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Westone UM3X [REVIEW]

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

I do not believe there is a Westone UM3X page that is dedicated to strictly reviews and impressions.  I'd like to start one here, as I am sure there are many.  Feel free to copy and paste your review on to this. I will try to provide everyone with a very understandable review.  I will try to keep it in simple plain english so everyone can enjoy the reading:D

 

Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with Westone.  My review is done from an un-biased standpoint.

Pictures: 

photo.JPG

 

photo (3).JPG

 

photo (2).JPG

 

photo (1).JPG

 

Technical Specifications: Westone um3x Musicians' Monitors

Sensitivity: 124dB/mW

Frequency Response: 20Hz-18kHz

Impedance: 56 OHMS

Driver: Three balanced armatures with passive 3-way crossover

 

Packaging: The um3x from westone comes in a fairly compact package.  The opening flap allows you to read a little more into the company's past and its previous audio achievements(I find that appealing).   The box very sturdy overall and I would not worry to much about anything being damaged in shipping.  They do very well at presenting the earphone in the transparent plastic.  You are able to get a good idea of what the earphone looks like and what all it entails.

 

Accessories: Upon opening my um3x's, I immediately knew I was getting more than enough extra "Supplies" as I like to call them.  As seen in my picture's above, the buyer is supplied 3 comply foam tips, 1 t-100series, and 2 medium and small size p-series.  Westone also supplies a large amount of silicone tips.  Some confuse the grey silicone tips with shure's gray silicone tips, but just through examining them you can tell there is a distinct difference in shape.  With the grey silicones, you receive a medium, large, and small size.  In the box also comes an opaque/clearish(an oxi-moron, I KNOW) set of silicone tips.  they have more of a cone shape, and when used the monitor tends to stick fairly beyond the ear canal.  With the white silicones, you receive a small, medium, large, AND for a twist. A tri-flange design.  Other accessories include a cleaning tool with a small brush and a wire to gather debris from the nozzle, an airline/amplifier adapter, and a volume attenuation tool(a plug in with a knob to adjust the listening volume.  The carrying case included is very sturdy and is hard-plated.  I would not worry for a second about my um3x being demolished in the case.  The perfect amount of accessories are supplied.  Absolutely no complaints.

 

Build/fit: Let me start by saying... The cables on the um3x. are the business. They are the "Bees-knees" if you will.  Ill touch on that later;).  Some of you may be familiar with their design, which in my eyes is gorgeous.  The transparency of the plastic used allows you to see all the components of the iems.  It really appeals to the technical nerd in me!  Out of the box, I had a feeling I was dealing with a fragile baby, but boy was I wrong.  They are assembled very well, and the plastic is rather thick, but the IEM still is able to maintain a low profile design.  The fact that they are hand-made in America makes me feel great about my purchase.  You can tell that time went in to assembling these beauty's.  My opinion on the design of the housing is. "wow, these are great."  Westone's cables are nothing short of utterly amazing! they flex extremely well, they are sturdy, they eliminate nearly all microphonics, and the length is just right.  Splitter and yoke included on the cable are slightly closer to your neck than the average earphone you may purchase.  I actually enjoy that feature, because it rids of my need to adjust the slack of the cable.  The "Westone Epic Cable" Truly is EPIC my friends.  Now for the most important part. THE FIT.  I have always had issues with pain, sealing, and the general size of some other IEMs.  To give you an idea.  My ears are in physical pain after using the shure se535(I do enjoy the sound,) the aurisonics asg-1, shure se215, and many others.  You get my point I'm sure.  The housings on the um3x are low profile and fit flush and comfortable.  The first night they arrived at my house, I was able to listen for 6 hours straight without a single wince of pain.  They fit is fantastic.  They are small and wonderful, and I could see these being easily worn by a woman who has smaller ears than my manly self does!  The tips that a person can use on the um3x are fairly based upon your personal preference.  The p-series goes DEEP. It can be painful for me at times, therefore I just stick with the stock foam tips included.  The fit is absolutely painless for anyone.  I will go as far to say that the um3x is an overall guaranteed comfort IEM.

