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Westone 3 Impressions

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

 

Having spent the last 3 weeks the W3 I thought I’d share my impressions of them.

Build & Fit
Regarding build nothing feels wrong here, the iems are well put together and have a great feel to them. The cables are thin yet supple and the earpieces seem well formed. I’d be a bit more reassured with slightly thicker cables and an oh so slightly thicker plastic on the earpieces but that may be being picky. Detachable cables would really help for long term peace of mind.

Regarding fit they are small and lightweight in comparison to other triple driver IEMS I’ve used (Shure 530/535 and Triple-Fi). They are ultra comfortable - I can wear them for hours on end and even sleep with them (an iem first for me) without any discomfort. I would prefer a slightly longer nozzle (makes for better isolation), but I'm assuming they are this length for acoustic reasons


Sound Impressions
W3 sound in 3 words: airy, involving, emotional

The sound is very well extend in both directions. Contrary to what I’ve read elsewhere here I don’t find the bass on these bloated - it's only present when it needs to be. In fact at times I have wondered whether these were a bit bass light (for example when listening to Dire Straits Brothers in Arms record), only to realise that I was used to the bloat added by more colored iems such as the IE8s. As an aside I wouldn't term myself a bass head - Some of my better iems include the er4s..

These are very revealing iems that show up lots of microdetails. For example on Radiohead's Videotape track from the In Rainbows record you can hear the backing singers take intakes of breath as they sing their lyrics. You'll probably here this with other iems but they were so apparent here - more so than my other iems

Some have described these iems as purely fun sounding but I disagree. For music consumption I am yet to find a more pleasing universal iem. For what it's worth I tend to listen at quite low volumes: straight out of my iPhone 4 I'll play these at 3 notches (volume clicks) up from 0. I find these IEMs play great at low volumes and I rarely need to turn the volume up a bit when I really want to get involved in the sound (something I had to do on other IEMs) but YMMV.

Another thing that is quite impressive about these IEMs is the fact that they work really well across a whole range of music. I have music spanning from indie and rock, to orchestra to jazz and to hip hop. These IEMs work fine with all these genres. Previous IEMs I’ve owned have been a lot more specific to certain genres of music.

I know numbers are subjective but I always like to put figures against items I review. These figures are in comparison to the other universals I’ve owned (you can see a full list of them in my profile):
Build: 8
Fit: 8.5
Bass: 8.5
Mid: 8.5
Treble: 8.5
Sound stage: 8
Instrument separation & placement: 9
Micro-details: 8.5

These iems are really solid performers across the board. The more music I play through them the more I really like them.

What could they do better?
In terms of making these IEMs better, if I really had to pick at them I'd say:

1. They are a tad expensive at full retail. But given what they do for my requirements I'd get them again in a heartbeat

2. I can't help but imagine what these would sound like with doubled-up drivers. I.e. 6 drivers per side. Not for the volume increase but more for the potential in increased resolution and resolving power.

In summary if you like an involving sound with excellent high and low extension and an upfront presentation be sure to give these a demo. They really are solid IEMs - the best universals I’ve used to date and I’ll recommend them fully..
post #2 of 23

 nice write up @Onza , glad you are enjoying your westones 

post #3 of 23

Nice write up. I agree with your thoughts and impressions..  I don't find them bass heavy and I don't hear a mid-bass hump that some report on.  My IE8's had a mid-bass hump, these don't.  In the midst of a IEM to Headphone revolution, I considered selling these and keeping the W2's, but after a weekend of A/B'ing.. I couldnt' do it.  These will stay with me forever more.. Enjoy them, oh and give the Shure Olive's a try, they are my preferred tip with the W3.

post #4 of 23

Nice review.

post #5 of 23
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the comments guys - I'm really digging these phones.. 

 

@joeyrusso Completely agree, I don't notice a mid-bass hump here either. The IE8 was the kind of mid-bass humps smily_headphones1.gif I've used the olives quite a bit. I'm liking the sound of them, though I feel they tame the bass a bit too much for me - or maybe I need to change from medium tips to the larger ones to get the best seal.

post #6 of 23

Nice write-up Onza.  You're making me really want to get these.

post #7 of 23

great IEM,nozzle is too short which makes it tough for me to keep tips in my ear.....otherwise outstanding

post #8 of 23

I have had my westone 3's for 3 weeks now and while I did notice the slight midbass hump at first, it is now far less apparent and I am totally in love with these things! when I return to my sennheisers I literally laugh at how bad they are in comparison!

