With the myriads of earphone models available in the market, you may find it confusing to differentiate one model from the other.
I will attempt to make life easier for you by comparing the Audio-Technica ATH-E50 and Westone UM Pro 20 for you.
The ATH-E50 has individual housings that offer splendid isolation to ensure comfortable and confident stage performance. It provides a stable reference in all sonic environments. I find this set of earphones as an ideal choice.
Its comfortable silicone ear tips come in four sizes to ensure comfort and sound isolation. It comes with a detachable cable with A2DC connectors and a 3.5mm jack connector. Furthermore, it has a carrying case.
Build and Comfort
The ATH-E50 has the Audio Designed Detachable Coaxial connectors which boast an excellent design and are more secure than the traditional connectors. Moreover, the A2DC connectors provide better connectivity because they have more contact surface than their counterparts. Honestly, I like them as an in-ear monitor (IEM) because they offer great comfort. The ergonomic design of the earphones provides excellent support to my ears.
I find it enjoyable to listen to music for hours using the ATH-E50 earphones. The sound quality has excellent smooth tonality without the annoying dips and peaks. The midrange is almost neutral, and the frequency coverage is impactful. The sound is not thin and has excellent tonal density.
The sound of the bass is not anemic, although it does not have a deep sub bass. Since the earphones have a single driver balanced armature, the ATH-E50 offers superb bass. I find the treble extension sufficient and of excellent quality. It is smooth with adequate sparkle. Thus, the sound of the ATH-E50 is not dull.
The earphones provide enough frequency range to make the sound non-fatiguing and pleasing. The imaging is not extraordinarily spacious; however, it offers excellent holographic imaging. When I first tried the ATH-E50, I felt that I was listening to my favorite music for the first time. There were elements in the tracks that I have not noticed or heard before.
The sound of the acoustic instruments seems artificial, but pleasant to the ears. In general, the bass is punchy. The overall tone seems dense, yet the soundstage is open. I find listening through the ATH-E50 earphones impressive with distinguishable details and instruments in the music tracks. For me, I prefer to use them when I listen to rock and electronic. Nonetheless, acoustic and classical vocals are outstanding, clean, and crisp.
The earbuds fit snugly. It feels that I am not wearing them at all. The adjustable over-ear hooks and the rear hanging cable ensures that the earbuds are in their perfect places. I like that the package contains different sets of ear tips, although the medium tips are a little smaller than their counterparts.
Thanks to the snug fit, the earbuds let you concentrate on your music tracks without the ambient noise. This set of earphones is perfect for engineers, musicians, producers, and even music enthusiasts.
However, I do not use this when I need to be mindful of my environment. Due to perfect isolation, I cannot hear people and traffic around me. So, whenever I am out in the open, I need to keep it in the carrying case. It is unsafe to use these earphones when out on the streets or when driving.
Westone UM Pro 20 Dual-Driver Universal-Fit
The UM Pro 20 Dual-Driver Universal-Fit is the company’s improved IEM with the dual balanced armature in the mid-low range. The simple rectangular box also contains five different ear tips sizes, a hard plastic case, and a cleaning brush. I was able to unbox it easily without damaging the earphones.
Build and Comfort
The design is sleek and modern with a transparent faceplate and underside. The housing is robust to withstand everyday use. The sturdy nozzles will not break unless you use considerable force.
The 4-core braided cable seems durable and robust. I do not experience any tangling problem with this one. The irregular-shaped 3.5 mm jack is elemental, and the force resistance is excellent. Furthermore, the Y-split is thick and sturdy. The chin slider can slip along the wire smoothly. The memory ear hook and connectors are sturdy. Also, the recessed-type MMCX connector anchors to the housing sufficiently.
The MMCX cable is of professional quality. The twisted wire helps to limit cable noise and maintain its lightweight and flexibility. It is perfect for personal use and on stage.
I can wear this set of earphones for long hours because it is comfortable. The housing sits in my outer ear excellently. The angle of the nozzle is correct with this earphone.
The judgment on sound quality depends on user preference. The bass region offers a moderately warm and dark sound. It leans towards neutrality in most cases. The Westone UM Pro 20 focuses on the technicality with an indication of musicality in the presentation.
