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Universal Fit item created by , May 5, 2010
Pros - Excellent sound quality/sound stage, relatively inexpensive
Cons - Bad microphonics, not loud enough without amp, KEEP BREAKING
I was totally enamoured with these earphones - they sound incredible and I couldn't believe how inexpensive they were when compared to competitors. With this in mind, I forgave the poor microphonics (i.e. noise from the cable hitting/rubbing against things) and need for an amp. The major issue is that the apparent build quality is far better than the actual build quality and they have a very high defect rate. On average, mine have been replaced every 6 months. I have treated them carefully and have a separate pair of cheap earphones for when I'm doing things which are likely to put a strain on them (e.g. running/gym). When they're replaced it is apparent that you do not get a new pair, you get a refurbished pair. They have now refused to replace my faulty earphones as their warranty period applies from the original date of purchase. So basically, it doesn't matter if they send you defective replacements. One of my mates who bought these on my recommendation has also returned his twice. They have offered to repair for about $30, but I expect them to go wrong again therefore have declined. I would suggest that they bump up the build quality and increase the price.
Pros - Overall audio quality, excellent value
Cons - May be bass-limited for some, slightly power hungry
The RE0 has been available for several years now and therefore it has had time to penetrate the Head-fi community and generate a range of comments on it's performance as a moderately-priced IEM. After reading various threads and reviews myself, I came to the conclusion that their qualities probably outweighed their liabilities and recently purchased a pair. After a month with them, was it a good decision? In a word, yes, but with a few caveats.
Off the top, I would say that the RE0 is probably not going to match everyone’s listening preferences. The often repeated comment that they are bass-light, is generally a fair statement. Nonetheless, when listening to music with isolated bass, the RE0 quickly demonstrated that it was capable of delivering accurate bass easily. What others have said (and with which I completely agree) is that the RE0 lacks bass impact or sustain. In a musical context, therefore, the mid- and treble frequencies of the RE0 can dominate the bass producing what is often referred to as an analytical sound signature. Is this enough to kill the RE0 as good IEM? Not to my ears, because I don't listen to music that is overly bass-centric. Small group jazz, acoustic roots and blues, female vocal, solo piano, classical guitar are just some of the genres that will shine through the RE0. What the RE0 does deliver in spades is pin-point clarity of instruments and vocals that are accurately imaged and presented on a surprisingly wide sound stage.
Several other points are worth mentioning regarding the overall sound quality of the RE0. Indicative of any quality headphone or IEM the RE0's benefited substantially by:
a burn-in period
a quality source
enough amp support
These factors unquestionably affect all IEMs, but I found this to be particularly true for the RE0. Right out of the box they did not impress, especially from a portable DAP playing low bitrate files. However, within 20 hrs. of burn-in the sound quality became much more balanced, the bass less attenuated in its presentation. Music files also need to be at a high bitrate (320k - 350kbps), if you’re not going to a lossless format. Although the RE0 is marketed as an IEM for portable devices, its nominal 64 ohm impedance indicates that it really benefits from additional power beyond what my Sansa clip can provide. This is based on how much better the RE0's sound through my Sony laptop and makes me consider that the RE0 would scale-up nicely with a desktop amp.
Regarding other issues like build quality, in ear comfort and noise isolation, I have had no problems. Every IEM requires a bit of experimenting to get the best fit. The bi-flange tips are quite soft, although for me the medium rubber tips and worn over-the-ear provided the most comfort. Noise isolation, however, is only average at best, which may be an issue if you intend on using them in a noisy environment.
At their currently listed retail price of $79.00 from Head-Direct, I believe that in the right musical context, the RE0 continues to provide outstanding value in a IEM.
Pros - Great sound
Cons - crap quality
I have rate these a half star for audio quality because they do not play sound anymore. There is a growing number of people who have experienced the terrible quality of these headphones. All of us have experienced the same: after a relatively short period one channel stops working. This is well documented in treads here on head-fi and on amazon.com that sells these headphones. As of this moment, the RE0's are rated #8 in the reviews. These phenomenal ratings reflect the fact that the RE0's sound fantastic when they work, however, this is not the full story. Buyers should BEWARE of the crap quality of these headphones.
