Review: Westone W60 – Musicality²

Sound

The following impressions are based on the sound signature with the foam tips.

The Westone W60 has a slightly warmer sound signature but it at the same time sounds clean and clear. Of course we’re not talking Etymotic ER4 clear, but the clarity is good enough to not make the W60 sound dark. The W60s has a nicely wide sound stage which is to be expected at this price level. The W60 sounds spacious with good separation but it at the same time doesn’t very “out of your head”. What I love about the W60 is the excellent L/R balance and instrumental separation. In general you could describe the sound as smooth, full bodied, very rich and most of all musical. Layering from bass to treble is pretty good but it does sound wider than it sounds deep.

First thing you’ll notice when listening to the W60 is the bass. Quantity is more than neutral and when called upon, it’s impact is big. Bass has a thick body and goes deep when needed. I don’t particularly find bass to be tight, detailed or fast and snappy. It’s more the big bodied, impactful and enjoyable kind of bass most of the younger people nowadays really like. If you’re not that much in to bass, you’ll probably find the W60 to have too much of it, but at the same time bass heads will still want a lot more bass. While the bass detail is good, it isn’t extraordinarily so (same goes for the layering) and I do find it to be quantity over quality.

The lower mids flow from the bass but they are a little more recessed than the upper mids and depending on the source and music you’re playing it can give the W60 a slightly darker presentation. At the same time the upper mids are more energetic and dynamic so overall we can’t say the mids are recessed. The mids section is very rich sounding and is as musical as it gets. The mids have great separation and the perfect airy delivery. The mids to me is where the Westone W60 impresses most.

Treble is energetic and detailed but the delivery is musical and a little smoot. Clarity however still is more than good enough to make the treble section lively and dynamic. Westone managed to make the treble section detailed yet easy to listen to. It delivers a great contrast to the bass and mids section without ever making treble harsh or spiky.

The Westone W60 has an easy to like sound with a full bodied, musical and warmer signature. It at the same time has good clarity with excellent detail, a wide stage and sublime separation.

Sources

The Shozy Alien+ is a full bodied DAP with heaps of detail and a high musicality level. With the W60 it passes exactly that to the W60 – which has the same characteristics – and it results in a sublime and addictive sound. To be honest, I haven’t heard a single (C)IEM that sounded bad on the A+. The AK70 presents that same richness and musicality with great depth but the sound, especially the attack, is a bit slower than on the A+. The AK70 – which sounds extremely good with the W60 – misses some energy compared to the Alien+ but it’s not lacking energy at all. The A+ just is one of the best DAPs ever for what energy is concerned. So the AK70 and the W60 is another detailed, full bodies and musical combo, where the treble is a little more on the softer side.

On the Fiio X5III the Westone W60 sounds a little darker and slower compared to both the previously mentioned DAPs. L/R balance and stereo image is excellent though and the depth is good. Treble has enough energy but it’s also on the softer side. The mids sound incredibly rich and are to die for. The Luxury & Precision L5Pro – together with the Alien+ and AK380/SP1000 – is one of the very best sounding players on the market. Compared to all the previous DAPs it offer more clarity and it delivers the most natural presentation ever. Body wise it isn’t as big as the other DAPs but it excels in depth, detail and dynamics. The W60 sounds more clear, faster and more dynamic while keeping a good amount of body, impact and of course those sublime mids. The treble section is energetic and lively.

With the Fiio X7 (on AM3) you, especially compared to the X5iii, get a more clear presentation with a higher precision. All in all you get a more digital presentation with good speed, dynamics and energetic treble. The Cayin i5 is a full bodies and energetic sounding DAP and the W60 sounds clear and very powerful. The depth and spaciousness aren’t the very best but you do get better clarity, excellent speed and more energy. Like the X7 it’s a more digital presentation, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad, au contraire.

Amplification

The Chord Electronics Mojo and W60 combination sounds very energetic and fast. As we know Mojo has a good level of detail but I’m missing a little bit of depth in this combo. On the other hand treble is most extended and dynamic without ever sounding harsh. So is Mojo a good match? Yes but it kind of depends what you want or prefer to hear sound signature wise. (All combos below are with the AK70 as source)

The Cypher Labs Picollo is an analogue and warmer sounding amplifier with good speed but mostly with great depth and detail. The W60’s treble is a little softer but the overall sound is natural and detailed with great layering. The foot tapping factor is high with this one. On its big brother the Duet, the W60 sounds more spacious and wider but with the same excellent depth. The detail level from bass to treble is high and especially the speed and dynamics are excellent. The W60 and Duet combo maybe isn’t the most musical one, but it’s the better technical one.

The W60 on the ALO RX amplifier gets very loud very fast. If your ears can take it (or if you can lower the input volume) you will hear a super-rich sound with a natural presentation and slightly forwarded voices. The RX offers good speeds and dynamics but it does sound more digital than the analogue tuned Cypher Labs amps.

The W60 from the Hugo 2 delivers the deepest bass of all the “sources” I tried, it might even be too much for some. Layering also is very good as well as the treble section and to me this is the best combination, but it’s also the most expensive one. The mids are rich, and the overall sound is fast, precise, dynamic and musical. The voices are a little more forward but I can’t see the W60 sounding any better.

 

Conclusion

After all the testing it’s safe to say the W60 is fairly easy to drive and easy to love with all kinds of sources and amplifiers. The Westone W60 has a warmer and smoother full bodied signature with very good mids. The musicality factor of the W60 is high but it at the same time offers a great sound stage and a rich sound from top to bottom. All that with a smoother delivery.

I’ve really enjoyed listening to the W60 and even though it’s not their latest or most advanced IEM, I still fully recommend it. It’s one of those IEMs that lets you enjoy your music at all times and that makes you want to sing along with every song. “Enjoy your music” would be the marketing slogan I would use, but it’s even better than “just” that. Well done Westone.

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Lieven is living in Europe and he's the leader of the gang. He's running Headfonia as a side project next to his full time day job in Digital Marketing & Consultancy. He's a big fan of tube amps and custom inear monitors and has published hundreds of product reviews over the years.

3 Comments

  • Reply February 8, 2019

    MSR HANTS

    The frequency response is 10Hz to 20kHz please correct on first page. Otherwise good review. Due to the excellent bass and low mids performance W60’s for me is best iem I have heard for classical music.

    • Reply February 11, 2019

      Lieven

      Thank you. It’s corrected.

  • Reply April 4, 2019

    Jason

    Hey Lieven, have you tried the Westone W30 by any chance? I’m just wondering if it’s still worth buying.

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