 

Isolation: Isolation tends to be a somewhat gray area on most IEMs.  We have etymotic who crams the tips into your brain, and boasts a 35-42dB isolation, we have shure who boasts a somewhat questionable "Up to 37dB of isolation", and many other IEMs that isolate well and not so well.  I am happy to say that the um3x isolates just as much as the shure series, which makes me question shure's "up to 37dB" isolation.  To test the isolation, I took my new um3x's out on a standard 1-2 hour bike ride on my road bike on a windy and cold illinois day. As I road on the sidewalk next to traffic, I was unable to hear the roar of the car's engines, the wind was absolutely non-apparent, and the music still had the same quality as if I was sitting at home on the couch.  Further through my ride, I got to the opening in the trees where the wind determines the men from the boys.  The winds can reach gusts of up to 30mph on days like today. The um3x sucessfully blocked 90% of all the wind that was directly in my face. (keep in mind, my ride speed was around 16-17 through that open field.)  The isolation is above-par of what I would consider perfect.

 

Sound(With Sub Categories): An introduction and an overall statement that would describe the UM3X's sound is "Warm, Mid-centric, and what I would consider a totally relaxed and chilled sound signature." 

       Highs: Not exactly the selling point of the monitor. But they are slightly recessed.  As I listen, I can tell that the highs are there, They just do not have the stage presence and strength that one would expect.  It is likely that the um3x was designed this way if you consider the crowd it is marketed towards.  Some claim that the highs are piercing and painful.  I find that difficult to digest due to the lack umph or strength of the highs.  Overall, the highs are kind of mehhhh.  They are definitely there, but they are not powerful.  The Highs definitely DO NOT make this headphone bad by any means.

       Mids: As most of you can expect... The mids are gorgeous.  They fairly forward and upstage, warm, lushy, and I feel like it is the mids that give the um3x a sort of "Chillaxed" sound signature.  The mids are beautiful, and what is surprising is that they do not take away from the quality and the little quantity of the highs.  The main reason I purchased the um3x over the w3 was the fit, and more importantly, the lack of the mid-bass hump the w3 has.  I am unable to detect any mid-bass in the overall sound.  I have never been a big fan of mid-bass as I feel like it subtracts from the quality of the mids.  It just muddies the signature in my personal opinion.  Luckily, there is none on the um3x!:D  I cannot explain the mids, but the mids do bring out the gorgeous texture of any guitar, mid frequency drum-line etc.  You must listen to understand what perfect sounds like;).

      Lows: The low end of the um3x is perfect for my taste.  The bass is slightly colored and has an ample amount of low end rumble. What really perplexes me about the low end, is its ability to have the perfect amount of punch while still sustaining a low end rumble on certain songs.  I have listened to several armature based IEMs that fall apart during demanding low end of several songs.  Perhaps they are to bass heavy to some(completely understandable.)  When I first plugged in the um3x I was semi shocked at the amount of rumble an armature based iem could supply.  Nonetheless... The um3x could satisfy a bass head and the average listener, which is a great quality of any earphone.

     Instrument Separation: Absolutely no complaints in this category! The um3x enables you to pick out every instrument with ease.  And by ease... I mean no effort what so ever.  The separation these monitors have is phenomenal and it is definitely a large selling point for the phones.  The um3x performs well in very busy songs, namely guitar based music, orchestral music, and jazz. I would bet any musician that if they used the um3x on a song, they could tell me every instrument in less than 10 seconds.  

     Treble Quantity/Quality:  Many people will claim that the um3x sound signature is rather dark.  I would have to agree, but it is not to the extent that some have claimed.  Treble is not recessed by any means.  It is merely at a perfect aural balance.  The um3x will provide you with hours upon hours of a non fatiguing listening experience.

