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HiFiMAN RE-400

Rating:
4.21154/5,
  1. getclikinagas
    RE-400 Waterline: Audiophile kill, Budget bullet.
    Written by getclikinagas
    Published Dec 19, 2013
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Magical mids. Warm lilt in the neutral sig. Fast, accurate and punchy mid-bass. Extremely comfortable. Easily driven,
    Cons - Sub-bass presence is low. Treble might be too smooth for some. Isolation is average
    Packaging and build
    The packaging is minimal and exquisitely so. The extra tips filters and manual are behind the felt coated foam holding the earphones. As I gingerly dislodged them from the grooves, I was struck by how tiny they are. I always try to avoid gripping the strain relief as a precaution, but it was difficult considering the size. The shiny bead blasted aluminium back goes well with the brushed aluminium housing. Which brings me to the build. This is the most common qualm people have reported. The plug is beefy, the y split seems sturdy enough. However, I noticed that some free movement of the cable is possible at the entry point of the strain relief. As long as the cable is secured properly within the main housing this shouldn't be an issue. (I was tempted to add a dab of glue at the strain relief end to restrict that free movement).
    The half and half cable is… okay. The cloth half is a little kinky (pun not intended). The sticky half is thin and flexible making it very comfortable when worn over ear. Apparently, the hybrid design serves to reduce weight among other benefits.
     
    Accessories, Comfort and Isolation:
    Tips galore but an odd assortment. Anyway, I have very narrow ear canals and the smaller tips gave me a good seal. The pseudo-double bump tips gave me pressure problems, so I settled for the bar-tips. The complys are good, but the foam overhangs (ahead of the rubber tube) get scrunched. (I have modified them by cutting off the overhangs) Cable noise is more than present when worn cable-down. Almost disappears when worn over-ear. Can hardly feel then in my ears after a while. It is evident that the HiFiman team has paid a lot of attention to ergonomics. Other accessories include a shirt clip, 5 pairs of stock filters. I have dry wax so I won’t be changing them out anytime soon. Perhaps I could use them to hard EQ them (doubling the filters, felt mod etc.) Maybe later.
    Isolation is average, even with a good fit. But maybe that’s about as good as it gets for vented earphones. The vent is placed ventrally and only the deepest fit might shield it partially.
     
    Sound:
    A short intro/disclaimer My experience when it comes to iems is very limited. The RE400 is my first foray into audiophile territory. I’ve been in a V/U-shaped bassy world thus far. 
    Chronologically....Sony MDR-E818LP>Sony MDR-EX35LP>Creative EP-630>Xears TD4 Ebony Blackwood>Brainwavz R1>HiFiman RE-400
    I’ve loved and hated every set. So I set my sights higher and decided to bravely plunge into a neutral world just to see if that was the right direction for me.
    Doing an A:B comparison doesn't make much sense with iems that differ this widely.
    My impressions may seem overblown to some. But such a drastic change in direction can do that. Back to the review I expected to be disappointed by the RE-400 in the bass department. I like a little rumble and feel in my bass. But given my inexperience, I was very curious about bass quality vs quantity.
     
    Fast forward to my impressions… I initially thought of describing it by music genre. But after a week with them, I’ve decided to go ahead with the classic break-up.
     
    Treble:
    I’ve always found sharp treble to be off-putting. There is a (false?) sense of enhanced clarity that comes with sparkly treble. But for me, the overall enjoyability dips. I’m absolutely amazed by how smooth the treble is on the RE-400. Some may like a little more sparkle, its sooo perfectly where I want it to be. It may lack some bite with fast electronic music. I found no nasty peaks or dips. To me, the detail and clarity was eye widening (considering my experience or lack thereof).
     
    Mids: 
    I was expecting to be impressed. But not blindsided like this. It felt like I had suddenly switched from 192kbps to a vinyl track. The first thing that struck me was how much more life-like it felt. The vocals had a certain texture. Simply put, if that texture was absent, the vocals wouldn't be as immersive. A striking feature was the depth to the vocals (not necessarily to the soundstage). It sounded “wholesome”(male and female alike). I’m finding this very hard to describe but I must persist, because it’s that important. I am able to gauge how much breath and effort the singer is taking. Apart from the core vocals I hear a lot of nuances and details that contribute to that sense of “completion”. This particular feature impressed me the most in this iem. Another thing I noticed is how untouched and unaffected the mids are. No matter how busy rest of the spectrum gets, the mids always come through unadulterated. Like I had a separate pair of ears for the mids. And it seemed like the bass and highs complemented it nicely. Like they were all on the same plane of preference.
     
    Bass: 
    I will have to divide this segment into two. Initial impressions and Brain-burnt–in impressions.
    Initial: Sub-bass felt non-existent. Some tracks need that sub-bass to sound right. It adds to the ‘natural, warm’ feeling. Sub-bass is more ‘feeling’ than ‘hearing’. Tracks that had a strong mid-bass component were handled beautifully. I couldn’t believe the detail and how fast it sounded. But I would have liked some more punch. Sadly the mids keep grabbing the spotlight therefore I didn’t get to try many bass heavy tracks.
    Brain-burnt in: Sub-bass still felt weak. I do see they measure near flat through the bass, but they could do with more presence in the sub-bass. I did find out at higher listening volumes, that the RE-400 extends pretty deep. I feel the punch in the mid-bass now(I think it feels more apparent when you get accustomed to the signature). I find the quantity sufficient(not lacking) now. Surprisingly enough, I’m actually enjoying them immensely. I love the attack speed and the detail, even when it gets busy. I want to say “resolving” but I’m not sure if it is the correct term. I’m quite stunned to find myself enjoying this “type” of bass. The initial disappointment only surfaces when I find the sub-bass lacking. ljokerl advised me to try a “narrow” lift of a few dB in the sub-bass. This improves presence without affecting the mid-bass or the mids. The RE-400 is a very capable iem in this respect. The overall tonality has warmed and I’m not disappointed as often. I still find myself wanting a bit more presence but I don’t think EQing it in is the answer. (Perhaps a vent redesign, dampers coupled with a sub-bass lift). Drums sound very natural (except the deepest reaching ones). It’s easy to differentiate between the types of drums. The bass conveys that much detail.
    Bottom line: Bass enjoyment is very track subjective. EQing helps because the drivers are capable
    Extra tip: The EQ in Poweramp for Android (with the DVC audio setting enabled) is very effective in boosting the sub-bass without "upsetting the tonal balance"
    Other miscellaneous rambling:
    The soundstage isn't the widest. The Brainwavz R1 has spoiled me in this regard. But it isn’t congested either. It conveys a good sense of space. Vocals can be very very intimate. And orchestras can be sufficiently spacious. No complaints there. All the music components are clearly positioned and layered without any interference. I believe that is good “imaging”?
     
    Like I mentioned before, I sense an overall “completion” in the music. Vocals will have a ‘bass’ component and a ‘lower highs’ component in addition to the core “mid” component. The RE-400 delivers all of it in equal measure (just a tad more in the mids). I have observed that they sound even better at higher volumes (+1/2 dB above normal listening volume).
     
    I am curious to as to how the RE-400 will perform when powered by a better source. That will have to wait as I don’t have the resources :frowning2:
     
    Some have reported good results by using dampers to add a little warmth and presence (even going as far to comparing it to the 400$ RE-600). I will try these mods later on.
     
    Conclusion: This iem was meant to be a test, an experiment. My first foray into neutral audiophile territory. And they have surprised me. They have made me second guess my sound sig preference. I know what I want now (until the next revelation). But what I want now is so different from what I wanted, I doubt I’ll ever have such a drastic change of heart.
    I expected it to fit a small segment of my music but I’m shocked at the versatility and satisfaction it has given me in most of my music.
     
