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RE-Zero vs RE0 - SS vs tubes

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 


I would like to answer some questions not covered in my review. Please, ask.


What are RE-Zero and RE0


Both belong to those rare dynamic earphones able to compete with armature IEMs in speed, clarity and resolution. Both are on a lean side of neutrality, I would like to have more bass, but I yet to find bassier $100 IEM with the same level of SQ.


RE0 vs RE-Zero.jpg


They built the same with exception of 4-poles plug of RE-Zero, intended for balanced connection. RE-Zero is provided with converter to the ordinary 3-poles plug, which converter is not convenient for portable use. Shells are metal and sturdy, RE-Zero gun metal color looks better than plain black RE0. Cables are flexible and let you to wear in two ways – both cables down and over the ear.


I prefer both with the tips from Jays (see above), which narrow inner tubes correct some excessive brightness according to my taste. I also removed internal damping foams from RE0 (do not confuse with black protective filters covering the sound tubes). I tried to de-foam RE-Zero but was disappointed with the results, so I put the foams back.


RE-Zero placement in my personal headphone ranking chart

I ranked RE-Zero along with TM5; RE0; ER-4P (custom tips); DT880/250; AD1000. You may find the chart in my Earbuds buyers guide.


Is RE-Zero an upgrade to RE0?


In terms of sensitivity – yes. If your source is weak, like my Sansa Clip+, then RE-Zero plays definitely better.


In terms of SQ, both RE-Zero and RE0 are on par when amped well. They just present different sound signatures. Some will prefer RE-ZERO while others will prefer RE0, and most will have difficulties to choose one.


Sound signatures (with adequate amplification)


RE-ZERO is better in any separate technical terms but mids. Bass is deeper, more linear, accurate and faster. Overall frequency response is more even. Highs are not emphasized and extend higher. Yes, I know that many consider RE0 highs to be a reference. But I think RE-ZERO highs are of better quality. In some tracks, where RE0 produces sibilance, RE-ZERO plays with better details and extension with no sibilance. RE-Zero soundstage is wider, instruments separation and placement have better precision. Speed and clarity are also improved.


RE0 wins in musicality and integrity, it involves more, is more emotional and cohesive. Some mid-bass hump makes rhythmic music more fun. Forward and warmer mids have more body and sound more natural, realistic. Highs are slightly accentuated and more aggressive in comparison to RE-Zero. Soundstage is a bit deeper (surprise). Some ambient noise from live recordings is louder with RE0 and I treat this as a kind of dynamic range compression RE0 provides.


Comparing to ER-4P: RE-Zero is pretty close to ER-4P, closer than RE252. Both RE-Zero and ER-4P are fast, sharp and focused. I compared RE-Zero with custom-tipped ER-4P and I like RE-Zero more (SURPISE!). It presents very similar sound in a smoother and warmer manner, has more body and impact without compromising speed, clarity, bass depth and details.


Comparing to RE252: it is better than both RE-Zero and RE0. It combines strengths of both – it is smooth and fast, warm and clear. It is also has the best bass out of three and more even FR.


With regards to the bass: Total bass weight is the same on RE-Zero and RE0 and depends on specific music/notes/instruments. RE-Zero has stronger deep bass, while RE0 has stronger mid-bass.


Tubes vs SS metaphor: the difference of sound signatures resembles the difference between tube and solid state amps. I may recommend RE0 for tube lovers and RE-Zero to those who prefer SS sound.


Source matching


Sansa Clip+: RE-Zero is clear winner and a good match. RE0 is too slow and congested with Clip+.


iPod 5.5 gen unamped: I do not like both, my RE252 is better. RE-Zero is dry and lacks bass, probably due to its low impedance mismatched with 5.5 gen capacitor-based output. RE0 is slow, has narrow soundstage and does not separate instruments well.


iPhone 3G: Draw, both plays nice, choose the appropriate for your genres - like RE-Zero for rock, RE0 for pop. Comparing to 5.5 gen, RE-Zero gains bass and warmth. It also becomes brighter than RE0 and this is not good with some music. RE0 gains soundstage width, speed, separation and bass depth.


iPad: both are good match, as with iPhone. And RE-Zero is less bright comparing to iPhone.


Nuforce uDAC: RE-Zero is a good match, while combo of warmer RE0 and warm DAC are veiled in comparison.


Meier Move, Nuforce Icon HDP: I prefer RE0, but this is based on my genres indiscrimination. I see how some may prefer RE-Zero with specific genres like electronic music or fast paced rock subgenres.


General guides for matching: choose RE-Zero for weak or warmer sources, RE0 for powerful and colder sources.


Genres recommendation


I prefer RE0 for vocals and acoustic instruments, while RE-Zero is better with synthetic or processed sounds.


RE0 is recommended for: pop, jazz, R&B, symphonic music, vocals.


RE-Zero is recommended for: rock, blues, trance, ambient.


