We tried something a little different with this review of the Westone Beta Adventure Series earphones. We tried using them with the rubber ear tips, normally we only review using foam. The reasons being they stay in our ears better and they offer better sound isolation. For this review we stuck with the standard rubbery tips and didn't undertake too much physical activity.
This earphone is designed for the adventurous types out there. Not for your usual glamping types, these things are design for campers, hikers, bikers and even those who go to extremes like rock climbing (I guess you don't need to watch for cars when your rock climbing, right?). To this end the come with a water resistant case with attachment loop should you ever want clip it on to something; belt, bag, backpack etc.
The Adventure - Beta also come with inline controls to allow you to volume up/down, activate siri while suspended from a rock overhang, holding your handlebars or swinging from a tree one-handed. These also come with a full range of foam and rubbery tips to get the best fit and feel. The Cable is a reflective material (AWACS) that will highlight where you are in the dark should a light hit you, good for runners and people going bush. They are also IPX-3 weather resistant. IP is a measurement of resistance and protection. It gauges what an item is capable of resisting e.g. water, dust etc. Level 3 is spraying water or falling water up up to 60 degrees.
For under $150 we've added these to our list of winners. The sound is well balanced and nice to listen to. We'd put these in the SE215 and W10 range of enjoyment and price.
We did notice some micro-phonics with this unit. It does seem obvious with the AWAC, IPX-3 resistant cable that you will get more micro-phonics as the cable is more material like, and less smooth finished plastic. The pack does include a cable clip so our advice to purchasers is use the clip to reduce the microphonics as you use these and make sure you wear the cable under your garments to ensure a nice, secure fit. This will help reduce and issues. Also, ensure you wear the earphones over your ears, not straight down like earbuds. By wearing them over your ears you ensure you further reduce movement, improve fit and therefore enjoyment.
So - let's get onto sound:
- Sensitivity: 97 db @ 1mW
- Freq response: 20 Hz - 18 kHz
- Impedance: 21 Ohms
- Driver: 6.5mm Dynamic Driver
- Cable: AWACS Reflective
The bass is bigger than we expected to be honest. It might possibly be a little more robust with foam tips but even with the flexi tips we found the bass had no trouble standing out. This is important if you're doing something adrenaline charged and need the extra motivation to run that extra hill or hike that one last mountain side. The bass sits nicely at the bottom of the mix, like a big supporting mattress of bouncy fun. It's not super tight sounding, a little warm and open, for this price range it matches nearly everything we could have put it up against. We tried some P.O.D for fun, some Panic at the Disco, Jay-Z and all made us feel content with the level, sound and overall bass performance. There were times with some of the rock music we tried, including Underoath that the bass sat heavy in the mix - you want your rock heavy? These will bring it.
The separation in these feels very evident. The bass sits at the bottom, the mids sit clearly separated in the middle and the highs sit up high. While that sounds obvious, there are a lot of earphones and IEM's that blur those frequencies ranges. For this reason these will appeal to someone who wants to listen a lot of different genres - especially those that might have made the top 100 at any one time in the last 30 years. Classical music listeners might find more success in the UM Pro 10. So ultimately the mids in these are very nice, a little processed and this makes these easy to listen to for long periods of time. We went from track to track to track and there were never snare drums too up front, vocals too sharp or cymbals smashing so prominently we had to adjust the volume to cope - nope, none of that. These were nicely balanced and the mids were particularly enjoyable.
High Notes (Treble)
The treble on these sounds like it's being mastered by a pro audio technician for each track. There is a decent amount of vocal sibilance, guitar scratches and piano ringing to make you like it. Using the XX to pull out some sibilance and then some 'Sleep now in the Fire' from Rage Against the Machine for some fun. It got a little wooly in the Rage song so we switched it to Muse, Knights of Cydonia, which was fabulous. Overall some heavy riffing rock music could get a little overwhelmed at this frequency with the mids and bass so if you like that kind of thing you'll be happy. If you are outdoors then the bass will need the extra boost to stand out as you undertake your activities with all the noise around you.
These have been built with adventurers in mind. The AWAC reflective cable and button + the weather resistant rating means Westone spent a long time working these things out.
Westone Beta Adventure Review Conclusion
We wouldn't hesitate to recommend these to anyone looking to spend under $200 - adventurous or not. These are great value, top quality and come with a full range of accessories and foams options. They are comfortable and we didn't feel any fatigue listening to them over long periods. If you're comparing these to anything else let us know in the comments below and perhaps we can help you choose. Woah...Thriller, Michael Jackson just came on as we type this and we had to smile, very nice. If you don't want lot's of full bass these these are not for you and the SE215 or W10 might be a bit tigher for you.
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