Responsible for the impressive single-driver UM1 and double-driver UM2 in-canal earphones, Westone has announced Westone 3 (aka “3”, approx. $379, February), an in-canal triple-driver design with balanced armature drivers and a passive three-way crossover network for “powerful lows, lush midrange, and crystal-clear highs.” Said by the company to be “the first and only 3-way system on the market,” Westone 3 is “from the ground up an iPod earphone” with 25 ohm impedance, rather than “a crossover from the music world to the iPod world like others are doing.” With white or silver iPod-styled casings, black cables, and a ten pair eartip fit kit featuring multi-sized foams, single- and triple-flanges, the earpieces are designed to fit comfortably in any ears while delivering the company’s highest possible audio quality. A travel case, inline volume control, wax loop, and 1/4” adapter will also be included in the package.
iLounge has spent time with a prototype version of Westone 3, and found the design to be sleek and comfortable, with a very pronounced emphasis on low-end sound. Like Westone’s earlier headphones, 3 aims to color your music rather than present it neutrally, and delivers fuller-bodied, warmer renditions of audio than comparable triple-driver designs, a choice which some users will like, others not. It’s akin to XtremeMac’s earlier FS1 earphones and releases from Future Sonics, only with three drivers rather than one or two.