HiFiMan RE2000 - Reviews
Pros: Wonderful airy sound, impressive positional accuracy, detachable non proprietary cable
Cons: Cheap construction material, very large and awkward shaped, unable to be used with small ears


Hifiman is one of those companies that isn’t afraid to push boundaries of price when it comes to their products; and their newest flagship offering, RE2000 (silver), is no exception at $1,500 ($2,000 for the 24k gold version). Though an iem costing $1,500 is something I’m not unfamiliar with, from memory, I can’t think of any that I’ve personally experienced that only utilize a single driver. I’ve now had these beauties for a week now and would like to share my thoughts and impressions of them with you.


A little about me

I would like to say that first and foremost I am NOT an “audiophile” but rather an audio enthusiast. I listen to music to enjoy it. Do I prefer a lossless source? Yes, of course. But I can still be very happy streaming from Pandora or even my YouTube “My Mix” playlist. I also prefer equipment that sounds the best to me personally regardless of what frequency response it has or rather or not it's “sonically accurate” and I always have and shall continue to encourage others to do the same.

I'm a firefighter for both the civilian and military sector and the cliché of wanting to do this since I was born couldn't be more present with me. I've worked hard over the last several years to earn this position and now it's time for me to work even harder to keep it.

I enjoy fishing and relaxing to audio products and then reviewing them to help others decide on what products would work for them. Few things make me as an audio enthusiast/review feel more accomplished than when someone tells me that I helped them find the type of sound they've always been looking for.

Now, the sound signature I personally favor is a relaxing, warm and sensual sound that just drifts me away in the emotional experience of the music being performed. Yes, accuracy is still important but I will happily sacrifice some of that if I'm presented with a clean, warm sound that can wisp me away into an experience that makes me yearn for more.

My ideal signature are that of respectably forward mids and upper bass range with the bass being controlled but with some slight decay. I like my treble to have nice extension and detail reveal with a smooth roll off up top as to not become harsh in the least. Examples of products that have given me chills and keep giving me the yearning for more feels are the (in no particular order) Bowers & Wilkins P7, Oppo PM-1/2, Empire Ears Hermes VI & Zeus XIV, Audeze LCD-XC, Meze Headphones 99 Classics.

Equipment used at least some point during the review

-Sources

-LG V20/HP Pavilion

-Playing Pandora, YouTube, and various format personal music

Disclaimer

I am by no means sponsored by this company or any of its affiliates. They were kind enough to send me a product for an arranged amount of time in exchange for my honest opinion. I am making no monetary compensation for this review.

The following is my take on the product being reviewed. It is to be taken “with a grain of salt” per say and as I always tell people, it is YOUR opinion that matters. So regardless of my take or view on said product, I highly recommend you listen to it yourself and gauge your own opinion.

The Opening Experience
Why I feel so strongly about the initial unboxing experience

Please allow me to explain why I feel so strongly about the initial unboxing experience with a product. Maybe it’s due to my southern roots in the hills of eastern Kentucky, but I’ve always been raised under the pretense of when you introduce yourself to someone for the first time you present yourself with confidence, class, character, pride, and competence. You greet the other person with a true warm smile, eye contact and a firm handshake. Anything less or short implies to other person that you either don’t care about them, are too full of yourself, too busy to be bothered by the likes of them, or worse, just generally disrespectful.

As a consumer, I take this same belief to when I open a new product. Why? Because think about it this way. How else can a company introduce themselves to their customers? How do they present their products? Are they packaged with pride and presented in such a way that makes the listener eager to listen to them? Or maybe they’re just wrapped up and placed in an available space. How about the box itself? Is it bogged down with jargon that says look at this, look what I can do. I’m better than anything on the market and here’s why read this and check out that. Or, is the package clean, simplistic and classy? As if saying to the customer ‘Good day, pleasure to meet your acquaintance. Please give me a listen and allow me to show you what I can do and allow my actions to speak louder than my words.’

This is why I feel so strongly about the initial presentation of a product, and I feel it’s truly a shame more people don’t. But with all that aside, let’s discuss how this products introduced itself shall we?


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Construction

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The build quality of the Hifiman RE2000 (silver) is adequate but not reflective of the premium price tag. From what I can tell, the entire frame of the RE2000 (silver), which is quite bulky, is made from a regular plastic material throughout. I fully understand that plastic is the way of today and it’s a rarity to find a product, regardless of price, to use more premium materials but I still feel an earphone costing approximately $1,500 is one that should . Regardless, the frame is well made with the only seperation of the plastic being the front plate that holds the innards of the iem in place. Though this is a small piece of the overall whole, I wish the seam would have been more seamless with the frame than the snap in front used. I feel if this would have been in place then regardless of the plastic frame the overall appearance would have been more premium.

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Moving down, the cord is detachable which is a HUGE plus that I will continuously advocate for. Additionally, Hifiman uses a regular 2pin connector instead of a proprietary one which further allows the consumer to either upgrade their cable to one they prefer or replace the existing one if it were to become damaged. In regards to the cable itself, I don’t have any qualms about it. The RE2000 (silver) uses a tubular sleeve the encloses the cables from damage and from my time with them they’re fairly tangle resistant as well. Truthfully, other than the bland look, I actually don’t have anything bad to say about the cable.

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To conclude my thoughts on the Hifiman RE2000’s (silver) construction, I find them to be moderately acceptable. I definitely can’t see myself bragging about the build quality for there's several examples, that are cheaper and much more premium (Beyerdynamic and RCA made it work beautifully with their Xelento and CL2 products respectably) but I don’t foresee RE2000 (silver) easily breaking either.


Comfort

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So we now have the RE2000 (silver) in our ears; so how do they feel? Well, they’re big. As in my wife, who granted does have small ears, was completely unable to get them in her ears at all. I on the other hand have some pretty large ears so I was able to get them in fine but never forgot they were there. The cable that wraps around the ear usually found a way to not stay behind it which is solved by the sleeve that Hifiman included with the RE2000’s so if you don’t mind using that then you’re all good.

The horn is that of the most common size that I see on universal iem’s so finding aftermarket tips, if the 5 different ones included don’t suit your fancy, shouldn’t be much of an issue. For this review I utilized Comply memory foam tips so that the included tips remain new and unaltered for other tour users as well as for pictures. But during my time I found that the RE2000’s isolation was moderate. It toned out a lot of what was around me but I never had to struggle to hear my surroundings (still highly advise against wearing them walking where traffic is of close proximity to you).

In summary, I find the RE2000’s (silver) comfort to be acceptable but only to people who have average ear canal size and above average concha (the area immediately surrounding the ear canal) size.


Sound

Before I start this section. It should go without saying but though I link YouTube videos when I’m giving examples, this is for convenience only. If applicable, I HIGHLY encourage you to listen to the music I’m referencing on as high a quality as possible to experience the fullest sound possible.

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We’re finally here, to the area you arguably care the most about, the sound quality. So how does the Hifiman RE2000 (silver) sound? Overall I say they have a V shaped sound signature that eaves more towards the cold side. The level of separation that the RE2000 (silver) command is incredible especially with them only being a single driver. When listening to larger orchestra pieces such as “Crescent Moon Dance” by Akito Matsuda or “He’s A Pirate” By Hans Zimmer, you can very impressively identify where each of the instrument sections are and, on high quality recordings, even where the individual instruments are to a degree.

Something that I immediately noticed when I first pushed play with these is the airiness sound that comes from them. Listen to the song “Feeling Good” by Michael Buble. Everything in the ensemble just sounds so open and free. When the trumpets come in especially the extension is unhaltered and just natural sounding that I couldn’t help but close my eyes and just enjoy the performance.

So overall, the sound quality of the Hifiman RE2000 (silver) is the focal point of focus from Hifiman. But how about the individual characteristics of the sound?


Treble


The highs of the Hifiman RE2000 (silver) are wonderful. They control wonderful extension yet have a rolloff just before it becomes uncomfortable. When you also take into account the airiness of the sound I mentioned earlier, if your enjoy a more treble focused sound then I think you’ll greatly find yourself at home with the RE2000 (silver). 2 pieces that I found that I really enjoyed that I believe show my feelings are “Love’s Sorrow” by Rachmaninov and “Waltz (piano solo here)by Tchaikovsky.


Mids


As stated in the opening paragraph of this section, the RE2000 (silver) overall possesses a V-Shaped sound signature that edges towards the cold side. With that being said the mids are somewhat recessed; in particularly male vocals. A song that came up in my playlist that couldn’t have been timed better is “Watching You” by Rodney Atkins. When listening to this song, notice how though Atkins’ voice and instruments are very clear they sound like they’re somewhat take the background to the rest of the soundband. A similar reference but on the female vocal side is “Glassy Sky” by Donna Burke. Each instrument, from the shaker to the piano, sounds beautiful and clean, as does Burke, but comparatively she sounds like she’s not the focus when played through the RE2000 (silver).

Make no mistake, though the mids on the RE2000 (silver) is recessed with respect to the rest of the soundband, that takes no skill or merit away from them. The sense of body and fleshiness of skin is very much present. Look no further than “Grandma’s Hands” by Livingston Taylor or the incredible instrumental drums present in the Hu’s “Wolf Totem” and you’ll understand what I mean.


Bass


The heartbeat of the music. The rhythm and pace. And goodness does the RE2000 (silver) possess a strong heartbeat. Now, I wouldn’t call these bass heavy per say but I would certainly believe they’d satisfy the majority of peoples bass needs. The lows are heavy and impactful but not enough to have the sub bass feels. The speed and control is phenomenal. From Timmy Trumphet’s “Oracle” to “Rasputin” by SLC, the bass is fast with very little decay but still hard hitting.

I listed a lot of techno music for it’s representation of depth and speed but don’t think that the RE2000 can’t do true instruments as well. One piece in particular combines the bass capabilities as well as the body I mentioned earlier in the review, and that’s “Flight Of The Cosmic Hippo” by Bela Fleck And The Flecktones. The bass guitar hovers just under the RE2000’s subbass capabilities but still delivers the very low note and you can almost feel the plucks of the strings. So, minus the lack of subbass, I find the RE2000 (silver) to have a rather nice bass presence.


Conclusion



To conclude my thoughts of the Hifiman RE2000 (silver), I find them to be appropriate in their price range of $1,500. During my time with them I quickly realized that Hifiman focus their effort quite extensively on the sound of the RE2000 (silver) for, to me and my personal opinion, their construction quality and comfort fell quite subpar of the premium price tag they’re asking for. Also, the “carrying” case that Hifiman includes with the RE2000 (silver) is impractical at best for you have to remove the foam cutout to have the iems and cord barely fit inside it.

Aside from the disappointing handshake I initially received from the RE2000 (silver) once I actually listened to what they had to offer I found that they performed with the skill and competency that earns respect. From the positional accuracy to the airness highs to the tight bass the RE2000 (silver) perform to a degree that is appropriate of the Summit-Fi price tag.






Also, make sure to check out my unboxing and review videos. They’re pretty awesome AND you getta put a face to the Army-Firedawg name. If this review helped you out at all please hit that thumbs up button for it really helps me out a lot. Till next time my friends, stay safe.
Pros: Musical but with details, solid full bass with excellent PRaT. Works well with all genres of music.
Cons: A bit big. Some may not enjoy the slightly emphasized and lively, but not bloated, low end.
My impressions of the RE2000 Silver.

As part of the HiFiman RE2000 tour, I was asked to write down a review or impressions of my time with these earphones. I’ve use them for a solid three weeks, with a light rotation of some other earphones to keep the RE2000 sounding fresh and unique to my ears. They will soon be going on to the next person on the tour.

The RE2000’s are a lively and enjoyable pair of reference earphones. They are very musical but also exhibit details to keep things interesting. Low end is full and has rumble and punch when needed. Mids make both male vocals and especially female vocals sound very natural. Tremble is airy and extended but never harsh. Soundstage is wide and they go deep. The signature is not dark, but rather warmish and to me close to neutral. There is an extra kick on the bottom end to keep things lively, PRaT is solid. Clarity is perfect with these, every sound is heard in your music, with little if any distortion. In rock music guitars have crunch. In modern pop and electronica, the low end has punch and is rich, vocals have emotion. In indie music the vocals and acoustic guitars sound lively and engaging. In classical orchestral music, the music is grand and full with strings and cymbals sounding natural. In jazz the timbre of the instruments is perfect.

The RE2000’s fit very nicely into my medium sized ears, giving good sound blockage and a decent seal. Tips I used were the Final Audio E Type ear tips, which worked very well with the RE2000’s and helped with the seal. I found that any good copper cable works well, balanced gives it an extra edge. The unbalanced tube amp DX220amp9 is truly excellent, making the rich bottom end and the natural mids melt into your ears. Truly a great combo. The Sony NW-WM1A was also an excellent pairing.

Some comparisons:

Vs the Campfire Audio Atlas – The Atlas has a deeper low end, and a wider sound stage. The RE2000 have better PRaT, slight mid bass bump for that extra bass sound. Playing something like the Clash’s Guns on the Roof, one feels that the sound, although lively with both earphones, it just has an extra kick with the RE2000. Details sound great on both, but the Atlas does have the bigger sound stage, as stated.

Vs. Massdrop x Empire Ears Zeus - The Zeus is brighter and more detailed, it’s also a multi-BA driver vs a Dynamic driver. Nothing unexpected. The RE2000 is more musical and gives a better since of coherency to the sound. Personal preference here. The Massdrop is quite the bargain for it’s selling point, but the RE2000 is a better bargain for it’s current asking price.

Vs the Beyerdynamic Xelento – The RE2000 have a bigger sound with fuller mids and thicker bass. The Xelento’s are another single dynamic and are a pleasure to wear for the fit and lightness of the earphone. The RE2000 is much bigger and doesn’t fit quite as well, but IMHO, they sound better with a bigger and livelier sound.

Other thoughts:

To me the star of the show is it’s striking low end which takes nothing away from the rest of the signature. As mentioned, it has a full low end that gives a nice thump to your music. With something like Bowie’s classic Fashion, the club dance beat is balanced perfectly with those soaring but smooth guitars. None of this taking away from Bowie’s fantastic vocals.

Any negatives:

The RE2000’s are a bit big, and some with smaller ears may not get the best fit. Some may not enjoy the fun musical signature and prefer a more clinical or balanced signature. Some may even perceive the clear and full bass as a weakness in the sound, yet it is fairly close to the sound of many bands that I have seen live.

The RE2000’s are a great set of earphones and highly recommended, especially at the current price.
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Pros: Unique topology drivers
-Clear and uncompromising sound
Cons: Build quality could be more premium
-Price gap between gold & silver
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Hifiman RE2000 / RE2000 Silver: Straight forward

Hifiman is one of the largest manufacturers in portable audio, especially for producing high-quality planar headphones. While they were continuously presenting a series of new headphones, they've been rather quiet in their in-ear products until last year, presenting RE2000 and RE800 in both gold and silver variations.

I visited Japan's Fujiya-Avic headphone show and got to try both models which left we a very positive experience. It was also great to see Fang Bian, the founder of Hifiman. Having some talk with him and the team, I got to know some introductory info for Hifiman product as well as the technologies behind the IEMs. Having that said, let's get into the review, covering both RE2000 Gold and RE2000 Silver.





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Packaging

Since the different gap, there is also a quality gap in the packaging too. RE2000 comes in with a weighty leather finished packaging, labeled with a metal plate in front of it.

RE2000 Silver comes in an ordinary box packaging, but it's still nicely presented and both are provided with identical accessories. Other than the earphones, there follow 2 pairs of double flanged tips, 2 pairs of triple flanged tips, 2 pairs of another double flanged tips, a pair of earguides, a metal case, and some paperwork.





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Earpieces

The shell feels a bit plasticky, though I much enjoy the look on these. The manly-looking outer shape somewhat resembles the Hifiman logo while the inner part is shaped nice and round. As said before, RE2000 is available in two variations, RE2000 (Gold) and RE2000 Silver. RE2000 has a 24k gold coating applied to the outer shell while RE2000 Silver is coated with silver.





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Topology drivers

Both RE2000 and RE2000 Silver houses a single 9.2mm topology dynamic driver. It's no surprise for Hifiman to use a single DD rather than BA drivers since they've always been creating their own planar and dynamic drivers. They state it clear that they aren't into BA driver due to its inadequacies and distortions, as well as ordinary dynamic drivers for distortion and unwanted vibrations.

Due to these reasons, Hifiman created a special variation of dynamic drivers and featured RE2000 IEMs with a new technology called the Topology Diaphragm. Topology diaphragm refers to a driver coated with a unique nano coating which is distributed in a specific geometric pattern or thickness. Hifiman claims that varying the shape, pattern, and thickness of this geometric coating will manipulate the sound signature and characteristics, making them possible to achieve the specific sound they're looking for.





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Cable

Cables are made of crystalline silver-plated copper wires for both IEMs. Hifiman included additional 2pin sockets and pins, in case the original connectors from the stock cable has been damaged. These additional parts can be also used when you're looking to get these IEMs a new custom cable.

Ordinary CIEM 2pin (0.78mm) connectors work completely fine with these, though using the original connector sockets and pins would provide a seamless fit and aesthetics. RE2000 has an L-shaped 3.5mm jack while RE2000 Silver has a straight 3.5mm jack. I also like that they've matched the color for the Y-split and the jack.





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Sound Impressions - RE2000 Silver

RE2000 Silver aims for an analytical yet adequately musical sound, forming a slightly w-shaped signature.

Lows dive deep, dense in presentation, and always keep the reverbs very clean. The solid bass has a large, lively thud but doesn't get too aggressive or rushing into the face. The sub-bass quantity is similar to typical v-shaped IEMs. Ultra lows show smaller quantity though doesn't compromise in clearly presenting them. It actually does a great job revealing the dark and thick feeling that comes from the ultra lows with its small quantity.

Mids takes a small step forward from the other frequencies, though not to the point I'd call that it's clearly bulged out. It's pulled forward in a very natural way, not interrupting the imaging but definitely feels like it's presented closer than the highs and lows. Thickness is just about neutral, being suitable for both male and female vocals. The vocals tend to keep the atmosphere airy and slightly levitated from the bass. It doesn't really get thick in presentation but always keep things transparent and opened, which I could definitely feel that they're trying to portray the similar sound characteristics from their planar headphones.





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Highs continue with the airy and levitated presentation, though the quantity is slightly lesser than the mids and keep the texture crisper. The brightness is neutral or slightly dimmed, making it ideal for a long time listening without causing fatigues. The sparkles and the details are also nice, not falling back in performance at all. Headroom size is also quite large, both horizontally and vertically with good 3D effect.





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Comparison with RE2000 Gold

The RE2000 series particularly remind me of the HE1000 headphones. RE2000 does a beautiful job controlling the sibilance and the midrange in general, eliminating almost any turbulence. This makes the surface from the vocals to be flat, which is another part that reminds me of their planar headphone series. The sound characteristics are overall similar with the RE2000 Silver, though RE2000 is more shifted to the upper frequencies.

Compared with the RE2000 Silver, mids from RE2000 are much airier with better transparency with highs showing improved layering and frequency range. The bass extension is just as good as RE2000 Silver but with reduced quantity. The openness from the mid-treble makes the sound more refreshing with a lively staging.





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So is RE2000 superior to RE2000 Silver? Well, it's tough for me to confidently say yes to that question since they differ in sound signature as well as the performance shows a very minor gap. RE2000 is a reference tuned version meant for serious audiophiles with a 24K premium added to it, while RE2000 Silver is a more affordable, omnivorous choice that could satisfy general music lovers.

