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HiFiMAN RE-400

Rating:
4.21154/5,
  1. SOULSIK
    Setting an example for everyone
    Written by SOULSIK
    Published Apr 24, 2017
    4.0/5,
    Pros - price. neutrality.
    Cons - bass may be lacking for some
    VIDEO REVIEW

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    ALL REVIEW ARE DONE @ SOULSIKREVIEWS.COM and more insightful review can be found on our site.

    INTRODUCTION

    If you are on a budget then you are in for some good luck because Hifiman re400 might be just for you. Hifiman claims this IEM to be the “waterline” IEM, which means, not only them but the industry should be doing THIS with 99 dollars. Bit of a big claim? But I must say, they deserve the big talk. The re400 is not only small and compact but brings you quality that you would see in much higher end IEMs.

    DISCLAIMER

    The Hifiman re400 was sent me for a review by audioexcellence, a audiophile store in Canada. As usual, my reviews are not bias in any way.

    ABOUT Hifiman

    HiFiMAN Electronics is a designer and manufacturer of audio products including headphonesamplifiers, and portable audio players. Hifiman is known for its high-end audio products made under the brand Mee Audio. Its most popular products include the HE-400 which are full sized open back headphones and the RE-400 which is an IEM (In Ear Monitor). Both products are supposedly critically acclaimed for their sound quality

    SPECS

    Divers: Titanium coated 8.5mm dynamic drivers

    Frequency: 15 – 22 Khz

    Sensitivity: 102 dB

    Impedance: 32 Ohms

    Cable length: 1.33m

    Plug: 3.5mm

     

    WHERE DO I BUY IT?

    If you are in Canada, https://www.audioexcellence.ca/ is the place to go, not only for this product but for any hifi products, their price is competitive and ensures quality service. Their store is well worth a visit if you are located within the GTA.

    Internationally, amazon is your best bet far as I know.

     

    BUILD QUALITY

    HOUSING: the housing is made of aluminum and is very small and compact.

     

    Cable: the cable is fabricated cable up to point of the splitter and then it is

    rubber/plastic material from then on. The slider is metal, which is very nice touch. It terminates in a 3.5mm gold plated right angled jack.

     

    Accessories: A lot of tips for any fit, however I found the comply foams to be the best. A very nice hard carrying case that is practical in size and portability is included. There are also extra filters in case you damage the filters with earwax, which is a nice touch and shows that HIFIMAN wants you to keep the IEM for a longer time.

     

    Overall, the build quality is exceptional for 99 dollars. From drivers to the accessories, it screams quality. Also, the isolation and fit was perfect for me. There is 2 ways to wear it. Straight in or over the ear (found the 2nd fit to eliminate any microphonic)

     
    PRACTIALLY

    This IEM would be something I would recommend my university friends that are not audiophiles because of its cheap price point and what you get for it. With the comply foams, there was much more isolation, however even with the normal tips included with the re400s, the sound isolation was enough to be used in quiet places like the library and loud places like the gym.

    SOUND QUALITY

    GENERAL: These are neutral sounding IEMs. The bass is not as extended as modern bass heads might like it, and this might be a turn off for some people. However, the fact that you can hear the music you love, the way it was recorded, the way it was supposed to be heard for 99 dollars, is something to appreciate. If you are like me and listens to almost anything, these are perfect. You can hear these for hours and hours without any problem because there are no sibilant highs or no booming bass that might bother you in long listening sessions. Everything is clear and represented “the way they are supposed to be”

    Sound Stage: the sound stage is very intimate, which may be a good thing for some and a turn off for others. Again, priced at 99 dollars, these are exceptional in sound stage and imaging.

    Final Thoughts

    Hifiman re400 really did amaze me with its price to performance ratio. I wish to see more budget iems like these in the future. I truly believe they deserve the title of “waterline.” 

