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RE0 rivals ER-4S, beats E500 and ER-4P - Page 3

post #31 of 112
Originally Posted by kostalex View Post
Well, I understand your opinion. I do not understand its foundations.
Don't be taken aback. Head-Fi have a long tradition of people disagreeing at another's opinion - for various reasons. Personally I am impressed with your guts. Keep it coming.
post #32 of 112
Originally Posted by what? View Post
oxymoron 1 credibility 0?
Those terms do not necessary contradict each others. Unless you have heard both and want to share your disagreement, I don't think you are qualified to make that kind of statement.
post #33 of 112
Good review. You hit upon a lot of the key points of the RE0.

Fang hit two balls out of the park with this one:
1) frequency response balance for an even sound and neutral(a hair warm) tonality
2) breadth of frequency response, digging both very deep and very high in the frequency response range. It is a true wide band driver.

I have yet to listen to another headphone that's done better in either of these aspects.

A couple misses on his part(partially personal preference)
1) the slightly dark/veiled presence
2) lack of weight and articulation of note give it a slightly "small" sound
3) wideband driver sound, a jack of all trades but a master of none. (although the feat he pulled off is very admirable and a good iteration of the breadth that one driver can do)

The RE0 is comprehensively a good earphone.
post #34 of 112
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by mvw2 View Post
... A couple misses on his part(partially personal preference)
1) the slightly dark/veiled presence
2) lack of weight and articulation of note give it a slightly "small" sound
3) wideband driver sound, a jack of all trades but a master of none.
I agree with this when you use stock single flanges. I tried RE0 with them at Round 2 and it was only 3rd on SQ. I thought that the problem were in source exclusively. I was wrong, tips also matter so much.

Later I tried RE0 with stock bi-flanges and sound changed dramatically even comparing to UE tips. I did not notice this huge difference before, probably it took time to accomodate myself to RE0 sound. With bi-flanges bass is stronger and deeper, highs are empasized and sparkling, whole sound is faster, tighter, more aggressive with better details. No more lack in soundstage width when driven by iPod directly. No more laid back sound when driven by Clip, it is full of energy. It is like a different earphone now.

But all these benefits eliminate neutrality and transparency. RE0 does has a character of its own with bi-flanges. Sounds signature gets much closer to Ety, like ER-4P plus stronger bass. There fun, drive and energy appear, like those of Grado and DT990. RE0 plays rocks well now. But there is no more flat response, it is definitely V-shaped. RE own character comes to the front row now, and it is not easy to discern the sources behind it.

I tried RE0 with hard custom pink tips also - see them on Shure in OP. Another sound again, very-very same to D2000. Narrow inner hole supressed extra brightness (comparing to bi-flanges), while deep fit and stiff material develop deep, weighty and fast bass.

I like this variability indeed. It is like to have very different earphones by simply changing the tips. RE0 responds to the tips changes much more than Ety. So it is possible to tune the sound right to my personal tastes by careful choice of custom tips.

I'm thinking on two things now:
  • to revise the rankings
  • to retire ER-4S to the benefit of RE0
post #35 of 112
Changing ear tips does in fact make an enormous difference in how an earphone sounds. Depending on the tips I use with my HF5s, they can be remarkably bassy and warm (Shure gray flex-sleeves or DIY foams from earplugs) or sharp, cold and sterile (stock tri-flanges).

Stock foams and olives leave them with a happy balance between the two extremes.
post #36 of 112
Thread Starter 
Added to the end of the OP

Update 01/31/09 - Multiple voices of RE0 with different tips

Every IEMs sound I heard depends on tip used. RE0 turns to be among the most dependent and I really appreciate this. It is more dependable on tips than Etymotic by comparison. I tried every different configuration of SleekAudio SA6 and I may say that RE0 is even more variable.

Changing the tips, I was able to move it from relaxed background player to the true rocker earphone full of energy and fun. And I was able also to select interim sound signatures between those extremes.

Sound varies on listener ears as well as on the tips. Thus I can not recommend you the best tip overall or proper tip for some genres. Instead I recommend you to try as many tips as possible. This lets you to have 2 or 3 of different sound signatures with single RE0.

