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Westone 4: Questions

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 

Hey guys,

I'm a bit of a newbie when it comes to high end audio. My previous earphone was Westone UM2 and it crapped out on me a couple of months back. I decided to treat myself and spring for the Westone 4 for my 25th birthday in April. I love them and don't regret the purchase at all. I've got a couple of questions I was hoping you guys could help me with though. My current MP3 players are a Sansa Clip+ for FLAC, 80 GB iPod classic (5th gen), and my phone (HTC Desire HD). I am currently just using those and my IEM. No amp, no modifications, nothing. I've started to think I haven't even come close to listening to the W4's full potential.

 

Would a portable amp, like the iQube, or modifications, such as an iMod, really improve my listening experience? If so, by how much? I'm not scared of spending a couple hundred dollars on them - if they're really worth it - as long as I use them all the time. Whatever upgrades I make must be portable. I pretty much live out of a backpack at the moment. I travel for work and when I'm not working I travel for fun :D

 

What's the cheapest upgrade I can make that will make the biggest difference? What's the best upgrade, period? Any upgrades that might be considered essential? 

 

If it makes any difference, I listen to everything. Classical, pop, rock, indie. Even the odd country song. Not much rap, but occasionally I dig 90's hip-hop.

 

I should mention that I've tried a couple of different tips of which tri-flanges and shure olives (the smaller size - considering ordering a set of the larger to see if they'll make a better seal) are my favourite. I don't think there's much room for improvement there.

 

Anyways, I know this is my first post but I've been reading these forums for a long time. It was because of reviews on here that I decided to goet the Westones in the first place. Any help is greatly appreciated.

 

Thanks!

post #2 of 33

Hey there,

I'm not exactly one of the pros or anything I don't have tooo much experience to talk about it, but I have used Westone Um1,2 and 3 as well as Westone 4s and honestly speaking the Westone 4s don't really need an amp.
iMod might be useful but it won't be a significant jump in terms of audio quality.
The cheapest upgrade that would make a difference is probably buying an ALO amp. Personally I have one of them and they work greatly with my Westone 4s.
For "Best" Upgrade there isn't really one since once you go beyond the borders of Top Tier universal IEMS, meaning your Westone 4s it becomes really a preference type thing. Since your using Westone 4s which are more "Fun" than "Analytical" you'll probably prefer warmer sounding IEMS and the only way to do that is to go Custom.
Depending on your choice of sonic signature you might opt for Ultimate Ears instead of Westone Customs as they tend to be colder than your Westone 4s.
 

post #3 of 33

Maybe get the um56 tips for them instead of an amp?

post #4 of 33

I don't think that they benefit enough from amping to justify the cost of a good amp.  Amping them make them sound different, specifically the soundstage & venue (unamped = a studio, amped = a concert hall) but I wouldn't call it "better", just different.

 

Do you intend on keeping them for a long time or are you on the 'ultimate IEM journey' that ultimately ends in customs?


Edited by jamesta - 5/23/11 at 2:29pm
post #5 of 33
Thread Starter 

I intend on keeping the W4 for several years -basically until I wear them out. Eventually I might go the custom route, but not until then. I'll take your advice and not go the amp route. Maybe one day, but right now it doesn't seem worth while.

 

I'll look into the UM56 tips. I understand that I have to go to an audiologist for impressions and then order them. Have you found that they're a big difference? I think that might be my best bet. Having a great seal could make a huge difference here. The seal I get from the Shure olives is just 'OK'. 

 

Would a different player, like the HM-801 make a big difference?

 

Thanks for the advice.

post #6 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesta View Post

I don't think that they benefit enough from amping to justify the cost of a good amp.  Amping them make them sound different, specifically the soundstage & venue (unamped = a studio, amped = a concert hall) but I wouldn't call it "better", just different.

 

Do you intend on keeping them for a long time or are you on the 'ultimate IEM journey' that ultimately ends in customs?



Which amp makes them sound as if at a concert hall? I would be very interested in this amp.

post #7 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by WisdomListens View Post

Which amp makes them sound as if at a concert hall? I would be very interested in this amp.


Ray Samuel's Shadow but I'd go with the Pico Slim if I were to buy another super-portable amp, from impressions I've read around here.  The reverb is like a concert hall but just know the soundstage depth is very intimate.

 

post #8 of 33


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mbfraser View Post

Hey guys,

I'm a bit of a newbie when it comes to high end audio. My previous earphone was Westone UM2 and it crapped out on me a couple of months back. I decided to treat myself and spring for the Westone 4 for my 25th birthday in April. I love them and don't regret the purchase at all. I've got a couple of questions I was hoping you guys could help me with though. My current MP3 players are a Sansa Clip+ for FLAC, 80 GB iPod classic (5th gen), and my phone (HTC Desire HD). I am currently just using those and my IEM. No amp, no modifications, nothing. I've started to think I haven't even come close to listening to the W4's full potential.

 

Would a portable amp, like the iQube, or modifications, such as an iMod, really improve my listening experience? If so, by how much? I'm not scared of spending a couple hundred dollars on them - if they're really worth it - as long as I use them all the time. Whatever upgrades I make must be portable. I pretty much live out of a backpack at the moment. I travel for work and when I'm not working I travel for fun :D

 

What's the cheapest upgrade I can make that will make the biggest difference? What's the best upgrade, period? Any upgrades that might be considered essential? 