    1. Hi-Fi'er
      You may like the Ostry KC06A even more that are sub $100 which almost sound like the RE-600 and more mid forward if the RE-400 impress, they just more bass but not by a lot. I call the Ostry's HIFIMAN on steroids compared to my RE-600's. Give them a try. They won't disappoint you. I have both and love them equally.
      Hi-Fi'er, Apr 24, 2017
  2. flognarde
    Smooth and well balanced IEM's
    Written by flognarde
    Published Jul 13, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Delicate and trully musical, timbres, fatigueless
    Cons - Very slightly warm sounding, not as spacious as other's
    I am only listening to acoustic music, So I had no issue with the amount of bass (only plugged to my FIIO X5II, Flac, APE, Highres and DSD files). Even though they are not as tight as on my Shure's Se425 they are well balanced with the rest of the spectrum.
    Slightly on the warm side but perfectly balanced, not in the face , musical, smooth apart from a little peak on the high mids, they have an amazing respect for the timbres, which is for me the main point.
    The relative lack of definition participate to how "liquid" the music is just like in concert. Everything is integrated in a delightfull way, not much sticks out.
    On some tracks I was expecting a little bit more dynamics but I have never heard a pair of IEM's that accomodate so many different style of recordings. 
    Bought second hand (perfect condition) for 40€, it's the bargain of the century.
    Higly recommended for classical music lovers.
  3. chuck8403
    Easy to recommend
    Written by chuck8403
    Published Mar 31, 2016
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Good balanced sound, Solid build, Comfortable
    Cons - No in-line controls
    Source: Macbook 12 with Audioquest DragonFly v1.2
     
    Comfort and Construction:
     
    Overall the comfort level was good to me for an in-ear monitor. The key is to correctly size the inserts. Cord length is good for this type of ear monitor. Ended into a 1/4” plug with a 45 degree angl. For use on an iPhone or iPod, this may be a slight distraction. The cord is sturdy. Seemed to have good thickness without being too thick. There are no controls on the cord. This could be a deal-breaker for some.
     
    Sound:
     
    Overall, the RE-400 has a good sound. The highs are crisp and detailed. The mids are solid. It does lack base, but most in-ear monitors will be the same. Isolation is good for an in-ear monitor. No active noise cancellation, but with a good fit using the correct inserts, the isolation is satisfactory. I was impressed with the clarity of these. Good sound separation.
     
    Thoughts:
     
    Easy to recommend if you are looking for a reasonably priced in-ear monitor. Good sound and comfort. Need to decide if the angled plug will detract or lack of in-line control forces another choice.
  4. drambit
    Mediocre IEMs for a mediocre price
    Written by drambit
    Published May 15, 2015
    2.0/5,
    Pros - Excellent mids, decent price
    Cons - bad sibilance, comically weak bass, unattractive, poor build quality, not very comfortable, microphonics
    I bought these in early May based on nearly unanimous recommendation from people on a bunch of websites, and I must say they don't live up to their reputation. Some of the common things people pointed out were that they are excellent for the price, they have great mids, and they have bad build quality, the bass could be better, and that they are great for all genres. Most of these points definitely stand up, I don't think I have ever heard better mids in my life, they are fairly cheap, but to me they have nothing else going for them. The bass isn't just leaving more to desired, it is so bad it makes some genres hard to listen to, it is almost comically weak, more like a tickle than a punch. They aren't especially neutral, they are just very mid heavy. I guess it sounds neutral at first glance, but the lows are extremely recessed, and the highs aren't very sparkly, they also have bad sibilance in a lot of cases. It is basically the opposite of the classic "V-shaped" sound signature, whereas normally mids are recessed and there is too much emphasis on lows and high, these have way too much emphasis on mids and bad lows and highs. They also definitely don't work for all genres. When listening to classical instrument seperation suffers, soundstage seriously suffers, bass suffers, highs suffer, and volume suffer. For metal the vocals are amazing but a lot of the rythm is lost in the weak bass, funk is amazingly smooth and probably the best genre for these, for techno in general they are terrible due to the bass problems, although as usual vocals stand out and are excellent. 
     
