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HiFiMAN RE-400

Posted

Pros: Magical mids. Warm lilt in the neutral sig. Fast, accurate and punchy mid-bass. Extremely comfortable. Easily driven,

Cons: Lack of sub-bass. Treble might be too smooth for some. Build quality could be better. Isolation is average

Packaging and build

The packaging is minimal and exquisitely so. The extra tips filters and manual are behind the felt coated foam holding the earphones. As I gingerly dislodged them from the grooves, I was struck by how tiny they are. I always try to avoid gripping the strain relief as a precaution, but it was difficult considering the size. The shiny bead blasted aluminium back goes well with the brushed aluminium housing. Which brings me to the build. This is the most common qualm people have reported. The plug is beefy, the y split seems sturdy enough. However, I noticed that some free movement of the cable is possible at the entry point of the strain relief. As long as the cable is secured properly within the main housing this shouldn't be an issue. (I was tempted to add a dab of glue at the strain relief end to restrict that free movement).

The half and half cable is… okay. The cloth half is a little kinky (pun not intended). The sticky half is thin and flexible making it very comfortable when worn over ear. Apparently, the hybrid design serves to reduce weight among other benefits.

 

Accessories, Comfort and Isolation:

Tips galore but an odd assortment. Anyway, I have very narrow ear canals and the smaller tips gave me a good seal. The pseudo-double bump tips gave me pressure problems, so I settled for the bar-tips. The complys are good, but the foam overhangs (ahead of the rubber tube) get scrunched. (I have modified them by cutting off the overhangs) Cable noise is more than present when worn cable-down. Almost disappears when worn over-ear. Can hardly feel then in my ears after a while. It is evident that the HiFiman team has paid a lot of attention to ergonomics. Other accessories include a shirt clip, 5 pairs of stock filters. I have dry wax so I won’t be changing them out anytime soon. Perhaps I could use them to hard EQ them (doubling the filters, felt mod etc.) Maybe later.

Isolation is average, even with a good fit. But maybe that’s about as good as it gets for vented earphones. The vent is placed ventrally and only the deepest fit might shield it partially.

 

Sound:

A short intro/disclaimer My experience when it comes to iems is very limited. The RE400 is my first foray into audiophile territory. I’ve been in a V/U-shaped bassy world thus far. 

Chronologically....Sony MDR-E818LP>Sony MDR-EX35LP>Creative EP-630>Xears TD4 Ebony Blackwood>Brainwavz R1>HiFiman RE-400

I’ve loved and hated every set. So I set my sights higher and decided to bravely plunge into a neutral world just to see if that was the right direction for me.

Doing an A:B comparison doesn't make much sense with iems that differ this widely.

My impressions may seem overblown to some. But such a drastic change in direction can do that. Back to the review I expected to be disappointed by the RE-400 in the bass department. I like a little rumble and feel in my bass. But given my inexperience, I was very curious about bass quality vs quantity.

 

Fast forward to my impressions… I initially thought of describing it by music genre. But after a week with them, I’ve decided to go ahead with the classic break-up.

 

Treble:

I’ve always found sharp treble to be off-putting. There is a (false?) sense of enhanced clarity that comes with sparkly treble. But for me, the overall enjoyability dips. I’m absolutely amazed by how smooth the treble is on the RE-400. Some may like a little more sparkle, its sooo perfectly where I want it to be. It may lack some bite with fast electronic music. I found no nasty peaks or dips. To me, the detail and clarity was eye widening (considering my experience or lack thereof).

 

Mids: 

I was expecting to be impressed. But not blindsided like this. It felt like I had suddenly switched from 192kbps to a vinyl track. The first thing that struck me was how much more life-like it felt. The vocals had a certain texture. Simply put, if that texture was absent, the vocals wouldn't be as immersive. A striking feature was the depth to the vocals (not necessarily to the soundstage). It sounded “wholesome”(male and female alike). I’m finding this very hard to describe but I must persist, because it’s that important. I am able to gauge how much breath and effort the singer is taking. Apart from the core vocals I hear a lot of nuances and details that contribute to that sense of “completion”. This particular feature impressed me the most in this iem. Another thing I noticed is how untouched and unaffected the mids are. No matter how busy rest of the spectrum gets, the mids always come through unadulterated. Like I had a separate pair of ears for the mids. And it seemed like the bass and highs complemented it nicely. Like they were all on the same plane of preference.

 

Bass: 

I will have to divide this segment into two. Initial impressions and Brain-burnt–in impressions.

Initial: Sub-bass was non-existent. Some tracks need that sub-bass to sound right. It adds to the ‘natural, warm’ feeling. Sub-bass is more ‘feeling’ than ‘hearing’. Tracks that had a strong mid-bass component were handled beautifully. I couldn’t believe the detail and how fast it sounded. But I would have liked some more punch. Sadly the mids keep grabbing the spotlight therefore I didn’t get to try many bass heavy tracks.

Brain-burnt in: Sub-bass still non-existent. But I found out at higher listening volumes, that the RE-400 extends pretty deep. I feel the punch in the mid-bass now. And I find the quantity sufficient(not lacking) now. Surprisingly enough, I’m actually enjoying them immensely. I love the attack speed and the detail, even when it gets busy. I want to say “resolving” but I’m not sure if it is the correct term. I’m quite stunned to find myself enjoying this “type” of bass. The initial disappointment only surfaces when I find the sub-bass lacking. ljokerl advised me to try a “narrow” lift of a few dB in the sub-bass. This improves presence without affecting the mid-bass or the mids. The RE-400 is a very capable iem in this respect. The overall tonality has warmed and I’m not disappointed as often. I still find myself wanting a bit more presence but I don’t think EQing it in is the answer. (Perhaps a vent redesign, dampers coupled with a sub-bass lift). Drums sound very natural (except the deepest reaching ones). It’s easy to differentiate between the types of drums. The bass conveys that much detail.

