Westone ES5 Custom In-ears 9

Westone ES5 Custom In-ears Review

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The Package

Westone ES5s come with a large Pelican box carrying case.

The Pelican case is absolutely huge and has room for: Oto-Ease, cleaning tool, moisture control substance, cleaning cloth and whatever else you can cram in there. For everyday use this box is way too big to be handy, however, for stage musicians and the like carrying around the extra bulk is probably worth it, because it means you can store all related gear in the same container. It seems that Westone have gone the extra mile with this bundle and are even including Oto-Ease which is a skin friendly lubricant that eases insertion and should enhance the seal quality. The Oto-Ease is essential since the vinyl tips have a tendency to stick to dry skin. The Oto-Ease reduces the friction between skin and vinyl allowing for easy insertion and removal.

Cable wise the Westone ES5s are very well off. For starters it is user replaceable and very light, somewhat like the non-removable cable on the old Westone 3s. This cable does however seem better joined together which should reduce the chance of it unraveling.

Closer Examination

The ES5 sample we received was black with the Java ES Exotic faceplates. The ES Exotics face plates are a $125 option which is a bit steep considering that custom artwork will only run you $95.

One special feature on the Westone ES5s is the soft vinyl tips. The nozzle part of the ES5s is made from this somewhat soft material which means that the fit is a bit better than usual. This is probably because it allows Westone to do a nozzle part that is the exact same dimensions as the mold which cannot always do in hard plastic.

Another neat design feature is the nozzles themselves. Instead of attaching small tubes to the exits of the armatures like JH AUDIO, Westone simply mold the vanes inside the soft part of the ear tip. All the drivers are housed in the shell rather than having one satellite driver positioned in the nozzle, like on the JH16|PROs. This means that the shells extend out from your ears a bit more. It is probably done this way because it would be hard if not impossible to mount a driver inside the flexing nozzle, another added benefit of gathering all the drivers together is that it makes them easier to phase align.

The connector fits very nicely to the shell without exposing the leads for more than 0.1 mm.

Like most custom in-ears the Westone ES5s come with a cable that has some memory wire nearest the ear pieces. Some users prefer the memory wire and some hate it. The fact that you can effectively shape the cable exit is neat if you plan on jumping around on stage. For the casual listener the memory wire is just a nuisance because it makes insertion a tad more tedious.

For the concha part the two custom in-ears look identical. The nozzle is, however, not cut short on the Westone ES5s. Both earphones give roughly the same amount of noise attenuation.
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