    In terms of physical qualities they aren't great either. They look quite cheap, which is the downside of their otherwise nice minimalistic style, the 3.5mm jack is very obviously low quality, as someone who fixes headphones on a regular basis that stand out like a sore thumb, the cord definitely also feels a bit flimsy and I don't expect it to last long. If you don't wrap your earphones around the back of your ear these suffer from constant annoying microphonics leaving you with no obvious choice except to wrap the, but they also have a tendency for the wire to constantly fall off my ears, which can get very frustrating at times. The sound isolation is mediocre, nothing really to complain about but also not worthy of praise, I often have to bring the volume up a lot compared to where I normally do with IEMs. The choice of included tips is strange to me, there is a bunch of flanged ones that scratch and irritate the inside of my ears, there is ones that are way too small, ones that are way too large, and only one set that is similar to what is normally included with all IEMs which is medium sized rubber tips, but it's still not exactly the same it's like a half flange, the tip is two different sizes but it isn't separated, 
     
    In conclusion, I definitely do not recommend these earphones. I have had 40 dollar Sony earphones perform twice as well as these for less than half the price, and they lasted me almost 2 years, where these apparently have a tendency to fail after only a few months. These are an exceptionally mediocre pair of earphones with a huge list of major downsides that are only redeemed at all by the excellent mid range performance.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. krelianx
      Must say I agree. Anyone who says these are anything but very bass-shy they are deluding themselves, or others. The treble is also quite mellow, and not very well extended. The mids are great, but overall the sound profile is congested, dull, with a cavernous soundstage. The build is pretty bad as well. These are the most overrated earphones I have heard.
      krelianx, Oct 26, 2015
    3. harry501
      I agree with you, I marvelled at the detail i was hearing but in time it started hurting my ears how clinical these sound... very cold. The bass is heard but very very low. i also wear AKG K451s which are bass heavy and very warm, which i like but i was fed up wearing them in hot weather. Sadly when i go back to them it makes the 400s sound so much weaker and boring sounding. Cable noise is horrendous. I too got suckered in with the insanely high reviews
      harry501, Feb 7, 2016
    4. flognarde
      Sibilance on these ? You must be joking or having recieved a broken pair ! These highs are one of the smoothest ever heard on IEM's . Unatractive ? Are you talking about my mother ?... let's say discrete and let them desappear... Give them a decent source on a decent amp/dac and you might change your mind?
      flognarde, Jul 13, 2016
      G_T_J likes this.
  5. vaibhavp
    Very good overall
    Written by vaibhavp
    Published Nov 19, 2014
    4.0/5,
    Pros - tactile balanced sound, good details for price, light and comfortable that looks good as well.
    Cons - a little lacking in sub bass.
    I have been using RE400 for over few months now. these are rather well known and well documented so I will only put stand out points that I think make it unique.

    Build:

    Light weight, made out of aluminium. Chord is fabric covered below y splitter. above that its plastic. no microphonics if i wear them from above my ears. Otherwise it can be bothersome. Jack is 45 degree. Overall looks solid and mine is working well without problems.

    Comfort and isolation:

    Comfort is above average. Isolation is great if I use comply tips, otherwise I think its above average. I do need to insert them a fir bit in my ears to get a good seal, more than other IEMs I have used.

    Sound:

    Two words that best describe the sound is: Tactile and balanced.

    Bass is present and slightly lifted thus gives instruments slightly more realistic feel. Bass is Fairly transparent and conveys what was played well enough. Its fairly tight, though I do find sub bass lacking a bit.

    Mids are well balanced with bass. Its not a huge soundstage and mids sound rather intimate. Slightly lush, overall maintain neutrality.

    Treble is extended and can be delicate or harsh depending on source, with fair amount of resolution. Again nothing alarming, its not a bright sound to my ears.

    Amping: Rather strange in amping department (I guess its common with iems). Sounds best out of my PS Vita, a gaming console, compared to my phone or amp. Detail retrieval drops when used with either compared to my other full size hps, that sound best out of amp.

