New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

REVIEW: HiFiman RE-262

post #1 of 52
Thread Starter 

****Note****

As always, these are strictly my opinions.

I try to present these products as honestly as possible and try to describe them as best as possible.

As always, YMMV.

****NOTE****

 

The Hifiman RE-262

DSC_0056.JPG

 

 

SPEC’S:

 

·         Driver Unit         9mm

·         Impedence        150 OHM

·         Sensitivity         95 +/-3dB/1mW

·         Rate Input         10mW

·         Max Input          30mW 

·         Various tips included

 

 

EQUIPMENT USED ON THIS REVIEW:

  • Portable set-up: Sansa Clip+ (Rockboxed) -> Fischer Audio Mini2Mini -> Fischer Audio Mystify / Grado HPA-1/ RSA Hornet
  • Portable set-up: Ipod 5.5G -> ALO Cotton Dock -> Fischer Audio Mystify / RSA Hornet
  • Home Rig 1: Sony D-25S -> UE Mini2Mini / Fischer Audio Mini to Mini from Line out-> Heed CanAmp / Grado HPA-1
  • Home Rig 2: Denon DCD 1560 CD Player – RCA -> Heed CanAmp
  • My mastering rig

 

BACKGROUND & FIRST IMPRESSIONS:

 

Lately I have been getting requests to compare all types of IEM’s to the DBA-02. One of the many, many requests I have been getting is to compare it to the Hifiman RE-252. When I get these requests, the first thing I do is ask my friends if they own a pair so I can borrow them. If this is not possible, then I usually try to demo them at a store or ask a manufacturer for a demo pair. In this case, I had to resort to contacting the manufacturer and my request was DENIED! The good news is that instead of the RE-252, Fang was kind enough to send me a newer IEM, the RE-262.

 

DSC_0057.JPG

 

THE MUSIC:

 

1. Paul Simon – You Can Call Me Al from the album “Graceland”  

2. Paul Simon – Homeless from the album “Graceland” 

3. Nat King Cole – Stardust from the DCC release of “Love Is The Thing” 

4. Danny Elfman – This is Halloween from the soundtrack “Nightmare Before Christmas”

5. Absolute Silence – custom demo track made by myself.

6. Bach – Solo Cello Suites from the Mercury Living Presence release feat. Janos Starker

7. Ella Fitzgerald – Sweet & Lovely from the album “Sings Sweet Songs For Swingers”

8. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Californication & Scar Tissue from the album “Californication”
9. Lady Gaga – Poker Face from the album “The Fame”

10. Gnarls Barkley – Crazy

 

THOUGHTS ON SOUND:

 

You only need to read past reviews of mine to know why I use the above listed tracks for auditioning equipment. It’s not the only music I use but it’s easily available and sounds fantastic (except for the Red Hot Chili Peppers) without any further tweaking.

 

I didn’t really know what to expect as I am not intimately familiar with the any of the Hifiman IEM’s. I have heard them before but not to an extent where I could give a solid opinion on them. So…let’s get intimate with the RE-262….

 

GAIN, GAIN, AMP

 

I was first taken aback by the difference in volume I got with these from both my iPod and my Clip+. For example, on my Clip+ with Rockbox, I can listen to most IEM’s at a -25 volume level. To get the same from the RE-262, I have to listen at -10.

 

I listened for quite a bit of time without an amp. The sound was very, very nice but it failed to really impress me. Don’t get me wrong, the sound is very good, in fact, better than most, but it didn’t give me goosebumps. Then the thought hit me….this might need an amp.

 

I then added in the Fischer Audio Mystify and then BAM! Goosebumps!!! The air which I thought was missing was restored. The impact was all there. The texture, detail and everything else I love to hear in my music was back with a little something special too….

 

DSC_0060.JPG

 

COLOR ME SILLY….

 

It’s difficult to describe but I feel these are not as neutral or natural as other IEM’s or headphones I have in my collection but they are very, very close. They do exhibit a slight bit of coloration but man…what a beautiful coloration the Hifiman RE-262 has! Vocals are simply amazing! I was truly impressed with the presentation on any vocal track.

 

Time and time again, every single time I played some nice vocals on the Hifiman RE-262 it was such a joy to listen in and be impressed. The sound is addicting and enveloping.