Bottom line: Bass enjoyment is very track subjective. EQing helps because the drivers are capable

 

Other miscellaneous rambling:

The soundstage isn't the widest. The Brainwavz R1 has spoiled me in this regard. But it isn’t congested either. It conveys a good sense of space. Vocals can be very very intimate. And orchestras can be sufficiently spacious. No complaints there. All the music components are clearly positioned and layered without any interference. I believe that is good “imaging”?

 

Like I mentioned before, I sense an overall “completion” in the music. Vocals will have a ‘bass’ component and a ‘lower highs’ component in addition to the core “mid” component. The RE-400 delivers all of it in equal measure (just a tad more in the mids). I have observed that they sound even better at higher volumes (+1/2 dB above normal listening volume).

 

I am curious to as to how the RE-400 will perform when powered by a better source. That will have to wait as I don’t have the resources :(

 

Some have reported good results by using dampers to add a little warmth and presence (even going as far to comparing it to the 400$ RE-600). I will try these mods later on.

 

Conclusion: This iem was meant to be a test, an experiment. My first foray into neutral audiophile territory. And they have surprised me. They have made me second guess my sound sig preference. I know what I want now (until the next revelation). But what I want now is so different from what I wanted, I doubt I’ll ever have such a drastic change of heart.

I expected it to fit a small segment of my music but I’m shocked at the versatility and satisfaction it has given me in most of my music.

 

I have a very non-technical way of knowing when music sounds really good to me. It has nothing to do with genre, mood or content. It depends solely on raw music quality. This happens to me with “certain tracks” that span a wide genre(Examples: Imogen Heap- Let go, Jasmine Thompson - Home, Mick MCauley & Winifred Horan - A Daisy in December, Eminem- Sing for the moment etc). Well….. My eyes well up. Not related to feelings of sadness, happiness etc. My eyes simply leak a lot of tears without warning(freaked me out the first time). Let’s just say, I can’t see through the haze of tears when I have the RE-400 on. It’s only happened with the Fidelio L1, some active speaker I can’t remember, rarely with the Brainwavz R1.

 

The RE-400s have set the bar very high for me. If these had a more sub-bass presence I would have absolutely nothing to complain about. I think finding something much better will be very difficult unless I burn my wallet, so I will now look for an iem to complement (not beat) the RE-400.

 

Credits:

@esantosh for all the advice he’s given me. And for replying to my monotonous PMs.

@Modular@Tom22 for their detailed and comforting words from a very understanding POV.

Big ups to HiFinage for bringing HiFiman to India.

Posted

Pros: smooth sound, good detail retrieval, forward midrange, tight bass, extended smooth highs, excellent imaging and separation, decent soundstage width

Cons: bass a bit soft in punch at times, initial build quality

HiFiMAN RE-400 Waterline - Ultimate Review w/ pictures

 

1)Equipment and cabling

 

a)Headphones

 

HiFiMAN RE-400 Waterline

 

Type: Closed, tiny, in-ear, dynamic driver monitor

Frequency response: 15 - 22.000 Hz

Impedance: 32 Ω (may vary by up to 10%)

Efficiency: 102 dB

Weight: 16 g (with cable)

 

400

 

This was my first in-ear-monitor purchase. Also the very first IEM made by HiFiMAN. Their cheapest headphone yet, priced at 100 USD. How will these compare? They share the general HiFiMAN house sound and neutrality and offerarrow-10x10.png good build quality as well. There is a dedicated RE-400 review below where all will be discussed and compared.

 

b)Amplifiers, Digital to Analog Converters, Preamplifiers and more

 

Fiio X1

 

 

The X1 is an amazing little unit. In fact, that is an understatement. It's been a very long time since last time I was this overwhelmingly impressed by a $100 unit. The UI is excellent. Very intuitive, rather snappy and easy to navigate. Honestly, I was not expecting an in-house developed UI to be this good, but it every bit is, and it also reads all the formats that I've tried without any hiccups, including associated CUE files. The DAC is absolutely stellar, using an impressive Texas-Instruments PCM5142 DAC chip. The amp section is also pretty good, utilizing an Intersil ISL28291 amplifier buffer. The 2.4" TFT display is plenty big and easy to read, providing all the necessary information even in direct sunlight. It is slightly washed but still plenty good for the price. Among other things the player offers a 7-band equalizer [from -6 to +6 each], gapless playback, sleep timer, usable buttons when screen's off or volume limiting. There's no date and time yet though, which I find a bit strange though not all that important.

The build quality is perhaps the most spectacular aspect - holding the unit in your hand boasts confidence and there's good heft to the unit. The X1 features a fully-aluminium body with very tactile buttons and quality that's hard to find on products costing much more. The Fiio also comes with a screen protector and a rubber protective case, along with a charging cable. The battery life is around 12 hours a run, for a 4 hour's full charge.

