Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › Westone UM2: The Forgotten "Classic"
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Westone UM2: The Forgotten "Classic"

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 

Having sent back my recently purchased W2 (more later on that), I was looking for a back-up mid-grade IEM to go with my JH5.  God forbid my JH5 broke and I had nothing to use.  Being able to exercise with the IEM was important so ergonomics and comfort was key.  I had owned UM2 about 5 years ago and quite liked it.  In fact I preferred it by a small margin over SE530 due to being more natural and smoother sounding.  Other than that they were pretty close on soundstage, bass, treble and midrange (the Shure slightly more forward).  Anyway, I sold the UM2 to help fund the W3 when it came out which was completely different and ground-breaking at the time.  I have sort of forgot about UM2 since then and it would appear many others have too. My excuse was I kept climbing the upgrade ladder (to JH16) but funny how I have moderated back down and am content with my gear at the moment.

 

So I exchanged my W2 in for UM2 and could not be happier.  In comparisons to W2, UM2 is richer and fuller sounding.  While there is nothing inherently wrong with W2, it seems to lack something I can’t quite put my finger on.  Too neutral?  Too polite?  Not sure but my ears are finding UM2 more euphoric and emotional sounding.  It eerily sounds very very close to my JH5 with same set-up and eq setting.  UM2 is a dead-nuts on universal JH5 IMHO.  It sounds that good to me.

 

In comparisons with UM3X, UM2 is hands down more musical and fun.  While UM3X may be technically better and has freakish instrument separation there is a very un-natural lack of air and decay-dullness that makes it a generally closed in boring presentation.  By contrast, UM2 has a larger soundstage with more air and openness giving it a more musical presentation.  Both of these IEM’s fall under the “stage monitor” Westone umbrella however I find the UM2 to be much more fun sounding.  While UM3X has a dedicated treble driver, it it NOT brighter sounding than UM2.  It might be the other way around but I can't A-B them right now.  When UM2 came out Westone did not have the W-series so UM2 was actually developed with the audiophile music listener in mind as well as the stage musician where UM3X was engineered specifically for the musician.  I can't say that I prefer UM3X.

 

There seemed to be pre-conceived notion that when W3 came out…then the UM3X six months later, that UM2 all of the sudden became an expensive lower tear IEM.  But if people are not considering UM2 (for whatever reason), in the $220 price range they are really missing out on one hell of an IEM.  It is one of few dual drivers I have heard that isn’t lean sounding.  It has a richness and fullness that is normally found in triple drivers and above.  The one caveat I will say is you should be willing to use the treble booster EQ.  Without it some may find the treble too rolled off.  I am using an Ipod Classic with  treble booster setting + Ibasso T3.  The sound is fantastic as UM2 is one of the more friendly EQ’able IEM’s out there.  Plus, the treble driver in the UM2 is the same Knowles driver used in the ER4.   UM2 is certainly not over-priced, especially with a supplied amp now.

 

 I am thrilled to own this IEM again.  I think it’s the coolest looking universal out there and it’s one of two IEM’s still made in America.    Give it a shot.  You won’t be disappointed


Edited by Spyro - 10/11/11 at 9:05pm
post #2 of 30

Interesting read; I tried UM1 and UM3x but not the UM2. The closed in presentation of the UM3x was not good for me at all. Is there more treble than the Westone 2? Oh and what tips did you use with all the phones mentioned?

 

Maybe I should wait for a UM4 ;)

post #3 of 30

Happy to see the UM2s get some time in the spotlight here. I have owned them and they are an excellent pair of IEMs. Being in the shadow of the UM3X and the fact that they have been released for quite a while, I think most people have forgotten about the UM2s. I actually just sold my UM2s to fund my expected customs purchase (JH16), but I really did like the rich full sound. Although there are many great options at the asking price of a brand new pair of UM2, I also believe it is worthwhile to try them smile.gif

post #4 of 30

Spyro,

 

While I don't quite agree with your take on the UM3X - though I agree the UM2 render high frequencies a little better -, I do agree the UM2 is a really great IEM and have, in fact, sometimes recommended it over the UM3X to those worried about spending so much but still wanting an excellent sounding IEM. I did have a chance to A/B both at the same time last year, and while I found the UM3X better, it wasn't that much better. The UM2 is definitely better value for money and, as you rightly point out, it, unfortunately, is a largely overlooked and forgotten gem.

post #5 of 30
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kite7 View Post

Interesting read; I tried UM1 and UM3x but not the UM2. The closed in presentation of the UM3x was not good for me at all. Is there more treble than the Westone 2? Oh and what tips did you use with all the phones mentioned?

