Westone Audio MACH 20

General Information


Featuring big and punchy low end, MACH 20 offers a quality soundstage and listening experience meant for any audience.
The MACH 20 features a proprietary dual-driver system with single low, single mid/high.


  • DRIVERS: Dual Balanced-Armature Drivers
  • FREQ RESPONSE: 20Hz – 18kHz
  • SENSITIVITY: 110dB @1kHz
  • IMPEDANCE: 96 Ohms @1kHz

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Reviewer at Ear Fidelity
Westone MACH 20
Pros: Very comfortable
Good finish
Easy to drive
Fatigue-free sound
Cons: Dark/veiled
Plastic build
The value is average



Like iPhone is the product you think of when someone tells smartphone, or Jeep Wrangler when someone tells about the off-road vehicle, like the Westone products are the ones when someone tells about on-stage in-ear monitors.

The company was established in 1959, almost 40 years ago they invented the first in-ear musicians’ monitors and the first balanced armature driver as well, that’s a serious heritage. Without them, we probably couldn’t enjoy thousands of different IEMs, which for us, the Ear Fidelity crew, would be a big loss, because we all are big fans of Hi-Fi on the go.

Today’s reviewed gear is the second lowest IEM from Westone’s latest universal series – MACH. What’s interesting, each piece from the series looks exactly the same, the only difference is the number on the left earpiece, from 10 to 80, the biggest difference is the internals, from a single balanced armature in MACH 10 to eight drivers in MACH 80. If you’re willing to spend more money, you can read Michał’s review of MACH 60 here, but if you’re interested in the “entry-level” model (at least in terms of the Westone MACH series), then keep reading this review.

Packaging, Tech and Comfort​


I’ve received the MACH 20 in a sample package – zip lock bag and bubble wrap to secure the earpieces. Unfortunately, I can’t say anything about the retail packaging from my perspective, the only thing is Michał’s report from CanJam, where he was talking with the Westone representative.

So when you will buy the headphone, inside the box you will find a big selection of tips (silicone and foam ones), a Pelican case (the original one), a cloth, a cable, and the IEM. The case is great, it’s fully waterproof and very durable, it would probably have survived a plane crash.

The cable is, and it’s the only positive thing I can write about it. It’s got proprietary connectors, so you can’t replace it with aftermarket options. It’s very thin, but the manufacturer claims it’s durable as well. It’s also not the softest cable I’ve ever used. But let’s stop bullying the cable, let’s move to better parts of the headphone.

So now the tech, MACH 20 has 2 balanced armatures in each earpiece. The sensitivity is rated at 110dB and the impedance is about 96 Ohms. That’s all you can read on the website, it ain’t much technical-marketing bs on their website, but it’s a gear for the professionals. They only need IEMs to be comfortable and don’t color the sound too much. In that use case, Westone IEM works very well, I could sit listening to them for hours (I think I also could jump, workout, or dance and the IEM would keep in my ears, but I’m lazy AF, so I didn’t test them properly in that scenario), about the sound I will write later, but it’s fine as well.

Design and Build Quality​


As I wrote above, Westone MACH 20 shares the shell design with other representatives of the MACH series. The build quality is pretty good, for $400 you’re receiving the build quality of the headphone that is worth $1600 – that’s a deal (as I mentioned above MACH 80 has exactly the same shell design as MACH 20). The earphone is made of good quality plastic, unfortunately, the description on the website is brief and there is no mention of the type of materials used. The finish of the earpieces is superb, you can see the lines where shells are separated, but it’s fitted so tight that I can’t nearly feel it with my fingertips.

On the inside part of the shell, there is a Westone logo, red on the right shell and blue on the left one. Thanks to it, the recognition of the channels is super easy. I wish more manufacturers would use similar methods to differentiate the earpieces – a simple solution for first-world problems.

What’s worth to mention, the nozzle is very narrow, so if you have an issue that most headphones are too big to fit your ear canal, then the MACH series can solve the problem. You may wonder why most manufacturers produce so large nozzles. That’s because maybe it’s not the most comfortable for users, but definitely easier to implement for sound engineers, but engineers from Westone have nearly half a century of experience in designing IEMs and they know a lot of tricks on how to make earphones sound and fit perfectly.



I’ve written that the biggest difference between IEMs from the MACH series is the number of drivers, but this implies the sound difference is huge as well. There are plenty of sound signatures in the lineup, but today’s review star – MACH 20 is the bassy one.

