Westone Audio MACH 10

General Information


With great balance, from a clear top end to smooth low end, MACH 10 features impressive capabilities any singer, musician or music lover will enjoy.
The MACH 10 features a proprietary single full range balanced-armature driver.


  • DRIVERS: Single Balanced-Armature Driver
  • FREQ RESPONSE: 20Hz – 18kHz
  • SENSITIVITY: 103dB @1kHz
  • IMPEDANCE: 80 Ohms @1kHz

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Headphoneus Supremus
Westone MACH 10 - IEM in its purest form
Pros: - Comfortable
- Isolating
- Resolution
- Thoughtful and elegant tuning
- Precise imaging
Cons: - Strictly in-the-head soundstage
- Textureless BA bass

What is an In-ear Monitor (IEM)?

In my mind, an IEM in its purest form is a tool for musicians to hear a mix on the stage whilst protecting their hearing. Thus, a "good" IEM should be comfortable, isolating, and have a lot of clarity in the frequency band occupied by the wearer.

Westone MACH 10 hits those points harder than many IEMs that I have auditioned for a while.


- This review is based on a loaned unit from Westone via the MACH launch tour. It has been delivered to the next reviewer in the tour. Thank you @Zachik for coordination.
- I believe that great IEMs are the ones that can achieve multiple difficult things simultaneously: (1) high resolution (meaning lines of music are crisp, clear, easy to follow and full of texture), (2) 3D soundstage with a strong sense of depth, (3) bold and natural bass with physical rumble, (4) natural timbre, (5) relaxing and comfortable tonality. IEMs achieving those criteria are rated highly in my ranking list
- I rate IEMs by A/B tests them against a few benchmark IEMs, regardless of price point. If a $1000 IEM scores the same as a $100 IEM, then either the more expensive one underperforms or the budget one is a gem. See the methodology for more detail..
- I use frequency response measurements to double check my subjective impressions.
- Rating database and measurement database can be found on my IEM review blog.

Non-sound Aspects

Specs and Driveability

- DRIVERS: Single Balanced-Armature Driver
- FREQ RESPONSE: 20Hz – 18kHz
- SENSITIVITY: 103dB @1kHz
- IMPEDANCE: 80 Ohms @1kHz

Despite having only one BA driver, MACH 10 is surprisingly hard to drive. I'm not saying that you need a desktop-class amplifier, but you will need to turn the volume higher than usual. On the plus side, because of the high impedance, MACH 10 does not hiss even when you use a noisy source like Nintendo Switch.

Most of the listening tests were done with a Hidizs AP80 Pro X. I also use Fiio KA3 and Fiio BTR5 (1st gen). The IEM sounds good with all of these sources, without any noticeable difference.

Form factor and daily uses


MACH 10 is a plastic IEM with the old-school universal IEM shape and long, thin nozzles. The stability and comfort is excellent. With the right tips, these IEMs lock into my ears and completely isolate me from the surrounding environment. The reduction of bassy noise such as engine's rumble is nearly as good as active noise cancelling on my AirPods Pro. However, MACH 10 reduces mid- and high-frequencies better than any ANC solutions.

MACH 10 performs well in all of my daily usage scenarios. I have used this IEM for daily commute by bus, for daily walks in a windy park, and for background music in the office. I have also used it for monitoring my violin practice a couple times. No problem whatsoever.

In the box



MACH 10 comes in a unique box with a generous set of accessories:
- Mach 10 Universal fit in-ear Monitors
- Linum BaX™ T2 Cable
- 5 Pair Foam + 5 Pair Silicone
- Impact Resistance Monitor Vault
- Westone Audio Cloth Bag

I particularly like the case. It looks like a big and bulky case that has been zapped by a miniaturizing beam.

However, I'm not a big fan of the cable because it is worryingly thin and always tangles. I roadie wrap my IEMs before putting them in a carrying case to ensure that the cables unroll nicely and easily. Such nicety never happens with MACH 10, though. Its noodle-thin cable gets tangled badly almost every time I unpack the IEM. Very annoying.

How it sounds


Frequency response of MACH 10 against ER2SE and my preference target (big bass with tuning tricks for soundstage). Measurements were done with an IEC-711 compliant coupler and might only be compared with other measurements from this same coupler. The resonance peak was aligned at around 8kHz. Such a peak might be larger on the graph than in real life. Measurements above the resonance peak might not be accurate. Visit my graph database for more comparisons.

Tonality and Timbre: 4/5 - Good


Test tracks:
- Bon Jovi - Livin' On A Prayer Drum cover ( Tarn Softwhip ): testing tonal balance. Is there too much kick drum? Is there too little kick drum? Is there enough stick impact on the snare? Are the cymbals and high hats correct sounding? How about the toms? How about vocal?
- Delibes: Lakmé - Duo des fleurs (Flower Duet), Sabine Devieilhe & Marianne Crebassa: how natural are the vocals?
- J.S. Bach: Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 - Variatio 15 Canone alla Quinta. a 1 Clav. Andante: how natural is the piano? How is the balance between various voices in the canon? Can you hear the subtle variation in dynamic (loudness) from soft to very soft throughout the variation?
- MS Gundam Build Fighters (OST): do you hear any metallic tint in the high pitched electronic instrument at the opening? Is there any harshness? Unusual tonality? This piece should be energetic but not harsh.