It would have been better if Hifiman made the price gap smaller for these two IEMs, but seems like they've decided to occasionally run discounts for both models. Checking their official website would be recommended.





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Verdicts

Despite choosing a single dynamic driver for flagship IEMs, they certainly lived up with my expectations for their price, especially the RE2000 Silver. Deciding between these two IEMs would be more of a question of the sound signature rather than the performance, so I urge considering RE2000 Silver too if you were planning to go straight for RE2000 since the higher price. It's great to see Hifiman starting to put some work on premium earphones and these should be a great choice for those who are seeking for natural sounding single driver IEMs.







Thanks to Hifiman for providing the RE2000 Silver in exchange for an honest impression/feedback.
I am not affiliated with Hifiman and none of my words were modded or asked to be changed.
Pros: Full, rich, vivid, controlled, well balanced signature, brilliant bass
Cons: Expensive (but totally worth it sound wise), not the most comfortable, need more tips
Disclaimer

I got this unit as part of Australia/New Zealand tour arranged by brooko, thank you very much for including me in this tour :)

Introduction

I am just another music fans in this world, I love listening to music, and that made me stumble into head-fi around 11 years ago when looking for the best way to listen to my music. I am not in anyway an audiophile, heck not even close, so please forgive any lack of details in my review. Most importantly this is my personal impression on the unit, most likely i heard things differently than you, my ears, my preferences, my brain :)

I've listened to Hifiman RE-2000 for about a month. I've used them mostly with LG G6 and Hifiman Supermini . The source will be either my personal music or google play music.

Music preferences

My music preferences is mostly instrumental, whether it's Classical, Jazz, Celtic, New Age, etc. I also enjoy music with vocal on them, but my playlist is mostly instrumental. I would say around 80/20 mix.

Example of the music I listen (not limited to):
- Acoustic Alchemy
- Tony McManus, Soig Siberil
- Hawaiian Slack Key guitars
- Gontiti
- Fusion Jazz (Lee Ritenour, Dave Grusin, Fourplay, Special EFX, you get the idea)
- Akira Jimbo, Tetsuo Sakurai, Casiopea
- Incognito
- Europa Galante/Fabio Biondi, Musica Antiqua Koln, Rolf Lislevand
- Yoko Kanno
- Madonna

Sound signature preference

Hmm...not sure what my pref is, I used to enjoy Fostex TH-600 very much, but I don't own them anymore and now listen mostly to either Sony MDR Z-7 or Stax SR-3.

My typical listening gear is: Sony UDA-1 -> Parasound Zamp v.3 -> Sony MDR-Z7 or Sony UDA-1 -> Parasound Zamp v.3 -> Stax SRD-7 -> Stax SR-3.

When travelling I usually use Sony MDR-1000x paired to the LG G6.

Build Quality and Design

Build quality of the RE2000 is, as expected from 2k IEM, is very good. It is construted from a mixture of brass coated with 24k gold electroplating and plastic. They are quite solid and feels good in your hand.

The design is rather unique, I never saw any IEMs with similar design to the RE2000. When I first got them I had my doubt that it will fit nicely on my ears as the shape is rather unusual, however it actually fits quite nice.

For the RE2000 my preferences is to use a double flange silicon tips (which I can't remember where I got them from, not part of the RE2000 package), as they gave a good sealing and some distance from the shell to the inside of my ears. If I used normal silicon or comply tips, I find the shell to kind of put pressure within my ears, and make them a bit sore after a while.

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RE2000 also came with a detachable rubber cable, it's probably not the best looking cable in the world, but it does what it's suppose to do and quite flexible and tangle free.

Sound Quality

Ok the most important part for me, sound quality, so how do they sound? WOW! brilliant! music sounds vivid, rich and engaging. They are quite balanced accross all spectrum, but let me first start with the bass....

The bass is probably the best things about RE2000, they are impactful, detailed, but never bleed into the mids. There are plenty of sub-bass to give music those thumps and rhytm to make you tap your feet, it almost made me want to

dance to some of the beatful music. The bass is not just some big bloated frequency as well, there are clean, detailed and provide some texture! bass has texture!

Mid bass is suficiently there to give enough body to the mids and treble, but never too warm! I got to hand it over to Hifiman, this is without a doubt the best bass I've heard on an IEM, I would say they also compete with Sony Z7 and Fostex TH-600 bass (probably better).

The mids are quite clear and natural sounding, however they are very slightly forward as well, enhancing the sounds of any vocals and string performance.

The treble is well extended and controlled, never sibilance or too sharp. I like how they did the treble, there is no sense of enhanced brightness but it's definitely exist and play well with the mids and bass.

Overall I think Hifiman has created a masterpiece here. I have to be honest that I haven't listen to that many IEMs in my life, especially not a higher tier model, but I am pretty blown away by the sound quality of the RE2000, and can safely say that this is the best IEM I have heard so far.

Comparison

Well this is bit tough, I simply don't have anything in my posession that is comparable price-wise as the RE2000.

I was reviewing the Lyra II and RE800 at the same time as RE2000, however in my opinion the RE2000 simply a class above them in term of sound quality and balance.

In term of sound quality and frequency tuning I would probably choose RE2000 over Fostex TH-600 and Sony Z7 as well, it's just so masterfully tuned to (almost) perfection in my book.

I am hesitant to compare them to the Stax SR-3 as I think this is probably stretching them too much, so I won't do it. It's just too much differences that it's not comparable. In case you're curious, the Stax get more head time from me, however I can't really use them in the train and plug them to my mobile phone can't I? :)

Summary

I suppose it's obvious if you've been reading that I am clearly mesmerized by RE2000, it's just the perfect IEM for my taste, and a well executed one as well.

Yes it's super expensive, and no I can't afford them, and they are not the most comfortable IEM in the world, but by golly! The sound quality definitely delivers on those 2k price tags!

If you're some of the lucky person who grow money on your backyard and looking for the best sounding IEM, then look no further my good friend, this is it.

Thanks for reading.

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NymPHONOmaniac
NymPHONOmaniac
As you say, you compare with what you have heard, can't imagine how my wannabe objectivity will be if I hear more 200-1000$ iem, surely even more severe, as I own about 50 pairs of 10-150$ iem I still can know lot of different soundsignature and having in hands the RE800 and Campfire Polaris, it help me to adjust my judgment,
NymPHONOmaniac
NymPHONOmaniac
and perhaps not having been able to compare the 40$ Zhiyin Z5000 with this high end iem I would not have be shock about price difference, but this is the goal: finding exception. Let's be honnest: there not ALOT of competition in 2000$ iem price range, that's all I can factualy say: RE2000 is not an exception in its price range
.
NymPHONOmaniac
NymPHONOmaniac
(dont have to be sorry to write too long comment...wish we can write longer in one place) cheers!
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Pros: Musical and immersive sound that feel smooth and detailed, thick impactfull bass, intimate vocal with great presence, good details, wide soundstage, versatile performance, addictive to say the least.
Cons: Some treble roll off, not the must detailed bass, lack deepness and clarity, cheap cable, big and heavy housing, sincerly overpriced.
HIFIMAN RE-2000 REVIEW:

SOUND: 8.8/10
CONSTRUCTION: 7.5/10
PRICE VALUE: 6.5/10



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INTRO:

It make a long time I was curious to ear this high end Hifiman RE-2000 dynamic driver earphone and I finally got my hand on a pair and decide to write a review about them. I was really curious about the ''topology diaphragm'' technology that permit to achieve better control of how the drivers will ''sculpt'' the sound, for this, they use nanoparticul apply on diaphragm surface to control perfectly how it will vibrate and move air to produce sound wave. Before nanotechnology, this audio ''tour de force'' will not have been possible, so yes, we talk about audio revolution with this discovery and now let try to know if it worth the 2000$ asking price in term of sound performance as well as overall value.

(Little info about your humble reviewer: NymPhono is a 34 year old french dude from Quebec (Canada), he is an antique seller as well as an amateur music producer. He begin to be obsess about music at 14 years old listening Lauren Hill and Billie Holiday on his walkman and slowly enrich his music taste by letting his curiosity explore all type of music available to human mankind -classical and jazz was and still is it's richer love story, but as an open minded music lover he enjoy electronic, folk, progressive rock and lot of other musical genre. Since about 6 years he became obsess by ''chifi audio market'' for mostly the better, and sometime the worst, now he have collected lot of chinese IEM and DAP ranging from 5$ to 500$ and still find mindblowing how asian audio market can be competitive in term of sound value. His obsession about sound rendering quest is more dangerous than ever, as he climb different price range to compare audio quality benifit and still search for the absolute IEM & Headphones & DAP at a bargain and accessible price, whatever the brand is. When he review IEM or Headphones, he tend to use different DAP, sometime amped, but never he will just use an external DAC or even worst, a smarthphone. As well, he listen a long time with lot of different music style to the audio gear he review.)

OFFICIAL SPECS:

Frequency Response : 5Hz-20kHz
Impedance : 60Ω
Sensitivity : 103dB
Driver type: 9.2mm Dynamic driver with Topology diaphragm
Earphone Weight : 0.48oz (13.8g)
Cable Weight : 0.81oz (23g)

CONSTRUCTION & COMFORT :
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Your not spoil by a big numbers of accesories with this very expensive purchase, but you got the basic wich is 1 cable and some eartips, a round box (or case) in a big fancy box. If the cable was one that worth alot and feel very sturdy, I would have considered this okay even if a little minimalist, but the cable do not feel of very high quality at all. As seen in picture, the cable part that have the 2pin connector is very very thin and as it's an over ears design and feel fragile it will surely broke fastly. I don't think this is acceptable even if I encounter this type of bad idea about cable with the Grado GS1000 I owned (cable broke and it was previsible but irreversible), anyway, this full sized headphones was costing 1000$ and not 2000$. As well, the metal jack is a very standard one that can be find in ALOT of entry level chinese cable, as you will see, I bought a braided cable that have the same (too) big metal jack (18$), so no, it really did not impress me that this cable use the very same one. The round protective case isn't quite luxurious as well, and it happen often that it include better one with very cheap chinese IEM even in the 20$ price range so, hum, I think Hifiman should really think more about seriously upgrading the accesories with there high end products, like including at least 2 cables (including a balanced one) and a luxurious protective case that will stand appart....because a very big box with near nothing in it is quite a disapointing first unboxing experience.

For a single dynamic, the Hifiman RE2000 is quite big and heavy, for this reason, it would not fit every ears, especially small one as the nozzle is large as well. The eartips will be your best friends to find perfect fit as well, I use wide bore silicone tips that permit to have nozzle end nearer eardrum and help to make the IEM stay in place because with standard silicone tips the weight of housing can make positioning less steady. I do not achieve great result with memory foam appart from comfort.

Housing is made of gold plated full metal body with a plastic plate where the logo is paint. To be honnest, I don’t really care about IEM look, there not mean to be flashy or anything, as well, i’m not a big fan of gold color, so I would perhaps have prefer an all black version, so it could be even more low profile as i’m more from the people who don’t want to show the value of there IEM, and if its too flashy it can make you insecure to wear a 2000$ IEM on not so secure Montreal street, but well, here in Quebec i’m one of the fews to consider Hifiman as a big brand and must of people don’t know it exist and will think its a ‘’no name chinese brand’’.

My real only complaint about overall construction is the (only) 2 pin cable that is include that feel seriously weak if not plain cheap. Cable is made of 2 part, one is thick other one is very very thin and feel fragile especially because of earhook concept that will make thin cable part connecting to IEM broke surely fastly, I feel braided cable will have been better, as well as furnishing 2 or 3 cables (including a balanced one) for this type of price. As well, the jack made of metal is the same that is used in lot of chinese budget audiophile detachable cable, as seen in the pictures comparing RE2000 to Zhiyin Z5000….I don’t know, whole cable design just don’t feel enough serious for a TOTL IEM.

All in all, I don’t feel the RE2000 will broke in my hands, just that accessories included aren’t on par with the price tag.

RE2000 SOUND IMPRESSIONS :

BASS have good round body and weightfull thickness to it, rich in texture as well. Neither boomy or too bassy, its a full bodied presentation that keep its impact at right place with a tighness that do not feel forced or too restraint as it move some air as well, but not in a rumbly clumsy way. For example you can have heavy kick and synth bass playing at same time and both feeling very weighty, excellently separated they give a very resolved punch that rarely if never you will have heard with a dynamic driver wich more of the time have a looser bass that can inflict on other frequencies rendering. Delicious is the low here, and addictive because never to hard in sound pressure, its as much a good performer for rock than electronic, because it do not just boost one specific low range but instead have a elevated curve that give plenty of body where its needed. The low aren’t too fast and have a hint of warmness that give better musicality and a more musical cohesion than with multi driver like the Polaris, where bass is ultra heavy and clean, but harsher and mroe appart from rest of instruments. With the RE2000 its like better of both BA and Dynamic drivers world, we clarity and smoothness and impact is well calibrated to give dynamic laid back presentation as found with high end analog sound systeme with a little extra treble and details.


VOCAL are very very sweet, they flow gently between low and high and know how to take your attention even if not particulary feeling fowards. Mid is well textured and have enough air around it to give a lush presence that have wideness and good space to blossom. As instrument separation is very good but far from analytical, and soundstage is wider and taller than deeper, mid presentation is very articulated and give great texture to violin and good impact to piano, it do not have lot of decay but the timing is excellent and there no unwanted peak in upper mids that can create sibilance, it feel smooth but energic and well resolved. For example, a good test track for extreme hissing is Les Cigarillos from Serge Gainsbourg, there so much S in the lyric that near all IEM will make this tracks hard to listen ,but with the RE2000, even if S have no choice to be present, it do not sound agressive or harsh and make me enjoy even more hiSSSSSSSSSSy Serge GainSSSSSSSSSSSbourg vocal. RE2000 can do great with both male and female vocale, giving the voice plenty of body and emotionality due to an intimate enveloping presence with excellent details that create a fascinating listen. Even if a little dark, mids never feel it lack details or thickness, with very clear source like the Ibasso DX90 it sound very clear while it will benifit of little amping to push them even more fowards with wider presence.


HIGHS go up to the top without problem, and have extra brilliance and details in upper highs wich give a airier and resolving soundsignature, this will suit as much treble sensitive than treble lover. Even if a little warm and analog sounding, the RE2000 do not lack details, but lack perhaps a little deepness to give more space between mids and highs, with this luxurious earphones one would think they will get a complete silent background, here its more a cohesive silence that group all FR togheter, dynamic and impact of sound permit to create an impressions of air and deepness, but when you try to go deeper in sound imaging you feel there limit to it, especially in very complex track, the Campfire Polarise feel less restraint in this aspect but its bass impact can veil this deepness sometime, the RE2000 go towards a more musical cohesion where you do not feel distract by instrument separation because they are on the same planet and they dance togheter, throwing time to time extra microdetails in a articulate way. RE2000 achieve a sound that is as smooth as detailed, even if treble is very extended some will think its roll off but when your hear how the cymbals are perfectly rendered, with great impact and decay and no shrilling, you know its a higly resolve IEM you have in ears, something quite extraordinary in fact.



AMPING isn’t really needed with (very) powerfull DAP or source, but a phone or not powerfull DAP will not make justice to the RE2000. Too much amping will be bad as well and make the sound more boomy and congested. Using my Xduoo XD-05 with line out of Ibasso DX90 sound became warmer but bass rounder and punchier, i’m not sure I prefer this way, but with DX90 I have to push volume very high to achieve proper sound so medium gain with XD05 give a better result than high gain, and I find the sweet spot here, sound became even more dynamic and mids little more fawards, bass resolution is better and decay is longer, highs became less sharp but keep there details. Best amping pairing I try was the Xduoo X20 with Walnut V2 upgraded with a Burson V5i OP amp, this help to give more air and impact in low and especially mids, taking the vocal to an even more mesmerizing perfection.

COMPARAISONS:
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RE2000 VS Campfire POLARIS :


Polarised comparaison between this 2, where one sound smooth, warm and analog and the other, the Polaris, is sharper, clearer and more in an HD musical quest.


BASS :

One will think Polaris is more U shaped and bassy as a Dual hybrid, but RE2000 is far from lacking in the low region as well with its chunky weighty bass, so here its really in type of bass rendering where the Polaris give a tigher-brighter lower response with more spot on emphasis and perhaps better extension, RE2000 in other hand give plenty of body but in a warmer way that keep good texture but feel more a part of whole music. Polaris bass is extremely punchy and well separated that move air in a big panoramic soundstage and RE2000 feel more chunky especially in mid lows and mix with the vocal to give some warmth where the Polaris bass keep still in its well definate soundspectrum with more transparency than textured RE2000 low.

VOCAL :
Polaris have a very pleasant analytical sound that do not feel cold, but sure is peakier than the smoothly resolved RE2000, and if I was just talking about vocal performance, RE2000 will be the winner even if Polaris vocal are far from sounding displeasant with there wide airy presentation that give realism and decay to signers, anyway, they feel less intimate and fully present than the vocal of RE2000. But if instrument separation is better with the Polaris, it mean some instruments will sound more accurate with them and that’s were I feel RE2000 loose by some margin : 3D rendering is just head and shoulder above with the Polaris. As the mids of RE2000 are thicker too, they will tend to mix and loose attack, but never they will sound too sharp as it can happen with Polaris especially in upper mids, so I will prefer the RE2000 for folk or jazz signers but for classical and electronic the Polaris will sound more exciting and immersive.

HIGHS :
If your obsess with details rendering, the Polaris at 600$ sure is a better bet than the 2000$ hifiman, but it do not mean treble of RE2000 is bad, and this is where Topology drivers can do miracle : its like ‘’literary audio’’, I see this technology as being able to extract its own langage from an audio membrane by changing it’s basic sound curve to something more articulate in treble region, being able to push it in some specific region so details and textures of bass, mids and highs can be hear in a more musical and resolved way that will never feel too fowards and forced. Sure, Polaris dig more details, but to the cost of creating some hearing damage at high volume, because of this i tend to listen them at lower volume compared to the lush RE2000. It mean too that yes, layering is better with Polaris, as well as soundstage deepness and this make it a more revealing sound experience that create immediate wow effect where the RE2000 create an addiction with a more romantic, musical and analog sound presentation. Here it’s like a bassy version of AKG 701 vs a Sennheiser HD600, it really depend what type of soundsignature you prefer but for me the Campfire Polaris offer a more impressive and majestuously detailed soundrendering and entertain my ears more than the Hifiman RE2000.

CONSTRUCTION:
To be honnest, both IEM are in some way a little to big and heavy and tend to fall from my ears if earhook isn’t well in place, but i’m less afraid of breaking the cable of Polaris than fragile looking one of RE2000 and this aspect is kind of a non sens at the 2000$ price tag. RE2000 are about 2 times heavier as well and nozzle is less long than the Polaris wich make it more prompt to discomfort. Both housing feel sturdy and of high quality, but the Polaris paint can be scratch quite easily, cannot say with the RE2000, but i’m afraid the H letter paint on the housing can be scratch, will not make a scratching test to know tough. Another potential drawback to note will be for exposed MMCX connection of Campfire Polaris where perhaps a drop of water (or sweating) will have dramatic effect, RE2000 2pin connection do not have this issue and is seal perfecly (just sad that the cable connection is so THIN).

