Westone UM2 Headphone Reviews

Manufacturer Westone Model UM2
Headphone Type Canal Headband Type None
Weight (g) 30 Driver Type Dynamic
Enclosure Material Plastic Isolation (dB) 25
Impedance (ohms) 27 Cable Length (cm) 127
Frequency Response (Hz) 20 - 18000  
Connector 3.5mm Street Price US$329
Buy from Amazon.com  
Average reviewer scores
Bass Extension 6.5 Bass Impact 6.5
Bass Quality 4.8 Mids Quality 5.3
Highs Quality 5.0 Soundstage 4.0
Detail 5.5 Portability 9.5
Isolation 9.0 Comfort 7.0
Durability 6.8 Improvement With Amplification 5.3
Value for Money 4.8    
Overall Score 5.8 Total Reviews 4

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Reviews by our members

Review by Senior Member chunkage on 01 Jul 07  03:24
Individual review
Bass Extension4
Bass Impact5
Bass Quality3
Mids Quality4
Highs Quality4
Detail4
Comfort8
Durability8
Value4

The Westone UM2 can lead you on a long journey to find the perfect way to augment the sound, whether through amps or equailzation. The warm bass comes close to sounding like "bass-boost," even when indiviidual songs give you hope for a more accurate sound. I suffered severe tinnitus using these for the first time; I can only hope this was an isolated incident.

- The deep bass leads a certain loss of definition in the mids and highs (in other words, roll-off) - a problem for anyone who puts a premium on definition.

- It's hard not to be impressed with the build quality. In comparison with Shure's thick rubber cables, Westone uses flexible braided cables that resist kinks and have good longeivity. My pair has been yanked and pulled with no ill effects. Show normal care, however, when replacing the tips.

- The Westones may corner the market for comfort. The Comply tips compress easily and can scarcely be felt. (Your mileage will vary according to the size of your ear canal.) Buying replacements tips can become costly - the main reason why customs are attractive over the long term - another Westone speciality. Needless to say, isolation is particularly impressive with the latter, cutting off 40-60% of outside noise.

While enjoyment of the UM2 depends directly on whether you can deal with the bass, the upcoming UM3 seems intent on solving this problem.

Review by Senior Member audiomagnate on 17 Jan 07  09:50
Individual review
Bass Extension5
Bass Impact7
Bass Quality6
Mids Quality8
Highs Quality7
Detail5
Comfort8
Durability8
Value7

I had the UM1s, which I used with the long Complys for about seven months before I upgraded to the the UM2s which I used with the same tips. Everything the UM1s do well, the UM2s do significantly better. They have more extended highs, cleaner mids, more extended bass, and most importantly, they are simply more dynamic and involving than the UM1s.

About three months ago I upgraded to custom tips, the UM56s. These help extend the highs even further (I even confirmed the improvement it with Audacity!), gave the bass more impact and made the mids more "involving". I can pop them in and out in seconds, the isolation and comfort are fantastic, and they look really cool in cobalt blue. I highly recommend anyone that has invested in UM2s to go out and get fitted for a pair of UM56s. Everyone knows that Westone makes the most comfortable IEMs, so I won't go into that.

As for the negatives, they still sound slightly rolled off, but that may be a plus for extended listening sessions. The bass is good, but can't compare to a high end speaker or full sized cans. I hear just a tad of the overblown bass that others have complained about, but again, UM56s help that out too. Highly recommended. Here are my ratings:

Bass Extension 5 - Average
Bass Impact 7 - Good
Bass Quality 6 - Above Average
Mids Quality 8 - Very Good
Highs Quality 7 - Good
Soundstage 4 - Below Average
Detail 5 - Average
Portability 9 - Excellent
Isolation 9 - Excellent
Comfort 8 - Very Good
Durability 8 - Very Good
Imp W/ Amp 5 - Average

Review by Senior Member CookieFactory on 08 Apr 06  13:08
Individual review
Bass Extension8
Bass Impact8
Bass Quality6
Mids Quality5
Highs Quality5
Detail5
Comfort8
Durability7
Value4

The UM2s are very much a "fun" sound when compared to some of its immediate competitors the Etymotic ER4P and Shure E4c. The bass is very present, and the impact rivals some full-sized cans.

All IEMs I've owned have had some fatal flaw (ER4P with thin sound, E4c with flat, 2D sound) and the UM2 is no exception. Musical notes are a bit fuzzy around the edges, and lack sharpness (though to many this is a positive attribute).

The main problem I had with my UM2s was the fit. These are the most fickle IEMs I've ever used in that the fit can drastically affect the sound quality. Many people say that tips make a huge impact on the SQ for the UM2s, I personally disagree. Tips do not inherently change the sound, rather they dictate how the UM2s sit in your ear which is the sole contributor to the wide discrepancies about it's sound (especially the midrange). With a poor fit, the UM2s have a very distant midrange. It is important to make a distinction between a good seal, and a good fit. You can achieve a good seal, but this does not mean you have the optimal fit.
After months of ownership I still could not achieve a consistent seal, which ultimately led me to sell them.

For those who can consistently get the perfect fit (not just seal!), the UM2s would probably be my first recommendation. They are small, discrete, and comfortable. The extra bass is perfect in a portable setting.

Review by Member CraneyR on 14 Nov 15  15:00
Individual review
Bass Extension9
Bass Impact6
Bass Quality4
Mids Quality4
Highs Quality4
Detail8
Comfort4
Durability4
Value4

I bought Westone IEMs in Hearing Aids Center. It came with its own traveling bag, tiny brush, headphone cable holder, and many cushions.
In the first days of my use Westone UM2, I used soft rubber cushions. Later on, I switched to silica cushions which definitely improved comfort and overall appearance of IEMs. In addition, it made sound a little bit clearer than with rubber cushions.
For the first time, when I was listening to Westone UM2, I pretty much paid attention to the sound stage. It was only in order to find out that soundstage produced by Westone UM2 was not even near to that one which was so often described by many other audio viewers in the internet. Many of those people claimed that the soundstage reproduced by the IEMs was huge, while I myself found out that it was not wider than the size of my head.
The bass of Westone UM2 was quite punchy.It sent attack right inside my inner ear. However, the body bass of Westone UM2 was tiny.
Now, how about the quality of sound coming from Westone UM2? I think that it was quite accurate and detailed. However, it wasn't as engaging as the sound coming from Grado and as silky as the sound coming from Sennheiser. I didn't have sensation of crystal clarity and pleasant warmth. The sound of Westone UM2 felt dry and tasteless. Maybe that sound presentation would be good for sound monitoring and mixing, but definitely not for joyful listening. It didn't make me smile the way it happened with Sennheiser HD265 Linear, or literally cry for joy the way it happened with Grado SR 325is.
Even though, Westone UM2 don't shine much in terms of sound beauty, those pieces became quite handy when it came to traveling. They were very efficient and required a little of power to make music loud. Also, Westone UM2 did isolate plenty of outside noise, and I felt comfortable listening to them while taking regular bus or subway.
Those pieces are portable, stylish and efficient when it comes to the sound volume. They also isolate external noise quite well.
However, those things still didn't justify big spending of $350.00. Not only Westone UM2 IEMs produced rather tasteless sound they were also not durable. Since the glue which kept Westone UM2 wholesome started losing its strength.., the left monitor eventually started falling apart. The waranty for those in-ear-monitors was expired and spending extra money ($120.00) for fixing Westone UM2 didn't make any sense to me.
I lost big sum of money on such thing as Westone UM2. But at least, I know for sure that in-ear monitors are not for me and most probably I will never buy similar products ever again.