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  1. ufospls2
    Hifiman RE2000 Silver Review
    Written by ufospls2
    Published Mar 14, 2019
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Superb sound
    Reduced price
    Reduced weight vs. Gold version
    Cons - Build Quality and materials
    Cable
    Comfort is fiddly
    This review is also available in full at www.headphonesnstuff.blog :) If you could check it out, I'd appreciate it!! : )

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    Hi Guys,

    Today we are talking about the Hifiman RE2000 flagship earphones. Well, sort of….

    The earphones we are talking about today are the Hifiman RE2000 Silver.

    For the rest of this review I will just refer to the RE2000 Silver as the RE2000, unless I happen to be talking about the Gold version, in which case I will mention the difference.

    The RE2000 Gold was released in 2017, at a rock solid $2000USD. It was Hifimans first attempt at a true flagship earphone. In 2018, Hifiman doubled down and released the RE2000 Silver at $1500USD, a $500USD reduction from the original price of the Gold version. I will now mention the most important part of this review.

    The RE2000 Silver has been reduced (in what appears to be a permanent (?) “sale.” It now costs $799USD. That’s right. A $2000USD earphone for $799USD? Really?

    I have confirmed with Hifiman support that the RE2000 Silver is exactly the same as the RE2000 Gold, apart from the fact that the shell has changed from gold plated brass, to silver coated aluminium. I used to own the RE2000 Gold, and although I don’t have them with me anymore for direct comparison purposes, they sound, well, pretty much exactly the same. This is from memory of course, and others that have been able to do a direct comparison have found the RE2000 Silver has a bit less bass, and a narrower peak in the treble versus the original RE2000 Gold. The changes must be subtle as my experience so far with the RE2000 has been remarkably similar to my experience with the original RE2000 Gold.

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    Right. Let’s get the technical stuff out of the way. The RE2000 utilises a single dynamic driver, which is a departure from the multiple balanced armature, or hybrid approaches that are very common on top of the line earphones nowadays. Hifiman calls their dynamic driver a “topology diaphragm.” This supposedly utilises Fang Bians thesis work in nano technology, coating the driver with nano particles in certain patterns to mold the sound in the way he saw fit. The RE2000, to me, seems to be a case of the “KISS” principle, and it has worked very, very well.

    The RE2000 Silver comes in a simplified version of the RE2000 Gold’s packaging. There are less accessories, less eartips, a cheaper cable (I didn’t think that was possible..) and no presentation box. If this is what has to happen to offer a $2000USD earphone for $1200USD less, then I am A ok with that. The cable is pretty useless, and as you will see in the photos I have taken, I upgraded it to a very nice $50USD ISN Audio cable from Penon Audio. This cable works much better than the stock cable in terms of ergonomics and flexibility. I highly recommend changing out the stock cable should you purchase these earphones. It doesn’t scream “premium” and isn’t very nice to use.

    Now, with all of that out the way, lets talk about the most important thing. How does the RE2000 Silver sound??? In a word. Great.

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    Bass

    The bass on the RE2000 is a little bit elevated compared to a more neutral presentation. For a closet basshead such a myself, this is a welcome feature. The bass extends wonderfully deep, and the sub bass is rock solid. It lays such a great foundation for the rest of the sound signature to be laid upon. I am currently listening to Tender Skin by HVOB, and man….it thumps. It thumps hard. There is definition in the bass that I haven’t heard on many earphones, and certainly not on any earphone in the $800USD price range. When you get over $1000USD, sure, there is more competition, but in the sub $1000 arena, the RE2000 is tough competition. Now, please keep in mind I am not the most experienced with earphones, and certainly haven’t heard them all, but…the RE2000’s bass is good, that much I know. If you prioritise a more neutral sound signature, I would recommend looking elsewhere. It could be said that the RE2000 is a V shaped earphone. It is a very tastefully done V shaped earphone however.

    Mids

    The mids on the RE2000 are actually my favourite part of their sound signature, which is interesting as I normally prioritise bass and soundstage. Whilst the sonic signature of the RE2000 is more V shaped, with boosted bass and treble, the mids are absolutely the star of the show. They are what I can only call liquid and more importantly, smooooooooth. The RE2000 aren’t a warm earphone, but they aren’t cold and clinical as some more neutral earphone can be. I think the mids on the RE2000 are what make it such a pleasing earphone to listen to. There is something addictive about them. I have owned much more expensive earphones from various companies, but I have come back to the RE2000. I can’t explain why really, there is just something about the mids in particular that combined with the boosted treble and bass, make the RE2000 an enormously fun earphone to listen to.

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    Treble

    The treble on the RE2000 can be a a bit peaky, and sometimes wanders into “raspy” territory, especially with male vocals. I also notice some sibilance on occasion, but not to the point where it annoys me and I want to turn down the volume. The treble is elevated. If you are a treble sensitive listener, I would recommend trying a different earphone. The treble is probably the weakest area of the RE2000, especially when things get raspy, but with that being said, again, I haven’t heard better in the sub $1000USD area. There is a bit sparkle to the treble, and it has a nice airiness to it. All in all, it could be worse, but it could also be better. Perhaps this will be worked on if Hifiman ever releases an RE3000….or something.

    Technicalities

    The RE2000 is a mightily dynamic earphone. The small gradations between various drum strikes, no matter how small, come across very well. The RE2000 is also a very punchy earphone that can hit hard when called upon. The soundstage is quite wide, but not as wide the Tia Fourte, which is my reference for soundstage on a pair of earphones. Detail on a whole is reference level, but again, the mids steal the show for me in terms of detail.

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    Build and Comfort

    For all this has been a positive review so far, things are about to get messy. Build? Not great. Comfort? Eh…not great.

    The RE2000 just lack the refinement one would hope to see on such an expensive piece of gear, be they the Gold version at $2000USD or the Silver version at $800.

    The RE2000 are a bit of a funny shape, and could be a lot better in terms of comfort. I find tip rolling is essential with the RE2000 to find the best fit for you.

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    Quick Comparisons

    Please note these comparisons are from memory, so take them with a huge grain of salt. I would definitely prefer to still have these IEMs around for comparison purposes, but I just can’t afford to do so.

    Campfire Audio Atlas

    The Atlas has a much more metallic sound to it, especially in the treble. This is a trade off though, as you get the slight “raspiness” with the RE2000. The bass on the Atlas is more elevated, and slams very hard. However, I find the RE2000’s bass sounds more realistic and true to life. The RE2000 has slightly better technicalities vs. The Atlas. The Atlas absolutely destroys the RE2000 in terms of build quality and comfort.

    64 Audio Tia Fourte

    The 64 Audio Tia Fourte is one of the most expensive IEMs on the market, which doesn’t always equate to the best sound. However, with the Tia Fourte it does do some things extremely well. Its technical competence is higher than the RE2000, but the Fourtes treble is a bit too elevated, in my opinion. The Fourte has a wider soundstage, and the bass, whilst similar in terms of quantity, is a bit further ahead in terms of quality vs. The RE2000. The RE2000 keeps up remarkably well with the Fourte considering the massive price difference. I would recommend both of these IEMs, but that you should try the Fourte before purchasing, as it is a large purchase, and the treble might be troublesome for some.

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    Conclusion

    The RE2000 is a highly competent, and well tuned earphone! It seriously lacks in terms of build quality, and comfort. However, these shortcomings are overcome by the quality of the sound, for me anyhow. I find the RE2000 to be an addicting listen, one that I keep coming back to. I sold the Gold version that I owned, but ended up coming back to the Silver version due to their considerably reduced price and quality of sound. The RE2000 is a bit fiddly at times, requiring tip rolling, and care to achieve the best fit. Once you have achieved a good fit, and have them sitting comfortably, they are some of the best earphones I have heard, regardless of price.

    All of this praise comes with a stern warning! Be careful with your RE2000 should you chose to purchase a pair. When I owned a pair of the Gold RE2000, the stem separated from the body of the earphones after one month of use. This is not good enough for such an expensive piece of gear, and there should be more than glue holding these together. Take very good care of these earphones if you ever come in contact with a pair. They are fragile!

    All in all, I can recommend the RE2000 Silver due to its stellar sonic performance. I won’t say they are the best earphone on the market, but they have an addicting, pleasing, well tuned sound. It is a sound I continue coming back to, time and time again, and I think that speaks volumes to how good this earphone really is.

    Thank you for taking the time to read my review!
      B9Scrambler likes this.
  2. glassmonkey
    Fantastic audio quality, cheap construction
    Written by glassmonkey
    Published Feb 15, 2019
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Well controlled extended bass, tight linear sound, impressive stage width, excellent resolution and dynamics, lovely timbre
    Cons - Slight recession in mids, poor shell design for mid to small size ears, there are better built IEMs for under $200
    Pros and cons are for HiFiMAN RE2000 Silver, value rating reflects full retail price. At time of publication RE2000 Silver was on sale for $799.

