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HiFiman RE-400 or Yamaha EPH-100?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

So I'm in a bit of a bind here. Where I live, you can't really return a pair of IEMs you've taken out of the packaging (don't know how that works in other countries), so I can't really go test any of these and will have to decide based on reviews and recommendations.

 

I need to replace my SE530 which I've had for almost 5 years. It would be nice to get some IEMs that have a somewhat different sound, just for the sake of having something different. It will be mainly used for commuting and exercising, so I'm looking in a lower price bracket. Already have good full-size headphones for listening at home.

 

So far I've narrowed it down to either the RE-400 or EPH-100. The Vsonics are hard to get where I live and apparently almost every website it out of stock right now anyway, and I can't wait too long on getting new IEMs.

 

The RE-400 or EPH-100 apparently have somewhat different sound signatures. The thing is, I'm afraid that either the RE-400 is going to be too bass-light or the EPH-100 too bass heavy, from what I've read so far on these IEMs. I listen to a wide variety of music, such as rock, alternative, electronic, dance, ambient, pop, sometimes classical, jazz, etc. I liked the sound of the SE530, but I've also become bored with it now, so time for something different. On certain types of music, I love it when the bass is impactful and deep, but with other types of music I wanna hear the emotion in the vocals shine through and hear all the subtle plucks on a guitar and have that riff give me goosebumps. I certainly don't like a boomy bass, and I'm not a basshead either, but I'm not sure if I want a completely neutral sound either, a warmish sound is nice to me.

 

Who here has experience with both these IEMs and how do they differ exactly? What are the differences in terms of bass/mids/treble/soundstage/imaging/isolation?

 

Thanks!

post #2 of 24

I saw you're posts in joker's thread and the EPH-100 thread, and figured you'd have a separate thread open. :p I recently had the EPH-100, RE-400 and GR07 MKII at the same time.  A little background - my first 'good' IEM was the RE-ZERO a while back, which I loved but always found myself wanting a bit more low end.  I then moved to the GR07 BE, which is very satisfying in the bass while still retaining a fair bit of linearity, but I found the treble to be a bit too offensive, aggressive and sibilant at times.  I then decided to try out the RE-400, and after a few weeks with them and the BE, I found myself reaching for the RE-400 more so I parted with the BE.  A few months later, I decided to acquire a GR07 MKII, then a month after that an EPH-100 to do some more comparisons.  I have since parted with the all but the RE-400 as it fits my preferences best, but more on that later...I'll throw in some comparison of the GR07 but focus on the two in question the most.

 

EPH-100

 

The EPH-100 between the three has the greatest emphasis towards bass as you may have heard, but it isn't excessive in that it adversely interferes with the lower mids or muddies up the sound in any way.  However, the high mids/low treble seems to be least prominent/laid-back overall of the three and so the elevation in bass can make this more apparent depending on the style of music you're listening to.  This is not necessarily bad - as a result they're quite smooth and never offensive in that frequency region.  I think the highlights with this IEM are in it's musicality, bass impact, warmth and the bass/mid transition.  On the bass, there's plenty of sub-bass presence and it has a good bit of decay.  I think in this particular presentation that's good because it makes the bass feel more real, more tactile albeit some may argue it 'sounds slower' due to the lengthier decay.  I never really got that feeling though.  There is a bit of a mid-bass emphasis but not too much...so you get a sense of impact but without much congestion.

 

This IEM is definitely one I would call engaging, musical and fun.  Because of the bass body, the overall sound and mids are warm/full...never felt thin, basically.  The texture and quality of the bass are better than most, but was ultimately bested by the more monitor quality of the GR07s and in a few instances the RE-400...still, I never felt they were lacking and for things like EDM, or any electronica I still preferred the EPH-100's more engaging presentation and ability to provide more tactile bass.  The bass remains clean and controlled regardless of what you're throwing at these.  The bass and low-mids align quite nicely and transition effortlessly even if they are pushed back a bit as a result of the bass emphasis...they never really sound recessed.  The upper mids however are noticeably laid-back and while this lends to their smoothness it can have an affect on micro-detail and resolution here depending on the style of music.  For example, these were my least favorite for vocals, but my most favorite for instrumental EDM.  Still on their own, they're quite good as an all-arounder if you're after a more musical presentation.