    I have a very non-technical way of knowing when music sounds really good to me. It has nothing to do with genre, mood or content. It depends solely on raw music quality. This happens to me with “certain tracks” that span a wide genre(Examples: Imogen Heap- Let go, Jasmine Thompson - Home, Mick MCauley & Winifred Horan - A Daisy in December, Eminem- Sing for the moment etc). Well….. My eyes well up. Not related to feelings of sadness, happiness etc. My eyes simply leak a lot of tears without warning(freaked me out the first time). Let’s just say, I can’t see through the haze of tears when I have the RE-400 on. It’s only happened with the Fidelio L1, some active speaker I can’t remember, rarely with the Brainwavz R1.
     
    The RE-400s have set the bar very high for me. If these had a more sub-bass presence I would have absolutely nothing to complain about. I think finding something much better will be very difficult unless I burn my wallet, so I will now look for an iem to complement (not beat) the RE-400.
     
    Credits:
    @esantosh for all the advice he’s given me. And for replying to my monotonous PMs.
    @modulor@Tom22 for their detailed and comforting words from a very understanding POV.
    Big ups to HiFinage for bringing HiFiman to India.
     
    Edit: I have rephrased by impressions of the sub-bass. It is my first review, and a year and a lot more experience later, I do feel my wording was not an accurate representation of what I felt regarding the sub-bass.
    HiFiMAN has now reduced the price to 79$. The 100$ market is very competitive and the new price gives it even better value.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. getclikinagas
      @Thiagolcst : It's a good thing HiFiman Customer service is top notch, although the build quality isn't. Still, they have come a long way considering their last line of iems.
      Sad thing is, many people are put off because of durability concerns even though the sound is unbelievable at this price. It is worth the risk though :)
      us baby the hell outta them :p
      getclikinagas, Dec 20, 2013
    3. mochill
      Gr07 mkii is the upgrade your looking for and built quality is top notch from vsonic...check out eBay the seller bigbarginonline is selling the newest version of them, they cost $119...totally worth the price :smiley:
      mochill, Dec 21, 2013
    4. getclikinagas
      @mochill 
      The GR07 did seem like the logical upgrade. But, I think the prone-to-sibilance treble would be off putting to me(or is that not an issue with the MKii?).
      That said, I am looking forward to the VSD7 :)
      getclikinagas, Dec 21, 2013
  2. conquerator2
    Great all-round IEM for a great price
    Written by conquerator2
    Published Sep 7, 2014
    5.0/5,
    Pros - smooth sound, good detail retrieval, forward midrange, tight bass, extended smooth highs, excellent imaging and separation, decent soundstage width
    Cons - bass a bit soft in punch at times, initial build quality
    HiFiMAN RE-400 Waterline - Ultimate Review w/ pictures
     
    1)Equipment and cabling
     
    a)Headphones
     
    HiFiMAN RE-400 Waterline
     
    Type: Closed, tiny, in-ear, dynamic driver monitor
    Frequency response: 15 - 22.000 Hz
    Impedance: 32 Ω (may vary by up to 10%)
    Efficiency: 102 dB
    Weight: 16 g (with cable)
     

     
    This was my first in-ear-monitor purchase. Also the very first IEM made by HiFiMAN. Their cheapest headphone yet, priced at 100 USD. How will these compare? They share the general HiFiMAN house sound and neutrality and offer[​IMG] good build quality as well. There is a dedicated RE-400 review below where all will be discussed and compared.
     
    b)Amplifiers, Digital to Analog Converters, Preamplifiers and more
     
    Fiio X1
     
    20141017_182632.jpg
     
    The X1 is an amazing little unit. In fact, that is an understatement. It's been a very long time since last time I was this overwhelmingly impressed by a $100 unit. The UI is excellent. Very intuitive, rather snappy and easy to navigate. Honestly, I was not expecting an in-house developed UI to be this good, but it every bit is, and it also reads all the formats that I've tried without any hiccups, including associated CUE files. The DAC is absolutely stellar, using an impressive Texas-Instruments PCM5142 DAC chip. The amp section is also pretty good, utilizing an Intersil ISL28291 amplifier buffer. The 2.4" TFT display is plenty big and easy to read, providing all the necessary information even in direct sunlight. It is slightly washed but still plenty good for the price. Among other things the player offers a 7-band equalizer [from -6 to +6 each], gapless playback, sleep timer, usable buttons when screen's off or volume limiting. There's no date and time yet though, which I find a bit strange though not all that important.
    The build quality is perhaps the most spectacular aspect - holding the unit in your hand boasts confidence and there's good heft to the unit. The X1 features a fully-aluminium body with very tactile buttons and quality that's hard to find on products costing much more. The Fiio also comes with a screen protector and a rubber protective case, along with a charging cable. The battery life is around 12 hours a run, for a 4 hour's full charge.
    There's also the line-out function using the headphone jack, which offers the possibility to use just the player's DAC with a more beefy portable amp. Although I already found the X1's amplifier to perform favorably with reasonable headphones from IEMs to full-sized cans.
    I am really struggling to find anything to criticize here... Did I mention it was a hundred bucks?! In a long time, I am left with only fuzzy and completely positive feelings, while using the unit feels just as enjoyable. I really don't understand how Fiio did this, but currently I consider the Fiio X1 a jack-of-all-trades and wouldn't hesitate recommending it to anyone looking for a lovely little DAP and as someone coming from the pretty good, very-happy-with and tried-and-proved Sansa Clip+, I think this is some very high praise.
    There's more competition on the way, however [​IMG]
     
    Pros
    + build quality
    + performance
    + User Interface
    + price, price, price!
    + line-out function
     
    Cons
    - no time & date, slightly washed-out display
     
    Overall 9.5/10
     
    Fiio E11
     

     
    A very versatile little amp.
    Slightly warmer tonality with smooth highs. Decent instrument separation and soundstage. Ideal for most portable headphones. Fits your pocket nicely. The stock[​IMG] battery lasts about 8 hours.
    Packs lots of power. For 60 bucks it is hard to beat. Fully aluminium casing (like all amps here). Has a bass boost switch as well as a low/high gain one. Fiio is getting very popular among audiophiles these days because it offers[​IMG] good quality throughout for the price. The E11 is no exception
     
    Pros
    + Small
    + Decent battery life
    + Price
    + Works with most headphones
     
    Cons
    - Cannot charge while playing
     
    Overall 9/10
     
    [A/N - The amplifier was not tested with this IEM and this was only meant as an informative review. An amplifier is not needed for these if you already own a decent DAP]
     
    c)Cables
     
    The RE-400 cable (not removable)
     

     
    2)Unboxing and accessories
     
     
    The RE-400 comes in a rectangular shaped glass-like box. The inside of the box is cut for the individual pieces found inside, that is the headphone, 6 different tips (one comes pre-installed) a clip and that’s about it. The box itself is made from two pieces and these like to fall apart a lot. It doesn’t really hold together well and it really contains only the most basic things. Although they come cheap, a better box would be nice.
     
    Update: Now comes with a nice hard-shell carrying case, more ear-tips and even two pairs of foam tips [all reflected in comfort/fit]. Packaging rating improved.
     
    Package overall 8.5/10
     

     

     
    3)Design, build quality and comfort
     
    a)Design/Build quality
     
    I am glad I can say that the build quality of the RE-400 is the best yet of all the HiFiMAN headphones. The headphones look finished and sturdy and could definitely take some abuse. The only issue I had was with the jack of the cable, which snapped, but this was mainly my fault and was briskly replaced with a different jack by my local dealer.
    The cable is a bit kinky and likes to get stuck on clothing but is in turn rubberized and of nice quality.
    I am definitely happy with the overall feel of these headphones, from top to bottom they feel like a well-made product.
    The shells are made of aluminium and feel great in the hand. The cable, on the other hand, ...
     