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RE2000 VS RE800 :

Now between those 2 we don’t talk about small diminushing return in term of sound upgrade for the price, the RE2000 is just way above the RE800 in every aspect. It’s quite simple the RE2000 is like a perfect version of RE800, it have more bass, more body in mid, more soundstage, more everything even details with a smoother presentation. The RE800 just have more treble and it isn’t a plus even if it can make the sound feel a little airier (in a smaller soundstage). Don’t take me wrong, the RE800 do sound very good and very musical and even perhaps more linear and balanced than RE2000, but it have a fowards soundsignature that lack RE2000 magic refinement and feel less like a IEM you can cherrish forever where the RE800 sharpness in highs will create ear fatigue to treble sensitive people. Bass is way thinner with RE800 and lack body and texture, it feel kind of boring and even if it go deep, it do not feel like it, the RE2000 is more muscular and accurate and feel tigher too, from another level. The vocal is less lush with RE800 and feel restraint a little. Where the RE800 show his talent it’s in the highs wich crave lot of details, and lend towards analytical soundsignature for a very revealing presentation but the RE2000 do not lack in this region and I prefer the smoother peaks it have that give plenty of microdetails and excitment without feeling agressive like the RE800. All in all, if your about to buy the RE800 at full price, try to find a deal for the RE2000 instead, sound upgrade is just IMMENSE!

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HIFIMAN RE2000 (2000$) vs ZHIYIN Z5000 (40$ without cable):


Sometime you got some lesson in life, like one that don't look to follow rational law, like a 40$ earphone being able to seriously compete with a 2000$ one, and your like: What? Here this situation occur, Z5000 did take a good fight with RE2000, even if he did not win in term of final sound quality, he sure did in term of sound value, as he was far from being K.O with one solid punch from RE2000. In fact, even if worth 50 times less than Hifiman TOTL iem, he's been able to stay solid on his feet for a long pleasant battle with the big boy RE2000!

Bot have single dynamic Driver, Z5000 is suppose to be a Tesla tech. driver with more than 1.0 tesla of force while RE2000 use a topology diaphragm that permit to sculpt the sound more precisely, so both this IEM have interesting technologies that suppose to upgrade sound in somemagical way....

When I first heard Z5000 I barely fall of my chair, I couldn't beleive these IEM cost only 40$ (without cable) and offer such a high quality bassy sound with easy going micro details and wide soundstage, musicality was addictive and still is, and from 50 pair of chifi IEM these are among my 5 favorite and I wouldn't find it shocking if they were sell 100-200$, sound is in another league in term of value here. So, they were my chifi IEM I was must curious to compare with 2000$ hifiman, and to my surprise, comparatively to other IEM that sound very inferior and shouty, the Z5000 was still sounding excellent and musicaly impressive, and soundstage, strangely, was looking wider and deeper, as if treble was presented in a very different way. Instrument separation is more discernable with RE2000, and it have more texture and grain to whole soundsignature, i'll say RE2000 are more trebly but in a strange smooth non sibilant way. The ZhiYin have more sound pressure and are easier to drive, while the RE2000 with his 60ohm need more volume, wich perhaps explain why even if kind of bright the Hifiman do not feel too agressive, its still mellow and musical with fast dynamic. Z5000 are nervous iem, in a hurry to show there beautiful sporty soundsignature, sound is less perfectly detailed than Hifiman but still with above average clarity and highs sparkle. The musicality is widly presented with excellent imaging and details, impact in bass and mids are very impressive and vocal are airy, textured and fowards, when used with memory foam tips bass is tamed in a good way and do not veil other frequencies as with silicone (still, it can be interesting for beat driven music), even with silicone tips Z5000 are detailed and very capable, far from sounding boomy and bloated. Overall, Re2000 feel more tigher and dynamic but just slightly, and have a smoother musical presentation that never lack in energy and can make any music exciting and engaging. Z5000 are perhaps a little harsher and fowards, but its far from being sibilant or agressive, its just that RE2000 have an overall more mature and muscular sound presentation, with body and impact, and quite ultimate instrument separation, were the Z5000 feel more airy brightish and bassy (and perhaps wider in soundstage). If I was blind testing them, and having to guess price, the result would surely be disruptive. I enjoy both, and would use both daily...but on the street, perhaps I would be sometime paranoid with the RE2000 lol. About construction, bot are heavy & sturdy, the RE2000 are way bigger but not that heavier, Hifiman is a mix of special plastic and golden metal while the Zhiyin is 2 piece of solid metal solidly stick togheter, housing is brushed metal and feel very solid in hands, like, throw it on the floor no problem, not sure for the RE2000 because firstly I would not throw them on the floor at this price value & secondly as its plastic and metal perhaps it will make more esthetic damage to it (or more). For comfort, Hifiman are ultra comfy and Z5000 are quite too, as Z5000 can be worn over the ear as well as standard way, well, can't say wich one is better here.

Both these earphones offer a similar soundsignature but in a different register, Z5000 are more fowards and wide sounding while RE2000 are warmer with better imaging and dynamic but have less air between instrument as the treble is more ''grainy''.

All in all, there no doubt that the Z5000 are best sound value and price value than RE2000, and I would surely say the same thing even if the Z5000 were selling for 500$usd.



CONCLUSION :

Perfection is perception, but more you perceive and more you can see or heard imperfection, so perfection should be a flat response that we can only find in monitor and that must audiophile will not consider musical at all because of a lack of excitment in SF rendering.

SO, we need to color perfection to achieve musical illusion, and RE2000 push these bondaries to a next level with their topologic driver, its like a maniacal audiophile that tweak bass-treble-presence on an analogue sound system for months and months to achieve HIS perfection of musicality and one thing sure, the RE2000 engineer know how beauty sound and how to give it tone and color that will fascinate the ears without forcing it with a too energic or ‘’attention seeking’’ soundsignature, this IEM is made for long contemplation and to stay in your ears long time without feeling it’s a too intense and agressive entertainment, it give you to illusion that it’s near neutral-natural, even if bass and mids are colored and sculpt with perfectionnist treble.

Yes, the RE2000 is surely the more musical IEM I ever try, but I just can’t convince myself it worth that much money becaue at this price we must feel very very spoiled, and here, I would rather prefer spending half the price on just the IEM without cable and fancy box to keep the price the lower that it possibly can, this is my philosophy and what shock me about this it’s how exceptional IEM in lower price range can compete with a TOTL one, especially when I compare it to my favorite sub-50$ IEM call the Zhiyin Z5000 that sure feel inferior in some subtle aspect but sure not 1950$ inferior, more like 500$….wich open door about sound value relativity because yes, some people will pay ALOT for 1% of extra enjoyment, I will too, but perhaps I prefer to search for exception at lower price range (100-1000$) that give more returning value.

Yes, Hifiman RE2000 are a luxury for the elite and they aren’t mean for normal consumers, they are target for audiophile niche that collect TOTL IEM and not the one that search a supreme all arounder endgame, because in my opinion no IEM can be an endgame and proof is that Campfire Polaris excell with some genre that RE2000 cannot and vice versa. The RE2000 sure is the top of the line IEM from Hifiman, and I think it’s more in this perspective we should compare it : between it’s other model. It sure is a very BIG step above the RE-800, no doubt about it too : bigger wider and deeper soundstage, better imaging and impact, rounder bass, way more musical vocal and less harsh high….I did not even like how the RE-800 sound but the RE2000 was fascinating at very first listen and never fail to with its addictive musicality. If money is far from being a rare ressource from you, well, this might be a very glamourous love story that you can afford and a proof that yes, money can buy love because this IEM is all about Love of music and how to transmit it to the listener. Big respect for hard working audio engineer behind this marvelous creation, little less for the people who choose the final price that make some shadow to the overall value and philosophy of Hifiman products because lot of other less know audio brands in China have a more truthfull sound value tendency that try to change the ‘’diminushing returns’’ audio laws for real. I would not have been that severe about this for a TOTL headphones, still, I would have weight material value as well as sound one, but headphones have bigger drivers and more material wich justify higher price if built of high quality compenents. Hifiman have make an audacious statement with the RE2000, and perhaps they weren’t ready to self proclame the RE2000 as 2000$ in value and should have go for a RE1100-1200-1300 etc before instead.

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Attachments

Pros: Detailed and Organic Sound, Soundstage, Natural Presentation, Dynamics, Deep and Visceral Bass, Lively Top End, Vivid Sound, Detachable Cables, Premium Build Quality, Premium Materials, Unique Topology Driver used, Ergonomics, Comfort, Packaging
Cons: Premium Quality comes at a Premium Price

HiFiMAN brings a totally unique device to the market, their flagship and technological innovation, HIFIMAN RE2000. As it comes at a pretty hefty price point, RE2000 must provide one of the most amazing experiences audiophiles ever lived to justify its cost, being one of the most exquisite IEMs out there.






Introduction

With the release of their latest technology, the Topology Diaphragm Driver, HiFiMAN brought two IEMs to the market, both being quite intriguing.

We reviewed the mighty RE800 and discovered that it has quite an interesting sound, perfect for acoustic and rock music, as you can read in our full-length review:

https://audiophile-heaven.blogspot.com/2017/10/hifiman-re800-outstanding-engaging-vivid.html

RE2000 is a different story, being the most expensive IEM we tested to date, coming in a more premium package than RE800. In fact, everything about it screams premium, from the build quality, to the box in which it is delivered, to the beautiful golden finish they have.

I was extremely curious to hear them in person when I noticed the official announcement, and I'm really thankful that I have the opportunity to share my thoughts about it with you!

Disclaimer: I have absolutely no affiliation with HiFiMAN Electronics, I am not receiving any incentive for this review or to sweeten things out. This review is part of a tour organized by HiFiMAN to share the sound of their awesome new products with audiophiles from all around the world, and I am very thankful to be part of it. This review will be as objective as possible, and it reflects my personal experience with RE2000. Every opinion expressed is mine and I stand by it, the purpose of this review is to help those interested in RE2000 find their next music companion.



About me

https://audiophile-heaven.blogspot.com/p/about.html



First Impression

When it comes to audio devices, I had quite a few devices already, starting from the first pair of serious IEMs I had, Sennheiser ie8, to the first serious DAP I had, FiiO X5, and eventually up to mighty devices like FiiO X7mkii, Opus #2, iBasso DX200, Sennheiser ie800, Beyerdynamic Xelento and HiFiMAN RE2000. All of those devices impressed me greatly and made this journey beautiful, enhancing every moment I lived next to them. RE2000 comes to bring further joy and happiness, and to give the unforgivable experience of HiFiMAN's best IEM to date.



RE2000 came bundled in a little package that I had for a while, as part of a tour to experiment HiFiMAN's best IEMs.

After having some little issues with receiving the package, I can say that HIFIMAN is an excellent company who sits behind their customers and helps them as much as they can, as they went above and beyond to help me receive their package in good order.



Packaging

First things first, let's get the packaging out of the way:























































The unpacking and unboxing experience is as premium as it can get with RE2000 being packaged in a large wood box covered in leather, with a beautifully designed smooth plate on top. The RE2000 IEM shells are seated within their carrying case, in a snazzy foam cutout. The carry-box is one of the best there are, having a rubber enclosure at the middle and a soft-touch padding on the inside, protecting RE2000 during transport and storage.

The Cables are seated in a separate box, and the tips receive their own cardboard box with snazzy foam cutouts as well. You can find a manual, comply tips, and a few useful accessories under the main cutout on which RE2000 is seated.

Within the package you also receive a set of custom 2-pin adapters for building custom cable along with a set of ear hooks.

The cable is very well-made, with a serious-looking, gold-plated connector, crystalline-copper, silver-plated wires, and although it is on the thicker side under the Y split, it is not one bit microphonic, ensuring an excellent experience to RE2000 users.

All in all, the package includes a lot of extras and a high quality box that is sure to come in handy. The only accessory that is missing from the box is a Spinfit tip, which can be had for only a few dollars little money, but which quite essential for the enjoyment of RE2000.



What to look in when purchasing a high-end IEM

https://audiophile-heaven.blogspot.com/p/what-to-lookl.html



Technical Specifications

Connector - 3.5mm SE

Impedance - 60 Ohm

Frequency Response - 5 Hz - 20.000Hz

Sensitivity - 103dB

Driver Size - 0.36" (9.2mm)

Driver Technology - Topology Driver

Cable Material - Silver-Coated Crystaline Cooper Wire

Housing - Gold Plated Brass Housing

Driver Features - Nanoparticle Coating

Weight - 35g

Fit Type - In-Ear, Shallow Insertion Fit

Low Magnetic Emissions - Yes (Inherent)



Build Quality/Aesthetics/Fit

HiFiMAN RE2000 is a unique technical and technological accomplishment, state-of-the-art IEM which relies on cutting edge technology developed especially for them (The Topology Driver). Physically, they are on the larger size, to allow enough space for the rather large 9.2mm Topology driver. Despite their rather large size, the fit and ergonomics are quite excellent. RE2000 relies on a shallow insertion fit, has a vented design (presents no driver flex), and they have an ergonomic body without any acute angles or edges, featuring a smooth body that can sit comfortably in one's ears for hours in a row.









The Topology driver is a unique technology developed by Dr. Fang Bian after years of research and tryouts with unique and independently-developed material coatings along with a series of patterns that ensure the best sound possible for their drivers. In all fairness, the sound of RE2000 is surely influenced by this technology and it has proved to bear a rather unique signature.

The build quality is excellent, RE2000 being built from one gold piece and a black plastic plate that bears the logo of HiFiMAN. The bores are normal sized and they feature a metal grille to protect the driver inside from dust and other debris. The cable connectors are made out of hard plastic, and they are designed with the pins on the cable, providing a guide for proper cable insertion.

After almost three months of usage, RE2000 feels and looks exactly as they did the first day I saw them, being some of the highest quality IEMs when it comes to their resilience.

RE2000 can be driven from virtually any source, being quite efficient and having an average impedance, but they sound much better when driven from higher quality sources (FiiO X7mkii, iBasso DX200, Opus #2, iDSD BL, etc.), scaling well with higher quality sources.

RE2000 can be used outdoors, isolating quite well from the ambient noise and providing great comfort while walking or doing other activities, being some of the IEMs I grab most often when going outside.



Sound Quality

RE2000 has a unique sonic signature, with a strong, natural, enhanced and hard-hitting bottom end, a clear, detailed, dynamic, engaging, emotional and well-presented mid range, and an enhanced, energetic, detailed, airy, and uplifting top-end.



The sound is fun to listen to for hours, and it provides a strong wow effect that doesn't go away with time, being one of the few IEMs that manages to amaze me every time I place them in my ears. The slightly V-shaped signature of RE2000 works amazingly well with any type of music they play, from Classical to Power Metal to Electronic to Pop to Punk. It is also good to mention that the sound is musical and bears good emotional attachment to each note, being quite revealing, without being harsh, bright or analytical.



Bass

The low end is strongly presented, with an excellent sub-bass amount and impact, a visceral presentation, and a very good level of detail and layering. The upper bass is slightly enhanced, leading to some warmth and enthusiasm added in the presentation. The attack and decay are good enough to keep the visceral bass separated from the midrange and present the whole bass as a detailed and on its own.

Machinae Supremacy - The Second One - The song is presented vividly, with strong bass lines and clear guitar riffs that tickle the hearing sense of the listener. Drums are snappy and bass guitars are visceral, yet very well paced and playful. The background voices are clear and come through with good energy and detail. Everything comes through with an amazing lively feeling, and the whole song feels very dynamic. The story about the second one, the false, yet the-one-who-wins, is presented with great emotional engagement and a strong sense of fantasy.

Sonata Arctica - Fly With The Black Swan - The song starts with a very playful and dynamic intro, followed by a strong combination of acoustic guitars woven in with visceral bass guitars. Voices are presented clear with a natural tone and excellent detailing, especially for the background voices, while the drums are vivid and snappy, the cymbals and bell-symbols feeling well-extended and emotional. Guitars have a sweet and musical sound to them, along with juicy textures. The spatial cues are excellent, being possible to pinpoint guitars that are playing in the left and right areas of the soundscape, as well as effects that feel like they travel through the sonic scape. The story about the boy who died, but is saved by the black swan is presented with excellent emotional attachment, being possible to see yourself flying next to him on the black swan.

Om - State Of Non-Return - The song starts with a playful guitar woven with strong and impactful bass, accompanied by a snappy drum set, everything being presented with lively and energetic. The song feels very spacious and everything feels quite well-placed. Violins bear enough emotion to impress even the most savage listener, and they can make an unprepared man cry his soul out. The story about the human condition is presented with an emotional attitude, in a romantic yet somehow sad way, giving this song way into the listener's soul.



Midrange

The midrange is expressed perfectly natural, having the idea thickness, being extremely revealing, showing details and textures in music, that even other high end IEMs can miss at times. There is a natural tone to all instruments and voices, but RE2000 seems to add a bit more emotion to Female voices, useful especially with music like Dark Cabaret or Metal. The sound is extremely dynamic, bearing a large difference between loud and silent passages, being much closer to an analogue-like sweet sound rather than an analytical type. Compared to the rather forward bass, mid bass, and treble, the midrange can feel a bit less forward at times, leading to the perception of a slightly V-Shaped sound.

His Statue Falls - I Am The Architect - The song has a quick and speedy intro, with aggressive guitar layers woven in with drums and eclectic electronic effects. The bass is presented with a good amount of realism and impact to it, being a good driving force for the whole song, and voices are presented with a very natural tone and a nicely clear texture. RE2000 manages to present the whole song with excellent depth and width, giving it a very musical yet detailed presentation.


Maximum The Hormone - Bikini Sports Ponchin - MTH is a band which employs a high amount of energy and aggressiveness in their music, being one of the most lively bands out there. The song starts with a very precise yet playful intro. The voices have excellent energy and life to them, the guitars being presented vividly, with very realistic textures. The cymbals have good energy and extension, feeling rather bright and fun to listen to, being exactly as they should be, not harsh, but not smoothed out either. The song has a forward feeling to it, feeling rather natural and well-presented.


Amaranthe - On The Rocks - The playful combination between Alternative and electronic music sounds excellent on RE2000, coming forward with a good dynamic sense for each instrument, a very holographic and bright, energetic presentation. RE2000 presents Amaranthe's music with an excellent instrument separation and layering that amazes even the most seasoned of listeners. Female voices feel sweet and romantic, while male voices feel strong and bear a natural tone, leading to an excellent experience for the whole song.



Treble

The treble of RE2000 is crisp and energetic, slightly bright, but without any trace of sibilance or harshness. There is a very tiny peak at 5-6 kHz which helps RE2000 get a very nice definition of cymbals, violins and which helps adding a bit more emotion to music, but it is kept well under the limit of being too much. There is a slight emphasis around 10 kHz, giving RE2000 an interesting extension for the whole treble. The treble feels airy and well expressed, and all instruments feel well separated between each other. RE2000 doesn't seem to focus as much after 10 kHz when it comes to their treble, but they nail the energy and uplifting emotion of cymbals very well.

Massakren - Threshold - This is an excellent Black Metal piece to test RE2000, as it has both a very romantic sound, but also a dooming message and emotion it is supposed to get through to the listener. Cymbals feel lively and have good presence, while guitars sound musical and romantic, the bass notes being forward and bearing good impact. Voices have a very natural tone to them, being presented with enough aggressiveness to make the whole song The rather dark message is presented faithfully to the listener, bearing the right amount of musicality and evilness to make the song feel genuine.

