Westone Um Pro 50 Clear Earbuds - Reviews
Pros: UM Pro 50 over W60: Comfort a little better, neutrality, laid-back, smoothest treble I've heard
Cons: UM Pro 50 lacks compared to W60: dark on well-mastered tracks, mucality, transparency, air and depth of soundstage
Preface

Recently I understood I am missing a lot of music on the go, especially when I am not in a 11 hour transatlantic flight, where my W60 paired with marvellous Astell&Kern AK300 served me very well for the last three years. It was very hard to manage music on the go with all the wires, AK300 needing charge every 8 hours, having an extra device in my pocket (and a relatively thick and hefty one) seemed like a lot, so I missed a lot.

At the same time, I could not say no to wonderful musicality that W60 brings to the table, the fatigue-free listening experience, definition and finesse of details it delivered, so I decided to purchase a different pair of IEMs from Westone to explore the other product offering that they have. After all, there is a reason they had this UM Pro line, and I wanted to know everything about this reason in detail. And do it wirelessly, with Westone’s Bluetooth Cable V2.

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Comfort

There’s been a lot written about UM Pro line vs. W line, so I will just describe what was the most prominent for me - the build is different, and the updated (V2) UM Pro is very different from W series. In my ear, UM Pro 50s sit deeper and have less protrusion to the outside, and also they have shallower insert, which makes it more comfortable, and also makes me wish to play with tips on W60s so they are sitting deeper in the earcup as well. Overall, UM Pro 50 sits very good in ear and is very comfortable, in it’s own way though.

Sound - Treble

As much as I enjoy the clear plastic and all that, design is secondary to sound anyway, so this is the main thing to discuss. And wow UM Pro 50 is different from W60. After several hours of listening, I identified several main differences that come to a single conclusion in the end.

Treble. This is probably the biggest differentiator I find between these two IEMs. First, UM Pro 50 has the smoothest treble I heard in any headphone, peiod. It is so even that there is practically zero spikes, grain and sibilance. W60 has a very distinct spike somewhere in the mid treble region that adds a very airy sparkle to the sound. Is it good or bad? Spoiler alert, it’s neither, and it’s complicated.

To my ear, UM Pro 60 has 2 to 3 dB less in the treble region than W60 does. That is a lot, actually, and enough to make sound very dark sometimes. But at the same time, if I equalize UM Pro 50 to same level of high frequencies, that smoothness doesn’t let it be so airy as W60 because of the small spike.

So, does it mean UM Pro 50 are hopelessly dark? No, it does not. Both IEMs are obviously in the audiophile territory, which means we have to take what is the source material that is played into account. UM Pro 50 will be dark to my ears while listening to well mastered music, while W60 can sound overly bright and even sibilant with poorly mastered music.

A great example would be the same Money for Nothing by Dire Straits in two distinctly different releases - audiophile-oriented 2013 SACD vs. consumer-oriented remaster that Spotify streams. W60 sound amazing when you listen SACD version, but remaster would be very bright. But then you put on UM Pro 50, and suddenly SACD version is dark, while remaster starts sounding adequate and balanced. A lot of modern music is mastered with a lot of highs, compression does not help and brings more of that high-end shrill forward. UM Pro 50 makes it more than tolerable, allowing to enjoy this music as well.

Sound - Midrange

This is another territory, where UM 50 and W60 are very different. There are two main differences - and again, UM Pro 50 midrange is relatively smooth, very clean and detailed, with lots of texture. However, tuning is different. While UM Pro 50 focuses on mid-treble, and brings out vocals closer, W60 emphasizes lower mids, while leaving upper mids clean and musical. Probably the right way would be to say these IEMs saturate different areas of the spectrum differently, without dips and V shaped areas anywhere.

W60 makes midrange sing, which provides a big impact into their musicality. It is hard to tell whether lower mids saturation is the reason for that or not, but they do sing. UM Pro 50 is less emotional, and it sounds more than it sings - but that is probably the proper tuning for a professionally inclined IEM.

UM Pro 50, in turn, provides «intimate close» presentation of most vocals (except deep male vocals, which would be very close in W60) and overall more thick, full-bodied sound across the midrange. Separation and definition is very similar technically, as they’re both multi-driver IEMs that are capable of that.

Sound - Bass

As non-basshead, I find both headphones bass to be slightly elevated above neutral, but very, very impactful. It seems like UM Pro 50 provides more kick in the mid-bass section, while W60 bass is more even. Both retain good bass extension, but sub-bass in both is not overly present, and just indicates its presence below bass and mid-bass. At the same time, sub-bass impact would make both IEMs sound like you’re wearing a subwoofer, and it may become very fatiguing very quick.

Sound - Soundstage

Both IEMs sound fairly wide, W60 being wider, but not dramatically. The biggest difference is depth - W60 sometimes presents things like they are layered in depth, and there’s a dark black background between sounds. UM Pro 50 sounds «flatter» and everything is just spread out across the scene left to right.

Conclusions

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UM Pro 50 and W60 are very different IEMs that would appeal to very different people as well as very different material to listen shines very differently on them. UM Pro 50 may seem dark on excellently mastered music, while W60 may seem bright on poorly mastered tracks. With ability to EQ high frequencies, UM Pro 50 seems like a more universal IEM that is capable of a lot, while W60 is an audophile IEM and shines on well mastered tracks, is more musical, has better layering and depth, but is more demanding and won’t let you out easy with a Spotify remaster where engineer was overly excited with a Highs knob.