As for me, I was lucky to discover 3 sound modes of RE0:
  • Hi-Fi – see tips #1 or #4 below
  • Rock – see tips #2 or #3 below
  • Background – see #8 below

Let me to share some of my experience with the tips. There are the tips properties which affect the sound in order of importance:
  1. Depth - it determines how much of air volume will be pumped by driver. Deeper tips produce faster sound with better dynamics.
  2. Inner tube diameter - narrow tubes soften the highs, hide the details and vice versa.
  3. Stiffness - softer tips soften the bass attack and reduce bass weight and depth.
Here are the tips I tried, #1 - #4 at the top and #5 - #8 at the bottom:

  1. Hard shallow pink custom tips, narrow inner tube: The most mature Hi-Fi sound resembles D2000 very much. Bass is deep, articulated and well integrated to the rest of the spectrum, Highs softer by a hair than those of D2000. You may add some highs with ClieOS nozzle mod (follow his review link at the beginning of OP. Comfort is good.
  2. Stock transparent bi-flanges, stiff: V-shaped response, bass is deep and tight, electric guitars roar very nice, overall sound is forward and aggressive. Sound signature reminds me Grado, bass-boosted Ety, DT990 tamed on bass and highs. There are plenty of fun and energy for rock music. Comfort is bearable.
  3. Stock white bi-flanges, soft: Close to #2 with slightly lesser and softer bass. Comfort is very good.
  4. UE tips, stiff: Very balanced sound, seconds to #1 only, adds highs a little and lacks some bass weight and depth in comparison. Sound signature reminds me tubes-driven DT880. Comfort is average.
  5. Shure E2c black olives, narrow inner tube, stiff: Same to #4 with deeper bass and softer highs. Comfort is average.
  6. Stock mid-sized tips: Softened version of #4 sound. Comfort is very good.
  7. Unknown black tips: These are tips I used for Round 2 by mistake. Sound is between #6 and #8, featuring significant loss of bass depth, soundstage, details and dynamics comparing to #4. Comfort is good.
  8. Sennheiser CX300 tips: Most pliable and comfortable tips. Sound is the most relaxed, softened, compressed, dark and veiled. So this is a best solution for background listening. Sound signature steps to HD600 / HD650 direction. Comfort is excellent.
I do not list other tips I tried since they do not fit. It was easy to detect this by huge bass loss. If you hear the same, do not judge the earphones serevely but try other tips instead.
post #37 of 112
I've run every tip. They all made a small difference and modified the frequency response a dB or two here and there. Single or double flange didn't matter a whole lot, although, the bi-flange moving the phone out of the ear farther does widen the stage some. The only tip that was vastly different was the biggest bi-flange, but that was only because my ear canal is small and it really barely fit, causing a huge loss of bass sensitivity. However, for every other tip along with minor EQ corrections for each, the RE0 always sounded the same. I say EQ corrections because I level balance my hardware, running a pink noise test and EQing intensity across the spectrum to (ear) flat. I have found this always give me a good base point for any hardware I run and makes the hardware much less biased towards specific music types.

As far as without EQing, I liked the medium, white bi-flange the best, although, they where slightly wide for my canal and caused soreness after some use. It seems to give the most neutral/natural sound, and being farther out, it gave a little wider stage presence. Plus without the phone resting in the ear and rather floating more so, there was slightly better transparency. The white bi-flange was also noticeable a softer which I assume helps tame any resonances/reflections generated withing the tube. This seemed to be a slight issue with the smaller, black bi-flange which was a harder material. It had a slight resonant hump maybe around 6kHz or so.

No tip, nor EQing, fixed the "faults" I listed (what I could see improved, personal preference of course based on my own range of listening experiences). I would have liked to try foam tips and some of the other popular options as IEM style phones are sensitive to tip choice in response.
post #38 of 112
I don't understand why there are so many accusing comments. Head-Direct's line of headphones have all gotten generally good reviews and no one has been suspicious of them, so why are they now, now that they are being compared with top of the line headphones with their newest headphone.

Phonak Audeo has been compared to the same level of headphones and is even cheaper.
post #39 of 112
Thread Starter 
Added to end of the OP

UPDATE #2 - ROUND 3: Revenge of RE0, ER-4P dethroned!