Thoughtful and elegant.

MACH 10 has a neutral tuning, without the usual thinness and shoutiness that tend to accompany this kind of sound signature. It means tonality and timbre of both vocal and instruments are natural and realistic. Vocals are upfront, away from the background. However, high-pitched vocals are not shrill nor straining like usual Harman-inspired IEMs. No sibilance was heard either.

Upper treble is rolled off, so you will hear fewer airy details and reverb (which might explain why MACH 10 lacks that last bit of texture and nuances to achieve a top level resolution). The good thing is that you wouldn't hear metallic tone associated with excess upper treble energy, which is usually heard in budget single DD IEMs.

The quantity (or loudness) of bass is slightly more than the ruler-flat bass of Etymotic ER2SE. However, the added bass quantity is well balanced with the rest of the tuning, contributing only a bit of warmth to the neutral tonality rather than providing a bass boost. Therefore, if the music is not mixed with a lot of bass, MACH 10 would reflect that fact. If the mix has strong bass, MACH 10 would also respond accordingly.

In general, the tuning of MACH 10 is thoughtful, balanced, and realistic without any discomfort. It might lack some strategic dips and boosts for "special effect", but there is a sense of lightness and honesty in the tuning that is commendable. I rate tonality 4/5 - Good

Resolution, Detail, Separation: 4.5/5 - Very Good

Resolution, detail retrieval, or "technical performance" denotes how finely and crisp an IEM or headphone can reproduce audio information. Resolution manifests itself in various aspects: (1) how clear and precise the attack of musical notes are, (2) how pinpoint musical notes are in the soundstage, (3) how detailed and nuanced the decay and reverb of musical notes are, (4) how clear can you hear background elements of a mix and (5) can you hear the whole band or orchestra. A balanced tuning might help but is not a necessity for an IEM to achieve high resolution.

Test tracks:
- Sky Mubs - Now You believe in You: testing the detail of the background elements and the treble extension / air. How clear can you follow the choral section in the background before 0:50? How crisp and texture are the claps?
- Ed Sheeran: Tiny Desk (Home) Concert: visiting hours (from 14:20) is a good test for detail retrieval. How clear and distinct can you hear the chimes at the beginning? Can you hear individual chime or just a blob of high-pitched sound? How clear can you hear the backing vocal at the far sides of the soundstage?
- Vivaldi: Violin Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, RV 315 "L'estate" - III. Presto: testing resolution in complex and dense music. How easy it is to hear individual instruments? Can you hear nuances and textures in each instruments like bow catching on the strings? Can you hear the cello on the right? Can you feel the rumble of the lower strings of cello?

In overall, MACH 10 is a bit crisper than Blessing 2 (benchmark of good IEM resolution) across the frequency spectrum. The precision and sharpness of note attacks are nearly at the same level of Andromeda (benchmark of outstanding IEM resolution). The only thing MACH 10 lacks is the details in the trailing end of the tone, making the overall stereo image a bit less textured and nuanced comparing to Andromeda.

Summer - Presto:
- MACH 10 is noticeably crisper in the bass (cello) and treble region comparing to Blessing 2.
- MACH 10 does not have "wall of sound" feeling of Blessing 2. There is more space between instruments, and the instruments are pushed back a bit.
- Note attacks on MACH 10 are as crisp as on Andromeda 2020, however the stereo image painted by Andromeda is fuller and richer with details, especially in the bass region. The difference is also noticeable in the trailing end of the notes.

Tiny Desk Performance (Visiting Hours):
- The opening chimes on MACH 10 lack the last bit of clarity of separation comparing to Andromeda.
- The surface level details are close to Andromeda enough, however. For example, the backup vocals are clear and easy to follow. Just lack a little bit at the tail end of the vocal line.
- Background vocals are sharper on MACH 10 comparing to Blessing 2. The treble clarity (chimes sound) is also sharper on MACH 10, but the difference is not very stark.

Rating: Blessing 2 (4/5 - Good) < MACH 10 (4.5/5 - Very Good) < Andromeda (5/5 - Outstanding)

Percussion Rendering: 2.5/5 - Below average

Percussion rendering reflects how well the tuning and technical performance of an IEM work together to recreate realistic sound of a drum set. Good drum hits have clear attack (controlled by frequencies from 4kHz to 6kHz), full body (midbass frequencies around 200Hz), and physical sensation (subbass frequencies around 50Hz). Good technical performance ("fast" driver) ensures that bass notes can be loud yet detailed. IEMs that cannot control bass very well tend to reduce the bass' loudness to prevent muddiness.

Test tracks:
- Finale (William Tell Overture): How rhythmic the whole orchestra sound? Can you follow the drums clearly? How about the rhythm carried by the string and brass section? Can you hear texture and detail in the drum or just mushy thump thump sound?
- Bon Jovi - It's My Life Drum Cover ( Tarn Softwhip ): How powerful is the kick drum? How clean are the stick impacts? Is there rumble and decay ("brrrm")? How clear are the patterns played on the cymbals? Do the drums energise you?
- Proof of a Hero - Rise Version: This track tests only one thing: can the battle drums hype you up to pick up your longsword and chase some wyverns?

