Fresh from the good folks at Westone, the new B50 offers a refreshed and re-tuned sound built upon the old W50. But at $699, what can you expect from this new IEM?
Westone B50 Review
IN the BOX
Westone includes a flood of accessories with the B50, including a carrying case, two cables (including a silver-plated copper cable and Bluetooth cable), a cleaning tool, two sets of faceplates, and ten pairs of eartips.
In terms of fit, the Westone B50 features a slim and exceedingly low-profile style. On my large ears, they sit comfortably - but I've noticed even small-eared folks wearing these earphones with ease. And, despite the silver plating, the included wired cable remains relatively lightweight - especially when stacked up against heavier cable from the likes of ALO Audio, or stiffer cable from Shure.
Construction-wise, the B50 follows the tried-and-true Westone formula. A strong but lightweight plastic build keeps these earphones durable but comfortable, and an MMCX connection opens up a world of possibilities regarding third-party accessories.
Inside the B50, 5 BA drivers handle sound. And the biggest difference between the B50 and the older W50 appears in that sound. Tuned for more bass and more warmth, the B50 delivers an impressive sound that will appeal to old Westone fans, while still converting some folks who skipped the brand in the past.
The included Bluetooth cable is a thoughtful accessory, though I much preferred the fidelity in the silver cable during my listening sessions. That being said, pairing on the included V1 cable remains relatively quick and painless.
Overall Impressions: A cornucopia of detail with a thick, resounding low end that leaves you reelin’ from the feelin’.
I’ve never been much of a Westone fan due to the lack of low end on most of their models. However, the B50 more than rectifies this issue, with wonderfully energetic lows that do real justice to rock, hip-hop, and electronica. Complementing this rich low end, the B50 also exhibits a thick and precise bass response, punctuating tracks with a kind of primal sensuality.
The midrange simmers with plenty of detail, while remaining clean and clear with any track. This is pretty much par for the course when it comes to Westone, and I’m not all that surprised at how impressive these mids sound; if there’s one thing this manufacturer consistently nails, it’s the mid frequencies. Vocals sound precise and three-dimensional, while instrumentation remains highly resolved.
Just a tad bit bright, the B50 keeps its high end relatively tight and accurate, with luscious female vocals and precise instrumentation. While not as bright or as sparkling as the older W50, this high end works well with the strong lows and accurate mids. As a result, every track seems well-defined, but with just a dusting of high-end emphasis. When taking into account the thick, mesmerizing low end, you’re left with a sound that seems slightly v-shaped and wholly unique.
Hampered by its in-ear design, the B50 never delivers a truly open sense of soundstage. However, thanks to some good depth and a good sense of space, it’s still a pretty impressive soundstage...for an earphone. Vocals definitely have some room to breath, though instrumentation might seem a little more intimate if convoluted.
At $699, the Westone B50 offers a solid listening experience and an impressive evolution of the older Westone W50. The extra emphasis on the low end and the inclusion of some bumping bass make this earphone particularly appealing for fans of rock, hip-hop, and electronica. However, the more-than-competent mids and hi-res highs do much to lend the sound to other genres like pop, classical, and jazz. Rest assured, if you’re looking for that slightly warm sound that will keep you listening for hours on end - without ever straying too far from neutral - the Westone B50 is a must.
You can get it from our store.