most of my alternative rock or hip hop is low bit rate stuff for the kids, but they still do okay with Boys Like Girls, Metro Station, All Time Low, Green Day, Good Charlotte, The Afters, Forever The Sickest Kids, Rihanna, Sean Kingston, Kanye West, etc although the low bit rate does hurt the sound and causes some additional bass and treble roll off. The W1 will certainly let you appreciate the improvements going from a 128K MP3 song to one at 256K. I have the Black Eyed Peas "THE End" in 256K and "Boom Boom Pow" is pretty powerful sounding. So, the one area I am least qualified to comment on due to lack of music is the genre you listen to the most.
Larry, once again, an excellent (mini) review! You pretty much covered everything there's to know about the W1. I won't be getting these but I'm very curious.

Just one question, though, are the earpieces designed like the W3 or the UM3X? The latter, as you know, are extraordinarily comfortable.
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