There is not much to talk about the percussion rendering of MACH 10. The stick impacts are fast and snappy as you would expect. Surprisingly, there is also a clear "thump" sound with kick drums. However, the body, the rumbling sensation, and texture of the bass is not there. You can hear enough bass to keep the rhythm, but there is not enough quantity and dynamic contrast to energise you.

Rating: ER2SE (2/5 - Lacking) < MACH 10 (2.5/5 - Below average) < Aria (3/5 - Average)

Stereo Imaging (Soundstage): 3.5/5 - Above Average

Stereo imaging or "soundstage" is a psychoacoustic illusion that different elements of a recording appear at different locations inside and around your head. Your brain creates based on the cues such as the loudness and phase differences between left and right channel. Most IEMs do not differ significantly nor can compete with headphones or loudspeakers. However, some IEMs offer a more spacious soundstage than others. Best IEMs can create multiple layers sound from closer to further away and make some instrument floating slight above your head.

Test tracks:
- We are the world(3:00 onward): This song shows some excellent stereo imaging. Can you hear soloist upfront whilst the choir is pushed further away to the background? Can you hear one choir to the left and further to the back whilst the other to the right and a bit closer to you?
- Eine kleine Nachtmusik - I. Allegro: Listen for the clear direction of each instrument in the string quartet throughout the piece. You should also be able to hear cello locating closer to than the violin 1.
- I vow to thee, my country: This song is an excellent test for layering. Can you hear the boy choir standing in front of the men choir or they are on the same flat plane?

MACH 10 is unmistakenly IEM in terms of soundstage and imaging. The center image (main vocals and instruments) almost always locates in your head. The soundstage rarely extends beyond your head, even with large orchestral recordings. As a result, listening to MACH 10 feels like listening to a tiny concert hall within your head.

Despite not having a large soundstage, MACH 10 does an excellent job in terms of instrument placement and layering. It's easy to pin point the direction of different instruments in a mix. Thanks to the slight warmth in the lower frequencies and the excellent resolution, MACH 10 is also successful in terms of layering instruments from closer to further away, creating a sense of 3D depth to the soundstage.

Rating: Aria (3/5 - Average) < MACH 10 (3.5/5 - Above Average) < A4000 (4/5 - Good)



An IEM in its purest form. That's the best way I can describe Westone MACH 10. It is comfortable, highly isolating, outstandingly resolving, and elegantely tuned. There was no attempt to pretend that its soundstage is wider or deeper than what an IEM form factor can provide.

Should you get MACH 10? At AUD $450, this IEM faces a strong competition that includes Fiio FD5, FH5s and FA7s, Final Audio E5000, Dunu Vulkan, and of course Moondrop Blessing 2. The decision to get MACH 10 depends a great deal on what you want from your IEM. If you are looking for a straightforward, well-tuned, isolating, and comfortable IEM, MACH 10 gets a recommendation with reservation from this reviewer.
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Musical, Analytical, Coherent, & Honest?
Pros: Tonal balance
Organic timbre
Build quality
Cons: It may sound dull to some
Detail retrieval
Sound Stage
High impedance (80 ohms)

Tonality: 5.3/9
Technicalities: 5/9
Preference: 6/9
Total Score: 5.4/9 (C+)

(star rating is for the price to performance)

(total 6 mins read)

I never had a chance to experience any of Westone’s products but I’ve read a lot about them from time to time. They manufacture a large number of audiology-related products ranging from hearing protection, clinical & audiological supplies, custom communication & hearing healthcare earpieces, and most importantly in-ear monitors for professional musicians and audiophiles. Established in America back in 1959, Westone is undoubtedly one of a few professional auditory-related brands that have gained legendary status for their contribution to society.

Recently they have released the MACH series of IEMs consisting of 8 new models into the market specifically for working musicians & professionals. The main difference is in the driver configuration starting from MACH 10 which comes with a single full-range balanced armature and up to MACH 80 with 8 balanced armatures in total. I have received MACH 10 & 20 for the Asia & Australia tour and I can say that they’re very similar in terms of build and package. I believe all of them have almost the same housing construction and packaging except for different cables starting from MACH 40 that comes with Linum SuperBaX and Linum UltraBaX cable for MACH 70 & 80. The difference between the cables is in the number of wires & resistance rate as stated on the official website.

Despite being related to Etymotic via Lucid Audio (both Etymotic & Westone are acquired by Lucid Audio), Westone is still opting for the same old shell design with some minor re-constructions for this new MACH series. The build is quite good, they are plastic, and they almost weigh nothing. The accessories are as expected including 5 pairs of foam and 5 pairs of silicone ear tips, a crushproof & watertight mini case, a Westone audio cloth bag, and the very thin & almost non-microphonic Linum BaX T2 silver-plated copper cable. So far, I like the presentation here with nothing to complain about.

Westone may be a giant back then (for the lack of competition), but currently, the fast-fashion market is filled with mountains of brands and products to choose from. Minus the target crowd, at a $299 price tag, can MACH 10 compete in the whole earphone market?

