Westone Audio Mach 80 Review: Eight Balanced Armature Drivers Deliver Amazing Sound

Westone Audio – Mach 80 Universal IEM Wired Earbuds

Westone Audio - Mach 80 Universal IEM Wired Earbuds







What We Dig

  • Great Build Quality
  • Rich, Open, Refined Sound
  • Remarkably Comfortable

What To Think About

  • Bass Dynamics Are A Little Soft
  • Could Use A Touch More Soundstage Depth

This is a premium IEM that offers excellent sound quality and comfort. Read our Westone Audio Mach 80 review to learn more!

Westone Audio’s Mach 80 Universal IEM Wired Earbuds ($1599) are marketed as a premium reference earphone solution for both audiophiles and stage musicians. The 80 is the flagship of Westone’s new MACH series of stage monitors, which aims to provide a universal fit alternative to their custom fit ES or “Elite Series” series of stage monitors.

As the flagship, the Mach 80 has the most drivers (in this case, eight) and the best cable offered in the lineup. Additionally, they offer a number of features that aim to solve common problems with other earbuds (think comfort and audio separation), and they promise to deliver a truly immersive listening experience.

The Mach 80 aims to provide the pinnacle of comfort and detailed, natural sound for those willing to spend top dollar for an in-ear monitor. Let’s take them for a spin and see if they provide a top-of-the-line experience worthy of the lofty price tag!

Westone Audio Mach 80 Review: Build & Features

Westone Audio Mach 80 Review

When it comes to earphones, one of the biggest problems is that they don’t fit well in the ear. This can lead to discomfort and fatigue. The Mach 80 Universal IEM Wired Earbuds promise to address this problem with their unique ergonomic housing design.

The Westone Mach 80 Earbuds have a durable, lightweight housing made of high-quality polycarbonate material. As promised, the housing has excellent ergonomics and is amongst the smallest and lightest on the market, so comfort is superb.

Additionally, these earphones come with multiple sets of foam and silicone tips (five of each), all of which are well-contoured and add to the 80’s comfort. While I found the silicone tips more comfortable overall, the foam tips were also good and supplied a little more noise isolation and stability.

Regarding looks, the Mach 80 is pretty restrained yet modern, which I found to be very attractive at the end of the day. I’m not a fan of IEMs that are chunky and gaudy for no reason, so Westone’s design approach appealed to me.

The cable that comes with the Mach 80 Universal IEM Wired Earbuds is also quite remarkable. Westone calls it their “Linum UltraBaX™ T2” cable, and it is a quad-twisted cable that is super-thin yet durable, with an overall total of 224 wire strands. This setup offers low impedance along with maximum conductivity.

While the thinness of the UltraBaX cable makes it a little tangle-prone, it also means it stays out of your way satisfyingly. I always felt that lightweight earpieces make no sense if you have a heavy, clunky cable pulling down on them, and there is no issue with that here.

The cable also has compact Estron T2 connectors for low-profile solid connections, which plays into the lightweight and thin theme. Just keep in mind that replacement cables are a little on the pricy side, coming in at about $200.

As previously stated, the Westone Mach 80 in-ear monitors have an impressive eight balanced armature drivers in each ear. The drivers are customized expressly for the MACH series, and they’re matched with a 3-way passive crossover that utilizes two drivers for bass, two for midrange, and an astonishing four drivers for treble. This allows the 80 to provide remarkable separation and spaciousness (more later).

Tech Specs:

  • 3-way Passive Crossover
  • DRIVERS: Eight Balanced-Armature Drivers
  • FREQ RESPONSE: 5Hz – 22kHz
  • SENSITIVITY: 104dB @1kHz
  • IMPEDANCE: 66 Ohms @1kHz

Included accessories

Westone Audio Mach 80 Review

The Westone Audio Mach 80 Universal IEM Wired Earbuds come with a variety of included accessories, including:

  • Carrying case: The earbuds come with a durable, Impact-resistant Pelican Case that protects them from damage when you’re not using them and provides plenty of room for accessories.
  • Ear tips: The earbuds come with 5 Pair Foam + 5 Pair Silicone tips to find the perfect fit for your ears.
  • Cable: Comes with Westone’s Linum UltraBaX T2 Cable, which is ultra-thin and durable. It has 224 strands for low impedance (better sound and driveability) and clean audio.
  • Cleaning tool: The earbuds come with a cleaning tool to help you keep the earbuds clean and free of debris.
  • Cloth Bag: Comes with a soft cloth storage bag for storing your earphones without taking up a lot of space.