Both are pretty versatile, though I consider well amped RE0 as a better all-rounder. It is surprised me being better with classic symphonic music. On the other hand, it is not good with movies, yielding to RE-Zero in imaging, speed, dynamic range and bass depth, which are must for movies.




RE252 takes the best from ER-4S and RE0

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

Head-Direct.com - home of RE0, RE-Zero, RE252


I thank Fang from Head-direct for providing me with the review samples.

Edited by kostalex - 10/17/10 at 10:26am
post #2 of 19

Having used all 3, your review works for me.  Good job.


I came to the same conclusion that the RE-ZERO did improve on many fronts from the RE0.  I personally wasn't a fan of the RE0, and I tried so hard to be one.  I am a fan of the RE-ZERO and feel it's a really good earphone.  I've owned the RE252 as well, and that has literally been my favorite IEM to date, even against the likes of the SE530, Triple.Fi 10, IE8, UM3X, and CK10.  It's simply a reference level IEM that operates so very well.  Considering a person can buy one used for about $150, it's a ridiculous steal...as long as you work around fitment issue and get a good seal, it's stellar.


Too bad he didn't send you a prototype RE262. :p


Again excellent comparison, spot on.

post #3 of 19

Haha good thing I kept my RE252!  I should see if I can get a used RE-Zero.  Great review as always! 

post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 

I pre-ordered HM-602 with RE262 included.

Originally Posted by mvw2 View Post

Too bad he didn't send you a prototype RE262.

post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 

I see no reason to add RE-Zero, except you have fit problems with RE252.

Originally Posted by mythless View Post

Haha good thing I kept my RE252!  I should see if I can get a used RE-Zero.

post #6 of 19

kostalex, I actually find the HJE900 similar to the RE-Zero in SQ but offering different signatures at least with some foam added to make the treble less harsh. I haven't compared the two but that's what it seems like although I'm not sure about the prices outside of the US.


I no longer have the RE0 but I do enjoy my RE-Zero quite a bit. The adapter is a bit annoying but I've found to like it. When I use my clip+ I use the hard adapter and then clip it onto my clothing and it works fine without being a problem. I use my J3 with the cable adapter and I don't like the cable of any earphone having the area near the strain relief bending and the adapter seems to help that issue since the J3 has the headphone out on the bottom.


You do continue to make me want to hear the RE252 even though the RE262 is on my radar. If only I could get one for really cheap..maybe RE252 will surface for cheap in the FS when the RE262 starts being sold individually.

post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 

I believe RE262 is reshaped RE252, using the same driver. May be I am wrong, but I am pretty sure Fang will not release inferior replacement for his flagship product. So most likely:


SQ: RE262 >= RE252.

Comfort: RE262 >> RE252.


There would be some RE262 for cheap on FS forums after HM-602 release. Some will get rid off theirs included as a bonuses for preorder.

Originally Posted by rawrster View Post

You do continue to make me want to hear the RE252 even though the RE262 is on my radar. If only I could get one for really cheap...

post #8 of 19
Thread Starter 

Has HJE900 more bass than RE-Zero?

post #9 of 19

Well it's not just a reshape of the shell there's more to it than that.  I am almost certain it's the same driver of the RE252, but now it's using a titanium diaphragm and OCC cables. Both will also increase performance but the latter to a lesser extent.

post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 

Does not RE252 uses titanium diaphragm?

Edited by kostalex - 9/27/10 at 2:08am
post #11 of 19

I'm kind of guessing the RE262 might be a different driver, but I couldn't say.  It will be a lot higher ohm devices.  I might suggest that people considering the RE252 versus holding out for the RE262 think about their amping requirements.  It's kind of like the RE0 versus RE-ZERO.  I would never suggest the RE0 to someone who isn't running a dedicated amp for it, and I'm not talking about a cheapy FiiO E5 either.  For a portable device, I'd automatically suggest the RE-ZERO over the RE0 always.  I would suggest the RE252 over the RE262 always too just because of the ohm load.  Chances are the earphone will not be very loud off a portable player, and even if volume does get to moderate levels there's still a lot of loss of dyanmics and control due to the lack of wattage to move the driver properly.


I don't know what diaphram the RE252 uses.  It could be titanium.  It might not be.  I've never heard any mention of the material used.

post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 

Where are the specs available?

Originally Posted by mvw2 View Post

I'm kind of guessing the RE262 might be a different driver, but I couldn't say.  It will be a lot higher ohm devices.

post #13 of 19

wait a minute...


there is both an RE0 and RE Zero IEM?

post #14 of 19

kostalex: The HJE900 definitely has more bass than either the RE0 or RE-Zero.


ClieOS mentioned some specs about the RE262 mainly them being 150 ohms in some thread not too long ago and had a prototype picture but I think more information will be out once people receive their RE262 to those who bought the HM602.

post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 

Yep, this naming is confusing indeed. Someone even suggested to spell RE0 as "re-oh".

Originally Posted by max pl View Post

wait a minute...


there is both an RE0 and RE Zero IEM?

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