    Update: The [cable's] build quality unfortunately did not hold up to initial expectations. The shells are not to blame, they are made from aluminium and feel very sturdy the cable, however, is a different story. I had the jack break once and the internals of the cable [meaning the thin wires that are underneath the sleeves] are probably significantly damaged. I need to stress that I took very good care of the IEM, but the cable has a will of its own and it coils down all the town, which is probably the culprit of it. Still it is a thing worth mentioning and a nominal design flaw. I'll bump the build quality down by 3. 
     
    Update 2: Since my inititial issue many months back, these headphones have been holding rather well, though the cable is still microphonic and tangly... I will boost the build quality up for now, assuming the teething problems have been fixed by now.
     
    Build overall 8.5/10 (Build quality 8/10 Design 9/10)
     

     

     

     
    b)Comfort
     
    Only one of the 4 stock[​IMG] tips fit me. They came preinstalled on the monitors. Changing the tips is not that hard but since I don’t have any other tips available right now, the stocks will have to do. They isolate quite well. Medium insertion seems best for sound quality and comfort, isolation. They fit in nicely so I can wear them for hours, adjusting here and there. I was worried about the fit a little, but everything seems ok. Decent comfort and fit.
     
    Update: It now comes with more tips, including a two pairs of foam ones.
    With them, the white middle-sized tips [pictures further down] currently offer the best comfort/fit ratio. I want to stress out that fit is really important for the overall balance and bass presence. Luckily, there're many tips included now, so finding the ones that fit shouldn't be a problem anymore.
     
    Comfort/Fit overall 9/10
     
    White Tips
     

     

     
    Stock tips
     

     

     
    4)First and further impressions
     
    There wasn’t much burn-in with this IEM so to speak. Back then I still used my trusty Samsung Wave I (S8500). For now, there is no external amplifier to speak of. I am considering one for the future, as I will probably need one for the RE-600, which I’ll be buying (and subsequently reviewing) most likely. Initially, I was really surprised by how good the sound was. The vocals were butter smooth, midrange was full and lush, bass was nicely detailed, slightly lacking in depth and punch, but very nice. Highs were very smooth but still didn’t lack excitement. Soundstage width was great, extending even out of my head slightly. Instrument separation was still top notch like with all other HiFiMAN. I didn’t perceive any burn-in with these, really, other than changing my phone for a Galaxy Ace II.
    They certainly didn’t disappoint.
     
    First impressions overall 9/10
     
    5)Sound
     
    Update: I am now using a Sansa Clip+ and the RE-400 are great with it!
    Update 2: I've now purchased the Fiio X1 and the RE-400 is simply stupendously great with it. I will change the review scores and corresponding sections slightly to reflect this marked perceived improvement. I am also using a different set of ear-tips, which come with them now [see pictures] and those give me nearly perfect seal. This, coupled with the X1
    makes the RE-400 a seriously amazing pair of IEMs for the asking price.
     
    20141017_200308.jpg
     
    a)Low-end/bass
     
    Pros
    + Tight
    + Lots of detail
    + Non-intrusive
     
    Cons
    - Can be a bit soft at times
     
    Overall 8.5/10 – The low-end of this headphone is pretty good, sounding pretty much tight and punchy, very much in line with the bigger HiFiMAN headphones. As such, it also bears the same relative shortcomings - coming off a bit soft in weight and punch at times, with a bit less oomph than I'd like. But the reward is that the bass always remains tight and in line with the other frequencies, never sounding overbearing but not sounding deficient either. The IEM is certainly potent and depending on the recording it can drop some serious bass, punchy and extended, but still controlled, mind you. Now that I've achieved a proper seal, I don't think the bass is lacking or weak anymore. Instead, it is just the traditional HiFiMAN signature bass I learn to really appreciate.
     
    b)Midrange
     
    Pros
    + Balanced across
    + Natural and sweet
    + Instruments have their space
    + Pretty great detail retrieval
     
    Cons
    - None
     
    Overall 9.5/10 – I don’t personally take any issues with the midrange. In many aspects, it is like a full-sized HiFiMAN lite. It lacks the ultimate spaciousness and air of the full-sizes, but it still offers an absolutely even instrument reproduction across, with a balanced but still dynamic sound. The midrange is slightly forward, just enough to keep its bite but smooth enough to not be fatiguing and providing hours on end of enjoyment. This is the area where this headphone definitely shines. 
     
    c)Vocals
     
    Pros
    + Nicely extended
    + Sufficient presence
    + Absolutely non-sibilant
    + Clean
     
    Cons
    - Lacks some air
     
    Overall 9/10 – The vocals work rather well for my tastes. They are present at all times, without ever sounding muted or constrained and still very much smooth and sweet. There is not a massive amount air but there is a enough to make this IEM sound more airy than most sealed headphones. They have a fair amount of extension, but not overly so and this contributes well to the smooth signature of the RE-400. These IEMs are not bright by any means, but they aren't dark either. Still, they play nice with everything I've thrown at them, producing a slightly warmer but still fairly neutral sound.
     
    d)Highs/treble
     
    Pros
    + Natural
    + No added presence
    + Just enough extension
    + No harsh moments
     
    Cons
    - Lacks the last bit of extension and air
     
    Overall 9/10 – The highs work the same way as the vocals and midrange. They are sufficiently extended with some slight roll-off to prevent them from ever sounding harsh with cymbals for instance but there is enough presence there to carry all the necessary information without overdoing it. Electric guitars never sound edgy either. Together with the rest of the frequencies they offer a smooth, balanced and forgiving experience ideal for traveling or relaxing at home or work. They do many things right without doing any obvious wrongs and as such they are hard to put down.
     
    e)Soundstage/Instrument separation/Imaging
     
    Pros
    + Great width
    + Stellar instrument separation
    + Smooth and even tonality
    + Plays nice with everything
    + Detailed
     
    Cons
    - Lacks depth and height
     
    Overall 9/10 – As I said, the tonality of the RE-400 is very smooth, while offering great detail retrieval and musicality. Due to the tight bass, I wouldn’t recommend them solely for hip-hop or rap, though they still perform reasonably. These offer just a sibilance-free, engaging but relaxing experience. Basically a toned down full-size HiFiMAN in all aspects with some slight roll-off at both ends. The instrument separation is excellent and the soundstage width is likewise great. Center stage is very coherent and does not exhibit any oddities or unevenness and nor does the rest of the stage. The imaging is likewise excellent. 
     
    f)Recordings sensitivity
     
    Overall 10/10 – These belong among the more forgiving headphones for sure, and they're probably  the most forgiving “audiophile” headphone I have heard so far. I never had to turn the volume down with these because of harshness or sibilance. The interesting thing is that it still extracts a very fair amount of details and it does it really well without any obvious peaks or recesses, which usually isn’t the case with other headphones. HiFiMAN has managed to master the balancing act with these, offering great detail retrieval with a smooth tonality - something that is very hard to achieve.
     
    Overall Sound
     
    As such the RE-400 belongs among my favorite headphones - with tight and punchy bass, present mids and smooth and extended highs. Coupled with good detail retrieval, good soundstaging and remarkable imaging and separation, these fit right into my favorite sound signature, with very few minor imperfections that are easily forgivable based on the price/performance ratio these little puppies offer.
     