Dimmu Borgir - Gateways - Dimmu's work feels rather well-exposed with a lot of detail and micro-detail presented to the listener, along with a magical musicality about the guitars and the background instruments and synths. The voices feel rough and well-textured, as they should in a Black Metal song. The cymbals are presented, but don't feel overbearing, while the trumpets have an excellent presence and texture to them. The synths are presented vividly in the background, while the female vocals have an excellent emotional feeling to them. All in all, the story about awakening of the darkness within is presented in an intricate and emotional way, providing a sweet and convincing experience to the listener.

BassNectar - Music Is The Drug - The song starts with a slow and deep intro that relaxes the listener, and which builds into a lively and uplifting exposition. The bass feels visceral and real, tangible, and has a very natural feeling to it. The midrange is expressed vividly, and with excellent width to every effect and musical note. The top end is clear and airy, while the cymbals and the high-end symbols are lively and credible. All special effects are presented even more vivid than they are on many full-blown speakers.



Soundstage

The Soundstage of RE2000 is one of their most impressive qualities, extending very nicely in both depth and width, expressing a lot of air between instruments, and giving background instruments a nice background nature, while forward instruments are presented lively and forward. When a sound effect travels through the sonic space, it is easy to pinpoint its position and RE2000 has a very good positioning for each instrument and sound they play, giving everything a rather holographic exposition.



Instrument separation is quite impressive as well, being one of the best there are, without going into the analytical territory. Every unique instrument is separated from others, but they all combine grandiosely to create a larger musical presentation. If there is one word to define the instrument separation of RE2000, that is organic and natural, with good definition.



ADSR/PRaT

The ADSR and PRaT characteristics of RE2000 are quick, natural, well-textured, crispy and revealing. The Topology Driver proves to be one of the best driver technologies when it comes to providing an excellent edge to the ADSR characteristics of each musical note. Electronic music with very complex layering and detail is presented vividly, with good amounts of engagement, without being hard on the ears.



Portable Usage

RE2000 is an in-ear monitor that is quite portable, and although the cable is thick under the Y split, they are still some of the most portable IEMs out there, often being my one of my top choices, even when going outside or doing a more intensive activity. There is no microphonic noise to speak about, and RE2000 stays well-placed in the ears of the listener (especially with Spinfit tips). RE2000 isolates quite well from the outside noise, being enjoyable while on-the-go, even at very low volumes. Since they can go very loud without any trace of distortion, they are well-fit for both quiet and loud listeners.



Select Pairings















RE2000 + iFi iDSD Black Label - The combination is excellent, and although iDSD BL might look a bit big when used with RE2000, its technical ability to drive RE2000 is amazing, providing an excellent control over the transient response, a large soundstage, an energetic and dynamic sonic signature, slightly enhancing RE2000's tendency to be emotionally-driven IEM.

RE2000 + FiiO X7mkii - This is one of the pairings I have heard, being the one I've been using the most, because X7mkii has a very energetic and lively sound that enhances RE2000's bright side, adding life into the midrange and giving RE2000 a wide and uplifting presentation. X7mkii also has very nice resolving abilities and details, enhancing RE2000, or rather providing a very transparent window to them.

RE2000 + iBasso DX200 (AM1) - Another very enjoyable pairing, DX200 providing a very detailed sound, with a slightly more technical approach, enhancing the textures and the dynamic response of RE2000, all while giving them a slightly more forward and aggressive sound that makes them play really well with metal and punk music.

RE2000 + Opus #2 - Opus #2 is a very potent DAP which is able to drive RE2000 in a very organic and musical way, providing them with a lot of emotion and delicacy, a truly romantic and fun experience. The soundstage is very wide and deep, and the separation between instruments is one of the best RE2000 gets.

RE2000 + Shanling M2s - While not as detailed as all the pairings above, M2s is quite good at providing RE2000 with a good sense of dynamics and an engaging sound.

RE2000 + HIDIZS AP200 - AP200 brings similar detail levels as M2s, and a good dynamic sound, with lots of energy in the top end, and a somewhat larger bass presentation with slower decay for each bass note.

RE2000 + HiFiMAN Megamini - Megamini is an excellent pairing for RE2000, and even though it is one of the less expensive DAPs in this list, megamini is quite the enthusiastic experience, having a very vivid and energetic sound, excellent levels of detail, and a very wide presentation. There is no hiss present with Megamini, while it is driving RE2000.



Comparisons















RE2000 vs Sennheiser ie800 - Probably the most interesting comparison since ie800 and megamini sport a somewhat similar signature, comparing them left me wondering a bit about what each is trying to do best. Ie800 has been my benchmark IEM for a long time, but RE2000 brought a new horizon to my ears. The sub bass comes in larger amounts with ie800, RE2000 having more mid bass. The midrange is considerably recessed on ie800, while the top end has more extension, and comes in larger amounts. This makes RE2000 the more natural-sounding IEM out of those two, but the main surprise I had was rather within the texture levels RE2000 provides, a rather unexpectedly high level of textures, even when compared to a titan like ie800.

RE2000 vs Beyerdynamic Xelento - Xelento is a very romantic and analogue-sounding IEM which relies more on its smooth and musical sound rather than detail, where RE2000 is clearly a more detailed presentation, with a more technical sound. Starting with the bottom end, Xelento has considerably more sub-bass, a similar amount of mid-bass and a similar decay to every note. The midrange is more forward on Xelento, but comes slightly clearer and with more detail on RE2000, while the top end is considerably smoother on Xelento, having more extension on RE2000, making them sound more detailed, especially in the upper registers.

RE2000 vs DK-3001 - Dunu IEMs can stand their ground, even against flagships like RE2000, although though they are about a quarter of RE2000's price. RE2000 comes forward with more impact in the lower registers, more midrange detail and more energy and extension in the top end, but it is impressive to see the differences between two IEMs that I enjoy so much, and how each company tried to go for a different signature when tuning each of them, DK-3001 being smoother in the top end, having less bass emphasis and a more forward midrange than RE2000.

RE2000 vs RE800 - HIFIMAN vs HIFIMAN, Topology Driver vs Topology Driver makes a very interesting comparison. Starting with the bottom end, RE800 has less emphasis on the bass and mid bass, being more neutral than RE2000, which is warmer and bassier in comparison. The upper midrange and the top end is brighter RE800, RE2000 being closer to a natural sound. RE800 tends to sound a bit more analytical in direct comparison, but they are still some of more musical IEMs out there. RE2000 is a more universal IEM, while RE800 is an excellent acoustic and rock performer.

RE2000 vs UM Martians - This is one of the most interesting comparisons because UM Martians are something I acquired recently, and they impressed me quite a bit. Although they have two dynamic drivers per ear, Martians have less bass quantity than RE2000, and they also sport more treble, especially in the upper treble. The comfort is a bit better on RE2000, Martians having some driver flex, while RE2000 has none.

RE2000 vs ER4-XR - Etymotic IEMs always make an interesting comparison, being the kings of midrange details and one of the most analytical IEMs out there. Starting with the bottom end, RE2000 has considerably more bass impact and larger bass quantities, ER4-XR is very forward in the midrange, making RE2000 feel rather natural, although it is slightly V-shaped, and in the top end RE2000 has considerably more extension and more energy, again feeling more natural. Even though ER4-XR is less than 20% of the price of RE2000, the level of details and textures in the midrange they provide are insane, although RE2000 still comes a bit better. I think it is fair to say that RE2000 is considerably more universal than ER4-XR, but the details of ER4-XR are impossible to deny, even when they're placed against something as fiercely enticing as RE2000.


RE2000 vs Oriveti New Primacy - ONP is a newly released IEM, made by Oriveti, which sports a signature that is musical and romantic, reminder of the days of listening to a magnetofon-based setup. RE2000 has a considerably more precise bass, a less forward midrange, and a more energetic top end. ONP boasts a sound somewhat similar to a mini-Xelento rather than RE2000, RE2000 being quite a bit more enthusiastic when compared to a relaxed IEM like ONP.



Value and Conclusion

HIFIMAN RE2000 is the most expensive IEM I had the chance to hear to date, and while we can deduce that HIFIMAN didn't try to make it a value-oriented IEM, we can judge it for how well it was created and for how much offers for its price.









Starting with the package, RE2000 comes in one of the fanciest boxes a IEM can come in, with leather on the outside, real wood construction and metallic hinges, being a genuinely nice and premium package. The carry box has a soft touch material on the inside, and RE2000 themselves are plated in gold, HIFIMAN offering premium on everything, from the materials chosen, the construction process and the package.

The sound is in line with the price, RE2000 being one of the most universal, most detailed, most organic, most musical and most portable IEMs I tried to date. Everything about RE2000 is luxury, elegance, premium and attention to detail. The excellent sound is only natural for a IEM priced this high, and it is possible to say that RE2000 truly delivers one of the most astonishing audio performances, having an energetic, lively, dynamic, engaging and emotional sound. The detail levels are on par with its price and it provides similar detail and texture levels as 4000$+ headphones with large amplifiers.

If you have the chance to give RE2000 a listen, you shouldn't miss it, as they will make one of the most enlightening experiences you can come across. If you can afford them, you'll probably want to indulge in purchasing and using what is one of the most premium and enjoyable IEMs out there.

In the end, RE2000 delivers an experience worthy of their price tag, being an IEM that can be recommended to those who can afford it, even at its premium price point



Stay safe and remember to always have fun while listening to music!

Link to the review on Audiophile Heaven: https://audiophile-heaven.blogspot.com/2017/11/hifiman-re2000-amazing-ample-absolute.html

Link to the official Thread on Head-Fi: https://www.head-fi.org/threads/the-hifiman-re2000-a-high-end-dynamic-iem.851656/

Link to the official product page: http://store.hifiman.com/index.php/re2000-in-ear-monitor-universal-fit.html

Link to the official product page #2: https://penonaudio.com/HIFIMAN-RE2000

Link to the writer’s head-fi page: https://head-fi.org/members/dobrescu-george.170938/

Audiophile Heaven: https://audiophile-heaven.blogspot.com/

Audiophile Heaven on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AudiophileHeaven/
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Pros: detailed hi-res sound, excellent bass response, wide soundstage, unique topology diaphragm tech, removable cable.
Cons: price, ergonomics of the design, eartip selection.


The product was provided to me free of charge for the review purpose in exchange for my honest opinion. The review was originally posted on my blog, and now I would like to share it with my readers on Head-fi.

Manufacturer website: HiFiMAN.



Intro.

HiFiMAN came a long way since their releases of RE300, RE400, and RE600 which I had a pleasure to review a few years ago. While I consider myself to be a portable audiophile, focusing more on IEMs and DAPs, lately I noticed that only their full-size headphones went up the TOTL ladder, from HE400 to HE1000, while IEMs continued to be more budget friendly and actually even reduced in price. There was RE1000 CIEM, designed in collaboration with UM, but I don't think it got too much attention. Perhaps, that's a reason why the announcement of RE2000 IEM took many by surprise, including a backlash from some of their diehard fans who didn't expect this new flagship to be priced according to its model number.

I'm only bringing up the price (deja vu from my recent 64 Audio review) to reflect on the questions I received from my readers and the posts I saw on Head-Fi. If you look at the latest flagships from other manufacturers, you will see a trend with an average price being around $2k, often including a basic OFC cable and a generic Pelican case. That's simply a reality which drives today's premium IEM/CIEM market, including how many consumers judge the quality of the product by its price. Sadly, in some cases, undervaluing the product will only cast a doubt of its flagship status.

HiFiMAN was overdue for its own TOTL IEM flagship, and I found RE2000 to be not just another premium single DD IEM, but also an innovative product with a unique technology behind its sound tuning. I also want to add that RE2000 announcement came along with another HFM release, RE800, which shares the same technology but with a different shell design and a polarizing sound tuning. The focus of my review will be on RE2000, though I will offer a comparison to RE800, along with other IEMs. So, without further ado, let's proceed to the review!

Unboxing.

Ever since the original RE600, HFM stepped it up in packaging, making sure you get the premium experience when unboxing their IEMs. RE2k takes it to the next level with a high res image of these models on the cover sleeve surrounding a very sturdy faux leather covered box with a hinged top cover and a nice front latch. It has a quality of a wooden jewelry box (at least, makes a hollow wooden sound when I tap it), and the top of the box has a brushed aluminum plate, laser etched with a company logo, "Innovating the Art of Listening" slogan, and "RE2000" model name.

When you lift the cover open, the foam insert has a cutout in the middle for the metal travel case, and little boxes on each side, picture-labeled with eartips and the cable. Underneath of this top foam layer insert, you have a high quality printed Owner's Guide booklet, along with S/N card, and a plastic bag with additional accessories. Call me crazy, but I was actually impressed with chrome L-shaped hinges of the box cover, indicating this is a not a cheap imitation just for looks.

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Accessories.

There was definitely a generous selection of included accessories, but the contrast between luxurious packaging box and the quality of accessories was noticeable.

You have a pair of earhook cable guides, which could be very useful for a cable without memory wire to shape up around your ear. The only problem, these earhooks work better with IEMs that have a straight cable attachment, while in case of RE2k with 45deg angle of the housing connector - I wouldn't recommend using this earhook because you will end bending and damaging the cable.

A number of eartips were included, 2 pairs of triple-flange (large and medium), 2 pairs of double-flange (same medium size, just a different color and slightly different bore opening), a pair of single-flange tips (medium size), and 2 pairs of Comply foam tips (large and medium). Personally, my earcanal can't fit any double/triple flange eartips, and I prefer a large single flange silicone tips, though none of the included tips worked for me. I was actually a little disappointed because RE400 and RE600 included the same selection of tips plus 3 more pairs of custom single flange tips which I absolutely loved. I hope HFM can reconsider adding those eartips with RE2k accessories.

A removable cable was included as well, with 2pin standard connectors, and to my surprise HFM also included a set of DIY 2pin connectors which you can use when building your own cable or requesting an aftermarket cable. Of course, any universal 2pin connector should fit RE2k shell socket, but their own connector just "fits" better the look of the design. Plus, it could give some people an idea to maybe convert their mmcx based cables. Either way, this was a unique and very surprising accessory.

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While, I couldn't use any of the included eartips, I went for my latest favorite Symbio hybrid eartips which have a comfort of memory foam under the cap, and a soft medical grade silicone on top. These eartips (available on eBay) have a seal quality of foam eartips with a fit quality of silicone tips.

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The case.

Last, but not least, is the case. For sure, it was nice to see something other than a zippered clamshell. The case is aluminum, round, and inside there was a foam insert with a precise cutout for RE2k shells. This secure packaging was great for transportation, though you would want to remove foam insert to use the whole case for RE2k with a cable attached. It's a nice aluminum case, but it's too tight to open (be careful to do it over the table) and it just doesn't fit the luxurious theme of the packaging box. Wish HFM would include some leather case, made of the same material as the box.

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Cable.

I was glad to see RE2k design using removable cables with a standard 2pin connector. Besides the fact that cable can break and you want to be able to replace it, you also get a chance to try cables with a different wire material and different terminations (2.5mm TRRS, 3.5mm TRRS, 4.4mm TRRRS).

The cable itself is not bad. It uses silver coated, crystalline copper wire with all the conductors hidden inside of a thicker rubber cable jacket. This makes cable a bit stiff, with a little memory effect, but at the same time no microphonics and feeling rather durable. You have a right angled Oyaide 3.5mm connector with a short strain relief, four conductors hidden under a thicker rubbery jacket, a gold plated Y-splitter with HIFIMAN and RE2000 etched logo/name, a gold plated matching chin slider, and 2 thinner cables after the split going to 2pin custom connectors (with DIY spare parts included). 2pin connectors have a clear L/R labeling, where you have to be sure both are either facing inside or outside, meaning the same polarity between two shells.

It's a recessed connector which goes into the socket of the housing which is 45deg angled relative to the shell. This way the cable goes over your ear, and it feels very comfortable without a memory wire or any earhook guides. As a matter of fact, when using other cables with a stiff memory wire - it felt uncomfortable with RE2k shell design, though it worked OK with flex-earhooks which are becoming more popular with replacement cables.

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Being able to remove the wires opens a door to replacement cables which I have many in my review collection. Here are some of the cables I tried with RE2k.

SPC -> ALO Ref8 - soundstage expansion is very similar, maybe Ref8 adds a little more depth. Bass was slightly reduced while upper mids came up. The big problem here is the housing of 2pin connectors, the attachment didn't feel as secure.

SPC -> TWau v2 - felt like soundstage got a little bit wider and deeper. I hear the PRAT factor going up, like an overall sound being faster and sharper now. Bass sounds a little more neutral, mids are still pushed back a little bit (forming a mild v-shaped), while treble is crisper, and I hear more airiness. Sound is more revealing, a bit less organic and more analytical.

SPC -> 1960 4wire - soundstage is wider and deeper, not by a big margin, but noticeable. Bass is more articulate and textured, especially sub-bass. I hear a little higher mid-bass impact. Mids came up a little, sounds more balanced. Treble is still crisp and well defined, maybe with a little more airiness. The biggest improvement I hear is how much more transparent the sound is, including improved layering and separation (literally more air between layers).

SPC -> Lionheart w/Psquare - soundstage width is a little wider, I hear more staging depth. Bass and lower mids are very similar, but upper mids are more upfront now, more balanced, vocals really shine now, more revealing, more detailed. Treble is still crisp and well defined, but you get more airiness. Again, the transparency improvement is very noticeable, including layering and separation of the sound.

SPC -> PlusSound X-series tri-metal - very similar soundstage width with an added depth. Bass sounds similar as well, the same quantity and balance between sub-bass and mid-bass. Upper mids came up a little more forward, and became more revealing. The treble is as crisp, but with more airiness. The sound is a little more transparent, and overall more balanced due to mids presentation.

SPC -> Ares II - very similar soundstage width with a touch of an added depth. Sub-bass extension is similar, goes deep, nicely textured, but mid-bass has a stronger impact, making overall bass sound a little faster and more articulate. Upper mids are a little more balanced, and treble is similarly crisp and detailed, but will a little more airiness.

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Design.

I have many IEMs and CIEMs which I keep in partitioned watch cases. Often when I glance over, I see a lot of colorful shells with similar designs that blend together. But even from a distance you can easily spot RE2k shells which stand out from the crowd. While brass is used as a housing material for enhanced acoustics, RE2k is 24k Gold Edition with a distinct electroplated finish and a nice weight which is not too heavy (14g per pair) yet has a nice heft.

The shells have a very interesting and quite unique shape, but it's not the most ergonomic design, I found RE800 shell to be more comfortable. I appreciate over the ear cable fit which keeps the shells secure in my ears, but it does require a bit of fiddling to find the comfortable position. Also, I had to do tip rolling, not just to find the best seal but also because nozzle is on a shorter side. Perhaps it's a subjective opinion because we all have a different ear anatomy, and triple-flange extended eartip will solve these problems. But I had to look for a regular single flange eartip, and also the shell has a plastic endplate with H logo which has a bit of a sharp edge.

