Review: Westone UM Pro50 the perfect balance
Firstly I would like to thank Variphone for lending me this sample for review, I had 2 weeks with them and this is a summary of my honest thoughts on them.
iPod Classic 7G > Sliver LOD > JDS Labs C5D > Westone UM Pro50 (silicone tips)
· Made in USA
· Sensitivity: 115 dB @ 1 mW
· Frequency response: 20 Hz - 20 kHz
· Impedance: 45 ohms @ 1 kHz
· Passive Noise Attenuation: 25 dB
· Driver: 5 balanced armature drivers with passive 3-way crossover
· Weight: 0.445 ounces / 12.7 grams
· Cable: EPIC replaceable cable
· Cable Length: 50” / 128 cm
· MSRP: $749.99
Packaging, Accessories and Build Quality:
The packaging is similar to that of the other UM Pro series, with a grey box, a flap folds open to present the IEM's neatly packed into a foam insert. The carry case can be located underneath with all the accessories inside this. I like the sleek and simple packaging, all information about the IEM's can be found on the sides and back of the box.
Accessories are plentiful as always, with a wide variety of tips including silicone and foam tips, I have found Westone tips to be among the better quality tips out there, and have never had a problem finding a good fitting tip from their selection. The foam tips don't change the sound too much either. I always find however that I end up using Comply tips on nearly all my headphones, due to their comfort.
Build quality is as good as the rest of the UM Pro series, with a high quality plastic housing which helps keep the weight down, and the detachable cable is a tight fit with no connection problems. Some people have issues with the MMCX connectors, but I have had my UM Pro30 for nearly a year with no problems so they do hold up well if looked after. The cable is soft and they do have a memory wire section but it isn't your standard memory wire, it is soft and comfortable. All connections are suitably strain relieved too. No problems here.
Comfort, Isolation and Cable noise:
Comfort is excellent along with the rest of the UM Pro series, the housing is rounded to the shape of the ear and sits very comfortably, no pain after long listening sessions. The provided tips are very good, but I do like to use Comply if I am using them for long periods of time. I also find that the angle of the nozzle is perfect for my ears as they don't stick out and look silly.
Isolation is excellent as you would expect from a stage monitor, they block out all outside noise very well so be very careful not to get run over when walking down the road with them in, this also makes them perfect for a noisy daily commute or for frequent flyers.
Cable noise is not an issue due to the cable being behind the ear, eliminating any noise.
Lows: Thick and rumbling, just like the UM Pro30 these have deep impactful lows that extend beautifully and have a real sense of body to them. They also sound very real due to the fullness and reverb they produce. Sometimes they can sound a little overwhelming, and make the sound a little too full but most of the time they are well behaved and stay in line with the mids and highs. For stage use though, which is what these are designed for, the boost really helps in loud noise environments, as they sound very flat when used in noisy places.
Mids: The mids do take a step back from the lows, but that is not to say they are recessed. They may not be in your face, but the lows do take centre stage and give these some body without sacrificing detail. The lows are never overwhelmed by the lows, they render both male and female vocals perfectly with the right amount of warmth and body, never do the mids sound strident or sharp, and neither do they sound veiled. The perfect balance in the mids.
Highs: This is where the major improvement from the UM Pro30 is noticeable, they no longer sound dark and dull, the extra tweeter really brings out the highs, they are always there and present with sparkle and extension. They no longer get cancelled out by the lows and mids. I really enjoy the presentation of the highs, as they are always present and audible yet not over the top or sibilant/harsh. Again they have found the perfect balance of amount and detail.
Soundstage is intimate yet there is good space around all the instruments, which again is what you need for stage monitoring. Not the best for at home listening, but not a problem for out and about listening.
Conclusion: Well these build on the weaknesses of the UM Pro30, with better balance and much better presence in the highs, whilst retaining the realistic lows and lush mids the UM Pro30 is loved for. For their purpose of stage monitoring these are excellent, the fit is perfect, they are not huge and don't stick out, they sound very detailed and balanced for the musician to be able to hear all the details. For the average listener, they are also good if you know what you want. If you want ruler flat, ruthlessly revealing IEM's, look elsewhere, but if you want a detailed yet easy to listen to IEM that is comfortable and blocks out the noise of your daily commute, these are great. I really like the sound of the UM Pro50.
I no longer publish my list of songs that I used, as I usually put my laptop or iPod on shuffle, the majority of my music is in FLAC/ALAC with some mp3 in the mix, these IEM's do sound best with FLAC but they don't render mp3 unlistenable.
Sound Perfection Rating: 9/10
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