 

Treble is relatively prominent compared to the rest of the FR but in a laid-back fashion (again, smoothness is the name of the game here) though they still manage to be pretty airy sounding.  Not quite as much as the RE-400, and further from the GR07 but not by much overall.  It's a small compromise, and a more favorable treble presentation from my experience with the GR07...but like the upper mids you'll loose out on a bit of resolution with them being more laid-back.  The soundstage is quite nice...the GR07 was the wider of the three but had the least depth/height which I felt made it's presentation a bit odd at times.  The EPH-100 is a bit better at balancing the soundstage and perceived distances/imaging capabilities (not as wide/distant sounding at the GR07) but not quite as good in this balance it as the RE-400, which seems to have a bit more perceived space/openness.  The EPH-100 is well above average though, don't get me wrong...it's right below the RE-400 in most of these aspects.  Both have a fairly 'spherical' and 3D soundstage, even if they're not the largest out there both are quite natural.

 

RE-400

 

The RE-400 is the more linear, mid-focused of the three.  The bass isn't flat, it's still a tad bit emphasized but has the least amount of presence of the three...if a track calls for bass, it can deliver (as much as a micro-driver can).  Bass extension/depth is very good like the others but it's the least punchy of the three...the other two have more mid-bass comparatively.  Overall, the mid-range is the most forward of the three.  Because of the more linear bass, slightly forward mids and slightly less peaky treble (compared to the GR07 anyway), these are overall the least fatiguing and most relaxed of the three.  Between the two in question, the sub-bass will be the biggest initial difference as the RE-400's is less forward and decays quicker...so it may seem less exciting as a result.  In some cases, the bass resolution and texture I felt was better on the RE-400 but due to it being less prominent, these details can be missed in a complex song or when you've got more going on in the mids/treble.  Bass/Mid/High transition seems effortless and never wonky/unnatural.  The RE-400 does have warmth/body to it and just so happened to be at the right level for me...but it's noticeably less than that of the EPH-100.

 

As for the mids, they're the star of the show here.  They're almost forward but not quite so, lending to a more intimate presentation in regards to vocals and acoustic instruments...but not overly so.  The soundstage to me seems like a natural size whereas the GR07 was perceived to be a bit oddly shaped with more width than depth.  Depth is well rendered here, I'd say better than the other two, which tends to be good for mids as that is where alot of instrumentation and complexity resides.  As I mentioned before though, on overly complex passages in songs this may detract from other aspects like what is going on in the bass.  The mids, I feel, are the most life-like of the three, and I think this is aided by the fact that they have a very transparent presentation and excellent imaging capabilities.  Because the mid-range is more forward comparatively, things like vocals seem closer to you on average, or more like you're being presented with them in a smaller venue.

 

The treble presentation was for me the best compromise between the other two, sounding the most 'correct'and natural.  The treble here is well extended, I'd say better than the EPH-100 and is a bit more resolving overall...it felt the most natural to my ear of the three.  Well extended, never overly harsh/sibilant like the GR07 but not overly relaxed like the EPH-100 for my tastes.  I felt the treble resolution was better than the EPH-100 overall, and a bit more sparkly next to the EPH-100 (in a favorable way) while still relatively smooth and forgiving of even my more 'intense' and poorly recorded tracks where the GR07 would almost be overbearing at times.  I will say the EPH-100 has the smoothest treble, but I have yet to be offended in any way with the RE-400's presentation there.  I would not classify these as bright IEMs, but side by side with the EPH-100 they're noticeably brighter.  These just so happen to have that perfect compromise for me, especially good because some of the stuff I listen to doesn't have the best mastering or recording quality.  They really do shine when you present them with some well recorded/mastered tracks, and really the same can be said with well matched tracks on the EPH-100.

 

Note:  Most of my comparison has been done after I performed a modification to the RE-400 that involves placing a small felt disc in the nozzle, between the damping foam already there and the HiFiMan protective filter.  This essentially attenuates everything above 1kHz by about 1-3dB (depending on the frequency) which ultimately bring everything below 1kHz a tad bit more forward.  This adds a bit to lower mids/bass and a bit more warmth, without any perceivable adverse affects otherwise.  PM me for more details.  

 

Conclusion/Physical Characteristics

 

Basically, this is more of a genre dependent thing, but overall I found the RE-400 to be the best compromise for use with multiple genres (and I listen to alot).  Also, I think I'm more of a 'mid-head' than anything...which wasn't always the case, as I'd classify myself closer to a 'bass-head' at one point.  HiFiMan has sort of a house sound going with their IEMs, which I've liked so far (I've heard the RE0, RE-ZERO, RE-262, RE-600 so far).  I've seen joker mention a few times that both of these IEMs will cover all your bases, and I think that's certainly true given their strengths and weaknesses with any given genre.  Had I not needed to slim down my collection and if I were using IEMs more, I'd have kept the EPH-100 along side the RE-400 because I think they work well together.  Ultimately, I couldn't part with the RE-400. 