There's also the line-out function using the headphone jack, which offers the possibility to use just the player's DAC with a more beefy portable amp. Although I already found the X1's amplifier to perform favorably with reasonable headphones from IEMs to full-sized cans.

I am really struggling to find anything to criticize here... Did I mention it was a hundred bucks?! In a long time, I am left with only fuzzy and completely positive feelings, while using the unit feels just as enjoyable. I really don't understand how Fiio did this, but currently I consider the Fiio X1 a jack-of-all-trades and wouldn't hesitate recommending it to anyone looking for a lovely little DAP and as someone coming from the pretty good, very-happy-with and tried-and-proved Sansa Clip+, I think this is some very high praise.

There's more competition on the way, however :)

 

Pros

+ build quality

+ performance

+ User Interface

+ price, price, price!

+ line-out function

 

Cons

- no time & date, slightly washed-out display

 

Overall 9.5/10

 

Fiio E11

 

400

 

A very versatile little amp.

Slightly warmer tonality with smooth highs. Decent instrument separation and soundstage. Ideal for most portable headphones. Fits your pocket nicely. The stockarrow-10x10.png battery lasts about 8 hours.

Packs lots of power. For 60 bucks it is hard to beat. Fully aluminium casing (like all amps here). Has a bass boost switch as well as a low/high gain one. Fiio is getting very popular among audiophiles these days because it offersarrow-10x10.png good quality throughout for the price. The E11 is no exception

 

Pros

+ Small

+ Decent battery life

+ Price

+ Works with most headphones

 

Cons

- Cannot charge while playing

 

Overall 9/10

 

[A/N - The amplifier was not tested with this IEM and this was only meant as an informative review. An amplifier is not needed for these if you already own a decent DAP]

 

c)Cables

 

The RE-400 cable (not removable)

 

400

 

2)Unboxing and accessories

 

 

The RE-400 comes in a rectangular shaped glass-like box. The inside of the box is cut for the individual pieces found inside, that is the headphone, 6 different tips (one comes pre-installed) a clip and that’s about it. The box itself is made from two pieces and these like to fall apart a lot. It doesn’t really hold together well and it really contains only the most basic things. Although they come cheap, a better box would be nice.

 

Update: Now comes with a nice hard-shell carrying case, more ear-tips and even two pairs of foam tips [all reflected in comfort/fit]. Packaging rating improved.

 

Package overall 8.5/10

 

400

 

400

 

3)Design, build quality and comfort

 

a)Design/Build quality

 

I am glad I can say that the build quality of the RE-400 is the best yet of all the HiFiMAN headphones. The headphones look finished and sturdy and could definitely take some abuse. The only issue I had was with the jack of the cable, which snapped, but this was mainly my fault and was briskly replaced with a different jack by my local dealer.

The cable is a bit kinky and likes to get stuck on clothing but is in turn rubberized and of nice quality.

I am definitely happy with the overall feel of these headphones, from top to bottom they feel like a well-made product.

The shells are made of aluminium and feel great in the hand. The cable, on the other hand, ...

 

Update: The [cable's] build quality unfortunately did not hold up to initial expectations. The shells are not to blame, they are made from aluminium and feel very sturdy the cable, however, is a different story. I had the jack break once and the internals of the cable [meaning the thin wires that are underneath the sleeves] are probably significantly damaged. I need to stress that I took very good care of the IEM, but the cable has a will of its own and it coils down all the town, which is probably the culprit of it. Still it is a thing worth mentioning and a nominal design flaw. I'll bump the build quality down by 3. 

 

Update 2: Since my inititial issue many months back, these headphones have been holding rather well, though the cable is still microphonic and tangly... I will boost the build quality up for now, assuming the teething problems have been fixed by now.

 

Build overall 8.5/10 (Build quality 8/10 Design 9/10)

 

400

 

400

 

400

 

b)Comfort

 

Only one of the 4 stockarrow-10x10.png tips fit me. They came preinstalled on the monitors. Changing the tips is not that hard but since I don’t have any other tips available right now, the stocks will have to do. They isolate quite well. Medium insertion seems best for sound quality and comfort, isolation. They fit in nicely so I can wear them for hours, adjusting here and there. I was worried about the fit a little, but everything seems ok. Decent comfort and fit.

 

Update: It now comes with more tips, including a two pairs of foam ones.

With them, the white middle-sized tips [pictures further down] currently offer the best comfort/fit ratio. I want to stress out that fit is really important for the overall balance and bass presence. Luckily, there're many tips included now, so finding the ones that fit shouldn't be a problem anymore.

 

Comfort/Fit overall 9/10

 

White Tips

 

 

 

Stock tips

 

400

 

400

 

4)First and further impressions

 

There wasn’t much burn-in with this IEM so to speak. Back then I still used my trusty Samsung Wave I (S8500). For now, there is no external amplifier to speak of. I am considering one for the future, as I will probably need one for the RE-600, which I’ll be buying (and subsequently reviewing) most likely. Initially, I was really surprised by how good the sound was. The vocals were butter smooth, midrange was full and lush, bass was nicely detailed, slightly lacking in depth and punch, but very nice. Highs were very smooth but still didn’t lack excitement. Soundstage width was great, extending even out of my head slightly. Instrument separation was still top notch like with all other HiFiMAN. I didn’t perceive any burn-in with these, really, other than changing my phone for a Galaxy Ace II.

They certainly didn’t disappoint.

