Today we will be taking a good and hard look at the Westone ES5 custom earphones. The ES prefix means that the earphones are apart of Westone's EliteSeries line-up which are constructed for musicians and audiophiles alike.
The ES5 uses a different driver arrangement than the Westone designs before it. Instead of having multiple bass drivers this design features just one large driver. This should boost the low end precision to some extent. The ES5 features a total of five balanced armature drivers, double mids and highs and a single woofer.
Five drivers might not seem like a lot with the nearest competition using either six or eight drivers in their high end in-ears, but the number of drivers is not the only variable that affects the sound quality of the solution. Generally the more drivers you add the less overhead each driver has, however, with each added driver you run the risk of getting a higher level of phase alignment issues. The sweet spot in terms of drivers depends a lot on what drivers are used and what the crossover and shell is like.
Westone is currently the only in-ear company that offers a hybrid shell design with a hard acrylic housing and a semi soft vinyl tip. This interesting combination allows for a better overall fit due to the fact that the nozzle part of the in-ear can deform with your ear canals. It may come as a surprise to many but the shape of your ear canals changes quite a bit depending on jaw position, thus affecting the quality of the acoustic seal. With a deformable canal piece the seal should be more uniform regardless of jaw position.
Like all the other high end in-ear manufacturers Westone offer different kinds of customization options in terms of appearance. The earphones we received for this review were made with their new ES Exotics faceplate. This is a $125 option for those that want a rad looking set of in-ears. For $95 Westone will print your own custom graphics on the face plates, which is a fair asking price.
- Sensitivity: 120 dB SPL
- Frequency response: 8 Hz - 20 kHz
- Impedance: 20 ohm
- Driver: Five balanced armature drivers with a passive three-way crossover
- Deluxe monitor case
- Cleaning tool
- Desiccant drying compound
- Cleaning cloth
- Bottle of Oto-Ease.