Pros - clarity, comfort
Cons - mid bass response
"They may disappoint bass-heads, but for anyone who strives for true audio reproduction, this is the IEM for you. "
I'm not a bass head, but I don't hear true audio reproduction.
Yes the bass response goes down low, evident in a song like Nick Cave Red Right Hand, where the almost sub-bass frequencies (<50Hz) are clear. But I do perceive a slight dip around 50-100Hz. So in an acoustic track the double bass can be hard to hear, in a rock track the kick drum lacks punch, the bass guitar lacks depth. It's only slight, the rest of the spectrum sounds beautiful, but the EQ down low does not sound flat to me. That's out of the box tested on iPod nano first gen, iPod 5th gen, ipod 4th gen and iPhone 4s.
Added note: I've started using these with the rubber tips from my Ultimate Ears and it improves the bass response slightly. I think the rubber tips on the RE0s are too hard and it's hard to get a good airtight seal.
Pros - Sound, comfort, price
Cons - build quality
First pair quit working (left channel) in six months. The replacement lasted 4 months and died a similar death. I don't go anywhere with them and they were used primarily at home and treated with care. I didn't bother any further follow-up. Sound was impressive. I liked these a lot and sorry they're rather disposable.
Pros - SQ is good, very good.
Cons - Engineering of cable is horrible!
This is the second time within a year these have developed a fault in the cables. This time it is in the mini jack connector, last time it was near the left earpiece. Needless to say I will not be returning these for a new pair that can develop another fault in the cable. This is unforgivable really.
The housings are unnecessary heavy, and the supplied single flanged tips don't fit my ears well at all, the biflanges work somewhat but slips off the phones all the time.
The sound is pleasant, balanced and suits me fine, if I had a working pair I'd be listening to them now.
I don't know what to go for next time, but it will certainly never be from this crappy manufacturer.
Pros - If it sins it's only by omission
I've searched a bit to find a few cans that work with my lifestyle. Portability is important to me so that rules out lots of great products. I like that the RE0 is low profile, not attracting any attention. The RE0 may be a perfect compromise between sound quality and price. More expensive buds may be more articulate or image spectacularly, but it would be crushing to break or loose them in my day to day roaming around. If these cans sin it is only of omission. To my ears they are quite musical.
I have numerous pairs of Apple's earbuds and I keep a pair in my briefcase, my gym bag and locker, etc, but they leave me longing in two ways. I want more out of the sound because I know it's possible and I want better isolation. The RE0 is a bigger improvement in sound than the price might suggest. If I have a nit to pick it's that I'd like better isolation. Clearly that is subjective and the RE0's come with multiple ends to try. May be some day feeling flush I will pull the trigger on a pair of customs, but until then these work very well.
Pros - sound, price, size
Cons - shoddy craftsmanship
I really wish the RE0s lived up to their promise. They do sound really good, but they are clearly the product of cost-cutting. I bought a pair, and within a month, one of the buds was cutting out, and soon there after failed completely. I had them RMA'd, and within 6 months, the replacements began to fail (the adhesive that keeps the speaker part glued in to the casing is failing or has failed on both buds). I would have paid 50% more for these headphones and been happy if they stayed in one piece, but now, I wouldn't be happy if they had cost 50% of what I paid.
tl;dr great headphones crippled by terrible materials and quality control.
Pros - SQ, clarity, highs
Cons - Difficult to find the correct tip
I will just say that they are a bargain for a such price
I have been using the Head Direct Reo for over a year with my various Sansa MP3's and classic iPod. These in ear headphones replaced a pair of Etymotic Research 6i's. Compared to the 6i's the Reo's are a much more neutral, cleaner sounding and comfortable headphone. They're well constructed and can put up with a fair amount of abuse.
I haven't tried all the >$100 in ear headphones, but these are keepers.