Just back from erji.net, a guy writes a review based on his pre-ordered one, and said RE400 can truly be compared with some IEM among $200-300.....
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Top Tier Universal Iem Comparison Chart And Information
Edited on 5/7/10
- Basic Guide To In Ear CanalphonesEdited on 3/22/12
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Upcoming Hifiman IEM's: RE-400 and RE-600 - Page 11
Gear mentioned in this thread:
Depending on the $200-300 IEM we are talking about - yes, I can agree on that. I wouldn't say it's better than all competition in that range, but it certainly keeps up with some of them, maybe even a lot of them.
HiFiMan RE-400 VS Buncha’ Headphones (Part I)
HiFiMan has shown in the past that they deserve to fight with not only the dogs in their league, but also some dogs in the pros. Well, first, we’ll pit them against the best analytical and neutral IEMs in their price range before they play with the big boys. Let the fights begin.
The Weight In
- Price (MSRP): $ 100
- Driver: Single Dynamic
- Signature: Analytic, Neutral
Etymotic Research HF5 (Using)
- Price (MSRP): $ 150
- Driver: Single Balanced Armature
- Signature: Analytic, Neutral
- Price (MSRP): $ 160
- Driver: Dual Balanced Armature (Low + High)
- Singature: Balanced, Analytic
Phonak Audéo PFE 112 (Using Phonak Audéo PFE 022 + Grey Filters)
- Price (MSRP): $ 180
- Driver: Single Balanced Armature
- Singature: Neutral, Analytic
- Price (MSRP): $100
- Driver: Single Balanced Armature
- Signature: Sweet
Round 1: RE-400 VS HF5
Both of these IEMs prove to be well regarded neutral IEMs. They share a very similar signature, you really can’t go wrong either way. Spec-wise, they both hold level ground, but it’s more than just specs.
The RE-400 shows a little greater strength in the lower end against the HF5. It has better presence overall, but also better depth and impact. The HF5 is perceived to have a slightly tighter punch over the RE-400 who has a larger body overall.
The midrange has a lot of similarities, all the way up into the upper midrange. That’s when the HF5s really begin to show they do still shine. The detailing and retrieval of both of these IEMs is beautifully done with good layer. It’s not until you get into the upper ranges where the HF5 shows it’s superior clarity and dynamics.
As we move into the upper part of the spectrum, the HF5 find themselves extending a little further over the RE-400 in just about every area. Splashes decay a little slower, but don’t have that sibilance the RE-400s have. The RE-400s do have slightly better presence in the lower treble though, but both extend and detail very well in this area.
Although they are lacking in bass a bit the HF5s still prove to be technically stronger than the RE-400s, but only by a tad bit. However, the stronger bass on the RE-400 will make them a preference for anyone who hasn’t found the HF5 bass to be enough. As always, preference, even the tiny stuff will play a great deal.
Round 2: RE-400 VS B2
We’ll take a bit of a curve-ball here by throwing the more treble happy, but also a bit more bass happy Brainwavz B2. It’s been well-regarded here now, and do offer a different signature over the RE-400. The main differences include the larger bass body and presence in the B2 as well as more treble overall.
In the lower-end, the B2s seem to do a slightly better job than the RE-400 in terms of bass presence in the lower-bass, they also move a lot faster than the RE-400. That’s where it ends though. The RE-400 seem to be able to dig a little deeper and have a slightly more bodied impact.
The midrange is actually really a strength of both of these IEMs. The B2 seems to do better down in the lower-mids due to their more superior detail retrieval. Both do great in terms of actual detailing. Clarity in the upper-end is done much better by the RE-400 being a step or two above the RE-400. Vocals, too, are better in regards with the RE-400.
The treble regions are dominated by the B2. They do prove to be much more energetic and powerful, which can quickly become a bad thing for some. Both can have a bit of sibilance to them, however, the B2s do better with treble extension in both the upper and lower treble offering better perceived detailing and sparkle. The RE-400s don’t trail far behind in any of this though. The B2 is really in your face with the treble, the RE-400 can sound laid back in comparison.
Overall, I have to say that the B2s treble puts it slightly ahead of the RE-400, but can quickly backfire if people aren’t into treble-happy IEMs. The midrange has to go to the RE-400. I can’t really see either IEM being technically better, it’s really a level playing field for these two, a great battle that would end in preference.