    Acknowledgment
    The HiFiMAN RE2000 Silver and Gold were provided by HiFiMAN for review. I have received no compensation for this review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

    This review was originally posted on Audio Primate. We share on Head-Fi because most of the blogger community doesn't exist without it. The Head-Fi community is vital to the world of headphones and IEMs.


    Introduction
    I’ve had a long smoldering love affair with HiFiMAN technology. The RE0 was my first ‘high-end’ in-ear. I still have it. The HE6 was my first pinnacle level listen. The Susvara is my favourite headphone on earth. Mark over at HiFiMAN is one of the nicest folks that I’ve worked with. I like the company. I like the product. However, there have always been rumblings on the internet about build quality horror stories that I’ve been lucky enough never to see or experience. I’ve defended HiFiMAN on the web and held up their customer service as better than reports would have you believe. I think that Mark has probably helped on that end.

    This time I’ve gotten a build quality dud in the RE2000 Silver. None of the cosmetic imperfections of this review unit make it sound bad. Actually it sounds rather excellent. I can find myself grooving to either the RE2000 Gold or RE2000 Silver until my ears get tired (more on that later). Usually, unboxings are a joyous time, but in this review, I’ll be doing good news/bad news. The good news is that you get to have sound quality earlier than I normally do in reviews! Yay!

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    Audio quality
    The RE2000 Silver has a balanced sound with deep bass extension, delicate slightly long decaying treble and a big soundstage with more width than depth or height. The illusion of additional depth is created due to some recession in the mids. The sound isn’t really v-shaped, as this would imply that the treble is more forward of the mids, but this isn’t so, the bass is forward of the mids, but the treble is not very much so. Instrument placement within the stage is generally good. The mids have a breathy quality to them that will either sound airy with some fragility or sibilant, depending on your track and sonic preferences.

    DAP/Phone Pairing
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    As can be seen below in the comparisons chart, the RE2000 Silver is easier to drive. The specifications say they should be exactly the same, but for some reason they do not match for me. I tested this on multiple DAPs using the same Mandarines Symbio W eartips (best match for tips I found, Final E type is also good). With that in mind, I’m going to test the drivability of the harder to drive RE2000 Gold.

    First up: phone. The LG V30 is known for doing a pretty decent job driving a lot of things, but the RE2000 Gold doesn’t match up too well when I throw on DSD (might be the lower mastering level of DSD) with Pixies – Where is My Mind? I’m not getting the soar that I expect and the bass sounds muted compared to other pairings. Treble is coming off a bit tinny and thin. When I try an easier track, Weezer – In the Garage (16/44 CD rip, medium loudness master), the V30 does better, but cymbals still sound a bit tinny, could just be the master. Queen – My Best Friend back in DSD has more volume (louder master?), but the cymbals still lack shimmer. Bass is better handled on this track. Overall, I don’t think the V30 can handle the RE2000 Gold. A quick switch to RE2000 silver confirms two things: they are easier to drive (play louder), and they don’t sound the same (more on that later).

    On the opposite end of the power spectrum for driving the RE2000 Gold sits the Questyle QP2R. The QP2R is a beast with just about any portable headphone or IEM. The presentation of cymbals on Pixies – Where is My Mind? has more shimmer resulting in a more natural feel. Bass also gets some added prominence as I don’t think the LG V30 could get that bass showing in full. Same effect on Weezer – In the Garage.

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    Somewhere in between the two poles lies the SOUNDAWARE M2Pro. It does just as good a job as the Questyle QP2R. The RE2000 needs to be well fed. If you are playing off your phone, you probably shouldn’t be considering the RE2000.

    Comparisons
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    For this time around, I’m going to do something a little different. I’m going to do comparisons in single-ended. For all RE2000 listens I used Mandarines Symbio W eartips, as the included tips with the RE2000 Gold and Silver are not suitable for my purposes and the Mandarines Symbio W sound the best of any tips I tried.

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    I used the QP2R for all comparisons. Since I’d rather just talk about audio, I’ve put my value comparisons in the table below. Onward and upward!

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    Ultimate Ears Pro Reference Remastered (UERR) vs. HiFiMAN RE2000 Silver
    There’s a soft percussion in the background of Daft Punk – Instant Crush in the intro that comes through really nice on the RE2000 Silver. The RE2000 sounds bold and beautiful on this track. Right off, bass on the UERR is leaner. The RE2000 Silver has a touch of reverb on the intro solo. Soundstage has more height, but the RE2000 Silver has more width. The RE2000 Silver has vocals positioned a bit back of where the UERR has them. The RE2000 Silver sounds a bit more integrated. The sound stage just flows and feels natural on the RE2000 Silver.

    Geddy Lee is my king of sibilance. On Rush – Spirit Of The Radio neither of these has any problem with sibilance. Only what should be there is there. The overall sound of the UERR is thinner and less natural sounding than the RE2000 Silver. The RE2000 Silver has an immediately more organic and approachable sound. Vocals are further back on the RE2000 Silver than on the UERR, but they also sound clearer.

    When comparing the UERR to the RE2000 Silver on Metallica – Master Of Puppets, the UERR comes off sounding sterile. The RE2000 Silver is more energetic, inviting, and to use a term I rarely use: musical. Musical is rarely the right term to use, as it has next to no meaning. Some people use it to say more like vinyl. Some people use it to say more v-shaped. I’m using it here to say more organic sounding. It feels more like music.

    I’ve never used this track as a test track, which is kind of a shame, as Pink Floyd – The Thin Icehas some layering in the stage, an airy vocal delivery and a mix of natural and artificial sounds in a simple arrangement. I recently listened through The Wall while contemplating the end of something beautiful. The UERR doesn’t have slightly recessed vocals, which allows Roger Waters to come through a bit louder, but the RE2000 Silver conveys more of the emotional content of his vocals. I also noticed that the crying baby felt more real and present at the beginning of the track. The width of the stage is less on the UERR compared to the RE2000 Silver, as I get more stage to the right where Roger Waters’s ‘if you should go skating on the thin ice of modern life’. Synths sound more accurate on the UERR. The drums have more impact and the guitar solo near the end of the track has more fullness on the RE2000 Silver. Drum impacts are also more convincing on the RE2000 Silver.

    Macy Gray – Slowly is off of stripped, Macy Gray’s Chesky Records binaural+ recording. This means that the stage should be natural and sound absolutely fantastic through a good set of headphones. This track also throws guitar and stand up bass at you in nearly the same plane and playing with complementary rhythms that blend together beautifully. There’s also a slow distant drum rhythm. Of course Macy Gray’s voice just bleeds emotion all-over the stage. I love this song. The UERR presents the track more compact with less width and depth. It also doesn’t move me as much, even though Macy Gray and the mids in general are not recessed (RE2000 Silver has some recession in the mids). I know the UERR is supposed to represent neutral, but I like how the RE2000 Silver sounds better.

    Unique Melody Mentor V3 vs. HiFiMAN RE2000 Silver
    By default in my listening tests with the Unique Melody Mentor V3, I had the dB-Go ports flipped wide open and the silver cable attached, as it just sounds better with silver. I think this is a good time to bring up one of the marketing claims made by HiFiMAN, here’s their marketing picture describing how balanced armatures suck. They claim that balanced armatures yield a flat emotionless sound. This kind of marketing generalisation is an unacceptable gross distortion.

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    The truth is that all the common technologies out there can be built to be low distortion. Balanced armature set-ups solve distortion problems by running multiple BA in parallel. This issue that HiFiMAN is reporting is actually a non-issue. This isn’t to say that the topology driver can’t have less distortion, but conspicuously HiFiMAN hasn’t bothered to report their distortion numbers or compare them to any high-end BA designs. If you are going to make an outrageous claim, it should be supported with data. Without any evidence, I’m calling bull.

    Billy Cobham – Quadrant 4 is a fast frickin’ track. This track blows speed all over the frequency spectrum. There’s so much speed in this track, Pablo Escobar’s estate gets royalties every time it’s played.

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    For some interesting facts about Pablo Escobar, check the Encyclopedia Britannica.
    Who’s faster, the RE2000 Silver, or the Mentor V3? It’s the Mentor V3. The Mentor V3 gives more distinct cymbal strikes in the fast intro. Speed in the mids and bass is roughly equivalent, but the Mentor V3 handles the minuscule cymbal taps with more precision. Sometimes some cymbal action is smoothed over on the RE2000 Silver. It’s just not as fast. The bass on both the RE2000 Silver and the Mentor V3 is groovy. The Mentor V3 has a bit more forward bass, but the RE2000 Silver has a bit more refined bass texture. Both do an excellent job.