 

Maybe I should wait for a UM4 ;)


The W2 has more treble and is crisper sounding on same settings but if I use a treble boost with UM2, I certainly prefer it over W2.  I don't find it lacking in any way.  Smoother and more natural sounding versus sharp and a bit edgy (W2).  I am using a modded silicone tri-flange tip with smallest top flange cut off and stem trimmed flush even with bottom large flange.
 

 

post #6 of 30

Got my UM2s about a week ago and I totally love them!smily_headphones1.gif

 

They respond to EQ really well so you can really tune them after how you want the sound to be.

 

The treble is abit laidback and the sound is more centred on mids and lows but they are in no way lacking anything but if you want more treble you just EQ that up.

post #7 of 30

The review makes me want to get my UM2 out of the drawer and give them a listen.

post #8 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rip N' Burn View Post

The review makes me want to get my UM2 out of the drawer and give them a listen.


You should smile.gif
I actually just sold my UM2 but now I wish I could give them another listen.

post #9 of 30

I thought the UM2 were an excellent IEM when I owned them several years ago and if I had to go back to using them again I wouldn't have any regrets or complaints. For their price range they are indeed a forgotten gem.

 

That said, I disagree with the OP's take on the UM3x which I think is a superior IEM all round. It took me a while to get used to the UM3x, after owning the more open sounding but less detailed UM2, but I now love the way that the UM3x presents sound.

post #10 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by TCD1975 View Post
It took me a while to get used to the UM3x, after owning the more open sounding but less detailed UM2, but I now love the way that the UM3x presents sound.


Never once when I owned the UM3x did it ever seem to sound open; is the UM2 even more closed in than UM3x? If so, I am staying far away from it

 

post #11 of 30
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kite7 View Post

Never once when I owned the UM3x did it ever seem to sound open; is the UM2 even more closed in than UM3x? If so, I am staying far away from it

 


UM2 is more open sounding, as TDC says above.  The added driver to UM3X gives it more dynamics but the closed in and general dullness was a turnoff over the long haul.  Still a great IEM.  Very refined sounding.
 

 

post #12 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by kite7 View Post

Never once when I owned the UM3x did it ever seem to sound open; is the UM2 even more closed in than UM3x? If so, I am staying far away from it

 



That's that exact opposite of what I said. The UM2 is more open ... but I've grown to prefer the closed in, but highly detailed, UM3x sound.

 

If you want a more laid back "fun" sounding IEM the UM2 is a greatchoice (and at a great price)  but I peronally prefer the UM3x for it's detail.

 

post #13 of 30

Great write!!

 

I've always been more drawn to dual BA's than triples. Not sure what or why.

 

Duals have this 'classic' and romatic feel about them whilst the triples are a little bit too edgy.

 

Now..  who wants to trade my SE530 for a UM2? :P

post #14 of 30
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wilzc View Post

Great write!!

 

I've always been more drawn to dual BA's than triples. Not sure what or why.

 

Duals have this 'classic' and romatic feel about them whilst the triples are a little bit too edgy.

 

Now..  who wants to trade my SE530 for a UM2? :P


While I have enjoyed my triple + driver IEM's I can relate to what you are saying.  The UM2 has a very splendid cohesiveness.  Nothing seems to bleed into anything else so the sound  has an overall fullness rather than a "bassy" sound sig.  The toneality sounds spot on to me.  They just sound very tried and true and dependable.  Sort of like that favorite pair of blue jeans.  Not really a multi-holographich dimensional presentation but more of a concert type wall of sound in a perfect acoustic room.  I'm really loving it.  More comfortable than my JH5 just because they are 1/3 the size and don't engulf your entire ear cavity.  Amped JH5 still sounds better but not by too much.
 

 

post #15 of 30
The UM2 was on my radar some time ago. Then, I merely forgot about it altogether, as it's seldom mentioned as of late. I too am not at all a personal fan of the UM3X's dark and closed in presentation, but from what I've gathered from various UM2 reviews, it's always sparked my interest, and I'm sure would suit my preferences much better than did the UM3X. May just have to pay it a visit, under the right circumstances. smily_headphones1.gif
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › Westone UM2: The Forgotten "Classic"