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HiFiMAN RE-600

100% Positive Reviews
Rated #96 in In-Ear

Posted

Pros: Exceptional sound quality, Incredibly versatile, Very comfortable, Large number of accessories,

Cons: Expensive, Might not be airy enough for some, The RE-400 exists

HiFiMan RE-600 17

 

Thanks to the folks at HiFiMan for sending me a sample of their latest IEM to review.

 

Well, let’s get right to it. This is HiFiMan’s in ear monitor flagship, the RE-600 “Songbird”. Replacing the previous flagships, the RE-262 and RE-272, the RE-600 has some big shoes to fill, and with a $399 price tag attached, higher than either of its predecessors, it’s certainly got its work cut out for it. So, does the RE-600 live up to its lofty expectations and earn its keep? Read on to find out.

 

Packaging

I’ve been skipping this part of my reviews for a while as the packaging is rarely exceptional or interesting enough to warrant a mention but in this case, I’ll make an exception.

 

I mean, just look at it.

 

HiFiMan RE-600 1

 

It’s not the most practical design but it works well and its leather design is certainly distinctive and unique against the standard array of packaging one tends to see on a store’s shelves. It’s a very classy and luxurious design that makes a lasting impression. That said, it’s not the best packaging I’ve ever seen, and that honor still belongs to the Monster Miles Davis Tributes but it’s a pretty close second.

Accessories

The RE-600 ships with an array of interesting and different tips, some of which I’ve never seen before. Of course, the new small biflanges make a return appearance and HiFiMan includes three pairs of them alongside two pairs of the filtered single flange tips, a set of large single flange clear tips, a large set of long single flange tips, similar to those included with the MEElectronics M11P+, two sets of HiFiMan large biflanges, a strange set of large single flanges that are certainly unique and interestingly enough, two sets of Comply foam tips in two sizes.

 

Also included are a set of 10 replacement filters, a white rubbery cable winder, a TRRS to TRS adapter, manuals and (finally), a clamshell carrying case.

 

HiFiMan RE-600 20

Design and Build Quality

The RE-600 housings are identical in shape to those of the RE-400 with their metal build and small form factor. While the RE-400 went for a simple silver look for its housings, the RE-600 steps it up with a more luxurious piano black finish. The cable is similar to that of the RE-400, featuring plasticky but surprisingly thick cables above the y-split and a cable sheathed in nylon below, terminating in a balanced TRRS straight connector. This type of balanced connector design has been seen on older HiFiMan earphones, including the RE-ZERO, RE-262 and RE-272 and are officially supported by HiFiMan’s own digital audio players and balanced amplifiers with the appropriate adapters. For those of us without balanced amplifiers or sources, a short adapter is included to make the RE-600 compatible with standard 3.5mm jacks.

Comfort

Identical to the RE-400 in this regard.

 

Being fairly small straight barrel dynamics, isolation is about average but long term comfort was quite good. The RE-600 is annoyingly prone to microphonic cable noise but this issue can be lessened (for the most part) by wearing them over the ear.

Isolation

These isolate decently well for vented dynamic driver IEMs.

 

HiFiMan RE-600 10

Sound Quality

Burn in: These were burned in for over 300 hours. No significant changes were detected.

 

Bass on the RE-600 is very impressive in that it is tactile, taut, and carries just the right amount of body and speed to sound, above all, natural. Quantity wise, it’s about in line with the RE-400, meaning neutral and far from being excessively emphasized or lacking in any way. The RE-600 has a hair more bass than the 400 but only that much but it goes without saying that the RE-600 renders bass better with its better texture and detail.

 

The midrange reminds me a bit of the RE-262, albeit not as liquid in its presentation. The RE-600 is very slightly drier and just as detailed, if not more so. It doesn’t command the listener’s attention in the same way the RE-262 does but I can’t imagine anyone will be disappointed. Detailing is exceptional and note thickness and tone are just right. The presentation is mostly centered on the midrange and because of it, creates one of the most involving IEMs I’ve heard yet.

 

The RE-600 presents what is very likely the most beautiful and realistic soundscape I’ve ever heard in an IEM, and I say that with not a hint of hyperbole or exaggeration. The RE-600 just sounds…beautiful, with everything I’ve tested it with. It works as well with Hip-Hop as it does with Jazz. As well with EDM as it does R&B. This has a sound I can’t imagine too many people disliking or finding much fault with. Like the RE-400, the RE-600 just sounds effortless. Complex passages are handled with ease and notes are presented with grace.