 

First impressions overall 9/10

 

5)Sound

 

Update: I am now using a Sansa Clip+ and the RE-400 are great with it!

Update 2: I've now purchased the Fiio X1 and the RE-400 is simply stupendously great with it. I will change the review scores and corresponding sections slightly to reflect this marked perceived improvement. I am also using a different set of ear-tips, which come with them now [see pictures] and those give me nearly perfect seal. This, coupled with the X1

makes the RE-400 a seriously amazing pair of IEMs for the asking price.

 

 

a)Low-end/bass

 

Pros

+ Tight

+ Lots of detail

+ Non-intrusive

 

Cons

- Can be a bit soft at times

 

Overall 8.5/10 – The low-end of this headphone is pretty good, sounding pretty much tight and punchy, very much in line with the bigger HiFiMAN headphones. As such, it also bears the same relative shortcomings - coming off a bit soft in weight and punch at times, with a bit less oomph than I'd like. But the reward is that the bass always remains tight and in line with the other frequencies, never sounding overbearing but not sounding deficient either. The IEM is certainly potent and depending on the recording it can drop some serious bass, punchy and extended, but still controlled, mind you. Now that I've achieved a proper seal, I don't think the bass is lacking or weak anymore. Instead, it is just the traditional HiFiMAN signature bass I learn to really appreciate.

 

b)Midrange

 

Pros

+ Balanced across

+ Natural and sweet

+ Instruments have their space

+ Pretty great detail retrieval

 

Cons

- None

 

Overall 9.5/10 – I don’t personally take any issues with the midrange. In many aspects, it is like a full-sized HiFiMAN lite. It lacks the ultimate spaciousness and air of the full-sizes, but it still offers an absolutely even instrument reproduction across, with a balanced but still dynamic sound. The midrange is slightly forward, just enough to keep its bite but smooth enough to not be fatiguing and providing hours on end of enjoyment. This is the area where this headphone definitely shines. 

 

c)Vocals

 

Pros

+ Nicely extended

+ Sufficient presence

+ Absolutely non-sibilant

+ Clean

 

Cons

- Lacks some air

 

Overall 9/10 – The vocals work rather well for my tastes. They are present at all times, without ever sounding muted or constrained and still very much smooth and sweet. There is not a massive amount air but there is a enough to make this IEM sound more airy than most sealed headphones. They have a fair amount of extension, but not overly so and this contributes well to the smooth signature of the RE-400. These IEMs are not bright by any means, but they aren't dark either. Still, they play nice with everything I've thrown at them, producing a slightly warmer but still fairly neutral sound.

 

d)Highs/treble

 

Pros

+ Natural

+ No added presence

+ Just enough extension

+ No harsh moments

 

Cons

- Lacks the last bit of extension and air

 

Overall 9/10 – The highs work the same way as the vocals and midrange. They are sufficiently extended with some slight roll-off to prevent them from ever sounding harsh with cymbals for instance but there is enough presence there to carry all the necessary information without overdoing it. Electric guitars never sound edgy either. Together with the rest of the frequencies they offer a smooth, balanced and forgiving experience ideal for traveling or relaxing at home or work. They do many things right without doing any obvious wrongs and as such they are hard to put down.

 

e)Soundstage/Instrument separation/Imaging

 

Pros

+ Great width

+ Stellar instrument separation

+ Smooth and even tonality

+ Plays nice with everything

+ Detailed

 

Cons

- Lacks depth and height

 

Overall 9/10 – As I said, the tonality of the RE-400 is very smooth, while offering great detail retrieval and musicality. Due to the tight bass, I wouldn’t recommend them solely for hip-hop or rap, though they still perform reasonably. These offer just a sibilance-free, engaging but relaxing experience. Basically a toned down full-size HiFiMAN in all aspects with some slight roll-off at both ends. The instrument separation is excellent and the soundstage width is likewise great. Center stage is very coherent and does not exhibit any oddities or unevenness and nor does the rest of the stage. The imaging is likewise excellent. 

 

f)Recordings sensitivity

 

Overall 10/10 – These belong among the more forgiving headphones for sure, and they're probably  the most forgiving “audiophile” headphone I have heard so far. I never had to turn the volume down with these because of harshness or sibilance. The interesting thing is that it still extracts a very fair amount of details and it does it really well without any obvious peaks or recesses, which usually isn’t the case with other headphones. HiFiMAN has managed to master the balancing act with these, offering great detail retrieval with a smooth tonality - something that is very hard to achieve.

 

Overall Sound

 

As such the RE-400 belongs among my favorite headphones - with tight and punchy bass, present mids and smooth and extended highs. Coupled with good detail retrieval, good soundstaging and remarkable imaging and separation, these fit right into my favorite sound signature, with very few minor imperfections that are easily forgivable based on the price/performance ratio these little puppies offer.

 

Sound overall 9/10

 

6)Gaming

 

RE-400  N/A (I wouldn’t consider an IEM for gaming, really. Feel freearrow-10x10.png to give it a try if you want though and report back :})

 

[HE-6 and Pro 900 have been reviewed for gaming, to see the gamesarrow-10x10.png that I've tested and how those did, check their individual reviews on pages 1 & 6]

 

7)Portability

 

The RE-400 would be my top pick for portable headphones. It doesn’t really need any sort of amplifier to sound top notch. The signature also works really well when you want to focus on other things or just relax. Every song works here so you don’t have to worry too much about quality and specific playlists and as such it could very well be your perfect travelling companion.