 

Beyond sound, both have similar construction/durability, with the RE-400 being a bit smaller with a more narrow nozzle.  The EPH-100 may have the upper hand in cable durability, but I'd rate them similarly.  Fit will be determined by your ear canal, but I was able to get a good seal with both and I typically wear medium sized tips with most IEMs.  Isolation was similar (and tip dependent) because both are ported dynamic micro-drivers, but assuming you get a good seal they should isolate about the same.  If you are outside with either and there is wind, expect some wind noise due to the port.  Both work just fine over the ear, and that is optimal for reducing microphonics which will likely be present when worn cable down.  The lower half of the RE-400 cable has a nylon sheath, which helps with microphonics too.  Because of nozzle size, the RE-400 will fit more ear canals and have a wider variety of tip choices...including foam tips which I don't think will work on the EPH-100 (not tried though).

 

Now, I've not heard any Shure IEMs yet, but what I've read of the SE-535, what genres you like (the bulk of them anyway) and the type of sound you're after, the EPH-100 may be the one for you.  I wish I could offer more comparison to your current IEMs, but I can say that vocals and acoustic instruments will likely be presented better in most people's opinion with the RE-400.

post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by modulor View Post
 

 

 

Note:  Most of my comparison has been done after I performed a modification to the RE-400 that involves placing a small felt disc in the nozzle, between the damping foam already there and the HiFiMan protective filter.  This essentially attenuates everything above 1kHz by about 1-3dB (depending on the frequency) which ultimately bring everything below 1kHz a tad bit more forward.  This adds a bit to lower mids/bass and a bit more warmth, without any perceivable adverse affects otherwise.  PM me for more details.  

 

 

:beerchug: You the man! Thanks for this elaborate write up! Really appreciate it! It's very helpful, and I'm sure it'll help many other head-fiers as well.

 

Instead of PMing you for more details about the mod you did, I might as well ask you here, so that others can also benefit. So this mod on the RE-400, you say it attenuates everything above 1kHz, which in effect pushing everything below 1kHz slightly forward. So how much does it warm up the sound? And is this a difficult mod to do, i.e. is it easy to screw up and damage the IEM?

 

Also, in terms of build quality, which one do you perceive as being more durable? I've read issues coming up with the cable on the RE-400, the strain-relief by the drivers coming off and stuff like that.

 

Lastly, in terms of sub-bass, how do these compare to each other? Do you think EDM (I actually listen to a lot of electronic music, but not necessarily the fast paced EDM type, more the laid back relaxing type, I'm not that young anymore that I want to listen to those pumping beats, although sometimes I can still appreciate it, such as when working out) would still be enjoyable on the RE-400? Or would the EPH-100 definitely have the edge there? Because the way you describe things, overall the RE-400 seems like the more versatile of the two, but I don't want to give up too much in the bass department either, as with some of the genres I listen to, it's almost required. But yeah, when listening to acoustic music and vocals, the RE-400 will probably really shine, which I do a lot too.

 

It almost seems like I should get and keep both, but I just don't have the budget for it :)

post #4 of 24

No prob!

 

So for starters you can find some more info and discussion about the two IEMs over here:

 

http://rinchoi.blogspot.com/2013/03/hifiman-re-400-evolution-or-devolution.html

 

http://rinchoi.blogspot.com/2012/07/yamaha-eph-100.html

 

Here, Rin (the blog owner) has measured and analysed these two (and many others) in a good bit of detail.  For starters, you've got a visual to see how they differ in the frequency range in the second chart on each page, which is measured in dB.  I know measurements aren't everything and it's really about hearing it and trusting your ear (so I've learned) but having had them side by side, I feel these charts are still helpful.  He also has distortion measurements (both of which fall in the range of excellent) and some waterfall plots of the frequency range (that show decay in milliseconds), so you can see what I mean on the EPH-100 page by the sub-bass decay.

 

The felt mod I referred to about the RE-400 was originally his idea, along with user Inks, and they toured a pair of RE-600 around for it to do comparisons which I was part of.  The idea was that you can get closer to the signature of the RE-600 by performing this simple filter mod, which is mostly true...but I found myself liking the RE-400 more after some experimentation myself, and more than the RE-600 for that matter.  In this chart, you can see his measurements adding and removing acoustic damping material:

 

 

The chart on the right is the most useful.  The teal line is stock, which means the stock nozzle foam and HiFiMan filter are in place like how you'd pull them out of the box.  You can see by removing both of those, the treble at 6-7kHz rises by about 6dB, whereas if you add a microfiber handkerchief to the stock configuration, it will attenuate the same region down about 5dB.  Based on trying most of these configurations myself, then trying my own materials, including a fairly thin sheet of felt, I determined the felt was best for me as it doesn't attenuate quite as much as the handkerchief did.  The mod is as simple as cutting out a small circle of material (microfiber cloth, felt, etc.), using a small sewing needle to lift the HiFiMan filter off the nozzle (they have a little bit of adhesive), dropping the material in and reapplying the filter.  I'd say it's not hard at all, just a matter of getting the damping material the right size.  By pushing those upper frequencies down, you're raising the low mids/bass region up comparatively a bit...so it indeed warms it up some.  Not to the levels of the EPH-100, but after some time with it I was more satisfied with the felt configuration.