     Soundstage: The most difficult category to elaborate on is by far soundstage... I would say the soundstage is below average, but on the contrary, how the music is perceived could easily confuse the average listener into thinking it is a wide soundstage.  The um3x thrusts you into the middle of the of the concert with your head directly next to the singer.  The fact that the singer and even the guitarist feels so close to you really makes you appreciate what westone has done here.  Regardless of how small the soundstage is, the um3x really utilizes and works well with what it has at its disposal.

 

Conclusion: Beautiful monitor for the musician or the general public.  If you purchase the um3x, I can assure you that you will not be in regret of your purchase.  The warm and lush sound signature really makes the monitor a beautiful piece of work.  For once... after going through a large amount of earphone and monitors, I can safely say that I will NEVER sell this amazing creation from westone.  If you have not tried the um3x.  I encourage you to buy it, or at least give it an audition(then buy it.)

 

EDIT: I decided to add another category after my main review.  

Song review: 

"Cough Syrup" by young the giant: As the song begins, there is an intro of a simple guitar riff and a violin playing.  The UM3X places the guitar left stage and oh my how beautiful it is.  The guitarist must be standing directly next to me as though it may feel.  The violin is placed right stage, and what extravagant warmth there is to it.  The vocals kick in centerstage while the lead guitar remains left and the rhythm guitarist is placed right.  The um3x performs so well when the song gets busy maintaining its wonderful instrument separation and warmth.  When the kick drum finally jumps into the song, you can feel the quick accurate punch, while still maintaining the warm and smooth rumble of the bass guitarists part in the piece. This song is the most amazing song to listen to when you first open up your UM3X.  The ability to choose what instrument is played, the ability to hear the beautiful vocals, the quick and accurate punch of the kick drums, and the overall beautiful stage presentation makes this headphone possibly the best at what it does.

"Codename Rondo" by Ghostland Observatory: The simplistic but very vocal based song starts with a small a simple snare drum and kick drum.  The um3x plays the opening to the song where you can practically see the snare being rocked by the drumstick.  The low-bass rumble kicks in, and the um3x still maintains perfect balance of each spectrum of the song.  The low-rumble is almost heard in a category of its own not affecting ANY other part of the song.  What shocks me about the um3x is its ability to be un-affected by any demanding high frequency, low frequency, and mid frequency song.  It maintains itself in all busy pieces and its ability to play what is needed to be heard.  The vocals stay flawless throughout the song, and considering that 95% of the "vocals" is just spoken word, it is amazing that I am able to perfectly understand what he is saying.  The voice almost seems as if he is standing to the left and right of me talking directly in to my ear.  

 


Edited by delladood - 4/30/12 at 7:07pm
post #2 of 18

Nice review.  ^.^

post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cassadian View Post

Nice review.  ^.^

 

hey thanks:D

post #4 of 18
Nicely written delladood.
post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Swimsonny View Post

Nicely written delladood.
thanks man!
post #6 of 18

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by delladood View Post

thanks man!

 

Keep up the good quality reviews! The more the better i think going into the future ;)

post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Swimsonny View Post

 

 

Keep up the good quality reviews! The more the better i think going into the future ;)

 

agreed! agreed! thanks for reading!

post #8 of 18
No it was a pleasure. I just wish you still has the ASG to compare too... I will have to try these at one stage
post #9 of 18

Okay so im practically sold for these monitors, the sound isolation, seems PHENOMENAL. Question concerning the highs however. I will be listening to these guys through a portable setup with a headphone amp. Do you think some fiddling with the settings/EQ on the FiiO E17 i'll be using hooked up to a portable MP3 player, i'll be able to compensate, or in a manner of speaking bring out the highs a bit more?

post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by KeyvanM View Post

Okay so im practically sold for these monitors, the sound isolation, seems PHENOMENAL. Question concerning the highs however. I will be listening to these guys through a portable setup with a headphone amp. Do you think some fiddling with the settings/EQ on the FiiO E17 i'll be using hooked up to a portable MP3 player, i'll be able to compensate, or in a manner of speaking bring out the highs a bit more?

