Last month, I reviewed Westone’s Mach 10, the entry-level model in the Mach line of IEMs (In-Ear Monitors). The entire range consists of eight different IEM models and the launch pair are great IEMs that achieve a lot by using a single balanced armature driver in each earpiece. Balanced armatures are commonly used in hearing aids because they offer excellent clarity. Westone achieved a fantastic sound with the Mach 10, which is nothing short of amazing and a great introduction to the world of IEMs.
The full Westone Mach range extends up to the Mach 80 model, which has eight balanced armature drivers in each earpiece, providing a wide frequency response and detailed sound. In the middle of the range is the Mach 60, the model I decided to test because it sits just above the middle of the range and uses six balanced armature drivers that offer a perfect balance between high performance and affordability.
IEMs are not ordinary headphones. They are multi-driver headphones that were originally developed for musicians to use as precise in-ear monitors for use when performing live. Sometimes, IEMs are made using a custom mold of each wearer’s ears for a perfectly custom fit. As a result, IEMs are often quite expensive due to the precision engineering required to create these high-performance headphones.
Westone Audio’s Mach IEMs are perhaps one of the most technologically advanced devices on the market. The company has been producing IEMs for 35 years, so they know what they’re doing and work closely with suppliers such as Knowles Corp, the world’s leading manufacturer of balanced armature driver systems.
The Mach 60 uses six balanced armature drivers in each earpiece to cover a frequency range of 8Hz to 20kHz. There are two drivers in each earcup for the bass frequencies, two for the mids, plus two more that take care of the treble frequencies. What sets the Mach 60 apart from a regular pair of headphones is how exceptionally clear they are in the higher frequencies. Remarkable treble is supported by an excellent midrange that anchors the sound with plenty of resolution and texture. In addition, the two low-end drivers perfectly articulate the bass and give shape to the rhythm.
The drivers are driven through a passive crossover circuit that slices the various frequencies into three frequency bands and sends the relevant signal to the correct pair of balanced armature drivers. The result is a beautiful bass with a perfectly articulated mid-range at the top. Completing the sound is the precise and open treble, which provides laser-like focus to the soundstage and brings the music to life.
In keeping with the rest of the range, the Mach 60s have an over-the-ear fit that feels like you’re hardly wearing a pair of headphones. Part of this comfort is due to the Linum Estron SuperBaX 168-strand cable, which has a quad design. The cable provides excellent transmission and feels incredibly light. The other reason these IEMs feel so good is the choice of ear tips provided. There’s a choice between silicone or memory foam tips and they come in five different sizes, so there’s no excuse for not having a great fit that creates the perfect acoustic seal.
Like most IEMs at this price point, the Mach 60s cable is removable and uses Estron T2 connectors. These quick-release plugs can easily be detached from the headphones and create a solid connection without signal loss. Having detachable cables means that the user can replace the cables in case they get damaged or they can be upgraded to something even better. The T2 docking system is IP67 rated for water and dust resistance, which will help keep the Mach 60 performing well for many years of use.
It’s worth noting that if you’re going to part with a sizable chunk of money to buy these IEMs, you won’t want to use them with any old source. Sure, they’ll work well with your smartphone if it has a slot, but they deserve a great source, like one of Astell&Kern’s digital audio players that use high-end DACs, or an external DAC like the excellent Chord Mojo II. There are so many possibilities for details with the Mach 60.
Verdict: The Westone Audio Mach 60 are an amazing pair of IEMs that deliver an extremely transparent sound with perfect frequency response. There’s plenty of potential to squeeze every last ounce of resolution out of music, but the sound is never harsh or tiring due to low distortion levels. The bass is luscious and deep, while the midrange showcases vocals beautifully. Treble frequencies are as sweet and as open as can be. I don’t know how the Mach 70 and Mach 80 models sound, but I find it hard to believe that they can offer much of an improvement over the Mach 60. If you love music and have a great source to drive these IEMs, then the Westone Mach 60 it’s about as good as it gets at this price. Yes, they are more expensive than the cheapest pair of headphones, but they reward the listener by taking the audio experience to a new level.
Prices & Availability: The Westone Mach 60 IEMs are available now and cost $1,099.99 / £1,099.99.
More information: westoneaudio.com
- Type: Wired.
- Connectivity: 3.5mm plug.
- Fit style: In-ear.
- Drivers: 6 x balanced armature.
- Impedance: 3Ω @ 1kHz.
- Frequency response: 8Hz-20kHz.
- Sensitivity: 100dB @ 1kHz.
- Crossover: 3-way passive.
- Tips: 5 x foam tips and 5 x silicone tips.
- Detachable cable: Yes.
- Link: T2.
- Cable length: 50″.
- Color: Black, Grey.
- Case: Pelican case.