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Westone W60 Impressions Thread

post #1 of 452
Thread Starter 
The Westone W60- !!!LONG POST!!!

At this point, I am going to assume everyone knows all about the fact that this is Westone’s flagship, 6 armature, new IEM and etc... In an effort to abbreviate my post, I am not going to go back through all of this detail.

I am glad I discarded all the overly glowing and harsh praise heaped onto this IEM. It was a nice reminder to listen for myself. A hundred plus hours later I am here to share what I heard.

Gear used-
• Ipod touch 5th gen using FLAC from Tuneshell
• RSA Intruder
• Ted Allen Balanced silver Litz cables (not even a close comparison to both of the stock SE cables).
***Update- now have copper Litz cables from Ted Allen. These are a better match for W60. If you have the W60, I would save money and get the copper litz configuration. It improves the dryness in upper midrange. It seems to give a more musical presentation.
****Update #2- I now have also tested the W60s with the AK240 and the Chord Hugo. Great synergy with these two devices as well.

The marketing of the W60-
I feel like I need to comment on this. They launched this IEM at CES and won a best of show. Westone was off to a good start but it really seemed like that gave them a little too much confidence in the launch of this new product. It really bugs me how poorly this IEM was launched. I would have loved to see them give Jude or some of the other Headfier professionals a chance to demo these headphones in advance…we are their target audience after all. Not only were there no further review or news feeds, they started to miss deadlines. They announced a new product on their Facebook page was to launch but that did not happen as promised. After that, a few more missed deadlines. I could keep going but you get the point. On a plus side, they did reward my patience with Westone earplugs which could come in handy.

Packaging (8/10)-
• With a 1k price, you expect a great deal . There were not any glaring issues but it was not as premium as I had hoped.
• The 2 cables, assortment of tips and travel case were all as pictured. My only thought was that the travel case was smaller and of lower quality than I thought from the pictures.
• I don’t listen to packaging though so who cares!

Fit ((8/10)-
• They are reasonable in size and smaller than the 846 with more armatures. For those looking to sleep in IEMs these do sit more flush inside the cavity in the ear.
• I have very small ears despite being over 6 feet tall. I have been using the smallest green star tips on my 846 and thought it would be easy to put the same tips on my w60. Wrong! They certainly fit very comfortably but I could not get a decent seal. Upon examination, the nozzle length is shorter than the 846 so I tried a few other star tips including the longer ones but could never get the ideal fit.
• I went back and forth between the foam, star and various other tips. Ultimately, the original star tip that came factory installed worked best for me. Shallow insertion is my recommendation on these IEMs. The Shure and other brands seem better with a deep insertion.

Finish (7/10).
• Let’s get the obvious out of the way. The seam may be intended by the manufacture but it does look like a crack and I cannot understand why they could not have designed it to avoid that seem.
• The interchangeable faceplates. I have no need to change or customize these but I could see some folks enjoying these. You may want to put a red faceplate on your right iem so you can more quickly identify the left/right ear. Others may simply like the cosmetic appeal of a particular color.
• The overall shell feels more roughly finished than the 846. The 846 feels premium by comparison. Not to mention that the Shure has a metal nozzle with interchangeable filters. The W60 has a plastic nozzle as in the past. To be fair, if you step on either they won't survive.
•This may sound silly but I like being able to see the model number on my IEM. There is not a W60 on these IEMs but not really a big deal.

Imaging (9.5/10)
• This is one of the most important areas for me. I realize there is not a headphone on the planet that can come close to the imaging of my stereo, but there are surprising differences among headphones and IEMs.
• I would say that this IEM surpasses the 846 in imaging by 10%.
• I spent some time trying to decide why I thought they might image better and I think it is in the detail retrieval in the upper registers. I could be wrong but that is how I am hearing it.
• For imaging evaluations, I listened to Gershwin – Rhapsody in Blue (FLAC). The amount of air and space, placement of instruments was superb for an IEM.

Bass (8.5/10)
• Certainly an improvement on the W4R and W40. That being said, it is not a bassheads IEM at all. I am not a basshead though…
• I find the bass to be taught and relatively tight like a sealed sub enclosure.
• It does not reach the lowest registers like the 846 or my LCD 2.2s.
• I think Westone did a fairly good job preventing bass bleed into the the lower midrange but it is not as tidy as the 846 but I am really nitpicking here.

Treble (9/10)
• I hate analytical and sibilant treble so made myself listen to these headphones for a couple of weeks just to spend time them. I wanted to give my brain time to burn-in to the new presentation of sound. Also, if you tend to shy away from analytical sounding IEM's, look for copper litz aftermarket cables.
• In doing so, I would not say they are sibilant or overly bright. They certainly reach higher than the 846.
• If anything, I feel like the extended sound helps to punctuate what I am hearing.
• I find the treble exceptionally pleasing with female vocals and acoustic /stringed instruments.
• I used Eva Cassidy, Fiona Apple, Sara Brightman and multiple other female vocals to tease this out. The presentation of female vocals and strings really is 3 dimensional and magical.