 

On “Georgia On My Mind” by Ray Charles, the piano, backing vocals and Ray sounded fabulous. “Hit The Road Jack” sounded equally impressive, especially the backing vocals by the girls.

 

Ella Fitzgerald, Jacintha, Peggy Lee, Marilyn Monroe as well as Diana Krall have never sounded so smooth and so darn sexy. It might not be 100% accurate, but guys, a bit more sexy and forward is never a bad thing!

 

DSC_0062.JPG

 

A MATTER OF DEGREES

 

Another very interesting thing with the RE-262 is the enveloping soundstage it has. This makes it amazing for binaural and holophonic recordings. Where most IEM’s throw a normal soundstage of 180 degrees, I feel the RE-262 throws a soundstage that’s about 210 degrees. This means that if you normally hear something directly to the left or right, with the RE-262 it will sound slightly to the rear left or rear right. Is this good or bad? I think it’s great. While it’s not accurate it does make for a very pleasant presentation of music, especially with modern day music or modern mastering approaches. Binaural recordings sound even more realistic and spatial placement is actually easier to make as well.

 

Yet another interesting thing this wide soundstage has is that it works amazingly well with crossfeed. I am NOT a fan of crossfeed circuits but with the RE-262, my opinion has changed. Crossfeed, especially the Meier Crossfeed on my Rockboxed Clip+, works amazingly well. It doesn’t sound artificial nor strange. The lush coloration remains intact and the music becomes a bit more natural to listen to. This was a total unexpected result and one that has simply overjoyed me in terms of music listening and pleasure. I feel the RE-262 is worth owning simply because of this!

 

OVERALL IMPRESSIONS

 

The most similar IEM I can think of to the RE-262 is the SE530 from Shure due to the lush mids. However, I know for a fact the Hifiman RE-262 wipes the floor with the SE530. The RE-262 is much more refined, more textured and not dull or veiled like the SE530 and is another league when compared to the Triple-fi. People who feel the CK10 is shrill and the DBA-02 too bright might just benefit from trying out the Hifiman RE-262 as it is colored very nicely and seasoned to perfection. The air and ambiance may not all be there but what is there is very lush sounding! If you add an amp, the air and ambiance are restored and the performance level of the RE-262 takes a gigantic leap forward to a point where you will always want to carry an amp with you.

 

Often times the coloration of a headphone or IEM will make it stellar in one area…say Vocals or Jazz but horrible in others like Rock or Pop. Thankfully the RE-262 is NOT one of these. The slight coloration it has is well suited for ALL types of music. Think of the RE-262 as natural headphones with really warm tubes built in. The Hifiman RE-262 is velvety smooth when it needs to be and can really rock out with the best of them when needed to. Vocals, acoustic instruments and even some difficult electronic music were all presented with ease and refinement. The HiFiMan RE-262 really hits the mark when it comes to a mixture of a natural sound signature with some coloration.

 

On "Prison Sex" and "Sober" by Tool, the drums are full and the impact of the drums and speed of the snare and the guitar sound as good as ever. On "Hush" from "Opiate", the vocals sound realistic and the cymbal hits sound natural with a bit of tubey roll-off goodness. The drum impacts have speed and the guitar work sounds meaty! On Frank Sinatra's "On The Road To Mandalay" from "Come Fly With Me", the brass sounds smooth and clear and the bells sound delicate and a bit airy and Frank sounds forward and very warm without sounding muffled or stuffy.

 

Also, let's take the intro to the album “Graceland”. There are some strong drum hits before the groove kicks in. Most IEM’s present these hits rather thin and weak and make the drums sound anemic. Others will give you the beefy hits but color the rest of the sound so much that it is a worthless experience. With the Hifiman RE-262 and an amp, the drum hits sound full and the impact is fast. The decay is fantastic. The real star of the show with the Hifiman RE-262 are the lush sounding mids. I clearly hear an emphasis in this area and it’s an emphasis that is oh so good!

 

Another thing I want to point out is how comfortable these IEM’s are. I find that they slip in real easily and rest in your ear very easily and naturally.

I have found no need to re-adjust them once they are in and I can even fall asleep in them without any discomfort.

My only negative comment about the RE-262 is the cable. I found it does produce some microphonics and even a slight tap on them will register in my ears. It’s a very slight quibble in an otherwise excellent product.