 

As i'm sure you have noticed, it is CRITICAL to use the right tips FOR YOU, as I experienced a harsh sibiliant highs, muddy bass and artificial sounding mids with the olives and silicone tips and it sounded like I was miles away form the sound  (especially highs) with the triple flanges. The slim long complys are so comfy I forget i'm wearing them and provide a perfectly lush and relatively balanced sound (slightly warm - but that's how I like it!).

 

What tips do you guys use?

post #9 of 23
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aussie HiFi Nut View Post

The slim long complys are so comfy I forget i'm wearing them and provide a perfectly lush and relatively balanced sound (slightly warm - but that's how I like it!).

 

What tips do you guys use?


Glad you're enjoying them! I never found the mid-bass to be an issue. If you've heard the IE8 you'll appreciate what a midbass hump sounds like! Over the past few months I've tried out all the tips included with the W3 and have now settled on the complys. I think lush is a great way to describe the sound with these...

 

@jlbrach I agree the nozzles are a little too short on these. I have a feeling this is for acoustic reasons though. I'm tempted to get the UM-56 for these which should hopefully take isolation and SQ to the max



Quote:
Originally Posted by SoulSyde View Post

Nice write-up Onza.  You're making me really want to get these.

 

Thanks. You should try them out if possible. Although now that the Westone 4's have been announced it'll probably be wise to audition them also - if you get a chance!

 

post #10 of 23
Yes, short nozzles is something that worries me about these. I used to have W2 and in general liked them but had to sell because they kept falling off of my ears with dips that were giving me best sound (compys weren't one of these). If W3 are anything like W2 in this respect I wouldn't be able enjoy them I'm afraid.

BTW, what about W3 highs? Many people report untamable sibilance.
post #11 of 23

How would you compare them to the Shure 535? I know the sound image is different but which one would you say sounds more "enjoyable" more fun? not cold and clinical (if that makes sense)

 

post #12 of 23

 

To answer both of your questions (as a proud owner of these brilliant iems), the highs are NOT harsh or sibiliant AT ALL given that you have the right tips in for your ears. Fit is of paramount importance as I said earlier, and I did hate the sound with those stupid shallow silicone tips which added massive sibilance but the complys are perfect and trust me, as a musician, everything sounds great. The source is going to be your biggest limiting factor here! Don't bother with poorly recorded 128kb mp3s etc, the better your source, the more these will shine.

To describe the sound of these (in a nutshell) is beautifully musical, lush, rich, involving and detailed. They do have a slight midbass hump but nowhere near as bad as people make it out to be but otherwise have a balanced sound. They are more fun and exciting than flat reference phones without being unbalanced or unrealistic.
They are BETTER for many things than the 535s which I have also heard. The following things the westone does better; bass extension and clarity, treble extension and detail, soundstage, fit, isolation and comfort!

That's my two cents lads, but many others share these opinions as well I have found.

Cheers!

 

post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aussie HiFi Nut View Post

I have had my westone 3's for 3 weeks now and while I did notice the slight midbass hump at first, it is now far less apparent and I am totally in love with these things! when I return to my sennheisers I literally laugh at how bad they are in comparison!

 

As i'm sure you have noticed, it is CRITICAL to use the right tips FOR YOU, as I experienced a harsh sibiliant highs, muddy bass and artificial sounding mids with the olives and silicone tips and it sounded like I was miles away form the sound  (especially highs) with the triple flanges. The slim long complys are so comfy I forget i'm wearing them and provide a perfectly lush and relatively balanced sound (slightly warm - but that's how I like it!).

 

What tips do you guys use?



First off these are Killer Impressions Onza, and several months ago I purchased a pair of these as a result. I did not experience a wow factor and as a matter of fact it actually took me a week before I decided, man I'm starting to like these. They are VERY revealing, in a sneaky kind of way. (not in your face) in some ways they are as revealing (in some cases more) than my 535's. TIPS and patience are extremely important as stated above. Very tip dependent but these are so darn comfortable. 

I use the Large Olives mostly, sometimes the Large Comply P's. But must be ear canals, as the Comply Slims were a horrendous experience for me. Triple Flanges were very very nice also, but they get too uncomfortable for long listens. I also have a couple triple flanges that I use modded (first flange cut) and one the stalk cut. This is real nice too and exposes a little more highs. I actually had (and are still having a blast with the tips. Very very nice phone indeed

post #14 of 23

Glad to see you like your W3s!

 

post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by ArrigoShred View Post

Glad to see you like your W3s!

 


Thanks Looks Like You have quite the collection there> How do you like Your W4s?

 

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