    Sound overall 9/10
     
    6)Gaming
     
    RE-400  N/A (I wouldn’t consider an IEM for gaming, really. Feel free[​IMG] to give it a try if you want though and report back :})
     
    [HE-6 and Pro 900 have been reviewed for gaming, to see the games[​IMG] that I've tested and how those did, check their individual reviews on pages 1 & 6]
     
    7)Portability
     
    The RE-400 would be my top pick for portable headphones. It doesn’t really need any sort of amplifier to sound top notch. The signature also works really well when you want to focus on other things or just relax. Every song works here so you don’t have to worry too much about quality and specific playlists and as such it could very well be your perfect travelling companion.
     
    Portability overall 10/10
     
    8)Unique trait
     
    Smoothness
     
    The tonality of the RE-400 is one of smooth nature and rich detail. This tonality is particularly inviting to me because there are not all that many headphones with such traits. There is a bit less highs and vocals presence and bass than with the HE-6, making it similar enough in tonality but different enough in presentation. If you want a totally smooth pair of in-ear monitors this is the right one to choose. The RE-600 should offer[​IMG] similar tonality as well with more body and less roll-off at either end. W will soon find out [​IMG]
     

     
    9)Songs and genres
     
    [see HE-6 Ultimate Review, page 1]
     
    10)Value
     
    This was my very first serious IEM purchase. I was a bit skeptical about just how good such a tiny driverlike this one can sound. I was quickly reminded that at HiFiMAN they simply know what they are doing and how to produce top notch sounding products. Even in direct comparison with full-size offerings, this little fellow muscles up and certainly holds its own ground. It is not as extended or airy or spacious as its higher brethren but the price is much more feasible and honestly, an IEM just cannot sound that way. Still, for just around 100 USD you get a sneak-peak into the HiIFiMAN house sound. The performance was smooth throughout coupled with a highly enjoyable signature straight off your DAP's jack. I've tried an amplifier to see how much difference it would make, and there was none - the X1 just sounds phenomenal with these. As is, this headphone is simply too good to resist at the price point and everyone who is looking for a very decently priced, neutral-warmish IEM to get, you might as well pick this one up. You certainly won’t regret it.
     
    Overall value 9.5/10
     

     
    The joint point
     

     
    11)Conclusion
     
    This is a seriously good IEM, absolutely suitable for portable use. I am not a huge fan of IEM due to their inherent shortcomings [lacks the soundstage of full-sized headphones, etc].
    I am one of the few who don't mind carrying around full-sized headphones, provided they are not difficult to amplify well.
    Still the RE-400, being a bit of my IEM premiere, did not disappoint me and I sometimes prefer it to full-sized headphones when I want that smooth, detailed yet non-fatiguing sound.
    For a hundred bucks, this is a great, great IEM, even though the cable could have definitely been better made, at least initially.
     
    RE-400 final score 9/10
     
    12)Special thanks: 
     
    [See HE-6 Ultimate Review, page 1] 
     
    Kindest regards and thanks to anyone reading this. Hope you liked it!
    Luke, the reviewer
    1. yalper
      If Re-400 gets 9/10 soundstage, 9/10 treble scores, better ones should get 15/10 16/10 etc. hence your scoring is a bit too high for Re-400, even though I also quite like them.
      yalper, Sep 7, 2014
    2. conquerator2
      The scores are relative to their price :]
      conquerator2, Sep 7, 2014
    3. thatBeatsguy
      "Also the very first IEM made by HiFiMAN."
       
      Uh, no. HiFiMAN made dozens of other IEMs before the RE-400, but discontinued all of the legacy models when they released these. Great read, though. 
      thatBeatsguy, Sep 7, 2014
  3. Moonstar
    Liquid and Relaxing like Water
    Written by Moonstar
    Published Sep 26, 2018
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Intimate and Emotional Vocal Presentation,
    Balanced Sound Signature,
    Fatigue Free Presentation,
    Very Lightweight and Comfortable,
    Lots of Ear Tips
    Cons - Sparkle,
    Treble Extension,
    Maybe too Neutral for Some
    Hifiman RE400 Waterline Review

    Liquid and Relaxing like Water


    About Hifiman:

    Hifiman was founded by Dr. Fang in New York - USA and is one of the most well-known personal audio companies in the audiophile word.

    Hifiman has a wide variety of Hi-Fi, Reference and Premium class products like Portable Audio Players, Planar Magnetic Headphones, Desktop Amplifiers and Earphones/In-Ear Monitors like the Hifiman RE400, which I will now review for you.

    [​IMG]



    Disclaimer:

    I would like to thank Hifiman for providing me this sample for review purposes. I am not affiliated with Hifiman and/or any third person beyond this review and all these words reflect my true, unaltered opinions about the product.


    Price:

    The Hifiman RE400 is available for 49,00 USD.



    Package and Accessories:

    The Hifiman RE400 In-Ear Monitor comes in a small rectangular box, which has a semitransparent plastic housing.

    The box includes the following contents;

    • 1 pcs x Hifiman Re400 In-Ear Monitor
    • 7 pairs x Silicone Tips
    • 10 pcs x Nozzle Filters
    • 1 pcs x Shirt Clip
    • 1 pcs x Carry Pouch
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The RE400 comes with a wide variety of silicone tips and some of them have a very unique shape like the bi-flange tips on the pictures bellow.

    [​IMG]

    The carry pouch came separately, because the box is too small to carry all accessories. I think that Hifiman has added this carry pouch after some customer feedbacks.

    The box includes also 10 pcs of Filters, which should help to protect the earphone’s inner components from dust and earwax.

    [​IMG]




    Technical Specifications:

    • Driver Type : Single Dynamic Driver
    • Freq. range : 15 ~ 21000hz
    • Sensitivity : 102db
    • Impendence : 32ohm
    • Cable length : 1.33m
    • Plug : 3.5mm 3 Pole Unbalanced (TRS)


    Design, Fit and Build Quality:

    The Hifiman RE400 In-Ear Monitor has a pretty small and comfortable housing, which has a minimalistic design. The monitor housing is in silver color and is made of CNC machined metal that looks robust in my hands.

    [​IMG]

    There is a small vent on the housing that is necessary to balance the pressure inside the housing.

    On the front of the monitor is the sound nozzle that has a dust/earwax filter on the top, which can be replaced.

    [​IMG]

    The cable of the RE400 is fixed to the monitor and is protected by relative long plastic strain reliefs where you can find also the left and right markings.

    [​IMG]

    The cable of the RE400 is relative thin but and has a fabric coating which has pretty low microphonic effect. This fabric isolation goes up to the y splitter and the rest of the cable up to the strain relief is made of regular TPU material.

    [​IMG]

    The cable has a plastic Y splitter, which sport the Hifiman branding and there is also a small metal chin slider in silver color same as the housing.

    [​IMG]

    The Hifiman RE400 has a 3.5mm unbalanced 3 pole headphone jack with a 90 degree angled profile which is protected by a plastic housing.

    [​IMG]

    The RE400 is very ergonomic due to the small and lightweight housing, which makes it ideal for long listening periods and to wear even while sleeping. The noise isolation is pretty good for an In-Ear Monitor with such a small design and has blocked much of the noise in relative noise environments like bus, train etc.

    [​IMG]




    Equipment’s used for this review:

    IEM’s : Hifiman RE400, Shozy Hibiky, Meze 12 Classics
    DAP&DAC’s : Cayin N5II, Fiio M7, Chord Mojo, Xduoo XD10, Audirect Beam

    [​IMG]





    Albums & tracks used for this review:

    • First Aid Kit - My Silver Lining (Spotify)
    • London Grammar – Interlud (Live) (Flac 24bit/44kHz)
    • Laura Pergolizzi – Lost On You “Live at Harvard and Stone” (Tidal Hi-Fi)
    • Minor Empire – BulbulumAltinKafeste (Spotify)
    • Adam Taylor – Colour to the Moon (Flac 16bit/44kHz)
    • Casey Abrams – Robot Lover (Tidal Hi-Fi)
    • Vivaldi – Le QuarttroStagioni “The Four Season” (Tidal Hi-Fi)
    • Steve Srauss – Mr. Bones (Flac 16bit/44kHz)
    • Otto Liebert& Luna Negra – The River (DSF) – Binaural Recording
    • Future Heroes – Another World (Tidal Hi-fi)
    • Lorde – Team (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
    • Tom Player – Resonace Theory “Album” (Tidal Hi-Fi)
    • Liquid Tension Experiment 2 – Acid Rain (Spotify)
    • Opeth – Damnation (Tidal Hi-Fi)
    • Metallica – Sad but True (Flac 24bit/96kHz)


    The Sound:

    This review is written after a burn-in process of approx. 70 hours and I have used the stock bi-flange silicone ear tips.