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    This song is perhaps more famous because of Saturday Night Live and ‘I need more cowbell’ than being a humongous hit on several top 1000 song lists, but the percussion instrument I’m more often listening for in Blue Oyster Cult – (Don’t Fear) The Reaper is the guiro. Both instruments are faint, but the guiro (I think that’s what I’m hearing, couldn’t find a listing other than percussion) has more textured presentation so gives some resolution signals that the cowbell doesn’t. The cowbell tells me about depth and a little on frequency response. The Mentor V3 sounds very natural with the track. The full texture of the guiro comes through and the cowbell is at the right depth. The guitar solo sounds precise and tuneful. Vocals have that nice classic warmness typical of the age of the recording. Bass is firm, but not huge with the Mentor V3. The RE2000 Silver has a bit more sustain and menace on the bass guitar without being as loud, due to increased texture. Drums are a touch more forward on the RE2000 Silver, but cymbals or further back. The cymbals on the Mentor V3 are a bit forward of neutral.

    If you are feeling vulnerable, Damien Rice – Elephant, may make you feel less vulnerable in comparison. The Mentor V3 presents violins both delicately and with emotion. The mids are a bit more forward than the RE2000 Silver and presented somehow with greater grace and feeling. The timbre of the guitar and the sorrow in Damien’s voice just carry me more on the Mentor V3. Notes on the RE2000 Silver are a bit more ethereal, with a wispiness that belays the weight that the guitar plucks can have. It’s a more mechanical presentation, while the Mentor V3 is more sentimental. I think some of this comes down to how notes are weighted: the Mentor V3 notes have a greater weight to the centre of a note’s attack and decay, while the RE2000 applies greater relative weight to the decay in the upper mids and treble. The slight emphasis on decay on the RE2000 Silver gives it some added airiness, but makes it sound less rounded than the Mentor V3.

    2Pac – Changes gives me some nice low-end menace out of the RE2000 Silver. There is really good width in the stage on the RE2000 Silver. Vocals sound clear and sufficiently rich. 2Pac’s vocals sound a little further back in the stage with the Mentor V3. Treble response on the V3 is better on this track too. Bass on the RE2000 Silver has better extension and potency in the sub-bass area with the Mentor V3 wide open in dB-Go module, with the backing bass track sounding better on the RE2000 Silver. Turning the dB-Go module closed ups the sub-bass a bit, but the bass still sounds a little more textured and complete on the RE2000 Silver. I prefer the piano presentation on the Mentor V3.

    Why? – Strawberries has a big bass drop and a ton of treble. The treble on the RE2000 Silver is a bit smoother and less forward on this track. The bass impact on this track is much better on the RE2000 Silver. If you want to compare what dynamic drivers do better than balanced armatures for real, most of it is the impact and depth of bass. The RE2000 Silver is outperforming the Mentor V3 in both aspects. It just moves more air, it’s bass you feel, not just hear, and it sounds fuller too.

    Lark Studio LSX vs. HiFiMAN RE2000 Silver
    OutKast – Ms. Jackson has a lot going on, for real. The RE2000 Silver has some great menace going with the bass guitar, with tight funky plucks. The multi-tracked layered stage is well presented with individual elements easily discernible. However, each element is not entirely distinctive, which will be a function of the treble levels on the RE2000 Silver. With the Lark Studio LSX the underlying bass in the background is pushed well-forward. The bass drum kicks you in the face on the LSX. The LSX, in spite of the bass emphasis, still provides extraordinarily well textured bass. The bass on the LSX is a lot like dynamic driver bass. It actually is bass that you feel, which is uncommon in balanced armature setups. The lower mids and upper midbass have a warmer sound on the Lark Studio LSX. Soundstage on the LSX sounds a little wider than the RE2000 Silver on this track. Individual elements in the stage also feel a bit more distinct with better instrument separation. The sound of the LSX is actually a bit reminiscent of the RE2000 Gold but with better build quality and a bit more separation in the mids. Piano in the intro is less forward as the mids of the RE2000 Silver are a bit back of neutral. This placement of the mids tends to make the sound stage sound a bit deeper. The LSX sounds forward in general due to the elevated bass and the pretty normal emphasis mids. Both of these are fun sounding with natural timbre. The RE2000 Silver has a more neutral sound than the LSX, which is a bombastic but lovely sounding number.

    On the RE2000 Silver the recessed mids make Michael Jackson sound like he is way deep in the stage rather than in the middle of it on Michael Jackson – Billie Jean. The LSX has a more front row sound, while the RE2000 Silver sounds like it is further back in the crowd. The RE2000 Silver crowd is a more civil affair, whilst the LSX is a party. The RE2000 Silver is Coldplay (civilised and moving), and the LSX is Bruno Mars + Beyonce (absolutely ridiculously fun). The Lark Studio LSX has Michael where he should be, right in the middle of the sound stage, rather than pushed back. It also pushes bass forward of the mids, which is off of neutral. The bass is big on the LSX. Both do an excellent job of resolving instruments in space, but the LSX’s better formulation of the mids gives more flexibility for instruments that occupy the mids to move deeper in the stage.



    The RE2000 Silver presents Kuniko – Pleiades: I. Melanges (Mixtures) with a nice even keel. Nothing sounds over-emphasised or out of place, whether it be xylophone, tympani, or chimes. The increasing aggression of the sound at about 2 minutes in builds beautifully. The LSX gives a similar performance, but the whole sound is more front row than 3 rows back of the stage. The LSX easily goes toe-to-toe on timbre, and might be a bit more sonically precise. Soundstage size is a push, but soundstage positioning is definitely different.

    Holy crap is that a forward bass when I throw Wilco – Handshake Drugs on with the Lark Studio LSX. It’s too much actually, the bass is overwhelming Jeff Tweedy’s vocal in the intro. It slinks back a little bit later while still having some presence, like the bass guitarist moved back towards the drum kit or like Jeff Tweedy moved forward in the stage. The bass is tighter and more controlled on the RE2000 Silver, but also has more perceivable extension. The perceived increase in extension is because the Lark Studio LSX has some added midbass that throws the deeper lows out of balance when deeper bass instrumentation and midbass and upper midbass are present. The RE2000 Silver sounds better on this track, though I do still find myself wishing the little bit of recession in the mids wasn’t there.

    The breathiness of the RE2000 Silver really suits Tori Amos’s vocals on Hey Jupiter, in my opinion, as it gives even more fragility to the presentation. Some will find the sound sibilant as the breathiness also imbues more weight to her ‘sss’ sounds. In contrast, the LSX presents Tori a bit more solid and rounded with less emphasis on her breathy ‘sss’ sounds. The piano is also more accurately placed right next to her singing with the LSX due to greater accuracy in the mids, overall.

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    HiFiMAN RE2000 Silver vs. HiFiMAN RE2000 (Gold)
    First off, these measure weird for SPL levels. As seen in the volume matching table, across two DAPs the RE2000 Silver seems to play louder. However, when listening, the RE2000 Silver sounds much quieter if I follow the volume matching measurements I made. I tried to do my comparisons using the measurements, but it didn’t seem fair, as generally a louder sounding IEM is perceived as sounding better. So I did my comparison using the same volume setting on the Questyle QP2R.

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    T. Rex is not general audiophile material, but I love me some T. Rex. It’s just too much fun. T. Rex – Monolith (DSD64) has great space on the RE2000 Silver, with a good wide stage. Marc Bolan’s intoxicating vocals are placed nice and forward in the stage. Depth isn’t huge, but there is sufficient separation between the percussive elements, bass, guitar and backing vocals. So much fun. Switching to the RE2000 Gold, the bass guitar is bigger and more forward. It’s thicker, with a less controlled sound. The RE2000 Silver bass has a more refined sound, with a bit more depth and texture to the bass. This does come at a cost, though. Marc Bolan’s vocals are also less fleshy. The sex-appeal is still there, but not quite as sultry. I’m still in T. Rextacy, but the RE2000 gold gives me a bit more silk bedsheets and come-hither looks.

    Speaking of… Eurythmics – Love Is A Stranger is a nice test for vertical resolution. Annie Lennox’s lead vocals occupy a little circle in the middle of the stage, with backing overdubs and the refrain moving depth and location a bit (deeper centre and more to the right on backing overdubs). David A. Stewart is thrusting his voice around the stage like a man possessed of a horny demon in good reproductions of this track, going high and low, front and back and side to side. The RE2000 Gold doesn’t give the most resolving performance on David A. Stewart’s amorous movements. It does well with depth indicators and width indicators, but the stage height is somewhat compressed. Spacial performance on the RE2000 Silver is a little better than the RE2000. It gives me more depth and width and a smidgeon more height. Similar to the effect on Marc Bolan’s vocals, Annie’s and David’s vocals are a bit thinner sounding. Shell housing matters. The RE2000 Gold has a bit more organic sound than the RE2000 Silver. It’s a bit more intoxicating, even if the bass has a bit better definition on the RE2000 Silver.

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    Isaac Hayes may be one of the greatest bass vocalists to sing to a popular crowd, and the MFSL mastering of his quintessential Hot Buttered Soul album should be required listening. Isaac Hayes – Walk On By has fantastic separation between a variety of instrument types arranged in a brilliant soundscape. On the RE2000 Gold we get a thicker more powerful sound, while the RE2000 silver provides some delicacy and air. Both female and male vocals have more air around them. While sounding a bit airier than the RE2000 Gold, the RE2000 Silver also sounds a bit less energetic. There’s a passion to the RE2000 Gold’s sound that just isn’t evoked in the same way on the RE2000 Silver.

