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Hifiman RE272: Review - Page 10

post #136 of 273
Originally Posted by keanex View Post

I agree that the RE272 have better highs, but the mids were just too lean for my liking. The bass I disagree with you though. The bass on the RE272 I found to simply be one of the worst I've ever heard, and that's comparing it to the Ad700 and RE0. It's not bad quality, but the severe lack of quantity made the RE272 horrid for electronic music. The only thing I really dislike about the q-JAYS is the sibilance, but as time goes on it's less and less. 


RE272 is very sensitive to fit and tips used. With a good fit and the right tips, they have amazing bass response. Maybe a little lean in the sub bass, they produce a very neutral, accurate, incredibly detailed and dynamic low end. The mid and upper bass are simply stunning on the RE272. May well be the best bass I've ever heard.


Oh, the Q-jays have very solid bass response for sure and I would actually probably rate them in 3rd place among all IEMs I've heard to date. They used to be my IEM bass champs for quite a while, until I heard the ER4, FX700 and RE272. Their bass is excellent really. I wish some other IEMs costing 2+ times more had such nice lows. Detail, speed and definition are great. But while they are really, really nice, they are not quite at the ultimate level of an ER4, FX700 or RE272 I believe. Q-jays are missing some dynamics and are not quite linear down there with the mid bass dominating over the upper and sub bass at times. Their bass just doesn't quite have the character, nor the detail of the aforementioned three other IEMs I heard. It just doesn't go that extra mile to deliver all the goods so to speak, stopping just short of the goal.


BTW, out of good sources, the bass on Q-jays gets even better. I tried them out of my AMP3 when I had it, which is a really nice source for a DAP and the combo sounded superb in the lows and mids. Really, Q-jays probably beat or at least match about 90% of all headphones I heard in the bass department, regardless of type.

Edited by Pianist - 10/4/11 at 6:54pm
post #137 of 273
my review
Edited by kostalex - 10/9/11 at 10:22am
post #138 of 273

Excellent reviews and lots of discussion on the RE272.  I like it.  The bass discussion is interesting too.  


Everyone tends to have certain preferences towards amount, weight, impact, etc, so it's quite tough for one product to satisfy all.  I've been in the car audio hobby for a long time and have had my share of subwoofers.  One thing I found was that despite simply presenting 20Hz to 100Hz scale of information and being geared quite significantly just to do that task, all the subs I've used sound very different from each other.  Each provided s vastly different type of presentation.  The same type of thing happens between mid woofers and tweeters too.  However, in the car audio world you find so very few people discussing the details of sound of a subwoofer.  People know what they like, but they offer extremely minimal technical discussion on the sound and presentational differences between products.  People were a lot more willing to talk in detail about mids and highs, but when it came to bass it turned to caveman definitions with no real detailed descriptions.  In reality, the sound produced from a subwoofer varied just as significantly as any mid woofer or tweeter.  I am kind of reminded of this in the head-fi world too.  We often talk about simply terms like enough or not enough, but we don't try to go into high detail about how the sound is presented and why we get the result we hear.  Is the abundance or lack a sensitivity issue, an issue with dynamic range or even motor strength (can be a big issue), length of decay and subsequent body of note, texturing and detail, impulse strength (impact, edgy <==> smooth, laid back).  In the end, what does the product offer.  What are the strong points and what are the weaknesses.  To understand these things allows us to better understand the type of sound we hear and why we hear that sound the way we do.  We can then better fully understand the product and then describe it to others in precise detail.  In the end, that is the most helpful to others.


I will say that this isn't only about bass.  We can discuss the same with mids and highs too.  A cool example that we've already been discussing here is the RE262.  The treble sounds rolled off but the sensitivity is actually there.  With frequency response testing using pink noise I actually found (to my ears at least) that the treble was emphasized over the midrange and bass range by several dB and that the top end didn't roll off at all.  However, the sound is quite mid-centric with a very soft and to my ears sweet treble response.  It sounds rolled off but isn't rolled off.  Something else is going on.  When comparing against earphones with high treble energy, ones that maintain high detail, bite, aggressiveness, etc. like the RE252, DBA-02, CK10, Triple.Fi 10, GR07, and so on we start to see that the raw energy, that aggressiveness, isn't there.  Rather, the sound becomes softer, more delicate, more laid back.  Bass is certainly another part of this requiring enough sensitivity, decay, and power to be well represented and not just overshadowed by higher frequencies.  Comparing against the RE262, I can easily say earphones like the RE252 and GR07 are vastly more balanced overall because they maintain both an excellent balance in sensitivity but also an excellent balance in presentation where the bass and treble are just as forward, aggressive, and well pronounced as the mids, although we could stop calling it forward because everything is now evenly presented.  Forward then becomes a byproduct of presentation, many times a result of the compression of the dynamic range (highly compressed earphones are very forward and with a small sound stage due to very little dynamic range).   I really do value products that are capable of presenting this even response across the board.  This is where products like the RE252 and GR07 get high kudos for being some comprehensively balanced.  I highly value products that are quite close like the e-Q7.  I also highly value products that show the breadth of capability like the Triple.Fi 10 that could be well balanced with enough EQing assistance.