Let’s start with the bass, which sounds like a typical bass reproduced by balanced armature drivers. What does it mean? It’s very fast and precise, but it roll-off quickly, so the sub-bass isn’t audible properly. Normally when I’m listening to warm-sounding headphones, it’s safe to choose some electronic music like French 79, or Crooked Colours, but due to the character of the sub-bass, I had a problem because this kind of music loses a lot, when it’s not powerful enough.

The midrange is recessed, but it still has an amazing texture and it’s very natural. While listening you need to focus on it, otherwise, it will be overwhelmed with the lower frequencies. The way it’s being reproduced with MACH 20 favors the instruments and vocals in the lower midrange. That is why Agnes Obel probably won’t show you what these headphones can do, but Nick Cave in “Where the Wild Roses Grow” makes me goose-flesh. His voice is full-bodied with an amazing timbre.


And the last, unfortunately, the least as well – the treble is very warm and recessed. The details are lacking as well. If you’re looking for a headphone to put your listening experience on the next level in terms of the resolution and details in the top end of the audible frequency range, then keep searching, because it sounds like it’s covered with a fluffy blanket, or from behind a heavy, beefy veil. If you would like to joy your ears with the sound of cymbals in “Dronning Fjelrose” by Hoff ensemble & Helene Bøksle then there are a couple of better IEMs available on the market, but if you are looking for an IEM that you can listen to to even terribly produced songs for hours, then go for it.

Okay, I hurried up, and nearly forgot about the soundstage, which is realized in a very correct way. Nothing fancy, but also nothing wrong, depth, width, and height are pretty similar so no direction is too far nor too close, the positioning is good as well. I don’t have anything to complain about here. My reference song for checking the soundstage is “Bubbles” by Yosi Horikawa, and what can I say? It sounds as I could expect, the dimensions aren’t as wide and deep as when played back with HiFiMan Susvara, but the layers of the sound are pretty impressive.


Craft Ears Four


Craft Ears 4 is a Polish CIEM fitted with 4 balanced armature drivers, priced at €625 (price in US dollars should be similar). In terms of design, it’s hard to compare, because when ordering CE4 no matter if universal or custom fit, you can completely customize the design of the shells, but it’s made with 3D printed resin. When comparing with CE4 universal fit the biggest difference is the nozzle diameter, more popular among IEMs, so if you already have some aftermarket ear tips, you will be able to utilize them, but it won’t fit the very narrow ear canal, then the only solution will be custom in-ear monitor made from your immersions.
Now the sound, when I used Craft Ears 4 for the first time, I couldn’t believe there are only balanced armature drivers inside.
The bass is very powerful and fast and it can go very low, like it was produced with a dynamic driver, in that case, CE4 is out of the reach of Westone MACH 20, which also reproduces very fast and powerful bass, but the lowest end nearly doesn’t exist.
The midrange, in this regard both headphones are not the greatest. The midrange of both IEMs is recessed, but the way it’s reproduced is slightly different. The CE4 is very technical, and the midrange is very detailed and well-textured, while Westone MACH 20 has a warmer and smoother midrange, with more charming vocals.
The treble, huh, that’s tough. The comparison to this place was pretty even, but regarding the highest frequencies, I can write that the Craft Ears 4 is amazing – very detailed, but perfectly balanced so it’s very pleasant to listen to, while Westone MACH 20 is definitely not tiring, but if you’re looking for good resolution, then pick CE4.
When comparing the soundstage we can see two different approaches, MACH 20 reproduces the soundstage ultimately precisely, while Craft Ears 4 does it more spectacularly. The soundstage of the Polish IEM is way wider and slightly deeper, but the positioning isn’t as precise as while using MACH 20.

Westone MACH 60


Westone MACH 60 is a universal in-ear monitor priced at $1099. In terms of build quality it’s exactly the same gear, if someone blindfolded you, and asked to determine which IEM is which without listening to them, you would probably have a big problem.

In terms of sound they differ completely, MACH 60 has a balanced signature, while MACH 20 is warm and bassy.

The bass of the 60s is definitely not as pushed forward as one of the 20s, but both lack the lowest sub-bass, but the whole bass is pretty fast, I would say that this part is the typical bass reproduced by the balanced armature. I would say “it’s just physics” but the next comparison will show that it’s possible to make BA sound beefy.

The midrange is definitely the strongest part of the MACH 60, it reproduces voices in an amazing way. Unfortunately, the cheaper brother sounds cheaper in that term, the midrange is definitely recessed, and lacks much when compared head-to-head with the 60s but, let’s not be that harsh to MACH 20, it’s $700 cheaper than 60.

