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Westone 4 - Cracked and Solved!!!

post #1 of 41
Thread Starter 

I knew it, I knew it, I knew.................

 

In various threads I have complained about the aggressiveness of the W4 which to my ears was verging on being edgy and sharp, at times unlistenable. I had contemplated selling the W4 and buying the W4r as I believed the cable was the culprit especially from the results I am able to attain with my SE535ltd.

 

I took the plunge today, didn't even know this service existed. I handed my W4 over 2minutes after finding out about it. W4 is my first proper IEMs bought 6 months ago I believe. Lost complete interests recently in them especially since my re-cabling passtime with the SE535ltd and getting the sound signature that exceeds my expectations of IEMs. The last two weeks has been hectic for me because of a new 5N OCC silver cable and 3.5mm mini i/c. It just didn't sound right so last Saturday, I bought the Triad L3 and then Wednesday I bought the Firestone Audio Supplier as I think the Triad sounds better off the mains.

 

This is what I did to the W4;

 

W4 wireless (2).jpg

 

another

 

W4 wireless.jpg

 

I had them cracked open, cable removed and a Shure compatible socket inserted.

 

The finish is good and excess glue is not visible with cable attached but annoying and I need to remove but all in all no real change in the solidity and integrity of the original W4.

 

I listened to them using a 5N OCC copper cable that I have and already the W4 is a totally different IEM, from being laid back and middle to rear of hall perspective, I am now listening front 10 rows. No tizz. Mids pushed forwards and bass is from a different planet.

 

bunch of fun.jpg

 

Bunch of fun later tonight......pinkish brown tint - 5N OCC copper cable, blue - Baldur mk2, black - original cable terminated with a Shure compatible socket. I have all the matching 3.5mm mini i/c s as I like to daisy chain my cables. 

 

My pride and joy so far in my short 6 month journey in IEMs

 

current set up.jpg

 

The majestic Triad L3, the Firestone Audio Supplier and Cowon X7. Introducing the cause of all the recent activity.............................the 5N OCC pure silver cables terminated with oyaide plugs.

 

This little Universal IEM project is near completion as I have a pre-order Ibasso DX100 coming middle of March and at the begining of the same month I have a pure silve/gold cable arriving along with a 3.5mm to RCAs for the Ibasso LO and RCA input of the Triad, which I think will suit the W4 the best. 

 

Is it worth cracking open the W4......for me a definite YES. The difference is huge and it has put the W4 in the running with the SE535ltd. Just before cracking the W4, I had thought I had the best sounding Universal with the SE535 and silver cable and being in Hong Kong I have access to all universals and I haven't listen to one that makes me want to buy....with the exception of the AKG k3003, have not heard them yet but will in March when the next batch arrive. Price in Hong Kong is outrageous and I will choose to purchase in Singapore.

 

Last thing, before cracking open the W4, I was told that the warranty will be voided and it's not a 100% success rate. The price for this service is less than US30. For me I had intentions in buying the W4r and taking a US$200 hit to justify my believe that the one thing holding back the W4 was it's cable...................

 

I have just verified this today!!!

 

I will plan and start a new project in hopefully May/June with JH13 and 16s + something else.............looking forward to that alreadytongue_smile.gif

 


Edited by spkrs01 - 2/11/12 at 6:12am
post #2 of 41

Nice job! Any pictures of the internals?

post #3 of 41
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tronz View Post

Nice job! Any pictures of the internals?

 

Thank you!
 

I am not a technical minded person so taking photos was never on the agenda. However, when I went to pick them up after 30 minutes I saw the guy taking pictures, and perhaps he took some of the internals, if so will request if he will share those pictures with me.

post #4 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by spkrs01 View Post

In various threads I have complained about the aggressiveness of the W4 which to my ears was verging on being edgy and sharp, at times unlistenable.


That would be my opinion as well.

 

post #5 of 41

Hey, I am in Hong Kong too, and I also find my W4 uninspiring sounding. Where do I find the guy who does this service and how much is it in terms of HK$?

