Today, we review the Westone Audio AM Pro X30, which is a triple BA driver universal in-ear monitor designed for use by pro audio and musicians. It is priced at $479.99 in the US and £479.99 in the UK.
Disclaimer: This is a sample sent in exchange for our honest opinion. Headfonics is an independent website that does not have any affiliate links. We thank both HiFi Headphones UK and Westone Audio for their support.
You can click here to learn more about Westone Audio IEMs we have previously covered on Headfonics.
Note, that this article follows our latest scoring guidance which you can read here.
Westone Audio AM Pro X30
Overall, the Westone Audio AM Pro X30’s unique design and features serve as a versatile multitool. With a high impedance rating it sounds consistent across various gears and its ambiance pass-through feature plus unfiltered transparency makes it a standout choice for professionals or individuals who seek an authentic and unaltered listening experience.
Good vocal clarity
Low levels of tonal coloration
Ambiance pass-through feature
Westone Audio just launched their latest pro audio IEM line called the AM PRO X, which is a replacement for their existing lineup of stage and monitoring applications, (AM PRO).
The new line comprises three models: AM Pro X10, AM Pro X20, and AM Pro X30, with this particular review sample the TOTL in the series, the AM Pro X30 which is priced at $479.
The AM Pro X30 is a universal in-ear monitor with a three-way design and from its name, it is evident there are 3 balanced armature drivers inside. The precise grouping is one driver for the bass and the other two drivers handle the mids and highs.
It does have a fairly high impedance of 56Ω though quite sensitive at 124 dB @1kHz but not one that requires something more than a quality DAP or dongle.
StageSense filter technology
Positioned as a pro audio product, the AM Pro X30 has retained the StageSense passive sound filtering technology from its predecessor.
This unique feature allows a controlled amount of ambiance to leak through, enabling performers to engage with the audience while safeguarding their hearing with the convenience of earplugs.
The filter module under the transparent housing in green color is designed to attenuate the ambiance by 10 dB which means that when you perform on stage or when practicing, you can still hear faint sounds from the surroundings. This is one of the very few earphone designs that features a pass-through filtering vent.
Even if you are not a musician, if you want to listen to music at work and be aware of the surroundings, the AM Pro X30 could be a nice solution as you can still hear someone calling you even when the music is on at a fairly high volume.
The AM Pro X30 continues the Westone Audio tradition of small low-profile IEM designs but unlike the solid tones of the MACH series, this one uses a transparent housing with the StageSense filter right in the middle of the faceplate and is adorned with the Westone Audio logo on top.
The tooling quality is excellent as suggested by the clarity of the plastic parts and there are no visible molding marks. Additionally, the inner structure incorporates a piece of green skeletal component that houses the drivers, which makes the design even cooler.
Comfort & Isolation
The nozzle on the AM Pro X30 is fairly extended and with the small body profile, it fits very cozily on the outer ear without causing any stress at all.
The cable at the same time, feels weightless and can be easily tied at the back of the neck if you want to hide it from the audience.
The AM Pro X30 is bundled with a generous assortment of accessories. It includes 5 pairs of foam tips and 5 pairs of silicone tips, each available in various sizes. This diverse selection allows users to find the perfect fit that suits their ears.
Notably, the foam tips provided with the AM Pro X30 exhibit higher density compared to most aftermarket options. This plays a crucial role in enhancing bass delivery, resulting in a more immersive and impactful sound experience.
The AM Pro X30 incorporates the T2 cabling system, with the sleek black BAX cable being the stock option. The cable is made from strands of silver-plated copper wires and is terminated with the Estron T2 connector that can be rotated 360 degrees.
With the T2 connector, the AM Pro X30 is sweat-proof and is considerably more reliable for stage use, and its practicality and robustness extend beyond aesthetics.
The cable can be easily wrapped and stored in the small, waterproof Pelican case without the worry of tangling, which is worth complimenting. The performance of this cable is impressive for its small gauge, and the build is robust.
