Review Guide to 2nd gen Westone W-series, W10, W20, W40, W60, and W80

Westone W10 2nd gen.

($249.99, Westone, Amazon)

  • Full range single balanced-armature driver
  • Sensitivity 122dB
  • Impedance 19 ohms
  • Noise isolation 25dB

Included: W10 universal IEMs, 3-button cable with microphone, Westone BT v1 cable, 5 pair Star silicone and 5 pair True-Fit foam tips, exchangeable plastic faceplates, small premium carrying case, 2 year warranty.

Sound Impressions:

W10-2 has an average size soundstage width with more out of your head depth, extending further out. The bass is very neutral, nearly flat across sub-bass and mid-bass. Mids are more forward, bringing more attention to vocals, sound clear, natural, and a little more revealing. Treble is well defined, a little brighter and crisper, but under control without a hint of sibilance. These IEMs are definitely tuned with more focus on mids/vocals and extra details in treble. Don’t expect too much bass impact here.

Comparison:

I never heard the original W10 but have been told the sound tuning of the new ones remained the same, thus I’m comparing it to Pro10-2.

W10-2 vs UMPro10-2 – A lot of similarities here, and a few differences as well. Soundstage is a touch wider in Pro, while the depth of the stage is nearly identical, with the same out of your head positioning. Bass goes a little deeper and has more quantity in Pro, while W is more neutral, flatter. Mids are nearly identical, being more forward, clear, natural, and a little more revealing. The same with treble, nearly identical in this comparison too.


Westone W20 2nd gen.

($349.99, Westone, Amazon)

  • Full-range dual balanced armature drivers
  • Sensitivity 117dB
  • Impedance 33 ohm
  • Noise isolation 25dB

Included: W20 Universal IEMs, 3-button cable with microphone, Westone BT v1 cable, 5 pair Star silicone and 5 pair True-Fit foam tips, exchangeable plastic faceplates, small premium carrying case, 2 year warranty.

Sound Impressions:

W20-2 has above average soundstage width with a nice depth, more out of your head. Good sub-bass extension with a tight mid-bass punch, but overall bass has a more neutral quantity, though with a little more rumble and stronger mid-bass punch in comparison to a more neutral W10-2 bass. Mids are more forward, bringing more attention to vocals, sound clear and natural. Treble is well defined and well controlled, non-fatigue, sounds relatively natural as well, smoother than W10-2. These IEMs tuned with more focus on mids/vocals details, have a decent low end quality with just a touch north of neutral quantity and a good treble definition.

Comparison:

I never heard the original W20 but have been told the sound tuning of the new ones remained the same, thus I’m comparing it to Pro20-2.

W20-2 vs Pro20-2 – Pro soundstage is very similar except I feel like mids are even closer to you, being more inside your head in comparison, while W extends a little further. Sub-bass of Pro goes a little deeper and mid-bass punches a bit stronger, while W bass is closer to neutral. W mids have a little more forward presentation and sounds more transparent (less colored) in comparison to Pro being warmer and a smoother (more coloring). Lower treble is where I hear a big difference with W being more natural and more controlled, while Pro being brighter, crisper, and even showing signs of sibilance in some poorly recorded tracks. Also, W20-2 is a lot smaller in size when compared to UM Pro20-2.


Westone W40 2nd gen.

($499.99, Westone, Amazon)

  • Full-range four balanced-armature drivers
  • Sensitivity 118dB
  • Impedance 31 ohms
  • Noise isolation 25dB

Included: W40 universal IEMs, Silver plated copper cable, Westone BT v1 cable, 5 pair Star silicone and 5 pair True-Fit foam tips, exchangeable metal faceplates, medium premium carrying case, 2 year warranty.

Sound Impressions:

W40-2 has a higher resolution and better dynamics when compared to W10-2/W20-2. Wider soundstage expansion (more width than v2 W10/W20), and the same out of your head soundstage expansion depth. Bass here goes deeper, with more rumble, and mid-bass hits harder, with more punch in comparison to W20; bass actually sounds more analog, like a dynamic driver, with an average attack/decay speed. Lower mids are closer to neutral, while upper mids are more detailed, more revealing, still clear and natural, a little laidback, also with an improved layering. While v2 W10/W20 are more mid-forward, in comparison to W40-2 their rendition of vocals is a little flatter, while W40-2 mids/vocals sound more dynamic. Treble is well defined, crisp, has a nice sparkle, and no sibilance; it’s brighter than v2 W10/W20, but not harsh, though there is a touch of “s” accentuation here, but it’s under control. Overall, the signature here is more balanced with a little more laidback presentation of the sound.