I use the UM3X & FiiO E17 as my portable setup.  I love the sound, and I have no complaints about the highs, but I'm sure the EQ would boost them if you like.  Playing with the gain settings can color the sound differently as well.  Be mindful the UM3Xs are super sensitive, so be sure to set the E17 amp to "volume memory" because "20" is very loud!

post #11 of 18

This is a really good review! Can you compare them to your ER4s and the bass of the Atrios?

post #12 of 18

Hi, If you have to choose, make décision between the UM3xRC and the Westone 4r, wich one are you take, and why?! Can u make a comparaison reviews? I was thinking that UM3x is dedicated fot stages, musician porpose. And W4, used for music lovers, audiophiles, used with an ipod players. Am not a musician, have never go onstage,  UM3xrc vs Westone4r.   Nice post!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by delladood View Post

I do not believe there is a Westone UM3X page that is dedicated to strictly reviews and impressions.  I'd like to start one here, as I am sure there are many.  Feel free to copy and paste your review on to this. I will try to provide everyone with a very understandable review.  I will try to keep it in simple plain english so everyone can enjoy the reading:D

 

Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with Westone.  My review is done from an un-biased standpoint.

Pictures: 

photo.JPG

 

photo (3).JPG

 

photo (2).JPG

 

photo (1).JPG

 

Technical Specifications: Westone um3x Musicians' Monitors

Sensitivity: 124dB/mW

Frequency Response: 20Hz-18kHz

Impedance: 56 OHMS

Driver: Three balanced armatures with passive 3-way crossover

 

Packaging: The um3x from westone comes in a fairly compact package.  The opening flap allows you to read a little more into the company's past and its previous audio achievements(I find that appealing).   The box very sturdy overall and I would not worry to much about anything being damaged in shipping.  They do very well at presenting the earphone in the transparent plastic.  You are able to get a good idea of what the earphone looks like and what all it entails.

 

Accessories: Upon opening my um3x's, I immediately knew I was getting more than enough extra "Supplies" as I like to call them.  As seen in my picture's above, the buyer is supplied 3 comply foam tips, 1 t-100series, and 2 medium and small size p-series.  Westone also supplies a large amount of silicone tips.  Some confuse the grey silicone tips with shure's gray silicone tips, but just through examining them you can tell there is a distinct difference in shape.  With the grey silicones, you receive a medium, large, and small size.  In the box also comes an opaque/clearish(an oxi-moron, I KNOW) set of silicone tips.  they have more of a cone shape, and when used the monitor tends to stick fairly beyond the ear canal.  With the white silicones, you receive a small, medium, large, AND for a twist. A tri-flange design.  Other accessories include a cleaning tool with a small brush and a wire to gather debris from the nozzle, an airline/amplifier adapter, and a volume attenuation tool(a plug in with a knob to adjust the listening volume.  The carrying case included is very sturdy and is hard-plated.  I would not worry for a second about my um3x being demolished in the case.  The perfect amount of accessories are supplied.  Absolutely no complaints.

 