 

Portability overall 10/10

 

8)Unique trait

 

Smoothness

 

The tonality of the RE-400 is one of smooth nature and rich detail. This tonality is particularly inviting to me because there are not all that many headphones with such traits. There is a bit less highs and vocals presence and bass than with the HE-6, making it similar enough in tonality but different enough in presentation. If you want a totally smooth pair of in-ear monitors this is the right one to choose. The RE-600 should offerarrow-10x10.png similar tonality as well with more body and less roll-off at either end. W will soon find out :)

 

400

 

9)Songs and genres

 

[see HE-6 Ultimate Review, page 1]

 

10)Value

 

This was my very first serious IEM purchase. I was a bit skeptical about just how good such a tiny driverlike this one can sound. I was quickly reminded that at HiFiMAN they simply know what they are doing and how to produce top notch sounding products. Even in direct comparison with full-size offerings, this little fellow muscles up and certainly holds its own ground. It is not as extended or airy or spacious as its higher brethren but the price is much more feasible and honestly, an IEM just cannot sound that way. Still, for just around 100 USD you get a sneak-peak into the HiIFiMAN house sound. The performance was smooth throughout coupled with a highly enjoyable signature straight off your DAP's jack. I've tried an amplifier to see how much difference it would make, and there was none - the X1 just sounds phenomenal with these. As is, this headphone is simply too good to resist at the price point and everyone who is looking for a very decently priced, neutral-warmish IEM to get, you might as well pick this one up. You certainly won’t regret it.

 

Overall value 9.5/10

 

400

 

The joint point

 

400

 

11)Conclusion

 

This is a seriously good IEM, absolutely suitable for portable use. I am not a huge fan of IEM due to their inherent shortcomings [lacks the soundstage of full-sized headphones, etc].

I am one of the few who don't mind carrying around full-sized headphones, provided they are not difficult to amplify well.

Still the RE-400, being a bit of my IEM premiere, did not disappoint me and I sometimes prefer it to full-sized headphones when I want that smooth, detailed yet non-fatiguing sound.

For a hundred bucks, this is a great, great IEM, even though the cable could have definitely been better made, at least initially.

 

RE-400 final score 9/10

 

12)Special thanks: 

 

[See HE-6 Ultimate Review, page 1] 

 

Kindest regards and thanks to anyone reading this. Hope you liked it!

Luke, the reviewer

Posted

Pros: Balanced yet slightly warm and sweet, beautiful and realistic mids, price

Cons: Lack of sub-bass and a tad sparkle, microphonics

After I bought the HD 598s, I was soon looking for a portable set of headphones or IEMs for casual use on the bus or outside. Sure enough, I found the lauded HifiMAN RE-400 to be an interesting option and even with concerns of durability and the possibility that a neutral sound signature wasn't for me, I bit the bullet. Were they worth it? 

 

Comfort, Design and Accessories:

 

I found the RE-400's to be well-designed overall, featuring a rather large plug and a cable comprised of both cloth and rubber. The drivers and the casings surrounding the drivers are rather small, which is a definite plus for portability. They also come with a wide array of tips and a rather convenient little case that can hold some extra tips and the RE-400 itself. I myself found most of the tips uncomfortable and stuck with the smallest tips but with the plethora of choices at hand, one can easily find a fit comfortable for them. To note, the RE-400's can sometimes be annoyingly microphonic at the rubber part of the cable in particular but this can be somewhat avoided by wearing them over the ear.

 

Though I've heard the cases of unpleasant durability, so far that doesn't seem to be true and these seem like they'll last easily for another two years. As far as comfort goes, I find the RE-400 to be satisfactory but not perfect. The fit is fairly comfortable but over time it can get warm and unpleasant in my experience for listening sessions over an hour or two. Perhaps with other tips this can be remedied but I haven't found that to be the case. Isolation for the RE-400's is average for the most part and even with a good fit, much of the background noise around myself is still discernible.

 

 

Sound Quality:

 

Overall, I found the RE-400's to be easily satisfactory for my musical listening purposes. The sound signature of the RE-400's does seem to be neutral and balanced but as many have noted, is also warm and sweet which makes the RE-400's sound detailed yet not analytical.

 

The treble of the IEMs is well-extended and definitely unfatiguing with a small amount of sparkle in the upper regions of frequencies. Drums and cymbals sound detailed and well-presented without being overly detailed and sibilant. However, this can at times sound a bit too smooth and without more sparkle, instruments and electric guitars in particular don't sound completely realistic. (when I hear a violin, I expect to hear some bite on the sustained, higher notes but the RE-400's present them without much harshness)

 

Mids on the IEMs are wonderful, bring very realistic and slightly forward in its presentation. In particular, guitars and vocals sound beautiful and almost immersive with detail to attention in the depth of vocals and string instruments such as violins and cellos. Most impressively, I can hear the breaths of vocals and little footsteps which I hadn't heard before in my music. However, male vocals, though sounding beautiful can come off as a tad dry and not quite as lush as I'd like but at this price point, it's to be expected and so this is a very small concern.

 

Initially, the bass of the RE-400's seemed far too anemic and lacking, especially the sub-bass. I expected this and waited to burn them in for about 50-100 hours before deciding my feelings on the bass. After burning them in and getting used to the sound signature, bass seemed much more present than beforehand and even though I still feel there is a lack of sub-bass, I'm pleased. Bass overall is well extended (perhaps even more than my HD598!) and is tight and fast, which I appreciate.