Round 3: RE-400 VS PFE 112
The third round goes right back towards neutral. Again, two IEMs that share very similar signatures. Like with the HF5, you really can’t go wrong either way. The PFE 112 does have the customizable sound (will not be tested against though) that can alter the signature of the Phonaks.
In the lower-end, the RE-400 shows that it has a larger bass body. The PFEs dig as deep into the lower spectrums as the 400, but offer a slightly stronger impact while bing able to match the RE-400’s tightness in the mid-bass. It’s really a clean ride either direction you regarding the bass. The PFE is a step ahead though.
Looking into the midrange, it’s the strength of both of these IEMs. The lower midrange is a little portrayed by the Phonaks, but really the differences are tiny. Detailing and retrieval is really a wash. The differences work in the upper midrange where the RE-400 do take a step ahead offering stronger dynamics due to stronger clarity. Neither midrange is really bad though.
I’ve already stated that the RE-400’s treble is a little more sibilant than the PFEs, however, they also do extend a little further than the PFEs in the upper range. The PFE does give more sparkle and energy though. The lower treble is really a wash for both of these IEMs. They share similar characteristics when it comes to extension and presence down here.
Choosing a winner here is a tough one, but I’d have to say it goes to the PFE despite having less extension, it does deal a few other things better. Neither IEM is perfect in any regard. Small differences really set apart these two IEMs.
Round 4: RE-400 vs A161p
The MEE A161p and RE-400s differ in signature a little bit. THe A161s are a sweeter sound while the RE-400s focus on being more neutral. They have their ups and downs, and signature differences do stand out.
Down low, the A161s show a bit more bass presence while being able to do a few things a little better. The first, is that the texturing seems a little more dynamic, despite using BAs. It seems to have a little more depth and body behind it. The lower bass impacts run much stronger with the A161s as well. They keep the tightness than the RE-400s have though. With the low-end, it’s really a one sided battle.
The midrange differences are big, however. The MEEs sound a lot warmer than the RE-400s in comparison. Despite all of it though, the RE-400s show they do a better job with detail retrieval while both can detail amply. Clarity in the upper range is also taken by the RE-400 slightly. Where the RE-400s continue taking the upper hand with vocal energy and lift in the upper-ranges. The MEEs have a smoother sound, but also have a nice bit of lushness and vocal depth to them.
The highs are really where the A161s fell short. The lower treble was fine for both concerning detailing and presence; they are both actually very similar regarding quantity here. However, that’s where the similarities end. The RE-400 still does extension better in the lower and upper treble while providing quite a bit more sparkle and energy. They can be a bit more sibilant though.
Between the A161 and the RE-400, the 400s would technically be better, but only by the slightest of margins. I really wouldn’t count either one out, they are both very strong IEMs. If you do need the thickness and strength in your bass, but kept at an accurate level, the A161 would still be my suggestion. If you want mids and treble, the 400s are just small step up.
To end off, I have to say that the RE-400s impressed me a lot. They are very strong contenders and do play well into becoming a great value. To date, the HF5s can be found for about 100 bucks, which makes them the best value on the list. Following suit though would be the RE-400s. They are truly a remarkable IEM. They have their short-comings, but do very well for themselves.
Stay tuned though, the fight path for the RE-400 isn’t over yet. It still has to face off against some of the biggest IEMs that have hit Head-Fi recently.
More to Come
- Heir Audio 4.Ai
- Logitech Ultimate Ears UE 900
- Westone W4R
- Phonak PFE232
If there are any other comparisons anyone wants, let me know!
Edited by tinyman392 - 1/7/13 at 9:28pm
thanks a lot for that review tinyman392. My 262 is is supposed to be replaced because the right ear isnt playing anymore. Now I am wondering if they will send me RE-400 instead, and I am also wondering if I would like em compared to the 262
I'd be surprised if they were replacing the RE262 repair issues w/ the RE-400. They aren't comparatively priced models, unless the $100 for the RE-400 is a special introductory price. I bet they have plenty of RE262 on hand saved up for replacements, but maybe not... I know if my RE262 went out I'd be disappointed getting the RE-400, unless there was a general consensus it is better than the RE262...which if it is, makes this the best value in ear ever (well, at least one of them!)
- Upcoming Hifiman IEM's: RE-400 and RE-600
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