    [​IMG]

    In spite of what Meghan Trainor says, it isn’t all about that bass. Kraftwerk – Kometenmelodie2 is all about the treble. The version of the track I have is a rip of the original German vinyl. The RE2000 Silver is more sensitive to the noise at the beginning of the track from the vinyl. The treble presentation on the RE2000 Silver is lighter than the RE2000 Gold. The Gold has more solidity and weight than the RE2000 Silver.

    The Silver is lighter and more delicate in presentation, but loses out in impact and solidity. The RE2000 Gold has a touch of extra weight in the mid-bass, which will actually please many people, but the reinforcement in this bass comes at the cost of some definition and texture in the low end. The RE2000 Silver has the texture in the low end, but a bit less presence. Unfortunately, the reduction in presence also extends to the mids on the RE2000 Silver, where I find that the presentation is a bit on the breathy side. The breathiness of the RE2000 Silver gives the impression of a slightly bigger sound stage, but both IEMs are probably presenting about equal stages, with tonal differences likely creating the illusion of different spaces—it’s similar to how recessed vocals create the illusion of space while the shape and capacity of the stage remains the same as the same headphone with EQ boosting the mids. For my tastes, the RE2000 Gold is the better IEM of the two RE2000 versions. Realistically, the brass probably doesn’t cost too much more than the aluminum to make, so one wonders why they don’t just offer both at the same price with the same accessories and emphasize that the shells give an audible difference in tonality. Some folks will prefer the lighter airier Silver, while some will want the weightier Gold sound. I think these should both be $1500 (or less), and that a few build quality improvements will make them objectively worth that price. At time of writing the RE2000 Silver was on sale for $799 in the HiFiMAN store, and that is probably worth it.

    Usability: Form & Function
    Over the years I’ve read many complaints about HiFiMAN build quality, but I’ve not experienced any particular problems myself. The RE0, my first HiFiMAN purchase, is still ticking 9 years later. The MegaMini and SuperMini are well built tough and small digital audio players. The HE1000 v2 and the Susvara have beautiful build quality and comfort with excellent attention to ergonomics. The alleged HiFiMAN build quality has always been more myth than reality for me. However, I have had some problems with the RE2000 (both versions), and most of them are related to careless design and production errors that are completely preventable. HiFiMAN can and should do better.

    Unboxing
    [​IMG]

    The RE2000 Silver is the new $500 less version of the RE2000 (RE2000 Gold). From a packaging perspective, the contents of the box aren’t particularly different, but the outer box is different. The RE2000 Gold comes in a wooden box with foam insert that smells strongly of glue and/or petroleum-based foam. It’s not a good smell. The wood box has a card sleeve around it to present which headphone is inside. It was an attempt at looking premium, but managed to come off feeling cheap due to the smell. The new box for the RE2000 Silver is made of cardboard with attractive graphic design on the outside. The new box is better, by a lot. They should get rid of the wooden box.

    [​IMG]

    Inside both boxes are a foam insert with three slots for the inner boxes. One inner box has the cable, the other has eartips (I don’t like any of the included tips) and some pieces to terminate a custom cable. Instead of including normal tips, the RE2000 (both Silver and Gold) comes with “special” tips. There is no S/M/L selection of single flange tips, instead you get a weird shaped medium tip, a weird medium biflange, and some normal biflanges. Only the RE2000 Gold comes with Comply tips (not a good sonic match). The RE800 improved the “special” tip selection in the Silver version, but for some reason the RE2000 at more than double the cost has 1/3rd the tip selection and all bad. In an era when many universals come with premium tips: Spinfit, Comply, Final Type E; not even including the standard tip selection that comes with IEMs under $50 is a mistake. If HiFiMAN wants to offer their “special” tips, they should do so in addition to providing normal S/M/L single flange silicone tips. There are others who have loved their tip selection, so your mileage may vary.

    The other box of the RE2000 has the cable, some huge ear hooks (these are ubiquitous and I’ve never liked them, they are far less comfortable than just wrapping the cable over the top of your ear) and a tiny zip-lock baggie containing a 2-pin connector and housing apparatus. When the RHA CL2 and the AKG N5005 both offer 3 superior looking cables: 3.5mm, 2.5mm balanced, and Bluetooth; HiFiMAN offering an unattractive plastic DIY connector isn’t a good look. The RHA CL2 and the AKG N5005 are also made in China, and cost $500 less than the RE2000 Silver.

    [​IMG]

    In the middle is the metal case for the RE2000. It is a good size case that does a good job fitting the headphone and cable. The same case came with the Kumitate Labs KL-Sirius ($800) and the Penon IEM v2 ($10). It is a well-functioning case, but decidedly not premium in presentation.

    Build Quality
    The cable on the RE2000 Silver has some girth to it, but it looks pretty much like any cheap cable you’d get with Skullcandy. I have $25 IEMs from KZ that have far nicer and far more ergonomic cables. There are probably hundreds of manufacturers that could make a double twist cable with built in heat-shrink pre-formed ear guides for next to nothing. Both cables also have a metal chin slider ring. The metal looks premium and matches the shells, but it is also has some weight to it, which could cause wear on the cable over time. I prefer silicone-rubber sliders like Effect Audio uses on their cables. The only difference between the Gold and Silver, cable-wise, is that instead of a $12 Oyaide (might be Oyaide ‘style’ which would be about $1) right angle termination with a stubby insufficient strain relief, they switched to a $0.50 termination with a longer insufficient strain relief. The strain relief on the RE2000 Gold is insufficient due to its length. The RE2000 Silver strain relief is insufficient because it is made of harder material than the cable, which means that the strain relief could actually create a strain point. Basic inspection of material choices would prevent this kind of construction error.

    [​IMG]
    RE2000 Silver ($1500). Lowest quality in this trio of cables.
    [​IMG]
    BQEYZ KB100 ($48), the best cable of the three. Has built in preformed earguides, a silicone slider, and a cable wrap.
    [​IMG]
    KZ ZSA ($25). It’s better than the RE2000 Silver cable.

    [​IMG]

    The body of the RE2000 Gold is made of brass and has a little bit of weight to it. The RE2000 Silver is made of aluminum, which is the primary difference between the IEMs. The RE2000 Silver is a little lighter in the ear, which enhances comfort. A construction composed of a single piece for the stem would have looked and felt superior. As is, on both IEMs the glue used to hold together the IEM is visible at the external seams. Similarly, on the inside of the 2-pin connector stem, the glue is visible there also. The stems on the RE2000 Silvers are not symmetrically glued; one stem is not glued to exactly the same location as the other. This type of variance is preventable by having joints that act as keys, ensuring that part positioning is exactly the same. On the RE2000 Silver, the sound bore is also not glued on evenly on one of the earpieces. This outcome could be prevented by using a screw lock system with Locktite (or similar) to hold the pieces together, or by having a lip on the inside that acts as a stopping point. Design characteristics can be used to ensure consistent construction and minimise error rates.

    [​IMG]
    The gap is about 0.75mm at the widest, and doesn’t affect sound, but this should never happen on a $1500 IEM.
    Using glue to join pieces together is not a problem. In fact, it can be an excellent solution to give a seamless appearance. However, if your glue has to go on the outside in ways that make it visible, a seamless appearance will not be the result. I think that HiFiMAN may be able to fix this problem and improve their overall build quality by using ultrasonic welding. Ultrasonic welding bonds materials together using ultrasonic vibration. It makes clean lines and can be done with a variety of materials. It wouldn’t have to be used for all join points. I would suggest that the logo faceplate be joined with glue and the rest joined using ultrasonic welding, this would allow for straightforward repair and warranty service and has a number of advantages over glue, including much better looking joins.

    [​IMG]
    Glue is visible on both units. The RE2000 Silver 2-pin connector stem is clearly glued at a different angle. Neither are flush with the rest of the shell.
    [​IMG]
    Shiny glue can be seen on both 2-pin assemblies. If you look close you can also see glue beads on the RE2000 (Gold) bore joint.
    [​IMG]
    Here the beads of glue are apparent where the body joins, but it can also be seen that the factory worker tried to wipe off some excess glue, creating a rough smear in the process. You can also see shiny glue on the sound nozzle join point.
    The RE2000 sounds like a $1500-$2000 headphone, but the build quality is worse than some $50 headphones.

    Ergonomics
    The rubbery cable on the RE2000 has a tendency to not stay on my ear. It springs up, and requires me to use the chin-slider to make the cable secure on top of the ear. Your mileage may vary. The shell housing is large. However, it’s the shape of it more than its size that is a problem. The shell flares out wider in both width and height at the back end of the IEM. For me, the corner actually creates a pressure point on the lower back corner of my ear that makes it so I can’t listen to the RE2000 for more than a few hours without discomfort. When I received the RE2000 Gold I gave feedback to the company that they should modify the shell to make that pressure point disappear by rounding the shell. This suggestion wasn’t adopted on the RE2000 Silver.