W60, to me, is an audiophile marvel - musical, layered, involving, engaging, transparent while being full-bodied enough, with great bass, great resolution and also - fatigue free.

UM Pro 50 is really a monitor, being more neutral, but still has it’s distinct Westone sound signature - bull bodied, great bass, great resolution, fatigue-free. At the same time, having W60 available, I would really wish UM Pro 50 being less flat, deeper sounding in terms of soundstage depth and separation, and more musical. But won’t I get W60 then? This comparison leaves me with a question, rather than an answer.

It’s hard to choose, and thanks god I won’t have to. These are stellar examples of how portable audio can be approached in an uncompromised manner.
Pros: Ergonomic, Supremely isolating, Bass texture and definition, Sub-bass, Detail, Treble resolution, Soundstage width and imaging
Cons: Slightly muffled lower midrange, Overly bassy for some, A little darker than neutral, Thick midrange
Introduction –

Westone separate their universal range of iems into two categories, the consumer W series and the more professionally orientated UM Pro series that were designed for use during live performances. This is a very different usage case scenario than something like a studio monitor, and as such, the UM line pursue a more powerful, less fatiguing sound that is designed to be listened to in a loud environment for prolonged periods of time. Whilst Westone`s W line holds the spotlight for most users, the UM Pro line retains a smaller, yet more loyal following and for good reason, the UM 50 Pro`s hold many key advantages over my previous W30`s and even the W40`s.

With a $650 USD RRP, the UM 50 Pro`s aren`t cheap, but the combination of proprietary drivers, supreme ergonomics and a very interesting sound produce a product that might just be worth your while.

 

About Me – Some background, Gear of choice, Preferences and Biases

I generally prefer a slight v-shape to my sound, but still closer to neutral. I like a lot of detail and clarity, but can appreciate a smooth, laid back sound such as that on the X10`s. I prefer a more neutral midrange within a relatively tight tolerance, but I`m probably more forgiving of brightness over darkness. I`m not particularly treble sensitive and can tolerate large amounts without fatigue, though too much ruins the enjoyment. If I use a different eartip/pad/cover during the review I will note that and describe the sound changes.

Read More

 

Accessories –

The UM 50 pro`s come within the typical Westone box that presents the earphones and model number on the front, a few specs on the back and some warranty information on the side.









Like the W30`s, this outer sheath slides open to reveal a rubberized hard case with a pull tab that opens the magnetic flap. A foam inlet encases the earphones and vault case, though I was a bit disappointed that the UM 50`s didn`t come with the new frosted case with shock absorbers, but the older first gen case instead.











The UM 50 Pro comes bundled with the usual array of accessories, which is a great thing, because Westone provides one of the most comprehensive selections of accessories in the iem world.



Opening up the included carrying case reveals a very generous selection of Star Tips, one pair of medium short silicone tips on the earphones themselves, two pairs of short silicone and foam tips (S,L) and three pairs of long silicone tips and foams (S,M,L). There`s no screw driver here since the UM line lack the swappable face plates of the consumer W series. Another difference, is that Westone only provides buyers with one cable, an EPIC cable with heatshrink ear guides. Since the UM 50 Pro was intended for professional stage use, it does not come with the MFI remote cable that`s included with the W range.

 

Design –

Unlike the W range, the UM Pro line of iems are built in the USA, a proud selling point for Westone. I personally didn`t notice a huge difference in the actual build quality of the housings on the UM 50 Pro`s as opposed to the W30`s, but the design itself is a lot more pragmatic.



Gone are the bulky, crack-prone faceplate swapping mechanisms of the W range and so far, Westone seem to have alleviated the intermittent MMCX issue as well. Westone`s current generation iems all utilize the popular MMCX connector, but Westone`s connectors are slightly shorter than the average plug. This translated to a somewhat loose connection on my W30`s (especially so with after-market cables) and thus intermittent audio. The UM 50 Pro`s seem to have been built to tighter tolerances because all of my MMCX cables fit much more snugly.



The stock cables have a rock solid connection and aftermarket cables aren`t too loose either, making them a more viable alternative without the use of Deoxit. This is a really nice fix and audio has remained stable even during runs, performances and general motion. I haven`t had it cut out once.



The lack of connector jostle may also be aided by the more stable fit offered by the UM 50 Pro. As mentioned in my W30 review, I much prefer the ergonomics of the UM Pro line to the W line; the housings are smaller, more streamlined and most importantly for me, much slimmer. Although the UM 50 Pro`s contain a staggering 5 balanced armature drivers, they utilize the exact same housings as the triple driver UM 30 Pro`s; they are slightly smaller than the Shure Se535`s for example, mainly they`re a little shorter. They`re also similar in size to the SE215`s, but are a bit thicker, good job Westone.











SE215 – UM 50 Pro

The W30`s had a little extra bulk around the inner surface due to the faceplate mechanism that allowed the earphones to jostle in my ear, eventually losing seal, whilst the UM 50 Pro`s lie completely flush, minimizing wind noise and even allowing me to sleep comfortably on my side. They remain completely stable no matter how vigorously I move. This is aided by the light weight housings and cable, which combined with the ergonomic shape, allows the earphones to disappear over time, forming no hotspots. Of course, you feel the strong sense of suction provided by the sealed iems, but Westone have really nailed the ergonomics of their UM line.

