Long-time readers… hell, even you fresh-off-the-Internet-boat-types may recall this one. Two weeks ago, I bought a set of Sennheiser headphones that turned out to be made in China. I promptly returned them to Amazon. It cost me nine bucks in shipping to do so — Amazon doesn’t consider “made in China” to be an acceptable reason for a free return — but it left me with some not-quite-cash burning a home in my pocket .
This past Saturday I was at Sweetwater Music in Fort Wayne, most positively and definitely not buying a new PRS Private Stock because I was able to tear myself away from it before the emotional weakness took over, and I saw that they had some entry-level Westone in-ear-monitors (IEMs) for sale.
Westone is no relation to St. Louis Music, Matsumoku Guitars, Tom Presley, Electra, or any other part of the Westone guitar saga. They make earbud-thingys here in the United States. In theory, their “W” line is made in China, and the “UM” line is made in the United States. I can’t say for sure that all of the components are made in the US.
I can say, however, that these are very nice earphones. They don’t have the dynamic punch of a full-sized set of over-the-ear phones like my Beyerdynamic 880 600Ohm Pros, and they certainly don’t hit the way that a proper speaker system does, but if your primary experience in life is with, say, the Apple iPhone earbuds these will seem like they are from another galaxy. I can also say that they are far, far better than the various AKG and Sony earphones I’ve bought while traveling both here and abroad.
The noise isolation is very good — maybe too good for me to even consider using them on a motorcycle. Build quality appears top-notch. They aren’t cheap by normal person standards but if you’re an audiophile then Sweetwater’s $179 closeout probably seems like a very good deal. So far, I’m very satisfied. And it’s always nice to vote with my own wallet for an American-made product.