[Editors’ Note: On November 1, 2006, iLounge published The 2007 iPod Buyers’ Guide, with more than 30 brand new, capsule-sized product reviews – only for products we considered to be amongst the very best we’ve seen throughout the year. The short review below is excerpted from the Guide, which you can download here.]
As the company’s lowest-end Universal Series in-canal earphone, Westone’s UM1 provides an affordable single-driver alternative to the company’s more expensive double-driver UM2s.
Transparent housings allow you to see the drivers inside; black cables run to an oversized headphone plug that connects to any iPod. A zippered carrying case and four total pairs of ear foams are included across several different sizes – today’s foams are more neutral in color than the past flesh-toned versions.
Westone also sells UM56 Custom-Fit Earmolds designed to provide superior isolation and comfort.
In this price range, few earphones can touch Etymotic’s ER-6is on overall sound quality for the dollar, but the UM1 comes very close, delivering almost as much apparent detail as the ER-6i, but slightly massaging the treble to produce a modestly smoother high-end sound, and adding just that much more low-end. Consequently, music preserves most of ER-6i’s punch, yet leans just enough more “natural” sound to please some users.