As a result of the more streamlined housings, the UM 50 Pro`s sit a little deeper in my ear than the W30`s and as a result, isolate absolutely brilliantly; you will not find much better isolation from a universal. When wearing the UM 50 Pro`s, even on some of Sydney`s more ancient trains, background noise of all frequencies is effectively attenuated and music is delivered rich and clear. I`m a low level listener, I rarely listen above 3 volume notches on my iPod Touch 4 and HTC M8 for example, making this all the more impressive.



As I stated in my W30 review, the Westone EPIC cable is very nice, well relieved and ergonomic. I much prefer the style of ear guide employed by Westone`s cables to the memory wire used by other brands. The EPIC cable is very light, perfect for use during activity, but it is slightly thin. It`s also lacks the super supple feel of something like the Shozy Cygnus cable, which is possibly the best I`ve experienced. Luckily, the EPIC cable has a very smooth texture and still feels quite solid in tension, it doesn`t grab on clothing nor does it transmit much microphonic noise. The right angle jack and y-split are both well moulded and low profile, the plug will comfortably fit within most cases and is gold plated to prevent crackle.



So whilst the UM 50 Pro lacks the vibrant, customizable looks of the W line, it`s design still invokes a sense of intrigue in its own way. The frosted, semi-transparent outer faces tease the audio prowess of the multi armatures inside while the clear inner face is perfectly smoothed off for ergonomics whilst allowing the intricate internals to peak through. Sure, the UM 50 Pro is not as catching as the Shure se846, but its design looks delightfully understated and just a little technical. The cable is also a LOT more practical than that offered by Shure`s models.

 

Sound –

As mentioned in the introduction, the UM Pro line were designed mainly for live stage performances, epitomizing the full-bodied Westone house sound users have come to love from the W series. Utilizing 5 balanced armature drivers and a 3 way passive crossover (not stated which drivers are dedicated to what frequencies), the UM 50 Pro sits at the pinnacle of Westone`s UM Pro lineup. I`ve read that the UM 50 Pro is a universal variant of Westone`s ES50 custom and whilst I have no personal experience with this model, those who take a liking to its sound will surely be interested in the UM 50 Pro.

As far as the signature is concerned, the sound is somewhat V-shaped, with an emphasized bass response sitting above a slightly recessed midrange and a generally neutral treble response. It`s similar to Westone`s high end W series iems, but thicker, more textured and laid back. This atypical ba sound is achieved through proprietary, in house designed drivers, setting the UM 50 Pro apart from most other earphones that use a variant of some Knowles driver. This sound includes an amazing sub-bass response that rivals the se846 and some dynamic driver earphones, powerful mid and upper bass responses and a lush lower midrange combined with a crisp upper midrange and high-end. The UM 50 Pro also solves the main gripe I had with the W30`s sound, the soundstage. Given its intended uses, I wouldn`t expect the UM 50 Pro to have a particularly standout soundstage, but in my experiences it sounds very spacious, especially considering the level of seal the iems produce. It`s not quite as large as my ie800`s, but instruments still have great separation; each frequency range is well isolated with its own space. Imaging gets a special mention; the UM 50 Pro`s have pin point precision when it comes to instrument placement and soundstage width in particular is very impressive as well. Listening to a few acoustic tracks, vocals are front and centre whilst guitars and other instruments radiate from the sides, somewhat imitating my 5.1 home theatre system.

The UM 50 Pro`s have a very high sensitivity of 115dB and a moderate 45ohm impedance. While the UM 50 Pro`s will reach ear-splitting volumes from almost any source, I did find them harder to drive than conventional monitors. My iPod nano 7 drove them to very high volumes for example, but quality loss was evident. Meanwhile, my HTC m8 served them with ease, albeit with a strong hiss (more on that later). Despite having such an intricate driver setup, the UM 50 Pro`s didn`t seem to be overly affected by output impedance, sounding almost identical from all of my sources apart from my laptop which struggled a bit with their higher impedance. They are quite hiss prone, not Shure level, but they still pick up a very faint hiss from even my quietest sources. It`s mostly inaudible once the music starts playing but noisier sources such as my HTC m8 are quite prominent, almost intrusive.

Bass –

The UM 50 Pro`s have a large boost to the low end, larger than my ie800`s in everything but sub-bass and larger than the W30`s in everything but mid-bass. The bass response is the most prominent range of the sound on a whole, but it`s impeccably tuned and of immense quality. Personally I find the low end to be a little too strong, but it provides a larger than life listen and the outright quality present cannot be denied. Despite this strong emphasis, the bass is especially revealing, picking up distortion on low quality files a little too easily (the bass response itself is not distorted at all).

The first thing I noticed when listening to the UM 50 Pro was its extremely textured bass response, perhaps more so than my ie800`s which is no small feat. Notes have incredible definition and whilst they lack the punch of the very agile ie800`s, the UM 50 Pro has no difficulties reproducing complex passages with plenty of PRAT, detail and separation between notes. This is strange because the UM 50 Pro`s have a larger bass boost than the W30`s which sometimes get a little lost; perhaps it`s because the UM 50 Pro`s have a more linear boost, sounding full instead of tubby (mid-bass is somewhat balanced with the upper and lower bass responses). The sub-bass on the UM 50 Pro`s is also very impressive. It`s remarkably extended for a ba earphone; the se846`s and dynamic ie800`s will both edge out the UM 50 Pro`s, but they`re very close, lacking only the lowest of lows. The full sub-bass response of the UM 50`s is particularly satisfying during acoustic tracks with great timbre and impact, un-matched by any other micro driver or ba earphone I`ve tested apart from the models aforementioned.