 

THE VERDICT

 

It’s a great thing so many options are available to us Head-fi’ers. Only a few years ago, we were all limited to only a few dozen good choices. Now…there are just so many great choices, it really boggles the mind!

 

So where does the RE-262 fit in? That’s a hard thing to say and ultimately a choice YOU need to make. What I can honestly say is that if you’re a fan of a natural sounding headphone but would like a little color added to your world, then these fit the bill more than any other current IEM out there. They are also very comfortable IEM’s. These do require a bit more power to shine but it’s not that much more. If you already own an amp or a DAP with a robust output, the Hifiman RE-262 should definitely be on your list to audition or purchase. They might not be the most natural or the most accurate but they are musical and excellent sounding IEM’s.

 

You must keep in mind that I love total accuracy and a completely natural sound signature. That is my preference and I know I am in the minority.

Would these replace my DBA-02’s? NO. But they make awesome companions! If I didn’t know of the DBA-02’s, these would be my favorite universal IEM’s as they really provide a special sound that is very addictive. I can see people who disliked the DBA’s completely falling in love with the great sound these provide.

 

If you own the DBA-02’s, then you should still consider these as they make a worthy addition to any headphone or IEM collection. The comfort is superb, the sound is fantastic and the price is great. For anyone looking for some natural sound with some tasteful coloration, the Hifiman RE-262 should definitely be your next purchase. Fang really has a winner with these IEM’s and I urge you all to check them out if you can. These are the epitome of what I would consider a fun and musical IEM.

 

As a closing note, because people are already asking…which one would I recommend more….the DBA-02 or the RE-262, I would like to say the following.:

 

My honest answer….I would recommend them equally as I feel they are both among the best universals I have heard…so get to listening so you can decide. They both provide different sound signatures and presentations but are equally pleasing depending on what you love.

 

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!


Edited by LFF - 10/30/10 at 9:49pm
post #2 of 52

Nice in-depth review.

Do they isolate well?

And what type of tip do they provide?

post #3 of 52
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by IllmaticSAF View Post

Nice in-depth review.

Do they isolate well?

And what type of tip do they provide?


They isolate extremely well. Initially I thought the isolation wouldn't be that good but I was glad to be proven wrong. I can vacuum with these things on and I can't hear the vacuum at all!

 

It comes with small, medium and large regular tips, five pairs of filters and medium and large double-flange tips. It also includes a lapel clip.


Edited by LFF - 10/30/10 at 9:55pm
post #4 of 52

Very tempted to get these now considering the sound sig seems to suit my tastes.

post #5 of 52

Finally! A review of yours where it will have no influence on my wallet since I already have one smily_headphones1.gif The reason why you need more volume than other earphones is that the RE262 is 150 ohm.

post #6 of 52
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rawrster View Post

Finally! A review of yours where it will have no influence on my wallet since I already have one smily_headphones1.gif The reason why you need more volume than other earphones is that the RE262 is 150 ohm.


Yes I know....should have clarified that.

post #7 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by LFF View Post




They isolate extremely well. Initially I thought the isolation wouldn't be that good but I was glad to be proven wrong. I can vacuum with these things on and I can't hear the vacuum at all!

 

It comes with small, medium and large regular tips, five pairs of filters and medium and large double-flange tips. It also includes a lapel clip.

Yeh they did look awkward at first and it seemed like it wouldn't isolate well.

 

Cool thats a lot of tips.
 

post #8 of 52

can you articulate a little about the highs on the re262? how far does it extend, is it crisp and clear or is it smooth?
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rawrster View Post

Finally! A review of yours where it will have no influence on my wallet since I already have one smily_headphones1.gif The reason why you need more volume than other earphones is that the RE262 is 150 ohm.


 

Oh rawrster, I didn't realize you had the RE262 already. Knowing that you've owned the e-Q7 and enjoyed it, how would you say the two compare? It seems we have similar preferences when it comes to sound signature so I'm very interested in what you have to say!

 

Comparisons with the RE-ZERO and Westone 2 would be interesting as well.


Edited by EraserXIV - 10/30/10 at 11:30pm
post #9 of 52
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by EraserXIV View Post

can you articulate a little about the highs on the re262? how far does it extend, is it crisp and clear or is it smooth?



