The W40 occupies something of a niche within the Westone W Series. Unlike most other W models, this earphone features a sound with more emphasis on the low end and a stronger bass at the expense of high-end detail. At $499, it definitely costs a pretty penny, but is it worth the price?
Westone W40 Review
Packaged with the usual Westone assortment of goodies, the W40 comes with an orange earphone case, several different eartips (both memory foam and silicon), and two removable cables – one audio-only and one with an iOS-compatible mic and remote.
The build quality on the W40 is okay. It’s not so flimsy that it will fall apart in my hands, but it also seems like it could be just a little more durable. After all, a rigid plastic build only goes so far.
Comfort, however, is top notch. And this may be why Westone decided to use such a lackluster if lightweight build; once I put these in my ear, and get the cable straight, it feels like a dream. Suffice to say, these should handle even the longest listening sessions with ease.
|Sensitivity||118 dB SPL @ 1 mW|
|Frequency Response||10 Hz to 18 kHz|
|Impedance||31 Ω @ 1 kHz|
|Noise Attenuation||25 dB passive|
|Driver||Four balanced-armature drivers 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 these specs show, the W40 offers a fairly standard frequency range, though with more emphasis on the low end and less emphasis on the high end. Volume is good, and the nominal impedance of 31 ohms is low enough to work just fine with a portable device or a computer sans amp.
Deep and full, the low end boasts a fair amount of detail. Bass has great impact, leading to some real “oomph” in the low end. However, control is somewhat lacking, and there may be noticeable bleed in tracks that feature low frequency vocals and notes vying for attention.
The mids on the W40 are detailed and almost accurate, if not for some noticeable distortion. While instrumentation remains pretty clear, vocals seem to suffer more, sounding pinched and stretched.
Rolled-off in the high end, the W40 has a fair amount of detail in that part of frequency range. On the down side, some higher notes and nuances seem lacking or missing entirely, while the sound never gets too bright or piercing.
The soundstage has placement and depth, but seems somewhat hindered by the overpowered bass. This gives me the impression of less space between low and high notes, perhaps due to the less dynamic sound overall.
The Westone W40 is a unique earphone in general, but especially in the context of the Westone W Series. Of all the W models, the 40 is the most bass-centric, with a strong emphasis on the low end. While the mids and highs can be a mixed bag, this earphone still has much to offer to greenhorn and seasoned listeners alike.
For dyed-in-the-wool bassheads, this earphone is a no-brainer. The bumping bass and detailed low end shine with rock, hip-hop, and EDM. Indeed, even people who enjoy a wide range of listening tastes may still appreciate the way the W40 handles these particular genres.
For people who predominantly listen to classical music, the W40 may not offer as much. The low-end can take away from soundstage and the lack of high end does take away from strings. For these listeners, I’d instead recommend the Westone UM-Pro 30 or the UM-Pro 50.
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