Mid-bass is a little more recessed than the sub and upper bass responses, preventing that bloated, tubby sound. This grants the bass response a sort of hyper defined quality, perhaps also contributing to its sense of perceived prominence. The mid-bass response is still full, just less so than the rest of the bass.

The upper-bass response is somewhat unconventional for a flagship iem. Unlike the ie800`s which actually have a small recess in the upper-bass, the UM 50 Pro`s have quite a large emphasis. This robs them of that ultra-clear, super punchy sound, instead granting the earphones a great sense of lushness. I did find the Upper bass response to encroach slightly upon the lower midrange, losing a small amount of detail, but the bass response of the UM 50 Pro is still very impressive for a sealed, balanced armature earphone. Notably, the linear, slightly sub and upper bass weighted boost creates the impression of a larger or “epic” sound for lack of better vernacular. The low end is still tasteful enough for almost every genre and, in combination with the large soundstage, the UM 50 Pro`s excel with movies and games too.

Mids –

If I had to summarize the most notable features of the midrange in just a handful of words, I would probably choose refined, detailed and smooth. In fact, I wouldn`t hesitate to say that the UM 50 Pro has the smoothest, most refined midrange I`ve ever heard from any earphone.

The UM 50 Pro`s have a thick lower midrange that`s right on the periphery of my tastes. It sounds full-bodied rather than muffled, but that last bit of detail and definition is lost. Male vocals are not as forward as they are on the W30`s, but are rather slightly behind the increased bass response. The lower midrange has a nice sense of presence and the lushness generated by the upper-bass response grants vocals an ethereal quality. Vocals are well layered and the extra crispness in the upper midrange balances out the lower midrange warmth. Despite technically being on the darker side, I didn`t find the upper midrange to sound dull at all, female vocals and instruments inhabiting this frequency range don`t have that scooped sound I got from the W30`s. In addition, the midrange is hyper detailed if not extremely clear. The unbeatable clarity of the ie800`s tends to bring details and intricacies to the fore, but the UM 50 Pro`s are just as proficient, they just aren`t as aggressive. It`s quite a strange phenomenon, but you don`t miss anything in the midrange, the UM 50 Pro`s permeate a supreme sense of refinement.

Compared to the W30`s, the UM 50 Pro`s manage to be both smoother and similarly, if not more revealing. They are pretty much on par with the ie800`s in terms of detail retrieval, but the upper-bass/lower midrange does prove excessive at times. They aren`t remotely bright sounding, but clarity never feels lacking either, even coming from brighter earphones such as the Sennheisers.

Treble –

The treble response on the UM 50 Pro`s is just about neutral. They are devoid of roll-off and the treble response is absolutely extended. The upper midrange transitions well into the high end response, sounding smooth and seamless whilst retaining a sense of separation. In terms of signature, it`s actually sculpted similarly to that on the ie800`s, also resolving similar amounts of detail as well, but it`s nowhere near as emphasized. This might sound like a negative, but it`s actually makes for a very satisfying listen. The UM 50 Pro`s almost have the detail and resolution of the Sennheisers without that splashy character. They sound much less fatiguing as a result, but also less vivid and clear. Regardless, treble has nice texture and just about perfect body.

 

Verdict –

The UM 50 Pro`s aren`t cheap, I actually paid more for them than my ie800`s. You might be wondering how earphones such as this still have a place on the market when Chinese earphones such as the $350 Dunu DN2000j resolve similar amounts of detail and the even cheaper Shozy Zero boasts a masterfully sculpted sound similar to that on the UM 50 Pro. But I would argue that the extra funds allow for a fantastic ergonomic build made to tight tolerance in the USA, top notch passive noise isolation, a myriad of accessories and, perhaps most importantly, subtlety.



With the influx of hyrbids and loud proprietary technology, manufacturers have lost subtlety, and with subtlety comes refinement. All the ingredients can be present, but it`s the way they`re brought together that grants them this quality; a quality that isn`t forward, aggressive or artificial, but rather encapsulates that quality of simply existing. With manufacturers twisting the dials to 11, the Westone UM 50 Pro`s sit happily at a perfect 10.

 

Accessories – 9/10, The UM 50 Pro`s come with plenty of tips, a very nice case and a well-built cable. You won`t struggle to find the perfect tip within the included kit.

Design – 10/10, The ergonomics of the UM 50 Pro`s is phenomenal considering that they managed to stuff 5 drivers within each housing. They are smooth, well finished and built to tight tolerances. The look is understated but still catches the eye in a more professional manner.  Westone`s EPIC cable has always been a strong point, and it`s no different here, so far the MMCX connectors seem to be behaving as well. Overall, the UM 50 Pro`s look and feel like a flagship earphone.

Bass – 9/10, Very extended for a BA earphone, great slam and punch without bloat. Phenomenal texturing and detail to each bass note but too much emphasis for home usage. On the go or on the stage as intended, the earphones sound fine however.

Mids – 8.75/10, A little too thick in the lower mids causing a slight detail loss, but upper mids are crisp and clear. Copious detail retrieval just falls short of more aggressive TWFK earphones and the ie800`s, but resolution and detail are amazing considering the powerful sound emitted by the UM 50 Pro`s. Slightly dark but not scooped sounding, vocals sound great.

Highs – 9.75/10, Very resolving and hyper detailed, a little less so than the ie800`s, but they also have more accurate body and texture to the notes. Neutral quantity is unfatiguing and avoids any sibilance.