    I have demoed the RE2000 to many folks and they have all enjoyed the sound, but I have run across more than a few who couldn’t put it in their ear in the normal way. I had people rotating them forward and having the cable run downward instead of over the ear.

    Here’s what HiFiMAN had to say about their shell: “the shape of the housing is again an example of blending industrial design, comfort and striking visual. Providing excellent fit, comfort and isolates, all to give you the most wonderful of listening experiences.” First, I note that HiFiMAN is a global player in the headphone market with more than 10 years in Western markets, they can hire a more proficient English-speaking copywriter. Second, much of what they say isn’t true. Sure, the shell blends industrial design and a striking visual (especially the gold), but this wasn’t designed for comfort. Unless you have large ears, the probability of ear-fatigue due to the edgy fit is high. If you have small ears, there is no way you can wear it. I think the likelihood that this was tested on a variety of ear sizes is next to none. I honestly think they took the visual design of the Edition S and tried to miniaturise it. The fit is not excellent for most people I’ve tested on, including myself. The isolation is fairly average.

    Specifications
    [​IMG]
    List Price: $1500 (Silver), $2000 (Gold)

    Product Website: RE2000 Silver, RE2000 (Gold)

    Conclusions
    The RE2000 Silver is an excellent sounding in-ear monitor. It has a more balanced sound than its gold coloured older twin with less and more controlled bass. The extension on the bass is excellent. Mids are a touch recessed and the decay on higher notes in the midrange gives a breathy quality that many will enjoy. Sonically, I think the RE2000 Silver sounds appropriate for its price. However, HiFiMAN has produced a dud on build quality and ergonomics. The build quality is shocking at $1500 (Silver) and even more shocking at $2000 (Gold). HiFiMAN needs to up their game on the cosmetic qualities of their in-ear products. They’ve got the sound down and continue to make excellent sounding products.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Rating Disclaimer: ratings are subjective. Audio quality and value do not mean the same thing across all prices. A headphone with a 5 rating on audio at $5 does not have equivalent sound quality as a 5 rating at $500. Likewise, value at $5 is not the same as value at $5000 dollars.
      B9Scrambler likes this.
  3. B9Scrambler
    HiFiMAN RE2000 Silver: Lower Price, Better Sound
    Written by B9Scrambler
    Published Feb 4, 2019
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Effortlessly refined u-shaped signature - Lightweight materials make this much more comfortable than the original
    Cons - Mediocre tip selection - Underwhelming cable - Printed logo wears off over time
    Greetings,

    Today we're checking out a new earphone from HiFiMAN, the RE2000 Silver.

    In 2017 HiFiMAN stunned audiences with two new flagship earphones, the RE800 and RE2000. These two gold-plated beauties were not for the feint of wallet, especially the RE2000 which registered in at a hefty 2,000 USD. In late 2018, less expensive variants of these two premium products showed up featuring a new color, new tuning, and some other mild changes to the materials and construction. Most importantly, the price dropped considerably.

    Despite a 25% decrease in price, at 1,500 USD the new RE2000 Silver is a luxury item and will still be an unrealistic purchase for the average buyer. However, those wanting a high end product that provides a top-of-the-line listening experience? You would do well to give this earphone a look. I can help you with that, so let's go and see what the new RE2000 Silver is all about.

    Onwards!

    Disclaimer:

    This RE2000 Silver is a sample provided by HiFiMAN for the purposes of review. While it does not need to be returned, it is still the property of HiFiMAN and will be sent back if requested. The thoughts within this review are my own based on over two months of use. They do not represent HiFiMAN or any other entity. At the time of writing, the RE2000 Silver retailed for 1,500 USD. You can check it out here: http://store.hifiman.com/index.php/re2000-silver.html

    Source:

    The RE2000 Silver was powered primarily by my TEAC HA-501 desktop amp with a ZiShan DSD or HiFi E.T. MA8 taking on source duty. For mobile use, it was either run straight out of the Shanling M0 which powered it just fine, or through the Radsone Earstudio ES100 over LDAC connected to my LG G6. The RE2000's impedance is higher than usual for an iem, but the high sensitivity makes up for this so its not particularly difficult to get up to comfortable listening volumes.

    Personal Preferences:

    I listen primarily to various EDM sub-genres (liquid drum and bass, breakbeat, drumstep, etc.), hip hop, and classic rock. My preferences for earphone tuning are quite relaxed and as such there is no one sound I look for. The HiFiMAN RE800 Silver, Brainwavz B400, and Massdrop x MeeAudio Planamic are examples of earphones with wildly varied signatures that I find enjoyable for different reasons. I generally listen at very low volumes, so keep this in mind when perusing my thoughts on how an earphone sounds.

    Specifications:
    • Driver: 9.2mm dynamic with 'Topology Diaphragm'
    • Frequency Range: 5Hz - 20kHz
    • Impedance: 60 ohms
    • Sensitivity: 103dB
    IMG_5728.JPG IMG_5733.JPG IMG_5741.JPG

    Packaging, and Accessories:

    Part of the process of lowering the price in comparison to the original RE2000 involved simplifying the packaging. Gone is the large jewelery box style case in favour of a more traditional cardboard box. It's a attractive set of packaging with a gorgeous close up image of the RE2000 Silver dominating the cover, a heavy bokeh effect blurring the ear piece in the back. Beneath the earphones is a black band containing HiFiMAN branding and the model information. Around the sides of the box you find additional branding and model notification. Flipping to the back things are pretty simple. There are three sections containing various pieces of information; specifications, contact information for HiFiMAN, and their social media information and store web address. Overall a nice package made from high quality cardboard, but it doesn't give you the same burst of excitement you get when opening the original RE2000's more premium package.

    Inside? Hey! Things are looking up with a presentation very similar to that of the original gold RE2000. You're immediately greeted by three items set within a cardboard lined foam insert; two small, matte black cardboard boxes and a metal carrying case. In the left box is the cable and spare 2-pin “H” plug parts. In the right box are the spare tips. The metal case will look familiar to gold RE2000 owners since it is the same one they got with that unit. Inside are the Silver ear pieces set within a foam insert. Lifting out the insert you find a few more inclusions; owner's guide, warranty card, and some silicone ear guides. In all you get:
    • RE2000 Silver earphones
    • 2-pin silver-coated crystalline copper cable
    • 2 pairs of tri-flange tips (m/l)
    • 2 pairs of bi-flange tips (m)
    • 1 pair of single flange tips (m)
    • 1 pair of silicone ear guides
    • Warranty card
    • Owner's manual
    The carrying case is really nice, especially with the HiFiMAN logo laser etched into the top. The lid is held shut by the pressure of a rubber seal and could keep water out should your RE2000 Silver find itself in a situation where water damage is a possibility. It's about the size of a hockey puck so maybe a little to big to pocket, but that'll vary per user I suspect. The tip selection? It is pretty paltry, especially when you look at the massive selection of varied tips they gave you with the cheaper RE800 Silver. I was actually quite surprised at how limited the selection was given the Silver's housings are quite large and tips play a very critical role in how someone experiences an earphone. Maybe they figured people buying earphones at this price range would already have a set of preferred tips, and wouldn't bother with the stock options anyway. Either way, it would have been nice if they shipped the RE2000 Silver with the same excellent tip set included with the RE800 Silver. A bit of a missed opportunity there.

    IMG_5735.JPG IMG_5744.JPG IMG_5764.JPG

    Build, Comfort, and Isolation:

    Flagship headphones need a distinctive look to set them apart. With the RE2000, HiFiMAN went out and did just that. While it doesn't do anything crazy with the design, the RE2000 was its own earphone and unlikely to be mistaken for anything else. The RE2000 Silver's virtually identical to the original gold model, save for a couple tweaks.

    The heavy gold-plated brass of the original housing was swapped out for a much lighter aluminum and coated in a more durable, frosted silver paint job. While I am quite partial the gold and black color scheme of the original, the gold plating was quick to wear. Being such a big earphone, the weight was noticeable but not uncomfortable. At least for me. The weight reduction alone immediately makes the new Silver a more comfortable product, even if the ergonomics remain the same. But, that means that those that found the rear of the housing somewhat edgy will find this quality remains.

    The plastic used for the faceplate and protrusion for the 2-pin receptacles remains the same. While the quality is fine, given the cost of the Silver something more premium would have been nice. Or, just ditch the plastic plate entirely and role with painted aluminum with a black logo. That would have been cool. It also would have been nice of HiFiMAN to press their logo into the plastic instead of just print it, something they did with the original. That wears off over time, as is starting to happen on my gold RE2000. Another minor change was the direction of the key the cable plugs into. It ensures the cable can only be plugged in one way and sits opposite to how it did on the original RE2000. I tried the Silver with the original RE2000's cable and the sound didn't change, so those with existing upgrade cables shouldn't find them incompatible with the Silver. Not sure what that change was intended to accomplish, but there ya go.

