- 422 Posts. Joined 6/2010
- Location: Pittsburgh PA
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Hifiman RE272 top of the line IEM Loaner program - Page 4
- 3,492 Posts. Joined 9/2008
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I received my loaner pair today. Just a few initial impressions:
I'm comparing them with the RE0 and am using an iPod Classic with lossless files. Plus I am using the Fiio E5 to amp them with. I won't go over the packaging. That's subject to change anyway. I will, however, mention that I believe the RE0 with it's metallic body seems better built than the 272. The RE0 is also quite a bit smaller which would make the RE0 better for sleeping in. They're both equally as comfortable I think so far. That said, the 272's ameba like shape does appear to give it a small ergonomic advantage when placing them in your ear.
The 272 is either more efficient or more sensitive than the RE0. I didn't measure the resistance yet so I don't know which. But the 272 is easier to amp. Perfect volume matching isn't really practical with the E5 but I'm doing the best I can.
As for how they sound? I would say, to me, the 272 is more an evolution over the RE0 than a dramatic revolution of it. So far the two things I've noticed are that the 272 has more bass impact than the RE0. Not a surprise really. What did surprise me was the bass of the 272 was a bit loose in the caboose. I listened to Bob Marley's "Three Little Birds" and "Buffalo Soldier" and The Beatles "Come Together" and "Something" plus Puscifer's "DoZo (Version 2)" to listen to the bass. I used the same tips for both. The 272's bass has more bloom even though it has more overall impact. Bass extension seems about equal for both.
The one thing the 272 does excel over the RE0 is soundstaging. The 272 is a slight but nicely added expansion over the still decent RE0.
I'll add more impressions about the rest of the spectrum a bit later. I just wanted to post my first thoughts.
I've just sent my pair out to esanthosh this morning and here are my week old impressions.
The packaging is actually a wonderful surprise. It's beautifully packed in a classy looking black box with hints of gold around. The cables, tips and IEM look new and perhaps it's the most exciting unboxing I've ever done after the Sony EX1000. The fit of these earphones are great and comfortable too. They can be worn cable down or over the ear. Just make sure to change the adapter to reverse the L/R polarity when you wear the 272 upside down.
I've put something like 50+ hours into the 272 but I'm not sure whether it has been used before. Head Direct recommended >200 hours so I'm not sure whether I got the most out of the 272. My listening mostly consist of indie, acoustic, vocals and classic / soft rock, and I used the 'Open Your Ears' album to pick out specific areas of how it performed. Keep in mind that I don't listen to hip hop, R&B, pop, trance or most modern music.
Tbh, I don't have a lot to say about its sound. They're not much different from the 262 I heard a while back but maybe a little more transparent if my memory serves me well. Overall I'll say that these are rather neutral and balanced IEMs. The midrange is probably the strongest aspect of the 272. It has a certain amount of warmth or what some people call "liquid". Treble quality is also good and extension while not limitless is above average. The bass is slightly weak but maybe some will argue that it needs a more powerful source. It's more sensitive than the Sunrise Xcape Impressive Edition, which is a close relative to the Hifiman RE0. However, the Xcape IE still manages more bass impact while maintaining its balanced signature. To my ears, the Xcape IE is actually more balanced while the 272 has a slight n-shaped signature.
Almost everything I heard from the 272 can be described as above average but to me still not excellent in any single area. It's a jack of all trades and a master at none. This reminds me of the W4, except the W4 is a lot more technically proficient making it a great reference monitor. The W4, however costs almost twice as much. Spatial depth, imaging, low level resolution, timbre accuracy - these are the things I single out most when listening to audio stuff - the 272 does very well.. but as I said still not extremely well. The 272 perhaps needs an acquired taste to be appreciated. It doesn't have a unique character, something I always complain about (even with the W4). It doesn't offer something special or unique to me which is a problem. At $250, you can't expect it to be technically better than more expensive offerings from other manufacturers. In order to sell, it needs something special, something no other IEMs offer. Take for example the Radius TWF11R. It's far from accurate yet has a unique tone that you might either love or hate.
Now I don't want to be too harsh on the 272. After all, I didn't spend a lot on it (only postage to the next person) and Head Direct (or Hifiman? still confused) is ever so kind to send a fresh pair of 272 to me. I really appreciate opportunities like this which is what make Head-Fi such a great place. But I'm sorry I haven't got a lot of good things to say about the 272. It was just my experience with it. Hopefully though, the next person have more luck on it, when it burns in further. Cheers and thanks for reading.