So, as I mentioned above, finding the right eartip is the key here. Once it's found and you get a good seal and comfortable fit - you will be rewarded with a very impressive sound, thanks to its 9.2mm dynamic driver with Topology Diaphragm design. What makes it unique is a special Nano particles coating (based on Dr Fang Bian's Ph.D. thesis) applied in special geometric patterns. What Dr Fang discovered is by varying the surface pattern and using different Nano materials (each with its own unique property), you can control the acoustic performance of the driver. If you think about it, you literally micro-tuning the sound by applying a different Nano coating pattern. Plus, the structure of Topology diaphragm also reduce uncontrolled distortion typical of dynamic drivers.

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The fit.

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Sound Analysis.

RE2k has a mildy v-shaped sound signature with a neutral-revealing tonality. Depending on pair up with different sources, I noticed the signature can flip flop between being slightly v-shaped to a more balanced. The sound is more on a revealing side, but it's not too bright or harsh, and not of an analytical quality. I didn't take as good notes with my impressions out of the box, but do remember treble being brighter and crisper, closer to a threshold of my tolerance.

After 200hrs of burn in, the lower treble settled in and the bass quantity improved. The mids are still pushed slightly back, and perhaps it's just a perception of the relative lift in mid-bass and treble, but as I mentioned before – the presentation of mids slightly varied with different sources, where in some cases it was more balanced. The bass is authorative but not overwhelming, and treble is revealing, but not shrilled. I also want to note that I'm using Symbio hybrid eartips which have a silicone lining with a foam filling, so I get a decent seal and the bore opening is slightly narrowed down relative to the nozzle diameter.

Starting off with a low end, you have a deep sub-bass rumble, visceral, textured, layered, with a slight elevation but not overwhelming. This is a pure analog sub-bass, like you would hear in floor standing speakers. Surprisingly, it's layered enough to be easily distinguished from mid-bass which has a nice impact with an average attack and decay, just enough to keep it under control and separated from lower mids.

Lower mids are not too thin or too thick, have a neutral body and absolutely no veil or muddiness. Upper mids are clear and detailed, with a nice balance between being revealing and having a natural tonality, though a little on a colder and thinner side. They are not as airy or layered, and miss some microdetails, but the focus here is on being balanced without being too thick or too revealing. As mentioned already, overall presentation of vocals is pushed slighted back, not too far back, thus my reference to "moderate" v-shaped sig.

Treble is crisp, well defined, more on a brighter side, but without a hint of sibilance. The infamous 5k-6k peak is kept under control, while you have more clarity and definition thanks to a peak between 9k-10k. I hear a good level of airiness, but the treble extension doesn't go too far.

The soundstage has a very impressive width, and a nice depth, not too deep or holographic, but in an elliptical shape, expanding wide and a few rows in front of you. Along with this expanded soundstage, the imaging also has a good placement of instruments and vocals. At least to my ears they have a convincing positioning.

While I can easily distinguish most of the instruments and vocals and the sound is very clear and detailed, not congested at all, I don't think RE2000 has the best layering and separation where I don't hear as much air between the layers of the sound.

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Comparison.

RE2k vs Fourte – RE has a wider soundstage with more depth; both have a very impressive low-end performance with a deep textured sub-bass rumble and analog quality mid-bass with a strong punch, though RE bass is a touch faster. Lower mids are more neutral in RE while Fourte has a little more body. Upper mids is where I hear more difference with Fourte being a little smoother and more natural, while RE is brighter and thinner. Both have a very revealing upper mids, but Fourte sounds just more natural in comparison. When it comes to treble, they flip with Fourte being crisper and having more airiness. But overall, these two are not too far apart (in my Fourte review this comparison was slightly different, and only later I realized that RE2k treble became smoother after more mileage).

RE2k vs Xelento – both have a very similar soundstage width, while RE has more depth, extends further; X has a deeper sub-bass and more mid-bass impact, while RE has a slight boost but nowhere near the quantity as X, while the quality is similar, just scaled down. RE lower mids are leaner, right around the neutral level, while X is a little north of neutral with more body, but not too much. Upper mids in X are smoother, more organic, more balanced, while RE upper mids are thinner, more revealing in comparison. With treble, both have a well-defined treble, but RE is crisper.

RE2k vs RE800 - RE soundstage is wider in comparison to 800, but both have the same depth. Both have a similar level of bass impact, though RE goes deeper, but due to a more forward mids in 800, it creates a perception that RE has higher bass quantity which I don't think it does. Both have a well-controlled bass, with a faster than usual attack of the dynamic driver and not a very long decay which gives enough room for lower mids. Due to a more balanced sound on RE, bass has a better presentation and sound a little more articulate to my ears. Lower mids are neutral, not thin but at the same time not contributing too much to the body of the sound (lean). Upper mids have similarly, but toward the lower treble RE smooth out with a more natural tonality while 800 becomes harsher and a lot more revealing. RE upper frequencies are not exactly warm and fuzzy either, but relative to 800 they are a lot more smoother and more natural. Both have a crisp well-defined treble and good extension but 800 pushes more toward sibilance and has more airiness.

RE2k vs Andromeda - RE soundstage is a little bit wider, while Andro staging extends a little deeper. Both have an extended sub-bass rumble that goes deep, but Andro's mid-bass has more impact, hits harder. Both have a relative similar attack of the bass, maybe with RE being a little slower, and the bigger difference here is a decay, shorter in Andro which is more typical for BA drivers, and a little longer with RE, making a smoother transition into mids. Both have a well-controlled bass, though Andro is more articulate, with sharper details, while RE is more analog sounding. When it comes to lower mids, tables turn around with RE being more neutral and leaner while Andro being north of neutral with more body. Upper mids in both have plenty of clarity and transparency, but RE is a little smoother more natural versus Andro being a little more revealing and grainier, which also spills into lower treble where with some songs Andro can sound a little harsher in comparison to more natural RE. Don't get me wrong, Andro is not as bad as RE800, but in relative comparison to RE I found upper mids/lower treble harsher in Andro.

RE2k vs K10UA - RE soundstage is wider and extends deeper, while K10 has a more intimate staging in comparison. Both have a similar sub-bass extension, with K10 having a little more mid-bass impact and having a faster punch with shorter decay, while RE is a little more analog and relaxed in comparison. Both have well controlled bass without spilling into lower mids. Lower mids are neutral in both cases, but RE is a little leaner while K10 having a little more body. Both have a lot of clarity and details in upper mids, though K10 is a little smoother with a bit more warmth. and the same with lower treble, both have a crisp well defined airy treble, but K10 is a little smoother in comparison to RE treble which is relatively thinner and brighter.

RE2k vs UE18+ Pro - RE is a touch wider in staging, while both have the same soundstage depth. RE sub-bass goes deeper and has more texture, while UE has a fast punch with a little more impact. Also, UE bass decay is shorter, more typical of BA driver performance, while RE is a little longer more analog smoother transition to lower mids. Lower mids are neutral in both IEMs, but RE is leaner while UE has a little more body, giving the sound a little more warmth. RE upper mids are brighter and colder in comparison to UE more natural smoother upper mids. But at the same time, RE is more detailed due to a more analytical nature of its upper frequencies. With treble, both are crisp and well defined, but UE is more natural and smoother in comparison to a brighter RE lower treble.

RE2k vs VEGA - RE is a little wider while both have the same soundstage depth. Both have a deep sub-bass extension, though VEGA has a more boomy sub-bass quantity. The same with mid-bass, where VEGA has a lot stronger and more aggressive punch, while RE sounds almost neutral in comparison. Both have neutral lower mids with a more natural organic upper mids. As a matter of fact, both have their mids pushed slightly back while low end and treble lifted. The big difference is in VEGA having a much harder bass slam and brighter thinner treble, while RE bass is more balanced and less aggressive and treble which is crisp and less harsh in comparison.

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Pair up.

Here is how I hear RE2k pair up with various sources in my review collection. In this test, I was using 1960 4wire cable. In every pair up, there was no audible hissing, but due to 60 ohm impedance with 103dB sensitivity, I did have to push volume a little harder.

Plenue 2 - expanded soundstage, deep sub-bass rumble and punchy mid-bass, smooth detailed mids, crisp well-defined treble, moderate level of airiness, nice transparency and layering.

LPG - expanded soundstage, deep sub-bass rumble and a little stronger mid-bass punch, smooth detailed mids, a lot crisper treble, still well defined, but a lot crisper, pushing 6k peak a little harder.

Opus#2 - expanded soundstage, deep sub-bass rumble (nicely textured), strong mid-bass punch but not too overwhelming; mids are still pushed slightly back, but very natural and detailed. Treble is crisp and well defined with a nice level of airiness. The overall sound is more transparent, a little more revealing, and with improved layering and separation.

X7ii - expanded soundstage, deep sub-bass rumble with a little more quantity, mid-bass has a nice punch, mids are more balanced, clear and detailed, still smooth and natural, treble is crisp and well defined, with a little more airiness. Overall sound is a little more balanced, especially mids.

DX200 - expanded soundstage, deep sub-bass rumble with a nice punchy mid-bass, detailed natural mids, crisp well defined airy treble. Mids are more balanced, very transparent, layered, and the sound has an excellent separation.

AK120ii - expanded soundstage, deep sub-bass rumble with a nice punchy mid-bass, detailed natural mids and very crisp treble with a nice level of airiness. The sound is mildy v-shaped, with a nice level of transparency and layering.

WM1Z - expanded soundstage, deep textured sub-bass rumble with a very articulate mid-bass punch, balanced mids, very natural, detailed, realistic vocals, crisp well-defined treble with improved extension and airiness. The sound is more transparent, layered, well separated. This sounds like the most natural pair up in comparison to other sources.

Galaxy Note 4 (phone) – soundstage is still wide, but not as wide as with dedicated DAP sources; surprisingly I didn’t have to push my phone volume high enough, deep sub-bass rumble, surprisingly good extension, nice mid-bass punch, smooth organic balanced mids, nice well-defined treble, though not as crisp. Overall sound was more balanced, not as resolving or layered, but smooth, lush, detailed, surprisingly good pair up on the go with a phone.

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Conclusion.

Finally, HiFiMAN has its own true flagship IEM, and in my opinion it's definitely worth checking out! Single dynamic driver flagship design is tricky because you have to deal with limitations of using only one driver. But with utilization of Nano-particles coating tech, Dr Fang was able to lift some of this limitation while gaining extra control in sound tuning. Maybe RE2k does not have exactly the smoothest or the most natural tuning and it's not very analytical, but its more neutral revealing tonality works quite well with many music genres and pairs up nicely with different sources for hours of fatigue-free listening even with sound being a little on a brighter side.

I did mention about RE800 in the intro of my review, which suppose to have a similar Topology Diaphragm design implementation, but I couldn't wrap my ears around its tuning due to a rather forward 7k peak. Not saying it's a bad tuning because while it was definitely not my cup of tea, I found other people enjoying its forward treble energy, with some who didn't mind applying the EQ. But RE2k hits closer home to my ears, which also made me realize that in the last year I became a little more tolerant to brighter sound. Either way, it's great to see companies introducing a new tech, and trying to reinvent that old dynamic driver wheel. HiFiMAN definitely nailed it with this release.
Erfan Elahi
Erfan Elahi
Thanks, very informative review and perfect comparison with similar priced IEMs.
Pros: Spacious, airy sound
Powerful and punchy bass
Cons: Big housing
Option for a wider range on silicone tips' sizes
1) Introduction and overall aesthetics
I would like to thank AV One and Hifiman for this opportunity once again. The previous review I did was the RE800 which was a good sounding iem. This time, the current flagship model is Hifiman RE2000.
The box it comes in is exactly the same as RE800. Internally, the first layer will be shown with three items. One is the earpiece itself in an aluminium circular casing. Second is the various silicone ear tips provided. The third box will be the cable itself which is detachable and spare parts for its 2-pin connectors.
After removing the first layer, inside you will get the iem booklet, comply foam tips and warranty card.
For this test, I have chosen the larger triple flange silicone tips for a better seal as it can sit deeper into my ears. The ear tips are also long enough to reduce ear fatigue from the body as the distance from the iem body to my ear is greater.
For the housing of the iem, it comes in a big brass housing that contains its single dynamic driver and it is covered with a black plastic cover that has the Hifiman logo printed. I do believe that housing plays an important role for the driver to have its space needed to project a clean and focused sound.
This time, the flagship comes with a detachable cable which is a plus point to change worn cables or to change to a balanced cable so as to plug into most balanced DAPs in the market today. The cable connectors are slotted-groove 2-pin with "L" and "R" labelled.
The cable is exactly the same as the RE800. Its silver plated copper with the brass Y-splitter and 3.5mm unbalanced connector.
In the next section, I will get into the sound signature and that is the main topic for this review. My standard gear will be the Sony ZX1 with the Cypherlabs Picollo amplifier. The iems I received were already burned in.

2) Sound
I will begin with its body and soundstage. It presents an airy sound and a warm body. Spacious and layered but not a sparkly signature. The instrument separation is great, it does not sound in your head.
Next, highs are well heard and enjoyable and love the mid high area. Cymbals are not articulated and will roll off just before it gets peaky.
The midrange has a nice body to it and I do find it a more center presentation. I love listening to female vocals like Enya, it produces a powerful yet natural sound.
Lastly, the low end on this is excellent and strong. Bass-heavy tracks sounded punchy when listening to Far East Movement. For rock and vocal tracks, the low end is tight and are pleasant to he. The bass notes can get really low and when it kicks it hard with its rumble and thumping, it makes my ears itch a little.
Overall its a smooth sounding IEM and for those who do not want a bright signature one but a more airy, spacious and warmth feel to it.

3) Suggestions
With a review like this, there is room for improvement and I will like to give some suggestions.
Starting with the body(housing), though it has good weight and its large size, I do wish to see a slimmer profile for a better fit. To sit inside the ear comfortably.
Next will be its 2-pin connectors, in the iem market especially Ciem market, most are using Westone 2-pin connector. And for demoing such aftermarket cables with a wide range of prices from multiple brands, they come in Westone 2-pin for auditioning. It will be great to pair the RE2000 if it has a female -pin connector to unleash and improve its sound with a great pairing cable.
Last will be a wider range of silicone tips' sizes to enable a better seal to play around with.

This is my opinion and end of review.
Thank you.
Pros: Lush, organic, non-fatiguing signature - Outstanding detail and clarity - Great presentation
Cons: Underwhelming cable - Tip selection could be expanded upon
Greetings Head-fi!

Today we are going to be checking out HiFiMan's new in-ear flagship, the RE2000.

What is a flagship product to me? It's a showcase of the best a brand has to offer and sets my expectations of what to look for from them in the future, be that in terms of design language, materials, and/or technology. The RE2000 and it's little brother, the RE800, both utilize HiFiMan CEO Dr. Fang Bian's new topology diaphragms. This tech involves the application of a special nano-coating to the diaphragms. By adjusting the layout, thickness, pattern, etc. a desired tune can be achieved.

This is a driver technology I would like to see work it's way down to more affordable members of the HiFiMan lineup. The concept behind it is quite intriguing and the examples I've heard make for two of the best portable audio experiences I've had to date so let's dive in and take a closer look at the RE2000 to find out why I hold it in such high regard.

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Disclaimer:

I would like to thank Mark with HiFiMan for sending over the RE2000 for the purposes of review. I'm not entirely clear yet on whether it needs to go back to HiFiMan after the review is up. The thoughts within this review are mine and mine alone, and do not represent HiFiMan or any other entity. There is no financial incentive for writing this review.

At the time of this writing, the RE2000 retailed for 2,000 USD: http://store.hifiman.com/index.php/re2000-in-ear-monitor-universal-fit.html

I'm a 30 year old professional working for what is currently the largest luxury hotel chain on the planet. I have a background in Psychology which probably explains my somewhat dry writing style. My entry into the world of portable audio was due primarily to a lack of space for a full-sized stereo system during my university years, and truly began with the venerable JVC HA-FXT90. After reading pretty much the entirety of IjokerI's multi-earphone review thread, reviews from other established writers, and thus being greatly inspired, I took a chance and started writing my own.

Fast forward a couple years and I'm thankful to have had the opportunity to write about products for wonderful companies like HiFiMan, RHA, Accutone, ADVANCED, NarMoo, Mixcder, Brainwavz, Meze, and many more. I don't do it for money or free stuff, but because this is my hobby and I enjoy it. If my reviews can help guide someone to a product that makes them happy, I'll consider that a job well done and payment enough.

Gear used for testing was a Shanling M1, HIFI E.T. MA8, HiFiMan MegaMini, and my TEAC HA-501 desktop headphone amp. I listen primarily to various EDM sub-genres (liquid drum and bass, breakbeat, drumstep, etc.), hip hop, and classic rock. While I enjoy a variety of signatures I generally lean towards slightly warm with elevated treble and sub-bass, an even mid-range response, and reduced mid-bass. Lately I've been enjoying more mellow and relaxed products with a bass tilt. Two of my favorite in-ears, the Echobox Finder X1 with grey filters installed and the Fischer Audio Dubliz Enhanced are good examples of my preferred signatures.

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Packaging and Accessories:

Given the RE2000's MSRP, it seems reasonable to expect a premium and luxurious unboxing experience. HiFiMan didn't disappoint. As with the RE800, things start of with a cardboard sheath showing off the design and specifications of the RE2000, along with a statement notifying you've got the 24k Gold Edition that has been 'electroplated with a fine 24k gold finish.'

Sliding off the sheath reveals a large, faux-leather clad case that greatly reminds me of a high quality watch or jewelry box. The HiFiMan and RE2000 branding embossed on a recessed, aluminum or alloy plate on the top of the case really adds to the high-end feel. So do the polished metal hinges and clasp at the front sealing it's contents safely inside.

Opening the lid reveals a jet black, metal puck which houses the RE2000's earpieces in a foam inlay, along with two smaller cardboard boxes on either side that contain the cable and most of the accessories. Lifting out the inlay unveils a gorgeous Owner's Guide and some additional accessories, along with warranty and QC cards, and social media information. All-in you are provided;

- RE2000 earphones
- cable
- replacement pins to repair the included cable or make your own
- 1 pair Comply T400 Large
- 1 pair Comply T400 Medium
- 1 pair grey bi-flange silicone tips (pre-installed)
- 1 pair black bi-flange silicone tips (medium bore)
- 1 pair black single flange silicone tips (wide bore)
- 2 pair tri-flange silicone tips (medium/large)
- 1 pair of stiff, silicone ear guides
- warranty card
- social media info card
- soft cover Owner's Guide

I appreciate the variety of tip styles included because as with any earphone, a good seal will have a significant impact on your enjoyment of the product. I also found the RE2000 reasonably sensitive to bore size and insertion depth, and the various styles of tips allow you to play around with this. A nice addition to fully flush out the package would be the inclusion of the bi-flange tips in more than just the one size.

Overall this was a very enjoyable unboxing experience that mostly matched my expectations of what to expect from a product of this caliber.

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Build, Comfort, and Isolation:

Brass, gold, and plastic. That pretty much sums up the composition of the RE2000. The primary encasement for the shell is 24k gold-plated brass with a plastic face upon which the HiFiMan logo is printed. The cable plugs into a plastic protrusion sticking out the top. Despite the materials and sheer size of the RE2000 (similar to Bluetooth earpieces that contain all the electronics), it still somehow ends up being quite light and while this doesn't lend to an overly premium feel, it certainly doesn't come across as cheap.

I think the design could be a bit more elegant though. First, the HiFiMan logo should be pressed into the plastic. Being a print I suspect it'll wear off over time as most prints tend to do upon interacting with oils on your skin. Second, the protrusion that the cable plugs into simply looks out of place; almost an afterthought. When you're looking at the RE2000 side on while it's in your ear it looks fine, but from any other angle this protrusion looks a touch awkward. Thankfully the placement doesn't hinder ergonomics.