 

The soundstage on the RE-400's is slightly better than what I expected pretty much at the price point and the design and it does seem reasonably wide and tall enough. Curiously enough, the soundstage seems to be slightly angled. I don't know if I'm imagining this but it really does seem to be angled and it sounds a bit more 3-D than what I expected from these. 

 

In short, the RE-400's sound wonderful with a warm, sweet neutral sound signature and a satisfactory soundstage. Though I have minor problems with the treble, mids and the bass, this is due more to the fact I prefer a slightly more colored presentation and so these are really good all-rounder portable IEMs at this price especially. The RE-400's are great all-rounders but if you are looking for a headphone/IEM that can deal with more electronic and hip hop music of that sort, you're better off looking for something else.

 

Value:

 

To conclude, the RE-400's are most definitely worth the $99 price tag. These don't require an amp but it does benefit a bit from amping if you wish from my own experience. More to the point, these are a great value and it does seem like HifiMAN has made a new waterline for the $99 IEM. Companies will be surely trying for years before they succeed in producing an IEM equal or better to the RE-400's. Right now these are only $99, a price that HifiMAN could've made $199 and costumers would still be satisfied. 

 

What are you doing now? If you've been looking at this, you know what to do. 

 

http://www.amazon.com/HiFiMAN-RE400-HIFIMAN-RE-400-HEADPHONES/dp/B00AWLEAH6/

 

 

As always, I sincerely hope you all have a wonderful day. Happy listening to all you wonderful people out there. ;)

 

 

Albums Used:

 

Belle and Sebastion- If You're Feeling Sinister

Daft Punk- Discovery

Jeff Buckley- Grace

Living Stereo: Bruch Violin Concerto No.1; Scottish Fantasy & Vieuxtemps: Violin Concerto No. 5

Nirvana- In Utero

Radiohead- In Rainbows

Wilco- Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

Posted

Pros: Neutral, good to have, 45 degree plug

Cons: Neutral, could use a bit more bass, Microphonics

Build / Fit

They are much smaller than I expected. The aluminum casing is nothing too special, it looks very clean, and simple. The wires above the split are very thin with a feel like they could break easily if you use then regularly on the go. But, below the split is a very nice cloth cable that leads into a 45 degree plug. The fit seemed very loose, even with the comply tips.

 

Sound

Neutral with a very slight rise in a bass. For the price, even for the $99 MSRP, they are incredible. The detail and sound stage are as good or better than some full sized headphones I've listen to. IMO the bass could use just a bit more impact?, not too much though. The Highs were just great, non-fatiguing, but still held the detail very well. The mids are neutral, nothing sounded too out of place. Again, for the price you can not get better than this. There is a reason why HiFiMan calls them the waterline.

 

Packaging

I guess this is something take into consideration? I thought is was very simple, clean, like the headphones that lay inside. There is a thick plastic sleeve that I thought was neat.

 

Overall

They are fantastic pair of IEMs to keep in your collection, I will be using them when I am too lazy to put on my SE-215s or is a rush. BTW, Microphonics are a thing. I love the RE-400s, but they feel like something was holding them back from being spectacular.

Posted

Pros: tactile balanced sound, good details for price, light and comfortable that looks good as well.

Cons: a little lacking in sub bass.

I have been using RE400 for over few months now. these are rather well known and well documented so I will only put stand out points that I think make it unique.

Build:

Light weight, made out of aluminium. Chord is fabric covered below y splitter. above that its plastic. no microphonics if i wear them from above my ears. Otherwise it can be bothersome. Jack is 45 degree. Overall looks solid and mine is working well without problems.

Comfort and isolation:

Comfort is above average. Isolation is great if I use comply tips, otherwise I think its above average. I do need to insert them a fir bit in my ears to get a good seal, more than other IEMs I have used.

Sound:

Two words that best describe the sound is: Tactile and balanced.

Bass is present and slightly lifted thus gives instruments slightly more realistic feel. Bass is Fairly transparent and conveys what was played well enough. Its fairly tight, though I do find sub bass lacking a bit.

Mids are well balanced with bass. Its not a huge soundstage and mids sound rather intimate. Slightly lush, overall maintain neutrality.

Treble is extended and can be delicate or harsh depending on source, with fair amount of resolution. Again nothing alarming, its not a bright sound to my ears.

Amping: Rather strange in amping department (I guess its common with iems). Sounds best out of my PS Vita, a gaming console, compared to my phone or amp. Detail retrieval drops when used with either compared to my other full size hps, that sound best out of amp.

Value: Overall amazing. I has quiet a lot of hype surrounding it. I do think if you factor everything, comfort, accessories, sound, its very good $100 iem. Taken only in terms of sound, will it beat a $200 hp? I don't think so. But I do think its very competent hp for $100 and a great value.

Posted

Pros: bass decay , speed , details , clarity , instruments separation , top end spark , nice cable .

Cons: some veiling in the mids , bad cable clip , if that is a thing .

 i totally would like to believe that there is no earphone brand as admired as hifiman , at least admired by purists , and the small and cute re-400 is not an exception , its a total value phone and all every penny is best invested .

 yes these phones lack some sub bass and dont hit big like a bass phone cuz its nothing close to it , it is more of a mid centric phone and is as balanced as i wish , now im not a fan of booming bass so i like re-400 more than S5 or ckx-9 , sound stage is good , i like it , good depth but narrow , vocals are a bit veiled thats all i can fault about , instruments are really clear and i love this highs , good energy and good extension , sonically these are awesome and extension in the top end is exceptional .

 i love it as much as my er-4p , and i think if re-400 were to grow up , it would have become an er-4p .