    The cable doesn't feature a beautiful braid or twisted design and instead sticks with a tried and true black rubber sheath. Inside is silver-coated, crystalline copper wire so you know they didn't cheap out on the important part. The 2-pin 'H' plugs are compact little hunks of plastic, and if the extra parts included are any indication, are user serviceable if need be. I appreciate that. The y-split is quite compact and made of the same painted aluminum as the ear piece housings, so the design remains consistent as you head down the cable. There is also a handy aluminum chin cinch which works well when in use. It stays put without inconveniently sliding down the cable. The original RE2000's beefy 90 degree angled jack has been swapped out for the same slender aluminum straight jack we saw on the RE800 Silver. I know many dislike straight jacks, but this is a change I can get behind. This new jack is much smaller and lighter and will put less strain on your device's input port. That's nothing but a win in my books. I just wish the strain relief was functional instead of being a 10mm long hunk of hard plastic. But, you can take the good with the bad. I suspect HiFiMAN is expecting customers buying this earphone to swap out the cable right away for some after market option, likely balanced, so they opted to include something that would work well but not cost an arm and a leg to include. Campfire Audio's silver Litz cable for the Atlas comes to mind. While not a great cable, it's perfectly serviceable and does what it needs to do.

    Isolation is below average for a dynamic based earphone. Sitting in silence with no music playing, I can easily hear myself typing away, cars driving by on the nearby road, noises from tenants in other units, etc. Once you've got music playing those noises are expectedly reduced, but, if you are planning on taking your premium 1,500 USD earphones into noisy, chaotic areas, be prepared to increase the volume to compensate. That or just toss on some well isolating foam tips.

    IMG_5753.JPG IMG_5754.JPG IMG_5755.JPG

    Sound:

    Tips: The RE2000 Silver is sensitive to tip selection. Wide bore tips like the stock single flange or those from JVC bring the treble presence up, mid-bass down, and opens up the already large sound stage even further. Sticking with small bore tips like the stock bi-flange or Spinfit CP100 makes the Silver a little warmer, thicker, and bassier, closer in sound to the original RE2000 but still with a hint of extra treble energy.

    The original RE2000 remains one of the most enjoyable listening experiences I've had to date. Big and powerful with impressive end-to-end extension, tons of clarity, yet nothing harsh or piercing to hinder the performance. It is an amazing sounding product that everyone should listen to at least once in their lives. The RE2000 Silver provides what amounts to essentially the same experience, but in a more balanced package.

    I love how the treble is slightly boosted. Not to the extent of other TOTL sets like the Campfire Audio Atlas, but just enough to add the right amount of energy to the presentation. As can be heard throughout tracks like Culprate's “Undefined” and “Pure Narcotic” from Porcupine Tree, the shimmer on cymbals, chimes, etc. is no more than pleasant, not overblown at all. Notes are perfectly weighted and precise, completely absent of the loose splashiness common to more budget oriented sets. Even harsh songs like The Crystal Method's “Grace feat. LeAnn Rimes” is completely listenable through the Silver. This song is cursed with a very polarising, shrill siren-like effect that runs throughout the track pretty much from start to finish. While not an enjoyable track through the Silver, it's at least bearable. That's actually quite the accomplishment considering how unbearable it can be through other earphones.

    The RE2000 Silver's mid-range is a wonderful place to spend your listening time. Vocals are strong and articulate with neither gender receiving a more favorable presentation. Whether your enjoying Sarah Barthel or Aesop Rock, you're getting the full, emotional brunt of their performances. Timbre is spot on too with the drums at 2:21 on Supertramp's “Crime of The Century” hitting and echoing with a natural tone. The same can be said for the violins the swell and fade into the darkness throughout. On Daft Punk's “Get Lucky” the vocals are extremely sweet and clear with clear in and outtakes of breath. The mid-range in general feels very dynamic and capable with only the slight recession being subject to any sense of scrutiny.

    Dipping into the low end is rewarding. Heading back into “Get Lucky”, the bass line that heads the track has a puffy feel to it but remains in the background acting as the platter on which the rest of the track is served. The RE2000 Silver's low ranges have a real toe-tapping, musical quality to them that lets you enjoy your tunes without distraction. The lazer-like effects heard on The Crystal Method's “Tough Guy” are countered by some impressive texturing in the low end. Showing this off even better is pretty much anything from The Prodigy's 'The Day Is My Enemy' or Tobacco's 'F***ed Up friends” which are both quite grungy, gritty albums, reproduced in all their grimy glory through the Silver.

    Like the original RE2000, the Silver has a big, open stage with the sort of imaging, layering, and instrument separation you would expect from an uber-pricey premium offering. While those in the market for the Silver are unlikely to consider them for this purpose, I like to use gaming to test sound stage and imaging accuracy. Using them with Dirt Rally in the cockpit view was an exhilarating experience. While I prefer a tighter, smaller stage for this purpose, the growling engine out front and rocks pinging around in the wheel wells sounded mighty impressive. The transitions from one terrain to another were easily deciphered with the Silver letting me know when I was pushing the car too much and exceeding track limits. Running through BT's “If The Stars Are Eternal Then So Are You And I” was quite the mind-bending auditory journey with the Silver as I become engrossed and surrounded by the ethereal music. With the RE2000 Silver, I could follow specific layers with ease and track an effects journey across the sound scape. It was pretty damn cool.

    IMG_5760.JPG IMG_5762.JPG IMG_5748.JPG

    Select Comparisons (volume matched using Dayton iMM-6):

    Campfire Audio Atlas (1,299 USD): Like the RE2000 Silver, the Atlas has a very forward, large and open sound. However, it's presentation is even bigger and more bombastic. The Atlas' signature puts more emphasis on the low end giving it an extra weighty, physical presence. The RE2000 Silver certainly isn't lacking in the low end with plenty of quantity and just as good of extension, it just doesn't play as central a role in the signature. The RE2000 Silver's treble extends just as well, but is more even from presence to brilliance regions. Lower treble seeing additional emphasis giving it an edge in overall clarity over the Atlas. The Atlas places more emphasis on the upper treble making it sharper and more shimmery. The Silver has a more emphasized mid-range with a thicker note presentation and more impressive vocal and instrument clarity. The Atlas's more aggressive presentation results in a more intimate sounding earphone than the RE2000 Silver which is extremely open and spacious. The Atlas is capable of tossing sounds outside of the head just like the RE2000 Silver, but it more often than not keeps the action within arms' reach. The Silver's more spacious stage results in even more impressive layering and separation, but I found the Atlas' imaging to be even more razor sharp and precise. The Atlas is a TOTL bass head earphone retaining impressive performance everywhere else, whereas the RE2000 Silver is more well-rounded and a jack-of-all-trades type earphone that can be subtle and nuanced, yet

    let loose if the track demands.

    HiFiMAN RE2000 (2,000 USD): The two RE2000s are much more alike than they are dissimilar with the Silver coming forward with a slightly more balanced sound. They are both well-balanced and slightly warm. The original RE2000 produces more treble and bass than the Silver variant, with the Silver dialing those areas down slightly. I can't tell if there were any changes to the mid-range, so likely any extra emphasis I hear there is the result of the extremities being dialed down, thereby making the mid-range more obvious. I couldn't determine any differences in terms of sound stage width and depth, nor in terms of qualities like imaging, layering, and separation. The Silver is just as impressive as the original gold variant in all regards and provides the same bombastic listening experience, just one that is a bit more even across the frequency range. Since the two perform on the same level in my opinion, the only reason I can see to recommend the gold version over the Silver is that you prefer a more v-shaped leaning sound. They're both among the best earphones I've heard either way.

    Final Thoughts:

    While they eschewed the gold-emblazoned housings of the previous RE2000, HiFiMAN still struck gold with the Silver. The sound quality on display is mature and refined, even more so than the original and more expensive RE2000. The Silver highlights one of many possible tunings that people strive to experience at the proverbial end-game in this hobby. And, it's done without a hybrid setup or multi-driver "trickery". Just a single 9.2mm dynamic per side with some unique tech applied to the diaphragm.

    I would have liked a more comprehensive accessory kit akin to that provided with the RE800 Silver, and a higher quality cable to better match the price tag. Even with these minor quibbles the RE2000 Silver makes for an easy to recommended listen for someone looking to step up to top-of-the-line products. You can find better looking and better built earphones elsewhere but few can match what really matters, that being the sonic performance you get with this earphone.

    Thanks for reading!

