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New WESTONE W-SERIES - Page 4

post #46 of 521

in all honesty, from what ive read, and other reviews reviewed, who is saying that the w40/r series in its own right doesnt sound as good as the se846....price doesnt aways govern ''better'' i mean from what i read some people still like the mids of the se535 vs the se846 so in some respects higher price isnt really governing a better quality......just like westone could create a 1k iem that some may still prefer the w40/r

post #47 of 521
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mooses9 View Post
 

in all honesty, from what ive read, and other reviews reviewed, who is saying that the w40/r series in its own right doesnt sound as good as the se846....price doesnt aways govern ''better'' i mean from what i read some people still like the mids of the se535 vs the se846 so in some respects higher price isnt really governing a better quality......just like westone could create a 1k iem that some may still prefer the w40/r

 

Can you post other review links to W40?  I have been searching low and high, and can't find at least one review.  Only "opinions" of those from saw it at the show and quoting Westone spec from the website.  Btw, Westone website doesn't have W30 listed, only W10/W20/W40.  Amazon has it listed available starting December 14th.  I had it "available" since yesterday.  Will post pictures later tonight.  I received a review sample of W40 since I write Android accessory reviews on other websites.

 

Since I don't claim to be audiophile and mainly focus on common audio sources such as smartphone and laptop, my first impression review is probably not up to head-fi standards, but anyway.  Also for the reference, this is my first pair of Westone IEM and I also own UE900.

 

Build quality seems to be very solid, not as fragile looking as UE900.  Fitment is comfortable with a wire over ear, low profile lightweight - doesn't stick out too much.  There is no memory wire piece, but both braided Epic and round MFI cables are soft and flexible enough to go behind the ear and stay put.  The sliding tension piece from y-joint of Epic cable helps even further with cables staying tucked in behind ears (just adds a little more tension keeping both cables together).  I found quality of Epic braided cable to be much better in comparison to the one offered with UE900, I always felt UE900 braided cable to feel fragile.  MFI cable with in-line remote and mic is designed for iDevices but multi-function control button works well with Android devices to play/pause/call, playback control with multi-click and starting Google NOW by long press (tested with Galaxy Note 2).  The headphone connector itself is universal with all UE and SE headphones now, so you have a choice of different 2nd sources and various replacements.  One thing I noticed with MFI cable is occasional burst of white noise, most likely coming from the mic.  Will have to test more, but having an ability to replace the cable is always a huge plus and great that Westone is offering it with all W10/W20/W40 models.

 

The in-line remote is rather large, and in my opinion button design is not "blind-touch" friendly.  The design of buttons has to be comfortable to distinguish -/+ volume and middle button without looking at it.  Here, volume buttons have recessed -/+ indentation, while middle multi-function control button recessed with a raise "W" indentation.  I'm sure you can get used to it, but just commenting on my first impression.  Also, 3.5mm connector is 90degree angled which is good for cable strain relief when use with smartphone and other DAP.  To spice things up, W-series now includes replaceable faceplates in 3 cololrs :black, blue, and red.  Easily removable with included hex driver it just to personalize the look, not other sound enhancement functionality.  Just like with V-Moda or COP you can change the outside appearance, or maybe switch to Red color for right earpiece and black or blue for the left one ;)  Included accessories, beside that hex screwdriver and extra sets of faceplates, are a ton of eartips (Westone own patented foam and star), little cleaning tool, and a rather bulky orange storage "survivor" vault.  Every eartip has a color coded core so its easy to match them up.  I personally prefer traditional STAR tips and found them to provide a decent seal, comfort, and isolation.

 