Midrange(8.0/10)-
• I need to state my bias is towards Shure’s midrange tuning. I know it is more forward and lush but I do love it. Please take this bias into account when you read my take.
• I disagree with the descriptions I read about “smooth/honey-like” midrange tuning from Westone. Shure has the smoother mid-range in my opinion.
• I find the presentation of Westone’s midrange to be thinner and dryer. I am going to guess it is closer to reference than Shure but sometimes it works and sometimes it does not.
• With male vocals, it misses some of the weight and grit. I listened to Chris Isaak, Chris Jones, Josh Groban and many others to sort out what I was hearing.
• With female vocals, it works beautifully. Even with deeper female vocals like you can hear on London Grammar and many female jazz vocalists.

If you had to pick between the W60 or 846, it would come down to what you find important. I plan to keep both because they both are strong but different. I am glad I don’t have to choose though.

Happy listening!
Edited by M Coupe - 9/22/14 at 5:05pm
post #2 of 452
Agreed. Subbed. =)
post #3 of 452

I received my w60's earlier and I have spent a bit of time listening to them today!It is way too early to make any definitive observations but my preliminary thoughts are that they are very detailed and have a nice wide sound stage.The bass is nowhere near that of the 846's and the overall impact of the 846 is a more dramatic one.I have to give them more time to break in etc but my initial impression is they are good,perhaps very good but The 846 is to my ears a better IEM!Perhaps my thoughts will change over time but as of now that is my read

post #4 of 452
Quote:
Originally Posted by jlbrach View Post
 

I received my w60's earlier and I have spent a bit of time listening to them today!It is way too early to make any definitive observations but my preliminary thoughts are that they are very detailed and have a nice wide sound stage.The bass is nowhere near that of the 846's and the overall impact of the 846 is a more dramatic one.I have to give them more time to break in etc but my initial impression is they are good,perhaps very good but The 846 is to my ears a better IEM!Perhaps my thoughts will change over time but as of now that is my read

 

If you don't mind please let us know what music you listen to for the impressions, as well as what audio source your playing out of.

post #5 of 452

I listen to jazz,rock and blues and i am listening to a Titan 120 RWAK-S

post #6 of 452
Quote:
Originally Posted by jlbrach View Post
 

I listen to jazz,rock and blues and i am listening to a Titan 120 RWAK-S

 

Interesting, I would have guessed the W60 would be better for that music. Well keep burning/listening, I know the SE846 has more wow factor with its punchy and dynamic sound, but hopefully the W60 will come around as sounding more natural and balanced.

post #7 of 452

I did not know the W50 and W60 sounded drastically different. Can someone give a quick summary of the differences between the two, and how their sound signatures compare to W40?

post #8 of 452

I got to demo the w60 again, this time it's definitely more burnt in than Monday, much cleaner sound.

 

Definitely reminds me of the w4r which I still have, with better bass, details and soundstage. On my second listen, I don't find them too fantastic, everything is there, maybe I'm just not liking the warm westone sound. I'm sure it's just like the w4r that grows on you once it shows you it's detail capabilities, but currently I'm liking the more exciting, brighter sound of my se846.

 

Bass wise, I don't feel it's that much behind the 846 which I had with me, the 846 gave a stronger, cleaner impact. They both make the w4r sound like they have no bass at all.

 

W60 definitely has more micro detail and bigger soundstage than the 846, more balanced than the 846.

 

I also have the LCD2, everything is just tighter, I would say the LCD2 are less warm and more enjoyable for me.

 

For the demo I only used the Samsung S4, I have yet to hear a portable amp/desktop amp that sounds so good I'm willing to carry more and give up the ability to quickly answer calls and use the inline control to change songs on the go.

 

Overall it's definitely a considerable upgrade over the w4r, and is on par with the 846 (better if you like the warm westone sound).

post #9 of 452

The 846 is significantly more alive and dynamic to my ears,I like the w60 don't get me wrong but I love the 846.Listening to the w60 is more of a cerebral experience while the 846 and more of a visceral experience.My guess is if I hadn't listened to the 846 extensively prior to receiving the w60 I would be singing it's praises now!

post #10 of 452

i will add that i have always liked the westone cables which are thinner and lighter and do not obstruct my glasses and ears ....that has been something that has always attracted me to westone IEM's!

post #11 of 452

I'll repeat part of my post from the W50/W60 thread, but wanted to get it in here as a "mini-review" that has a different lean than some of the impressions posted so far.

