Having already given a listen to the Westone B50, today I’m more than excited to delve into the new Westone B30. Built on the older W30, the B30 offers a re-tuned sound the promises a little extra low end. But at $449, how does it sound? And where does it stand in relation to its competition?
Westone B30 Review
The B30 comes with a wealth of accessories. In addition to the two earphone cables (silver-plated with a 3.5 mm plug and a Westone Bluetooth cable), you also get a carrying case, two sets of faceplates, and a cleaning tool. There’s also ten pairs of eartips in foam and silicon.
Like all current Westone IEMs, the B30 uses an MMCX connection, allowing the earphones to be used with a wide array of third party products. The cabling loops over the back of the ear, providing a secure but comfortable fit. A little bit longer than the standard cable length, the supplied silver-plated cable measures 52 inches (or 1.3 m). As a taller fellow, I definitely appreciate the longer cabling, though this may not be a huge deal for most users.
The earpieces, while equally light and comfortable, still seem strong. Once placed in my ear, I quickly forget they’re there.
Inside each earpiece, three Balanced Armature drivers provide the B30’s sound. And, that re-tuning has worked wonders on the old W30 sound, imparting just a smidgen of bass that seemed to be missing from older Westone models.
The supplied Bluetooth cable is easy to pair and comfortable to wear, with decent battery life, too, at a fair 8 hours.
Frequency Response: 15-18,000 Hz
Nominal Impedance: 30 ohms
Sound Pressure Level (SPL): 107 dB
Taking a gander at the specs, we can see that the B30 offers a slightly offset frequency range, with a little more low end at the expense of the highs. However, the impedance comes in close to the standard 32 ohms, meaning this earphone should work just fine with low output devices like smartphones, computers, or DAPs. Lastly, the B30 packs a fairly high SPL at 107 decibels, so volume shouldn’t be an issue.
The B30 sports a powerful and energetic low end. Detailed but fun, it’s the kind of low end that draws you in while imparting something special on each track. While my rock and hip-hop tracks definitely benefit the most, the affect isn’t lost on other music, either. Classical and jazz tracks can also take advantage of this natural warmth to come off a bit more emotive and engaging. A solid bass response rounds out the low end, offering enough punch and sparkle to keep you coming back for more, but never feeling exhausted.
In the mids, you get a whiff of that old familiar Westone vibe: tons of nuance and resolution, but without feeling too forward. There’s clarity and cleanliness, without any compression or distortion. However, the mids still seem just a tad bit overshadowed by the low end. Not in a bad way, I might add, but still struggling to take center stage on mid-heavy tracks.
Here we see a relaxed high end without a hint of brightness. Rolled off highs benefit instruments and vocals alike, giving this part of the frequency range a smoothed-out texture. For more detailed, intricate classical tracks, this sound still holds up, retaining enough resolution to remain relatively accurate. However, fans of a brighter high end may find the B30 a little lacking in this regard.
Like most in-ear headphones, the Westone B30 struggles to provide a truly open sense of soundstage. There’s some good depth here, but placement seems a little claustrophobic, leading to a cramped sound when more intricate recordings make their debut. However, on simpler compositions without too many sources vying for primacy, the sound offers enough space to remain enjoyable.
The longer I listen to the Westone B30, the more I like it, but I never would have expected this kind of sound profile from Westone. While most Westone models (including the old W30) offer a general mid-high boost, the B30 skips this in favor of more low end. Even the staple Westone W40 doesn’t offer this kind of warmth, making the B30 an easy favorite for my rock, hip-hop, and electronica listening needs.
If, like me, you’ve skipped some Westone models due to a distinct lack of bass in the past, rest assured the B30 will buck that trend. This earphone, while accurate, provides a fun and engaging sound that will give most listeners plenty of value for money.
For fans of a more balanced, neutral sound, the Westone W40 (at $499) may provide a better alternative, with slightly less bass and slightly more extension in the high end.
For folks who want an even darker sound, the Empire Ears Bravado (at $599) offers more powerful lows at the expense of some soundstage.
Priced at $449, the Westone B30 offers solid value for money. Perfect for the beginner audiophile, casual listener, or relaxed professional, the B30 delivers an impressive listening experience, comfortable fit, and a wealth of accessories – including a Bluetooth cable. While the sound may not be everyone’s cup of tea – and the sometimes-cramped soundstage may not do justice to more intricate tracks – this earphone still holds its own against anything at this price point.
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