 

 a brainwavz S5 comparison can be found here . similarly priced but far more different in other things .

http://www.head-fi.org/products/brainwavz-s5-in-ear-headphones/reviews/11371

Posted

Pros: very detailed warm neutral sound which is fun to listen to!

Cons: bass (I know its neutral and I shouldn't have high expectations for it :))

Arrived in a very elegant package, this "waterline" labeled RE-400 model looked very sharp. Just like with HM700/RE-400B, a lot of attention was paid to presentation of the product to the point where they actually had to include the storage hard zippered case with extra eartips in a separate bag so it doesn't interfere with a slim profile of the original RE-400 package. The headphones were sitting inside of a felt lined foam insert with cutouts for extra eartips. Furthermore, more eartips were included with a storage case. When it comes to accessories, HiFiMAN never disappoints. In addition to headphones and storage case, they included 3 pairs of bi-flange eartips, 2 pairs of smaller black silicon tips, 3 custom shape clear silicone tips, 2 pairs of T-400 Comply premium foam tips (large and medium size), 5 pairs of filters, and a shirt clip. Though I can tell you ahead these headphones sound amazing, the right selection of eartips is VERY important to bring out the best in sound and isolation. I have a rather large ear canal and always use the largest included tip, where the custom shaped clear one provided the best passive noise isolation I ever experienced with any of in-ears.

The first thing you notice when you take these headphones out - how super lightweight and compact they are. The barrel of these earpieces is made out of lightweight aluminum material and has a great ergonomics to fit comfortably inside of your ear. The barrel opening is covered by a cloth material filter (5 replacement pairs included), and right next to the strain relief there is a pinhole port for sound shaping. Followed by a decent strain relief the cables use a durable shiny rubber coating up until the y-splitter. Included chin slider moves very smoothly and made out of the same aluminum material. After y-splitter, the cable has a "shoe lace" type of cloth material cover which is still very durable and doesn't have that annoying springy effect found with so many other cables. The cable is terminated by a gold plated 3.5mm angled connector with a flexible strain relief. I also noticed microphonics effect was down to minimum.

When it comes to sound quality, RE-400 delivers amazing results! This single dynamic driver in-ear really focuses to deliver a neutral transparent sound but unlike other neutral headphones that sound lifeless - these are very smooth and warm. The sound is not in your face, it's a few steps back, but it sounds very natural without any artificial enhancement. The characteristics that surprised me the most was the low end where neutral headphones usually try hard to show details but lack the extension. Here, you still get a very detailed bass sound without any humps, but it actually extends beyond mid-bass punch down to some sub-bass texture. It's not enhanced or boosted, just perfect to enjoy your low frequencies, well controlled without spilling into mids. I found bass to be not as fast in comparison to my other headphones, but it's very well rounded and full. Mids are very detailed, clear, maybe a bit forward but not too much. The vocals sound very natural and lush. High frequency (treble) is extended, detailed, bright but not harsh and without any hint of sibilance. Upper mids/treble is very well controlled and just perfect for extended listening period without ear fatigue. The soundstage is average, not too wide which was definitely a step back from RE-400B balanced version that had an amazing 3D width. But this is in-line with other similar IEMs, while balanced wiring/architecture is intended to widen the sound. The headphones were really easy to drive from my phone and X5, but I did notice I had to dial in a higher volume level to enjoy them more.

Overall, I knew that I will not be disappointed with RE-400, and my testing just solidified that! No matter what genre of music you are listening to, these headphones will guarantee to bring out the best in every song. The sound has just a perfect balance of neutral natural tones without going into any extreme. Perhaps if you are a basshead craving for a more bass impact or need an analytical bright set of headphones - these might not be your cup of tea. But as all around headphones that sounds and looks great, and has a very reasonable pricing in comparison to other single and multi-driver IEMs in the sound sound category - these deserve a serious consideration.
 

Here are the pictures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted

Pros: Cost, impedance, accessories...HiFIMan sound

Cons: I like the fit of my old RE-262 better

I got these as a backup to my RE-262.  I wanted something I could run without an amp.  The 400 provides that refined HiFiMan sound I have come to admire.  The 400 absolutely squares up with my 262 when amped, but I really got them so I could run lighter (just a dap), they totally impress in this regard.

I think I may be the only one that really liked the twist-to-lock fit of the 262, they just work perfectly for me.  Moving around I loose the seal on the 400 a bit too easily, but there was a generous helping of tips to play with including comply which I have never tried.  I am quickly becoming a comply convert.

 

Phone + amp + dap too much for your pockets?  Need to simplify?  this may be the solution.  It works for me, I don't mind leaving the amp behind any more.  The RE-400 fills the void until I can plug into a full size rig. 

For a Benjamin the cost to quality balance on these is stone solid.  They look great, sound great, and anything can play them.  Build quality looks like a nice step up from previous generations of HiFiMan portable gear too.

 

A word of caution:

While any flea-powered source can drive these, this is a high quality IEM, they will reveal how horrible music sounds on your phone...regardless of encoding, regardless of make.  You can listen to your phone with the RE-400, but to hear them you still need a decent dap (sansa clip is disposable at $40 and still sounds about 1000x better than your phone...ok, maybe 100x better than the htc one).

