^ Triple.fi10 pro, RE1 and RE2.
^ RE1 with the special bi-flanges.
^ Yes, gold is the way to go.
^ The slightly heavy extension cable, same as the one with RE2.
Package & Build Quality
As like the RE2, the RE1 I got is just sample package with limited accessories. However, this time Fang did include the special bi-flanges missing from my RE2 package.
The basic build quality/ design is equal to that of RE2 (see RE2 review for more detail), except RE1 spots a golden finish instead of the RE2's silver finish. I am not sure whether it is really gold plated or not, but it does look higher in class when compare to RE2. Like RE2, the only complaint I have is the rather short main cable. It would be great if we can get 120cm on it instead of 100cm.
One of the most significant difference b/w RE1 and RE2 is, RE2's impedance is 32ohms but RE1 is 150ohms - with that saying, yes, RE1 really shine when paired with amp (more on this later).
Also equal to RE2, which is roughly 20~23dB of noise reduction on the special bi-flanges. Although not as highly isolated as many other IEMs, RE1 is more than adequate for use on busy street. Like the RE2, the new Comply T400 will also fit on RE1 and give even better isolation.
Same as my review of RE2, my rig consists of Sony D-EJ1000 PCDP to Firestone Audio Little Country amp (tweaked for maximize detail/soundstage) via line-out. IEMs of choice for A/Bing are iM716 (original), SA6 (B+ and T++ ports), and the addition of my newly acquired Triple.fi 10 pro. RE1 has been burn-in for around 35hrs via different genre of music so far. I don't think extra burn-in time will significantly change the SQ, so I decided 35hrs is good enough.
Robbie Williams’s Have You Met Miss Jones? from album ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary: Music From The Motion Picture’
Sara Bareilles’s Bottle It Up from album ‘Little Voice’
Like last time, iM716 give great detail, but lack in mid-bass and soundtage.
SA6 is harsher on treble but give great detail as iM716. Mid and bass is warm and present with a pretty good soundstage.
TF10 too shows great detail, but sound a lot smoother than SA6. It also have a fuller body but the bass is slightly less punchy / tight as SA6. Great soundstage and instruments separation with a sense of airiness to it
RE1 also has a very full sounding body. Although pretty detail, the treble is definitely recessed in comparison to TF10. Great soundstage, just a tad less than TF10. Instrument separation not as good as TF10 but it does sound smoother. Bass is slightly punchier than TF10, almost close to that of SA6.
Diana Krall’s Isn’t This a Lovely Day from album ‘From This Moment On’
iM716 perform better with this song, especially on bring out the detail. Female 's vocal definitely is better on iM716 than male's.
SA6 becomes a bit too harsh on treble on this song.
TF10 doesn't sound as detail as iM716, but more than enough and not as fatiguing.
RE1 doesn't sound as full and clear as TF10 on this song (perhaps it is the lack lack of spark) , but everything else is almost as good.
Sara Bareilles’s Bottle It Up from album ‘Little Voice’ [Ampless, headphone out from iriver clix (warm), wma vbr on second highest setting]
Again, iM716 is quite airy, presenting the instrument perfectly on the background.
SA6 is just as detail, but with a warmer, more Diana like mid-bass. Has a slight airiness to it's sound.
TF10 is smoother than SA on treble, but also has a warm tone to its mid-bass. Fuller body than SA6 but not as punchy on bass. Vocal is more refined and detail. The best performance out of the four.
RE1 doesn't sound as warm as SA6 or TF10. It also doesn't sound as detail as SA6 but with a fuller body. However, there seems to be more emphasis on mid-high than on mid-bass, and make me a bit wanting.
Neither iM716 nor SA6 perform very well on this setting (reason see RE2 review). In comparison, I can easily notice all the missing note / artifacts from the lossy music file with TF10, even though the music still sound pretty good overall. Re1 isn't as picky as TF10, but more power demanding. Turning up the volume and RE1 sounds absolutely the best out of the four.
If RE2 is like Yuin PK3, which sounds pretty good with most unamped DAP, than I guess RE1 is like PK1, which sounds very good unamped and fabulously great amped. It has no doubt a very high impedance, but you should be able to use it unamped, just not as good as when you amped it.
Out of the three I compare it to, I find RE1 (when amped) to be almost as good as TF10, out performing SA6 in general and smoking iM716 with out a doubt. Even when use with out an amp, RE1 is still as good, if not better than my SA6 (just not as detail) - plus it is very forgiving, so you can pair it with most of any source, especially with lossy music. However, a brighter source will be more suitable as RE1 seems to be a bit recessed on treble.
Overall, I think RE1 will prove to be a worthy competitor on the current top end universal IEMs' world. It certainly has impressed me
[UPDATE] I didn't keep track of the hours I put on RE1, but I am quite certain that I should at least have double or triple the original burn-in time now. I can't really tell if the burn-in affect the treble or not. If it does, the effect is somewhat subtle as I still have the same overall impression I have before.
Head-Direct now has RE1 on group buy for $150, and this time it comes with a case, maybe leather but I can't really tell what material it is from the blurry picture of Head-Direct's website. As my original opinion stated, RE1 is really a great pair of IEM and those of you who are interested should grab it before the group buy is over.