    Value: Overall amazing. I has quiet a lot of hype surrounding it. I do think if you factor everything, comfort, accessories, sound, its very good $100 iem. Taken only in terms of sound, will it beat a $200 hp? I don't think so. But I do think its very competent hp for $100 and a great value.
    1. yalper
      it's a love and hate relationship my experience with RE400 :)
      yalper, Nov 19, 2014
    2. vaibhavp
      i do like them and use them for portable use. definitely thumbs up from me.
      vaibhavp, Nov 20, 2014
  6. suman134
    the best 100 dollar phone if you are not after bass .
    Written by suman134
    Published Aug 14, 2014
    5.0/5,
    Pros - bass decay , speed , details , clarity , instruments separation , top end spark , nice cable .
    Cons - some veiling in the mids , bad cable clip , if that is a thing .
     i totally would like to believe that there is no earphone brand as admired as hifiman , at least admired by purists , and the small and cute re-400 is not an exception , its a total value phone and every penny is best invested .
     yes these phones lack some sub bass and dont hit big like a bass phone cuz its nothing close to it , it is more of a mid centric phone and is as balanced as i wish , now im not a fan of booming bass so i like re-400 more than S5 or ckx-9 , sound stage is good , i like it , good depth but narrow , vocals are a bit veiled thats all i can fault about , instruments are really clear and i love this highs , good energy and good extension , sonically these are awesome and extension in the top end is exceptional .
     i love it as much as my er-4p , and i think if re-400 were to grow up , it would have become an er-4p .
     
     a brainwavz S5 comparison can be found here . similarly priced but far more different in other things .
    http://www.head-fi.org/products/brainwavz-s5-in-ear-headphones/reviews/11371
    1. atsq17
      Agree with this review in that it's a very good earphone. I picked them up as a cheap spare but when I use them I am always satisfied. Not that one would normally do this but I tried them with a Bakoon HPA21 amp and the soundstage size expanded significantly, the size of all the instruments were bigger and there was significantly more bass presence. It's still not a bass-head phone but there was A LOT of bass with the HPA21. It's amazing how well it scaled up with high end amps. 
       
      I was previously using RSA Predator, Geek Out and ALO International. They are no slouches either but the Bakoon was something else. 
      atsq17, Aug 15, 2014
    2. suman134
      that amp is like the best may be .
      suman134, Aug 15, 2014
  7. twister6
    Amazing sound quality!
    Written by twister6
    Published May 11, 2014
    5.0/5,
    Pros - very detailed warm neutral sound which is fun to listen to!
    Cons - bass (I know its neutral and I shouldn't have high expectations for it :))
    Arrived in a very elegant package, this "waterline" labeled RE-400 model looked very sharp. Just like with HM700/RE-400B, a lot of attention was paid to presentation of the product to the point where they actually had to include the storage hard zippered case with extra eartips in a separate bag so it doesn't interfere with a slim profile of the original RE-400 package. The headphones were sitting inside of a felt lined foam insert with cutouts for extra eartips. Furthermore, more eartips were included with a storage case. When it comes to accessories, HiFiMAN never disappoints. In addition to headphones and storage case, they included 3 pairs of bi-flange eartips, 2 pairs of smaller black silicon tips, 3 custom shape clear silicone tips, 2 pairs of T-400 Comply premium foam tips (large and medium size), 5 pairs of filters, and a shirt clip. Though I can tell you ahead these headphones sound amazing, the right selection of eartips is VERY important to bring out the best in sound and isolation. I have a rather large ear canal and always use the largest included tip, where the custom shaped clear one provided the best passive noise isolation I ever experienced with any of in-ears.

    The first thing you notice when you take these headphones out - how super lightweight and compact they are. The barrel of these earpieces is made out of lightweight aluminum material and has a great ergonomics to fit comfortably inside of your ear. The barrel opening is covered by a cloth material filter (5 replacement pairs included), and right next to the strain relief there is a pinhole port for sound shaping. Followed by a decent strain relief the cables use a durable shiny rubber coating up until the y-splitter. Included chin slider moves very smoothly and made out of the same aluminum material. After y-splitter, the cable has a "shoe lace" type of cloth material cover which is still very durable and doesn't have that annoying springy effect found with so many other cables. The cable is terminated by a gold plated 3.5mm angled connector with a flexible strain relief. I also noticed microphonics effect was down to minimum.