My initial impressions expressed some concerns about the cable. While I like it more now than I did, many of the same qualms exist. The issue is not regarding quality as the cable is clearly made of premium materials. It uses silver-coated, crystalline copper wire. The sheath is very thick with a meaty rubber below the y-split that doesn't transmit much noise at all. While it has retained some bends from being wrapped up in the package, those are much less prominent than they were and new bends are heavily resisted. The y-split and chin slider feel like they're using the same gold-plated brass found on the earpieces so the visual and tactile appeal is definitely there. The bulky 90 degree angled jack found on the RE800 carries over to the flagship which I consider a big plus. Though, as pointed out in Currawong's review it can be user disassembled. Upon doing so you find the use of electrical tape; not the most premium of materials. Removing it, you see that everything underneath is professionally soldered and that the tape is simply acting as a shield for the metal outer sheath.

My concerns mainly come from the cable above the y-split where it thins out considerably and there is a complete lack of effective strain relief. While the cable below the y-split is thick enough to support itself, above where it leads into the plugs it cannot so when it bends it flattens out. While only time will tell, that area certainly looks like a clear failure point and one which could be easily absolved with either some decent strain relief or a thicker gauge of wire. Using the included ear guides should help extend the life of the cable.

Despite the RE2000's size and unique shape, I found it quite ergonomic and that it rested in my ear with very little drama. After about an hour or so of use the rear edge of the housing, which tapers into a fairly pronounced point, would cause some mild comfort. Either a quick break or a slight shift in position was enough to resolve that.

Given the RE2000's shallow fit, I found isolation to be below average. For me this isn't an issue since this is not the sort of product I'd be using outside the house. For those that feel otherwise and will be using them in noisy environments, I suggest tossing on the Comply tips which increase isolation considerably.

Overall the RE2000 is fairly well-built with a comfortable, though somewhat unconventional yet interesting design. Isolation could be better, but that's what the included foams are for.

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Specifications:

Frequency Response: 5Hz-20kHz
Impedance: 60Ω
Sensitivity: 103dB

Sound:

Source/Amping: Despite their relatively high impedance and low sensitivity, I didn't find the RE2000 to be a particularly difficult earphone to drive. Everything I tried, from a lowly LG G5 to my TEAC HA-501 desktop amp, could easily drive it to blistering volumes. That said, a cleaner more powerful source showed clear benefits making the RE2000 sound more open, punchy, and dynamic.

While I may not have the same experience with flagship products as other reviewers, those few I have had the opportunity to listen to have all offered their own unique and varied experiences. The RHA CL1 Ceramic was a vibrant treble heavy thing that redefined what I consider 'bright'. While I enjoyed it in short bursts, it offered a distinctly intense experience for better or worse. The Accutone Pisces BA with it's hybrid setup offered up a large sound that was bright and bassy, yet surprisingly easy to listen to over long periods. The RE2000 continues this trend, with it's solo dynamic driver setup drawing me in with a smooth, warm, balanced sound that works well with everything I throw at it. It's proven to be a jack-of-all-trades.

I hear the RE2000's treble as neither exaggerated nor recessed. The transition from upper to lower treble seems smooth and free of any peaks, unlike that of the RE800 which has a fairly extensive 7k peak that can cause irritation in sensitive listeners. On tracks that have a tendency to highlight and exaggerate uncomfortable treble qualities, such as 'Bluestep' by Gramatik and especially 'Grace (feat. LeAnn Rimes)' by The Crystal Method (unlistenable through the CL1 Ceramic), the RE2000 presents them like a champ giving the tracks the energy they need without becoming overbearing. On the other hand, there are some tracks where the RE2000's presentation fail to bring the energy required, such as on The Alan Parsons Project's 'The Voice' and 'Nucleus'. They come across somewhat lethargic with effects simply lacking the dynamics they need to carry your attention.

Moving into the mid-range highlights how emotional and organic the RE2000 can be. Vocals are powerful and prominent. Listening to Jidenna on 'Long Live the Chief' is an awesome experience as the RE2000 fully carries the swagger and confidence of his performance. The same can be said for Sarah Barthel's intimate and sexually charged vocals on 'Run for Your Life' by Big Grams. I especially enjoy how the RE2000 portrays the playful interaction between Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney on 'The Girl is Mine'. It was pretty clear they were having a ball recording this track, a truth I found out only after writing down my listening notes. Instruments simply sound right too, especially electric guitars which are awesomely textured. Listening to one of my favorite guitar solos, 'Maggot Brain' by Funkadelic, was an experience and a half. Hearing it through the RE2000 gave me shivers, the same as those experienced the first time this song graced my ears. That doesn't happen to me very often. The detail the RE2000 pulls out also brought forward some very subtle instrumentation in the background that I had not noticed during past listening sessions. Truly awesome.

The RE2000 doesn't disappoint when it comes to the low end either. It's bass is given some slight emphasis without overpowering the other frequencies. It hits you hard and fast with an ample, full presence that isn't overly aggressive meaning I found it quite versatile. Whether I was listening to a random jazz mix, Skrillex's energetic 'Ragga Bomb', or Aesop Rock and Rob Sonic spitting fire over Hail Mary Mallon's 'Smock' the RE2000's low end presentation simply felt right.

The same can be said about the RE2000's oddly spacious sound stage. Other earphones like the Dunu Titan 1 with it's semi-open design sound pretty deep but lack width. JVC's awesome micro-driver units generally have excellent width, but funnel that sound into a fairly defined tunnel. The RE2000 sounds more like a full-sized headphone or ear bud to me as it lacks that distinctive in-ear presence most iems have. It's imaging, layering and separation is second to none as well, with a nice black background and zero congestion. Ever.

Overall there isn't much I can fault the RE2000 for in terms of the way it sounds. As someone that generally prefers a more treble prominent signature such as that found on the RE800, the RE2000 can come across a little tame leaving me wanting for a touch more sparkle and shimmer. Even so, that preference rarely came into play as a negative allowing the RE2000 great versatility across genres and with different forms of media. It sounds every bit the flagship it is and of those I've tried, is the only one missing what I could point fingers at as a definitive flaw. You need to give them a listen if you get the chance. They sound absolutely gorgeous.

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Select Comparisons:

Edit: As mentioned, this is my first experience with a product in this price bracket and I do not have like products to compare with. These comparisons are meant more to represent those moving from mid-tier to TOTL, than for those who already have ample experience with TOTL earphones.

Accutone Pisces BA (389.00 USD): The Pisces BA's build quality is fine, but it's materials are underwhelming at best. On the entry level single dynamic Pisces it's acceptable, but it just doesn't scale up well. Beside the RE2000 it's even less impressive, especially the cable.

In terms of sound the Pisces BA is much brighter and more sparkly. Treble lacks the control and evenness of the RE2000, though is about on par with detail retrieval. The Pisces BA's mid-range lacks the organic smoothness of the RE2000 with occasional hints of sibilance that the HiFiMan doesn't have. Both earphones are similarly bassy with the RE2000 showing greater control and a more even balance between mid- and sub-bass. The Pisces BA is a good listen, but the RE2000 is much more refined across the board.

FLC 8S (~350 USD): The 8S is more or less infamous at this point given it's extensive tuning system and bang-for-your-buck performance. Despite having 36 tuning options at my disposal, I couldn't really get it to sound like the RE2000. Volume matching the best I could (FLC is much easier to drive), I settled on Gunmetal/Red/Black as the closest setup to my ears.

The RE2000 has a much thicker, heavier presentation than the FLC 8S, especially in the mid-bass. Even though the FLC 8S has a nice sound stage, compared to the RE2000 I found it more forward and confined with an intimate mid-range that really stuck out, even with a tune that pulled back the mids. I also found it to be more raw and textured. The FLC 8S is more RE800 than RE2000.

RE800 (699.00 USD): The RE800 and RE2000 share a few traits; their cables, 24k gold-plated, brass housings, and the use of topology diaphragm technology. While this cable feels a little underwhelming on the RE2000, on the much smaller, lighter RE800 it feels right at home though I still lament the lack of proper strain relief.

While the RE800 is thinner, brighter, less bassy, and more airy in it's presentation, the two certainly sound like they come from the same family. Overall detail retrieval and clarity is quite similar with the RE800's presentation making these qualities more prominent. The RE2000 sounds slightly larger and more open with better low end extension. Both are fantastic with their respective signature and I'd give the RE2000 the performance crown, but I prefer the RE800's more energetic sound.

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Final Thoughts:

If I were in the position to drop 2,000 USD on a flagship earphone, value wouldn't be up there on my list of priorities. I'd be looking for something with unique qualities and top tier sound. After spending over a month with the RE2000, I think it has the qualities necessary to warrant it's flagship status. It's stellar sounding topology driver tech, gold-plating for the sake of opulence, and interesting design are all eye- and ear-catching features that make it stand out.

Some refinements could be made to the design and cable and I would like to see the accessory kit fleshed out a bit more, but these observations are minor in the wake of listening to the RE2000 and it's warm, natural sound.

A huge thanks again to HiFiMan and Mark for allowing me to review the RE2000. It has been an amazing experience. And thanks to you for reading!

- B9Scrambler

***** ***** ***** ***** *****​
Some Test Tunes:

Aesop Rock - Skelethon (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)
Pros: Sound quality is outstanding. Spacious sound for a pair of IEMs. Good cable.
Cons: Tuning not suited too all kinds of music. Included tri-flange tips reduce sound quality. Minor build imperfections.

A few years ago I remember that the big deal about HiFiMan IEMs was their low price. It was hard to argue with good sound for $99, so it is something of a surprise to end up reviewing the gold-plated HiFiMan RE2000 flagship.

While another entry into the category of high-end IEMs at the $2000 mark may not be a surprise, the announcement of the price generated some skepticism, as there had been issues with the build quality of their flagship components in the past, most noticeably the original HE1000, which was re-released after only a year with considerable improvements to both the design and the sound quality.

HiFiMan were obviously keen to see some reviews out there, and encouraged me to review a trio of their products, including the Susvara and RE800. While I was somewhat skeptical of the potential performance of each, the RE2000 has turned out be surprisingly good, even if there are some caveats. But that is jumping head. Let's start with what's in the box.

The RE2000 comes inside a small version of the type of case they use for their full-sized headphones, such as the Edition X, the cable inside one small box and the eartips in another, either side of a round, pop-open aluminium case similar to what Ultimate Ears provides.

Included is a good, if slightly unusual range of tips. The stock tips that come with the RE2000 are a pair of medium grey bi-flange tips, the flanges very close together. A duplicate pair of these are also included. In addition to those, are pairs of medium single-flange tips with a wider bore, and small/medium and medium/large tri-flange tips. Given my past experience of dynamic driver IEMs such as the Dita Truth and Campfire Audio Vega IEMs being somewhat tune-able with different tips that have varying bore widths, this selection is significant.

HiFiMan RE2000 Box contents.png

The included cable is 135cm (53 inches) and is rubber coated with a quite large, right-angled 3.5mm plug. The splitter and choker are both metal and quite attractive. The choker slides easily, maybe a little too much so but did stay in place while I was listening, which didn't usually involve movement. The 3.5mm plug unscrewed easily, revealing electrical tape around the wires, which detracted a bit from the perception of quality, but would make it easy to re-terminate should one desire.

On the IEM end, the configuration is a standard 2-pin one, with the front-most pin positive. Unusually a spare pair of IEM plugs is included, suggesting that you can make (or repair, or have made) your own cable with them. The plugs attach to the IEMs themselves quite securely, which was quite pleasing after having almost lost IEMs that use the 2-pin connector.

The included round carrying case contains a foam insert where the IEMs are stored in the box initially. Removed, it makes for an easy method for carrying them.

Also included is a pair of quite easily attached cable guides that help the quite rubbery cable sit around your ears.

HiFiMan RE2000 Ear hook.png
A guide attached to the cable of one of the earphones.

The significant technology in the RE2000 is what HiFiMan calls a "Topolgy Diaphragm" which uses a nano-partical coating to create the ideal performance characteristics. It is based upon Fang Bian's PHD thesis study and aims to reduce diaphragm distortion with these coatings.

Visually the RE2000 is striking, with a gold-plated brass body. Up close the fit and finish is not quite as perfect as, say, a Campfire Audio IEM, but this didn't bother me as much as it has some people online. Achieving fit was a bit usual at first. The IEMs themselves are not labelled left and right, but I quickly managed to figure out which was which if I wanted the wire to go up and around my ears. They can also be worn with the cable pointing down by swapping them and inserting them the other way up. For my listening I wore them with the wire around the ear.

Initially I tried the cable guides which took me a few minutes to figure out how to orient. The wires are inserted into the slot running along one side of the guides and then you insert the IEMs and hook them around your ears. This turned out to be more fiddly, especially as the wire would come partially out of the guide most of the times I removed them from my ears, though If I was to be wearing them for a long period and might want to pop one out without having it fall down, I might try using them again. In the end, I just used the choker to hold them in place, which was comfortable enough.

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Once I got to actual listening things turned out somewhat differently to my experiences with other IEMs. For starters, the default bi-flange tips were, thankfully as it turned out for me, the best option sonically.

The sound with the stock tips is V-shaped to a degree, with the bass a bit strong, mids recessed, and a sharp peak in the treble. Not surprisingly, as the stock tips have a narrow bore, the included wider-bore single-flange tips drop the bass down a fair degree. The sound with the bi-flange tips then, not surprisingly, works best with acoustic music, especially classical, and less so where the mid-range is more of a priority. With brighter, modern music, especially that which has been compressed, the treble comes across as too bright.

With the single or bi-flange tips, however, the RE2000s are detailed and cohesive. While they will, with their 60 Ohm impedance, work out of even my iPhone 6, they shine with a good DAP, and especially with something like Chord's Hugo 2 where acoustic music was magnificent, the spaciousness of the Hugo 2's presentation a nice balance against the strong bass of the RE2000s.

The tri-flange tips, however, were another matter. Whereas the sound with the bi-flange tips was excellent, I felt that the tri-flange tips ruined the treble, as well as the tonal balance, dropping the sound quality significantly. This is not so surprising, as I've observed from as far back as a decade ago that long-bore tips can ruin the treble quality of IEMs, producing unpleasant harshness, as was the case here.

Unfortunately my favourite JVC Spiral Dot tips made the sound equally unpleasant as well. Given that they are very wide-bore, this tipped the sound far too much towards the treble.

This is going to mean that if you don't take medium-size tips as I do, to get the best sound quality you may have to find a suitable pair of narrow-bore tips, such as the blue-base ones that come with the Dita IEMs. Fans of SpinFit tips will be happy to know that they work well with the RE2000s.

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A very overkill portable rig, albeit one that sounded fantastic with the RE2000: Chord Hugo 2 with an Astell&Kern AK380 as the transport via a Sysconcepts optical cable.

Being 60 Ohms, the RE2000 drove easily out of everything, from my iPhone to large tube amps like the Audiovalve Solaris (which conveniently arrived around the time HiFiMan asked me to review the RE2000 and Susvara, the latter of which needs power).

Out of my iPhone, the RE2000 didn't have the bass punch or detail that I could get out of the AK380 or Hugo 2. The difference wasn't trivial in the least. Though I don't feel that they sounded as lacklustre as the Campfire Vegas did out of my iPhone, I would still class them as a pair of IEMs for someone who has, or is going to buy, serious hardware to use with them.

Compared to the Campfire Vega, which is my standard for dynamic driver IEMs at present, the RE2000 is balanced very differently. The Vega has a thundering, boosted bass and is dark overall, encouraging the use of wide-bore tips, such as the JVC Spiral Dots to bring out the treble.

The RE2000 seems to be capable of a more delicate, and less IEM-like treble than the already excellent Vega.

Music

Mark Colby Quartet in DSD256 from High Definition Tape Transfers

This is where the RE2000 is most in its element, the dynamic driver delivering each note of the cello with great punch at the beginning of Our Spanish Love Song. Being a typical "classic" jazz recording, the treble of the RE2000 is a spot-on match. Despite being in-ear monitors, there is a sense of space in the music, the clarinet not being so up-front.

The Air That I Breath (Remastered) - K.D. Lang - Recollection

This brighter, more modern and less than stellar recording has a slightly unpleasant treble that is only emphasised by the RE2000. This is where darker IEMs like the Vegas are a better match.

The Way You Dream - Michael Stripe - 1 Giant Leap

Another example of a modern, mixed recording where a flatter response with more forward vocals would work better. The distortion introduced by the mixing progress is as noticeable as the vocals themselves.

The Eternal Vow (From "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon") - Yo-Yo Ma - Martial Arts Trilogy

Where space and delicacy are most desired, such as in this work from the famous cellist, the RE2000 does wonders. Part of me sometimes would prefer not to have the recessed mid-range and artificial sense of space, even with this music, as it encourages me to turn the volume up to push the mid-range forward.

Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts 1-5) - Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here

This almost operatic pop song, being an older recording that is a bit more mid-forward it works very nicely with the RE2000.

Conclusion

The driver nano-coating technology used in the RE2000 was derived from Fang Bian's PHD thesis work, intended to find a way to reduce the distortion during the movement of the diaphragm inside the driver, and at least sonically, he seems to have succeeded greatly.

The RE2000 is capable of delivering a fantastic listening experience with a degree of clarity that makes it a worthy flagship. However it has a tonal balance that works best with more old-school acoustic recordings and less well with brighter, modern recordings.

If you're a mostly classical or acoustic listener, take medium-sized tips, you like the idea of a wide (perceived) soundstage, have high-end equipment, and can overlook the minor imperfections in the design, you will find these IEMs to be excellent.
HiFiMan_RE2000-D75_7871_.jpg HiFiMan_RE2000-D75_7860_.jpg HiFiMan_RE2000-D75_7866_.jpg HiFiMan_RE2000-D75_7870_.jpg HiFiMan_RE2000-D75_7853_.jpg

Attachments

Pros: Rich, musical and lush without compromising on technical ability
Cons: Expensive, wider than deep
Disclaimer: This unit was sent to me by hifiman for the purpose of this review. I am otherwise in no way related to Hifiman.


I’ve always been a huge fan of dynamic drivers. Anyone who has read some of my older reviews, or who knows me in person would quickly come to realise that. My first pair of high end earphones was a dynamic driver IEM, and till this day some of my favourite IEMs are dynamics. It’s not that BAs aren’t good, because they are in their own way, and many BA IEMs can more than hold their weight in a fight. There’s just something about a good dynamic that gives it a sense of realism and weight, something I’ve come to love.


My experience with Hifiman didn’t start off all too well. A few years ago, when I was looking for ‘cheap and good’ pair of earphones, the RE-400 was a name that commonly came up. I had a listen and while it did some things good for an earphone of that price, it just wasn’t my thing. I tried a couple of the older HE series headphones too, and again, they didn’t quite gel with me.


The turning point came when the HE-1000 was released. I remember the scepticism the market had towards the HE-1000. People complained about build quality issues, QC issues, people were sceptical about how good the HE-1000 wound sound. Naturally, I too had my doubts. It just so happened that the first time I heard it, I had the opportunity to hear it beside the Stax SR-009, and the moment I heard it, I knew that Hifiman was on to something. There was just something about the HE-1000, it ticked all the boxes for me. An organic, natural tone, an immense, well layered soundstage, incredible dynamics and transparency. On top of that it had this hugely authoritative and visceral presence, something that at that point I had yet to find in a headphone.