    [​IMG]



    Sound Signature:

    The Hifiman RE400 is an In-Ear monitor with a relative balanced, slightly mid-centric sound signature. The overall tonality of this IEM is slightly on the warmer side of neutral and is ideal for long listening periods due the smooth and relaxing presentation.



    Bass:

    The bass of the Hifiman RE400 sounds pretty clean, controlled and very linear from the sub-bass up to the lower midrange and is nor bass-light neither bass-heavy in its presentation.

    When it comes to the sub-bass region of the RE400, it shows moderate depth and rumble with average extension, which makes it not so suitable for genres like Trance and Edm music, but is good enough for jazz and acoustic music.

    The midbass of the RE400 are tight, not very boomy and have the right quantity to add some warmness to the sound and to avoid a dull presentation. The bass speed is above average and has pretty good control for an IEM in this price category.


    Midrange:

    The midrange of the RE400 is where it really shines. It sounds smooth, forgiving and pretty detailed, especially at this price range. The positioning of the midrange is what it differs from other In-Ear Monitors in the same price class, because it sounds neither too forward nor recessed.

    The overall presentation in the midrange is missing some transparency and is slightly veiled, which doesn’t sound unpleasant; on the contrary it gives the RE400 a special character. Both male and female vocals sounding quite emotional and pleasurable, especially female vocals have a more realistic presentation due to the brightness and sparkle, which comes from the upper midrange around 2-3 kHz. Male vocals are missing a slightly fullness and depth, due to the midbass / lower midrange tuning.

    The upper midrange of the Hifiman RE400 sounds pretty controlled with a fairly acceptable level of sibilance and harshness. The song "My Silver Lining" of the group "First Aid Kid" is one of my new reference tracks to measure the stress in the upper middle range, which can be caused by female vocals, where the RE400 has done a great job.

    The Hifiman RE400 sounds more realistic and successful with instruments such as guitars, drums and contrabass those have a relatively thicker tonality, than instruments like violins, flutes, etc. that are showing a thinner character.


    [​IMG]



    Treble:

    The treble range of the Hifiman RE400 is very linear and balanced like the rest of the spectrum. There is a slightly boost in the 6 kHz range that is adding some clarity and definition to the overall presentation and is avoiding hollowness.

    Some instruments like Hi Hats are slightly recessed, which makes it a bit too difficult to hear, while crash cymbals have a moderate extension. The Hi Hat cymbals are quite clear to hear in genres like Jazz, but harder to define in faster tracks like metal music.

    The overall detail level of the treble range is pretty good for this price tag and extension is on a moderate level which is acceptable for an entry level In-Ear Monitor. The treble tuning is very ideal for those who are looking for an IEM that is fatigue free and ideal for long listening periods.


    Soundstage:

    The soundstage of the Hifiman RE400 has moderate expansion, while the stage shows more wideness than depth. The stage has enough space to track the instruments in most types of music with low instrument quantities, but is not that suitable for songs with higher density, such as classical music.




    Comparisons:


    Hifiman RE400 vs Shozy Hibiki

    The Shozy Hibiki has more bass quantity than those of the Hifiman RE400 that shows a more linear bass response. The RE400 has less sub-bass rumble and depth than Hibiki with faster decay and less extension, while the RE400 is slightly faster and has better control.

    The midrange presentation of the Shozy Hibiki shows a more V shaped sound signature with a more recessed midrange. The midrange of the Hifiman RE400 is more forward and intimate than those of the Shozy Hibiki. The midrange of the Hibiki has also a brighter tonality with more presence that is adding additional sparkle to the timber of the Hibiki. This relative high peak around the 3-4 kHz makes the Shozy IEM prone to sibilance and can cause to ear fatigue. This was very noticeable in the song "My Silver Lining" of the group "First Aid Kid" where the Hifiman RE400 sounded much smoother and controlled than the Hibiki.

    The treble range of the Shozy Hibiki is brighter and more pronounced in the 8 kHz region which is increasing airiness and sparkle, while the Re400 has a more natural and linear treble presentation, which makes it to the more ideal IEM who prefer less brightness and more relaxing presentation.

    When it comes to the soundstage performance, the Hibiki shows more depth, while the difference for wideness is less noticeable, maybe slightly better with the Hibiki.


    [​IMG]



    Hifiman RE400 vs Meze Classics 12:

    The Meze Classics 12 has a more V shaped sound signature than those of the Hifiman RE400 with emphasizes to the lower and upper frequency regions. The sub-bass quantity and depth of this two IEM’s is nearly identical, while the RE400 has slightly better extension.

    The bass and midbass region of the Meze 12 Classics sounds fuller and has more impact than those of the RE400 with pretty equal speed and control.

    The midrange of the Meze 12 classics sounds more recessed than those of the RE400, which has a more intimate and emotional presentation for vocals. The boost in the upper midrange region around 2-3 kHz makes the RE400 more successful with female vocals and is adding slightly more detail without to be sibilant ant harsh.

    The treble range of the Meze 12 Classics has a noticeable boost around 4-6kHz with a peak at 5 kHz that is adding more brightness, air and crispiness compared to the RE400, which has a more linear tuning. The Meze 12 Classics has treble extensions, while the Hifiman RE400 has better control and offers a more fatigue free listening.

    The soundstage performance of those two IEM’s shows not a night and day difference. The Hifiman RE400 and Meze 12 Classics are performing head to head in terms of soundstage wideness, while the Meze 12 Classics has better depth performance.



    [​IMG]



    Conclusion:

    The Hifiman RE400 is very lightweight and comfortable to wear In-Ear Monitor with a smooth and relaxing presentation. The great vocal performance makes the RE400 to a real joy, especially with acoustic songs, while listeners who prefer more bass in their tracks will be less satisfied.


    Pros and Cons:

    • + Intimate and Emotional Vocal Presentation
    • + Balanced Sound Signature
    • + Fatigue Free Presentation
    • + Very Lightweight and Comfortable
    • + Lots of Ear Tips