When comparing the treble, it’s another place where MACH 60 sparkles again, it’s much more detailed, while the treble reproduced with MACH 20 sounds like it’s hidden under the blanket, but I mean a very fluffy blanket.



Westone MACH 20 is a very comfortable IEM. If you’re looking for universal in-ear monitors to use during performances, or earphones to use while doing some sports, it’s a definitely good choice for you.

In terms of sound, it’s a very specific gear and it may not fit everyone. If you’re looking for a warm-sounding IEM that can be used for hours without fatigue, then go for it, but don’t expect the edges of the audible frequency range to be very impactful.

Gear used during this review for sake of comparison and as accompanying equipment:

  • Headphones: Bqeyz Summer, Campfire Audio Vega 2020, Craft Ears 4 CIEM, Dan Clark Audio Aeon 2 Noire, Dan Clark Audio Ether C Flow 1.1, Focal Elegia, HiFiMan Ananda,, Meze Advar,
  • Sources: Fiio M11 Pro, JDS El DAC II + SMSl SP200, SMSL SU9 + Topping A90, MacBook Pro 14, iPhone 13 Pro with apple lightning DAC/Amp
Disclaimer: Big thanks to Westone and John from KSDISTRIBUTION for providing the MACH 20 for this review. This review wasn’t influenced by anyone, all of the above is my subjective, honest opinion.
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Headphoneus Supremus
MACH 20 - More is not better
Pros: - Comfortable
- Isolating
- Good resolution
Cons: - Honky, nasally, unnatural timbre with some vocals
- Squashed soundstage (lacking depth, in-the-face presentation)
- Textureless BA bass

Is more better?

It depends. More IEMs? Of course! More drivers in an IEM? Not always.

So, would MACH 20 be better than MACH 10 by having one extra BA driver? Let's find out.


- 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


MACH 20 is exactly the same as MACH 10 from the outside, so I would direct you to my previous review on MACH 10 rather than copying everything here.

tl;dr: very stable and comfortable fit, highly isolating, generous accessories, annoying cable.


Noted that MACH 20 is not as difficult to drive at MACH 10 even though it one more driver. You can use whatever clean audio source that you have, including apple dongle.

How it sounds


Frequency response of MACH 20 against MACH 10 and my preference target (bassy 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: 3/5 - Average

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.

Warm but kind of odd.

MACH 20 has a warm tonality due to having lower contrast between lower midrange and upper midrange. This tonality is achieved by lowering the upper midrange and lower-treble region (ear gain) rather than boosting the lower frequencies. In fact, measurement shows that MACH 20 matches MACH 10 exactly until around 1.5kHz.

The warmer tuning of MACH 20 lends vocals and instruments a rich and relaxing tone. You would not feel uncomfortable or strained when singers reach a high note or when a high-pitched instrument is played. Sibilance is non-existent, unless the original music is already sibilant. Despite the warmth, MACH 20 avoids making the midrange too "stuffy" or muddy. In fact, vocals are reproduced with great details, down to subtle breaths.

However, the tonality of MACH 20 is not perfect. Far from it, actually. Firstly, MACH 20 is slightly nasally and honky. Most of the time and especially with warmer vocals, the IEM sounds more or less natural. However, the tonality quickly becomes uncanny with some higher-pitched vocals like Ed Sheeran's. My impression was "huh, that does not sound right" when I checked the tonality with Bad Habits. A quick glance at the graph reveals the culprit: ear gain peaking at 1.5kHz, the honk region. I have yet to hear an IEM that sounds natural and has a normal soundstage with this kind of ear gain.

Secondly, MACH 20 lacks energy in the lower treble region (around 3kHz to 6kHz). Now, if you know me, you know that I am a big fan of dipping this region slightly to avoid shoutiness and diffuse the center image to simulate loud speakers. However, MACH 20 dips this area too much that instruments and vocals sound like they cannot reach high notes properly. This problem is similar to IEMs in the Campfire Audio Solaris series.

In overall, MACH 20 is more or less pleasant, but its faults are jarring whenever the music trigger them. Therefore, I rate MACH 20 3/5 in terms of tonality - average in the grand scheme.

Resolution, Detail, Separation: 4/5 - 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 20 is a resolving IEM, more so than usual single-DD IEMs. However, it does not out-resolve the standard of "good" resolution Blessing 2. Note attacks on MACH 20 are noticeably blunter than on MACH 10, and despite having more lower-end energy, it does not reveal a richer and more textured stereo image than MACH 10 either.

Summer - Presto:
- Almost no difference from Blessing 2. Note attacks are a bit crisper on MACH 20, but micro details and texture at the tail-end of notes are more revealing on Blessing. Again, they are very close to each other in terms of performance.
- Not close to Andromeda level of performance.