Soundstage, Imaging and Seperation – 7.75/10, Amazing sense of space considering the design and level of seal. Imaging is perfect and width in particular is great. Separation falls short of the very best earphones on the market somewhat due to the thick sound signature which tends to sound less open. The soundstage is very impressive overall, really proving the earphone`s flagship status.

Overall – 9/10, I understand that the UM 50 Pro`s are not a typical sounding earphone and many probably won`t like the way they sound at all. They are also NOT the ideal upgrade to the W30 and W40 due to the differences in sound signature though it is a sound that presents certain merits. It`s a very unique experience and something that was specifically tuned for a specific function. Despite this, the UM 50 Pro`s have certain additional strengths that make them very suitable for other purposes such as general listening enjoyment. They are versatile in both sound and design, comfort is fantastic and the kit provided with the earphones guarantees a proper fit. If you`re looking for a larger than life listen, then you`d have a hard time topping the UM 50 Pro`s, their outright sound quality is without fault.

Thanks for reading, this review was taken from my blog, please have a look there for guides and more reviews like this:

https://everydaylisteningblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/27/westone-um-50-pro-review-a-flagship-with-heart/

Pros: Bass quality , Comfort , Non-fatiguing , Tuning(Preferential)
Cons: Recessed treble , random static "ticks" , BA Clipping
Review of the Westone UMPro50 + iFi iDSD Nano Pairing

Intro
I hereby declare that the review as it is , is honest and unbiased .


In Ear Monitor
Westone UM Pro 50 Signature Series [S$999]
- 5 Balanced Armature
- 3 Way Crossover
- Westone’s Stock Cables & Tips
- Designed and Made in USA


Digital Analogue Converter
AMR iFi iDSD Nano [S$250]
- Burr Brown Texas Instrument Top-Of-The-Line DSD1793 Chip
- Minimum Filter
- iFi’s Stock Connector
- Designed & Made in UK by Abbingdon Music Research iFi
 
Music Source – 16bit/44.1kHz CD FLAC & 24bit/192kHz FLAC
Music Bands – Collin Raye, Eric Clapton , The Eagles ,  Westlife , Michael Buble, Chris Daughtry, Maroon5 , Taylor Swift , Avenged Sevenfold , Adele , Ed Sheeran .
 
I was looking for an in ear monitor and have done research and testing on selected In Ear Monitors over the past few months, I’ve audited a small group of IEMs around my S$1000 budget, such as the Shure SE , Westone W, Sennheiser , Unique Melody , JH Audio, etc . Similarly, every one of these iems showcased very different sound signatures and built quality. I have read online reviews regarding these in ears and weighed their pros and cons. The sound signature of Westones happen to appeal to me very much. I personally disliked the Shure’s, they just didn’t appeal, not even their flagship SE846. I’ve found a gentleman selling his 3 months new Westone UMPro 50 & decided to trade my year old T90 and iCAN Nano for it for practicality reasons. I have used them for about 5 days now so here is my initial review & first impressions

First Impressions
The IEM is not balanced through the spectrum, it has a V shaped signature which provides a pleasant warmth. The bass quality is respectable for a balanced armature unit. This was my first balanced armature inEar I’ve own, as years ago, I have marked balanced armatures to be always lacking in bass and fatiguing. This um pro 50, is not. However, I do realise why it isn’t, the trebles are recessed in a way where it’s there, but at a distance away. In which I can understand now why it isn’t as fatiguing.
 
Having heard from a few professionals and store owners that considering a silver or hybrid cables would push its treble further. I’ve went ahead to try the silver cables, of which, it really brought out the treble. But the treble carry a spike which I am very sure I am going to hate , so I did not went ahead to purchase it . I’ve heard recommendations of hybrids, however have not got the chance to try it out.


I feel that the bass of this piece was very organic, it sounded familiar, like those of dynamic drivers, honestly full and inviting. The mids were excellently proportioned too. The highs were of good quality, but does not extend & felt a little distant.
 
The Soundstage was unnaturally uncomfortable , probably shifting down from a T90 , its not surprising . 
It felt like it needed some push , i even purchased an iDSD Micro to use it's 3D for it and it did improve , but it's still oddly weird . 
 
There seem to be static "ticking" noises randomly in some cases , i didn't find that any natural or pleasurable at all .
Occur usually during stretched vocals . 
Perhaps i've received a damaged or faulty pair , but it is what i have received and i based my review on that . 
 
I couldn’t reference the soundstage to any, as when I tested my T90, I had 3D Holographic setting switched on for the iTUBE and ICAN Nano. Which was satisfyingly vast and yet true like. Having none of them on this set up, I felt like I’ve lost a limb. Simply because the impedance on these were too low to have so many amping at in at once. I would recommend iFi Amplifiers to anyone , they are very remarkable, contruction quality to sound quality , it definitely make your dollar go really far , the sound quality from each of their iFi units ensures you will get what you desire . And with satisfaction. Otherwise they allow you to return it within a week or two.
 
I really do not wish to write much, but the um pro 50 has a lot potential. I really should get my ican nano back …
Perhaps until then, I’ll write another review ~
I really missed them ... 

The Comfort was amazing, anyone could wear it comfortably with the right tips.

Recent Impressions

With a new DAC !

