Thanks for Riccardo from Hifiman Taiwan for sending me this review sample of Hifiman RE400 Waterline 99USD.
Hifiman has gained their reputation among the audiophile crowd, Hifiman is a skillful company from China that successfully blends audio quality and price factor nicely and present to customers. I am always excited in Hifiman products, until recently when I have chance to hands on with RE400 and HE400, I really impressed with the performance.
RE400 using a micro-dynamic (8.5mm) titanium driver. Micro-driver seems to be one of the trends IEM manufacturers like to employ, micro-driver is fast, detailed and clear in common, this is why you can see a lot of head-fiers love the Yamaha EPH-100. Just like other micro dynamic driver IEM, Hifiman RE400 is relatively small and light in hand or in ears, this is crucial for comfort level issue, and I am really happy to report that RE400 is comfortable and fit in ears properly.
Build quality wise it is good and fairly up to 100USD, finishing is nice but the outlook is a little bit of like and hate. I personally don’t find it looks interesting, however this will not be any major issue though. RE400 is really small and light, I doubt anyone will say that it is uncomfortable, even it do gives some microphonic issue.
I have paired Hifiman RE400 with Firestone Audio Fubar HD, Arce MDAC3, Yulong Audio D100 II, JDS Labs Objective 2 and Audinst HUD-MX2.
Hifiman RE400 Waterline has a ‘water’ kind of sound, please allowed me to elaborate more into this. First, RE400 has a smooth and round off sound signature that seems to ‘extract’ the ‘excitement factor’ of the music. No, it is not boring or rolled off in the frequency, it is just ‘round off’.
RE400 has a very smooth and slightly warm sound signature, which I personally think RE400 is quite good for most genre of music, except the dubstep and equivalence. It is fast, I am not surprised though, sounded effortless. I played some songs that required good speed, RE400 played them effortless, with a smooth sound signature.
Soundstage is just about average, luckily it is awesome’ly’ spacious and opened sounding (It is still not opened as an ear bud or the best in game, but is already impressive). I played album ‘Soulbook’(Rod Stewart), when the song ‘you make me feel brand new’ played, it is very expressive, vocal and instrument separation is stunning. Bass quite tight along with a good body, but it is not as deep, impactful and punchy as I like.
The album ‘Matter of Time’ (Michael Allen Harrison and Friends), piano sounded real and good, instruments separate from each other nicely but still blend well in term of musicality. Instruments and vocal based songs is really RE400’s cup of tea, I think it handled them well. RE400 might lack some ambience when playing the live recording such as ‘Hell Freezes Over’ (The Eagles), but it is not too bad either, I will be ridiculous if I expecting RE400 to performed as some of the flagship, but for 99USD, I can’t really complaining anything.
Clarity and transparency is impressively clear, when I played the Smooth Criminal (Album David Garett), it is fast and transparent, I am really enjoying the song. Sound is clean, effortless and lean. What if RE400 has good detail level? And yes it is!
I played some mainstream music 'I love it' (Icona Pop), although RE400 has tight and deep (For this price range) but it decayed too fast and does not goes low enoguh, impact, rumble and body is not what RE400 really excel in. Besides mainstream music (Hip-Hop and Dubstep equiv.), I really like the RE400. RE400 extract the 'aggressive' and 'impact' these type of musics needed, everything are like has been 'rounded off', like a razor blade that has been 'rounded off' for making it not that sharp.
What else can I say? Hifiman RE400 is really doing great in term of sound quality, comfort level and price factor. I recommended this for those who just started in this audiophile path, and not intended to throw in a lot of money, this is really good and I can say perfect for those who just started this audiophile hobby(Not for basshead though) simply because it does not need an amp to shine, it is reasonably priced and it sounded great! Hoooray!