 

Cheers

post #6 of 41
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BustyBloke View Post

Hey, I am in Hong Kong too, and I also find my W4 uninspiring sounding. Where do I find the guy who does this service and how much is it in terms of HK$?

 

Cheers



I will be more than happy to let you try mine before you go ahead.....at least you know what you are in for!? HKD200

 

PM me

post #7 of 41

You're brave cracking open a 300-400 IEM lol.  Nice work!

post #8 of 41
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KimChee View Post

You're brave cracking open a 300-400 IEM lol.  Nice work!



lol.....risk reward was worth it imho...as i was so disappointed by the W4 stock. Having listened to it for around two hours last night with the silver cable. The W4 now is ruthlessly revealing. My Cown X7 has to go. Can't wait til mid-March for the Ibasso DX100 now. On good recordings, the sound is amazing, but on poorly record material, that is exactly how it sounds.......POOR

 

I will write more in due time.

post #9 of 41
Thread Starter 

Just a few lines.....made a quick comparison with the SE535ltd on a few well recorded albums....

 

I am hearing so much more detail with the W4 especially in the trebles, the mids, still the SE535 have it being more lush and musical, coloured?! Bass wise, the W4 goes deeper but the SE535 is more impactful with better slam and attack. However, the W4 has better nuances coming through and the decay on notes is to die for.....

 

It must be noted that the whole set up is tuned for the SE535..........

post #10 of 41
Thread Starter 

Was just listening to Robbie Robertson's Fallen Angel. Great song and great drums in the song. I have the album on MFSL. The perspective of the song is as if one was in the middle of the drum kit.

 

From the opening large deep bass drums, synth lines and guitar, this song is special. It is a dark sounding song commemorating the the death of Robertson's former band member Richard Manuel. Robbie Robertson's voice is raspy and portrayed just slightly ahead of the drums.

 

The drumming on this song is phenomenal, the crash symbols on the right amongst other cymbals, the bass kick drum center stage and low in the soundstage and from left to right the floor tom, snare drums and hanging toms. As the song peaks the drumming is so realistically portrayed by the W4. Great attack and slam with a good leading edge to strikes and good decay on the note. The crash symbols sounding very realistic and brassy with a good deal of clarity and airiness to it.

 

As the song peaks, everything is captured brilliantly by the W4 when before the re-cabling, the sound started to collapse upon itself and the bass notes were smearing into one another. The cymbals not sounding so clean and crystal clear, and the drums not having the impact and slam.

 

Today, was the first time that I can make out distinctly Peter Gabriels voice on the left during the chorus on IEMs, so that is supporting my view that the recabled W4 is just so ruthlessly revealing. 

 

The negatives, the W4, bass wise goes a lot deeper than the SE535 and I am getting some notes bleeding into each other and therefore making the deep bass lines muddled. I cannot confirm if it is the W4 or the lack of control in the bass of the Cowon X7. It is tempting me in making a trip out to a retail shop with my gear and try listening to the same song on a HiFi man 80x, 60x or a Colorfy.

 


Edited by spkrs01 - 2/11/12 at 9:59pm
post #11 of 41
Thread Starter 

I have spent the afternoon listening to the W4 with the Baldur mk2 cable and surprisingly the synergy is much better and the sound is more coherent and relaxed. Less resolution but sweeter and easier to listen too. Just as dynamic and bass is showing better texture.

 

Just goes to show more expensive isn't always better..........Interesting, will listen onbigsmile_face.gif

post #12 of 41

Nice move!

"Cheaper" to change W4 sockets than to buy a second pair of all the cables you bought for your SE535LTD.

It must be nice to find competent people in Hong-Kong to modify IEMs, prepare custom cables and the like... biggrin.gif

 

Europe is like the the fifth wheel of the coach when it comes to portable hi-fi... shops are rare and grossly overpriced, and you can't audition anything...

post #13 of 41
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tienbasse View Post

Nice move!

"Cheaper" to change W4 sockets than to buy a second pair of all the cables you bought for your SE535LTD.