Packaging & Accessories
The AM Pro X30 comes with professional packaging and a compact water-proof Pelican carrying case with an air release valve. There is also a logo sticker as well as a soft pouch included, the user manual, cleaning tools, and 10 pairs of tips.
On the cable, you will also find a plastic cable binder that allows users to tie up the cable when not in use.
Tuning-wise, the AM Pro X30 exhibits a clean response with excellent vocal separation and penetration power. The vocal image is brought up front with strong clarity, ideal for stage use, monitoring, or other occasions requiring the vocal range to be clearly heard.
Aside from that there are adequate details and layering, With the vented design plus a rather clean treble tuning the AM Pro X30 sounds quite expansive.
The AM Pro X30 has a huge BA driver for the bass, though it is not as bassy as expected but tuned to be impactful and precise with good clarity. You can easily pick the bassline out from the track and there is a good layering effect without exaggerating any particular frequencies.
While it may not sound as full and engaging as the consumer models that color the mid-lows stronger, the polite and clean bass tuning allows upper frequencies to be more clearly heard and ensures the bass line and the midrange are well separated.
The AM Pro X30 has a rather neutral vocal presentation that gives sufficient weight to the vocal but without coloring it much. The vocal cut through the mix with great clarity as the bass does not bleed through, which allows a clearer vocal image to be rendered.
The upper mid-range is slightly raw to my ears, though again it captures more details in the midrange especially with string instruments, amplifying the nuances that are always attenuated for less sharpness.
This monitoring style approach is actually great for talk shows and TV dramas but if you are used to the sound of warmly colored IEMs, you may need some time to get used to the sense of untreated, uncompressed raw midrange on this set which professional users may find more truthful and revealing for work.
The treble is fairly extended, and it feels clean and clear but not overly brittle. With intense sopranos and string work, the treble penetrates easily and still maintains a clear image and fair dynamics.
I tried simulating the ambience of a small gig by playing noisy coffee shop ambiance recordings from my speakers at the same time, and interestingly it balances out the noises well to sound more dynamic while ensuring clear vocal delivery.
The treble also sounds less hot as the ambiance leaking through compensates for the sharpness in the tuning and results in a more open presentation
With decent extension, impactful and controlled bass, swiftly tuned midrange frequencies, also the semi-opened venting design that allows some of the ambiance to leak through, the AM Pro X30 delivers a fairly expansive and clearly positioned headroom that renders the vocal image very clear.
The amplified frequencies in the AM Pro X30 contribute to the resolution and improved overall clarity. However, this more analytical approach comes with a trade-off, as it can sacrifice some naturalness in the sound reproduction.
In certain tracks, this emphasis on boosting frequencies may result in a boxy sound, potentially highlighting flaws in the vocal range.
It’s worth noting that while the AM Pro X30 excels in clarity and separation power, it may not be the ideal choice for listeners seeking a completely natural and uncolored audio presentation, particularly in the vocal range.
Positioned as a professional in-ear earphone for musicians ideal for monitoring and stage use, the AM Pro X30 comes with passive ambiance features and is quite different from the 3-driver counterpart MACH 30 we have previously covered in the way it sounds.
In practice, not much noise is leaking through when testing outdoors, so you can still use it like a normal IEM.
In a noisy coffee shop, you can hear some of the ambiance passing through, particularly the vocal frequency range. Covering the filters with my fingers immediately blocks out the ambiance totally.
The AM Pro X30 has a higher impedance rating which means that it can withstand stronger voltage swings and gain, which is ideal for receivers on stage or plugging into mixers.
The sensitivity rating on the other hand is high so you don’t need to worry about the output volume not being loud enough.
In other words, the AM Pro X30 is quite dependent on the source’s output power to sound fuller and punchier, especially in the lower register. When powered by a less powerful source, it will tend to be softer in the bass with the midrange and bass being less defined.
Putting the AM Pro X30 on the RME ADI-2 Pro recording interface, the AM Pro X30 maintains its transparency and detail retrieval power but gets denser in the bass with the overall tonal balance enhanced.
Similarly, with powerful DAPs like the Shanling M9 Plus or the FiiO R7 desktop player, the warmth as well as stronger output power on these players also brings about better musicality and dynamics.