    • - Sparkle
    • - Treble Extension
    • - Maybe too Neutral for Some
      hieple193, ValSilva and karanehir35 like this.
    1. ValSilva
      A good iem for the price, but with one of the worst cables ever made, at least to me :)
      ValSilva, Sep 26, 2018
    2. hieple193
      Nice review. Thanks. This seem like great option for Xiaomi Pro HD's upgrade
      hieple193, Oct 27, 2018
  4. DivineCurrent
    These sound better than $500 IEMs
    Written by DivineCurrent
    Published Jun 25, 2016
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Smooth neutral sound, amazing soundstage, very detailed yet not fatiguing at all.
    Cons - Supplied ear tips may not get a comfortable seal.
    Where do I start? These honestly sound like the HD600/650 in IEM form. My previous go to IEM was the Klipsch X10 ($100), followed by the Klipsch X20i ($539). What is amazing, is that the RE-400 sound smoother, are more realistic, have better treble extension, AND have better soundstage than the X20i. And these cost just $79! I am continually impressed by these the more I listen to them. They seem to work with every genre too. For classical, they bring out every instrument texture to make them sound realistic. For pop and EDM, they have decent impact and sub bass extension, but are not for bassheads. I would describe them as neutral, and very slightly warm. Some may say they don't have good sub bass, but I disagree. If you are used to Hifiman's planars like the HE-400i and HE-560, you will notice these have extremely similar bass presentation. Mids are fantastic, very realistic and right where they sound be. Maybe slightly elevated compared to most IEMs, but only very slightly. Treble is so smooth, no peaks at all. I must say, the tonal balance is smoother and more realistic than many over ear headphones such as the Beyer DT800 and T1, Hifiman HE-400i, and Shure SRH-940, and sound very similar to the Sennheiser HD600/650 in the mid and treble regions.
    The only con I can think of is the supplied ear tips may not fit people with smaller ear canals like me. The smallest size is ok for me, but doesn't seal as well as foam tips, and the next size up is too big. So I ordered Comply foam tips (the TS-400 size) and hopefully those will get a better seal. However, even without the best seal, it doesn't seem to affect the sound that much, because they already sound fantastic. 
    Considering these sound significantly more balanced and natural than what the Klipsch IEMs have to offer, at under the $100 price point, is a huge accomplishment in my book. You probably wont find a better sounding audiophile IEM under $100, or maybe even up to $300. I wouldn't be surprised if these match the performance of the king of dynamic IEMs, the Sennheiser IE800. Hifiman sure knew what they were doing with these, and I can't recommend them highly enough!
      flognarde and BrunoC like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. seanwee
      klipsch are crap in terms of price/performance ratio so no surprise there.
      seanwee, Jun 25, 2016
    3. DivineCurrent
      @seanwee yeah, they really are aren't they? I never realized just how outperformed they are until i tired the RE-400. Guess ill have to try other brands instead.
      DivineCurrent, Jun 25, 2016
    4. xxAMAROKxx
      xxAMAROKxx, May 2, 2019
  5. TommyNavara
    Natural sounding and consistent tiny package
    Written by TommyNavara
    Published Apr 27, 2019
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Natural sounding
    Really good midrange
    Comfortable
    Tiny and lightweight
    Cons - Bass lacking
    Cannot change cable
    No controls on the cable
    WhatsApp Image 2019-04-27 at 13.51.37 (1).jpeg
    HIFIMAN RE400 WATERLINE REVIEW


    INTRODUCTION

    Hifiman is one those brands that you cannot forget when it comes to high quality audio, the product range is complete and unique, with premium and reference material, from the budget oriented to the super luxury.

    The main reason i like their products is because of the outstanding build quality and reliability; premium products are really expensive, but at the end of the day you get what you pay for.


    Disclamer:

    My kind thanks to Hifiman for sending me the RE400 for testing purposes. My review is not biased in any way.


    BUILD & DESIGN:

    I really like the metal machinery there, precisely crafted, tiny and comfortable, during the first test i was really impressed how tiny and compact they are. The entire presentation of the earphones and accessories is nice and a really pleasing experience throughout: the casing, the foamy and velvety box inside, everything well presented and most importantly, well protected from the shipment; this is a really important feature because we have to imagine that the products travel all over the world before going into our hands. Design wise i would consider them minimalistic: the cable is not detachable, the first part of the cabling (the splitted part) is plastic only and the last part is covered with fabric, the two sections divided with the logo; L & R is printed behind the iem on the connection. On my version there is no mic nor input commands. I cannot stress enough how small they are, and in my opinion this is a good thing for a pair of all round easy fit and solid iem. I believe the connector has changed on a revision, as is now slightly different from previous model revisions, and probably more sturdy and ruggedized now. Everything comes within just 14 grams of weight, in line with other qualitatively equal models.
    WhatsApp Image 2019-04-27 at 13.51.35 (1).jpeg

    TECH SPECS & WHAT’S INSIDE THE PACKAGE

    · Sensitivity 102 dB

    · Driver size 8.5 mm

    · Frequency 15 Hz - 22 kHz

    · Impedance 32 Ohm

    · Weight 14 gr

    Re-400 has a neodynium magnet and a titanium 8.5 mm driver; the loudspeaker has been designed and produced directly by HiFiMan to guarantee maximum performance of the medium frequencies. The technical specifications are in line with the earphones of the same price range; the sensitivity is 102 dB, the impedance is 32 ohms and the maximum power reaches 30 mW.

    WhatsApp Image 2019-04-27 at 13.51.36 (3).jpeg
    Inside the package we can find:

    · Hifiman Re400 In-Ear Monitor

    · 7 pairs of Silicone Tips

    · 1 carry pouch

    · 10 Replacements for the nozzles filters

    · 1 Clip

    WhatsApp Image 2019-04-27 at 13.51.36 (7).jpeg
    Two main things to consider that i really like: the pouch included is a plus, and for the tips there’s a pretty good selection of them, wether you fit bi flange, small or big tips. There are no foam tips included unfortunately, and i do not understand why the tips are presented in 2 different positions in the packaging, as if the bigger ones are a later addition to the overall packaging: some are on the front in the casing, some are inside the pouch. One thing to consider is that the 3.5mm cable is not balanced, and cannot be detached from the units, however, there’s a moderately long strain relief (compared to the tiny bodies). The included nozzles filters are a nice addition, in particluar for people with a lot of ear waxing; when they become impossibile to clean and/or ruined, you can simply change them withut worrying too much.

    WhatsApp Image 2019-04-27 at 13.51.36.jpeg
    SOUND:

    Overall the RE400 is a neutral sounding iem, the bass is a bit recessed and needs a some burn-in to shine in my opinion. I had to put the bigger tips to seal them better into my ear canals. The presentation is spacious and well-rounded. The soundstage is fairly large, and the earphones have a fairly open, airy, and uncongested sound.

    Presentation:

    The presentation of the RE400 is pleasant, wide and with a good overall sense of space and distance. There is less depth and height to the stage than with other multidriver iems, but the presentation is really good for this price point. Instrument separation is decent and overall very enjoyable. What i have found is a natural and pleasant presentation with great density that shines with an high level of clarity, especially with bright instruments and some particular tracks like the instruments found on the Chesky heaphone test disk.
    WhatsApp Image 2019-04-27 at 13.51.35 (3).jpeg
    Bass:

    I have found the bass lackluster, even if i am not a basshead myself. With a bit of burn in it gets better, and i think that playing around with the correct tips helps a lot also. Definitely not a basshead iem, but i am able to live with it. The bass is there when you need it, but is definitely not so powerful. For a straight basshead i would consider something different, even if, to my taste, this can be enough and i was satisfied with the results after the burn-in process and the discover of the correct tip for my ear canals. Bass speed, on the other hand, is tight and precise, quick to play, and doesn’t linger too long; in my opinion this is really important. Definitely not a bass oriented iem, and again, if you are a basshead just choose something else.

    Midrange:

    Midrange is the best part of this iem in my opinion: it is very upfront and it blends very well with treble while retaining its space without going out of boundaries. The low-mids are well separated, and do not disturb some other frequencies; mids are really bright and some kind of vocals are better than the others: say for example forward female vocals are amazing: the overall result is a very open sound; obviously you miss some detail, some transparency, but at this price point, the midrange are really amazing, something that you are usually able to listen if you have an higher budget, on other brands.

    Treble:

    I like the treble because it’s sparkling and vivid, but not fatiguing. You lose a little bit of detail in the treble, but nothing to be worried too much. The extension is fair; overall to my ears the treble sounds good; it feels more natural and it has a good separation from the other frequencies, if you think that this is a single driver iem, the result is pretty good for the price range. I like the fact, again, that you can listen to them for hours without fatiguing your ears, i think that this has to do with the natural sounding, even if the treble are really sharp. In my opinion the treble is not affected too much from the break-in process, not quite as much as the bass to my ears; they are consistent out of the box and after 50h break-in period.