    When it comes to sound quality, RE-400 delivers amazing results! This single dynamic driver in-ear really focuses to deliver a neutral transparent sound but unlike other neutral headphones that sound lifeless - these are very smooth and warm. The sound is not in your face, it's a few steps back, but it sounds very natural without any artificial enhancement. The characteristics that surprised me the most was the low end where neutral headphones usually try hard to show details but lack the extension. Here, you still get a very detailed bass sound without any humps, but it actually extends beyond mid-bass punch down to some sub-bass texture. It's not enhanced or boosted, just perfect to enjoy your low frequencies, well controlled without spilling into mids. I found bass to be not as fast in comparison to my other headphones, but it's very well rounded and full. Mids are very detailed, clear, maybe a bit forward but not too much. The vocals sound very natural and lush. High frequency (treble) is extended, detailed, bright but not harsh and without any hint of sibilance. Upper mids/treble is very well controlled and just perfect for extended listening period without ear fatigue. The soundstage is average, not too wide which was definitely a step back from RE-400B balanced version that had an amazing 3D width. But this is in-line with other similar IEMs, while balanced wiring/architecture is intended to widen the sound. The headphones were really easy to drive from my phone and X5, but I did notice I had to dial in a higher volume level to enjoy them more.

    Overall, I knew that I will not be disappointed with RE-400, and my testing just solidified that! No matter what genre of music you are listening to, these headphones will guarantee to bring out the best in every song. The sound has just a perfect balance of neutral natural tones without going into any extreme. Perhaps if you are a basshead craving for a more bass impact or need an analytical bright set of headphones - these might not be your cup of tea. But as all around headphones that sounds and looks great, and has a very reasonable pricing in comparison to other single and multi-driver IEMs in the sound sound category - these deserve a serious consideration.
     
    Here are the pictures.
     
    hifiman_re400-01_zps4c12277f.jpg
     
    hifiman_re400-02_zps3c967880.jpg
     
    hifiman_re400-03_zps9c1a27c6.jpg
     
    hifiman_re400-04_zpsea04f18e.jpg
     
    hifiman_re400-05_zps14e190f6.jpg
     
    hifiman_re400-06_zps380d33f5.jpg
     
    hifiman_re400-07_zps885903d2.jpg
     
    hifiman_re400-08_zps99366d1b.jpg
     
    hifiman_re400-09_zpscfef4bad.jpg
     
    hifiman_re400-10_zpsbc3015b6.jpg
     
    hifiman_re400-11_zpsdd947607.jpg
     
    hifiman_re400-12_zpsc1e460c3.jpg
     
    hifiman_re400-13_zpsac8df8eb.jpg
     
    hifiman_re400-14_zps9dee6331.jpg
     
    hifiman_re400-15_zpsf49a922b.jpg
     
    hifiman_re400-16_zpsf27d9058.jpg
     
    hifiman_re400-17_zps9881a0ab.jpg
     
    hifiman_re400-18_zpsd64da6d4.jpg
     
    hifiman_re400-19_zps40d008dc.jpg
     
    hifiman_re400-20_zpsd3272ce1.jpg
    1. airomjosh
      Nice review and great pics, as always. How would you compare them with the Sidy DM2 that you also have? Which sound better overall?
      airomjosh, May 12, 2014
    2. twister6
      To be honest, they are not in the same sound signature category to compare.  RE-400 ergonomics, fit, comfort is better, and mids sounds a little more natural.  DM2 has more upfront mids and a strong fast bass (mid-bass hump, and a lot faster attack than RE-400).  Both RE-400 and DM2 are keepers for me.
      twister6, May 12, 2014
    3. Dog meat
      Great review! Hifiman official site now has it on the frontpage, congrats)
      Dog meat, May 16, 2014
  8. a_recording
    RE-400: A Reference Design
    Written by a_recording
    Published May 19, 2013
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Sensible and comfortable design, balanced sound quality, fantastic value
    Cons - Overly large plug, sparse included accessory selection
    Along with the summary below, I have posted a Youtube video review of the RE-400. If you like the video, check out my channel for more reviews :)
     

     
    Summary
     
    BUILD
     
    The RE-400 has a sensible, well thought out design. Of special note is the half-rubber / fabric cord which cuts down on microphonics. The RE-400 is comfortable to wear with cable up and the metal earpieces seem quite durable. However I find the plug to be overly large and can be difficult to accomodate in some pockets. The included accessory selection is quite poor, with only a few tip sizes included. Unfortunately I could not get a good seal with any of the tips and ended up using Sony hybrids, so please bear this in mind when reading the following sound impressions.
     