Now, on to a sound test.  I know a lot of people argue that armature drivers don't benefit from burn-in, and in this case it stands true because right out of the box and after about 8 hours of playing pink-noise loop the sound felt unchanged.  As I mentioned before, I'm not an audiophile and don't pretend to be one because I don't have patience to dissect the sound.  So, I typically focus on 320kbps mp3s, streaming, and driving headphones directly from smartphone or laptop, an average-Joe setup.  I also have E18 which I throw in the mix to see if it contributes to any improvement.  Obviously, with low impedance of 31 ohms there is no problem driving it from portable audio sources.  Using E18 connected to Note 2 through usb-otg maybe improved a dynamic range a bit, specially on high gain setting, but it wasn't night'n'day type of change.  I also can say these IEM are NOT forgiving when you throw in low bit rate source or low quality audio stream.  And I'm not saying because they are so detailed that reveal every imperfection - that's the whole thing that puzzled me, their lack of overall sound details.  Here is a thing, if these were my first set of quad-armature driver IEMs, I would probably be very impressed.  But comparing them to UE900 (and i also have UE600, HF2, and M-80/M-100/ATH-M50/P7 and used to have MOMENTUM), I'm a little more picky and critical.  In my opinion W40 have a dark warm sound signature, with greater emphasis on bass and low-mids rather than upper mids and treble.   I enjoyed very much both quality and quantity of bass (a huge step up from UE900 or any typical neutral flat reference monitors), but I missed upfront presence of upper mids and sparkle of treble.  Almost felt like high frequency content was rolled off.  Again, for anybody who has UE900 you know how upfront vocals sounds, but with W40 it wasn't a case.  While comparing to other headphones, I really felt sound details were missing and these are more oriented toward low frequency content.  The sound felt colored to make it warmer, which takes away from clarity.  I don't know if it was the same with previous models of W-series, so perhaps it's expected from W40.  Also, soundstage was just average.

 

Overall, I think they are great IEM and seems that a number of improvements were done in a positive direction (cable, connection, in-line remote, faceplate choices).  The sound is oriented more toward bass lovers rather than audiophiles with a taste for a neutral flat sound or enhanced mids.  It would have been great to hear others opinion about these, especially from a true audiophile perspective.  I can't do comparison between W10, W20, and W40, but I think it would have been a good test to see which one offers the best value.  I'm familiar with sounds of single armature design (like UE600) or quad-armature design (like UE900).  Based on a sound signature of UE900 I can justify the price considering detailed upfront sound of those, although I hate lack of bass quantity.  Just thinking out loud, perhaps W20 would offer a decent bass sound with one driver and a balanced mid/treble with the other, and it could be a better value for $200 less than W40.

 

Later today I will post a lot of detailed pictures since I still have to format and to upload them.

post #48 of 521

As promised, here are the pictures:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

post #49 of 521

Nice review.  I suggest keep listening.  Many including myself find that the sound grows on you over time.  On first listen it is easy to wonder how could a quad driver lack crisp clarity detail?  But then you realize it is all there but takes a softer less fatiguing approach.  Just listening to W3 and W4 side by side shows this.  W4 has more detail and clarity yet is less crisp and perhaps a tad even darker than W3.  Very odd but effective tuning of the drivers.   With W4 vocals are SO LUSH and engaging and you could listen to music literally all day on these even at high volumes with zero fatigue.  I sold my first W4 and regretted it.  It's surely all personal preference but I tend to listen on the loud side so IEM's that are largely focused on brighter crisper treble are very fatiguing even without siblance.  W4 really works well for me.


Edited by Spyro - 12/17/13 at 7:05pm
post #50 of 521
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spyro View Post
 

Nice review.  I suggest keep listening.  Many including myself find that the sound grows on you over time.  On first listen it is easy to wonder how could a quad driver lack crisp clarity detail?  But then you realize it is all there but takes a softer less fatiguing approach.  Just listening to W3 and W4 side by side shows this.  W4 has more detail and clarity yet is less crisp and perhaps a tad even darker than W3.  Very odd but effective tuning of the drivers.   With W4 vocals are SO LUSH and engaging and you could listen to music literally all day on these even at high volumes with zero fatigue.  I sold my first W4 and regretted it.  It's surely all personal preference but I tend to listen on the loud side so IEM's that are largely focused on brighter crisper treble are very fatiguing even without siblance.  W4 really works well for me.

 

Oh, don't get me wrong, I'm not disappointed.  These are fantastic IEM, and I have been listening and enjoying them more and more as the day progressed.  I just don't have W10 or W20 as a point of reference to compare and to appreciate the benefit of additional drivers.  Instead, I'm comparing them to other IEM I have, especially UE900 which is quad-armature driver.  UE900 has very upfront mids and in general it's more analytical IEM which I wouldn't consider as all-day-long listening headphone - upper mids and treble are too bright and a bit on a harsh side.  W40 is for sure smoother, warmer, and bassier - might as well call it as smooth as W-40 :D  I would definitely file it under "fun" sound signature because the more I listen to it the more I realize it's v-shaped.  Not as bad as something like M-100, but I can tell you even with my untrained ears mids are recessed.  I just wish Tyll would do a review of these and run his measurement graphs ;)

 