 

Build quality issues were apparently resolved as it was a problem with early batches, but mine is from one of the earlier batches and I've had no problems so far.  I think it was ultimately a low percentage of people overall that had issues.  Build quality is definitely better than the RE-ZERO and RE-262 IMO.  The EPH-100 strain relief has a bit more flex whereas the RE-400 is a bit more rigid, so I imagine if you put enough pressure on that area it could be problematic for either for two different reasons, but general use I had no worries about either.  As long as you're not super rough with these, you should be OK, but I'd lean towards the EPH-100 for overall build quality because the driver essentially clips into the housing from the nozzle area, and the RE-400 is a two piece shell that has the driver mounted inside and is likely adhered together.  Unless you're like, hitting either of these with a hammer, they should both withstand a good bit of daily punishment.

 

For that type of EDM, the EPH-100 would be my first recommendation over everything else I've heard.  I don't listen to a ton of that myself, but it's definitely favorable on them.  I can't say I'm dissatisfied with that style music on the RE-400, but that's part of the compromise...the EPH-100 is more exciting and involving, even if it isn't quite as accurate or resolving.  Both are excellent all-arounders really, it just so happened that my preferences and the things I listen to more were most favorable on the RE-400.  It could be bass-light for some, but I know know where to place it compared to what you're used to with the SE530.  I wish I had the budget for both too, but I'm glad I got to try them side by side for a period...that is really the best way to tell and you can trust your ears as to which will be best.  That is always my first recommendation if it's an option.

post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 

Thanks man. I've made up my mind and I'm going for the EPH-100. I think I'll experience the RE-400 as being too bass light, compared to what I'm used to. I'm by no means a bass-head, but I do like a decent amount of bass presence and I think the EPH-100 will be closer to what I'm looking for compared to the RE-400.

 

Really appreciate you taking the time to write all this up. Good karma for you! :)

 

Edit: So now I'm just dumbfounded. I had already ordered the RE-400 and received them yesterday. So just now I sent an e-mail to the place I ordered it from. They call me back and urge me to burn it in for 24 hours and try it out. They said that I shouldn't worry about their official return policy (which states that only unused IEMs can be returned). He even said I should try the included Comply foam tips and really give them a close listen. Now that's what I call service :) At least now I'll more easily be able to make up my mind (my ears will be the best judge of this). I'll make up my mind over the weekend then.


Edited by starfly - 2/6/14 at 1:27am
post #6 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by starfly View Post
 

Thanks man. I've made up my mind and I'm going for the EPH-100. I think I'll experience the RE-400 as being too bass light, compared to what I'm used to. I'm by no means a bass-head, but I do like a decent amount of bass presence and I think the EPH-100 will be closer to what I'm looking for compared to the RE-400.

 

Really appreciate you taking the time to write all this up. Good karma for you! :)

 

Edit: So now I'm just dumbfounded. I had already ordered the RE-400 and received them yesterday. So just now I sent an e-mail to the place I ordered it from. They call me back and urge me to burn it in for 24 hours and try it out. They said that I shouldn't worry about their official return policy (which states that only unused IEMs can be returned). He even said I should try the included Comply foam tips and really give them a close listen. Now that's what I call service :) At least now I'll more easily be able to make up my mind (my ears will be the best judge of this). I'll make up my mind over the weekend then.

Very cool on the seller's behalf, I respect that.  Well, now you'll have at least a trial of the RE-400!  I will say that tips with a more narrow bore (like the mini double flanges) will also attenuate the upper frequencies a bit, and foams may do similar.  There's a variety of tips they come with to try, so I say see which works best...I personally like the wide bore tip with the double bump, for whatever reason I get the best seal with that and it doesn't cut out any higher frequencies (that is what the felt is for).  If you are careful, you could try out putting some microfiber/felt in the nozzle, or even just in the tip itself, to see the effects of that...it will be subtle at first, but use some reference tracks that you know well.  Just be careful putting the damping material in the tips, as you don't want it to fall out in your ear :p As long as you're getting a proper seal with any tips, I think you'll see the merits of their low end, especially with bass heavy tracks.  However, if you find yourself wanting more, you know where to go next!

