Published on March 26th, 2017 | by Greg0
Westone’s Musician-Ready AM Pro 20 Dual-Driver Earphones
If you test out a lot of audio gear, you’ll start to notice similarities cropping up- a lot of companies use ‘off-the-shelf’ drivers, and a lot of earbuds aim to be fully isolating, which can separate any musician from the very thing they are trying to listen to or perform. Cables can be thin and a bit fragile, and when they inevitably break, they typically cannot be replaced. Plus, most sets aren’t all that comfortable, and may put more effort into their style than anything else.
The Westone AM Pro 20 Earphones are different- they’re in-ear monitors and include dual drivers- though the company offers Pro 10 models with single-drivers and Pro 30s with a trio. And if you aren’t familiar with Westone, they’ve been around and producing audio gear for more than 50 years- for musicians and venues, from microphones to custom earpieces in a huge variety of colors and patterns. And these are built with transparency in mind, allowing some amount of external sound in, trading isolation for the ability to hear what’s going on around you.
For those looking to listen at home, it might be a bit distracting, and the Westone AM Pro 20s aren’t the best for traveling- they don’t offer noise-canceling or Bluetooth wireless or waterproofing. There’s not even a remote or microphone on the cable. But these are ideal if you are trying to practice, listen to a backing track, or play on stage with other folks and want to stay engaged. We liked the cables, reinforced at the connector, and braided along the length- plus, they were longer than most out there. But the real strength of these lies in the dual drivers, allowing one to be dedicated to active bass reproduction and the other to mids and highs- and this separation leads to focus, clarity, some amazing vocal response and spatial dynamics.
These aren’t intended for use with your iPhone or low-resolution files- they show their strength with high-quality sources, with ample detail for lossless tracks that can shine. And they were capable of pretty loud volumes, without distortion even as we pushed them farther than we normally would listen. The AM Pro 20s are fairly large, and we certainly wouldn’t exercise with them, but they were surprisingly comfortable- especially since we had so many tip options to help optimize to our ears. Five sets are included, in each of the two styles, foam or silicone- and even the silicone is custom, a patented variety that is far better than the usual stock tips you’ve tried (and probably hate). They aren’t for everyone, but for their niche, the Westone AM Pro 20s are excellent- and a clear example of engineering talent, available for $339 online and in stores.