 
Digital Analogue Converter
AMR iFi iDSD Micro [S$650]
- Burr Brown Texas Instrument Top-Of-The-Line Dual DSD Chip
- Bit Perfect Filter
- 3D Holographic ON . XBass Off . 
- iFi’s Stock Connector
- Designed & Made in UK by Abbingdon Music Research iFi
 
After a few more days of listening with the new DAC , with the 3D Holographic on , its safe to say that when compared to my complete T90 setup , the soundstage is still very much lacking . maybe because this was meant for stage use , I've found that the bass to be still rather forward , and the trebles surprisingly improved a little with the iDSD . However , i would not really reccomend this to a friend , as i think they were missing alot here and there , which i've found out to be not just the treble , but the ethos , this pair is lacking alot emotional trigger . The music does not sound true enough for my brain to lose itself in it , it is very digital for i can say . nothing very much believable .

Im not saying the iDSD Micro isnt good , it's one of the best value portable-desktop amps money can buy , it's just that the UM Pro 50 limits alot on itself . I've tried the w60 , the sound from that in comparison to the UMPro50 is vastly different, you could really dislike the UMPro50 if you heard the w60 . although being S$300+ more expensive where i came from , the w60 delivers ethos very well. When you listen to music , Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) kicks in very well , you feel the music , you flow into it very quickly , and moments later , you shiver down your spine , it's a beautiful feeling , but never achievable with the umPro50 , no matter how much i try to "dwell" in the music . 

I feel that for the performance , it's honestly not worth the money , mainly because it could not deliver the what i am looking for in music enjoyment . //


It's does not cause fatiguing , but it isnt very enjoyable to listen to over long periods of time . 

Build
for S$999 , i've received a full plastic housing , and thin spun "Epic"cables . The cables were good , especially for someone like me , who wears glasses . I am able to wear the inEar over my ear , and i do not feel obstructed or irritated that a cable hangs around my ear after my glasses . I have no problems with the cable at all , it seems durable and seems like something someone would swap it out too , for custom cables . Given a full see-through plastic at that price point is not acceptable too . having known that i've paid a premium , i expect a certain level of premium build , i do know that the housing is made transparent on purpose for the user to distinctly identify the BA drivers present . Fair enough . but the plastic seems like they were of a fragile quality and the housing were glued together , but cleanly done . For this signature series , nothing seem to stand out from the rest of their UMPRO line of products . the w60 has gold and silver faceplates , it'll be good if a silver or gold "W" logo could be sealed on the side of both housing , that would have distinctly show that it is above all other UMPROs . 

i've traded it for the ie800 , in which an add on review should be up very soon . 
Which was significantly more organic and true , this only applies when your source is good .


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Pros: Detail sound. Excellent bass. Doesn't need an amp to sound excellent. No fatigue trebles! Trebles are just right.
Cons: None that i can think off.
Bought these headphone a month ago. Open it, and I tried it on. After 15-30 minutes of listening, I was amazed! These sound better than any IEM I ever came across. And I tried Klipsh s2, Logitech Ultimate ears, Westone 4r, Shure 425, and Hifiman re-400. For Full size headphone I tried Grado 225i/e, Grado 325is, Grado RS1i, Hifiman he-400, Hifiman he-500, V-moda M-100, and Sennheiser HD650. This is by far the best one out of all. The sound is detail, with great mids, and non-harsh treble. It can handle any Any genre, including, Dubstep, dance, pop, and hip hop without any distortion. I used it on my android Note 4 and it sound fantastic. I used Spotify and set the sound to simulate tube amp and turn on the clarity and 3d to make it sound better, I left the bass enchancment off though. After doing that it sounds perfect to my taste on my android/spotify app. I am currently using it hook to my PC's Xonar essense STX and it sounds even better. I guess you can benifit from an amp. My current headphone (grado225e) Now sounds like poo after listening to the UM Pro 50. I think it's worth every penny paid for. I will be enjoying these for a long time. I hope this gives idea of what you can expect from my point of view. Now to enjoy my jams!
Pros: super comfortable fitment, excellent bass, clear/detailed sound, removable cables
Cons: sound sig is eartip dependent, rather pricey while looking the same as other cheaper UM Pro models
Before I start my review I would like to Thank Westone for providing me with a review sample.
 
This is a Review of Westone UM Pro 50 premium 5 BA driver hi-fi in-ear monitors (IEMs). http://www.westoneaudio.com/index.php/products/um-series/um-pro-50.html
 
Gotta be honest with you that I didn’t even realize the level of popularity and respect earned by UM Pro line of Westone IEMs until I had a chance to review their UM Pro 30 triple BA driver headphones and afterwards received a number of questions about comparison to their other models. Westone has a very logical way of partitioning their IEMs, with UM Pro series for musicians and W series for consumers being the most popular in their catalog. Unfortunately, for many people the ability to compare these headphones side-by-side is not an easy task due to a limited number of places where you can audition it. With that in mind, I had an amazing opportunity to put W40 and a recently reviewed UM Pro 30 against their other flagship UM Pro 50 model to help you with this decision. Here is what I found.
 
As a general guideline, UM Pro represents a professional series of headphones designed for a more detailed "monitoring" of the mix during artist performance. W series is a consumer oriented line for those occasions when you just want to kick back and relax listening to the music. Both have a super ergonomic fitment and excellent isolation, though Pro series in my opinion has a bit of an edge in fitment since those are intended for a stage performance where you move around and need a more secure fitment thus a significance of flexible memory wire with UM Pro Epic cable versus W series without it, or consumer touch of W series with interchangeable faceplates to personalize the look. But as you move from triple BA driver of UM Pro 30 to 5 BA driver config of UM Pro 50 - you start to notice a crossover into a more commercial sound tuning with an improved staging, more accurate retrieval of details, and a slightly v-shaped sound signature with a more advanced bass performance. Before going into more comparison details, let me start first with unboxing of UM Pro 50.
 
