We often have people asking us for demonstrations and reviews to show the different between the Westone UM Pro 20 and UM Pro 30. We’ve always spoken highly of the UM Pro 30’s as a great balance with 3 BA drivers, so reviewing the UM Pro 20’s has always been on the list. We’ve been listening to the UM Pro 20’s for a couple of weeks and have tested them on the Vancouver Skytrain, flights to Toronto, office and home listening. We didn’t get to try them playing live but will make some assessments below on using these live.
The UM Pro 20 come with 2 balanced armature (BA) drivers. The box includes one cable, protective heavy-duty case and plenty of tips to fit any ear. The UM Pro line from Westone is designed as a live/stage/studio universal IEM but we really like the sound signature for typical music listening. Any audiophile or music lover would agree if it sounds good, it’s good. This is regardless of the intended tuning and use.
Bass surprised us on the UM Pro 20. We expected less and got more which was a pleasant surprise. Of course, an IEM needs a secure fit with no room for airflow around the seal in the ear. As soon as there is even the slightest gap, you lose all bass response. The Pro 20’s bass was big, warm and did justice to the music we put through. We especially found rock music responded well. Electric guitarists will enjoy the response. The bass was not slow or too pillowy, it is a warm sound, full and filling - you’ll feel it. We tried some Breaking Benjamin, Jamie XX, X Ambassadors, Iron Maiden, Sam Hunt, Civil Wars and more. Never felt that the Pro 20’s couldn’t represent well on any of them.
Mids stand out strong and clear, but not too in front. Vocalists will be happy. Listening to Damien Rice and Glen Hansard represented really well. The balance in the mids is really nice, there is a good separation and sound stage in the middle frequencies. Keys, Piano, Guitar, Vocals and Snare sounds are all well placed and it’s easy to enjoy pretty much anything we put to it. The tones are warm but quick, these is nothing sharp or uneasy about the audio tones. You’ll hear the airy, husky notes of the Civil Wars and other vocals which come through honest. We always say if you can close your eyes and the sound lets you imagine the vocalist in the booth at the mic then it’s a thumbs up, the Pro 20’s succeed in this.
We’re treble lovers. If there is one thing we would tweak in the E.Q it would be to lift the higher frequencies. The dual drivers are so well rounded in the bass and mids that the treble feels like it sits back a little. This means if you love treble you’ll still be happy, they’re not bad, but you might push up the EQ a smidge. If you’re not a person that is always looking for high end cut in your music, which we believe is probably most people, then these will not leave you disappointed. The UM Pro 30’s have the benefit of that third/extra driver to give one driver dedicated to treble alone.
If you are a vocalist or a guitarist using these live then they are a great upgrade from something like the Shure SE215’s and we expect you’ll feel much more alive and comfortable when playing on stage. You’ll leave stage feeling like you didn’t just get your ears blasted with razor sharp frequencies. We think these will go down well with vocals, guitars, keys/synth players for sure. If your just using them for music you won't be disappointed - the more we listened the more we fell in love with these.
The sound isolation is very good and aided by the wide range of tips included in the box. It would be hard to find an ear that didn’t find comfort in one of these tips. Once in, the world fades away and you’re left with just great audio.
As mentioned the number of tips usually mean you will find a good fit. The Pro 20 cable has a firm first inch curve from the earbud so there is a nice firmness and secure feel to the fit over the ear. If you’re running, being sporty or playing enthusiastically on stage you’ll find these stay in and feel firm. There was no pressure or discomfort wearing these for long periods. We never felt fatigued by what we listened to over time, and that helps a lot when you listen to a lot of music.
UM Pro 20 Review Summary
The UM Pro 20 surprised us. The bass was stronger than we expected, the mids really comfortable. Good sound isolation and a comfortable fit. As we said above, the more we listened the more we really liked these and wouldn't hesitate to recommend them in this price range.
We reviewed these using an iPhone 6 Plus and would like to add a headphone amp to see what that might add to the sound. There is no problem with volume on these - plenty of volume and drive even which just an iPhone so a headphone amp isn’t needed at all, but would be fun to try. We might try a Cypher Labs unit on them.
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