Pros: Bass Done Right
Cons: Tricky Fit, A Smidge Mid-Heavy
The HiFiMAN RE-272 are the best sounding pair of non-customs I've put in my ear. Period.
I wanted to try a pair after reading favorable reviews around these parts, and I'm glad I made the journey.
The bass is slightly accented without overdriving. The high end detail doesn't suffer at all. It's a bit of a closed in sound-- but these are full range earbuds. They have good detail and they're decent at delivering transients.
My main pair of buds are UERMs, and the supreme balance and detail put them in a much higher class (both in sound and price). But I'd say if you're looking for great sound in a universal fit earbud, look no further.
On my ears, these need to be pushed in deep. They don't image well if they are not firmly seated in the ear canal. The bass is totally lackluster until you really get them in there. Once in place, the sound is just terrific, but know that it can take some effort.
Though the shells are constructed well, the cables look like they might not withstand much abuse.
My closest earbud by comparison is the Sennheiser IE6. The RE's surpass the IE6 in almost every area save midrange. The RE's have a deeper bottom end, better tonal balance, and allow more transient detail than the IE6.
There is a slight mid range spike which isn't apparent until you put them up against other headphones, but if I dial the mids down a bit with EQ, the issue is quickly resolved.
Put up against the Beats Tour (which I genuinely enjoy) the bass is much looser and more prominent on the Beats, as you might expect, and the RE's best the Beats fall at the upper end too. The bess is tight on the RE's but not diminished at all. However the Beats Tour are much more comfortable to wear, and you don't have to shove them in very far to get optimum sound.
HiFiMAN delivers these in a nifty box, with a bunch of extras.
I'll be hanging onto these-- and unloading my Sennheiser IE6's (another pair which have to be jammed in to work). At a cost nearly identical to the IE6, the RE-272 is a better sounding headphone and a better deal.