The AM Pro X30 also works well on my MacBook Air as well as my other laptop that has some warmth in the mid-bass area, which balances out the clean tonality of the earphones to sound more engaging.
Westone Audio MACH 30
The closed-back MACH 30 from Westone Audio has a high impedance rating at 91Ω, and 110dB @1kHz sensitivity. In comparison, the 56Ω, 124dB @1kHz sensitivity on the AM Pro X30 clearly makes it more responsive to power.
Similarly, the MACH 30 uses the Estron T2 system and comes with the SuperBaX cable that is even sleeker.
Although the design theme is quite different, we can see that the shape and extrusion angle of the nozzle are very alike for the two IEMs.
Both IEMs have sporty aesthetics and the AM Pro X30 combines a functional vent as well as green-colored parts in its inner skeleton which looks sharper among the two designs, while the MACH 30 which has a polycarbonate housing looks more futuristic and stealthier.
The MACH 30 has a neutral and expansive tuning, which is a result of its clean bass decay and smooth vocal range.
The MACH 30 sounds more forward in the lower vocal zone and adds more weight to the vocal body, whereas the AM Pro X30 impacts lighter and focuses more on clarity and detail retrieval.
The more weighted low end on the MACH 30 allows it to sound punchier and more dynamic than the AM Pro X30, which is slightly shyer in the mid-low range, allowing more of the other frequencies to be heard clearly.
The difference is more obvious with lighter voices, on the MACH 30 it sounds more rounded, and natural.
Comparatively, the AM Pro X30 does not round off the treble as early, revealing more clearly the tone qualities of the vocal, allowing easier detection of slurring or unclear pronunciation of the lyrics.
The Etymotic EVO is a 3 BA IEM that also uses the BaX cable with T2 termination. Similar to the AM Pro X30 the EVO has a high impedance rating at 47 ohms, but with a lower SPL measurement set at 99dB SPL at 0.1V @ 1kHz, which suggests that it is not as sensitive as the AM Pro X30.
The metallic Etymotic EVO weighs a lot more than the AM Pro X30 which is molded in plastic and has a smaller form factor.
The fit is slightly deeper with the EVO, especially with the double or triple flanges, and when wearing for more than an hour, the AM Pro X30 is much lighter and a more comfortable fit.
While the EVO feels more premium in design, the AM Pro X30 which is designed for professionals is more practical for its purpose.
The AM Pro X30 is more responsive to power than the EVO and exhibits a clearer signature even with a less powerful source. With its tuning, it has stronger detail retrieval power especially in the vocal range, despite being not as musical and euphonic as the EVO which is positioned for music listening rather than monitoring.
When sufficiently powered the EVO has more energy in the bass and mid-bass region, which is more elevated than the AM Pro X30 and adds to its musicality. The AM Pro X30 is more swiftly articulated and contrasty and has a stronger presence for sopranos but lacks the body for altos to sound full.
The consonants and vowels are also clearer on the AM Pro X30 with the 200Hz range being shyer, allowing more vocal frequencies to cut through at ease. There is a stronger sense of air and harmonics in the upper mids but at the same time, harshness is stronger.
The AM Pro X30 is designed for professionals and has a raw, unpolished sonic profile that grants the listener a comprehensive overview of the entire audio spectrum, particularly highlighting the nuances within the vocal range and its ability to let the vocal penetrate fast and complex musical arrangements.
The separation power is excellent though it may lack the musicality and coloration compared to its consumer market counterpart, the MACH 30.
Overall, the Westone Audio AM Pro X30’s unique design and features serve as a versatile multitool. With a high impedance rating, the AM Pro X30 sounds consistent across various gears.
Its ambiance pass-through feature plus unfiltered transparency also makes it a standout choice for professionals or individuals who seek an authentic and unaltered listening experience.
Westone Audio AM Pro X30 Specifications
• Sensitivity: 124 dB @ 1mW
• Frequency Response: 20Hz – 18kHz
• Impedance: 56Ω
• Driver: Triple Balanced-Armature, with 3-way passive crossover