The Westone MACH 60 is a hexa-driver IEM. It features 6 balanced armature drivers with dual lows, dual mids and dual highs plus a 3-way crossover. The price is £1099 / US$1099.
Disclaimer: This sample was provided by KS Distribution for an honest review. All observations and opinions here are my own based on my experience with the product.
Westone MACH 60
- 3-way Passive Crossover
- DRIVERS: Six Balanced-Armature Drivers
- FREQ RESPONSE: 8Hz – 20kHz
- SENSITIVITY: 100dB @1kHz
- IMPEDANCE: 35 Ohms @1kHz
- PRICE: £1099 / US$1099
When looking at the Westone MACH 60 shells, it gives me a feeling of something futuristic. The sleek surfaces are made from a space grey polycarbonate composite and have a lightweight metal faceplate.
One thing you’ll notice is Westone’s iconic super-narrow nozzle design. This is especially good for people with small ear canals but at the same time, it can make tip rolling quite a challenge.
There’s no need for venting, due to the all-BA driver configuration. The overall build quality is superb. All the joins and segments are exceptionally clean and uniform with no visual flaws.
In terms of comfort, I find the MACH 60 pretty great. My preference for eartips is the largest (15.5mm) stock foams which give me a perfect seal. The shells are very lightweight and fit comfortably in the concha area of your ears. Due to the ventless design, the passive noise isolation is well above average, making these IEMs ideal for live stage or studio monitors.
The stock LINUM® ESTRON SUPERBaX™ cable has a mere 0.75 Ohms resistance, ensuring that you get the most uncoloured and pure sound reproduction. It comes with a T2 connector system, which is superior to MMCX (in my opinion) but it means you won’t be able to swap out the cable unless you have others with T2 connectors.
It’s a utilitarian and unflashy cable when it comes to design but it handles wonderfully. It’s thin, supple and lightweight, so you’ll hardly notice it’s there at all. There is no microphonics and it also comes with a handy chin slider that you can lock in place.
Gear used for testing includes the TOPPING L30 II + E30 II stack, Soundaware M2Pro and xDuoo XD05 Bal.
With 35 Ohms impedance and 100dB sensitivity, the Westone MACH 60 is not especially demanding when it comes to output power. However, due to the quality of its sound and ability to scale there are tangible benefits to giving it a quality source.
The general sound signature of the MACH 60 is warm and inviting with an emphasis on bass and the midrange and a slightly attenuated treble response. It’s an extremely resolving IEM but it conveys music in an effortless manner. Furthermore, it’s a monitor you can listen to for prolonged periods of time without experiencing listening fatigue.
The Bass sounds lifelike and organic. It’s not exaggerated in quantity but is imbued with warmth and body. Because of the relaxed treble presentation, the mid-bass in particular is fairly prominent and forward in the mix. There’s good layering in the bass – a recurring theme throughout the MACH 60’s entire presentation.
Sub-bass notes are present but they don’t hit hard like a dynamic driver bass. But most importantly, the sub-bass is audible and balanced with the rest of the soundscape. So while it doesn’t have a huge physical impact, it doesn’t sound lacking in any way.
Like most BA bass, this one shows good speed and control. It adds body and thickness to the overall sound but does so without any unintentional bleeding or masking of the midrange.
The Westone MACH 60 has one of the most natural-sounding midranges I’ve ever heard. It’s smooth but it never sounds lethargic or veiled in any way. The timbre of instruments and vocals is accurate too and you could absolutely use these IEMs for professional stage or studio purposes.
Transients are crisp but never sharp. Despite being warm in nature, the midrange has excellent spacing and a pitch-black background. It’s perfect for listening to dynamic music such as 417.3’s “48” which traverses between calm soft passages and thrashy, crashy climaxes; the Westone MACH 60 takes it all in its stride and lays it in front of you in the most delicious manner.
The treble tuning plays a huge role in the MACH 60’s presentation. Its laid-back approach helps to create a blacker background and allows you to focus more on the midrange and nuances rather than micro-details. It might be too mellow for treble-heads
There’s no harshness to be found in the upper registers. But despite the smoothness of the highs, the MACH 60 performs admirably when it comes to detail retrieval. Furthermore, the treble still sounds airy and open thanks to its extension.
Soundstage and Technical Performance
The soundstage on the MACH 60 is where its professional pedigree really shines through. It’s not an especially large stage but it sounds like being in an acoustically treated room or recording studio.
The instrument separation and overall resolution are excellent, leading to a 3D holographic soundstage where the positions of instruments and vocals can be easily pinpointed. If there’s one technical area that could be improved, I’d say it’s in the micro-details. However, the MACH 60 chooses to maintain its natural timbre and non-fatiguing nature instead and I’m totally on board with that.
FiR Audio 5×5 (US$990)
The FiR Audio 5×5 requires less driving power than the MACH 60. It has a brighter sound signature which is the first thing I notice when switching between the two IEMs. The second thing I notice is a loss in resolution; Although the 5×5 often sounds more detailed due to its more pronounced treble, it doesn’t have the same black background or separation as the Westone.
5×5’s bass has a more immediate impact and slam but the bass level is not that much different. Both have a neutral and uncoloured midrange but the 5×5 lifts the upper midrange more and brings female vocals more forward.
The FiR Audio has a livelier, brighter treble. This gives the 5×5 slightly better detail retrieval on calmer recordings but the MACH 60 flexes its muscles more during complex passages. The Westone is smoother overall and excels in instrument separation and soundstage. The 5×5, on the other hand, sounds more dynamic but less controlled.
Meze ADVAR (US$699)
The Meze ADVAR sounds more vibrant and upfront. It has more bass weight and texture compared to the Westone’s more reference-level bass. ADVAR’s sub-bass is noticeably more elevated and gives a powerful rumble whereas the MACH 60 has a smoother tone.
The ADVAR has enthusiastic vibrant mids and more midrange clarity. In comparison, the MACH 60’s lower midrange has thicker notes and less articulation. However, the ADVAR is less forgiving on poorly recorded or sibilant music.
ADVAR’s treble is more aggressive. This gives it more micro-detail retrieval and a slightly wider soundstage. The MACH 60’s treble is more laid-back and non-fatiguing. The ADVAR has great instrument separation but can’t match the MACH 60’s instrument separation and imaging.
The Westone MACH 60 is not what I was expecting. Considering its price and the brand’s studio monitor heritage, I thought it might sound lean and flat (and possibly boring). Instead, I found it to be a warm, inviting and highly engaging IEM.
That was a nice surprise but the level of technical performance on offer was even more unexpected. The MACH 60 is a highly resolving IEM with a natural and accurate tone and excellent imaging. It’s ideal for professional use or for any audiophile looking for a great-performing all-rounder. In fact, it’s so good I’m giving it a recommended award and adding it to the best IEMs list.