Build/fit: Let me start by saying... The cables on the um3x. are the business. They are the "Bees-knees" if you will.  Ill touch on that later;).  Some of you may be familiar with their design, which in my eyes is gorgeous.  The transparency of the plastic used allows you to see all the components of the iems.  It really appeals to the technical nerd in me!  Out of the box, I had a feeling I was dealing with a fragile baby, but boy was I wrong.  They are assembled very well, and the plastic is rather thick, but the IEM still is able to maintain a low profile design.  The fact that they are hand-made in America makes me feel great about my purchase.  You can tell that time went in to assembling these beauty's.  My opinion on the design of the housing is. "wow, these are great."  Westone's cables are nothing short of utterly amazing! they flex extremely well, they are sturdy, they eliminate nearly all microphonics, and the length is just right.  Splitter and yoke included on the cable are slightly closer to your neck than the average earphone you may purchase.  I actually enjoy that feature, because it rids of my need to adjust the slack of the cable.  The "Westone Epic Cable" Truly is EPIC my friends.  Now for the most important part. THE FIT.  I have always had issues with pain, sealing, and the general size of some other IEMs.  To give you an idea.  My ears are in physical pain after using the shure se535(I do enjoy the sound,) the aurisonics asg-1, shure se215, and many others.  You get my point I'm sure.  The housings on the um3x are low profile and fit flush and comfortable.  The first night they arrived at my house, I was able to listen for 6 hours straight without a single wince of pain.  They fit is fantastic.  They are small and wonderful, and I could see these being easily worn by a woman who has smaller ears than my manly self does!  The tips that a person can use on the um3x are fairly based upon your personal preference.  The p-series goes DEEP. It can be painful for me at times, therefore I just stick with the stock foam tips included.  The fit is absolutely painless for anyone.  I will go as far to say that the um3x is an overall guaranteed comfort IEM.

 

Isolation: Isolation tends to be a somewhat gray area on most IEMs.  We have etymotic who crams the tips into your brain, and boasts a 35-42dB isolation, we have shure who boasts a somewhat questionable "Up to 37dB of isolation", and many other IEMs that isolate well and not so well.  I am happy to say that the um3x isolates just as much as the shure series, which makes me question shure's "up to 37dB" isolation.  To test the isolation, I took my new um3x's out on a standard 1-2 hour bike ride on my road bike on a windy and cold illinois day. As I road on the sidewalk next to traffic, I was unable to hear the roar of the car's engines, the wind was absolutely non-apparent, and the music still had the same quality as if I was sitting at home on the couch.  Further through my ride, I got to the opening in the trees where the wind determines the men from the boys.  The winds can reach gusts of up to 30mph on days like today. The um3x sucessfully blocked 90% of all the wind that was directly in my face. (keep in mind, my ride speed was around 16-17 through that open field.)  The isolation is above-par of what I would consider perfect.

 

Sound(With Sub Categories): An introduction and an overall statement that would describe the UM3X's sound is "Warm, Mid-centric, and what I would consider a totally relaxed and chilled sound signature." 

       Highs: Not exactly the selling point of the monitor. But they are slightly recessed.  As I listen, I can tell that the highs are there, They just do not have the stage presence and strength that one would expect.  It is likely that the um3x was designed this way if you consider the crowd it is marketed towards.  Some claim that the highs are piercing and painful.  I find that difficult to digest due to the lack umph or strength of the highs.  Overall, the highs are kind of mehhhh.  They are definitely there, but they are not powerful.  The Highs definitely DO NOT make this headphone bad by any means.

       Mids: As most of you can expect... The mids are gorgeous.  They fairly forward and upstage, warm, lushy, and I feel like it is the mids that give the um3x a sort of "Chillaxed" sound signature.  The mids are beautiful, and what is surprising is that they do not take away from the quality and the little quantity of the highs.  The main reason I purchased the um3x over the w3 was the fit, and more importantly, the lack of the mid-bass hump the w3 has.  I am unable to detect any mid-bass in the overall sound.  I have never been a big fan of mid-bass as I feel like it subtracts from the quality of the mids.  It just muddies the signature in my personal opinion.  Luckily, there is none on the um3x!:D  I cannot explain the mids, but the mids do bring out the gorgeous texture of any guitar, mid frequency drum-line etc.  You must listen to understand what perfect sounds like;).

      Lows: The low end of the um3x is perfect for my taste.  The bass is slightly colored and has an ample amount of low end rumble. What really perplexes me about the low end, is its ability to have the perfect amount of punch while still sustaining a low end rumble on certain songs.  I have listened to several armature based IEMs that fall apart during demanding low end of several songs.  Perhaps they are to bass heavy to some(completely understandable.)  When I first plugged in the um3x I was semi shocked at the amount of rumble an armature based iem could supply.  Nonetheless... The um3x could satisfy a bass head and the average listener, which is a great quality of any earphone.