However, the soundstage has more depth than the width in imaging. The sounds feel compressed and thin. Moreover, I am unimpressed about the layering and instrumental separation.
Regarding quality, it provides more sub-bass than mid. Also, the sub-bass extension is not sincere. The tight mid-bass is moderately muddy. However, the sound is comfortable and not aggressive. However, the upper-mids cause the lower-mids to be somewhat dull.
I find the upper-mids warm with the vocals sounding a little bit flat or unexciting. However, I still enjoy my favorite music tracks. The lower-mids region has an excellent body. Guitars and male vocals sound weighty. For some of my music tracks, they seem overly thick.
The trebles are perfectly smooth with zero sibilance. I did not hear any weird peaks at all. However, detail retrieval is sub-par because of the early roll off the upper trebles and the almost perfect smooth trebles.
The UM Pro 20 features two unique and balanced armature drivers. The drivers produce strong lows and crystal highs. Musicians will be happy with these earphones because they get what they expect, regarding nuance and detail.
Concerning comfort, after long hours of use, I did not feel any heat buildup around my ears. Also, since the nozzle is of the same size as the Comply T100, it does not press against my inner ear. When I first tried the UM Pro 20, I felt awkward because the nozzle stem goes deep into my ear canal. However, I did not feel any discomfort once I got used to it.
The ergonomic and low profile design and built means that the UM Pro 20 can withstand the most demanding environments. The ear tips can enhance its performance by providing excellent noise isolation.
Summary of the Features:
Built and Comfort
The ATH-E50 has proprietary A2DC connectors that provide better connectivity and more security than conventional connectors. It feels more comfortable to use because of the ATH-E50’s ergonomic design.
On the other hand, the UM Pro 20 uses the professional quality MMCX connectors. It also has a modern, sleek design with a robust housing. Like the ATH-E50, it offers perfect comfort.
The ATH-E50 provides perfect smooth tonality without the tiresome peaks and dips. Its midrange is neutral, and its bass is not anemic. However, the sub-bass is not rooted. Moreover, the treble extension is sufficient and smooth. The ATH-E50 does not produce any dull sound. Its bass is punch with a solid overall sound.
When I wear these earphones, I am impressed with the identifiable instruments and details in the tracks. I prefer to use it whenever I listen to electronic and rock music. However, the ATH-E50 also has outstanding, crisp, and clean acoustic and classical vocals.
The UM Pro 20, on the other hand, provides a dark, warm bass leaning towards neutrality. The soundstage offers more depth than imaging width. Thus, I feel that the sounds are thin and compressed. I am neutral about its instrumental separation and layering.
The earphones provide more sub-bass quality than mid, although the extension is not that deep. The mid-bass is tight and somewhat muddy. Overall, I feel comfortable about the sound that the earphones produce.
The earbuds of the ATH-E50 fit snugly in my ear. I can choose the size of ear tips because the package contains five different pairs. However, the mid-sized tips are smaller than the other ear tips available in the market.
The Westone UM Pro 20 does not cause heat buildup in the ears even after using it for long hours. However, the nozzle stem felt awkward when I first tried it on because it sits deep into my ears. Once I got used to it, it felt comfortable.
Both earphones provide excellent noise cancellation. I can concentrate on my tasks and music because the earphones block ambient noise. However, I do not suggest its use on the streets, especially when driving or in cases when you need to be aware of your environment.
Both the ATH-E50 and Westone UM Pro 20 offer a sleek and modern design. They are both sturdy and serve their purpose. However, it depends on user preference.
I feel that the masses will not appreciate the sound signature of the UM Pro 20. However, these earphones are perfect for studio or stage monitor. Most listeners will find it lacking in musicality.
On the other hand, the ATH-50 provides a nice, neutral sound. The treble is lacking. Casual listeners may not like its neutral presentation and tonality. Those who prefer disco or EDM music can choose other brands and models. However, if you are searching for non-fatiguing and neutral sounding earphones, then the Audio-Technica ATH-50 is for you.