post #7 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by modulor View Post
 

Very cool on the seller's behalf, I respect that.  Well, now you'll have at least a trial of the RE-400!  I will say that tips with a more narrow bore (like the mini double flanges) will also attenuate the upper frequencies a bit, and foams may do similar.  There's a variety of tips they come with to try, so I say see which works best...I personally like the wide bore tip with the double bump, for whatever reason I get the best seal with that and it doesn't cut out any higher frequencies (that is what the felt is for).  If you are careful, you could try out putting some microfiber/felt in the nozzle, or even just in the tip itself, to see the effects of that...it will be subtle at first, but use some reference tracks that you know well.  Just be careful putting the damping material in the tips, as you don't want it to fall out in your ear :p As long as you're getting a proper seal with any tips, I think you'll see the merits of their low end, especially with bass heavy tracks.  However, if you find yourself wanting more, you know where to go next!

Well, have been giving it a bit of a listen after it's been burning for several hours. It's relatively clinical compared to the SE530, but I'm not so sure if that's a bad thing yet :) The bass so far isn't disappointing. On some tracks the SE530 provides a bit more, but I was also testing some EDM and there's plenty of oomph on the RE-400. Not bad at all. It extends farther than I expected from what I was reading, though it doesn't reach as deep in sub-bass as the SE530 does. Makes me realize how sweet the SE530 actually sounds, I guess I've taken them for granted after having them for nearly 5 years :)

 

Not sure about the mids yet though, or the highs, it might be every so slightly too much in my face. But I feel like the brightness has subdued ever so slightly with the burn in. Will leave them to burn in overnight and throughout the day when I'm at work. Will test again tomorrow. Might try out that mod you described as well, but only if I decide to keep them. Don't want to accidentally ruin them :)

 

So far I've been trying the big double-flange tip included, as I seem to get the best seal with that and it's also the most comfortable.

 

The EPH-100 is also on the way, but I don't think that this particular seller will be open to me testing them out. I feel like the seller/store of the RE-400 is an actual audiophile (hence him urging me to try it out and experiment with the comply tips), whereas the store I got the EPH-100 from is just a 'normal' store.


Edited by starfly - 2/6/14 at 2:41pm
post #8 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by starfly View Post
 

Well, have been giving it a bit of a listen after it's been burning for several hours. It's relatively clinical compared to the SE530, but I'm not so sure if that's a bad thing yet :) The bass so far isn't disappointing. On some tracks the SE530 provides a bit more, but I was also testing some EDM and there's plenty of oomph on the RE-400. Not bad at all. It extends farther than I expected from what I was reading, though it doesn't reach as deep in sub-bass as the SE530 does. Makes me realize how sweet the SE530 actually sounds, I guess I've taken them for granted after having them for nearly 5 years :)

 

Not sure about the mids yet though, or the highs, it might be every so slightly too much in my face. But I feel like the brightness has subdued ever so slightly with the burn in. Will leave them to burn in overnight and throughout the day when I'm at work. Will test again tomorrow. Might try out that mod you described as well, but only if I decide to keep them. Don't want to accidentally ruin them :)

 

So far I've been trying the big double-flange tip included, as I seem to get the best seal with that and it's also the most comfortable.

 

The EPH-100 is also on the way, but I don't think that this particular seller will be open to me testing them out. I feel like the seller/store of the RE-400 is an actual audiophile (hence him urging me to try it out and experiment with the comply tips), whereas the store I got the EPH-100 from is just a 'normal' store.

Yes, I say give them a little bit more time and allow your ear to adjust to the new signature.  I don't know how long you can trial them, but if you can go like 2-3 days using them exclusively, then go back to the SE530 which you know quite well, the differences will be most apparent.  Your assessment of the bass is pretty accurate...they are quite linear down to the sub-bass, but unless the track calls for it, they won't inject any additional bass into the mix, which can be bad and good.  EDM is pretty enjoyable with these, but to give you a good example of what I mean, if you listen to something that has complex instrumentation or lots of vocals, things like upright bass on lower notes seem to be kind of perceivably pushed back because those notes are more 'felt' (like in a live performance) and the tiny drivers can't compensate.  Definitely less apparent when that is more the focus of the track, which is the case for some EDM...but on the EPH-100 with the sub-bass (and bass in general) being more forward, it's going to be more apparent and 'intense' overall so you get a better tactile sensation there.  It sounds like the Shures are a bit less linear overall, with more emphasis on the bass and lower mids being more forward...they must be really smooth because I think the RE-400 is fairly smooth, at least compared to the GR07 haha.  Adding in damping material will definitely attenuate a bit depending on how much and what you use, so just keep that in mind too if you don't want to risk anything.  I'd say in the grand scheme of modifications, it's pretty innocuous so if you do decide to keep them, I wouldn't worry about risking damage doing that.  You can still demo the effects if you place the material into the tips, but as I said just be careful that it doesn't fall out :p you should have enough room in the bore of the large double-flanges.