*this unit was provided by Westone as part of their Asia & Australia tour and I thank @Zachik & Westone for including me in the tour. all words are 100% mine


On subjective listening, the sound signature of MACH 10 can be described as neutral with a bass boost. The tuning is well-balanced and natural-sounding but definitely lacking in both low & high extensions. I believe MACH 10 is meant for moderate loudness audio playback as per its driver configuration & high impedance rating suggested.

my preferred signature is neutral with a bass boost, with an exception for a little warm-tilted, or mild V-shaped but honestly, I'm a "signature agnostic" because anything can work. I listen to mostly EVERYTHING but currently lusting more on the modern sub-genres of Jazz, Progressive Rock & Metal, Drone, Noise Rock, No Wave, Minimalism, Totalism, modern recording of Chamber, Orchestra, Concerto, or Modern Classical at large.

I think the treble of MACH 10 is a love-or-hate situation depending on where one’s coming from or which type of stock ear tip one’s using. The level is at a bare minimum condition, or I could say it’s very safe. At most times, I find it lacking actual bite or sparkle in the presence & top end area to give a better definition to the overtones or instruments that fundamentally reside in the treble area such as hi-hat and cymbal. I guess the depression is starting from around 3kHz and upward. Even so, the treble is so smooth without any hint of “BA grain” or distortion. Smoothest and the most natural-sounding balanced armature treble I’ve ever heard. At times, I also feel like this is how a treble should sound like. No emphasis or boost for a better perception of detail.

The midrange response is perhaps the best attribute of this earphone. It's neutral and natural-sounding with a good note density across the range. Vocal reproduction is bold and forward. The electrical guitar sounds like an electrical guitar, the piano sounds like a piano, and nothing sounds out of place, thin, or colored. I have nothing to complain about the midrange as it’s pretty well-done in my opinion.

The bass amount is not plenty nor really lacking. The whole quantity is just right for a neutral response to be “alive”. Although roughly it’s lacking in the sub-bass region, I can still feel the semi-deep rumble and weight when called for. Honestly, I really like to listen to soundtracks with this set. Titles like 2049 by Hans Zimmer & Benjamin Wallfisch, Hand Covers Bruise by Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross, and Ryuichi Sakamoto & Alva Noto’s The Revenant Main Theme are among my favorites.

The mid-bass section is ample with punch and kick as needed. It's borderline warm and lean. Every kick is clean with a smooth edge to make it appear “musical” while being semi-analytical at the same time. It doesn’t really sound like a balanced armature bass but not quite like a dynamic driver, so, it’s somewhere in between I suppose. It's quite impressive what a single balanced armature can do. Everything is in unity and sings in harmony.

I think everything is pretty well-done except perhaps the treble where I prefer a tad more presence and air response, but that's just me. Nevertheless, it’s not the worst treble. I believe the treble response is also related to the insertion depth which directly affects the treble peaks whereas MACH 10 is not physically possible to go as deep as Etymotic earphones. So, the key importance for the best response here is to get the best insertion depth or a good proper seal with the right ear tips. Overall, from a consumer perspective, MACH 10 is tonally not-wrong with very minor things to fault. Ear-tip tip: long foam tip for the best response!


Technicalities +
Despite the fact that it has an almost perfectly natural-neutral response, the transient attack of MACH 10 is a bit blunt as it also feels like the transient decay of the lows is purposedly prolonged for a more “natural” sound reproduction. As a consequence, I think the “naturalness” of the bass benefited from this. Resolution-wise, MACH 10 is pretty good with the exception of its detail retrieval. I don’t want people to get confused between resolution and detail, so let me explain a bit.

When compared to highly resolving IEMs like ThieAudio Monarch MKii, the glaring difference mostly is in the detail retrieval other than in the imaging department. I need to drop down the volume of Monarch MKii to match the loudness of MACH 10 for an impartial comparison. While not as near as Monarch MKii, the resolution of MACH 10 is considered pretty good for a miniature-sized image (in this case, the size of the note). The decay of bass is smoothed while retaining the sharp transient attack of the treble that rolls off as quickly as the treble usually does. This is believed to be related to the tuning because as a single balanced armature unit, it behaves wholly unlike one. And while treble quantity is also related to the perception of detail, it doesn’t account for pure resolution. So, I hope that explains.

Imaging is considerably good but not as near as true 3-dimensional or holographic even. Instrument localization is fair with decent separation and layering capability. It doesn’t mean that it has poor clarity but just not enough to hammer out an articulate positional cue for better-concentrated imaging. While doing fine on imaging, it’s rather average or narrow on sound staging that’s more like a reverse ‘U’ shape in front of my face, but I bet not many IEMs out there that excel in staging too. Overall, there’s not much to say about the imaging department besides the presentation is in between average to decent as much as all I can say about its most intangible aspect.

