Westone B-series, B30 and B50

Source Pair up.

Since these new B30 and B50 are not exactly your audiophile quality revealing IEMs, you don’t really need top hi-res sources to bring the best in them.  I wasn’t even planning to have Source Pair-up section in my review, until I noticed that signature does change a bit with different sources.  Here are my observations.

iBasso DX220

  • B30 – wide soundstage, w-shaped sig with emphasis on all frequencies, bass is a little tighter and faster and with a little more sparkle in treble, the sound performance is still smooth and laidback.
  • B50 – a little wider soundstage, L-shaped signature with a harder hitting more rounded bass, mids/vocals are smooth and warm and still have a decent definition, treble is more rolled off here.

A&K SP1000 SS

  • B30 – wide soundstage, more v-shaped sig, bass hits harder in here, and extra treble sparkle gives vocals better definition, giving the overall performance a little more energy.
  • B50 – a little wider soundstage, L-shaped signature with a harder hitting more rounded bass, mids/vocals pushed more back, have fuller thicker body and a little less definition, treble is more rolled off here.

Sony WM1Z

  • B30 – wide soundstage, v-shaped sig, more sub-bass rumble, thicker warmer vocals, well controlled treble, smooth laidback performance.
  • B50 – an average soundstage width with more depth, L-shaped signature with warmer rounded bass, thicker body smooth laidback vocals.

Cowon Plenue L

  • B30 – wide soundstage, more v-shaped sig, mids/vocals have plenty of clarity, smooth laidback performance.
  • B50 – an average soundstage width with more depth, L-shaped sig, mids/vocals are smooth and laidback, treble a little rolled off.

westone_b-series-32

Cayin N5iiS

  • B30 – wide soundstage, w-shaped sig with emphasis on all frequencies, bass is tighter and faster, mids/vocals are more revealing, more detailed, treble sparkle gives the sound better definition.  This is probably my favorite pair up with B30.
  • B50 – a little wider soundstage here, the signature is more w-shaped but leaning more toward L-shaped due to strong bass emphasis, mids/vocals are more transparent with better clarity and definition, and I ever hear a touch more sparkle in treble.  Also, my favorite pair up with B50.

Shanling M5s

  • B30 – wide soundstage, more v-shaped sig, a little more emphasis on bass, smooth laidback performance.
  • B50 – above average soundstage, L-shaped sig, harder hitting bass, vocals smooth and laidback, a little thicker with a fuller body, but not muddy or congested.

Lotoo PAW Gold Touch (LPGT)

  • B30 – wide soundstage, v-shaped sig, mids/vocals less revealing and a little congested, smooth laidback performance.  I expected better, but wasn’t too happy with this pair up.
  • B50 – a little wider soundstage, L-shaped signature, deeper sub-bass rumble with a harder hitting mid-bass impact, smooth laidback vocals, more sparkle in treble.

Samsung Galaxy S9

  • B30 – above average soundstage, v-shaped sig, a little more emphasis on bass, vocals have a nice clarity, smooth laidback performance.
  • B50 – above average soundstage, L-shaped sig, harder hitting bass, vocals smooth and laidback, yet still clear enough, not muddy or congested.

westone_b-series-33

Conclusion.

Of course, I was kind of joking referring to W50 as the black sheep of Westone family, but there is some truth to it as well.  It stood out with a tuning that didn’t exactly fit the rest of the W-series audiophile line up.  W30 was also on the borderline, appealing to both audio enthusiasts who wanted more balanced tuning and consumers who preferred some extra bass impact.  But I think W50 stood out the most, thus creating basshead flavored B-series was a clever way to give B30 and B50 their own space without people comparing them to W40 or W60.

And, this wasn’t just a debut of a new series, but also a continuation of W-series v2 “better value” direction by including premium cable, metal faceplates, and Bluetooth wireless cable.  Also, as you can see from my sound analysis, B-series is not exactly tuned for demanding audiophiles.  I would say B30 is suited better for musicians who want more emphasis on low end while still enjoying the clarity of mids/vocals and treble.  B50 is probably more consumer oriented because it’s tuned for those who are craving L-shaped sound signature and more emphasis on warm analog bass.

But the most important thing here, something I already mentioned in my W-series v2 review and want to repeat again.  Maybe Westone is 60-year old company, but the changes I have seen in the last few years are definitely in the right direction to stay relevant in this very competitive market.

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