Though in general the packaging of UM Pro series is similar between their models, Westone made an effort to distinguish Pro 50 model with a more premium feel of a golden lettering, a more bold and focused graphics, and a note of "Signature Series" on the cover of outside box. It has a similar design details and an equally comprehensive spec and accessories list. Out of the UM Pro 50 packaging box, which in case of UM Pro 30 was only a sleeve, you still have the same quality soft touch storage box with a magnetic flip cover and a similar display setting of foam cutout for IEMs and orange monitor vault storage box (Pelican-style) with accessories inside of it.
 
The included accessories are common across all UM Pro series models, and I found Pro 50 to be no exception with an identical set I saw in Pro 30. You get the same crush and water resistant monitor vault with a build quality that can survive anything. You also get a very comprehensive set of custom eartips which is bar none in quality. With their roots in Professional Hearing earpiece design, Westone put many years of their research experience into design of these patented Star and True-Fit tips. Included are 5 pairs of Star silicone tips that conform naturally to any ear anatomy, where each pair is color marked to save you time during matching them up. Also, you get 5 pairs of True-Fit memory foam eartips with a medium recovery property, not too soft or too springy to ensure the maximum seal and comfort when they expand inside of your ear canal. Another included accessory is an earwax removal cleaning tool to help you clean long extended nozzle of the earpieces.
 
Unboxing pictures.
 
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Accessory pictures.
 
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The exterior shell design of UM Pro 50 is nearly identical to Pro 30, at least next to each it's hard to tell them apart without looking closely at their drivers.
 
UM Pro 50 vs UM Pro 30 picture.
 
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Luckily when you have a clear shell there is a way to spot a difference. Both Pro 30 and Pro 50 have a large low frequency BA driver which is similar in shape, but not tuning. Flipping earpiece on the other side, you can see mid and high frequency BA drivers where in case of Pro 30 you have a smaller single drivers (for a total of 3 drivers) and larger dual BA drivers in Pro 50 (for a total of 5 drivers). This is the biggest difference between Pro 30 and Pro 50 where the frequency spectrum has a finer partitioning for a more accurate tuning of the sound while still implementing a 3-way crossover.
 
Other than that, the outline of the shell has the same rounded bean shape with one of the most comfortable fitments I have ever experienced, and all of my comments from UM Pro 30 review are still applicable to UM Pro 50. You literally don't even feel these lightweight earpieces when inserted in your ears, nothing sticks out too much, and over-ear wire fitment is very comfortable with minimum microphonics. The EPIC cable is braided, thin, and very flexible. Memory portion of the cable is not a rigid wire that needs to be reshaped after each case storage, a big plus! The headphone connector is a standard 3.5mm gold plated plug with a molded plastic strain relief and a right angle housing to fit any DAP or smartphone even with a bulky case. The cable's y-splitter is molded rubbery plastic part with a strain relief by design of the shape and a nice chin slider. Both earpieces have MMCX universal connectors, and they have a very secure mating with a cable.
 
Design detail pictures.
 
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Just like W-series, UM Pro has a rather thin nozzle with a built in filter. You are covered by a collection of included eartips that will suite any ear shape or size, but if you have your favorite eartips from another set of headphones, there is a simple mod you can do in order to use other eartips even with a larger diameter core.
 
Eartip mod pictures.
 
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If you find Westone eartip you are not using and willing to sacrifice it, just cut off a piece of the stem to make a rubber spacer. Once you have it on the nozzle of the earpiece, you can use any other eartip with a larger opening. Eartip selection (tip rolling) is VERY crucial with UM Pro 50 not just to achieve the best seal, but also to fine tune the sound. One of the important characteristics that makes Pro 50 stand out from Pro 30 and most of the other IEMs I have tested in the past is their amazing quality and quantity of the bass. But this bass could also be either overwhelming or significantly reduced, and by switching between different eartips you can control its amount and also regulate high frequency balance.
 
Another easy mod with these IEMs is the ability to replace a cable. All W-series and UM pro series IEMs from Westone use a standard universal MMCX connector cable with a slim connector housing. Usually I'm a fan of silver-plated replacement OFC cables and found it to provide an improvement with UM Pro 30, but with UM Pro 50 to my surprise the stock EPIC cable provided a more balanced sound quality where silver-plated cable made a bass too much in your face. Another great incentive for replacement cable is an upgrade with smartphone controls. For those familiar with W-series IEMs, they come with both Epic audio and Apple control cables. With Apple controls you have multi-function button for Play/Pause/Call as well as double/triple click for transport control and dedicated volume buttons for Apple phones. I have used it in the past with my Samsung Galaxy phones where multi-function button is compatible and volume keys obviously will not work, but the overall size of the remote was too big. Now, Westone is offering a perfect solution with a slim multi-function button only remote w/mic for Android users. Don't get discouraged by MSRP price of it since I found a number of on-line stores selling it much cheaper, just shop around!
 
Android G2 cable pictures.
 
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All this brings me to the most important part of the review, the sound quality analysis. A number of people asked me if the price difference of going from UM Pro 30 to UM Pro 50 or between W40 and UM Pro 50 is justifiable and not just another case of diminishing returns. In my opinion, Westone partitioned their series and different models in such way where the changes in tuning and performance are quite noticeable (rather than subtle), so you just need to figure out your desired sound sig priority and narrow down the budget.
 