    SOUND
     
    The RE-400 has a neutral, smooth sound with perhaps a slight emphasis on the lower mid-bass, though this is certainly no bass head earphone. Everything is very tight, very fast and this is truly an amazing performer - not even considering the price at this point. Soundstage is not immediately very wide however, and people after something with a wider soundstage should perhaps look at the Sony MDR 7550.
     
    Overall
     
    I think despite the small issues I have with the RE-400, it offers absolutely stunning value at the $99 price point and really lays down a challenge to other manufacturers. As a neutral IEM the RE-400 stands shoulder to shoulder with other good dynamic options like the VSonic GR07 and Sony 7550, and does it at a lower price and better ergonomics. I absolutely applaud HiFiMan for the sharp pricing on the RE-400 and would heartily recommend it to almost anyone.
    1. Lifted Andreas
      Great review! Wonder how these do with Trance music and EDM in general?
      Lifted Andreas, Dec 11, 2013
    2. Macedo
      I'm not sure these would be a better purchase than the shure se-315. If only I had a chance to try them both...
      (By the way I'm that guy who is bugging you on twitter over the shure se-315. Thanks for the help!)
      Macedo, Apr 21, 2014
  9. TKWizard
    Great IEMS, however..
    Written by TKWizard
    Published May 17, 2013
    3.5/5,
    Pros - Great Sound, Very good design, very comfortable
    Cons - Slight durability issues, as Left side of the IEM is already cutting out
    I ordered these when my Astrotec AM-90s finally bit the bullet. Liking them so far, however the Left side is cutting out possibly due to a short on the plug.
     
    Messaged HiFiMan and hope I get a replacement. I would had given a 5/5, but I'm knocking off 1 1/2 stars due to the durability problem.
     
    I hope its just this one and it doesn't happen on the replacement.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Audio addict19
      You're not the only one. Ever since I got my pair the left ear is ALWAYS louder :frowning2:
      Audio addict19, May 27, 2013
    3. noobandroid
      my pair is also on the left side cut off problem now
      noobandroid, Jul 2, 2013
    4. onionskin
      I'll be staying away for now.  I have dealt w/ head-direct USA support and while very polite and responsive the service was glacial, I had to nag and nag and nag...
      Love their products though.  I hope they get this sorted.
      onionskin, Nov 21, 2013
  10. adrift02
    Fantastic IEMs, worth every penny. Not for bass-heads.
    Written by adrift02
    Published Apr 19, 2013
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Presence and detail are fantastic. The hint of warmth really makes for a smooth sound. No sibilance that I can find. I received a zip clamshell case!
    Cons - Lack of sub-bass hurts certain genres.
    Basically, these IEMs blow away the cheaper stuff I've owned (CX300-II, MH1C). They really make a slew of genres and tracks sing with great presence and detail without a "harsh" sound or sibilance.
     
    Coming from bass-heavy IEMs, they definitely lack sub-bass. But for most genres it's not an issue. And for the most part, the E11 amp (EQ bass boost option) can kick that up to where it's needed when it's needed.
     
    Also of note, apparently Head-Direct is sending a carrying case now (I received a zip, clamshell hard case).
    1. trinilove
      damn..mine doesnt have the case..anyways these babies really sound fantastic..5 out of 5 stars
      trinilove, Apr 20, 2013
    2. cellhead
      Pretty dissapointed with mine, virtually no bass, easily overdriven.
      cellhead, Mar 17, 2014
    3. adrift02
      So thought I'd update this review to note that I purchased the 400i model last year (inline mic/remote), and the sound quality was significantly worse. Mainly on the low end -- they sounded very thin and weren't as enjoyable as my original pair. I ended up soldering a new jack on my old pair and gave the 400i to my mom. I can't say how many hours she's put on them, but they don't sound any better, so it's not a break-in issue. 
      adrift02, Nov 8, 2016