Smooth without an amp. With an amp I felt the highs were still smooth but had a bit more detail.

post #10 of 52
Quote:

Originally Posted by LFF View Post

The comfort is superb, the sound is fantastic and the price is great.

 

how much are they? i didn't see a price mentioned in your very nice review.
 

post #11 of 52

I'm a fan of the efficient driver.  Even for a 150ohm earphone, the driver is quite efficient in design.  It's kind of uncommon in some ways.  This isn't 16ohm efficient but the actual driver being built efficiently.  The only other driver I've listened to along the same lines is the Denon C700/C751, although these earphones sound totally different.  It's merely a statement of driver design.  Even though this is a 150ohm setup, it can be run well off a portable player.

 

The coloration....bugs me.  I have for some time been in the market for more neutral, natural earphones, once with a largely (ear) flat response and good capability across the spectrum.  In this view, the RE252 is a better earphone than the RE262.  The RE262 is a deviation from this form of accuracy and does end up seeming purposely colorful.  I do agree with LFE that the coloration is very likable.  It's nice.  It is wanted at times.  When you hear it, you want more.  In other words, it's tasteful and with the right music, beautiful.  This seems to be a sizable difference between the two earphones: intent.  The RE252 was build for balance.  The RE262 was built for something a little different.  I haven't used it enough to really get a good feel for what that might be though.

 

Some notable differences between the two that I've noticed so far:

-RE262 focuses more on the midrange with some emphasis on the lower midrange and midbass.  The RE252 is more balanced and offers both more top end and bottom end presence.  The RE252 has a deep bass presence.  The RE262 seems to roll off in perception (not gone but more emphasis on higher frequencies).  The RE252 has more top end detail and sparkle.  The top end of the RE262 is more rolled off, warmer.

-RE262 has a better sound stage.  The RE252 can be a bit forward sounding with a light sense of depth.  The RE262 is less in your face sounding but also feels more naturally spaced.

-RE262 has more note impact/punch.  This is odd because the RE252 is already a decently impactful earphone.  The RE262 takes it a step further and creates a more powerful, more visceral experience.  It's more interesting because the low end bass is actually lighter, so the presence is driven by the energy and impact of higher frequencies.  It's something I expect more from earbuds with a larger driver, not a 9mm driver.  The RE262 has a rather high volume capability too.

-RE262 has better ergonomics.  For those that didn't like the gummy, the RE262 is a well shaped plastic housing that at least for me fits in my ear very naturally.

 

 

The comment about the e-Q7 versus RE262, these are very different sounding earphones.  The e-Q7 is focused more on balance, something more like the RE-ZERO but with more extension/presence on both ends and with a more natural presentation while still being slightly forward like the RE-ZERO is.  It's just that the RE262 is totally different sounding from the e-Q7 or RE-ZERO for that matter to really compare.  A person would not be looking at both but rather only one or the other based on taste.  The problem is you can rattle off a whole list of earphones like the RE262, e-Q7, Westione 2, and 50 others, and a lot of them really aren't comparable because they are geared for different things.  Teh e-Q7 is geared for balance.  It would be better compared with the Re252, RE-ZERO, ER4, and a slew of other products that are intended for a balanced response.  The RE262 sits with different company, however it's not normal company like the bass crowd.  I see the RE262 more like the Triple.Fi 10, purposely colored, tastefully colored, and fun to listen to, but they're not really geared to do mids, do bass, or do treble.  It seems to be more of a specific coloration that works well and probably intended for certain audio material or intended to mimic a certain type of presentation.


Edited by mvw2 - 10/30/10 at 11:58pm
post #12 of 52

Nice review Luis! 

post #13 of 52

What is comfot with cable over the ear?

post #14 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by daveDerek View Post

how much are they? i didn't see a price mentioned in your very nice review.

 


It is not yet available for sale so price is TBD. However it has been mentioned that is should be around $200-$250 and my guess is that it will be closer to the $250 mark.

post #15 of 52

I was told by customer support that the price would be $249

 

mvw2, thanks for the impressions. i can now cross the RE262 off my list. of all the IEMs that you've heard, which would you say sounds closest to the e-Q7? I was debating between the westone 2, re-zero, and the sunrise xcape (i don't know if you've listned to this one).


Edited by EraserXIV - 10/31/10 at 6:30am
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav: