Westone UM1 – Relaxation
Westone is a well-known company with a lot of reputable products, but today we’re going to look at one of their entry-level IEMs named UM1, a very fair priced IEM with a nice comfort and excellent deep fit.
Official Shop Page: [https://goo.gl/q5SSRu]
We are happy to recommend buying audio products from Hifiheadphones UK if you’re from Europe, as they have an amazing number of audio products, sometimes even exclusives. We didn’t talk with Westone for this review, so we do not know anything about their interaction with their customers, but we have this review sample from Hifiheadphones UK, who wanted to get the word out about this little IEM.
It should be noted that I have absolutely no affiliation with Hifiheadphones UK, I am not receiving any incentive for this review or to sweeten things out. This review is not sponsored nor has been paid for by Hifiheadphones UK or anyone else. I’d like to thank Hifiheadphones UK for providing the sample for the review. The sample was provided along with Hifiheadphones UK’s request for an honest and unbiased review. This review will be as objective as it is humanly possible, and it reflects my personal experience with Westone UM1. Every opinion expressed is mine and I stand by it, the purpose of this review is to help those interested in Westone UM1 find their next music companion.
First things first, let’s get the packaging out of the way:
Westone UM1 is a little IEM that comes in a little and lightweight package, this time unobtrusive and looking like the type of package you’re likely to find within a typical store rather than an audiophile store. We have to commend Westone for including a very solid package inside, which keeps UM1 safe during transport and storage.
The unboxing experience can be a bit hard due to all the plastic UM1 is seated in, but in the end we’re glad to find them safe inside that box. The presentation looks professional without a lot of impact, UM1 looking like a professionally packaged Entry-level IEM.
The number of tips included is very good, Westone making sure that you have all the tips you could need with UM1, from rubber tips, to foam tips, of all sizes and such. We are impressed with the tips quality as well, feeling professional and high-end. The carrying case is more of a little pouch, which may keep the IEM shells safe quite well, but we are quite sure that the carrying case won’t protect UM1 in any way during transport, so we have slightly mixed feelings about the whole package content.
What to look in when purchasing an entry-level IEM
SENSITIVITY: 114 dB SPL @ 1 mW
FREQUENCY RESPONSE: 20 Hz – 16 kHz
IMPEDANCE: 25 ohms @ 1 kHz
PASSIVE NOISE ATTENUATION: 25 dB
DRIVER: Balanced armature, full-range
WEIGHT: 0.445 ounces / 12.7 grams
CABLE: EPIC cable
CABLE LENGTH: 50” / 128 cm
FEATURES: Premium comfort tips, travel pouch, cleaning tool, and 1-year warranty
Starting with the build quality, UM1 is quite impressive, as although it is made from plastic and although it is a single BA driver, they are extremely sturdy and are really small, being nimble when compared to IEMs with rather larger bodies.
The cable is detachable, and the MMCX connector is quite high-quality, clicking right in place with a satisfying click. The cable is thin and doesn’t present itself as a cable that could withstand too much damage, but after using them for a little bit, we feel that they are quite trustable and we think they’ll be safe even after a good amount of usage.
At the aesthetics level, the IEMs are extremely small, and we’re talking diminutive levels here, thing which implies an excellent fit. The color is a dark brown which is slightly see-through, giving them both a sense of professionality, and a bit of a technical aspect, as well as a certain elegance and style. The over-the-ear shape and fit will probably not appeal to every single person out there, but most people will find UM1 fairly good-looking.
When it comes to their fit and comfort, UM1 is second to none, the comfort is as good as it gets, being a very tiny, deep fitting and comfortable IEM. The tips included ensure an excellent overall comfort with every ear shape out there, and the over-the-ear wearing style ensures that there will be no microphonics from the cable or other inconveniences caused by their fit.
The only thing we advice our readers to be careful about is the void, as any BA-only IEM will present a bit of void when inserting them, so slow and careful insertion is quite recommended with Westone UM1. Besides this little point, there’s nothing to mention comfort-wise, as those will fit even the smallest ear canals and will be comfortable for almost every individual out there.
All in all, our feelings are positive towards the build quality, aesthetics and comfort of Westone UM1.
Westone UM1 is a IEM from the entry-level class, priced around 100 USD.
After listening to it for a good amount of time, and after offering it some time to burn-in, Westone UM1 sounds quite laid-back, with a thick and deep bass, a fuzzy yet warm and romantic midrange, and a very smooth and slightly rolled off treble.
The bass is quite deep, quite well-textured, and very anticlimactic when we think that UM1 is a BA IEM, being much more of a deep dynamic driver bass rather than a typical BA bass. Textures are easy to distinguish and we are impressed by the overall presentation, which is punchy and has good impact.
The midrange is much smoother and it is a bit less detailed than we’re used hearing from IEMs within this price range, but it is fairly seductive and well-mannered, being a midrange with good tonality and an energetic presentation, just not with a lot of detail. The textures in the guitars are fuzzy, but the atmosphere of a jazzy bar is painted in a fun, low-res atmosphere.
The treble is extremely smooth and slightly rolled off early, with a fairly laid-back and relaxing presentation which works well for relaxed and relaxing music, but which doesn’t really work so well for metal or aggressive / uplifting music.
The soundstage of Westone UM1 is more intimate, being extended more in its width and depth, and presenting electronic music pretty holographic, but having a more intimate relationship with the listener, presenting orchestral music as if it was listened from the first or second row. Instruments have a fair separation between them, as they don’t cross each other and they don’t smear.