Here is where I think MACH 10 stumble. It feels a little bit compressed in terms of dynamics, especially nuances of the treble response. I find MACH 10 is striving to scale greatly as noticeable in tracks like Mozart: Die Zauberflote, K. 620, Act 2: “Der Holle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen” by Patricia Petibon, Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble’s Tin Pan Alley, and Muddy Waters’ My Home Is in The Delta. I also find “post-loudness war” or modern productions sound much better than most live recordings or analog music in terms of dynamics. This occurrence highlights the dynamic issue of this set, especially on micro dynamics. It’s not awfully bad yet not good enough. Music that is required to scale flawlessly for all the nuances and subtleties struggles the most. There’s also a lack of headroom where everything feels crammed together with less to no room for the music to breathe.



Etymotic ER2SE - $100

Compared to Etymotic ER2SE, tonally speaking, ER2SE is very neutral that also might appear bright to some people. As we all know, ER2SE is a flat-response dynamic driver in-ear monitor (or “canalphone” as dubbed by the community) that requires a proper deep insertion to get the best overall response. (I don’t quite agree that it’s a Diffuse Field target, but I digress). Isolation is so much better with deep insertion which also helps to give more “agreeable” overtones for music playback, but that doesn’t mean MACH 10 sounds wrong. I honestly dig both of the tunings; I could say they have a superbly neutral and natural tonal balance where ER2SE is the true natural-neutral whereas MACH 10 is organic-neutral with a bass boost that makes it sounds fuller.

Resolution is “bigger” on MACH 10, accompanied by better detail retrieval, a proper note weight, and a better sense of depth while ER2SE has slightly better imaging although it feels boosted because of the treble. The transient decay on ER2SE is more realistic especially for bass & drum reproduction while MACH 10 is slightly faster and better textured. MACH 10 is definitely a few small steps ahead in terms of overall technical performance and for an additional $199, it’s firmly an upgrade for ER2SE even though not as dynamic and punchy as the latter.

Moondrop Blessing 2 - $320
For an additional $20, multi-driver hybrid sensation Moondrop Blessing 2 offers a slightly different kind of neutral tuning that’s leaning towards a brighter tonality. Some might also find it mild V-shaped in the signature as well. It's definitely not as coherent as MACH 10 where Blessing 2 feels a bit disjointed at the mid-bass and particularly in the treble area, but it does offer a fuller and tonally-correct sound at a higher loudness level. Even so, Blessing 2’s treble might appear boosted or “unnatural” that comes with a mild BA grain that can be harsh at times. Tonally, I can commend both of them and prefer one above another depending on the music, though I find Blessing 2 a tad bright when put straight head-to-head with MACH 10. One might also find MACH 10 a bit dull coming from a brighter set like Blessing 2.

Instrument localization and separation are distinctly visible with a better sense of depth & a wider stage presentation on Blessing 2, whereas MACH 10 boasts a more “oneness” & compact presentation that’s quite realistic & believable when putting attention to it. I think both of them respectively have an almost similar imaging density in their own way with Blessing 2 appearing slightly leaner and perhaps displaying enhanced perceived details while MACH 10 is simply organic. I’m giving Blessing 2 extra points for the overall technical performance and for its finer dynamic range. One might find MACH 10 to be a more natural earphone but I think most people would rather add another $20 for Blessing 2 for its majority-pleasing tuning & high technical chops.

Etymotic EVO - $499
I know this is not a fair comparison based on the price tag (because I don’t have any of the ER4 series) but just to give a picture of where they’re at. EVO is tonally more accurate and crisper yet also microscopically smoother on the edges. It boasts more presence that gives proper overtones of lower frequency instruments towards realism. Both produce a transparent, uncolored playback in their own way where it’s cleaner with sure-footed sub-bass on EVO and warmer presentation on MACH 10, yet both of them have equal pleasantness to my ears.

MACH 10 is more cohesive as a unit where the whole frequency seems so well-attached or simply seamless even though EVO is extremely coherent as a multi-driver unit. It feels like I’m listening to a single balanced armature with EVO while MACH 10 sounds like a single dynamic driver. So far, I love the presentation of both sets although EVO had a great deal of my attention most of the time. I believe the longer nozzle of EVO also plays a big part in getting a deeper insertion, better seal, and thus better frequency response other than the tuning itself.

Although not a top-tier material, EVO’s resolution is still pretty good and technically many steps ahead of MACH 10 in almost all aspects. One of its obvious superior traits is the dynamic scaling ability. EVO exhibits good macro & micro dynamics with timely control and polished nuances that make it appear vibrant & energetic between the two. EVO’s faster transient attack gives a more “analytical” experience compared to MACH 10 while still maintaining a fundamental magnitude of musicality. The sound stage is almost similar but imaging is way better that’s quite holographic with finer instrument separation & layering compared to MACH 10. Although in the real world, I wouldn’t label EVO as “holographic” for imaging. Overall, I’d say EVO is definitely an upgrade for MACH 10 though I still find it a bit steep for some small improvements. Perhaps MACH 30 is a better opponent to EVO?

MACH 20 - $399
The difference between MACH 10 and 20 is very audible in terms of tonality alone. MACH 20 has a better presence & bass response with proper loudness proportion across the frequency response that makes it tonally more pleasant to my ears. The bass on MACH 20 has more authority that’s better textured and also capable to separate sub-bass and mid-bass eloquently. I think MACH 10 has better midrange quality that’s more forward and bolder but that’s pretty much about it. In terms of overall balance, MACH 20 is definitely the superior set between the two.

