Review of Westone W40 Earphones

By Jeff Browand - Commercial Pilot

Do you know the old saying, “Go big or go home?” This couldn’t be any truer than when talking about the sound of the new W40 earphones from Westone. I was thrilled to have a chance to review them and even more excited the first time I put them in. The sound was big, clear, and possessed amazing detail. I was hooked from the first note.


I’m a commercial airline pilot and this review aligned with several trips that put me in a variety of settings in which to assess the earphone’s capabilities. I was not disappointed. I know many audiophiles were waiting not-so-patiently for the Westone W40’s release to experience the earphone’s capabilities, construction, and sound quality first hand. I was impressed and I’m sure many others are as well.


Sound Quality

I couldn’t wait to hear what the W40 had to offer. My first impression was that this earphone model was committed to a warm and smooth sound with an exceptional bass response. The sound was incredibly clear and detailed. This was evident in listening to one of my favorite groups, Two Cellos. Listening to their songs on the W40 was the first time I was able to hear their bows hit the strings of the cellos while playing. The sound was that clear. Other things to note about the sound quality include:

  • The mids seemed a bit more recessed. This allowed me to experience the bass differently without being overwhelmed by any thumping in my ears.

  • The trebles seemed to hold back a bit, more tame than I expected. This helped extend my listening experience and I avoided being bombarded with vocals in the highest ranges.

  • The sound is incredibly clear. You’ll hear your favorite songs in a completely new light and be able to pick out individual parts. This doesn’t impact the overall sound though. The sound is still warm, lush, and connected while providing tremendous clarity.


Performance

I used the headphones in a variety of settings; during a workout at the YMCA, flying as an airline passenger (I have official headphones I have to wear during flights when working), during a long run in Maui, and on the beach in Honolulu. In every setting I was incredibly impressed. The things that stood out the most to me were:

  • I’m very tall (6’6”) and the cord was long enough to put my phone in my pocket on my run. Small detail? Yes. Really convenient? YES!

  • Once I discovered which of the 5 pairs of True-Fit foam tips and 5 pairs of STAR silicone tips created the best fit the noise isolation was incredible. They eliminated the ambient noise of the train, airplane passengers, and other members at the YMCA without blocking essential noise. I was still able to hear PAs on the plane and announcements over the YMCA loudspeaker.

  • I appreciated the faceplate customization. This isn’t something I would typically worry about but when I am in work uniform I like to look as professional as possible. I was able to quickly switch to the black faceplates before I left for work.

  • I was able to take several calls from the beach using the multifunction button on the MFI cable. My iPhone calls were loud and clear and I appreciated the convenience of not having to remove the earphones to have a productive conversation.


Build Quality

I was impressed with the construction and build quality of the W40s. Most notable to me was the braided audio cable that is incredibly flexible to make the over-ear positioning comfortable. I noticed that long term use may require replacement of these cables and the new MMCX connector would make such replacing simple. The cable design also has a sliding tension tab that effectively brings the cables closer.


A little work was all it took to discover the right fit . Both the foam tips and silicone seals were a great quality but I chose the foam tips for my perfect fit. The earpieces were low profile, lightweight, and very comfortable. All of the W40 components seem incredibly well made. Overall, I would recommend the W40 to anyone who is looking for an incredible listening experience. You won’t be disappointed.

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