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HiFiMAN RE-400

Rating:
4.21154/5,
  1. 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
  2. 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.
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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.
     
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    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
  6. Zelda
    RE-400, a dangerous masterpiece IEM
    Written by Zelda
    Published Dec 27, 2013
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Sound, Sound, Sound, Comfort, Isolation
    Full review here: http://www.head-fi.org/t/666851/review-hifiman-re-400-waterline-the-next-step

    Sound:

    The RE-400 is quite easy to drive, but not the easiest. Better than the 64ohm RE-0, but like other 32ohm phones I owned, these need some extra volume to sound better and a bit more to shine. No amping is needed, though.
     
    The new RE-400 is not just an improvement in design, fit and isolation but especially in sound.
    The overall sound is neutral with a small added amount of warmth, which gives a fuller sound and better balance through the whole frequencies. Nothing is overpowered, nothing is missing.
     
    Starting from the low-end.
    These are NOT for bassheads or for anyone looking for an explosive, earth shattering Bass. But what the new Hifiman offer is a much fuller low end from mid-bass to sub-bass that the previous models were really lacking. While they lack in impact, they still manage to give quite a rumble.
    As for the bass quality, it's what you'd expect from Hifiman, SUPERB. Quick, very tight and accurate. You can hear (and feel) every beat, every punch and every kick. Just amazing. Quite fast, but still not the fastest. The ATH-CKN70, for example, showed a much higher speed (well, those aren't just a simple dynamic driver earphones).
     
    Jumping to the high-end. Treble has a good extension with some extra brightness, but remains smooth and non-fatiguing even at a higher volume. While it may not have the 'endless' extension as the RE-0 (it may be closer to the ZERO), it is full, energetic. There's a lot of micro detail as well, not unlike as its predecessors. 
     
    And, finally, the midrange. Now, this might be the best part of the RE-400. Just BEAUTIFUL! As simple as that.
    As stated before the whole sound is very neutral, but the mids are sweet and just slightly forward, but not thick enough to fall in the mid-centered group. Everything sounds very natural, detailed, transparent and open. Nothing recessed or missing, but the opposite, immersive and addictive. So effortless!
    When it comes to more complex music, the RE-400 handles everything with ease, rivaling, and even beating, some good Balanced Armature IEMs.
     
    Vocals need a special mention here as they're even a bit more forward than the rest of the sound. Also, vocals need a bit more time to 'break-in', as they can sound a bit weird (unnatural) and not well-positioned at first. After that, they sound as great as vocals can sound. Every word, every letter can be heard, be it with male or female, main singers or backgrounds.
     
    Soundstage is not too wide, deep or high, but the whole sound has a fair 3D effect.
     
     
    EXTRA:
    As I wrote above, I found the small bi-flanges to provide the best sound out of the RE-400, so everything up to now is based on that setup.
    Now, I'd like to mention some differences noticed when using the Big Bi-flanges.
    When switching to the larger, wider bore tips the sound change as well.
    On the whole, the sound remains similar, which is open and detailed, but the presentation is a bit different. The bass has some bigger and deeper impact, but is also not as tight as before. The highs are brighter and extend even further.
    But what suffers the more is the midrange, sounding less forward and less sweet, but on the whole is has a better balance.
     
    [And for those who find the stock big tips too big, some aftermarket eartips can give a similar effect]
     
    In either configuration the RE-400 is very versatile when it comes to music genres. They don't excel in something particular, but don't lack either.
    Still, those who listen to electronic, EDM, trance/techno and similar music may want to look somewhere else.
     
    In short, one of the best All-arounder IEM, very detailed (but not analytical), airy, well layered, immersive and engaging sound.
      G_T_J likes this.
  7. 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.
  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. Garraty
    HifiMAN's Magnum Opus
    Written by Garraty
    Published Jun 18, 2014
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Balanced yet slightly warm and sweet, beautiful and realistic mids, price
    Cons - Lack of sub-bass and a tad sparkle, microphonics
    After I bought the HD 598s, I was soon looking for a portable set of headphones or IEMs for casual use on the bus or outside. Sure enough, I found the lauded HifiMAN RE-400 to be an interesting option and even with concerns of durability and the possibility that a neutral sound signature wasn't for me, I bit the bullet. Were they worth it? 
     
    Comfort, Design and Accessories:
     
    I found the RE-400's to be well-designed overall, featuring a rather large plug and a cable comprised of both cloth and rubber. The drivers and the casings surrounding the drivers are rather small, which is a definite plus for portability. They also come with a wide array of tips and a rather convenient little case that can hold some extra tips and the RE-400 itself. I myself found most of the tips uncomfortable and stuck with the smallest tips but with the plethora of choices at hand, one can easily find a fit comfortable for them. To note, the RE-400's can sometimes be annoyingly microphonic at the rubber part of the cable in particular but this can be somewhat avoided by wearing them over the ear.
     
    Though I've heard the cases of unpleasant durability, so far that doesn't seem to be true and these seem like they'll last easily for another two years. As far as comfort goes, I find the RE-400 to be satisfactory but not perfect. The fit is fairly comfortable but over time it can get warm and unpleasant in my experience for listening sessions over an hour or two. Perhaps with other tips this can be remedied but I haven't found that to be the case. Isolation for the RE-400's is average for the most part and even with a good fit, much of the background noise around myself is still discernible.
     
     
    Sound Quality:
     
    Overall, I found the RE-400's to be easily satisfactory for my musical listening purposes. The sound signature of the RE-400's does seem to be neutral and balanced but as many have noted, is also warm and sweet which makes the RE-400's sound detailed yet not analytical.
     