Imaging is slightly denser and sharper. The sound stage is slightly larger with more headroom and air to breathe. In general, MACH 20 is like a step ahead in technical performance, and probably 3 steps ahead overall except for instrument separation where I think MACH 10 is just very slightly “holographic”. Anyway, it sounds much better coming from MACH 10 to MACH 20, but in the bigger picture, they are so much alike. Is MACH 20 worth the upgrade? I think I need to answer that once I’ve listened to MACH 30 for a firm conclusion, or else, any of them works fine.


It’s understandable why Westone did this kind of super safe-tuning approach for the “budget” set of the new series. It’s evident that MACH 10 is free from any sibilance or listening fatigue for long hours of usage which will greatly benefit professionals & audiophiles alike. It’s tonally smooth and pleasant at a moderate loudness, although it might get shouty when cranked, that also depends on the amplification as its high impedance rating suggested.

In the technical department, MACH 10 confidently shows that treble is not always equal to resolution. The resolution is pretty good considering only a single balanced armature is doing all the work. It makes me question my choice of IEMs for music listening, again and again, every time I’m trying to compare them to MACH 10. However, at times, I also feel like it’s missing something in the line which I cannot truly explain except all that I’ve said above. It worked for me in the studio and I don't think it's going to be a problem on stage. I can say that I might get myself a pair of MACH 10s for the love of neutral & naturalness even though it seems a bit overpriced and late to compete at this age.

Last but not least, those who love Etymotic ER2, ER3, or ER4 (especially XR) but don’t like the fitting, might want to consider MACH 10 because of its much more comfortable fit.

Purchase Westone MACH 10 here

Tidal / Apple Music via LG G7 / Macbook Pro with/without Ovidius B1 / Hidizs S9 Pro
Tidal / Foobar2000 (FLAC) via Topping EX5 with/without Aune X7s or Aune S7 Pro

key songs+:
Será Una Noche – Taquito Militar
Eddie Daniels – Baião Malandro
Patricia Petibon - Mozart: Der Zauberflöte – Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen

Sinne Eeg – We've Just Begun
Cécile McLorin Salvant - Ghost Song
Ryan Gosling & Emma Stone - A Lovely Night

Muddy Waters – My Home Is in The Delta
Stevie Ray Vaughan – Tin Pan Alley
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Red Right Hand

Scott Walker – Corps De Blah
Swans – Lunacy
Zu - Carbon

My Disco – A Christ Pendant Comfort Her Neck
Arab On Radar - God is Dad
Shellac - Crow

Mastodon – The Wolf Is Loose
Fear Before the March of Flames – High as a Horse
Botch - Japam

ANOHNI - Drone Bomb Me
Slowdive - Star Roving
The Shins - Simple Song

Radiohead - Idioteque
TheFatRat - Warbringer (feat. Lindsey Stirling)
Massive Attack - Unfinished Sympathy

Justin Bieber - Holy (fear. Chance the Rapper)
Lizzo - About Damn Time
Kylie Minogue - Real Groove
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500+ Head-Fier
Single Driver Wonder
Pros: -
- Natural and neutral sound curve
- Organic timbre
- Top notch technicalities
- Amazing resolution
- Professional look and feel, very solidly built, lightweight too
- Very ergonomic shell design, comfortable and non intrusive
- Premium packaging
Cons: -
- Need power to sound the best (80 Ohm!)
- LINUM® ESTRON BaX™ Cable thin construction may not work for some
- With some source partner, soundstage could use a bit more of width
- NOT for Bassheads
- Not mine...lol


  • This unit was provided by Westone as part of the Asian/Australasia Tour
  • The test unit has undergone over at least 150 hours of playtime
  • I don't do measurements, I just describe what I hear, from my own POV
  • I don't use EQ
  • The entirety of my impressions was done with Westone Stock foam tips
  • Ultimately, my reviews are purely subjective and biased to my personal preference in sound
  • CEntrance DACport HD
  • Cayin RU6
  • Ovidius B1
  • NotByVE Avani/Abigail
  • Xiaomi Mi 9T
  • HiBy Music Player (USB Exclusive Mode)
  • Windows 10
  • FLAC Lossless Files
Quick Overview

Westone Audio is no stranger to the world of In Ear Monitors, and this time they are making big bold move with the introduction of MACH series. From MACH 10 to 80, all designed to cater for varying needs of the ever insatiable audiophiles.

As a lifelong Etyhead, I was very excited when Westone offered the opportunity to test and review their new MACH lineup. With the merger of Etymotic and Westone under one umbrella company, I believe things can only get better. MACH series will be tasked at showcasing the refinement brought with that merger.

For this review, I am focusing on both MACH 10 and 20.

The Build

The design approach for MACH 10 is all about professional looks and feel. No fanciful bling, it is rather simple with matte grey acrylic shells that prioritize ear ergonomic and lightweight build - which in turn offers very comfortable experience for extended listening sessions. I have been able to wear my MACH 10 for hours on end - totally free of any fatigue element to either my ear cavities or skin abrasiveness.