Comparison:

W40-2 with Silver-plated vs Epic cable – the main difference I’m hearing is soundstage being a little wider with SPC cable and mids/vocals sounding a little more revealing. Another difference, when you listen closer, SPC cable yields a blacker background.

W40-2 vs W40-1 – The soundstage here, in both width and depth, are nearly identical. When it comes to tuning, I hear some noticeable differences. The original W40-1 bass has a very similar extension and quality, but the bass quantity in W40-2 is more elevated and sounds more analog; W40-1 bass is more neutral and a little faster/tighter, while W40-2 bass is more dynamic, deeper, with more impact. Mids, both lower and upper, are nearly identical in quality and quantity, being detailed and natural. But treble is different again, with both being crisp and sparkly, but W40-1 is brighter and harsher in comparison to W40-2 sounding more natural and less fatigue. I never really thought of the original W40-1 treble as being fatigue, but when you compare these two side-by-side, you can hear the difference.

Page 4 – W60, W80, and Conclusion.

13 thoughts on “Review Guide to 2nd gen Westone W-series, W10, W20, W40, W60, and W80

  1. I’m currently testing the W60 generation 2 and am wondering if I’m hearing them right?

    With all tips except the black silicon tips, bass guitars are very forward in the mix no matter what genre of music. It’s as if the bass guitar is the main focus for any recording I listened to.

    The spacing between all the instruments and vocal seemed very narrow when listening to stereo recordings from the 90’s to recent. Everything sounds so boxed in, like I’m hearing a performance done from an elevator rather then on a small stage. The clarity and separation between each instrument and vocal are all there but just so close together.

    Am I hearing these right or is there a defect in the ones I’m auditioning.

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      1. Sources used were the headphone out’s of a Macbook pro, smartphone, Yamaha receiver, Yamaha live reinforcement board, and 900nxs2 mixer. All sources except for the Yamaha receiver have low impedance headhpone outputs. I only tried the receiver in hopes that it would increase the width of the imaging, unfortunately it did not. Are the foam true-fit tips suppose to cut high frequencies in vocals? With them on, vocals sounded slightly dull and a bit more recessed.

        I am looking to find a substitute for my AKG K271 MKII and Audio Technica ATH-E50 for monitoring, mixing, and live performance. Both produce discomfort in fit during long sessions. When contacting Westone they suggested a W30 to W60 for my intended purposes instead of the UM series.

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      2. tbh, when I switch between many of the DAPs I have access to and my smartphone and laptop, the soundstage is always inferior with smartphone/laptop vs dedicated DAPs with their higher end DACs and finetuned amps section. Westone designs W-series for audiophiles, while UMPro is for musicians, but UMPro50 could really surprise you. Also, yes, foam tips suck a life out of higher frequencies, attenuating the airiness of the treble which brings more attention to lows, and could also affect soundstage width expansion. But, at the end of the day, we have different sources, different ears, listen to different music, thus what you are hearing has to make sense to your ears with your sources and your music.

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  2. Thanks for the assistance, I guess I was expecting too much from these IEM’s. I can accept the slightly forward sounding bass guitars but the narrow width I’m experiencing with these IEM’s I can’t overlook.

    For reference I listened to CD’s and original vinyl pressings ranging from Miles Davis, The Crusaders, Herbie Hancock, Smokey Robinson, Al Green, Marvin Gaye, James Taylor, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Toto, The Eagles, and Mariah Carey.

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    1. If you like more BASS, you definitely should go for B50, a more pounding slam. I listen to a lot of EDM, but I personally prefer a more balanced sound with not too much bass in your face, so I can hear vocals with better clarity, thus personally prefer W40 gen 2.

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    1. Sorry, while I have all the westone iems I reviewed, I don’t have Tansio iems. And Animagus, our contributor who reviewed many Tansio iems, doesn’t have access to Westone.

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