    - B9Scrambler

    ***** ***** ***** ***** *****​

    Some Test Tunes:

    Aesop Rock – The Impossible Kid (Album)
    Hail Mary Mallon – Are You Going to Eat That? (Album)
    King Crimson – Lark’s Tongues in Aspic (Album)
    King Crimson – Starless and Bible Black (Track)
    Supertramp – Crime of the Century (Album)
    Infected Mushroom – Legend of the Black Shawarma (Album)
    Gorillaz – Plastic Beach (Album)
    Massive Attack – Mezzanine (Album)
    Fleetwood Mac – Rumors (Album)
    Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels (Album)
    The Prodigy – The Day is My Enemy (Album)
    Tobacco – F****d Up Friends (Album)
    Felt – Felt 2 (A Tribute to Lisa Bonet) (Album)
    Michael Jackson – Thriller (Album)
    The Crystal Method – Grace (feat. LeAnn Rimes) (Track)
    Jidenna – Long Live the Chief (Track)
    Skrillex – Ragga Bomb (Track)
    Big Grams – Run for Your Life (Track)
    Funkadelic – Maggot Brain (Track)
    Aesop Rock – Fishtales (Track)
  4. Moonstar
    Balance & Quality in Every Aspect!
    Written by Moonstar
    Published Oct 31, 2018
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Detail Rendering,
    Overall Control,
    Natural and Balanced Presentation,
    Great Bass response
    Comfortable
    Cons - Cable is a bit thick,
    Pricey,
    Slightly recesed upper midrange
    Hifiman RE2000 Silver Review


    Balance & Quality in every aspect!


    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 such as the Hifiman RE2000 Silver, which belongs to the Reference Series of Earphones and that I will now review for you.

    [​IMG]

    About me: www.moonstarreviews.net

    Disclaimer:

    I would like to thank Hifiman for providing me the RE2000 Silver 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 RE2000 Silver is 500,00 USD cheaper than the Gold Version and is available for 1500,00 USD.

    You can purchase the RE2000 under de following link; http://hifiman.com/products/detail/291



    Package and Accessories:

    The Hifiman RE2000 Silver IEM is coming in a rectangular black box, which consists of two parts; the bottom box where you can find two smaller boxes (containing cable and other accessories) and the metal case, which is put in to a foam layer, and the top cover that is containing an image of the RE2000 Silver.

    Inside of the box are the following contents/accessories;

    • 1 pair x Hifiman RE2000 Silver Earphone Monitor
    • 2 pairs x Bi-Flange Silicone Ear Tips
    • 2 pairs x Triple Flange Ear Tips (in black color)
    • 2 pairs x Dual Flange Ear Tips (they are 3 different shapes)
    • 1 pcs x Metal Case
    • 1 pair x Ear Hook Cable Guides
    • 2 pairs x 2-pin adapters for building custom cables
    • 1 pcs x Print Material
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    The Hifiman RE2000 Silver comes with lots of accessories from what I found the 2pin adapters for building your own custom cable, pretty interesting and as nice addition.

    Inside the box you can find also different type of silicone ear tips, such as Triple flange, Double Flange and Hifiman’s special Bi-Flange silicone ear tips.

    There is also a metal case with the Hifiman Branding on the top. The case is pretty solid that sports a rubber ring/gasket for extra isolation and a foam layer with the exact same shape of monitor shell, where you can put in your Hifiman R2000 Silver monitors.

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    You can find also a pair of ear hooks (cable guides) and a catalog that is showing images and information’s about the RE2000 Silver.


    Technical Specifications:

    • Driver : 9.2mm Topology Diaphragm Dynamic Driver
    • Frequency Response : 5Hz-20 kHz
    • Impedance : 60ohm
    • Sensitivity : 103dB
    • Cable Material : Silver Coated, Crystal Copper Wire
    • Weight : 24g (cable included)




    Design & Build Quality:

    The Hifiman RE2000 Silver shares the unique design language like the RE2000 Gold version. The main difference is not only the color; the material used for the shell is now silver with an aluminum alloy instead of a gold plated brass material, which makes the Silver version also slightly lighter.


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    On the front of the monitor housing is the sound nozzle, which is short in its size. This sound nozzle has a lip to hold the ear tips and sports a near fine woven metal grill to prevent the possible insertion of dust and earwax.


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    Near the nozzle is a small vent to balance the pressure in the housing to avoid any unwanted driver flex.


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    On the top of the monitor is a strain relief made of a hard plastic material which is in black color. The RE2000 Silver sports a 2pin female connector on this monitor which has the standard diameter of 0,78mm. There is a guide inside the plastic strain relief, which help to insert the 2pin male connector on the cable safely.


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    The monitor shell has a smooth surface without any sharp edges that makes the RE2000 Silver comfortable to wear.


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    The overall build quality is very robust and meets the expectations from an In-Ear Monitor in this price level.





    The Cable:

    The Hifiman RE2000 Silver has a detachable cable with 2pin male connectors that support the standard diameter of 0,78mm.

    The cable of the RE2000 is quite thick and is made of a silver plated crystalline copper wire, which is protected by a thick TPU coating.


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    The 2pin connector has a black hard plastic housing that sports the L & R markings.


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    This cable has a metal Y splitter and a chin slider, which sport the Hifiman branding and model description.


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    The cable of the RE2000 Silver sports a 3.5mm 3 pole unbalanced (TRS) earphone jack which has a straight profile and is made of metal same as the housing.


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    Comfort and Isolation:

    The size of the RE2000 Silver housing is not as big like the Astell&Kern Rosie or Angie and not that small like the RE800/RE400 or the Sennheiser ie800. I have medium sized ears and the RE2000 Silver has the ideal size for to wear it quite comfortable for hours.

    The Hifiman RE2000 is in my opinion suitable for long listening periods.

    When it comes to the isolation of the Hifiman RE2000 I can classify it as average, which makes it noise blocking performance enough to use it outdoors in relative noise environments such as train, bus or metro, etc.



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    Some Features:

    The Topology Driver/Diaphragm:

    The “Topology Diaphragm” or “Topology Driver” refers to the diaphragm with a special Nano particle coating applied to its surface. The distribution of the coating has distinct geometric patterns. By varying the surface pattern, compound used, the thickness or geometric pattern sound wave formation can be manipulated to achieve the desired audio effect and control.

    The idea behind the new Topology Diaphragm was inspired by Dr Fang Bian's Ph.D. thesis that "different Nano materials have differing structures and each of those materials have its own properties".

    Therefore, by carefully controlling the diaphragm surface structure you can yield different results in acoustic performance to a degree previously unobtainable.



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    Drivability:

    The Hifiman RE2000 Silver has a rated impedance of 60ohm, which looks a bit high on paper, but I was able to drive it to quite loud volume levels with my Samsung Galaxy S9 mobile phone. But I can also confirm that the RE800 benefits from an external amplifier or DAC/AMP, which has improve the sound in a positive way, especially the overall refinement.



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    Equipment’s used for this review:

    • IEM’s : Hifiman RE2000 Silver, Campfire Audio Atlas, 64 Audio U8
    • DAP/DAC/AMP : Cayin N5II, Fiio M7, Audirect Beam, xDuuo XD10 Poke

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    Albums & tracks used for this review:

    • Edith Piaf - Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien (Tidal Hi-Fi)
    • First Aid Kit - My Silver Lining (Spotify)
    • London Grammar – Interlude (Live) (Flac 24bit/44kHz)
    • Laura Pergolizzi – Lost On You “Live at Harvard and Stone” (Tidal Hi-Fi)
    • Minor Empire – Bulbulum Altin Kafeste (Spotify)
    • Leonard Cohen – You Wnt it Darker (Spotify)
    • Dave Gahan – Kingdom (Tidal Hi-Fi)
    • Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight True (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
    • Casey Abrams – Robot Lover (Tidal Hi-Fi)
    • Vivaldi – Le QuarttroStagioni “The Four Season” (Tidal Hi-Fi)
    • Chopin - Nocturne op.9 No.2 (Spotify)
    • 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)
    • Massive Attack – Angel (Tidal Hi-Fi)
    • Portishead – It Could Be Sweet (Spotify)
    • Liquid Tension Experiment 2 – Acid Rain (Spotify)
    • Opeth – Damnation (Tidal Hi-Fi)
    • Metallica – Sad but True (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
    • Megadeth - Sweating Bullets (Tidal Hi-Fi)
    • Slayer - Angel of Death (Spotify)


    The Sound:

    This review is written after a burn-in process of approx. 60 hours and I have used the stock bi-flange silicone ear tips.



    Sound Signature:

    The Hifiman RE2000 Silver is an In-Ear Monitor with a slightly V shaped sound signature, which shows a musical, transparent and somewhat warm midrange, fast and fairly deep bass response, soft tuned upper midrange and a treble that is energetic and with nice sparkle. All this features making the Hifiman RE2000 Silver to an and In-Ear Monitor with a pretty balanced, smooth and musical presentation.


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    The Bass:

    a) Sub-Bass:

    The sub-bass of the RE2000 silver has a pretty good depth and shows an average force, spread and extension.

    The sub-bass depth is on good level and has a rumble that is not too high, nor too low. For example; the sub-bass in Massive Attack's “Angel” and Portishead’s “It Could Be Sweet” songs is on a sufficient level. The tonality of the sub-bass is a bit warm, is followable and shows good clarity.



    b) Bass and Mid Bass:

    The mid-bass presentation of the Hifiman RE2000 silver is not very close to the listener and is positioned in to the middle of the stage, which is avoiding problems such as hollowness and compression of the stage. The tonality of the mid-bass area is not very neutral and shows a hint of warmness. The mid-bass region of the RE2000 silver is fast, controlled and close to reference, while listening to many types of percussion instruments, drums or guitars which is pretty impressive for an In-Ear Monitor with a dynamic driver.