 

I listen via FLAC only from Power Amp on a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 digital out, into RSA Predator DAC/amp. My previous IEM experience is with Shure E5c, Shure E500, Shure SE530, Shure SE846, Westone 3, 4 and now W60. I listen to a lot of electronic, avant-garde, noise, jazz, rock... mostly, but some roots type music every once in awhile... delta blues, Cajun, B3 trios, bluegrass, twangy country even.

 

As great as the 846 sounds, it was apparent from the get-go that there was some mid-range missing that even Westone's W4 covered very well. And I think part of this is the emphasis Shure placed on the sub, and the upper midrange push. This leaves lots of space for the earphone to sound "dynamic". And it is a visceral thrill to listen to, and enough to make me put away my W4 since the 846 came out, for the most part. But Westone has always done that sweet, honeyed, buttery midrange/lo-mids thing that Shure never has. Even the W4 had it, over the SE846. I'm partial to that sound. I prefer it over the "notice me" punch of the sub and pushed hi-mid "detail" of the 846.

 

To me, the W60 bass quantity is similar to the W4, but the lows, lo-mids, and mids quality and detail are much better than the W4. The detail in those frequencies is amazing and special to listen to on the W60... as amazing as the subs are on the 846. The sub lows maybe not be quite as deep... but everything above that is much more detailed. You can notice specific notes in low/mid frequencies on the W60, that just sound like great sub on the 846, comparitively.

The high end is also much better than the W4 and 846. So smooth, but seems to extend beyond either the W4 or 846, but is just subdued enough to keep that warm Westone sound.

The Westones I've had are notorious for being very dependent on ear tips to get the best out of 'em. The W60 is no different. It does sound better than the W4 using standard single, double, triple flange tips. But I've said this before, and I'll say it again for the W60. To really hear all the W60 has to offer, you need to make the EarPortz tips work for you. Westone, W60, and EarPortz are a match made in heaven. It seems as though the more open you can keep Westones' output directly to your ear drum, the Westones keep increasingly showing their strengths. So the widest bore eartip you can get comfortable with is most desirable. With EarPortz, the W60 is capable of very closely matching the low end oomph! of the 846, but the W60 is leaps and bounds ahead of W4 and 846 throughout the frequency range when it comes to detail and quality.

 

Westone has done it again for me. They kept the buttery, sweet mids of the W4, and the overall "Westone sound" signature... but bumped it up a few notches in the quality of sound. This is much more to my liking than my 846. I'll probably be keeping both, because the low end thump on the 846, along with the pushed high mids, are a fun listen sometimes. But for range, quality, tone, and detail... the W60 is the winner for me.

post #12 of 452
Quote:
Originally Posted by javahut View Post

I'll repeat part of my post from the W50/W60 thread, but wanted to get it in here as a "mini-review" that has a different lean than some of the impressions posted so far.

I listen via FLAC only from Power Amp on a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 digital out, into RSA Predator DAC/amp. My previous IEM experience is with Shure E5c, Shure E500, Shure SE530, Shure SE846, Westone 3, 4 and now W60. I listen to a lot of electronic, avant-garde, noise, jazz, rock... mostly, but some roots type music every once in awhile... delta blues, Cajun, B3 trios, bluegrass, twangy country even.

As great as the 846 sounds, it was apparent from the get-go that there was some mid-range missing that even Westone's W4 covered very well. And I think part of this is the emphasis Shure placed on the sub, and the upper midrange push. This leaves lots of space for the earphone to sound "dynamic". And it is a visceral thrill to listen to, and enough to make me put away my W4 since the 846 came out, for the most part. But Westone has always done that sweet, honeyed, buttery midrange/lo-mids thing that Shure never has. Even the W4 had it, over the SE846. I'm partial to that sound. I prefer it over the "notice me" punch of the sub and pushed hi-mid "detail" of the 846.

To me, the W60 bass quantity is similar to the W4, but the lows, lo-mids, and mids quality and detail are much better than the W4. The detail in those frequencies is amazing and special to listen to on the W60... as amazing as the subs are on the 846. The sub lows maybe not be quite as deep... but everything above that is much more detailed. You can notice specific notes in low/mid frequencies on the W60, that just sound like great sub on the 846, comparitively.


The high end is also much better than the W4 and 846. So smooth, but seems to extend beyond either the W4 or 846, but is just subdued enough to keep that warm Westone sound.


The Westones I've had are notorious for being very dependent on ear tips to get the best out of 'em. The W60 is no different. It does sound better than the W4 using standard single, double, triple flange tips. But I've said this before, and I'll say it again for the W60. To really hear all the W60 has to offer, you need to make the EarPortz tips work for you. Westone, W60, and EarPortz are a match made in heaven. It seems as though the more open you can keep Westones' output directly to your ear drum, the Westones keep increasingly showing their strengths. So the widest bore eartip you can get comfortable with is most desirable. With EarPortz, the W60 is capable of very closely matching the low end oomph! of the 846, but the W60 is leaps and bounds ahead of W4 and 846 throughout the frequency range when it comes to detail and quality.