Tiny Desk Performance (Visiting Hours):
- Again, almost no difference from Blessing 2 in both the clarity and precision of note attacks and the texture at the tail-end of the notes.

Rating: Blessing 2 (4/5 - Good) = MACH 20 (4/5 - 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 20. 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.

Due to the reduction in loudness around the ear gain region, MACH 20 might feel a bit bassier than MACH 10 at the same listening volume. However, such quantity change does not translate to any real quality improvement.

Rating: ER2SE (2/5 - Lacking) < MACH 20 (2.5/5 - Below average) < Aria (3/5 - Average)

Stereo Imaging (Soundstage): 2/5 - Not good

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 20 has an unapologetically in-the-head soundstage. The soundstage rarely extend beyond the head. Listening to MACH 20 feels like listening to a tiny concert hall in your head, not unlike MACH 10.

Now, smaller soundstage is not a deal breaker because a compact presentation can be desirable for more intimate genres such as singer-songwriter. The real problem lies in the way MACH 20 places the center image (main vocal and instrument) within the soundstage.

Most IEMs with proper ear gain generally place the center image in your head, just behind your eyes. Some IEMs with strategic dips around 1kHz and 3kHz can push the center image slightly in front of you.

MACH 20 is different. It tends to shove the center image right in your face. As a result, the shape of the soundstage is a bit distorted. This problem is very noticeable when you game: everything in front of you tend to sound incorrectly closer. I suspect this presentation has to do with the way MACH 20 peaks around 1.5 kHz, as I hear similar presentation in other IEMs with the same tuning style.

Rating: FH3 (2/5 - Not good) = MACH 20 (2/5 - Not good) < Aria (3/5 - Average)



The "IEM driver war" has shown us as that more is not always better. It is the case here with MACH 20 as well. Having one extra BA driver seems to reduce rather than improve the IEM's performance across all criteria comparing to MACH 10. The tonality becomes more honky and unnatural. The soundstage becomes squashed and shallow. The resolution is slightly less impressive. The bass performance is still merely passable. The charm of MACH 10 is simply not there anymore.

I don't quite get the design goal of MACH 20. If you are looking for a new universal IEM, I would recommend MACH 10 instead of MACH 20.
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100+ Head-Fier
Musical, Analytical, Coherent, & Honest 2.0?
Pros: Tonal balance
Organic timbre
Build quality & accessories
Cons: Lacking upper-midrange energy
It may sound too "safe" for some
Narrow sound stage

Tonality: 6/9
Technicalities: 5.6/9
Preference: 6/9
Total score: 5.8/9 (B-)

(star rating is for the price to performance)

(total 5 mins read)
I’ve written a long introduction about Westone in the previous MACH 10 review which you can find it here, so, anything I’m going to say in this review is pretty much a copy-and-paste job. Even so, I think a company as legendary as Westone needs no lengthy introduction.

MACH 20 is one of 8 recently-released IEMs of the MACH series starting from MACH 10 that comes with a single balanced armature driver and up to MACH 80 with... 8 balanced armatures. As for the Asia & Australia tour, I received MACH 10 & MACH 20 which pretty much look alike in every aspect. They weigh almost nothing, a good build standard with the expected quality of accessories including a very thin and “ultra-strong Linum BaX true high-end reference” silver plated copper cable. MACH 20 consists of 2 balanced armatures for bass and midrange/treble respectively.

To be frank, I’m liking MACH 20 over MACH 10 if I ever need to pick one between both. It’s a clear upgrade for MACH 10 with very minor things to fault. Now, for a $399 price tag, where does MACH 20 stand in the 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


The sound signature of MACH 20 can be described as neutral with a bass boost. In my opinion, it's very well-balanced and properly tuned for a dual-balanced armature earphone.

I’m saying that unlike MACH 10, MACH 20’s treble response is slightly above the safe limit that carries just enough amount of presence and air response for natural music reproduction. What I mean by “natural” is it sounds almost studio monitor speaker-like in terms of frequency response on subjective listening. It doesn’t sound forward like most hybrids do which also tells that MACH 20 is very cohesive as a unit. There's no sibilance, shout, or harshness to be found at all times. I think the treble is just good although one might find it’s lacking in higher octaves of extension.

One can rely on its reproduction accuracy no matter what kind of music is on the main menu because of its ruler-flat midrange response. It doesn’t sound thin nor colored and blends seamlessly with the treble & the mid-bass, though I find it’s lacking energy in the upper midrange, for example, to give a snappier snare or a more forward vocal reproduction.

