With its UM-Pro series, Westone, a relatively unknown manufacturer from Germany, addresses the needs of the professional audiophile. The flagship model from its in-ear series, the UM Pro 50, operates with five drivers per side according to the balanced armature principle. This covers the listening spectrum with a passive three-way crossover. We wanted to know to what extent this device, specifically designed for stage use, can be enjoyed by more casual music lovers.
For a going rate of around 500 euros, a robust exterior and high-quality finish are expected alongside superior sound. There’s nothing to complain about in this respect with this headphone model. The UM Pro 50 has a sturdy, transparent housing, along with ten pairs of earplugs. Five of these are crafted from silicone and foam, ensuring a great fit in the ear itself. Meanwhile, the driver housing sits securely in the centre of the earpiece.
The interchangeable cables are also very convincing in their design, with an equally slim and flexible construction that’s also very sturdy and stable. Westone relies on its own reinforced Twisted MMCX, which features a particularly low level of resistance. If brought together at a distance of 30 cm, they can also be adjusted at the upper lengths by a separating element. In addition, the very top 5 centimetres near the ears, subject to higher levels of strain and stress, are protected by additional sheathing. The connector plug has an angled design, with a gold-plated mini jack. The UM Pro 50 is also accommodated with a handy plastic carry case.
The UM Pro 50 is a wired in-ear headphone designed solely for music reproduction. Extras like a hands-free kit are therefore not included with the main device. The first thing that impresses with this model is its precise, secure fit within the ear. This enables a comfortable, pressure-free listening experience for long durations. At the same time, the device provides a remarkably good level of shielding against external noise. This is even without the addition of noise-cancelling functionality. And what’s more, those that use the device away from the stage will not cause a nuisance to those in their vicinity, even with high-volume playback. In fact, the UM Pro 50, with a sensitivity of 115 dB and 23 ohm impedance (averaged level), is capable of playing at incredibly high levels, an absolute must for stage use.
Admittedly, when it comes to sound assessment, I can’t claim to have comprehensive enough knowledge to judge a model of this type. Certainly not one at this price point. However, what I can say with confidence is that performance is extremely impressive. The entire sound spectrum is reproduced cleanly, with plenty of balance and the best in detail resolution. In the bass range, things are very powerful, yet there’s no annoying distortions. The listener can always look forward to a truly deep bass level. This isn’t a naturally expected performance perk with such a design. Much the same is the entire low-frequency range, with things well contoured and reproduced with reliable dynamics, tonality and resolution. The end result is an equally powerful and incredibly tight listening experience. Even with loud volume playback, expected distortions are pleasantly minor.
The mid-range provides the necessary fundamentals and offers vocals and instrumental a safe home without any disturbing resonance. Speech intelligibility is warm, with no competing elements to worry about. The UM Pro 50 simply delivers a well-balanced, detailed performance. On the other hand, it also reveals the weaknesses of some productions and mixes. However, this is hardly the fault of the hardware.
In the high-frequency range, the listener can look forward to real pace and open sound, with plenty of tonal detail. There’s no tiring or sharpness of audio, unless of course problematic productions bring their weaknesses to the stage.
The stereo stage is broad and clearly defined. Spatial imaging is reliable and shines with plenty of detail, to the point that specific effects can be identified within a mix.
The Westone UM Pro 50 delivers excellent overall performance. Due to its target market of stage users, it’s not strictly tuned for neutrality, but rather strives for equally rich and contoured sound with a deep emphasis on bass. This particular area has been one where Westone has established itself in recent years, particularly in the professional field. Nevertheless, the listening experience is ultimately excellent due to a richness of detail and superb sound precision. Even for pure music listening enjoyments, it’s a winner. You can look forward to immersing yourself deep into all manner of genres and productions with these.
With an asking price of between 540 and 700 euros, the UM Pro 50 is a relatively manageable investment. In terms of sound quality, one is rewarded with a relatively high level, although nothing you’d struggle to find at the 200 euro range. Whether or not the jump in quality is worth the additional cost is something you’ll have to decide for yourselves. A look at competitor manufacturers like Sennheiser (IE 800 S) or Shure (SE846), demonstrates that elsewhere, you’d be looking to lean even deeper into your pockets for the privilege.
- Ear couplingIn-ear
- Transducer principle5 balanced-armature drivers with a 3-way passive crossover
- Frequency response (headphones)20 - 20.000 Hz
- Impedance23,2 ohms
- Sound pressure level (SPL)115 dB
- Cable length120 cm
What's in the box
- 5 pairs of silicon ear-tips
- 5 pairs of foam ear-tips
- Cleaning tool
- Travel case
- replaceable MMCX cable