Here is a place where Westone UM1 excels, being quite tiny, lightweight, comfortable, well-isolating and nimble. All in all, this is one of the best IEMs one can take for portability, staying in ears even while jogging or doing other intensive activities, and being very easy to drive. All in all, wearing UM1 while on-the-go or even while doing complex activities is a true pleasure and they have an ideal shape and size for portability, and their deep fit works well with most ears as they have a large collection of tips included in the package, including a few pairs high quality foam tips included as well.
Westone UM1 vs FiiO F9Pro – From the start, F9Pro is quite a bit brighter, with a more vivid and more energetic presentation, UM1 feeling quite a bit laid back and relaxed in comparison, with good definition to each note, and maybe a quieter background than F9Pro, but without the energetic and vibrant feeling F9Pro has. For silent and quiet / quaint music, UM1 portrays a more realistic scenery, especially for music that is supposed to sound intimate, while F9Pro is more spot-on for music that is supposed to be louder and more energetic. Both F9Pro and UM1 are extremely comfortable and isolate from the outside noise very well.
Westone UM1 vs BE00BT – BE00BT is a full sized BT Headphone that is priced at a similar price point as UM1. They are fairly similar in their signatures, although there are are some key differences between the sonic signatures of them, BE00BT being less focused on the instrument separation and on a quiet background, adding more impact and dynamics to music, while UM1 is more intimate with a more definition to each musical note. The comfort is good on both, but UM1 is a tad more comfortable in the long run, while BE00BT has a few more tricks up its sleeve, with bluetooth APT-X abilities and a few other tricks. There is a Westone WX1 which sports APT-X Bluetooth, like BE00BT does, which might be a good spinoff from UM1, and which we’ll review in depth a bit later.
Westone UM1 vs Astrotec AM850 – AM850 from Astrotec is quite a lovely IEM with a very vivid and open signature, and it sounds quite different from UM1 from the head-go, with UM1 being quite a bit more intimate, more focused and less direct than the overly lively and open-sounding AM850. The catch here is that AM850 is also quite similar to F9Pro, so they come quite a bit different than UM1. The comfort is a bit better on UM1, but not by a large margin, while the isolation is again, a bit better than UM1. For quiet music, UM1 does a better job, while for electronic or open-sounding music, including metal, AM850 makes a more upbeat experience.
Westone UM1 vs Kinera H3 – Those two are extremely different in the sonic signatures, with UM1 being intimate, laid back, slightly dark and focused on a black background, while Kinera is bright, energetic, upbeat, focused on sounding open and forward rather than laid back and relaxing. The comfort is better on UM1, while the isolation seems similar between the two.
Westone UM1 vs Simgot EN700Bass – EN700Bass presents music with less amounts of bass, a similar midrange, and similar amounts of treble. When it comes to the clarity and detail, UM1 and EN700Bass are similar, with UM1 having more instrument separation, while EN700Bass has a larger, more open soundstage, rather than the intimate presentation of UM1. The comfort is better for UM1 to us, and so is portability, with EN700Bass’s cable being more tangle-prone.
Westone UM1 + HIFIMAN MEGAMINI – HIFIMAN MEGAMINI is a great budget-oriented source to drive Westone UM1, giving them an interesting sound, with a vivid and detailed presentation, and maybe a bit more forward sound than their typical tuning. All in all, the pairing makes them better fit for a wider collection of music across more genera.
Westone UM1 + Cayin N5ii – Cayin N5ii is quite the amazing DAP, which we’ll also review quite soon, and when it comes to its sound and sonic abilities, it is one of the most detailed less expensive DAPs there are, having an interesting synergy with UM1, and giving them a less intimate and slightly more open soundstage, with good amounts of detail, and further refining their already good instrument separation and musical note definition abilities.
Westone UM1 + Opus #1s – #1s is quite the amazing DAP when it comes to driving Westone UM1 as it gives them a good general sense of dynamics and a nice touch of forwardness, without making things too strident, and without taking away their rather laid-back sound.
Value and Conclusion
Given that this is our first encounter with Westone, we are left with a few interesting impressions, most of which are positive.
The package is more oriented on making best usage of the space and to offer protection to the IEMs, rather than looking fancy, it looks professional. The carrying case, on the other hand, is a pouch, which combined with the rather frail nature of UM1, might require the user to use a spare carrying solution included with another IEM.
The cables of UM1 are rather thin, so they might be a bit frail, but that also makes them almost weightless, so a great choice for jogging and for moving around. This leads to the comfort part of them, which is, in one word, amazing. The comfort is actually one of the best there are, UM1 just sitting in one’s ears, having a small body shape, and being fairly ergonomic, making an excellent choice for both leaning back in your chair and enjoying the music, but also for walking or jogging, provided you like a laid back sound.
The sonics of UM1 are fairly good, they focus on a more intimate sound, with a good instrument definition and instrument separation, and while they aren’t the most detailed out there, they are fairly clear and clean, providing a really nice experience for those who enjoy a relaxing song to soothe their ears.
All in all, for around 100$, you can enjoy a pretty comfortable IEM to relax, a nice workout and jogging IEM, and even a IEM to feel the singer and the band next to you while listening to music. While there are other options with more detail, UM1 is surely one of the most comfortable IEMs in their price range, and they stay comfortable even when compared with more expensive IEMs, and they do offer a very relaxing sound to entice one’s ears.
Stay safe and remember to always have fun while listening to music!
Official Shop Page: [https://goo.gl/q5SSRu]