It must be nice to find competent people in Hong-Kong to modify IEMs, prepare custom cables and the like... biggrin.gif

 

Europe is like the the fifth wheel of the coach when it comes to portable hi-fi... shops are rare and grossly overpriced, and you can't audition anything...



I didn't have a choice as the decision was made for me, so no credit taken on my behalf.

 

I think the Shure sockets are basically easier to perform as it's round as opposed to elongated like the usual Westone/JH compatible ones. Having said that, I actually prefer the Shure system instead of locating the two pins......and it feels sturdier. Wish IEM makers would get their heads together and make a standardized connector as I think there is 3 currently available and that is 2 too manyangry_face.gif?!

 

post #14 of 41
Thread Starter 

The W4 with copper/silver hybrid cable -

 

The more that I have listened to the above combination, the more I am appreciating how extra-ordinarily good the W4s are. It is basically being strangled by the stock cable. The restraint the stock cable is having on the W4 is killing it's sonic potential. And that is a HUGE potential. The stock cable is comfortable and that is it! I cannot believe why IEM companies would put the same cable on their line up of products from $80 to $400, this just does my head in?! I am not sure if the cable on the custom Westones are using the same cable.

 

Of course, synergy is perhaps the most important regarding changing up or down cables, as proven by one of my above post when the silver cable made the W4 sounds just too fast and unnatural, resulting in a very unnatural presentation of music. Although the detail was incredible!

 

W4r owners really owe it to themselves to try their earphones with a copper/silver hybrid cable. I will be astounded if you cannot hear a difference, because for me it is making the W4 truly class beating. I need to get my copper/silver 3.5mm mini i/c back as I am having the Viablue plugs changed to Oyaide because the Triad L3 will not accomodate two Viablue plugs on the front panel. I can only foresee that with the mini i/c the sound will only be much betteretysmile.gif.

 

Still lots of listening to do, but thus far this has to be the best $30 that I have every spent!!!

 

I read in a thread about what was the best description to use in order to convey the sound signature of the ES5? and the reply was imagine W4 on steroids..........Well that is exactly what I am listening to now!


Edited by spkrs01 - 2/15/12 at 8:45pm
post #15 of 41
Thread Starter 

I received my Oyaide terminated Baldur mk2 3.5mm mini i/c back last week, so with a full daisy chain of Baldur mk2 cables, I was enjoying the music very much and thinking how this can be bettered within the confines of my current set upetysmile.gif.

 

Last night, I picked up the silver/gold hybrid cable Oyaide teminated........

 

The cable is hand wound from four individual lengths of this very expensive cable. I was informed that the tighter it is wound, the more propensity the cable has to store energy and thus improve dynamics significantly. Being technically inept this is really well pass my levels of comprehension. It is teflon shielded and quite nice looking, a golden sheen to the overall pale off-white colour.

 

But boy, is this cable stiff. I have always anticipated using this cable at home with the Triad L3 so for me, it is acceptable. For others I am not so sure! After collecting it, I did use it on a portable basis with my mini brick and its OK if you put the cable inside your sweater and then hold your brick. It is very acceptable. However, if you want to pocket the DAP or leave the cable on it's own accord then No, it is not really portable, Plus it is very noisy! If you knock it or anything.

 

Well............in tandem with the W4 the sound is awe-inspiring and the dynamics is out of this world. I have been an audiophile for more than 20 years and I am hearing details that I have never heard in songs that I thought I knew, back to front. Private Investigator- Dire Straits, Private Dancer- Tina Turner, The Nightfly- Donald Fagan, Fallen Angel- Robbie Robertson, Take Five- Dave Brubeck, Hotel California- Eagles, When We Dance- Sting, the list goes on.......

 

I will not even go into sonic qualities of the W4 with this cable but would just say, I am experiencing recorded playback at such a high level of realism and believability it is awe-inspiring!

 

How much further can I take the W4...........well I will be receiving the Ibasso DX100 and I have requested a 3.5mm to RCA mini i/c in the same cable. Both due in March!  

 

 

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