 

You're probably right on the sellers...well, I know I'd be tempted but it's up to you.  You could just try both side by side, and sell the one you don't choose at a bit of a loss and consider it a 'renter's fee' if they won't accept the return...happens all the time on head-fi!

post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by modulor View Post
 

Yes, I say give them a little bit more time and allow your ear to adjust to the new signature.  I don't know how long you can trial them, but if you can go like 2-3 days using them exclusively, then go back to the SE530 which you know quite well, the differences will be most apparent.  Your assessment of the bass is pretty accurate...they are quite linear down to the sub-bass, but unless the track calls for it, they won't inject any additional bass into the mix, which can be bad and good.  EDM is pretty enjoyable with these, but to give you a good example of what I mean, if you listen to something that has complex instrumentation or lots of vocals, things like upright bass on lower notes seem to be kind of perceivably pushed back because those notes are more 'felt' (like in a live performance) and the tiny drivers can't compensate.  Definitely less apparent when that is more the focus of the track, which is the case for some EDM...but on the EPH-100 with the sub-bass (and bass in general) being more forward, it's going to be more apparent and 'intense' overall so you get a better tactile sensation there.  It sounds like the Shures are a bit less linear overall, with more emphasis on the bass and lower mids being more forward...they must be really smooth because I think the RE-400 is fairly smooth, at least compared to the GR07 haha.  Adding in damping material will definitely attenuate a bit depending on how much and what you use, so just keep that in mind too if you don't want to risk anything.  I'd say in the grand scheme of modifications, it's pretty innocuous so if you do decide to keep them, I wouldn't worry about risking damage doing that.  You can still demo the effects if you place the material into the tips, but as I said just be careful that it doesn't fall out :p you should have enough room in the bore of the large double-flanges.

 

You're probably right on the sellers...well, I know I'd be tempted but it's up to you.  You could just try both side by side, and sell the one you don't choose at a bit of a loss and consider it a 'renter's fee' if they won't accept the return...happens all the time on head-fi!

I've been listening to the RE-400 all night so far and I notice that with some music I keep EQ'ing up the bass a bit, and with some other music I keep turning the EQ off. But I'd say so far that overall these are good IEMs in terms of detail retrieval and neutrality. But I'm starting to realize that I might not be the most typical audiophile, in the sense that I think I prefer a slightly warmer (colored) sound signature vs. the neutralish signature of the RE-400. It just makes the sound slightly more enjoyable to me. The upside of the neutrality, though, is that they EQ well. But ideally, I don't want to have to use an EQ at all :)

 

For instance, my full-size Sony 7520 headphones are highly detailed and portray pretty much the whole frequency range with a lot of texture and detail, but they also add a touch of warmth (more than the RE-400 adds to the mix). And the same goes for the SE530, which also add a touch of warmth that makes the overall sound more enjoyable. Musical I guess.

 

Either way, I'm looking forward to receiving the EPH-100 tomorrow, I'm just gonna unpack it and try them out. If I still end up choosing the RE-400 over the Yammies, I'll just deal with selling the EPH-100 used. And otherwise, if I choose the EPH-100 I can simply return the RE-400.

 

The mids of the RE-400 are indeed their strong point though. The highs I'm still getting used to, as my ears have been trained to 5 years of rolled-off treble with the SE530. My full-size 7520 doesn't have that problem, but most of my music listening is done while commuting, on the SE530. Extended treble is actually something of a novelty for me :)

 

Perhaps that mod you discussed would tilt the sound signature of the RE-400 towards the right balance for me. But that's something I'll experiment with Sunday night, tomorrow is a busy day for me. I will give the EPH-100 a quick spin though for an initial impression, then let them burn-in over-night, just in case :)


Edited by starfly - 2/7/14 at 2:12pm
post #10 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by starfly View Post
 

I've been listening to the RE-400 all night so far and I notice that with some music I keep EQ'ing up the bass a bit, and with some other music I keep turning the EQ off. But I'd say so far that overall these are good IEMs in terms of detail retrieval and neutrality. But I'm starting to realize that I might not be the most typical audiophile, in the sense that I think I prefer a slightly warmer (colored) sound signature vs. the neutralish signature of the RE-400. It just makes the sound slightly more enjoyable to me. The upside of the neutrality, though, is that they EQ well. But ideally, I don't want to have to use an EQ at all :)

 

For instance, my full-size Sony 7520 headphones are highly detailed and portray pretty much the whole frequency range with a lot of texture and detail, but they also add a touch of warmth (more than the RE-400 adds to the mix). And the same goes for the SE530, which also add a touch of warmth that makes the overall sound more enjoyable. Musical I guess.