    The bass punch of the Hifiman RE2000 has a tuning that is moving between softness and a mildly hardness. The bass slam/punch is pretty noticeable which makes the RE2000 silver quite suitable for most genres. The bass quantity of the RE2000 silver is a bit less to categorize it as bass on a basshead level and can be considered as a little more than neutral.

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    The Midrange:

    The midrange of the Hifiman RE2000 silver is slightly recessed due to the V shaped tuning and shows in general a musical and mildly warm presentation. The level of transparency and airiness is not the highest but above average.



    1. Vocals:

    a) Male Vocals:

    The overall tonality of the lower midrange pretty neutral that allows to hear male vocals in an unveiled and clear way. It doesn’t exist any negative situation such as a thinness, muddiness or harshness of the sound, while I have listened to male vocals. Some vocals such as Dave Gahan, Freddy Mercury, Kurt Cobain, Eric Clapton are presented in a clean, musical and slightly thick tonality that I have enjoyed.



    b) Female Vocals:

    The female vocal presentation of The Hifiman RE2000 silver is soft, a bit warm and quite musical and they are no negative situations such as sibilance of ear piercing type of harshness, which makes the RE2000 sliver ideal to listen for long periods. I've had some pleasant times with the RE2000 silver sensual and sweet female vocals. The transparency and airiness, while listening to female vocals is on good level,



    Female vocals with a thick tonality such as mezzo soprano singers like Edith Piaff are presented with a pretty natural detail and timber.

    2. Instruments:

    The instrument presentation of the Hifiman RE2000 silver is full bodied and shows a hint of warmness. It doesn’t have a highly analytical, dry and weak timber. It is existing a pretty neutral air between the instruments that helps for an airy and clean presentation.

    The fact that the instruments don’t play very close and distant to each other makes the RE2000 Silver well balanced and musical.

    The Hifiman RE2000 Silver is very successful in terms of instrument detail, clarity, separation and definition. Guitars sounding slightly warm, bassy and bright that makes its presentation quite musical, soft and fatigue free.

    Instruments such as pianos sounding soft and a bit bright, while listening to Chopin's Nocturne. Every bow traction sounds very clearly with the Hifiman RE2000 Silver while violas are played in both bass and midrange.


    Upper Midrange:

    The upper midrange presentation of the Hifiman RE2000 Silver sounds close to neutral and is mildly emphasized, soft and not overwhelming. The transition of the upper midrange is pretty controlled and soft, without any noticeable harshness or sibilance. The RE2000 Silver sounds fatigue free and musical due to the mildly emphasized upper midrange tuning.

    There detail level and technicality in this this area is above average and makes the RE2000 suitable for longer listening periods.



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    The Treble:

    The lower treble area of the Hifiman RE2000 Silver sounds more quite pronounced after the softer tuned upper midrange, which makes the overall presentation airy and detailed.

    The brightness and great extension in the lower treble area gives the RE2000 an energetic and highly dynamic presentation. The lower treble area is more pronounced than those of the upper treble region that sound slightly less detailed.

    For example; instruments such as hi-hats in genres like metal music coming slightly from the background and are hitting clean and with a fairly thick tonality, without to extent too much

    Instruments such as crash cymbals have a very controlled decay and with a slightly less extension than perfect. The general treble quantity and force will good enough for most listener. I like the balance and control in this frequency region and didn’t experienced any treble harshness or fatigue while listening to pretty fast groups like Slayer, Havok or Trivium.

    You can listen with the Hifiman RE2000 Silver all kinds of metal music without to fear about the treble and this with a musical tonality.



    The Soundstage:

    The Hifiman RE2000 Silver has a suitable stage width for a realistic instrument placement with enough space between instruments and vocals. The RE2000 Silver is also able to place the instruments side by side horizontally with enough space and neutral air between them.

    The Hifiman RE2000 Silver shows a parallel performance of the depth to its width.



    Comparisons:


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    Campfire Audio Atlas versus Hifiman RE2000 Silver:

    The Campfire Audio Atlas has a sharp V shaped sound signature, while the Hifiman RE2000 Silver shows a mildly V shaped tuning and the overall tonality of the Atlas is warmer and full bodied compared to the more neutral presentation the RE2000 Silver.

    The CA Atlas shows more sub-bass depth, extensions and quantity than those of the RE2000 Silver. The sub-bass of the RE2000 Silver goes petty a pretty deep register but has less emphasis.

    Both IEM’s sharing a strong mid-bass presentation, but mid-bass of the Campfire Audio Atlas hits greater and is superior in terms of quantity and fore, while the Hifiman RE2000 Silver has a more balanced presentation.

    The bass of the Hifiman RE2000 is tighter, more controlled and faster than those of the Campfire Audio Atlas, which makes it more successful in this area.

    Both of this IEM’s sharing slightly warm and musical midrange presentation, while the midrange of the Hifiman RE2000 is more upfront compared to those of the Campfire Audio Atlas.

    The lower midrange of the RE2000 Silver is more upfront and compared to those of the Atlas. The male vocal performance of the RE2000 is superior to the Atlas in terms of detail, while the Campfire Audio Atlas is more successful with female vocals due to its more pronounced upper midrange presentation.


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    Both IEM’s sharing a quite natural and musical instrument tonality, while the Hifiman RE2000 Silver performs slightly better in terms of overall instrument detail retrieval because of its great midrange area. The Campfire Audio Atlas is showing a more pronounced and sharp upper midrange presentation, which makes it slightly more successful in terms of upper midrange detail rendering.

    The treble range of both IEM’s is not very emphasized and upfront and sharing a lightly bright and soft tonality. The Campfire Audio Atlas and Hifiman RE2000 Silver showing similarities in the lower treble region, while the upper treble range of the RE2000 Silver is more pronounced and detailed than those of the Atlas In-Ear Monitor.

    Both IEM’s showing an ideal soundstage for a precise and natural instrument placement. The soundstage of the Hifiman RE2000 Silver is wider and airy compared to those of the Campfire Audio Atlas that is otherwise more successful in terms of soundstage depth.


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    64 Audio U8 versus Hifiman RE2000 Silver:

    The 64 Audio U8 shows a classical V shaped sound signature, while the Hifman RE2000 Silver has a slightly V shaped presentation. When it comes to the tonality, the U8 sounds warmer, darker and thicker compared to the RE2000 Silver.


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    The 64 Audio U8 has more sub-bass depth, quantity and extension compared to the Hifiman RE2000 Silver. The RE2000 Silver has otherwise a sub-bass presentation that goes pretty low but has shown less emphasis.

    Both IEM’s sharing a strong mid-bass presentation, while the 64 Audio hits punchier compared to the mid-bass of the Hifiman RE2000 Silver, which makes the U8 superior to the RE2000 in terms of quantity and force.

    The bass of the Hifiman RE2000 Silver is tighter, controlled and faster than those of the 64 Audio U8 which makes the RE2000 Silver more successful in this regarding.

    The Midrange of the Hifiman RE2000 Silver has a more forward and transparent presentation than those of the 64 Audio U8. The 64 Audio U8 is more successful with male vocals due to the thicker and detailed presentation. The upper midrange of the Hifiman RE2000 Silver is more pronounced and sounds also more natural, which makes the RE2000 Silver superior to the U8 in terms of detail and realism with female vocals.

    The instrument presentation of the Hifiman RE2000 Silver is airier and natural compared to those of the 64 Audio U8 and is also superior to the U8 in terms of detail and separation.

    The upper midrange of the both In-Ear Monitors is pretty soft, while the upper midrange of the Hifiman RE2000 Silver is more pronounced and detailed than those of the 64 Audio U8.

    The treble presentation of the 64 Audio U8 is darker, slightly warmer and recessed in direct comparison to the Hifiman RE2000 Silver, who shows a more energetic and pronounced treble presentation. The Hifiman RE2000 Silver is superior to the 64 Audio U8 in terms of treble quantity, detail and extensions.

    Both IEM’s have an ideal soundstage for a precise and natural instrument placement. The soundstage of the Hifiman RE2000 Silver is significantly wider and airier compared to those of the 64 Audio U8, who performs better in terms of soundstage depth.


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    Conclusion:

    The Hifiman RE2000 Silver is a solid performer in terms of sound quality with its quite sophisticated and unique Topology Diaphragm Driver, which delivers plenty of detail. The balanced tuning, unique design and airy and relaxing presentation will satisfy many audiophiles who are searching for a new pair of In-Ear Monitor with “TOTL” performance.



    Pros and Cons:

    • + Detail Rendering
    • + Overall Control
    • + Natural and Balanced Presentation
    • + Great Bass response
    • + Comfortable
    • - Cable is a bit thick
    • - Pricey
    • - Slightly recesed upper midrange
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