Being one of the "old players" in the IEM scene, Westone opted to keep MACH 10 with slim nozzle as can be similarly observed with the likes of Etymotic and Shure. Which means MACH 10 can be regarded as one of the few IEMs that fall into the "deep insert" category. However, over-the-ear design means that MACH 10 does not require as deep an insertion as how an Ety ER series would, more like Shure sort of style. Nonetheless, I am very familiar with this design and actually like it a lot. For one, it will allow for usage of thicker foam tips material which will then offer better isolation and focus. I don't know precisely how many dB of noise suppression number does MACH10 offers, but I can vouch that it does work great to isolate external noises even on busy outdoors.

MACH 10 runs on Westone own proprietary single full range balanced-armature driver. There's 35+ years of tuning innovation behind that single BA, something of which both Westone and Ety shared in common since they became siblings.

Rated at 80 Ohm, MACH 10 is no child's play, it is rather high for any IEMs especially when we look around and see many other brands seemingly obsessed with making 8 to 24 Ohm units. At the very least, the sensitivity level are a bit more common at 103 dB. In comparison, the Etys are normally set at 96 dB. By this reckoning, MACH 10 is expected to shine really well with high VRMS.

MACH 10 comes with LINUM® ESTRON BaX™ cable. Markedly thin and seemingly flimsy looking, it is easy to assume that this noodle of a cable could be easily damaged. But that's not the case. This is my second encounter with LINUM cable, the first one being Etymotic EVO. They are designed as such to offer ultralight experience. Whenever I wear them over my ears, they will then disappear instantly, imparting near weightless experience that contribute to the overall comfort for prolonged usage.

To complete it all, MACH 10 comes with great options on tips selection. I am definitely loving the new design foam tips which offer superb density and comfort. The slow rebound foam material is probably the best I have tried yet. When compressed (easily with my fingers), they rebound slowly and gracefully to adjust to the shape of my ear canals. Any Ety or Shure deep insert IEMs would already be familiar with this ritual. The seal after the foam tips settled in is crucial for getting the best sonic performances as it is equally important to ensure comfort.

Last but not least, MACH 10 also includes very useful accessories like a crushproof and watertight mini monitor vault, cleaning tool and a soft-cloth bag.

Sound Impressions

The entirety of my sound impressions were done with MACH 10 stock Foam Tips (M)

Sound Impressions


Natural and neutral - that's how I would describe the overall sound signature of MACH10. Perhaps not as dead flat as the Diffused Field Neutral of Etymotic ER4SR, more like edging closer to ER2XR territory - somewhere in between, if that makes any sense. Which means that, being neutral, MACH 10 is organically natural sounding for a BA unit. MACH 10, at least to my hearing ability, is superbly well balanced throughout the dynamic range to not exhibit any coloration beyond what is realistic. Dynamic transients appeared polished and mature, the hallmark of a unit that has undergone extensive tuning to control dynamic vibrancy that focuses more on accuracy, yet still engaging enough with proper level of fun element that is free from euphonic attack. It is fluid, graceful and resolving.
Tonal wise, MACH 10 sounded believable - properly organic and free of any metallic sheen that can sometimes be associated with BA implementations.


Clean and concise, no nonsense Mids. Totally free of any hint of coloration, the staging of Mids being natural. There's no hint of added warmth. As mentioned above, MACH 10 offers organic tone and timbre, and it starts here with the Mids. Clarity, accuracy and texture seems to be the primary attribute. Perhaps being critical, the attack tone being very slightly less energetic than what I am getting from the likes of Etymotic ER4SR - which in turn also means MACH 10 a tad smoother and less edgy depending on what I am listening too. So is this a Con? to me no. Just a little adjustment on my ears to appreciate the more organic tone (something which I have developed a taste for recently). What is more important, the resolved details of Mids remained intact. Absolutely free of any fuzziness or dull decays.
Transparency being top notch. I am hearing realistic notes from instruments be it stringed, percussions or even electronics. Piano and cello notes from Diana Krall outfit appeared lifelike, intimate and believable. The same can be said of Kitaro's percussions ensemble. For guitar riffs geek like me, I am hearing crisp yet smooth output from the likes of Pelican and Russian Circles instrumental recordings.
Still on the same neutral and natural theme, vocals as heard through MACH 10 is as engaging as it should be. It handle all type of vocals with proper accuracy and transparency. Sinne Eeg, Diana Krall, Nick Cave, Morrissey, Madonna or even Varg Vickernes, all sounded properly rich and realistic - it does not matter male or female. Contralto, Soprano, Baritone or anything else in between, I have found that MACH 10 offers amazing versatility to project them all naturally.


MACH 10 Treble is one of the few examples of how a well behaved high frequency presentation should sound like. Maybe, just maybe for some the Treble would appear less pronounced as when compared to natively bright sounding units. But being less pronounced does not mean it lacks extensions and details. The general theme of Treble being well controlled to emit just the right amount of shimmer and sparkle. Just enough air and energy. The attack and decays being crisp yet smooth, realistic. Okay, perhaps I find the decays just a little bit rolled off, but only if I am to compare it with the likes of Shure KSE1500 or Venture Electronics Duke (both of which are peerless with Treble performances).
What matter the most to me, it is free from any element of sibilance and annoying peaky spikes. Even the most splashy of percussions, they never appear offensive. Always sounding realistic, properly metallic for cymbals and hi hats. Even the most aggressive of percussions, be it Kitaro, or Black Metal recordings (Burzum, Darkthrone etc.), I get polished and mature Treble performances - it is airy, smooth, crisp, realistic and well behaved. Treble micro details all presented with subtle yet resolved clarity, the definition being succinct and clean.
Simply put. MACH 10 offers versatile Treble performances across all genre from Acoustical, Classical, Rock, Pop, Metal, Electronic etc.