Starting with isolation, I found it to be quite effective for a subway or a bus commute or any other noisy environment, including a crowded stage performance. Also, soundstage was definitely above the average in width and depth, definitely an improvement over Pro 30 where I found Pro 50 to be more open and with a better instrument placement, though still with an intimate feeling. As I mentioned before, changing eartips can really affect sound sig. I started with large orange star tips to get the tightest seal in order to squeeze every bit of the bass which added a lot of warmth and body to the sound. Then, switched to gray star tips which attenuated bass significantly, making a sound brighter, thinner, more detailed and balanced. Interestingly enough, with foam gray tips I was able to achieve a decent seal with a respectful amount of the controlled bass, providing a good balance between warm smooth sound and bright details. But at the end, my craving for the bass got the best of me, and I went back to orange marked tips and their warm sound which I used for my analysis.
 
Overall, I found UM Pro 50 sound signature to be smooth and warm with slightly recessed mids and enhanced bass. It has a high level of detail retrieval without analytical/reference level of high frequency harshness, and an excellent layering/separation of instruments and vocals with a precise positioning in space. You really don't need an amp to drive these efficiently or to a full potential, and my testing was done straight out of X5, though with my Note 4 it also sounded good.
 
Starting with a bass, it's truly among the best I ever heard. It extends pretty deep with a full body sub-bass texture nicely balanced with a mid-bass, and has a rather natural attack (not too fast or slow). The bass quantity is enhanced, very articulate, and well controlled, though does spills just a bit into lower mids adding a thicker body to the mids. It only comes out to play when called upon, and when it does - makes mids feel a bit recessed. Also I do have to note that it makes acoustic instruments sound very natural which made me enjoy a lot of other genres beside my usual EDM repertoire. Moving to mids, they are slightly recessed, warm and smooth. They sound very musical, and with a right selection of tips provide plenty of clarity and details. Vocals, both male and female, are smooth like butter, and very organic - probably the most natural vocal delivery I ever heard. Treble is also very detailed and smooth. It is not harsh or peaky, without even a hint of sibilance, and also sounds very organic.
 
When putting UM Pro 50 against other IEMs, here is what I found while using largest orange tips in my sound analysis (including the same tips on Pro 30 and W40).
 
- Versus Pro 50, Pro 30 has less sub-bass, faster mid-bass attack, more forward mids, thinner lower mids, a little brighter treble, more intimate soundstage with less depth, and overall a more upfront sound.
 
- Versus Pro 50, W40 doesn't have as clear separation of instruments, less sub-bass, slower and more tamed down mid-bass, more forward mids, thinner lower mids and brighter/splashier upper mids, hotter treble, and wider soundstage.
 
- Versus Pro 50, ATH-CKR10 has less sub-bass and less impact of mid-bass, more forward and thinner/brighter mids with vocals being a little less organic, brighter treble with a better extension and more sparkle, and a little wider staging.
 
- Versus Pro 50, ATH-IM03 has less sub-bass and less aggressive mid-bass, mids are thinner and brighter, treble is brighter, soundstage a little wider, and overall not as good separation of instruments.
 
- Versus Pro 50, UE900s has less sub-bass and mid-bass, more forward mids that sound brighter, harsher and a lot less organic, more sparkle in treble, and wider staging, with overall thinner sound with less body.
 
- Versus Pro 50, A83 has less bass quantity, more forward mids, a lot brighter/hotter upper mids and treble that comes closer to sibilance level, wider soundstage, and overall a lot brighter signature.
 
- Versus Pro 50, DITA Answer has a scaled down quantity with a similar bass quality, more mid forward with a brighter thinner mids, brighter treble with more extension, wider soundstage, and overall thinner brighter sound with less body and slightly improved separation of instruments.
 
 
In conclusion, I found Westone UM Pro 50 to be the King of Smooth IEMs for any genre of music! The organic smooth sound of these headphones really makes it stand out with an excellent delivery of the bass that captures the best of any dynamic or balance armature driver I heard to date. I refer to the bass performance of UM Pro 50 quite a lot in my review, and want to be sure people understand I'm not talking about basshead quality/quantity, but rather a fundamental bass timbre that is very natural and effortless as long as you match it with a right pair of eartips. These are not reference audiophile headphones you reach for to analyze details of you favorite artist performance. These are IEMs you put in your ears to dive into a sea of music that will give you many hours of smooth sailing with every sound being perfectly layered and separated, with every timbre being musical and organic, and with every song (no matter if its EDM or classical or pop or jazz) being enjoyable to listen to without fatigue for extend period of time. All that with earpieces so lightweight and ergonomic in fitment that you'll forget you even have them in your ears. And regarding the price, just keep in mind these are based on the same drivers and a similar tuning of Westone ES50 CIEM model that cost twice as much. I can guarantee, you will NOT be disappointed with Westone UM Pro 50 IEMs!
Adash
Adash
Thanks for the review, it's very helpful. Did you listen to W30? If yes, how would it compare with Pro 50? Is it a clear upgrade in the same direction or slight side step in terms of sound signature?
Thanks in advance
twister6
twister6
@Adash : sorry, didn't have a chance to listen to W30.  Maybe W30 sounds closer to UM Pro 30?  Either way, I would expect Pro 50 to be an upgrade, in low end quality and quantity for sure.
Adash
Adash
Thanks! I love the sound of W30 but because I've been bitten by the head-fi bug some time ago I am already looking for an upgrade. And thanks to your review I think I know what I'm buying next.
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