So wouldn’t consider myself as a serious audiophile otherwise I would be bankrupt by now! But I do like my sound to remain true to the quality of what the artist intended and would invest a little bit more for the benefit accurate, decent and appealing sound.I have some experience of IEMs ranging from lower tier muddy mids and bulging bass CX400 and Sony EX500 to Middle tier HifiMAN RE-0, RE-262 and high tier Westone UM3x
As well as giving a review of the RE-272 themselves I’ll be comparing them to the aforementioned with exception to lower tier.
Brief sound signature of RE-0 / RE-262 / Westone UM3x
RE-0 The poster child of bang for buck – clean and very detailed highs, cymbals and crashes are nicely textured. Bass light, mids are slightly recessed but these can be completely forgiven as these punch well above their weight given the quality of the high end. Easily driven straight from a portable.
RE-262 Effortless mid-range. Silky-smooth response with vocals and acoustic material. Highs are a little muted but does present a little high-end sparkle at times. Soundstage is truly amazing for an IEM design - almost bordering on full size can territory. The overall signature is warm but not dark with mid emphasis. Can be driven from a portable but really needs a head amp to make them sing.
Westone UM3x These share a similar characteristic to the RE-262 namely a very smooth mid-range presentation. The UM3x has a narrower soundstage but this can be overlooked given the pin sharp rendition of instrument separation. Endless bass extension but yet balanced as not to sound inherently dark.
RE-272 Left RE-262 Right
RE-0 Left UM3x Right
The presentation box is identical to the RE-262. The jewellery box adds to the drama of opening a flagship product.
We have the usual selection of HifiMan tips, 2x ML dual flange, 3x SML mono. The dual flange work best for me, however I’m using the softer mono Sony Hybrids tips, the dual flange give better bass extension but create a slightly hollow midrange.
As this is the flagship product it would be nice to see HifiMan include a small hard carry case like Shure/Westone. I much rather the RE-272 retail package be nicely designed cardboard packaging to offset the cost of the jewellery box versus a small carry case bit this is just nitpicking!
Initially I’ve had a few issues/replacements with my first HifiMan product the RE-0. However after each replacement Hifiman used better quality materials, down to the thickness/texture of the cable, sturdier Y splitter and more forgiving cable relief on the ear buds. The quality is great and the RE-272 is no exception; the built quality is a culmination of all these incremental improvements. The gunmetal metallic coating also gives it a premium feel.
RE-272 Left RE-262 Right
Desktop - Fiio E7 DAC from a Macbook Pro
Portable - iPhone4, Sansa Clip+
Initially the RE-272 had very harsh highs straight out of the box. I did initially try to listen through the harshness but this is a dynamic driver I thought it would be best to put in a few hours of burn in time. So after 36hrs the mid’s were more apparent and the lows slightly more extended (with the right tips/seal). Giving the RE-272 detailed but more rounded signature.
Lows If your looking for a dark headphone you might need to look elsewhere.
The RE-272 were initially bass light but after a few hours of burn in the low end started to show itself. The bass is well measured and accurate but not earth shattering. It could benefit with a little more extension.
Mids The RE-272 retains some of the qualities of the RE-262 with a small warm-mid bass characteristic. Vocals are very forward, and with material such acoustic guitar the RE-272 reveal a lot of texture. The mid soundstage is a little narrower than the RE-262 but what you lose with a wide slightly coloured soundstage - you gain with better imaging and Highs.
Highs This is where the RE-272 excels. The Highs are immaculately detailed and forward. The RE-272 signature is more closely aligned to the RE0’s with highs that have a very fast decay and are wonderfully textured. You can almost hear every brush on the cymbals.
RE-0 vs RE-272 Initially, before burn in I thought these were exactly the same IEMs! After a few hours of burn in the RE272 began to show its colours. It was apparent that the RE-0 has a slight V shaped signature with mids slightly veiled. Whereas the RE-272 rendition of mids and vocals outclass the RE-0. The highs on both IEMs are incredibly crisp with the RE-272 edging out, as there is slightly less resonance at the high end.