 

If it makes any difference, I listen to everything. Classical, pop, rock, indie. Even the odd country song. Not much rap, but occasionally I dig 90's hip-hop.

 

I should mention that I've tried a couple of different tips of which tri-flanges and shure olives (the smaller size - considering ordering a set of the larger to see if they'll make a better seal) are my favourite. I don't think there's much room for improvement there.

 

Anyways, I know this is my first post but I've been reading these forums for a long time. It was because of reviews on here that I decided to goet the Westones in the first place. Any help is greatly appreciated.

 

Thanks!


W4 do not need really need an amp . The best upgrade you good make would be to get a better player , my w4 sound superb  with my cowon x7 ,a lot better than they do with my ipod classic's . The x7 can easily drive them to there full potential . happy_face1.gif

 

post #9 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesta View Post




Ray Samuel's Shadow but I'd go with the Pico Slim if I were to buy another super-portable amp, from impressions I've read around here.  The reverb is like a concert hall but just know the soundstage depth is very intimate.

 



Wow those amps cost as much as the Westone 4's! Do you know of any music players that will do the equivalent to soundstage?

post #10 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by WisdomListens View Post





Wow those amps cost as much as the Westone 4's! Do you know of any music players that will do the equivalent to soundstage?


i have an arrow amp which cost 300. It does the job for me and then some, it's capable of driving even my akg 701's pretty easily. But, from what i have read from a bunch of people across this forum, an amp isn't worth it in your case. Amps benefit all headphones to some aspects, some more than others, but in your particular case, you won't need an amp. Even for an audio player, you can use a regular iTouch or iPhone and you'll be fine. The thing that you should do is get some custom ear tips. Getting a perfect seal makes a big difference. Both in sound, and in comfort. And trust me when i say that with custom eartips, you really lose track of time or that you even have earphones on. From the custom tips i have, i have more isolation, a better comprehensive sound (maybe that's how it was meant to sound like), and a lot more comfort. Out of all of that list, i would say comfort ranks top for me, but for you, i don't know. It's all about personal preference. 

 

post #11 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by lazysleepyboi View Post




i have an arrow amp which cost 300. It does the job for me and then some, it's capable of driving even my akg 701's pretty easily. But, from what i have read from a bunch of people across this forum, an amp isn't worth it in your case. Amps benefit all headphones to some aspects, some more than others, but in your particular case, you won't need an amp. Even for an audio player, you can use a regular iTouch or iPhone and you'll be fine. The thing that you should do is get some custom ear tips. Getting a perfect seal makes a big difference. Both in sound, and in comfort. And trust me when i say that with custom eartips, you really lose track of time or that you even have earphones on. From the custom tips i have, i have more isolation, a better comprehensive sound (maybe that's how it was meant to sound like), and a lot more comfort. Out of all of that list, i would say comfort ranks top for me, but for you, i don't know. It's all about personal preference. 

 



Yeah I was hoping for an amp ~$100 but oh well haha. 

 

What exactly is this "perfect seal"? I use the Westone large rubber tips and I get a good seal by this I mean they are suctioned to my ear when I try to pull them out. Is this a perfect seal? Would custom tips really be worth it?

post #12 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by WisdomListens View Post





Yeah I was hoping for an amp ~$100 but oh well haha. 

 

What exactly is this "perfect seal"? I use the Westone large rubber tips and I get a good seal by this I mean they are suctioned to my ear when I try to pull them out. Is this a perfect seal? Would custom tips really be worth it?


i've heard of people who often use the Shure Olive tips and they say that they got really good isolation with them. With custom eartips, the experience is a completely different one. You really have to experience it for yourself because it's a bit hard to explain the sensation of it all. If you're happy with the seal you're getting along with the sound, the thing that would follow is getting a better audio player. I'm not really one to talk though because my cowon i9 is being used with an arrow amp for my portable rig. Though the sound from a portable player might satisfy you now, good amps make all the difference. Maybe you should save up a bit and wait a little till you get an amp or new audio player

 

post #13 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by lazysleepyboi View Post




i've heard of people who often use the Shure Olive tips and they say that they got really good isolation with them. With custom eartips, the experience is a completely different one. You really have to experience it for yourself because it's a bit hard to explain the sensation of it all. If you're happy with the seal you're getting along with the sound, the thing that would follow is getting a better audio player. I'm not really one to talk though because my cowon i9 is being used with an arrow amp for my portable rig. Though the sound from a portable player might satisfy you now, good amps make all the difference. Maybe you should save up a bit and wait a little till you get an amp or new audio player

 



Yeah, a new player would be best since I need more storage than my iPhone4 can give me anyways. Thanks for the tips on custom tips!

post #14 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by WisdomListens View Post





Yeah, a new player would be best since I need more storage than my iPhone4 can give me anyways. Thanks for the tips on custom tips!



how much space do you need for your music, and what kind of quality is your music? Quality of your music makes a huge difference also. 

post #15 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by lazysleepyboi View Post





how much space do you need for your music, and what kind of quality is your music? Quality of your music makes a huge difference also. 



Well my iPhone 4 only has 16GB (~12GB for music) and I am constantly having to remove songs to fit new ones in. For my next audio player I'd probably want 60GB+ since I listen to a lot of classical and in ALAC those albums start to add up. Classical is always in apple lossless, indie and alternative/rock also in apple lossless or very high quality MP3.

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