Hands on: Westone W60

While we expected vivid clarity, we were pretty amazed at the subtle touch Westone’s W60 had in the low end.

We just got back from the Westone booth at the official opening of CES 2014, and it turns out the storied in-ear headphone designers are not messing around this year.

After a bit of finagling, we were able to secure an ears-on demonstration of the company’s brand new W60 in-ear headphones, which debuted at the show. The earphones use six, count them, six balanced armatures with three crossovers, all bunched into a tiny earpiece to deliver a “high-performance” sound from a supremely portable package. After tracking down the lone pair at the booth that wasn’t encased in glass, the reps handed them over and we strapped in with our iPhone 5 for a listen.

First impressions amongst the chaotic halls of CES were pretty astonishing. The W60 drenched our ears in clarity and precision, digging deep into the bones of the instruments to expose timbres and subtle nuances far beyond the majority of consumer ‘phones we test. While we expected vivid clarity, we were pretty amazed at the subtle touch the headphones had in the low end, bringing a rich and smooth presence to bass and lower percussion that is nearly impossible to find in a headphone without a dynamic driver.

Of course, our excitement was curtailed a bit when we learned the price: a cool grand. It turns out that a 12-pack of balanced armatures in a frame you can put in the key pocket of your jeans is expensive. For that price you get dual, ultra-small cables made of braided tensile wire, one with an iOS three-button mic piece, and interchangeable, anodized-aluminum faceplates. Specs for the W60 include dual drivers for the treble, midrange, and bass, 25 Ohm impedance, 117 dB SPL, and a claimed frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHZ.

Other notable products debuted today at the Westone booth include the W50 and W40, which offer five and four armature driver sets respectively, and a new pair of in-ears to add to the company’s Adventure series headphones called the Beta. The W40 and Beta are available now, while the W50 and W60 will be arriving some time in quarter one of this year.

Westone’s hotshot multi-armature headphones may not be for everyone, but it’s nice to know there’s a company out there pushing the boundaries of how many components you can actually fit in an in-ear. Next year, we’re hoping they can push the armature number to seven.


  • Brilliant clarity
  • Dimensional sound stage
  • Rich low end
  • Wide dynamic range


  • Fit a bit awkward
  • Extremely pricey
Product Review

Step aside, Sonos: Riva's Concert is the best smart speaker you can buy

The Riva Concert series speaker is a fantastic, small-profile smart speaker with Alexa integration, truly excellent sound, and great looks, making it the perfect addition to your kitchen, living room, or bedroom.
Home Theater

Block the outside world, tune into your own with the best in-ear headphones

Over-the-ear headphones offer top-flight sound, but they're not so easy to take along with you. If you're looking to upgrade your portable sound, check out our favorite in-ear headphones -- there's a model for every user and every budget.
Product Review

AKG's signature studio sound goes straight to your head with these stunning cans

With gorgeous looks and great sound, AKG’s N700NC are a formidable entry into the wireless noise-canceling headphone race. We put them to the test to see if they can beat out the absolute best in the business.
Home Theater

Wireless headphones are finally awesome, and these are our favorites

Between sleek form factors, prime audio quality, and the freedom of untethered listening, there has never been a better time to pick up a pair of wireless headphones. These are the best ones currently available.
Emerging Tech

With this robotic garage, retrieving your car is like using a vending machine

Remembering where we parked our cars can be a real pain. But what if our cars came to find us, rather than the other way around? A new automated robot parking valet system aims to help.

Best Products of 2018

Our reception desk has so many brown boxes stacked up, it looks like a loading dock. We’re on a first-name basis with the UPS guy. We get new dishwashers more frequently than most people get new shoes. What we’re trying to say is: We…
Emerging Tech

A lidar-equipped truck knows exactly how much de-icer to apply on roads

Lidar is best known as the laser-based technology that helps self-driving cars sense their surroundings. But the city of Knoxville has another, more seasonal use for it: De-icing roads.
Emerging Tech

This unusual nature-inspired robot is equally at home on land or in the water

This intriguing, nature-inspired robot may look unusual, but it's impressively capable of moving on both land and water without problem. Heck, it can even travel on ice if necessary.
Emerging Tech

This cryptocurrency wallet for kids isn’t nearly as stupid as it sounds

So you’ve taught your 6-year-old child to read, write, and play nice with others. What’s next? Give them a base understanding of cryptocurrency, of course. This Kickstarter aims to help.
Emerging Tech

Light, speed: Lighting kit for DJI Mavic 2 lets you fly and film in the dark

Lume Cube, maker of small battery-powered LED lights for mobile photography, has announced a new lighting kit built specifically for the DJI Mavic 2 -- the first of its kind. Already our favorite drone, this makes the Mavic 2 even better.
Emerging Tech

Prepare for liftoff: Here are all the important upcoming SpaceX rocket launches

From ISS resupply missions to a host of communication and scientific satellite launches, SpaceX has a busy year ahead. Here's a rundown of some of the company's most important missions slated for the next year.
Emerging Tech

Virgin Galactic’s latest test flight takes it to the edge of space

Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic has successfully carried out its fourth powered flight in Mojave, California. It was the company's most ambitious test flight yet -- and bodes well for the future.
Emerging Tech

We’re going to the Red Planet! All the past, present, and future missions to Mars

SpaceX isn't the only organization pining to visit the Red Planet. Here's a detailed list of all operational and planned missions to Mars, along with explanations of their objectives, spacecraft details, and mission proposals.
Emerging Tech

There’s a giant EMP blaster in New Mexico. Don’t worry, it’s here to protect us

An electromagnetic pulse has the potential to disable virtually all electronics within a large area. To help protect against such a threat is a new, friendly EMP emitter. Here's how it works.