We tend to get a little over-excited when new high end headphones get released. We always wonder how much better they will be than previous models and how much deeper we'll get to dive inside our favorite music.
We're sort of like little kids on a perpetual wait for a never-ending Christmas Day of headphones. Except we probably drink a hell of a lot more coffee.
But when all the shiny wrapping paper is strewn about and our sugar rush fades, it seems our ultimate response to many highly touted new products is often a resounding "meh."
Well, not this time. We think audiophile in-ear headphone enthusiasts really have something to get stoked about this holiday season.
The new Westone W80 flagship in-ear headphones just hit our headphone.com shelves and if their musical performance has anything to do with it, they won't stay there for long.
Priced at an eye-opening $1,500, the W80 feature an 8-driver per side array with quad-high microspeakers buttressed by dual low and dual midrange drivers with a 3-way crossover.
The 16 perfectly tuned drivers in the Westone W-80 are 100% completely seamless and present a crisp instrumental separation and a rich vocal clarity throughout the midranges and treble frequencies that must be heard to be believed. Guitars, voices and brass soar free without gritty splat supported by clearly authoritative snare, tom and kick drum tones. Hi-hat work, ride and crash cymbals in particular have a natural shimmery decay that sounds amazingly smooth and organic.
The Westone W 80 is absolutely no slouch in the low-end either with its dual-low woofers kicking out an extended, super punchy bass response that is tight, deep and smartly controlled. The spaciously layered soundstage presentation actually competes with many top over-ear headphones and totally belies the fact you're wearing in-ears. With the W80, you can kiss goodbye the old high-end audio adage that in-ear headphones can't create a fully dimensional, stable soundstage image.
The other big plus of the Westone W80 is their surprisingly easy shallow fit style. They delivered across-the-board comfort for our review team with no acrobatic feats of insertion or tractor-pull ear tugging required. We simply pushed the W80 earpieces effortlessly into place in a matter of seconds where they securely remained until we decided it was time to remove them.
Naturally, fit is always the critical make-or-break factor for listeners deciding whether they can wear in-ear headphones. The Westone W80 are among the most comfortable audiophile in-ears we've tried. And as another plus, they come with 10 different sets of ear tip types and sizes - among the broadest fit kits provided by any maker - along with user-switchable cosmetic outer earpiece shells in various colors. That's a nice little feature for easily identifying the left /right earpieces at a glance.
Any serious music lover who uses in-ear headphones all day at work, during daily commuting or for travel needs to get their discerning ears on the Westone W80 in-ear headphones. One listen and we guarantee it will be a very hard task extracting this kind of sound quality from your audiophile head.
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