W20 Review

By Jeff Browand - Commercial Pilot

The W20 in-ear monitor from Westone is an excellent product for any listener who wants to experience the real sound of a musical recording. They provide depth and clarity that make the music truly come alive. I’ve tested and reviewed several other Westone models before the W20 and I’ve always been impressed with the overall quality and design that the company provides.

The W20 is the dual driver model in the W line. The W20s have a warm, smooth sound with an enhanced bass. I found the sound to be incredibly detailed which allowed me to enjoy and analyze parts of my favorite songs I may not have noticed before. The clarity was excellent and I felt they retained a lush feel instead of sounding crispy or choppy. This warm sound signature was ideal for a variety of genres including country, classic rock, and instrumental music. I felt the bass was strong enough without overwhelming the mids and the highs remained detailed and accurate. The music didn’t sound congested and the detail enhanced the best parts of each song.

Getting ready to listen on the W20 was easy. I spent some time with the True-Fit foam tips and the STAR silicone sleeves to determine which would provide the best fit for me. I eventually chose one of the larger sizes of the silicone sleeves because they provided the best noise isolation and fit.  At first, I chose to use the MFI cable with the Apple controls so I could change the volume, accept calls, and control the music from the cord. I appreciate this convenience. The phone calls were loud and clear and I was able to easily control my iPhone 5S with the remote. I quickly discovered that the EPIC braided cable offers better performance while working out. This braided cable fit snugly over my ears and the sliding tension tab brought the cables closer together for a more customized fit. I was able to run, cycle, and lift weights without the cord slipping and inadvertently repositioning the earphone. I was able to wear the W20 earphones throughout my workouts without any discomfort. The low profile and over ear cable positioning is very comfortable.

I’ve also had the opportunity to listen to another Westone dual driver model, the UM Pro 20, which offered me an excellent point of comparison. The inclusion of the additional audio cable with the W20 adds convenience and enhances the earphones’ use. The W20 provides a richer sound but I feel they may fatigue earlier than the UM Pro 20. The UM Pro 20 model seemed better suited for long sessions of listening. Overall, I think the W20 offers more for a similar price than the UM Pro 20.

The W20 from Westone is an excellent investment in a high quality earphone. You won’t be disappointed in either the sound or the overall performance.

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