When the RE-2000 was announced, there was once again a lot of doubt on how good it could be. After all, everyone was taken aback by the price. The RE-2000 is not a cheap earphone. People questioned everything, from the sound to the build quality. Now here’s the thing. Very often, people do this thing where they question the quality of a product simply because of the price, before they’ve even seen or touched a product, or in this case, heard it. I won’t give away too much at this point, but I don’t think anyone who has paid for the RE-2000 will feel like they’ve burnt a whole through their wallet for a cheap, inferior product.


Packaging and accessories

The RE-2000 comes in a really luxurious packaging. Similar to many of the higher end Hifiman products, it comes in this large, solid chest with foam inserts on the inside. It’s a little on the big side, a little bulky, and possibly a tad over the top, but no one can complain that they aren’t getting a quality packaging befitting of a top end product.



The RE-2000 comes with a neat selection of double flanged to triple flanged tips. It’s not the widest selection, but they fit well, and sound good. They also come with comply foams as well as removable ear guides. I’m not a fan of complys so I generally avoid them. I also prefer using them without the ear hooks, but this is subjective.


The Earphones come inside a metal hifiman tin with a matt black finish. It’s a really nice casing that’s very thoughtfully designed, there are rubber/silicone inserts on the inside as well as a nylon fabric netting layer to ensure that the IEMs never come into contact with the bare metal surface, allowing one to use them without having to worry about the IEMs getting scuffed up.

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Build quality, ergonomics and design

Truth be told, I’m not the biggest fan of the looks of the RE-2000. I prefer the sleeker, more curvaceous design of the RE-800. The RE-2000 is a rather chunky design of black and gold with the Hifiman logo plastered over its faceplate.


Yet, it would be untrue to suggest that the RE-2000 isn’t extremely well built. The RE-2000 has smooth, clean cut edges, its brass housing giving a sense of solidness and weight, and coupled with the matt, gold plated finish, really gives that sense of quality you would come to expect from a top of the line product. While there might be many complaints about the build quality of the Hifiman headphones, I think most of us would be pretty satisfied with the RE-2000 in this regard.


The RE-2000 is a little on the chunky side. Personally, I don’t really have many issues with the fit. Despite its lego block like shape, the inner surface is curved very generously to give it a good, close fit for me. I know some people who have an issue with the chunky shape of the RE-2000, but i suspect that it should be good for most ears.

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The Re-2000 has rather shallow fit. This means that while it is very comfortable, it’s not the best isolating earphone. Sure it’s not open like the Ocharaku’s or the Sony EX-1000, but isolation isn’t its strongest suit.


The cables are very supple above the Y split. Below the Y split however, the cable can be a tad on the stiffer side. That said, it’s very thick and durable, something I do find myself appreciating.


Sound quality

Now this is the part of the review that I usually skip to, so for all you readers out there that are only interested in the sound, this is the part you would want to read.


The RE-2000 is a very musical, lush earphone. It still lies in the range of what I would call a balanced sounding earphone, but it is otherwise smooth, rich, and all so alluring. Technically, it belongs among the very best of earphones. While it isn’t necessarily the most analytical earphone, it nevertheless remains an extremely resolving, transparent earphone.


The stage of the RE-2000 is presented very wide. Even among the flagship monitors I’ve heard, the RE-2000 has one of the wider soundstages. This creates a very nice sense of space. The stage is wider than is deep, and thus, despite the open stage, the RE-2000 has a very forward sound. This creates a very nice, intimate, yet open feel. Almost like having the singer singing right to you, all while having the different instruments thrown out across the space. That said, a forward sound isn’t a sound lacking in depth. Despite having a very forward placement of its sound, you can clearly hear how the space extends further back, and this allows for a very forward, yet well layered, non-congested sound.


The RE-2000 has a deep, thunderous, and accentuated bass. It has a very present, rumbling sub bass that really gives a deep presence to the music. In terms of the quality of the bass, it has a slight bloom to it. It isn’t the tightest, fastest bass you’ll hear. Instead, it has a slightly more relaxed feel to it. It often takes its time, yet slams hard and powerful when called for. Coupled with the fantastic sense of staging, it really adds to that sense of space, where the bass gradually permeates and fills the room. If you’re looking for something with an amazing sub bass rumble, the RE-2000 is an IEM that you must not miss.


For all its merit in the bass department, the midrange of the RE-2000 is where the real magic lies. Remember how I said it was lush and musical? Well the RE-2000’s midrange is that, yet so much more. Very often, lushness and richness comes at a cost, transparency and precision. With the RE-2000, despite the lushness and the richness in its midrange, it remains ever so transparent, resolving, and detailed. Vocal and instrumental textures are reproduced with ease, and the space around each and every sound is well demarcated. Remember how I mentioned the forward nature of the sound, especially the vocals? Well, combined with the richness in the midrange, the RE-2000 delivers a mouth-watering, delicious vocal presentation. It’s one of my go to IEMs for acoustic, vocal tracks.


The Upper registers of the RE-2000 is likely to be where it gets a little more polarising. The treble of the RE-2000 is supremely smooth and gentle. It’s well extended nonetheless, and will give you most of the sparkle that’s supposed to be there. The advantage is that on all but the most nasty, peaky recordings, the RE-2000 creates a very smooth, gentle, and enjoyable listening experience. The flip side of this is that the RE-2000 isn’t going to give you that incredible amount of air and pinpoint staging and precision you might expect in a reference tuned monitor. Anyone looking for that incredible amount of air or sparkle, the RE-2000 might not be so good for you.


This all comes together to create an IEM which I feel, has a very special place among the flagship monitors currently in the market. While there are other options for a rich and musical flagship IEM, none of them do it quite as artfully as the RE-2000. The RE-2000 has, despite its forward and lush character, a very relaxed, polite character to it. This creates an almost perfect sound signature for one to just sit back in a plush chair, relax, and enjoy the music.


As you probably can tell, the RE-2000 is an IEM with quite a strong character, and as such, it isn’t going to be for everyone, Anyone looking for a super agile, quick, dynamic sound, anyone looking for a reference tuning with ultra sharp pinpoint imaging and an unprecedented amount of upper end airiness, the RE-2000 wouldn’t cut it for you. The RE-2000 just isn’t designed to play in such a field. If, however, whatever I’ve previously described appears to be what you’re looking for in an IEM, then you must give the RE-2000 some serious consideration. After all, there is no IEM I’ve heard that does this musical, lush sound better to my ears, and I daresay that in that aspect, the RE-2000 is clearly ahead of the pack.
Pros: Great Bass, Vocals, Defined Layering, Lightweight, Premium Box, Very good sibilance characteristic
Cons: Treble not the most exciting, Sound Stage isn't as wide, Cables didn't feel as premium
Master of Some: RE2000

Re2000.jpg

Thanks to AVOne and HIFMAN for the review set RE2000.

Summary:
The RE2000 is a fantastic earphone, worthy of it's price tag and definitely a competent earphone of its price range. A little harder to drive, it benefits from amplification and delivers a unique vocal and lows experience. With a relatively wide soundstage and thick sound, it's really for those that enjoy vocals and tracks that's heavy on bass. The low sibilance nature is also a great choice for listeners of modern pop music.

The RE2000 is a dynamic driver IEM designed by HIFMAN. In recent years they really dabbled in many interesting things, and the RE2000 is definitely a new take on high end dynamic IEMs.

I had the RE2000 for approximately 3 weeks. Listened to them intensively for a week, put them down for one and pick it up again to ensure what I was hearing was not just a "new toy" effect.

Re2000 3.jpg

The first thing that blew me away is the packaging, luxury is the word for it. It looks great and really well presented. Opening up you get to see everything well placed and in a display worthy of its price tag.

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HIFIMan packed quite some items within the package, a pair of cables, a few tips and some spare connectors. On general, it came with the things you need to experience the earphone on the get go.

Even though the package was striking, I find the cable on the other hand lacked the same experience, really thin and felt a little cheap. A nice thin braided cable would have definitely been a better impression. The earpiece themselves are pretty decent. It comes in gold (not my fav color for IEM) and has a metal shell with a plastic side. Initially I felt it was rather cheap looking and because of its light weighted feeling, it really didnt carry the premium feel for a metal build earphone. I did appreciate it later as the fit was great and it doesnt pop out due to its own weight.

Now we reach the more important part of the review: Sound Quality!

Re2000 1.jpg

For this review the following items were used:

Player:
Supermini
Sony ZX2

Amp/Dac:
Hugo TT

Other earphones:
KSE1500

Tracks used:

Nier Automata Sound Track
Final Fantasy Distant Worlds
Adele 25
Suara DSD Series of Special Recordings

The RE2000 benefits from amplication. Running is straight off either player without an amp really didnt do it justice. Plugging it into the HugoTT really improved it, with great emphasis on its strong points as written above in my summary.

The RE2000 from the get GO has a really interesting rendition of vocals. Its separated, focused, thick (in relation to KSE1500). This made it a total hit with female vocals that carry power such as Adele. In comparison with the KSE1500, its not as airy and light, which in my opinion wont be as good for Japanese Female vocals and its apparent in tracks such as powder snow by Suara. Overall though, it's a matter of preference but for most that appreciate vocals and have a decent amplifier, the RE2000 may actually be slightly better.

On initial listening, what captured my attention upfront is the bass. It goes deeper and slams harder then the KSE1500. It may not have the same tightness as the KSE1500, but I will say in this case, it's definitely better than the KSE1500 if you appreciate bass on any level. The best part of the RE2000 is that the bass dont seem to bleed into other frequency, which means even on bass heavy track, it doesn't overpower the other frequencies nor affect their quality. A huge plus to me as I find multi driver iems don't seem to sound as great in such aspect. They are either too disjointed or too mushed up.

Some things have to give though with all this greatness, and if you ask me, treble is the one. It didn't have sparkle or zing that the KSE1500 holds or infact of other IEMS of BA nature. I'm not sure if it's a character of Dynamic Drivers as the Lyra from ALO gave me similar feeling. That said, no zing doesnt mean lost in details. Everything is well separated and all details are in placed. The sound tracks from Nier Automata and Final Fantasy Distant Worlds really carry proved that point well. Its just that if you are a treble lover, I probably can't recommend this to you as the flagship to get. In this regard the KSE1500 is ahead especially since its electrostatic nature actually brings it out extremely well.

Though not so great in treble, maybe because of it, I never experience any sibilance in all the tracks I tried. This is really great for todays modern music where mastering/recording of vocals is not the best and induces those peaks. Though it;s a silly to recommend a earphone of this caliber to listen to "not so well done" modern music, but hey we are here to enjoy whatever music we like and if it so happens that's your genre, the RE2000 gets 5/5 from me. In comparison I always felt most BA IEMS especially those from a very popular make seems to be susceptible to this.

Clarity and separation is quite good. In fact I think perceived separation, the RE2000 is better than the KSE1500 but the clarity to me is a no fight KSE1500 ground. The RE2000 has this layering that really separated the vocals lows and highs very well. This made the sound of instruments of different class easy to pick out.

The last part of the sound I will cover is how the soundstage felt. The RE2000 felt like the low and mids are grounded to the center with the rest of the sound radiating outwards all around. If explained on how it felt in like a hall: The RE2000 is like sitting next to a band, center in a midsize hall. The vocalist is upfront and close up. The overall atmosphere is warmer. Compared to the KSE1500, that is a slightly bigger hall, but you are a touch further from band and singer. A friend of my commented that the RE2000 had a soundstage that centers on the Vocalist and this gives a layer effect compared to the KSE1500 which is all around. Songs with instruments and vocalist such as Weight of the World and Answers from the soundtracks demonstrated this effect. If listening to full range orchestra, I will recommend the KSE1500 while if a vocalist is put in and there's more bass elements, I may actually recommend the RE2000 even though there's some lost in the size but you gain a more interesting placement and soundstage.

I end my review with what I said at the top: Fantastic Earphone, worthy of its tag and range. Great bass and Vocals and definitely a good choice if your genre includes modern pop songs. To me if you love the above, get it.

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On a final note, this earphone requires quite alot of volume and power. As earlier said, it benefits from decent amplification.
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Pros: fantastic layering and body, very high detail retrieval (especially for a dynamic driver in-ear), very precise imaging, large soundstage
Cons: accessories and build for the price, treble response (authenticity/realism) compared to other IEMs in the four-digit price range
Preamble:

Originally posted on my German audio review site, the "Kopfhörer-Lounge", here comes my review of HiFiMan's flagship in-ear, the RE2000, that definitely is a flagship but not without its own quirks.


Introduction:

HiFiMan was founded in 2005 by Dr. Fang Bian, however not under the name we know the company today, but as “Head-Direct”. In the beginning, it was not the high-end company that we know today and offered mainly budget products, but eventually directions and priorities, along with the name, changed, and HiFiMan as we know it today began to focus on higher-end gear.



While it is mainly the section of planar magnetic headphones HiFiMan is known for (I am an owner of the HE-400 myself and would have likely purchased the HE-6 to complement my Sennheiser HD 800 and Audeze LCD-X if it were still available in stores as a new product), HiFiMan has also manufactured several in-ears that were positively received by the community, such as the still very affordable RE-400 that is heading into a quite neutral tonal direction.

However the market doesn’t stop growing and the same goes for the development of new products in the hi-fi sector, and so HiFiMan is also introducing new models (some people might say they are doing this at a higher pace than they should), such as the RE2000 that is the company’s most recent in-ear flagship.

The RE2000 is a dynamic driver in-ear with one dynamic driver per side that has got a new diaphragm design, called “Topology Diaphragm” by HiFiMan. What this means is that it features nano-coating in a specific pattern, which can be used to fine-tune the sound waves and also increase the membrane stiffness according to HiFiMan. Whether this is a ground-breaking invention or offers just a small real-world advantage is up to you to decide.

HiFiMan’s RE2000 in-ear flagship is priced at US$2000, matching its model number, which did cause some jokes when it was first introduced. Surely this is rather a lot of cash for a single dynamic driver in-ear, making it more expensive than other flagship dynamic driver models from Beyerdynamic, Sennheiser, Dita or Campfire Audio, however these days with a summit-fi audio market where company flagships seem to be getting continuously more and more expensive, it is no real surprise or shock to see this number.


What the HiFiMan RE2000 sounds like and how it performs is to be found out in this review.


Full disclosure: I was approached by HiFiMan who wanted me to review the RE2000 that was sent to me at no additional cost as a sample. As with all of my reviews, I am not affiliated with the company in any way, am receiving no monetary compensation and was not given any directions or restrictions for my text.


Technical Specifications:

Price: US$2000
Frequency Response: 20 Hz – 20 kHz
Impedance: 60 Ohms
Sensitivity: 103 dB
Driver: 9.2 mm dynamic “Topology Diaphragm” driver
Cable: silver-coated crystalline copper wire
Earphone weight: 13.8 g
Cable weight: 23 g


Delivery Content:

For a high-priced in-ear, you would usually also expect an at least somewhat luxurious package and delivery content, and HiFiMan’s RE2000 does definitely not disappoint in this regard by even the slightest bit.



It arrives in a large, hinged and pleather-coated storage chest/box that, on the outside, somewhat reminds me of the one my Sennheiser HD 800 came with.

Inside, you can find the ear pieces in the centre, safely placed in a lightweight and transportable aluminium case with a black finish and a white HiFiMan logo on top, while the accessories such as the cable (that also comes with a set of spare 2-pin connectors which is hopefully not a bad sign) and ear tips are stored in separate cardboard boxes.



The selection of included ear tips is unfortunately quite poor, especially given the price. While one will find Comply Foam, single-flange, double-flange and triple-flange tips, they don’t come in more than one or two various sizes at max, which is a bit embarrassing for every in-ear that is not priced in the lower two-digit budget sector.



Silicone ear guides, a booklet and a warranty card can be found inside the large box, too.




Looks, Feels, Build Quality:

The RE2000 is HiFiMan’s first in-ear with detachable cables. Thankfully, they have decided to use the 2-pin standard instead of (rotating and non-locked) MMCX connectors.

The cable features a fairly large and angled 3.5 mm plug with gold-plated and aluminium elements. The gold-plating can also be found on the slim y-splitter with “HiFiMan” and “RE2000” labelling and the chin-slider.

The cable is a bit thicker than normal below the y-splitter but not by much. While it is nicely soft, it has also got a slightly sticky plus rubbery surface and lacks strain relief on some transitions. In addition, it doesn’t really appear like a cable that was made for a $2000 in-ear although besides that, it is admittedly somewhat nice for a non-braided/-twisted cable.

Fortunately though, it can be replaced with any cable of choice as long as it is using 2-pin connectors without a collar.



The shell’s inner half consists of brass that was electroplated with 24k gold. It is more matt than shiny and therefore not as intrusive.

While the surface is flawlessly built, the faceplate with the HiFiMan logo that would look quite a bit more premium if it was engraved or CNC-milled and the design honestly doesn’t have the appearance of a four-digit flagship in-ear.


Comfort, Isolation:

The RE2000 is not necessarily ergonomically shaped but not on the large side either – in fact, I would consider its size to be “medium”, with a good amount of in-ears having larger shells. Nonetheless, people with really small ears will likely get problems finding a good fit and seal, as well as people with ears that offer enough height but not enough width (since HiFiMan’s in-ear flagship is on the wider side). In addition, the RE2000’s shells are also on the bulkier side, but this will likely only cause problems with shallow ears.

Sort of a problem could be the short nozzles though, since in combination with the bulky shells, I can see them limiting the possibilities of a good angle and seal for some people.



As noted, the tip selection is quite poor, especially given the price. Almost all tips except for the large Comply Foam tips that I however don’t like much were too small for my ears, so what I had to do in order to get a seal was to trim down the large triple-flange silicone tips to just a large single-flange tip while maintaining the same length as the grey double-flange tips that came already installed on the in-ears. Measurements by the way proved that there was no tonal difference between the modified and grey tips and the modified ones (mainly due to the same length).



This way, I could find a good seal and have to say that I find the RE2000 to fit rather comfortably in my large ears.

The gold-plated brass shells are by the way no problem at all and don’t feel cold or unpleasant. The in-ears actually don’t feel much different from models with acrylic or plastic shells in one’s ears.

Just as it is the standard for most higher-priced and professional in-ears, the HiFiMan RE2000 is also intended to be worn with the cables around the ears which improves the fit, security and lowers microphonics (cable noise) that I can happily report to not exist.

Noise isolation doesn’t reach the best isolating in-ears’ standards but is fairly good and a bit better than average for a dynamic driver in-ear with a vent in the shells (precisely, it is in the 2-pin socket).

Sound:

Sources I used for critical listening were the iBasso DX200 (AMP2 module), Cowon Plenue 2 and my Chord Mojo-Leckerton Uha-6S.MKII stack.

For listening, I used the included large triple-flange tips that I trimmed down to large single-flange tips that have the same length as the grey tips that came already installed on the in-ears. Due to the same length, measurements indicated both to have the exact same frequency response.

- - -

Frequency response measurements can be found here.

Keep in mind though that I am not using a professional measurement coupler but a Vibro Labs Veritas coupler that was pseudo-calibrated to more or less match an IEC711 coupler’s response with applied diffuse-field compensation that is definitely not perfect at the current state and shows too little level around 3 and 6 kHz. But if you mentally visualise somewhat more level in those areas, the result will be fairly close.

