Monday, 20 February 2012

Westone W1 Quick Review

Westone W1 Quick Review

Thanks to Advanced Headphones for the sample (AMP3’s sister site)

Brief: Westone aims for the consumer market

Price: £84


Driver Unit Balanced armature, full range

Ear coupling Intraaural (in-canal)

Frequency Response 20Hz -16 kHz

Impedance 30 ohms @1kHz

Input Connection 3.5mm Angled

Max. Power Input 40mW

Microphone (w/a) N/A

Noise Isolation Passive - Up to 90% of ambient noise*

Sensitivity 117 dB SPL/mW @1kHz

Accessories: Deluxe travel pouch, Ten different eartips, 1/4 to 1/8-inch jack/plug adapter, Inline volume control.

Build Quality: First class.

Isolation: Very good. It may not be quite up to the best but its really rather close. Easily enough to let you survive air travel or Tube use. Alternatively enough to turn you into a stain on the road if you aren’t paying attention. Be warned you won’t hear traffic coming at you so look where you are going.

Comfort/Fit: First class. They are small and well shaped. They have a good assortment of tips and I don’t know of anyone that has problems with this sort of thing. Of course you may be that one but odds are you’ll be fine.

Aesthetics: They are okay, perfectly acceptable but I can’t say I give a toss either way. Not unattractive but not particularly pretty either.

Sound: These are a BA that has like many before it been tuned to behave a bit like a dynamic. While I’m never a fan of this sort of thing Westone have done a pretty good job of it, probably better than anyone else. It still means it’s a bit of a hodge podge with not quite the best of either but it makes a very capable generalist. Very capable. Lows for a BA are great in reach and expansion, it’s no SE215 but hey ho. Mids are detailed and tonally in the middle, happy to do liquid or dry with equal enthusiasm. Highs are detailed and very gently roll away so you don’t notice when they fail. It works very well and means you really only see the bits they just right. It’s clearly been tuned by someone rather capable. What is notable is the instrument separation, it is excellent. Much better than I’d expect for a single BA at work. Mostly these don’t really excel anywhere but they do a very good job at everything, a bit of a jack of all trades but a rather good one. Oh and they looooooove getting amped.

Value: Well for your £84 they are in no area the best you can get but they don’t suck anywhere either. Like Ety does highs, the 215 does lows, the PL-50 does mids. The W1 does a bit of everything so you could probably get away just fine with only having it and being pretty happy. I like lots earphones so maybe it’s not really for me but if you’re a bit more of a normal person and want to just have one this is a pretty fine option.

Pro’s: Great all rounder, great brand name, comfy.

Con’s: You pay for that brand name, isn’t the really the master of anything in particular

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