 

Either way, I'm looking forward to receiving the EPH-100 tomorrow, I'm just gonna unpack it and try them out. If I still end up choosing the RE-400 over the Yammies, I'll just deal with selling the EPH-100 used. And otherwise, if I choose the EPH-100 I can simply return the RE-400.

 

The mids of the RE-400 are indeed their strong point though. The highs I'm still getting used to, as my ears have been trained to 5 years of rolled-off treble with the SE530. My full-size 7520 doesn't have that problem, but most of my music listening is done while commuting, on the SE530. Extended treble is actually something of a novelty for me :)

 

Perhaps that mod you discussed would tilt the sound signature of the RE-400 towards the right balance for me. But that's something I'll experiment with Sunday night, tomorrow is a busy day for me. I will give the EPH-100 a quick spin though for an initial impression, then let them burn-in over-night, just in case :)

That's completely understandable...I'm like that actually.  I mean, look at my desktop rig...tubes and the HE-500!  I like warm, smooth and musical too.  There are some parallels with my portables and my home rig, but I kind of like the differences a bit.  All 'audiophiles' have different preferences, we just happen to prefer musicality over ultimate detail/analytical types...I feel the RE-400 is a good compromise between the two.  Trust me, there are much colder, more sterile sounding options out there...but also even more smooth, warmer sounding options.  I think the EPH-100 will better put things into perspective once you hear it, and I'm interested in your upcoming impressions.  I think the acoustic damping mod may be the little nudge in the right direction you need with the RE-400, but I think you're going to like both for different reasons ultimately...after hearing them, it'll be easier to choose where you want to make the compromises :o The microfiber cloth is like the kind you get to clean glasses, so you can typically find those at Target/Walmart type stores.  You can also try a standard cotton handkerchief.  The felt I found at a craft store like Michaels/Hobby Lobby.  It's all relatively inexpensive, and you can double up/pair materials for further attenuation.  I just used an xacto knife to widdle it into shape so that it would fit into the nozzle. 


Edited by modulor - 2/7/14 at 2:31pm
post #11 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by modulor View Post
 

That's completely understandable...I'm like that actually.  I mean, look at my desktop rig...tubes and the HE-500!  I like warm, smooth and musical too.  There are some parallels with my portables and my home rig, but I kind of like the differences a bit.  All 'audiophiles' have different preferences, we just happen to prefer musicality over ultimate detail/analytical types...I feel the RE-400 is a good compromise between the two.  Trust me, there are much colder, more sterile sounding options out there...but also even more smooth, warmer sounding options.  I think the EPH-100 will better put things into perspective once you hear it, and I'm interested in your upcoming impressions.  I think the acoustic damping mod may be the little nudge in the right direction you need with the RE-400, but I think you're going to like both for different reasons ultimately...after hearing them, it'll be easier to choose where you want to make the compromises :o The microfiber cloth is like the kind you get to clean glasses, so you can typically find those at Target/Walmart type stores.  You can also try a standard cotton handkerchief.  The felt I found at a craft store like Michaels/Hobby Lobby.  It's all relatively inexpensive, and you can double up/pair materials for further attenuation.  I just used an xacto knife to widdle it into shape so that it would fit into the nozzle. 

Yeah, I'll find out soon enough which one it'll be. But having listened to the RE-400 some more since my post a little while ago, I decided to just leave EQ on with a slight bass boost, especially in the sub-bass regions and it just adds a little bit more weight to the sound without getting overpowering. I kinda like it this way. And I like now there's plenty of detail in the lower frequencies, nicely textured.

 

But yeah, I do really like it when I can hear all the details sometimes. For that I have the 7520, which is quite an analytical headphone (not to the point where it gets fatiguing though, it's still musical as well) :) I rarely listen to my IEMs at home, they're always for on the go, also because they generally isolate better than over-ear/on-ear headphones. I guess for on the go I want a more musical presentation, since I usually don't really have the opportunity to really zone in on the music while I'm commuting.

 

But will post my impressions on EPH-100 vs. RE-400 tomorrow and ultimately my decision.