Westone has done it again for me. They kept the buttery, sweet mids of the W4, and the overall "Westone sound" signature... but bumped it up a few notches in the quality of sound. This is much more to my liking than my 846. I'll probably be keeping both, because the low end thump on the 846, along with the pushed high mids, are a fun listen sometimes. But for range, quality, tone, and detail... the W60 is the winner for me.

Java,

Not to gainsay you as I will not get my W60 until next week but I have to disagree that the beautiful Shure midrange is not emphasized on the 846. What you describe is a V signature which based upon my ears and the frequency response chart is clearly not there in the 846. Personally, I always loved the Shure midrange from the 535 more than the veiled mids on the 4r. I cannot wait to compare the 846 to the 60.
post #13 of 452

the w60 is an outstanding IEM,the 846 just sounds more alive to me.more open and more involving

post #14 of 452
Quote:
Originally Posted by javahut View Post
 

I'll repeat part of my post from the W50/W60 thread, but wanted to get it in here as a "mini-review" that has a different lean than some of the impressions posted so far.

 

I listen via FLAC only from Power Amp on a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 digital out, into RSA Predator DAC/amp. My previous IEM experience is with Shure E5c, Shure E500, Shure SE530, Shure SE846, Westone 3, 4 and now W60. I listen to a lot of electronic, avant-garde, noise, jazz, rock... mostly, but some roots type music every once in awhile... delta blues, Cajun, B3 trios, bluegrass, twangy country even.

 

As great as the 846 sounds, it was apparent from the get-go that there was some mid-range missing that even Westone's W4 covered very well. And I think part of this is the emphasis Shure placed on the sub, and the upper midrange push. This leaves lots of space for the earphone to sound "dynamic". And it is a visceral thrill to listen to, and enough to make me put away my W4 since the 846 came out, for the most part. But Westone has always done that sweet, honeyed, buttery midrange/lo-mids thing that Shure never has. Even the W4 had it, over the SE846. I'm partial to that sound. I prefer it over the "notice me" punch of the sub and pushed hi-mid "detail" of the 846.

 

To me, the W60 bass quantity is similar to the W4, but the lows, lo-mids, and mids quality and detail are much better than the W4. The detail in those frequencies is amazing and special to listen to on the W60... as amazing as the subs are on the 846. The sub lows maybe not be quite as deep... but everything above that is much more detailed. You can notice specific notes in low/mid frequencies on the W60, that just sound like great sub on the 846, comparitively.

The high end is also much better than the W4 and 846. So smooth, but seems to extend beyond either the W4 or 846, but is just subdued enough to keep that warm Westone sound.

The Westones I've had are notorious for being very dependent on ear tips to get the best out of 'em. The W60 is no different. It does sound better than the W4 using standard single, double, triple flange tips. But I've said this before, and I'll say it again for the W60. To really hear all the W60 has to offer, you need to make the EarPortz tips work for you. Westone, W60, and EarPortz are a match made in heaven. It seems as though the more open you can keep Westones' output directly to your ear drum, the Westones keep increasingly showing their strengths. So the widest bore eartip you can get comfortable with is most desirable. With EarPortz, the W60 is capable of very closely matching the low end oomph! of the 846, but the W60 is leaps and bounds ahead of W4 and 846 throughout the frequency range when it comes to detail and quality.

 

Westone has done it again for me. They kept the buttery, sweet mids of the W4, and the overall "Westone sound" signature... but bumped it up a few notches in the quality of sound. This is much more to my liking than my 846. I'll probably be keeping both, because the low end thump on the 846, along with the pushed high mids, are a fun listen sometimes. But for range, quality, tone, and detail... the W60 is the winner for me.

Nice read.  I too have always preferred the Westone midrange over Shure because I always felt the Shure was overly forward.  Does the added sub bass of SE846 make the mid less forward sounding or would you say it is still pretty forward.  For example, with SE535 I felt that midrange was 40% of the sound and bass and treble both at 30%.  

post #15 of 452
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spyro View Post
 

Nice read.  I too have always preferred the Westone midrange over Shure because I always felt the Shure was overly forward.  Does the added sub bass of SE846 make the mid less forward sounding or would you say it is still pretty forward.  For example, with SE535 I felt that midrange was 40% of the sound and bass and treble both at 30%.  

 

I would say the mids (mainly vocals) are slightly less forward than the E500 I had, and more forward than the bass. For me it feels like a stage where the singer is at the front and instruments at the back. I feel it's a much better balance on the 846.

 

Personally I like the clean and clear vocal of the shures more than the smooth westones, the less smooth nature gives me the feeling of texture in the voices.

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