Westone B50 earphones Review – B must stand for bass on Westone’s new high-end IEM earphone.
Brand new. We present to you the Westone B50 IEM. A 5 driver IEM with an included Bluetooth cable PLUS an HD silver wound MMCX cable.
As you might already know we reviewed the W50 a long time ago but Westone phased it out. It was too close in price, quality and sound signature to the W60. A move from the very popular W40 up to the W60 didn’t need another IEM in the middle. We also did a Westone W60 review which has always had a place in our hearts and a steady place in our daily listening earphone arsenal.
So what’s the deal with now launching another ’50’ model, especially as they discontinued the W50? Is this a W60 vs B50 or do these two units compete in a different space, with a different sound signature etc? We like the W60 as it is a natural and long wear i.e low fatigue sound signature. So will the B50 also give us hours or listening without the discomfort and pain?
Westone B50 Tech Specs
Let’s start with the technical elements of the B50. This will also identify how it varies from the other W series models from Westone.
- Drivers: Five balanced-armature drivers (the bottom end one is big, well…bigger, actually…the biggest)
- Sensitivity: 118 dB SPL @ 1mW
- Frequency Response: 10Hz – 20kHz
- Impedance: 35 ohms @ 1kHz, 25dB passive noise attenuation
Westone B50 Accessories
Accessories have always been something we think Westone do so well. This Westone B50 review won’t change that opinion. Cases, tips and cables all in abundance. As the B50 is a Bluetooth earphone/IEM it includes the second generation Bluetooth cable from Westone which has MMCX connectors. This also means if you would prefer to use a Shure RMCE-BT1 cable you could. I bought a cheap Tennmak MMCX cable years ago but wouldn’t waste the B50 on such a cheap cable. And why would you – Westone second-gen Bluetooth cable is a great unit.
Essentially there also are zero reasons not to use the included high definition silver cable included from Westone. They are the first company we know to release an HD silver MMCX cable (the cable is low-resistance and has four strands of pure-silver plated copper alloy) and a Bluetooth cable in the retail box. Impressive and a nice selling feature – surely all the kids in headphone club will give you some cred. for that alone?
In the retail box:
- B50 Universal-Fit Earphones
- High Definition Silver MMCX cable
- Westone Bluetooth Cable
- 5 Pair Patented STAR™ Silicone Tips
- 5 Pair True-Fit™ Foam Tips
- Exchangeable Metal Faceplates
- Deluxe Zippered Carrying Case
- 2 Year Limited Warranty.
The included Bluetooth MMCX cable is capable of 8 hours playback. It has a 4.0 range of 10 meters or 32 feet. It’s also IPX-4 rated which is water and dust resistant. Good for running and some outdoor activities but I wouldn’t swim in it or anything.
8 hours of battery life, a 10 meter/32-foot range, has a water and dust resistant IPX-4 rating
Westone B50 Image Gallery
Westone B50 Review Images:
Fit & Comfort
There is no doubt that the B50 still delivers the light fit and comfort that the rest of the W series includes. Even with the largest BA bass driver crammed in there, it’s a nice fit that will leave you happily listening for long periods without fatigue or earache.
As the owner of a set of W60’s, IE800, Heir Audio 8.0 CIEM, UM Pro 50 and many more I am always surprised at how nice the W series is to wear. Running (with a bluetooth cable), commuting, office listening – it’s all good and the earphones tend to disappear – that is I can forget I am wearing them.
Sound quality. I’m not sure they have reinvented the wheel here but as an audiophile I can respect that. When an earphone maker has a sound signature it’s nice when they stick close to it. All headphone manufacturers have their sound signature and style, Sennheiser, Sony, Bose, Westone, Empire Ears, Campfire, Noble, UE etc – which is great for consumers as once you find a sphere of sound you like you can move around the other models.
Usually, this means moving up through the models as you get more and more addicted and aware of quality.
Balanced Armature Driver Configuration
There are 5 BA drivers in the B50. Westone has their own in-house drivers. They are configured like this:
- 1 x Bass
- 2 x Mid Range
- 2 x High End
B is for Bass in the B50 model. It’s a 5 BA driver configuration and Westone have put their biggest BA driver (proprietary made drivers) in the bottom end. So it needs to work hard to bring through the sub-bass. In this instance, however, the B50 really delivers the goods.