When discussing the RE272, I am curious where it lies overall in these regards.

post #139 of 273

To me, RE252 can offer nothing over RE272. May be less bright highs, but not better highs. May be, just may be a tad deeper bass, but not better bass overall.

post #140 of 273

I always like to hear that.  This is how I feel when comparing something like the RE-Zero versus the RE252.  You just see that solid step up.  However, comparing something like the RE252 to the RE262, I see them as even leveled but quite different in offering.  With the ability to say something like the RE252 can offering nothing over the RE272, this implies the RE272 is a step up holistically from the RE252 and by implication the RE262, although I question that implication because the driver used in the RE262 is ridiculously good.  The RE262 is one of the very few "wow" earphones I've used.  I can certainly say it doesn't match my preferences, and I would and have picked products like the e-Q7, FX700, or CK100 over it, but I know the driver itself and what it can do is amazing.  The dynamics, level of detail, speed, transparency, and low distortion (of the driver anyway although the earphone gets noisy at high volume) is all extremely good.  It reminds me of high end home audio hardware.  The gearing is not my thing, but I see the performance as well as potential with new implementations of the driver.  I'm curious where the RE272 falls in this.

post #141 of 273

RE262 is another story. There is something in it comparing to RE272. Though this will require in-depth comparison to be named.

post #142 of 273

Well, I bit the bullet and grabbed RE272.


RE272's highs are fantastic. They make short work of Westone 4 and Ety 4P. Apart from the dry sounding 4kHz boost and some slight 6-9k dip, the highs are strong and even.

Extension is not measurable by my ear... beyond 19.5kHz.

Mids are well detailed, with some 2kHz boost adding extra "power" but definitely subtracting from finesse. Quite the inverse of GR07, which have 2kHz dip.

Bass with the right tips is quite on par with GR07 in quality, if not better. Subbass could be more, but with the right fit these are actually just as extended as GR07 with only a hair less energy in the lowest subbass. There's close to zero bass boost on these - perhaps a slight tinge of warmth added, as opposed to quite a bit of extra midbass on GR07.


While GR07 is mid bass-boosted and has 8k boost, but could use more extension, RE272 has slightly leaner subbass (but still great - the original tips are bad though!)

and some 4k boost. All in all, RE272 are more neutral and have that dry presentation, mostly due to the 4kHz boost. Kind of reminds me of experiments with eq before I found the actual flat sound - of overcorrected GR07. All the humps are within 6 dB of my perfect flat sound, which is a better result than GR07 (with its large high bass/low mids boost and a 9k hole)


RE272 sound kind of "electric" aggressive as opposed to "metal" (music and material) aggressive of GR07. Detailing is also different, fairly aggressive, rather on par with BA IEMs as opposed to dynamics. Especially the lower mids are presented with the exact detailing I like.


As for fit, these are quite impossible in the 2 standard position as my ear canal arcs up and these seem to have been set for downward arc. However, the reverse channel configuration is perfect, actually better than GR07.

Included tip kit is quite incompatible with my ears, only the medium single flange works decently and smaller biflange after some softening workout. Not that comfortable still.

However, to my suprise, GR07's silicone tips work extremely well with RE272 - good that I have them. I bet these tips are just *that* good for almost everything...

Medium (green core) Sony hybrid clones work decently too, but are ever so slightly inferior, boosting midbass unnecessarily and 13 kHz "sparkles" as well as providing a bit more fiddly fit.


Soundstage is wide and boundless. Works extremely well with crossfeed, otherwise it's in-head/line, similar to binaural-tuned headphones. Positioning precision is very high, though there are a few IEMs that give slightly better results here I suspect. Once you apply crossfeed, the sound seems correctly placed, quite forward,


The cable is very good, supple yet strong, however the silicone sheath will probably attract dust. Isolation is slightly worse than GR07's, but better than open-backed dynamics. Mostly leaks in high frequencies. I take some issue with the replaceable extension cord's socket part strain relief - it's hard and short, bad match for such a supple cable.

J-shaped anti-snag plug in the extension cables is a nice touch though.