RE-262 vs RE-272 Despite looking exactly the same but with a lick of metallic paint they are completely different animals. When listening to the RE-262 I really appreciate the smooth delivery of the mids but I was always wanted a little more extension on the highs. The RE-272 addresses the RE-262 shortcomings but with its own character. The mids are still very present in the RE-272 but now with forward highs and better separation of instruments.
RE-272 vs Westone UM3x The UM3x inherently sound warmer down to the endless bass extension but do not manage to sound dark as this is kept in check with the other balanced armatures. The RE-272 sound comparatively flat but manage to hold their own with the highs. I would go as far to say that the high’s on the RE-272 are more detailed, crisp and better than those of the UM3x. The UM3x posses a smoother midrange and incredible instrument separation. Both IEM’s soundstages are similar and relatively narrow.
What we have here is an evolutionary step from HiFiMan. The RE-272 addresses the sonic characteristics of the RE-262 recessed high and presents us with some of the cleanest highs but yet keeping that all important midrange (albeit less smoother) presence the RE-262 is renowned for.
The RE-262 was a big departure from HifiMan’s ‘house’ sound being conservatively flat but incredibly detailed. The RE-262 was relatively warm with a bias towards mid bass. The RE-272 on the other hand shows us what HiFiMan are incredibly good at imaging and detail at the high end of the spectrum.
How I would generally characterise the RE-272 would be if someone mashed up the RE-0 and the RE-262 and we have the RE-272. Of course there is much more than this. The RE-272 high end should be a benchmark in the IEM world; it’s nice to hear the RE-272 is capable at times of producing some pleasing low notes.
If you’re looking for a relatively neutral sounding IEM with incredible detail the RE-272 are for you.
It will be interesting to see the next flagship HiFiMan IEM. Will it still be another accomplished dynamic driver or will it be an armature driver's'. Whatever it might be . . . please HiFiMan - be brave a little more extension with the bass next time :)
- 518 Posts. Joined 12/2009
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Due to all the additional security checks on the eve of Independence day, I got the RE272 only a few minutes ago. Will be shipped to mukulymn on 24th.
Short impression for now - . What will it turn into after a week - or or ?
Edited by esanthosh - 8/19/11 at 8:48pm
- 6 Posts. Joined 7/2011
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Received them about a week ago. I will be shipping them tomorrow to Poetik. I've spent a bit of time with them.
I've been using a mixture of sansa clip+, clip+ with PA2v2, and computers. As far as amped vs. unamped, I believe they do sound better with it, but I honestly can't say if that "last 5%" is just in my head or not with these phones.
I gotta say I feel like this product almost lacks an identity. It seems the only way you can easily tell them apart from the re-262's is by the "272" labeled on them. The box it comes in, the accessories, and the design of the IEMs are all identical to the re-262. And honestly the sound, to me anyways, doesn't sound very different from the 262 either. The difference is there, but it seems for their new "flagship" they might have changed a few things up and given it it's own identity. It seems most people feel these are a slightly better re-262, but a whole lot more expensive (in comparison anyway,) and I agree.
It seems like a lot of the reviews have been mostly middle of the road with a mix of negative. The only real higher-end IEMs I have to compare them to are the re-zero, re0, and re-262. Keep that in mind when I say these are fantastic headphones. They are all about the details, and I'm a nut for details. I am as interested in everything happening in the background as I am the foreground. Vocals are beautiful on them, as well as most instruments. They're a lot more focused on the highs than the mids like the re-262. The only real downfall for them is the same downfall for all hifiman IEMs, the bass. It's not bad, it's never been BAD, It's just not as good as the mids and highs, and you really only notice it on songs that are defined by the bass. Let me put it this way, you can HEAR the bass and it's accurate and whatnot, but I don't FEEL it.
I can definitely understand people who think they are TOO "clean" or analytical. I think these were made for laying down in the dark and listening to them, if you're not giving them 100% of your attention you kind of forget they're on your head, and it turns from music to just noise. However if you are focused on the music they are pretty much awesome.
If these were $150 right next to the re-262's, I'd probably pick these, but they aren't. They're $100 more and I'm not sure exactly why. Same case, same design, same accessories, slightly better sound (to me anyways.) I think $175 would be a great price for them. If I simply bought these I think I'd feel a little bit cheated at $250. Bottom line, fantastic IEMs, but not worth the $$ over re-262.