Now, for a relatively neutral sounding IEM, MACH 10 is surprisingly engaging with Bass. Well it is still not a Basshead unit, that's for sure. But what MACH 10 does offer, good tidy body mass of Bass which is fast and crisp - very polished and well controlled especially the Mid-Bass. Sub-Bass may not be as deep sounding as would be observed from Harman or V curved tuning, but it offers realistic sense of seismic sensations with respectable depth of extensions, smooth edged dispersal. MACH 10 Bass is admirably versatile and flexible, be it stringed Bass, percussions Bass and even Electronic Bass, MACH 10 handles them all adeptly. Playing Russian Circles "Harper Lewis" I am greeted with solid Mid-Bass thump from both the percussions and stringed Bass, vibrantly tidy and engaging, crisp edged decays with admirable texture transitions between Mid-Bass and Sub-Bass - not a hint of anything out of place, always natural sounding. Switching to KRAFTWERK "Radio-Aktivität", Hans Zimmer "Mombasa" and Controlled Bleeding "Now is The Time", electronic Bass presented with very solid and fast seismic sensations, the sort of Bass that is also felt as it is heard, perhaps not as strong compared to other Basshead Harman or V tuned IEMs. But the important thing is, MACH 10 will also never be risked with bloated Bass even as the density gets thicker.


On top of being organically musical, MACH 10 also proved to be exceedingly great with technicalities. The strengths, it is very resolving, transparent and disciplined with separation lines. The staging of sound, spatial positioning and imaging being holographically precise and tidy. It is effortless to track individual notes, no matter how complex the layering are.
If I am to nitpick, I wish that the width of soundstage could be a tad wider. It does have proper depth and height, but perhaps being a "deep insert" IEM making it hard for soundstage width to be wider than it already is - a common trait also to be found with the likes of Etymotic ER series and Shure IEMs.
Paramount to me personally, MACH 10 is a speed demon. Super fast responses to resolve even the most complex of passages with deft agility. Equally fast to handle outright speedy pace as well, no issues at all managing over 200 BPM tracks (Speed, Black, Thrash Metal recordings). With MACH 10, there will be no chance for things to get muddy. The resolving power and responses are just top notch - provided that there's enough power from the source to keep the pace.


At 80 Ohm, I make this simple. MACH 10 is NOT to be paired with weak sources. 1 Vrms and below, the output will only reflect 70-80% of what it is capable of. The good thing is, nowadays we have lots of options with 2-4 Vrms of DAC/Amps even in the form of USB dongles, most of them quite capable of emitting above 200 mW of wattage.

The entirety of my listening sessions with MACH 10, 99% done with 4.7 Vrms VE Megatron, 4.1 Vrms CEntrance DACport HD, 2 Vrms Cayin RU6 and Ovidius B1. The best output being from VE Megatron and DACport HD (both over 4 Vrms of sheer power).

With High Impedance, there's also a side benefit. MACH 10 will NEVER pick up any floor noises like most of the stupidly low impedance IEMs we see flooding the market. Even with VE Megatron and Ovidius B1 (both of which are notoriously noisy with highly sensitive IEMs), I am hearing super clean background.


Final Thoughts ❤
By now, it is quite evident I am super impressed with this MACH 10. Being a lifelong hardcore user of Etys, I find many similar attributes MACH 10 offers that is close to my heart. Neutral and natural sound is what I treasure the most, and while at it, MACH 10 ability to keep it respectably organic is icing on the cake. On top of that, being technically competent on all areas that matters the most, making MACH 10 an IEM to be reckoned with.
MACH 10 does have some minor Cons, but they are nowhere near being a deal breaker at all. Not to me at least. I wished that there's a bit more of width with soundstage, but other than that, literally I can't find any faults to dwell on. Not from a single BA unit especially. MACH 10 made me ponder, if a single BA can still be tuned as adeptly as this, why bother with multiple BAs altogether? but hey, that would be selfish of me with that mindset. Just because I feel that way, it does not mean it is definitive, we humans are governed by our own different ability and sensitivity to sound appreciation yes? What is for sure, I love what I am hearing from this MACH 10.

Ultimately, all things considered, Westone Audio MACH 10 is a no brainer 5 stars performer in my book.


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Wait did I just skim this whole "review" and never see a price mentioned? No wonder, google says $299, Westone's new owner continuing their high priced ways $$$

The LINUM ESTRON BaX cable alone cost around 100 bucks and is worth every penny, so 200 bucks for the IEM minus the hard case and tips is not the worst deal IMHO, if the sound signature is well tuned and the build quality is fine.
Excellent review. Loved the last con in particular. LOL. 😂


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