Btw, have you ever compared W2 to W4R?  The reason why I can going back with 2 vs 4 drivers, I have heard a lot of opinions about SE215 was SE535 where people suggest that dual armature driver might be the happy medium where you have one tuned for bass and low mids while the other one for upper mids and treble.  But at the same time, every company has their own interpretation of the sound and soundshape.  For my own personal taste where I like upfront mids, overall details, and strong bass - I'm still searching to find that ultimate IEM and also over-ear headphones with the same signature.  Btw, if you have any recommendation - I would be very happy to hear it!!!

post #51 of 521
W2 is raw and unrefined sounding next to W4. The treble can be a bit sibilant. Definitely a lesser IEM than W4 IMHO. But you have a valid point. My JH5 is a dual driver and sounds marvelous. Every frequency is very well represented. Suppose to be a bass and a mid/treble driver. Midrange is excellent too. Its all in the tuning. I probably actually prefer UM2 over W2 but I still think W4 is king universal for Westone due to exceptional smoothness and refinement.
Edited by Spyro - 12/17/13 at 8:22pm
post #52 of 521

I wish to see someone comparing W3/W4 to the new W-series. Anybody had a chance to listen to both?

post #53 of 521
Quote:
Originally Posted by korzena View Post
 

I wish to see someone comparing W3/W4 to the new W-series. Anybody had a chance to listen to both?

 

Indeed, would have been a great comparison to see how W40 stacks up against W4.

 

Btw, the warm sound of W40 is really growing on me!!!  Now I have an opposite effect where going back to UE900 makes everything sound harsh and irritating for extended period of time.  Ears have a brain of their own lol!!!  Also, I can say with certainty that I have seen and tested a lot of different in-ear headphones, but with Westones the ergonomics of the design makes them the most comfortable ones I have ever tried.  I also think their built quality will make them perfect for outdoor activities.  Can't comment on excessive sweat/water protection, but they seems like could take a beating.  Also, makes me wonder the purpose behind the rugged storage "vault" case.  That one is clearly for outdoor use.

post #54 of 521
Quote:
Originally Posted by korzena View Post
 

I wish to see someone comparing W3/W4 to the new W-series. Anybody had a chance to listen to both?

???

 

For what purpose?   It has been well documented and confirmed by Westone that the sound is identical.  Only cosmetic changes.

post #55 of 521
Thread Starter 
Would like to hear user feedback on the in line mic and controls…the ADV series had some issues that I never heard or could find follow-ups.
post #56 of 521
Quote:
Originally Posted by Macgirl View Post

Would like to hear user feedback on the in line mic and controls…the ADV series had some issues that I never heard or could find follow-ups.

 

Can you please be a little more specific about ADV series issues?

 

Based on my experience of using it with Galaxy Note 2, obviously I can't comment on volume +/- since iDevice in-line remote wired with different resistor values for volume control.  But multi functional button in the middle worked perfectly for play/pause and pickup/hangup the call, double/triple click for playback control, and long press for Google NOW.  Mic seem to be working OK as well, though I was testing it at home with not too much surround noise.  I could imagine outside you would want to bring remote closer to your mouse.

 

But considering these have universal headphone connector which should be compatible with UE and SE cables, you always have a choices to get a replacement cable including a lot of after-market cables with in-line remote/mic on ebay.  For example, you can get UE900 cable:

 

 

 

or you can use replacement cables form lunashops.com, the one in the picture below is for Samsung, but they also make custom cables for iPhone:

 

post #57 of 521
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spyro View Post
 

???

 

For what purpose?   It has been well documented and confirmed by Westone that the sound is identical.  Only cosmetic changes.

Higher price for the same sound?!

post #58 of 521
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by korzena View Post
 

Higher price for the same sound?!


All W-series models now have removable cables with music controls and mic, before IIRC, removable/replaceable cable (and NO music controls) was a $50 price increase and was only available on the W4r. I believe the W4 was at $449 and the W4r was $499. So it's not just paying more for the same sound. If you want the same sound and don't care about having music controls, cash in on the close-out sales on the W4r. The EPIC mics cable which used to be an upgrade accessory, was discontinued because of technical glitches causing echoing in calls.

post #59 of 521

Charging more for the same sound is indeed suss but on the other hand, the Westone rep is very upfront when asked directly if the changes are only cosmetic they get some points for that.

post #60 of 521

But the very same was told by Westone about UM PRO series (and possibly ES but I'm not sure), yet I've found user reviews claiming that the sound of new um pro 30 is more refined than um3xrc. So maybe the drivers are the same, but some refinement has been done. That's why I think some feedback from person being able to compare them both would be interesting.

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