Westone UM-Pro 50 Review

Westone UM-Pro 50 Review

The Westone UM Pro 50 is over two years old, but continues to impress listeners with a unique sound.  At a price of $649, though, how strong is this earphone?  And does it even deserve such a high price?

Westone UM-Pro 50 Review

Westone UM-Pro 50 Review

The Westone UM Pro 50 comes with all the usual Westone goodies – a heavy duty weather-resistant case (with gasket seals, for heavensakes), eartips, and a wax removal tool.

Construction and build is what I’ve come to expect from Westone at this point, with a robust constitution that feels like it could survive years of abuse.  It comes with the almost 4 ft (1.3 m) braided audio-only cable that is standard to the UM Pro lineup.

But under the hood, it’s sporting five balanced armatures, resulting in a very low-distortion driver.

The design of the earbud, which allows you to loop them around the back of your ear, is one aimed at comfort and isolation – something that these earphones pull off well.  When I first tested them, I used the medium-size foam Comply tips supplied in the box.  Despite a split second of slight discomfort as I jammed these in my ears, the fit overall was good;  my ears soon adjusted to the size of the tip, and isolation was superb as a result.

There are plenty of tips in the box – different sizes of foam and silicon tips – so finding the right size for yourself is all just a matter of trial and error.

On to the full specs:

Sensitivity 115 dB SPL @ 1 mW
Frequency Response 20 Hz to 20 kHz
Impedance 45 Ω @ 1 kHz
Noise Attenuation 25 dB passive
Driver Five balanced armature drivers with passive 3-way crossover
Cable EPIC removable cable
Cable Length 50″ (128 cm)
Weight 0.445 oz (12.7 g)

As you can see from the above table, it’s sporting a fairly standard frequency range of 20-20000 hertz, and a nominal impedance of 45 ohms.  Not too impressive.

Until you pop them in your ears.  Then, a couple things stand out.  First off, thanks to that 5 balanced armature driver, things get amazingly clear and smooth, without the least hint of distortion.

Low End

Bass on the UM Pro 50 is refined, deep but not overstated.  It’s not the low throbbing bass you might associate with the Westone W series, but a cleaner alternative.  On higher volumes, this can seem uncontrolled – something I noticed when listening to hip hop and some hard rock, especially where low-frequency male vocals can vie for attention among the bass and sub-bass.


In general, the mids are good excellent!  There’s a precise definition to the midrange that really recommends these earphones to anyone seeking massive amounts of detail.  For classical and acoustic music, especially, the UM Pro 50 is one boss of a headphone.  During my listening sessions, I could feel myself picking up on more nuances in the recordings.  Individual instruments distinguished themselves one by one, leading to one hell of a soundstage.

High End

The high end of the frequency range might be possibly relaxed just a tad.  High notes never get piercing in any way, shape, or form, but there also seems to be no loss in detail.  This was an interesting if welcome characteristic when it came classical music, especially violin-heavy tracks where I got a smooth-yet-detailed sound.


As mentioned above, the soundstage on the Pro 50 is ASTOUNDING.  Every instrument, every note, every speck of sound has a place around you.  This, combined with the superb isolation, whisks you away to a world of music.


If there is one fault to these headphones, it is that they excel at some things and fail at others.  In a way, these headphones seem to magnify vocals.  While listening to some 90’s rock, I was impressed by how smooth Stephen Jenkins sounded.  Then I put on some Smashing Pumpkins, and even though I didn’t know it until that moment, apparently Billy Corgan’s voice can sound even more nasal and whining than previously thought.  “Hey,” I said to myself.  “Maybe this is just a problem with male vocals.”  So I switched over to some PJ Harvey.  Nope, same thing:  this time the earphone just accentuated the natural huskiness of late 90s, early 00s PJ.  Not that it made Harvey’s voice any less sexy, but…

Overall Impressions

Clarity!  These earphones have it in spades.  They’re low distortion with great soundstage, but the low end and high end don’t really leave this headphone suited for rock and hip hop, or bassy electronica.  Where these earphones really crush the competition is classical and acoustic tunes.  Thanks to that slightly relaxed high end, the refined bass, and excellent midrange, there’s a kind of sound to Wagner or Beethoven that I just haven’t seen (heard?) anywhere else.


If you’re in the market for an earphone that’s perfect for classical or acoustic music, STOP reading this review.  GO.  BUY.  THESE.  EARPHONES.

If, on the other hand, you’re looking for that good all-rounder earphone to handle any kind of genre in equal measure, skip the UM Pro 50.  As good as it is for classical and acoustic, I would not recommend it as the Jack of All Trades.

Now, maybe you’re the type of audiophile who wants something primarily for classical, but something you can also use for the occasional listening session that involves other genres, like rock, blues, jazz, hip hop, or pop.  Maybe you should consider these earphones.  It’s not completely horrible with other styles of music, but it doesn’t really shine with them, either.

You can find these IEMs for the best price here:

Audio 46 (Use our promo code, “majorhifi” to get 10% off)


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Carroll is a headphone junkie residing in Brooklyn. He's a huge fan of Grado, UK hip hop, and the English Language in general. When not testing audio equipment or writing, you'll find him taking photographs or fiddling with circuit boards. You can contact him at carroll@majorhifi.com.