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REVIEW: HiFiMAN RE-ZERO. Top of the IEM Food Chain? Let's Find Out!

post #1 of 56
Thread Starter 

 

Tricked you! This isn't a review. At least not yet. However, there have been several requests for impressions of the mysterious HiFiMAN RE-ZERO, so I guess I'll go ahead and post a really, really brief summary first.

 

First, let me make it very clear that I received these earphones as a complimentary review unit from Head-Direct. However, that fact will not influence my judgement on the quality of these earphones, which are wonderful, nonetheless.

 

 

Packaging, Accessories, and Build Quality:

 

Packaging-

Let's start with the packaging. It's the exact same transparent case-like box that HiFiMAN currently uses, except with different stuff listed, of course.

 

Accessories-

Included with the earphones are a variety of tips, 5 pairs of filters, a clothing clip, and a mysterious adapter.

 

Build Quality-

The HiFiMAN RE-ZERO themselves look and feel exactly like the HiFiMAN RE-0, but instead of being black, the RE-ZERO are in a shade of metallic gray, which I really like. They use the same cable and splitter as the current HiFiMAN RE-0, with one important exception. Instead of having a typical 3.5mm plug, the RE-ZERO uses a four-plate balanced 3.5mm plug, much like the plugs used by headphones with microphones.

This is a crucial market differentiator, as no other earphone, to my knowledge, uses this plug. However, natively, the balanced plug does not work with most sources on the market, giving either only one channel of sound or no sound at all. In fact, I do not have a single source (Apple iPod, Sony PCDP, SanDisk Sansa, iBasso DAC) that worked with the balanced plug. This is where the mysterious adapter comes in. It looks exactly like a generic channel splitter, but it's actually also a balanced to single-ended adapter, and it allows the RE-ZERO to be used with any source.

 

 

Sound Quality:

 

Okay. Let's get to the part you've all been waiting for. Sound.

As Fang said, these improve on everything the RE-0 has to offer. From what I have read, most Head-Fi'ers enjoy the HiFiMAN RE-0 but wish that it had more bass to offer. The RE-ZERO provides more bass, but doesn't stop there. I actually found the RE-0 to be quite thin, especially in the midrange. The RE-ZERO fixes that completely, by adding a smooth, "liquid-y" and detailed midrange. The excellent highs of the RE-0 are mostly untouched, but the RE-ZERO does try to balance the treble out a little, leading to slightly less extension, but allowing it to be much more natural and less sibilant.

 

 

Well. That's about it for now. I'll have a full review posted by next week!

post #2 of 56

AHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!

 

 

ive been waiting eagerly for this.

post #3 of 56
Thread Starter 

These have actually really surprised me. They really might be the best earphones I have ever heard.

post #4 of 56

gah i hope they make more than 1000 cuz im too broke to buy them when they come out.

post #5 of 56

Coming into this thread I was a bit apprehensive since you probably haven't had them too long and might have been too early to post up a full blown review. I'm glad to see that wasn't the case even if I would have liked to see a review. I was wondering about the balanced output they had since I didn't notice about the adapter.

 

In any case it does seem like Head Direct has made a fine product but I probably won't be buying them as I don't need another earphone even at the low cost. They typically make great products and I would expect no less of them here. I look forward to when your review does come out.

post #6 of 56

Instead of starting a new thread I'll just say this here: what was head-direct thinking with that adapter? It's bulky, has an extra socket, and causes static when jostled. I know that if I put my DAP in my pocket with this thing, something will snap off eventually and in the meantime I will be annoyed by the constant static as it's moving about. I think that unless Head-Direct can offer a soft adapter (extension cord-style), a lot of Head-Fiers will be turned off from buying this because in its current state it's just not very pocketable. I'll take some pics later.

 

No sonic impressions yet since I'm coming off using the IE8s and need to adjust to the signature. Right now they are painfully bright and the soundstage is tiny but after the IE8 damn near everything will sound like that. I will say that the bass depth is excellent - not CK10-linear but at least as good as the RE252. 

post #7 of 56

uh oh

post #8 of 56

So the adapter is similar to an 3.5mm to 1/4 inch adapter in the way it looks?

post #9 of 56

I really don't understand why you would lower the impedance on an earphone so that it would work with portable sources better without amping, and then add a large XLR-type adapter which wouldn't work on any portable source. Even with an adapter to convert it, it seems fairly unnecessary, and another thing that will swing around and get snagged on all myriad of headphone eating objects. : (

 

Grey metal sounds cool though.

post #10 of 56

Just the fact that only 1000 are being produced is enough to make me want to buy it.

 

In all seriousness, an RE0 that fixes the things I didn't like in it would be kinda cool though. I've got other IEMs that are better than it for portables, so the jack doesn't worry me.

post #11 of 56

The balanced plug sounds interesting. Is there anything that can use it presently, or is there a future product that will take advantage of it?

post #12 of 56

Now there is only one question left: How to buy it

post #13 of 56

would love to have these compared to the dba-02 in sound quality, build, and price. i havent got around to try the dba-02 but they seem they are very good for the price. i really wonder on the price of these and how just really how good are these re-zero compared to the dba-02 or e-q7

post #14 of 56

Ok - I saw the pic of that of the plug and adapter - that has got to be the worst decision I can think of.  Whose idea was that and what were they thinking? "Hey - lets put a plug on these that won't work with 99% of whats on the market!"  These are immediately ruled out for me because of that..

post #15 of 56

Yeah that was....questionable at best. Maybe they'll come out with a better adapter

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Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › REVIEW: HiFiMAN RE-ZERO. Top of the IEM Food Chain? Let's Find Out!