Westone Audio Mach 80 Review: Sound Performance

The Westone Audio Mach 80 in-ear monitor (IEM) delivers a clear, accurate, and detailed sound across the entire frequency spectrum. The Mach 80 has a well-balanced sound, with strong bass, clear mids, and crisp highs. The bass is punchy and articulate. The mids are detailed and present, which leads to a natural timbre for vocals and instruments. The highs are extended and airy without being harsh.

The Mach 80 is also excellent at imaging and soundstage, as expected from a 3-way IEM with eight drivers. It can accurately reproduce the spatial placement of instruments and vocals in a recording, creating a truly immersive listening experience. However, I have to mention I would’ve liked to hear just a bit more depth to go along with the remarkable scale.

Neutrality and balance are the name of the game here, and these earphones tend to take on the characteristics of the source/amp that they are connected to. If you use a thin-sounding source with a lot of detail, that’s the sound you will get. If you connect a warm-sounding source with plenty of bass weight, you’ll get a warmer sound with greater weight from the 80.

Consequently, when it comes to Dynamics, I did find them to be a bit soft overall, especially with specific sources. When it comes to bass dynamics, since these IEMs have more of a flatter reference tuning, even though you’ll hear a lot of punch, you’ll never quite get that slam you’ll hear in a V-shaped earphone.

Additionally, when it came to resolution, I found it wasn’t quite as razor-sharp as I’d heard with other high-end earphones. I find that to be a by-product of the Mach 80’s smooth and rich tuning, which doesn’t hit you over the head with details but instead has a laid-back perspective, allowing the information to wash over you. They reminded me of a pair of high-end monitor speakers in that way.

I wanted a portable DAC/Amp with plenty of power and nuance to provide a good foundation, so I pulled out the iFi Audio Go Bar and connected it to my iPhone 14 Pro Max. I cued up one of my favorite review tracks, “It’s A Man’s World,” from Abraham Rodriguez Jr. and Avishai Cohen’s “Iroko” album, and I was treated with a true feast for the senses.

As far as power goes, the Go Bar was probably overkill since you can adequately drive the Mach 80 with just about any dongle, but the detail and separation that the Go Bar pulled out of this IEM were really nice. In addition, it was nice to hear this song in such a natural and pure way. The hand drumming, as did the lead vocal and the strings, sounded very realistic. Nothing was added to the song, which allowed the artist’s intent and emotion to shine through.

That said, I can see these earphones being a bit too flat for some, as I missed a bit of weight on the percussion, which dulled the rhythm a bit. I also would’ve liked to hear a little more “into” the song, as all the performers seemed to be on the same plane even though they were separated nicely.

Despite these criticisms, this earphone is a reference model with a remarkable amount of refinement. Like any good speaker or headphones, you will get out what you put in. Therefore, even though you can drive these earphones with just about any source, you can’t hope to hear them at their best without a high-quality one.

One of the most remarkable aspects of these earphones is the almost flawless blend of sound from the eight drivers. Many multi-driver earphones suffer from a bad crossover of sound between portions of the audio band, but with the Mach 80, you don’t have certain frequencies that stick out where they shouldn’t.

Overall, the Westone Audio Mach 80 is an excellent IEM with a balanced sound performance across the entire frequency spectrum. It is a great choice for audiophiles and musicians looking for a neutral IEM with accurate and detailed sound reproduction but also appreciate a little less edge than you get from most “reference” products.

Westone Audio Mach 80 Review: The Wrap-Up

If you’re looking for a premium pair of earbuds with excellent sound quality, comfort, and noise isolation, then the Westone Audio Mach 80 Universal IEM Wired Earbuds are a great option. They are amazingly comfortable due to the featherlight earpieces, and the sound is suitable for those looking for a flat reference sound without the edginess you get from a lot of the competition. They are a bit on the expensive side, but they are worth the investment if you are serious about your music. Highly Recommended!

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