    WhatsApp Image 2019-04-27 at 13.51.35 (2).jpeg
    Overall sound impression:

    Natural is the correct word for the RE400. The iem plays the music as it should be, without over emphasizing one thing or the other. The Midrange section is for sure the best one. Bass, on the other hand, is a bit lacking and you need some break-into get some and some good isolation, especially the sub-bass region, very recessed out of the box.


    Final Impressions:

    Well presented, natural and consistent: a nice tiny package that is good for the price and everyday listening without worrying too much about special sources. Buy them if you like vocals and midrange oriented tracks, do not buy them if you are a strong basshead and you want a lot of boom out of the box. Nothing special in the accessories, but the flange selection is nice, something they added later i guess, with the carrying pouch, that is a generic one and not personalized in any way with the name of the company or logos. I really like to listen to ambient tracks on those, especially filled with female vocals.

    WhatsApp Image 2019-04-27 at 13.51.36 (2).jpeg
    EQUIPMENT USED:

    PC + Fiio E07K @ Foobar 2000 FLACs

    Rockboxed Sandisk Sansa clip+

    LG G7 thinq with quad dac


    Immaginefio.jpg

    images

    1. WhatsApp Image 2019-04-27 at 13.51.35.jpeg
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    3. WhatsApp Image 2019-04-27 at 13.51.36 (5).jpeg
    4. WhatsApp Image 2019-04-27 at 13.51.36 (6).jpeg
    5. WhatsApp Image 2019-04-27 at 13.51.37.jpeg
      H T T likes this.
    1. H T T
      Thank you for the thorough review. I don’t find the RE-400 lacking in bass. The RE-400, thankfully, does not have that annoying bass “slam” or artificial bass boost like so many other IEMs. Though the RE-400 is quite competent, I find the ($99) RE-600 to be much more refined alternative.
      H T T, Apr 30, 2019
    2. xxAMAROKxx
      xxAMAROKxx, May 2, 2019
  6. drez
    Excellent at any price
    Written by drez
    Published Feb 9, 2016
    5.0/5,
    Pros - flat frequency response, excellent timbre, quick, very clean decay, inexpensive, comfortable, discrete fit, impact, not BA, responds well to EQ
    Cons - benefits from EQ, not much high treble extension
    A bit of background:
    I have never really been that into portable gear.  I have already sunk a lot of money into my home setup, it is more comfortable to use than in ears, more conducive to critical listening, and generally I like to be aware of my surroundings when walking around in public.  I am however well past the point of diminishing returns with my home setup, and occasionally its nice to tune out from the unpleasantness of public transport, plane travel etc. and still have an acceptably engaging and truthful sound quality from portable equipment.
     
    In any case I am used to over ear desktop sound.  Relative to my desktop gear in the price range I am looking at is compromised in one way or another.  More often than not with multi balanced armature in ear monitors there are certain colourations due to the BA drivers themselves, crossovers, peaks and dips in frequency response.  More often than not the BA headphones I have tried exhibit an airy sound quality that sounds nice and detailed, have excellent separation and detail.  More often than not though you know you are listening to a multi BA earphone.  The JH Layla was an exception, showing little of the usual BA colourations (not airy or soft), having excellent dynamic impact and incredible imaging.  Eventually though I tired from the lack of micro detail resolution and poor fit, and incredible local cost (our currency in Australia has dropped in value).  I sold them and went back to my Westone 4's.
     
    Anyway the trend with multi BA earphones seems to be stacking more and more drivers to develop a more forceful detail presentation and dynamic impact, and get away from that sort of vapid airy BA sound.  This however is very costly and more often than not still results in peaks and dips and phase irregularities and other colourations to the sound.  Coupled with the weakening Australian dollar, chasing high sound quality using multi BA based earphones is getting expensive.
     
    Recently my Westone 4's died, so I went on a search for replacements.  I tried a lot of the new multi BA options.  They are making progress in sound however IMO are still quite compromised in sound quality versus full sized earphones.  I also tried some of the new extremely expensive dynamic in ears (I won't mention names).  They had some nice qualities but again have substantial coloration to the sound mostly due to uneven frequency response and ringing distortions.  I am always happy to see new research and development in dynamic in ears but I don't fancy spending big money on (still) flawed products.
     
    Now to my review:
    I think my demo of the HifiMan RE-400 was one of the fastest purchasing decisions I have made.  Compared to the other in ears I was testing, they just sounded so "right" with a flat midrange and such natural timbres!  I have had other similarly quick demos but those mostly involve me ripping headphones off my head because of how badly coloured they are, but that is another story.  RE-400's were clearly the most faithful earphones I had heard that day regardless of price (I had listened some earphones costing 20x the price of RE-400!)
     
    Anyway I think it is customary to break reviews down into sections, maybe BASS, MIDS, TREBLE etc. so I might do the same:
     
    BASS:  Flat.  Not elevated or rolled.  Just flat down to 20 Hz like a planar.  Tight.  Not boomy.  Detailed.  Acoustic.  Fast.  A little shy when not driven with enough power.  Excellent.
     
    MIDS:  No peaks or dips.  Clear.  Perfect timbre.  Fast and clean.  Resolving - this is not the same kind of (overly) airy sense of resolution you get with BA earphones, and subjectively there is not as much finer microdetail as some of the multi BA solutions, but the overall faithfulness of timbre is higher and resolution is hardly lacking*.  *Actually I think part of the subjective impression of resolution might be down to the frequency balance which I will discuss that later.
     
    TREBLE:  Good timbre, moderately good extension.  I can still make out all the cymbals and acoustic instruments all sound remarkably lifelike.  There is some lack of air due to rolloff in the high treble.  Mid treble also needs some boosting with EQ.  I added +6dB centered at 6kHz and +10dB centered at 16kHz, however you may find different adjustments more to your taste.
     
    I use these earphones with my Sony ZX2 DAP, which from experience may be slightly lacking the power to make the bass wake up but, interestingly the RE-400 are not holding back this high end DAP. The RE-400 will improve with better gear such as Chord's Mojo, or even some other higher powered DAPs.  The RE-400s are incredibly transparent and revealing.  Colourations in source components or amplifiers are laid bare.  They are not harsh (though there is some very slight sibilance splash).  Yes it makes sense to use this (USD) $100 earphone with high end portable gear like Chord Mojo, Sony ZX2, Astell & Kern AK240 etc.
     
    I mostly listen to classical and jazz, however I still listen to some heavy metal.  With classical and jazz the technical prowess of these earphones is hard to beat at any price.  For heavy metal, the technical ability and truthfulness is usually also good, however poorly recorded material will sound however it sounds.  I can just back off the treble EQ to compensate if the recording is too harsh for high volume listening.  When playing acoustic music you want to be able to appreciate the full performance in all it's nuance and dynamics.  Timbres are very convincing.
     