Posted

Pros: Sound, Sound, Sound, Comfort, Isolation

Full review here: http://www.head-fi.org/t/666851/review-hifiman-re-400-waterline-the-next-step

Sound:

The RE-400 is quite easy to drive, but not the easiest. Better than the 64ohm RE-0, but like other 32ohm phones I owned, these need some extra volume to sound better and a bit more to shine. No amping is needed, though.

 

The new RE-400 is not just an improvement in design, fit and isolation but especially in sound.

The overall sound is neutral with a small added amount of warmth, which gives a fuller sound and better balance through the whole frequencies. Nothing is overpowered, nothing is missing.

 

Starting from the low-end.

These are NOT for bassheads or for anyone looking for an explosive, earth shattering Bass. But what the new Hifiman offer is a much fuller low end from mid-bass to sub-bass that the previous models were really lacking. While they lack in impact, they still manage to give quite a rumble.

As for the bass quality, it's what you'd expect from Hifiman, SUPERB. Quick, very tight and accurate. You can hear (and feel) every beat, every punch and every kick. Just amazing. Quite fast, but still not the fastest. The ATH-CKN70, for example, showed a much higher speed (well, those aren't just a simple dynamic driver earphones).

 

Jumping to the high-end. Treble has a good extension with some extra brightness, but remains smooth and non-fatiguing even at a higher volume. While it may not have the 'endless' extension as the RE-0 (it may be closer to the ZERO), it is full, energetic. There's a lot of micro detail as well, not unlike as its predecessors. 

 

And, finally, the midrange. Now, this might be the best part of the RE-400. Just BEAUTIFUL! As simple as that.

As stated before the whole sound is very neutral, but the mids are sweet and just slightly forward, but not thick enough to fall in the mid-centered group. Everything sounds very natural, detailed, transparent and open. Nothing recessed or missing, but the opposite, immersive and addictive. So effortless!

When it comes to more complex music, the RE-400 handles everything with ease, rivaling, and even beating, some good Balanced Armature IEMs.

 

Vocals need a special mention here as they're even a bit more forward than the rest of the sound. Also, vocals need a bit more time to 'break-in', as they can sound a bit weird (unnatural) and not well-positioned at first. After that, they sound as great as vocals can sound. Every word, every letter can be heard, be it with male or female, main singers or backgrounds.

 

Soundstage is not too wide, deep or high, but the whole sound has a fair 3D effect.

 

 

EXTRA:

As I wrote above, I found the small bi-flanges to provide the best sound out of the RE-400, so everything up to now is based on that setup.

Now, I'd like to mention some differences noticed when using the Big Bi-flanges.

When switching to the larger, wider bore tips the sound change as well.

On the whole, the sound remains similar, which is open and detailed, but the presentation is a bit different. The bass has some bigger and deeper impact, but is also not as tight as before. The highs are brighter and extend even further.

But what suffers the more is the midrange, sounding less forward and less sweet, but on the whole is has a better balance.

 

[And for those who find the stock big tips too big, some aftermarket eartips can give a similar effect]

 

In either configuration the RE-400 is very versatile when it comes to music genres. They don't excel in something particular, but don't lack either.

Still, those who listen to electronic, EDM, trance/techno and similar music may want to look somewhere else.

 

In short, one of the best All-arounder IEM, very detailed (but not analytical), airy, well layered, immersive and engaging sound.

Posted

Pros: Sensible and comfortable design, balanced sound quality, fantastic value

Cons: Overly large plug, sparse included accessory selection

Along with the summary below, I have posted a Youtube video review of the RE-400. If you like the video, check out my channel for more reviews :)

 

 

Summary

 

BUILD

 

The RE-400 has a sensible, well thought out design. Of special note is the half-rubber / fabric cord which cuts down on microphonics. The RE-400 is comfortable to wear with cable up and the metal earpieces seem quite durable. However I find the plug to be overly large and can be difficult to accomodate in some pockets. The included accessory selection is quite poor, with only a few tip sizes included. Unfortunately I could not get a good seal with any of the tips and ended up using Sony hybrids, so please bear this in mind when reading the following sound impressions.

 

SOUND

 

The RE-400 has a neutral, smooth sound with perhaps a slight emphasis on the lower mid-bass, though this is certainly no bass head earphone. Everything is very tight, very fast and this is truly an amazing performer - not even considering the price at this point. Soundstage is not immediately very wide however, and people after something with a wider soundstage should perhaps look at the Sony MDR 7550.

 

Overall

 

I think despite the small issues I have with the RE-400, it offers absolutely stunning value at the $99 price point and really lays down a challenge to other manufacturers. As a neutral IEM the RE-400 stands shoulder to shoulder with other good dynamic options like the VSonic GR07 and Sony 7550, and does it at a lower price and better ergonomics. I absolutely applaud HiFiMan for the sharp pricing on the RE-400 and would heartily recommend it to almost anyone.

HiFiMAN RE-400
Description:

The RE-400 Waterline by HiFiMAN is a premium quality, high-performance In-Ear Monitor (IEM) that sets the standard for others to follow. Featuring advanced ergonomics for superb fit, and premium materials such as Titanium Diapharagm, Neodymium magnet and OFC Copper cabling, RE-400 represents best-in-class performance and comfort.

Details:
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Models:
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC
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