 

HiFiMan RE-600 14

 

Its versatility is perhaps the most interesting aspect of the IEM. It works with everything. Seriously. I’ve not encountered one genre that the RE-600 can’t present in a way that stands above other IEMs I’ve heard. Its presentation is just that nuanced and impressively layered with just the right amount of treble emphasis and overall sparkle and clarity that I like in an earphone. I know this review is sounding a lot like a bunch of audiophile hyperbole but it’s all deserved hyperbole, if nothing else. The RE-600 just sounds that good.

 

Compared to its stable mate, the RE-400, the RE-600 is less bright and more mid-centric. Both of the earphones perform similarly in the low regions, with the RE-600 having just a hair more extension at the lowest end and thus, a slightly more visceral sub bass punch but we’re talking very minor differences that are really only apparent when comparing the two side by side in rapid succession.

 

The midrange sweet spot the RE-600 hits in its presentation is unmatched by the RE-400 and makes its sibling sound slightly unrefined and a touch grittier in comparison. Considering that the RE-400 is one of the more refined earphones I’ve heard, that’s saying something.

 

HiFiMan RE-600 18

Conclusion

Now here’s the million dollar question, or rather, the $400 question. Are they worth HiFiMan’s $400 asking price? I think so. This is the most expensive and overall best earphone I’ve ever tested and its sound is unlike any other earphone I’ve heard. So, why aren’t I tripping over myself to recommend them? Because, like every other hobby out there, earphones also conform to the principle of diminishing returns. The RE-600 is certainly a good buy at $400 in my eyes but that doesn’t mean I think it’s four times the earphone as its sibling, the RE-400 for example. Far from it, actually. Of the two, the RE-600 is without question the superior earphone, but the improvements are more subtle than one would expect, especially given the price difference.

 

So the RE-600 finds itself in a difficult position purely because of its sibling’s pedigree. HiFiMan created an earphone in the RE-400 that’s so good at $100 that it makes more expensive earphones harder to justify, especially to an audiophile on a budget such as myself. But I digress.

 

The RE-600 is an earphone that sounds exceptional to my ears. There’s not another earphone in my collection that’s quite as detailed or as versatile with the various genres I listen to. And that’s what makes the RE-600 so special to me, its versatility. It reminds me of my Sennheiser HD 600 in a number of ways including its versatile nature and sound. So, yes, I think many discerning audiophiles will find the RE-600 to be worthy of its extravagant price but be sure to temper your expectations accordingly.

 

Re-posted from my site - Musical Musings

Posted

Pros: Sound quality, its practically perfection.

Cons: Rather flavoured and if you want this quality you have to pay for i

HiFiMAN RE-600 Quick Review

 

Thanks to Head Direct for the sample.

 

Full review at http://www.head-fi.org/t/678638/hifiman-re-600-review

 

Brief:  HiFiMAN’s finest IEM to date.

 

Price:  US$400 so about £255 or £302 if HMRC spot it

 

Specification:  3.5mm mini plug, Mini adapter for regular earphone jack, Frequency Response: 15Hz-22KHz, Impedance: 16 Ohms, Sensitivity: 102 dB/mW, Weight: 0.48Oz (13.7g)

 

Accessories:  13 pairs of tips, 10 filters, balanced to normal adapter, cable wrappy thing and a little case.

 

Build Quality:  The best so far for HiFiMAN, the cable is supposedly all Kevlar coated and what not.  Still it’s a bit stiff for my liking.  The woven outer is nice to the touch but overall this doesn’t scream awesome build quality, its very ordinary visually.

 

Isolation:  For a dynamic very good.  Rather better than its predecessors too.  Still it’s not up there with the BA stuff but this I’d be relatively happy with a short flight.  Naturally more than enough for typical usage and to get yourself run over if you aren’t used to looking where you’re going.

 

Comfort/Fit:  Excellent.  This was one area where HiFiMAN had issues previously.  The 252 in particular was a nightmare for fit but the 600 has gone back to an old fashioned straight in the ear design.  Yey!  Just stuck in ears and that was it.

 

Aesthetics:  These in comparison to the 400 look fancy but compared to other things out there these look very pedestrian.  Not unattractive by any means but these don’t make me have much of an opinion on the matter.  They are glossy black.