After the experiments with various tips I was intrigued – how would properly tipped RE0 stand against Etymotic? I also thought that there are many head-fiers with portable amps and very few with the custom tips. So the second question is – how does RE0 stands to Etymotic when both are amped and equipped with universal tips?

I was not willing to make over the whole comparison step by step. Instead I decided just to listen to some of my favorite songs. I attached transparent bi-flanges to RE0 since they sound closer to Etymotic. I attached tri-flanges on ER-4P, compared both RE0 and ER-4P unamped from Classic…

RE0 + bi-flanges beat ER-4P + tri-flanges, when driven by Classic!

Well, tri-flanges are not the best sounding universal tips for Ety. So I changed them to the black foam for ER-6 (ER6-14F). I do not like ER-4P black foam (ER4-14F) because its wide inner tube makes the highs too spiky for me. ER6-14F inner tube is narrower thus highs are softer. BTW, I’ve read somewhere at head-fi that Etymotic changed the inner tube of ER4-14F recently to the narrower one, nice move.

ER-4P + foams beat RE0 + bi-flanges, when driven by Classic.

I think that latter is not fair comparison indeed. Foams are not portable solution. You have to squeeze the foam by the fingers which are not clean when you are outside. Foams are also scratchy and do not last long.

Then I went amped. Source was Classic with LOD, amps were Meier Move and Xin Supermicro IV w 4/11 mods. RE0 kept bi-flanges and I tried ER-4P with both foam and custom tips.

RE0 + bi-flanges beat ER-4P + either tips, when amped!

Amped RE0 does not yield ER-4P in terms of speed and details, while supersedes it in terms of clarity and tonal realism.

Wow! ER-4P is dethroned by dynamic canalphone made in China. Lets the flame begin…

Do not hurry guys. There is still ER-4S left and I am its long time fanboy. I spent a lot of money and so much time modding my Ety to death. I went through numerous rebuilds of silicone custom tips. I carefully chose the most synergetic portable amp for them (Supermicro it is). I even recabled them with OFC (I made all the comparisons with stock Ety cable). So it is not easy for me to sustain a defeat. See my ultra modded ER-4S below:

There is no obvious winner between ER-4S and RE0 for me right now. Amped RE0 with bi-flanges gets dangerously close to ER-4S, featuring very fast transients, good details, better bass proportions, more realistic mids. I feel that ER-4S is better by a hair … or by a split of a hair. But it is not easy to detect and harder to describe yet.

The final round (ER-4S vs RE0) will definitely take some of my time. I do like to have as few cans as possible. So I am really interested to determine the winner and let the loser go. Since I already maximized the SQ of my ER-4S, I should give my best efforts to RE0 also.

Stay tuned.
post #40 of 112
Yay!! I want to see the verdict.
post #41 of 112
Nice work kostalex.

I get more and more curious how I'll like the ER-4S when a pair arrives at my doorstep next week.

I don't really mean to hate on the RE0, just personal taste really, but they were enough to my disliking that I sent them back and trading to a set of OK1. (completely different I know but have become a Yuin fan listening to my bro's PK2) Everyone has their own ideals/preferences in audo, and the RE0 isn't mine despite a number of really good qualities and level of refinement. I really tried to like them too, but in the end it just lacks on a couple critical qualities I deem necessary.
post #42 of 112
Thread Starter 
Thanks, mvw2. Let us know how would you like ER-4S.
post #43 of 112
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by mvw2 View Post
... Single or double flange didn't matter a whole lot, although, the bi-flange moving the phone out of the ear... my ear canal is small ...
I think this is why we perceive RE0 so differently. When RE0 moves out of the ears, it does sound more relaxed and veiled. In my case, bi-flanges provide deeper insertion and more Ety-like sound.
post #44 of 112
thx for the great review...

btw, have you gotten your RE-0 burned-in for about 200 hours++ at least?
coz, i do found out that my dynamic drivers of RE-2 do really improve alot, really alot, after reaching that point of hours... (compared to the brand new one at least..)
and i do also agree of the improvement with the stock bi-flange, they're just perfect!
post #45 of 112
Thread Starter 
I burned them for 120 hrs before review. And yes, they continued to improve after that. So I think 200 hrs are recommended.
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