Westone UM2 Review
A few months ago I began searching for my next set of IEMs. I already had a set of V-Moda Vibes and Sennheiser Cx300 and wanted more. The quest for good sound tends to sneak up on you very quickly after you hear a few flashes of greatness.
I started researching phones like the Qjays, the UE Triple Fi 10 pro, the Atrio M5. and the Shure SE530. I found problems with the UEs and the Shures so that left the Jays and the Atrios. Then I found the Westone UM2, and it was all over.
Sensitivity: 119 dB/mW
Frequency response: 20 Hz -18 kHz
Impedance: 27 ohms
Driver: Dual balanced armature drivers with a passive crossover
I’ve had my UM2’s for around two months at this point and have put close to one hundred hours into them. So I figured I would write out a few of my thoughts on them.
The UM2 comes with four sets of Comply Foam tips, two in long and two in short. I’ve had Comply tips before and I know that they get rather nasty after about a week, so I bought a ten pack of Shure foams which hold up a bit better. The package also contained an earwax cleaning tool and soft zipper case which is surprisingly sturdy as far as zipper cases go.
Design, Build, Fit
The earphone themselves are very sturdily built with only one weak point that I can see as being suspect to break and that is the tip. It is about 1/8” in diameter and if you were careless I could see it breaking off under stress.
The stress relief on the cables is more than ample enough to keep the cable from detaching under normal stresses. On the phones themselves there is at least ˝” of rubber on the outside that goes inside at least another 1/8”. The headphone jack has more of the same and is a right angle plug that from my experience seems to outlast straight jacks every time.
The cable is a three wire weave that feels stronger, despite how thin it is, than any cable I have ever used. When pulled on the wires pull the weave tighter and take up a lot of the stress. With the exception of the cable separator it is the same cable and jack used on the $1,200 juggernaut UE11.
When fitted the UM2 housing fits very nicely into the curves of your ear, and holds closely without much protrusion. While wearing just one I have had many people ask me if I am wearing a hearing aid.
What struck me on my first listen was the imaging of the UM2. Listening to Baba O’Riley by The Who almost had me turning my head back and forth to watch where the sound was coming from. From the intense snap of the snare drum to the detailed midrange Westone doesn’t disappoint with the UM2s sound. With plenty of bass for the bassheads they do great from rock to rap, blues to classical. I a-b’d them with the Shure SE530 and found the clarity much better on the UM2, but in all fairness I have 3 months with the UM2 and had 5 minutes with the SE530. To me the reproduction is much clearer than the V-Moda Vibes or any other IEM that I have spent considerable time listening to. I definitely would put these up with the best sounding phones on my list. The isolation is great, on par with Shure, and almost like using ear plugs
- Great sound clarity
- Comfortable fit
- Great isolation
- Comply tips cost enough to make you feel like your renting your phones
- Another 2” of wire from the separator to the earpiece would be nice
Cowon S9,Sansa Clip+,
Sansa Fuze,Westone UM2,Altec Lansing UHP336
Last edited by no9; 01-19-2009 at 10:28 AM.
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