Edited by starfly - 2/8/14 at 1:54am
post #12 of 24

2 things

 

1 - modulor, simply fantastic posts and opinion - extra kudos for helping a fellow head-fier for nothing

 

2 - i would suggest trying for a used re-262 , but only if you have an amp available . it simply destroys re-400 , a shame this beautiful iem has been discontinued

good luck with finding the preferred iem , also you may wanna check out the review of mark2410 on the R3 , he mentioned it reminded him of another stellar hifiman iem the re-252

post #13 of 24
Thread Starter 

Okay, so when I initially started giving the EPH-100 a serious listen my first impression was that there was much much more bass than the RE-400. Actually a bit too much for my liking initially. But after listening a bit more I got used to it (brain burn-in) and most of the time it's still reasonable, only on certain tracks can it be quite impactful. The mids still sound quite good, though not as detailed as the RE-400, and the highs seem to be a bit more even on the RE-400, ever so more natural sounding.

 

However, overall I don't think the RE-400 will satisfy me enough, it keeps me wanting for more bass. Ideally I would find an IEM that has bass quantity that sits somewhere in between the RE-400 and the EPH-100. But for now I'm sticking with the EPH-100 and will return the RE-400. The EPH-100 is just a bit more versatile given all the genres of music I listen to. And it's mostly for commuting and exercising and so on. For serious listening, which I only do at home, I'll always turn to my Sony 7520 headphone which beats them all :)

 

Maybe the Vsonic GR07BE is what I'm looking for, but for now that's out of my budget. Have to draw the line somewhere :)

 

Otherwise, thanks very much for your help @modulor and @proedros, I really appreciate it!

post #14 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by starfly View Post
 

Okay, so when I initially started giving the EPH-100 a serious listen my first impression was that there was much much more bass than the RE-400. Actually a bit too much for my liking initially. But after listening a bit more I got used to it (brain burn-in) and most of the time it's still reasonable, only on certain tracks can it be quite impactful. The mids still sound quite good, though not as detailed as the RE-400, and the highs seem to be a bit more even on the RE-400, ever so more natural sounding.

 

However, overall I don't think the RE-400 will satisfy me enough, it keeps me wanting for more bass. Ideally I would find an IEM that has bass quantity that sits somewhere in between the RE-400 and the EPH-100. But for now I'm sticking with the EPH-100 and will return the RE-400. The EPH-100 is just a bit more versatile given all the genres of music I listen to. And it's mostly for commuting and exercising and so on. For serious listening, which I only do at home, I'll always turn to my Sony 7520 headphone which beats them all :)

 

Maybe the Vsonic GR07BE is what I'm looking for, but for now that's out of my budget. Have to draw the line somewhere :)

 

Otherwise, thanks very much for your help @modulor and @proedros, I really appreciate it!

Yeah, it's quite a contrast at first between the two.  It's definitely that 'brain burn-in' where you've become adjusted to the previous signature.  For fans of quality bass, it's going to be one of the better compromises out there along with the GR07 in terms of not being excessive or overshadowing/overbearing, but still very competent and present.  Both will be pretty different still for several reasons, and I'd still say as far as resolution/texture/detail goes for bass, the BE or even MKII are among the best in that regard...but overall in a different way and with other different aspect as I previously indicated.  The BE could be another option for you to try, but if you weren't able to fully adjust to the treble of the RE-400, then I may just advise against that altogether because they're generally perceived as more forward there.  I'm glad I was able to provide some advice and that you were able to hear them side by side first hand which works best for your preferences...it's hard to discern sometimes without hearing them side by side.  Now you at least have more to reference against since both tend to get compared to a good bit of other IEMs!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by proedros View Post
 

2 things

 

1 - modulor, simply fantastic posts and opinion - extra kudos for helping a fellow head-fier for nothing

 

2 - i would suggest trying for a used re-262 , but only if you have an amp available . it simply destroys re-400 , a shame this beautiful iem has been discontinued

good luck with finding the preferred iem , also you may wanna check out the review of mark2410 on the R3 , he mentioned it reminded him of another stellar hifiman iem the re-252

Thanks :o I do what I can.  Yeah, I still definitely want to hear an RE-262 sometime...what do you use to amp your pair?  They're going to be more forward in the mids as I understand, so it may not be to his preferences given his EPH-100 impressions.  Unfortunately I don't use IEMs quite as much as I used to, so I've been focusing on other things lately.

post #15 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by modulor View Post
 

Thanks :o I do what I can.  Yeah, I still definitely want to hear an RE-262 sometime...what do you use to amp your pair?  They're going to be more forward in the mids as I understand, so it may not be to his preferences given his EPH-100 impressions.  Unfortunately I don't use IEMs quite as much as I used to, so I've been focusing on other things lately.

 

arrow 4G - definitely an improvement , if i rememeber correctly with how it sounded unamped back in 2011

actually between the rotation of 262/272 and eq-5 , 262 is looking eye-to-eye with these 2 pricier iems....

imo , hifiman may be the best 'value-for-money' around atm...

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