The bass is ample with a good punch and minimal rumble that I find reasonable for a neutral earphone. One thing I can commend is how the mid-bass and sub-bass are easily distinguishable, though I’m afraid the sub-bass might be actual non-existent for bass-heads.

Objectively, overall, I think MACH 20 has an almost perfect neutral frequency response. Nothing sounds wrong or really lacking except perhaps the upper midrange & low-end response, but for a neutral set, it’s quite competent and gets the job done especially for a live musician like myself. For music listening, everything seems so seamless and coherent that makes up for “oneness” in music reproduction.

The minimalistic live recording & production approach by Todd Garfinkle (MA Recordings) makes me feel like I was transported to the hall where La Segunda’s Taquito Militar was made. It’s not perfect, but it's functional.

In the actual world of "resolution", there’s not much to say about MACH 20’s resolving ability than to say it’s pretty average. One might say the resolution is great if coming from the Etymotic ER2 series, even though any ER2 is much better in reproducing a proper bass response in terms of weight and realism. The fact that the transient attack is a bit blunt directly affects its overall detail retrieval.

I would say that imaging is just slightly above average for its asking price. Instrument localization is considerably fair, however, notes are kind of intertwined with each other at times, so, instrument separation and layering are almost-good in the grand scheme of things. The sound stage is average or rather narrow when compared to top-tier IEMs, but it’s not congested or to the level that I’d call as claustrophobic. In another word, it’s not visually excellent. Imaging-wise, MACH 20 is average to decent at max.

For a dual-balanced armature earphone, I find MACH 20 has decent overall dynamics. It’s nothing like any good dynamic driver would achieve in terms of macro and micro dynamics scaling, yet I’d say it’s capable enough to pull off all the ascendings and arpeggios promptly.

One important thing I need to point out is that MACH 20 needs more voltage than wattage to perform better. When fed with proper amplification, it will give a better sense of depth, a wider sound stage, and thus, better instrument separation. And another thing is regarding the cable. I have this premium Linum UltraBax cable lying around and after some thorough A/B comparisons, it definitely helps to give an even better sense of everything I’ve mentioned above.


Moondrop Blessing 2 - $320
The Blessing 2 arguably has one of the most well-balanced & pleasant tunings in IEMs, though it may sound dry or harsh on the upper midrange to the treble at times. MACH 20 on the other hand, doesn’t exhibit the dry-ness or metallic sheen as commonly dubbed as "BA timbre" or "BA grain". Although lacking in treble extension as well, Blessing 2 reproduces a more correct and palatable frequency response, especially on the top end to give a better definition of overtones and reverb trails. Another thing to point out, MACH 20 is far more cohesive than Blessing 2 where everything seems so seamless and solid as one, whereas Blessing 2 is audibly disjointed on the treble and bass. I think it’s very clear for anyone at this point about which presentation to go for between these 2.

On technical performance, Blessing 2 comes off as a superior set in almost all aspects. Notes are well-defined and crisper with excellent detail retrieval. Imaging is richer with better instrument separation & layering. The sound stage is also wider accompanied by a finer sense of depth on Blessing 2 unlike MACH 20 that’s more center-focused.

Etymotic EVO - $499
Compared to Etymotic EVO, MACH 20 comes off as softer or “monotonous” in the overall presentation. It doesn’t give proper energy in the upper midrange as well on the treble region. The bass on EVO is cleaner with better texturing but sometimes I like MACH 20’s bass better for its “naturalness” that mimicked dynamic driver. Also, MACH 20 boasts more kick on the mid-bass with greater mass while EVO’s raw bass quality emphasizes the sub-bass that yields actual rumble.

Regarding technical performance, MACH 20 comes off as slightly blunt around notes compared to EVO, although not much of a difference at a glance. On a large scale, EVO is more capable to pull out micro details with better instrument separation & layering. Imaging-wise, it seems EVO is quite holographic with a better sense of depth compared to MACH 20’s flat display, though I wouldn’t label EVO as “holographic” in reality. In terms of staging, MACH 20 seems closer and narrower, yet I believe they are pretty much alike in terms of width.


As much as I like this new release by Westone, from a consumer point of view, personally, I think it’s a bit overpriced to match what it has to offer purely in terms of sonic performance. Don’t get me wrong, MACH 20 is definitely a good earphone, especially for professionals, but the market today has so many high-value products to choose from at the same level of performance. Nonetheless, I’m still going to recommend MACH 20 for its sheer naturalness in terms of sound and its reliability for live performance.

Purchase MACH 20 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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