Oh, and they look quite pretty. Their metal-looking (probably not though) casing has the same shape as RE252/262, but has a sheen and color like a silicon ingot - perhaps it's actually made of it too...


Packaging and accessories are almost laughable for such an expensive product.

These IEMs are quite sensitive, more so than GR07. They don't produce any important amounts of hiss though.


All in all, these sound kind of like certain studio monitors and I suppose would do pretty well as such given right tips. Definitely a candidate for custom tips.

They still can't beat GR07 for value due to the price tag and accessories, but other than that, definitely a keeper.


Preliminary equalization:


Equalization fixes the minor leanness of bass and general dry and slightly grainy feel of sound - it gets quite a bit more delicate and refined.

(The frequency response is better than within 6 dB of flat sounding to me, barring the Linkwitz transforms; Excellent result!)

post #143 of 273

These actually respond best to equalization of all the IEMs I've tried. Quite suprising.


The final eq is very, very close to the starting one - suprising that it is so comb-like in the frequency response given that it sounds quite decent when not equalized.

In fact, far better and closer to great end result than GR07, which sounds sibilant - these sound only a bit shouty and grainy, with reduced subbass. Definitely need VSonic's tips though, the other don't seal nearly as well absolutely destroying the bass response. (except green Hybrids, but those actually add extra ringing in high frequencies, not too nice)

Eq actually improves the detailing a fair bit, adds soundstage height and depth noticeably. I'd say unequalized they sound more "cheap" room-like, kind of comb-like effect. With eq they sound more like a boundless dampened space, say, very expensive listening room or a dampened auditorium.

It's like the IEMs don't exist. Better than open-backed headphones.

Compared to GR07, they do have this lively quality that is missing in those. (like the one Brainwavz M2 has, except with *far* more detail and extension)

Guess I'll have to sell the inferior IEMs and headphones some time soon.


About the only way I could think up of improving them is adding custom tips - would likely improve on subbass and perhaps even out a bit...

Edited by AstralStorm - 10/25/11 at 3:15pm
post #144 of 273

Has anyone else tried pairing their 272 with the first gen Zo? blink.gif

post #145 of 273
Thread Starter 

All this discussion on EQ makes me wish I had RE272. Won't be a bad choice for testing out the mysterious, miraculous, magical capabilities of ZO V2 whenever they come. Sigh!

post #146 of 273

I hate to add salt to the wound my friend, but I've been listening to the 272's practically all day today with the Zo V1, and IMHO the Zo makes up for every bit of what's missing from the 272's lows (in terms of weight/impact), just as it does with my ER4S and RE252. basshead.gif

post #147 of 273
Originally Posted by i2ehan View Post

I hate to add salt to the wound my friend, but I've been listening to the 272's practically all day today with the Zo V1, and IMHO the Zo makes up for every bit of what's missing from the 272's lows (in terms of weight/impact), just as it does with my ER4S and RE252. basshead.gif

Quite true as I have tried that combo last week. I still prefer a balanced driven RE272 a tad more, but ZO driven RE272 is definitely the way to go when budget is a concern.


post #148 of 273

I'm still dying to know what a balanced driven 272 sounds like. blink.gif What's the least expensive method I can achieve this?

post #149 of 273
Originally Posted by i2ehan View Post

I'm still dying to know what a balanced driven 272 sounds like. blink.gif What's the least expensive method I can achieve this?

"Effortless" is the word I'll use to describe a balanced driven RE272. The edginess is reduced slightly but the presentation becomes more revealing. Bass has better weight and impact, which is probably the most noticeable change from single end driven. The soundstage, image and separation also improve. Neither of these are day-and-night difference, but the accumulative effect really makes RE272 shine. If anything, it makes unamped RE272 seems like it is 'trying too hard' to get it right, though one might not notice it before listening to a balanced driven RE272.


Here lies the big problem, most portable balanced amp are expensive, usually > $400. Even iBasso PB2 is $325, so it doesn't make much sense to buy a balanced amp for RE272. But if you already own a balanced amp like PB2 or Stapdance, buying RE272 makes much more sense. Another possible option is the new iBasso T5 with is balanced ground. It might be able to do the job but I am not totally sure. I might get one in near future just to try it out.

post #150 of 273

I gotta admit, I'm growing more and more fond of the highly detailed and crisp clear presentation of the 272's, as if I'm enjoying the ER4S with a thicker presentation and in a much better shell. Considering that the Zo leaves me with little to be desired in terms of bass, I'd say the 272's may have earned themselves a permanent seat, right besides the e-Q5 and FX700. Though I'll give them a few days time before that's official. smile.gif

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