     Instrument Separation: Absolutely no complaints in this category! The um3x enables you to pick out every instrument with ease.  And by ease... I mean no effort what so ever.  The separation these monitors have is phenomenal and it is definitely a large selling point for the phones.  The um3x performs well in very busy songs, namely guitar based music, orchestral music, and jazz. I would bet any musician that if they used the um3x on a song, they could tell me every instrument in less than 10 seconds.  

     Treble Quantity/Quality:  Many people will claim that the um3x sound signature is rather dark.  I would have to agree, but it is not to the extent that some have claimed.  Treble is not recessed by any means.  It is merely at a perfect aural balance.  The um3x will provide you with hours upon hours of a non fatiguing listening experience.

     Soundstage: The most difficult category to elaborate on is by far soundstage... I would say the soundstage is below average, but on the contrary, how the music is perceived could easily confuse the average listener into thinking it is a wide soundstage.  The um3x thrusts you into the middle of the of the concert with your head directly next to the singer.  The fact that the singer and even the guitarist feels so close to you really makes you appreciate what westone has done here.  Regardless of how small the soundstage is, the um3x really utilizes and works well with what it has at its disposal.

 

Conclusion: Beautiful monitor for the musician or the general public.  If you purchase the um3x, I can assure you that you will not be in regret of your purchase.  The warm and lush sound signature really makes the monitor a beautiful piece of work.  For once... after going through a large amount of earphone and monitors, I can safely say that I will NEVER sell this amazing creation from westone.  If you have not tried the um3x.  I encourage you to buy it, or at least give it an audition(then buy it.)

 

EDIT: I decided to add another category after my main review.  

Song review: 

"Cough Syrup" by young the giant: As the song begins, there is an intro of a simple guitar riff and a violin playing.  The UM3X places the guitar left stage and oh my how beautiful it is.  The guitarist must be standing directly next to me as though it may feel.  The violin is placed right stage, and what extravagant warmth there is to it.  The vocals kick in centerstage while the lead guitar remains left and the rhythm guitarist is placed right.  The um3x performs so well when the song gets busy maintaining its wonderful instrument separation and warmth.  When the kick drum finally jumps into the song, you can feel the quick accurate punch, while still maintaining the warm and smooth rumble of the bass guitarists part in the piece. This song is the most amazing song to listen to when you first open up your UM3X.  The ability to choose what instrument is played, the ability to hear the beautiful vocals, the quick and accurate punch of the kick drums, and the overall beautiful stage presentation makes this headphone possibly the best at what it does.

"Codename Rondo" by Ghostland Observatory: The simplistic but very vocal based song starts with a small a simple snare drum and kick drum.  The um3x plays the opening to the song where you can practically see the snare being rocked by the drumstick.  The low-bass rumble kicks in, and the um3x still maintains perfect balance of each spectrum of the song.  The low-rumble is almost heard in a category of its own not affecting ANY other part of the song.  What shocks me about the um3x is its ability to be un-affected by any demanding high frequency, low frequency, and mid frequency song.  It maintains itself in all busy pieces and its ability to play what is needed to be heard.  The vocals stay flawless throughout the song, and considering that 95% of the "vocals" is just spoken word, it is amazing that I am able to perfectly understand what he is saying.  The voice almost seems as if he is standing to the left and right of me talking directly in to my ear.  

 


Edited by Skullbox - 12/11/12 at 7:56pm
post #13 of 18

Regarding the treble, the UM3X is one of the most EQ friendly IEM's I have owned.  A slight treble boost and it is an amazing specimen.  Very, very refined sounding...much more than W3.

post #14 of 18

Nice review, wondering what would re-shelling to custom do to um3x improve anything.

post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by robin5540 View Post

Nice review, wondering what would re-shelling to custom do to um3x improve anything.

Probably more harm than good.  It has perfect ergonomics and engineering already.

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