If you have tried Westone’s W series in the past and not felt it delivered enough bottom end for you then the B50 will give you pause to reconsider them.
Strong attack, well rounded but maintaining a natural feel; these are the right addition to bring to the Westone consumer line up. If you want nice balance across the range then stick with the W60, but if you want the bass up a notch – but not messy – the B50 might be for you.
Mid notes are pretty much on par with the W40-W60 range in my opinion. Still great sound stage, nice clean and clear mid frequencies sounds which will be familiar for those of you who already play in the Westone sandbox.
The 2 drivers at this point are perfect and bring a nice next-frequency step from the bass BA driver. No complaints here.
The mids of Westone have always been a favourite as I feel they are one of the reasons you don’t get fatigued listening to them.
High Notes (Treble)
The high end 2 drivers powering the treble have to work hard to balance out the nice bass on these. There is a nice clarity and presence but it’s not quite as full-spectrum as the bass and mid notes. It’s not bad at all but not as ‘through the range’ as the bass and mids.
Despite this overall clarity is great and this would be the only down points given.
PRAT (Pace, Rhythm and Timing)
On point here. The bass is quick and the mids never a step behind. It’s quite natural and nothing is out of balance.
Fit and feel of the foams and different tips must always be experimented with for IEM type earphones.
Note: If you buy these and are new to over the ear IEM’s (in-ear monitors) make sure you try the different foams etc until you get to that point where if the music is off, and the earbuds are in, it’s almost like your underwater and you can’t hear any outside noise spilling in. When you reach this point, you will get the best sound.
So, as with our other Westone reviews, we find these a great fit, which then means good noise-isolation. And not only a good noise isolator but also very comfortable.
Build quality should be good (and it is) as Westone are not new to this game. Using a similar external mould as the W series, the B series seems effectively the same casing but a little beefier. The difference is the external changeable faceplates are metal on the B series, not plastic as they have been on the W series.
The MMCX connectors are solid, and our other units that we’ve had for years have never failed even when we’ve changed from bluetooth MMCX cable to wired cable.
The included HD MMCX made from silver plated copper low-noise cabling is a nice looking unit. If you don’t need to be wireless all the time, then I’d default to this cable.
The Bluetooth cable is second gen and improves on all the issues the first Westone Bluetooth Cable had, so it’s all good on that front too.
If aptX® technology matters to you, the Bluetooth cable has it.
Westone B50 Review Conclusion
We’ve been working with Westone for over 7 years. As we’ve already reviewed the UM Pro 50 and W60 are two of our favourite everyday, all day listening choices.
We’d be lying if there weren’t some genres we listen to on the W series where we don’t miss a little more bass. The B50 fixes this gap in the line-up. We’re glad Westone have upped their game on the bass front, especially with so much competition coming from other manufacturers like Noble and UE.
For those about to rock, electronica or anything else bassorific – these will be a good choice and their sound management leans towards those genres.
See more on the Westone B50 here
Westone B50 FAQ
The first difference here is that the B50 is a new model and the W50 has long gone. However, the W50 was a great model and only seemed to leave us as it was too close to the W40 and W60.
The W50 was also a 5 driver IEM, as is the B50. They also shared the typical W series casing with changeable faceplates.
That’s about where the likeness stops. The B50 comes with an HD Silver MMCX cable AND a Bluetooth aptX compatible cable.
The biggest difference in the two is the tuning – the sound signature on the W50 was closer to the W series. The sound signature on the B50 is much more tuned to bass and bass lovers. The balanced armature driver in the B50 that is dedicated to bass frequencies is Westone’s biggest, and it’s tuned to be used.
So while the W50 and B50 might share some physical and numerical similarities, the sound is different.
If you heard the W40, W50 or W60 and felt there was some Bass lacking, then the B50 might be worth a listen for you (of course the W80 might be good too but that’s a huge price jump).
The answer above for the W50 covers most of the same ground in terms of the physical unit. The main difference again is the focus on bass tuning. The W60 have a nice tight bass, but it’s not particularly stand out. It’s perfect, for what it is and personally, it’s enjoyable but…
The B50 bass is bigger, higher and punchier. If you’re doing some funk, rock, dubstep, drum & bass, pop, dance and electronica, you’re in the right model.
The W60 top end is clearer and cleaner in our opinion. Not necessarily brighter, just cleaner. Jazz, classical, rock, acoustic, light pop – this is a sweet spot.