    Anyway I could continue to waffle about the technical ability of this earphone, however at the end of the day it will be up to the listener and his gear, music and tastes to determine if they like this earphone or not.  I almost overlooked these earphones, firstly because of the price (I think many others do as well), but secondly because I was not aware of just how good they are regardless of lack of hype.  I am sure that the few listeners with good ears who have discovered these gems are happy that their performance is not widely hyped.  It's a small miracle that this level of sound quality can be found for so little money, especially considering the general trend in the market towards more costly designs.  I recommend for everyone to try these earphones, especially audiophiles who value neutral, transparent, and low distortion sound.  Do NOT make the mistake to overlook these earphones because of the low price.
      voxie likes this.
  7. krelianx
    Ruined by lack of bass response
    Written by krelianx
    Published Nov 9, 2015
    3.0/5,
    Pros - Beautiful midrange, tonality, no sibilance, smooth, mellow treble
    Cons - Severely lacking in bass response, build quality, narrow soundstage, lack clarity
    Unfortunately, I find these to be the most overrated iems going on the market at present. Anybody who claims that these have sufficient bass response are just deluding themselves, or others. They are extremely bass shy, to the point where it just ruins the music. I also own the Trinity Deltas, Vsonics vsd3s, and senns cx-300ii; and the Hd-600s and Fidelio x1 for full sized cans. Even next to the hd-600 which is hardly 'bassy' is not lacking in this department, while the re-400s are just deflated there. Such a shame.

    The midrange is lush and smooth, and the treble is just right. The soundstage is very narrow, however, and the presentation lacks clarity and transparency. Also, the build quality is truly terrible: the wire  from the Y split to the driver casing is very thin and the actual connection to the case is weak (it separated barely 6 months into usage). The tip assortment is fine, with the Comply Foam tips giving it a bit of extra bass hump it sorely needs. However, they make the presentation even narrower and more congested than it already is. Sillicon tips uniformly give the same bassless response.

    These are horrendously overrated.
      DAVID_54 likes this.
    1. Deviltooth
      I loved the sound, bought two pairs and both died the same way.  One side failed.  Considering how many earphones I've bought (both less and more expensive than the RE-400s) that have had no problems I've resolved to avoid HiFiMan from now on.  They're great at tuning but their build quality and quality control is sub-par.
      Deviltooth, Nov 9, 2015
    2. Redcarmoose
      I think these builds may start to be a thing of the past? How HiFiMan can get away with this level of build quality is beyond me. This style of quality could be tolerated 5 years ago. Now you have $16 Piston 3 headphones which are built 10x better. It's not just that the HiFiMans always failed right at the mini-plug, but if not there, a driver would always fail on one side in time. These issues are not a question of if, but when. It's a quality that should put a product on a flag list of some type. Audio-fools, I mean audiophiles are a strangely forgiving group at times like this.
      Redcarmoose, Nov 10, 2015
    3. krelianx
      These made me single-handedly doubt the entire audiophile verdict. These are simply mediocre, the build is indeed atrocious. And though the tonality is quite natural, you simply can't justify the lack of bass without ignoring the visceral quality of the music. 
      krelianx, Nov 14, 2015
  8. AvidlyEclectic
    Sound is worth $300, build quality is worth $20
    Written by AvidlyEclectic
    Published Jul 2, 2015
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Absolutely heavenly sound. Unbeatable at this price point
    Cons - Build quality on my unit is a joke. Cable is falling apart 2 days in.
    ***This is a tl;dr: review. please refer to other reviews for a more in-depth analysis on their amazing sound.***

    For $100, you simply won't be getting anything better sound-wise than these cans, and a lot of happy owners will back me on this one. The mids are heavenly, the treble is smooth yet detailed, and the bass is tight and accurate. However, don't buy them just yet. The build quality is not up to scratch. In fact, when I asked the saleslady for these cans, she immediately suggested that I get it recabled from the get go. How I wish I took her advice. Barely 48 hours in and the cable on the right earpiece is fraying, just below the strain relief. The copper has gotten exposed, and while photos might not do them justice, and while $100 is relatively cheap in audiophilia, it is ridiculous that they are showing signs of tear 2 days in.Absolute let-down. Granted, YMMV, and I might have gotten a faulty unit because some owners have owned them for years and theirs are still apparently alive; however, if you plan to use them on the go or while exercising, look somewhere else, or get them recabled.

    I will update this review if my unit breaks. It's a shame really, I dig the sound so much. If they do break, I'll definitely be getting them recabled at cost. I dig the sound that much. Photo of the fraying cable below.

    image.jpg
      G_T_J likes this.
    1. lin0003
      They sound good for $100, but they are easily outclassed by the Titan 1. I actually didn't have those build quality issues with mine though, maybe you can send them in for warranty? 
      lin0003, Jul 2, 2015
    2. getclikinagas
      @AvidlyEclectic : I haven't had issues with my pair (over 1.5 years now) save a slight nick at the Y split. If you are a careful user, RMA them, and if they last for more than 7-8 months,you've probably received a good pair. BTW, where will you be doing the re-cabling, if needed?
       
      Hi @lin0003. Love your reviews.
      I feel the RE400 and Titan 1 differ in their base signature(Mid forward vs Slight V), which makes it difficult for me to place one over the other (personal sig preferences aside)
      getclikinagas, Jul 2, 2015
    3. AvidlyEclectic
      @lin0003 I wish I could, but I'm from the Philippines and sending it to hifiman will easily cost as much as the iem itself. I'll try my luck at the store I bought them from though.

      @getclikinagas just the local audiophile store I bought it from, Egghead. I think the owner has a head-fi account.
      AvidlyEclectic, Jul 2, 2015
  9. Apex Eight
    HiFiMAN RE-400 Review
    Written by Apex Eight
    Published Jan 24, 2015
    2.5/5,
    *REVIEW UNDER CONSTRUCTION*
    4/12/15 - I've deleted my entire review and will be completely revising/rewriting it. 
     
    Pictures:
     
    k6DGdYV.jpg  
    4asxhv5.jpg
     
    LRx16PR.jpg


      Twain250 likes this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. canetsbe
      Nice review and mirrors my impressions spot-on.  These were my first good IEMs and I love them to death.  Wonderful balance and transparency.  Well done!  I hope more people are turned onto these gems after reading your review.  They won't be disappointed.
      canetsbe, Jan 27, 2015
    3. tfnvk
      hi all! how is this compared to gr07's mids and treble?
      tfnvk, Feb 3, 2015
    4. NeonHD
      Four years later and still hasn't finished the review yet, lol.
      NeonHD, Apr 30, 2019
  10. mlthelasher
    Good to have, but felt held back
    Written by mlthelasher
    Published Nov 19, 2014
    3.5/5,
    Pros - Neutral, good to have, 45 degree plug
    Cons - Neutral, could use a bit more bass, Microphonics
    Build / Fit
    They are much smaller than I expected. The aluminum casing is nothing too special, it looks very clean, and simple. The wires above the split are very thin with a feel like they could break easily if you use then regularly on the go. But, below the split is a very nice cloth cable that leads into a 45 degree plug. The fit seemed very loose, even with the comply tips.
     
    Sound
    Neutral with a very slight rise in a bass. For the price, even for the $99 MSRP, they are incredible. The detail and sound stage are as good or better than some full sized headphones I've listen to. IMO the bass could use just a bit more impact?, not too much though. The Highs were just great, non-fatiguing, but still held the detail very well. The mids are neutral, nothing sounded too out of place. Again, for the price you can not get better than this. There is a reason why HiFiMan calls them the waterline.
     
    Packaging
    I guess this is something take into consideration? I thought is was very simple, clean, like the headphones that lay inside. There is a thick plastic sleeve that I thought was neat.
     
    Overall
    They are fantastic pair of IEMs to keep in your collection, I will be using them when I am too lazy to put on my SE-215s or is a rush. BTW, Microphonics are a thing. I love the RE-400s, but they feel like something was holding them back from being spectacular.


      snrf likes this.
    1. Tom22
      in regards to the microphonics i agree entirely, thats why i use these exclusively over the ear (wrapped over my ear).
       
      its quite bothersome. the build is another issue (its quite underbuilt for its price tag)
       
      but the sound is just in another league. its simply clean, transparent without sounding cold or analytical. it walks a very fine line and does it effortlessly.
      Tom22, Nov 19, 2014