Westone headphones command some attention among audiophiles – and with good reason, too. While their ultra-detailed UM Pro lineup gets most of the mentions, the W Series has its accolades, too. With that in mind, how does the $399 Westone W30 stack up to other earphones at the same price?
Westone W30 Review
Like all Westone W Series earphones, the W30 comes with a monitor vault, a menagerie of eartips, and two cables – one braided audio-only cable and one nylon-sheathed cable with an in-line mic and remote for iOS devices.
The build quality seems strong enough – enough to give me the impression that it’s not going to break unless I really put some effort into it.
Using the supplied foam Comply tips, comfort is a dream. These earphones are meant to be worn with the cable looped over the top of the ear and running down the back of the ear. With the earphones in this position, you’re liable to forget you’re wearing them.
|Sensitivity||107 dB SPL @ 1 mW|
|Frequency Response||20 Hz to 18 kHz|
|Impedance||30 Ω @ 1 kHz|
|Noise Attenuation||25 dB passive|
|Driver||Three balanced armature with a 3-way crossover|
|Cable||EPIC removable cable and MFI G2 cable|
|Cable Length||50″ (128 cm)|
|Weight||0.445 oz (12.7 g)|
As we can see from these specifications, the W30 offers a fairly standard frequency range with a low nominal impedance and decent volume levels. The design utilizes three balanced armatures with crossover, so we should be in for a pretty clean sound.
Deep and pretty full, the low end of the W30 is punctuated by some nice bass impact. There’s excellent control here, with no bleed, and everything sounds pretty much as it should.
The midrange has great detail in the instrumentation. Midrange vocals sound decent, but there may be the slightest amount of distortion. Not the end of the world, but something that could get on your nerves if you go looking (listening?) for it.
The W30 has a slightly bright high end. There is still a good amount of detail in there, though. And while the high end can make strings seem a little wonky – rolled off at the highest highs – female vocals are smooth and luscious.
The soundstage on the W30 has some placement and depth, but not much. There’s still that “in-your-head” sensation that plagues most in-ear headphones. This isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker, just keep in mind they aren’t going to sound too open.
At $399, the Westone W30 is a strong contender with a clean sound. The robust lows and rolled highs lead to a sound that is detailed and somewhat neutral-sounding, but leans warm. While these may not be optimal for every listening taste, they will prove to be first-rate earphones when it comes to several different genres.
Classical fan? Instrumental music junkie? If so, the Westone W30 may not be the best headphone for you. But it’s still good if you’re looking for lots of detail in a clean package. For those who prefer rock, EDM, and hip-hop, the Westone W30 is, cut and dried, the headphone for you. While the bass is decent, you could get a deeper low end with more “oomph” from the $499 Westone W40. Or you could get a more balanced sound (with more high-end detail) from the $439 Klipsch X20i or the $499 Shure SE535. But for price and performance, the Westone W30 may be the best option you have.
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