 

Sound:  This is the bit where HiFiMAN stuff tends to shine and here is no different.  The 600 is possibly the best IEM I’ve ever heard.  It does everything exquisitely.  Everything thing on it is tremendously good.  The bass is spacious, offers scale and power yet fabulous clarity and agility.  It rather shows up what other high enders can do as this is a dynamic and that oft make bass more vigorous low down.  The quality is so outstanding and yet it can dial up enough to really power a bass line when its called for.  Then the mids, well they are like an improved 262 and they were about the best mids in existence already.  Here they are a little warm and a little liquid over perfectly neutral but by Christ they sound good.  They are so phenomenally enjoyable, even more enjoyable than they are technically proficient.  They are masterfully brilliant.  The highs too are staggeringly good.  They don’t appear in the abundance some may like but the clarity, detail and ability to that most difficult of things, produce a natural decay, is first rate.  Again of the high enders which are normally BA, it’s just not something a BA driver does well.  I’ve never thought a BA driver can ever truly do that shimmery decay of a cymbal perfectly in the way an excellent dynamic can.  It’s amazingly good stuff.  The downs now, the bass is rather bigger than neutral so purists may not be pleased but also it’s no IE8 to please bass heads.  The mids like all the best middy IEM’s out there are a bit over beautified and not strictly neutrally accurate.  The highs which may be stunningly good but haven’t the abundance some want and they are not so in your face apparent.  The 272 sounds immediately hyper detailed because it’s so much brighter.  Treble heads will crave greater abundance.

 

Other things, its soundscape is tremendous for an IEM. Its dynamic capabilities are outstanding.  Its detail levels are such that despite being a relatively friendly sound sig to poor recordings and sources are so high that if you feed it cack it will let you know.  So no 128k mp3’s!

 

Value:  Debateable.  Is any IEM really worth US$400?  Actually its biggest obstacle is its sibling the RE-400.  Side by side the 600 may smash it but the 400 is super good and super cheap.  Still if you want one of the best sounding IEM’s money can buy then arguably “value” doesn’t really matter anyway. 

 

Pro’s:   Sound quality, its practically perfection.

 

Con’s:  Rather flavoured and if you want this quality you have to pay for it.

Posted

Pros: Flat frequency respose, not agressive, detailed and natural sounding.

Cons: Not enough deep bass and air. Fancy package not useful.

I bought the S version that has standard 3.5mm TRS unbalanced plug. I didn't want to use the balanced-to-unbalanced adaptor that comes with the non-S version because my players would not have balanced output I thought it was a problem less and avoids more connectors deteriorating the signal path.

 

First impression when receiving the box is that it is fancy looking with leather and mirror, but on second thought not very practical. Stored the box and will never look at it again, so what for? I would rather save ~$50 off the price. Comes with various tips and I used the one that came pre-installed (small bi-flange), which suits me fine. Also the tips come in the box within holes in a hard foam and is hard to take them off these holes.

 

Confort is excellent since it is so small. Isolation is also quite good. Build quality of the cable and the phones is very good, although I am a little worried with the connection of the cable to the phone since there have been complaints that it is very fragile. I am definitively going to take good care and always remove by pulling the phone out of the ear instead of pulling from the cable (the manual says that too).

 

Sound quality is very good. Initial impression of the signature is the same as long term: the tonality is even and flat, although there is not much deep bass or airy highs. I feel a slow roll-off in the sub-bass, and a fast roll-off in the treble. I am not a "bass head" or used to "V curve sound" but still. This creates a more mid-bass to mid-highs extremely flat response which is somewhat more intimate to listen to. Definitively won't play well energic pop and electronic modern music. The resolution is very high, nice textures and details. The soundstage is very well presented and wide. I found low sibilance in the highs even in recordings that I know they are a little on the hot side, which is a consequence of the somewhat rolled-off highs.

 

So overall very good and I recommend it!

 

Posted

Pros: Great dynamics, punchy, very good bass, good midrange, smooth highs

Cons: too much energy in high mids !

Amp: Metric Halo ULN-8

 

compared with my Sennheiser HD800 and Ultrasone ED10 (the re600 really can be compared with some good full size headphones),

the RE-600 is not that revealing in the midrange and not that fast,

but still rich and punchy with clear midrange.

 

Stage:

HD800 has very good stage reproduction. (yes we all know that)

But when you listen to big orchestra (like Mahler, Wagner) you hear an exaggerated

instrument separation and a huge (... again exaggerated) room (not a fair comparison but : compared with my studio monitors PSI A21-m)

 

ED10 is for me the best in this department.

But RE-600 is also 3D! Stage is not big, but is there.

 

RE-600 has great Bass. I like it very much. i would say linear. not overemphasizing anything. 

Midrange : is not extremely detailed, but still there. I like it. you hear almost anything you need to hear when enjoying music.

Highs: are smooth. The smooth highs "could" be the reason that the RE-600 is a little slow.

ED10 has too much highs.

HD800 is bright, but is OKAY for me. I use it as a "tool".

 

High Mids : was annoying me. too much energy there. around 1.5-1.8khz maybe?

HiFiMAN RE-600
Description:

HiFiMAN's new flagship IEM.

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