When it comes to IEMs, it feels like there are new releases everyday. However, if there is one high end IEM that has withstood the test of time, it is the Westone W80. How do these high-end IEMs sound? Let’s take a closer look with this Westone W80 review.
All Natural – Westone W80 Review
In the Box – Westone W80 Review
-earphones color pieces and tool for changing them
-a plethora of eartips
-MMCX cable with microphone
-ALO Reference 8 braided MMCX cable
-draw string pouch
-small hard shell, zipping carrying case
-big hard shell, zipping carrying case with a bunch of compartments
-micro fiber cleaning cloth
Design – Westone W80 Review
If you’re familiar at all with the rest of the W series from Westone, then you’ll be familiar with the look and shape of the Westone W80. Its driver housing is small-medium in size and has a somewhat unassuming look. However, the look of then cable sets these earphones apart from the others and immediately makes them look more expensive.
The fit of the Westone W80 are some of the easiest IEMs to fit in my relatively smallish ears. Because the driver housing is so tiny, they rely mostly on the eartip seal (alongside the hook-behind-the-ear design of the cable) to keep them in pace. The IEMs come with a bunch of ear tips, including foam tips. As a result, the foam tips form to fit the exact shape of the ear canal, providing a great seal and an easy fit. Additionally, the foam tips provide great sound isolation, acting like earplugs.
The cable that comes in the box with the Westone W80 is a high-end cable made by ALO (the same folks that make the cables for Campfire Audio IEMs). The cable is their Reference 8. It features eight conductors: 4 braided silver-plated copper and 4 OCC copper wires.
The Westone W80 stocked with eight balanced armature drivers. Two are dedicated to producing the low frequencies, two are for the middle frequencies, and four are for the high frequencies. Westone says that they are perfectly matched, and as a result, the earphones have a wonderful soundstage, so I’m excited to get into the sound of them.
Sound – Westone W80 Review
The low frequencies of the Westone W80 sound even and natural. They are a little modest for my personal taste, but they are great for those looking for a natural and neutral sound signature.
For example, when I was listening to the song Roll with the Punches by Dawes, the kick drum felt tight and natural, although it was a little big quieter in the mix than I prefer. Despite this lightness in level, they seem to have a good sense of extension, creating separation between the kick drum and bass guitar.
The midrange of the Westone W80 is full and even. A small broad boost in the low-mids gives useful weight to cellos, bass guitars, low horns, and guitars. Additionally, a light broad dip in the bottom range of the high-mids creates a sense of spaciousness. This balances well with a light, broad boost at the top range of the high-mids. As a result, the earphones provide clarity, detail, and articulation to all instruments, especially those with energy in the high-mids like vocals, horns, and the attack of drums.
For example, when I was listening to the song Pacifist’s Lament by Ani DiFranco, the bass guitar had both weight and detail in each note. It seemed to have a lot of accuracy pitchwise, and felt even across the entire neck of the bass. Additionally, the electric guitars felt full and harmonically rich. They complimented the vocals well, which felt thick, yet articulate on the consonants. Lastly, the horns felt smooth and warm and had great separation between them!
The high frequencies of the Westone W80 have an even and natural sound. There is a broad boost at the bass of the upper octave. As a result, vocals and high-frequency rich instruments like cymbals and strings have an audible sense of airiness to them while maintaining their richness.
For example, when I was listening to the song Quizas Quizas Quizas by Pink Martini, the guiro, bongos, and shaker all felt super spacious and perfectly placed in the mix level-wise. While they’re not overly hyped, they retain clear detail, articulation, and airiness. The vocal had the same quality and sounded gorgeous. It had detail and air, that wasn’t overly hyped, but just contributed to the aestheticism and emotional impact of the voice and its nuances.
The soundstage of the Westone W80 is notable. The sense of width is spacious and has nuance. It came through with accuracy, making dense arrangements feel transparent. Additionally, the sense of depth feels accurate to how the mixer intended. It maintains a sense of intimacy which contrasts musically with the instruments set further back in space. Lastly, the sense of height also has gradation, although the reaches of the lows don’t feel as dramatic as they otherwise would because of their moderation. However, the contrast is certainly there and I would describe it as effective and valid.
For example, when I was listening to the song Miles Runs the Voodoo Down by Miles Davis, the guitars, panned drums and far off keys contrasted beautifully in the width and depth with the intimate, centered trumpet. The sense of height felt spacious comparing the intimacy and brightness in the trumpet to the anchoring presence of the bass guitar. This soundstage contributed to the emotional impact of the song. As instruments came in and out, they took my attention in an appropriate way, one that felt intensional on the part of the mixer.
Overview – Westone W80 Review
Overall, the Westone W80 fits super well in the ear, and has remarkable sound isolation. They have superb evenness and a sense of naturalness to their sound. Additinally, they work well for all genres, especially for those that need a harmonically rich and accurate sound like jazz and classical. If you want a bass bump, these won’t be the ones for you. However, if you want an even image of instruments, these will be a great option.
The Westone W80 are available for the best price here:
Audio 46: https://audio46.com/shop/westone-w80/