I’ll level with you. I own the Westone W40, so this review may be a little biased. But I also have much respect for Klipsch. Since these two IEMs are priced in the same ballpark, I was curious to see how they matched up. My colleagues and I have written extensively about both, the X20i and the W40 here and here. This review is for those who are already familiar with at least one of these models and want to avoid any buyer’s remorse. So, let’s compare these two gems in this Klipsch X20i vs Westone W40 Review.
Klipsch X20i vs Westone W40 Review
IN the BOX
Both earphones offer the same amount of sound isolation. And both are super light. But if you hate fussing with the around-the-ear wire design, then the X20i is the way to go.
A major difference between the design of these two IEMs is the cable. The W40 comes with two detachable cables that have MMCX connectors; a braided cable is included in the box along with a cable that has a mic and remote. The X20i, on the other hand, has a fixed cable.
So, if you’re interested in upgrading your sound with a balanced cable in the future or you’re worried about the longevity of your product, go with the W40. [Edited to mention: I went back to check after it was pointed out to me, and the detachable part of the X20i cable is actually near the mic and remote instead of the earpiece, which is a pleasant surprise! It’s a SSMCX connector you can switch out.]
That being said, the X20i is one well built earphone. The wire is thick and well insulated, and the mic/remote looks solid and snazzy. Indeed, there’s no question that, in terms of style, the X20i takes the cake.
I won’t get too deep into specs because they often don’t play out in reality. But with respect to drivers, the X20i houses dual armature drivers (a woofer and a tweeter), while the W40 has 4 balanced armature drivers with a three-way crossover design. And while both, the X20i and W40 are considered to be reference earphones, the W40 is likely to have a flatter response. Also. if you like to blow your ears out, based on the impedance and sensitivity, the W40 should give you more volume. Now, let’s move onto the fun stuff.
Listening to pop, the bass sounds very similar on these two IEMs. Both have presence and punch, with the W40 displaying slightly more impact. And if I had to pick which response sounded tighter, it would be the W40. Moving onto acoustic instruments, it becomes clear that the W40 has the more disciplined bass. Double bass shows more controlled detail and resolve on the W40, making the Klipsch feel a little slouchy in comparison.
The W40 displays a more even and present midrange with more equal distribution between the low and high mids. In contrast, the X20i feels slightly hollowed out, causing the vocals to sit more forward. So, if you like to feel the entire spectrum of sound in this range, the W40 is the way to go. Still, both IEM’s offer a warm profile. In terms of clarity, the W40 shows slightly more detail and resolve when listening to acoustic guitars. And moving onto cellos, the W40 revealed a little more texture, leaving the X20i on the smoother side.
Listening to strings in this range, both IEMs displayed an equal amount of transparency. But when I moved onto jazz, trumpets revealed a little more breath and nuance on the W40. Listening again to pop, percussion in the high frequencies has a more crisp sparkle on the W40. And in general, it was the more lively IEM in this range.
The soundstage on the W40 feels slightly wider and more spacious. That being said, it doesn’t necessarily sound more dimensional than the Klipsch in terms of instrument placement. Both IEMs offer colorful imaging and seem equally skilled in this respect.
These two earphones share a lot of similarities, especially in the low frequencies. But if you value a very even and present midrange, you’ll probably lean toward the W40. And as great as the X20i sounds, the W40 generally shows just a bit more dexterity all around. But fit is also important. And if you need great sound isolation but have little patience for the around-the-ear wire, the X20i is a great solution.
You can find the earphones for the best price at:
Audio 46: Klipsch X20i In-Ear Headphones (Use our promo code, “majorhifi” to get a 10% discount)
Audio 46: Westone W40 In-Ear Headphones (Use our promo code, “majorhifi” to get a 10% discount)
Amazon: Klipsch X20i In-Ear Headphones
MajorHiFi may receive commission from retail offers.
|Frequency Range||5Hz – 40kHz||10Hz – 18kHz|
|Sensitivity||111 dB||118 dB|
|Impedance||50 Ohms||31 Ohms|
|Noise Isolation||26 dB||25 dB|
|Weight||22 grams||11 grams|