    The treble of the IEMs is well-extended and definitely unfatiguing with a small amount of sparkle in the upper regions of frequencies. Drums and cymbals sound detailed and well-presented without being overly detailed and sibilant. However, this can at times sound a bit too smooth and without more sparkle, instruments and electric guitars in particular don't sound completely realistic. (when I hear a violin, I expect to hear some bite on the sustained, higher notes but the RE-400's present them without much harshness)
     
    Mids on the IEMs are wonderful, bring very realistic and slightly forward in its presentation. In particular, guitars and vocals sound beautiful and almost immersive with detail to attention in the depth of vocals and string instruments such as violins and cellos. Most impressively, I can hear the breaths of vocals and little footsteps which I hadn't heard before in my music. However, male vocals, though sounding beautiful can come off as a tad dry and not quite as lush as I'd like but at this price point, it's to be expected and so this is a very small concern.
     
    Initially, the bass of the RE-400's seemed far too anemic and lacking, especially the sub-bass. I expected this and waited to burn them in for about 50-100 hours before deciding my feelings on the bass. After burning them in and getting used to the sound signature, bass seemed much more present than beforehand and even though I still feel there is a lack of sub-bass, I'm pleased. Bass overall is well extended (perhaps even more than my HD598!) and is tight and fast, which I appreciate.
     
    The soundstage on the RE-400's is slightly better than what I expected pretty much at the price point and the design and it does seem reasonably wide and tall enough. Curiously enough, the soundstage seems to be slightly angled. I don't know if I'm imagining this but it really does seem to be angled and it sounds a bit more 3-D than what I expected from these. 
     
    In short, the RE-400's sound wonderful with a warm, sweet neutral sound signature and a satisfactory soundstage. Though I have minor problems with the treble, mids and the bass, this is due more to the fact I prefer a slightly more colored presentation and so these are really good all-rounder portable IEMs at this price especially. The RE-400's are great all-rounders but if you are looking for a headphone/IEM that can deal with more electronic and hip hop music of that sort, you're better off looking for something else.
     
    Value:
     
    To conclude, the RE-400's are most definitely worth the $99 price tag. These don't require an amp but it does benefit a bit from amping if you wish from my own experience. More to the point, these are a great value and it does seem like HifiMAN has made a new waterline for the $99 IEM. These hit a rare balance in sound, good overall balance and detail yet pleasantly warm with an angled soundstage. Companies will be surely trying for years before they succeed in producing an IEM equal or better to the RE-400's. Right now these are only $99, a price that HifiMAN could've made $199 and costumers would still be satisfied. 
     
     
    Albums Used:
     
    Belle and Sebastion- If You're Feeling Sinister
    Daft Punk- Discovery
    Jeff Buckley- Grace
    Living Stereo: Bruch Violin Concerto No.1; Scottish Fantasy & Vieuxtemps: Violin Concerto No. 5
    Nirvana- In Utero
    Radiohead- In Rainbows
    Wilco- Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
      Claritas likes this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. TRapz
      Thank you, that was very helpful.
      TRapz, Oct 2, 2014
    3. rockaphile21
      wow, great review.
      i have a question. is RE-400 good at music with many layers (some prog rock, Radiohead,...) ?
      i know it's neutral and musical at the same time but it's keen on separating layers/instruments or mixing them ?
      rockaphile21, Nov 18, 2014
    4. Garraty
      Haven't heard these in a while as I just wanted to try them out (later selling them to get the Modi instead, not the fault of the RE-400's themselves) but from memory, instrumental separation was pretty good and smaller details that were obscured by my HD598 could be heard. They're not detail freaks by any means, but they hold a fair amount of detail done in a pleasant, warm manner. 
       
      Hope that helped!
      Garraty, Nov 21, 2014
  10. onionskin
    Another fine offering Dr. Bian
    Written by onionskin
    Published Apr 6, 2014
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Cost, impedance, accessories...HiFIMan sound
    Cons - I like the fit of my old RE-262 better
    I got these as a backup to my RE-262.  I wanted something I could run without an amp.  The 400 provides that refined HiFiMan sound I have come to admire.  The 400 absolutely squares up with my 262 when amped, but I really got them so I could run lighter (just a dap), they totally impress in this regard.
    I think I may be the only one that really liked the twist-to-lock fit of the 262, they just work perfectly for me.  Moving around I loose the seal on the 400 a bit too easily, but there was a generous helping of tips to play with including comply which I have never tried.  I am quickly becoming a comply convert.
     
    Phone + amp + dap too much for your pockets?  Need to simplify?  this may be the solution.  It works for me, I don't mind leaving the amp behind any more.  The RE-400 fills the void until I can plug into a full size rig. 
    For a Benjamin the cost to quality balance on these is stone solid.  They look great, sound great, and anything can play them.  Build quality looks like a nice step up from previous generations of HiFiMan portable gear too.
     
    A word of caution:
    While any flea-powered source can drive these, this is a high quality IEM, they will reveal how horrible music sounds on your phone...regardless of encoding, regardless of make.  You can listen to your phone with the RE-400, but to hear them you still need a decent dap (sansa clip is disposable at $40 and still sounds about 1000x better than your phone...ok, maybe 100x better than the htc one).
      majo123 likes this.
    1. Dog meat
      good review! I love these, got the 400B version. Was sitting on sennheiser ie-6 iems for 2.5 years, which were much more expensive. RE 400 just wipes the floor with ie 6. Of course, the sound signature is different, but the sound of re 400 is just much more "mature", without that stupid mid bass hump of senns. 
      Dog meat, Apr 7, 2014