Tonality:

So what does HiFiMan’s RE2000 dynamic driver in-ear flagship sound like?

Tonally, the RE2000 sounds fairly balanced, with just a slight “smiley face”/v-shaped/loudness tuning.

The bass isn’t emphasised by much but only around 6 dB compared to an in-ear that is diffuse-field flat in the lows, such as the Etymotic ER-4S/SR. Its bass emphasis and quantity is quite comparable to the InEar StageDiver SD-2 but with around 1 dB more in quantity when doing direct comparisons, along with some of the added impact of the dynamic driver that gives it a little more perceived weight wherefore it feels more impactful and energetic.

The bass extends very well into the sub-bass, with just a slight drop below 40 Hz, nonetheless with still very good presence that can be heard and also be felt here, so even though the sub-bass does not show more quantity than the midbass, it can have some nice rumble if the recording digs this low.

The bass emphasis somewhat blends into the lower midrange and higher root, making it gain some fullness, body and a touch of cosy and pleasant warmth. To my ears, the (lower) mids are therefore on the smoother and fuller side without appearing artificial or overly coloured.

Unlike most in-ears, the RE2000 doesn’t show any dip or recession in the area of the middle highs that’s usually responsible for some smoothness and a somewhat relaxed character or can also be used to prepare some headroom for peaks, but instead the HiFiMan has got an emphasis at 5 kHz, followed by another one around 11 kHz.

Due to the 5 kHz lift with no valley before it, vocals also gain a little countervailing air as a nice contrast to the pleasant warmth in the lower midrange. However, a bad side-effect of this is also that the highs do not appear as even as they could be and don’t convey the ultimately highest realism. Cymbals for example sound a bit “spread” and slightly artificial due to the 11 kHz emphasis (a bit as if they were played with brushes instead of sticks) and also gain some metallic character due to the 5 kHz elevation, along with trumpets that are slightly on the squeakier side. A result is also some slight sharpness/over-crispiness at times.

A good thing is however that there is not really much added sibilance in vocals.

At this price point, I really don’t want this to happen even if it is no drastic phenomenon. There are in-ears at lower prices that are less even and realistic in the highs, but there are also plenty models that are somewhat more linear and smoother up top. At $2000, I would expect a fairly smooth (as in even and linear) treble that conveys realism and doesn’t have a slightly artificial touch to cymbals and in general, even if it is rather mild.

Extension past 10 kHz is good though and subtle airiness in the super treble can be therefore also heard.

-

The tuning in the lows and midrange is good – instruments sound realistic and vocals are pleasant. Only people expecting a spot-on flat presentation might find drums to have a pinch too much body. Guitars sound very authentic and realistic, too.

The treble really isn’t that bad at all – but it is just not authentic enough for the price. A bit more fine-tuning to get the 5 kHz and 11 kHz emphasis down and make them flatter would have definitely been beneficial for some more treble linearity, naturalness and authenticity.

Resolution:

For an in-ear with a single dynamic driver per side, the RE2000’s performance and presentation is admittedly fairly impressive, detailed and precise even though it might not fully convince die-hard Balanced Armature lovers. To show how far high-end dynamic driver in-ears have come these days, the HiFiMan is a really good example nonetheless.

Coherence, not much surprisingly, is really good, but that is also what should be expected at this price point, no matter whether we’re talking about a hybrid, dynamic driver or multi-BA in-ear.

Speed with complex and really fast recordings is very good for a dynamic driver in-ear but not fully on the same level as with some really good multi-BA models.

Bass quality is very good – the RE2000 has got a fast and tight bottom-end reproduction with good details. Still, it has got a nice body and doesn’t deny its dynamic driver heritage despite the excellent control. Fast and complex bass lines and quick punches are no problem for this in-ear.

What is extremely nice is also the almost tactile and very well-layered texture in the lows that I have rarely heard with an in-ear. In this way, it somewhat reminds me of my Audeze LCD-X’s bass texture although the two are admittedly still different in terms of bottom-end presentation.

Positively striking is also the separation that is nothing but excellent in the highs, presenting a razor-sharp and spot-on separation of single notes in the highs. Decay feels neither too quick nor too fast. CSD plots back this up and don’t show any undesired ringing in the upper highs.

The midrange shines with good speech intelligibility and rendering of fine details as well – singers’ small variations can be heard precisely. Still, I have got the feeling like there could be slightly more details in the mids that feel just like “80 to 85%” to me compared to the rest.

- - -

As good and impressive as the RE2000 is as a high-end single dynamic driver in-ear, I ultimately have the feeling that the technical performance does not fully justify the asked price given similarly performing in-ears for half as much do exist. Sure, the bass quality and separation are very good, but then again this is nothing that some other high-end in-ears for somewhat less money can also achieve on the same or even slightly higher level.What really makes the RE2000 unique though is its low frequency texture that is nothing but splendid.

You can blame that on the law of diminishing returns, a price that was probably set too high, the recent development of the headphone and in-ear market or whatever you want.

Soundstage:

Just like the RE2000’s general tightness and separation, its soundstage is convincing as well.

The portrayed sound field is fairly large, leaving the base of my head to the size. It doesn’t reach the size of many open-back full-sized headphones though and is also spatially not as large as the now discontinued Ultimate Ears UE18 Pro.

There is overall a little more width than depth (the ratio is about 55% width to 45% depth to my ears), but the presentation is good and goes fairly deep wherefore layering is no problem and done quite precisely.

Placement and separation are done remarkably well and single instruments have their dedicated spot in the imaginary room without blending into each other. Therefore the imaging is plenty precise and the RE2000 also manages to portray some empty space around instruments.



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In Comparison with other In-Ears:

Ultimate Ears Reference Monitors (triple-BA; €1149):

The UERM are the more neutral in-ears out of the two with somewhat less bass quantity and less warmth in the lower midrange. The RE2000 has got the more impactful bass that, while just around 3 dB more present, is more energetic appearing.

The HiFiMan has got the slightly airier/brighter upper mids at the same time (the UERM are flatter and a bit more authentic here).

The RE2000 is a good bit more pronounced around 5 kHz where the UERM are a little recessed (when regarded by diffuse-field standards and when I’m listening to sine sweeps) wherefore the HiFiMan sounds a little more metallic and brighter here.

The UERMs’ only real criticism is that their 10 kHz area has got a rather narrow emphasis that can sound somewhat sharp and unnatural when certain notes hit it exactly. Then, but only then, the UERM also sound brighter than the RE2000, however their cymbals don’t appear as spread as the HiFiMan’s. Most of the time though, the UERM sound a bit more authentic in the highs (but are ultimately not perfect either in terms of treble realism – but then again cost only about half as much as the RE2000).

It is quite remarkable how close the RE2000 comes in terms of bass speed and tightness. The UERM decay slightly faster, but ultimately bottom-end control is on the same level. Due to the slightly slower decay, the HiFiMan has got that admittedly quite pleasant dynamic driver texture.

When it comes to midrange resolution, the UERM are a bit ahead and portray the somewhat superior speech intelligibility as well as minute detail retrieval.

Treble separation is almost a draw with the UERM separating single notes slightly sharper with busy and complex recordings. Treble resolution is comparable.

Playing fast and busy recordings, the UERM is somewhat ahead when it comes to control.

In terms of soundstage, the RE2000 has got the somewhat wider base as well as also a bit more spatial depth, therefore generating the more open appearing presentation. Borders around instruments appear slightly cleaner on the UERMs’ side with busier recordings though and their soundstage also scales better with the recording.

Sennheiser IE 800 (single dynamic driver; €699):

Compared to the tiny IE 800, the RE2000 appears quite large.

The IE 800 has got a more unique design in my opinion. The RE2000’s cable, while not perfect either and a bit sticky, is still better than the Sennheiser’s that doesn’t even have good strain relief on about any transition and is more microphonic.

Sound signature-wise, the IE 800 is tuned more for fun and has got the noticeably stronger v-shape, with a forward bass and especially sub-bass, the more sparkling and forward upper highs and a dip in the 5 kHz range to generate headroom for the upper treble emphasis.

The midrange tuning seems more natural on the IE 800 (the RE2000’s upper midrange is a little thin in comparison).

Cymbals sound splashier and brighter on the Sennheiser. On the HiFiMan, they unfortunately appear a bit more metallic due to the 5 kHz elevation though. The Sennheiser’s on the other hand are much splashier (definitely too splashy for some people).

When it comes to resolution, the IE 800 is already a quite capable single dynamic driver in-ear. The RE2000 however takes it to an even higher level and offers even a bit more tightness and speed in the lows, along with the more precise separation in the highs.

So the overall amount of details is even higher on the RE2000 that just sounds more precise.

The IE 800 has got the slightly wider soundstage to my ears, however it has got almost no spatial depth at all. The RE2000 on the other side offers some real spatial depth and layering.

Instrument separation is cleaner and more precise on the HiFiMan’s side, too – compared to it, the IE 800 even seems spatially a bit mushy.

Fidue SIRIUS (quintuple-hybrid (1x DD, 4x BA); $899):

When it comes to design, build and styling, the Fidue is quite a bit ahead in my opinion.

The SIRIUS’ shells are somewhat larger than the HiFiMan’s but not as bulky.

In my ears, the RE2000 is a little more comfortable than the SIRIUS that can cause problems due to its sharp corners and edges. Both in-ears have got a pretty short nozzle that I would wish was a bit longer.

The SIRIUS’ bass quantity will ultimately depend on how close its vents are to your ears. In my ears and with my ear anatomy, the RE2000 has got slightly more bass than the SIRIUS (about 1 dB) and the slightly more present sub-bass rumble. The HiFiMan’s lower mids are slightly fuller.

The RE2000 is brighter in the 5 kHz range where the Fidue is more in the background. The SIRIUS has got some more energy right before 10 kHz whereas the RE2000’s 11 kHz range is more pronounced. The Fidue’s highs sound overall smoother and definitely somewhat more realistic to me. In comparison, the RE2000 reproduces cymbals more spread, more metallic and with more sharpness and is generally a bit brighter overall in the treble.

The HiFiMan’s bass is a bit tighter in attack but a little slower in decay, resulting in an overall comparably tight but more textured reproduction with the slightly higher control.

Midrange resolution is relatively identical among the two in-ears with the HiFiMan surprisingly having the somewhat cleaner and sharper treble separation in the lower and middle highs.

The SIRIUS has got the larger (especially wider) soundstage. Separation is comparably good between the two with just slightly more precise separation of single instruments on the HiFiMan’s side.


Conclusion:

On the technical side, the HiFiMan RE2000 is remarkably good for a single dynamic driver in-ear and shows what high-end dynamic driver in-ears can be capable of nowadays.

It features a very good bass with tightness, speed, control but at the same time some really nice texture and has got really good note separation and a high overall resolution (that is a bit lower in the midrange than in the highs and lows though). Its soundstage is also not only large but also precise and has got good layering and very good separation capabilities.



However, the RE2000 is definitely not without flaws and shows some downsides that should not be as present at its price point, since a good number of similarly priced and even less expensive in-ears nowadays manage to avoid them.

One comparatively major nitpick is the treble that just isn’t as even, realistic or linear as it could ultimately be. Cymbals just don’t sound fully authentic to me for example. In the process of fine-tuning, the 5 kHz and 11 kHz elevations could and should have been flattened for more realism. Therefore, the lack of the last bit naturalness in the treble is quite a bit of a letdown at this price point.

Another thing is that the design, build, cable and especially poor selection of included tips don’t fully fit into the picture of a high-priced in-ear.

So ultimately, in my opinion, the price is definitely set somewhat too high and a bit questionable for the total package (treble evenness/naturalness/realism, build, design, cable, short nozzles), as convincing (and even somewhat impressive) the technical capability of the high quality dynamic driver is, but I guess that is how high-end, the law of diminishing returns and the high-end in-ear market unfortunately works nowadays.
Pros: Sonic signature, balance, imaging and separation, tonality and timbre, overall build quality
Cons: Cost (value), one sharp(ish) edge, lacking accessories for the price

Picture are default 1200 x 800 resolution - click to view larger images.

INTRODUCTION

I've reviewed a couple of HifiMan's DAPs in the past (one of which included an IEM I suspect was modelled on the RE600). I've also heard the HE-6 at a meet and was very impressed with what they had achieved. But beyond that I haven't heard a lot of their line-up. So when Mark contacted me and asked if I'd be interested in reviewing some more of their gear, I jumped at the chance. He originally asked if I wanted to review the Susvara as well as the RE2000 and RE800, but to be honest, I was somewhat hesitant about the idea of reviewing the Susvara – simply because of the hefty price tag. After listening to the RE2000 this week, I'm wondering now if I should have leapt at the chance to review the Susvara as well (unfortunately an opportunity missed).

Most people will recognise by now that I do take price into account when reviewing a product, and I try to be as objective as possible. So how did the RE2000 fare, especially knowing my tendency to look for value for money? Read on as I explore HifiMan's flagship IEM.


ABOUT HIFIMAN

HifiMan Audio was founded in late 2005 by Dr Fang Bian when he was resident in New York. He started Head-Direct, and in 2007 began use of the HifiMan brand. They started initially with in-ear earphones, branched out into building hi-res portable players, and this was followed by planar magnetic headphones. As the business grew, so did the need to expand, so in 2010 Dr Bian started two small factories in China, and moved the HQ to Tianjin China in 2011. They are now a well recognised brand globally – particularly in the field of portable or personal audio products.

I found most of these short facts from a couple of interviews with Dr Bian posted on line, and among the interviews were a couple of direct quotes which I found fascinating and illuminating:

I started listening to a lot of music when I was in high school. I used a Walkman and Discman all the time because I had nothing else available to me. They were designed more for convenience than great sound. I wanted both- convenience and great sound so that set the stage for my dream to build the best sounding personal audio products.

Starting with me, everyone is passionate about what we are doing at HiFiMAN. We may not always do everything perfectly from the beginning but we try hard to get it right in the end and our track record is pretty good. Most of all, I want our customers to know how much we appreciate them. Their support and feedback is invaluable.


DISCLAIMER

The HifiMan RE2000 that I’m reviewing today was provided to me as a review sample. After I finish with the review, I will arrange a tour through NZ and maybe Australia. At the completion of the tour, I will either return the IEM to HifiMan, or they may allow me to hang onto it for further review comparisons. Either way – they retain ownership.

I have made it clear to HifiMan that I still regard any product they send me as their sole property and available for return any time at their request. But I thank them for the ability to review and possibly continue use of the RE2000 for follow up comparisons. I do not make any financial gain from this review – it is has been written simply as my way of providing feedback both to the Head-Fi community and also HifiMan themselves.


I have now had the HifiMan RE2000 for just under 3 weeks. The retail price at time of review is USD 2000.

PREAMBLE - 'ABOUT ME'. (or a base-line for interpreting my thoughts and bias)

I'm a 50 year old music lover. I don't say audiophile – I just love my music. Over the last couple of years, I have slowly changed from cheaper listening set-ups to my current set-up. I vary my listening from portables (mostly now from the FiiO X5iii, and iPhone SE) to my desk-top's set-up (PC > USB > iFi iDSD). My main full sized headphones at the time of writing are the Sennheiser HD800S, Sennheiser HD600 & HD630VB, and AKG K553. Most of my portable listening is done with IEMs, and lately it has mainly been with the Jays q-Jays, Alclair Curve2 and Adel U6. A full list of the gear I have owned (past and present is listed in my Head-Fi profile).

I have very eclectic music tastes listening to a variety from classical/opera and jazz, to grunge and general rock. I listen to a lot of blues, jazz, folk music, classic rock, indie and alternative rock. I am particularly fond of female vocals. I generally tend toward cans that are relatively neutral/balanced, but I do have a fondness for clarity, and suspect I might have slight ‘treble-head’ preferences. I am not treble sensitive (at all), and in the past have really enjoyed headphones like the K701, SR325i, and of course the T1 and DT880. I have a specific sensitivity to the 2-3 kHz frequency area (most humans do) but my sensitivity is particularly strong, and I tend to like a relatively flat mid-range with slight elevation in the upper-mids around this area.


I have extensively tested myself (ABX) and I find aac256 or higher to be completely transparent. I do use exclusively red-book 16/44.1 if space is not an issue. All of my music is legally purchased (mostly CD – the rest FLAC purchased on-line). I tend to be sceptical about audiophile ‘claims’, don’t generally believe in burn-in, have never heard a difference with different cables (unless it was volume or impedance related), and would rather test myself blind on perceived differences. I am not a ‘golden eared listener’. I suffer from mild tinnitus, and at 50, my hearing is less than perfect (it only extends to around 14 kHz nowadays). My usual listening level is around 65-75 dB.

For the purposes of this review - I used the HifiMan RE2000 from various sources at my disposal – both straight from the headphone-out socket, and also amplified. In the time I have spent with the HifiMan RE2000, I have noticed no change to the overall sonic presentation (break-in). After hearing claims of audible break-in with this IEM – I measured the RE2000 both at the beginning and toward the end of the review (with at least 50+ hours use), and that measurement is also included.

This is a purely subjective review - my gear, my ears, and my experience. Please take it all with a grain of salt - especially if it does not match your own experience.


THE REVIEW

PACKAGING AND ACCESSORIES
Front of the retail box Rear of the retail box
When the courier box arrived – the first thing I said to my wife was “oh – they must have sent me the Susvara as well! The outer packaging was pretty big, but contained not only the RE2000 but also the RE800 and a cheaper version of their HifiMan Megamini DAP.

The RE2000 arrived in a large retail box (253 x 183 x 70mm) – which consists of a full printed sleeve over a “jewellery type” leatherette encased hinged lid box. The outer sleeve is nicely done in black with a carbon type pattern, clean white (and easy to read) text, with a picture of the RE2000 on the front (as well as a sticker stating that they are electroplated with a fine 24K gold finish). The rear has specifications and contact details.

The inner box has a textured black leatherette outer surface, with a central brushed metal plate with the HifiMan logo, the RE2000 model number, and their slogan “Innovating the Art of Listening”. The inner box is closed with a polished stainless hasp.


The inner box First look inside
Opening the box reveals two black cardboard boxes – one housing the cable and the other the tips. Nestled between these is the round storage / carry case which when opened gives us our first glimpse of the RE2000. In a compartment under the case are two further pairs of Comply tips, a pair of ear-hooks, contact and warranty cards, and a very informative full colour booklet on the RE2000.

The full packageExcellent full colour guide
The accessories include:
  • 1 pair of black silicone triple flange tips
  • 1 pair of black silicone dual flange tips
  • 1 pair of grey silicone “flat” dual flange tips
  • 1 pair of black silicone “flat” dual flange tips
  • 1 pair of grey silicone single flange tips
  • 1 pair of medium T400 genuine Comply tips
  • 1 pair of large T400 genuine Comply tips
  • 1 pair black flexi ear-guides
  • 1 black alloy storage case
  • Maintenance and warranty card.
  • Full colour booklet/manual
  • 1 x 3.5 mm single ended to 2 pin earphone cable
  • 1 pair additional 2 pin connectors

Cable, guides, and spare connectorsTip selection
The storage case is moderately large, and realistically won't be used as a carry case – unless in a larger jacket pocket or carry bag. It is 80mm in diameter, 35mm in height, with a lift-off lid, and internally lined with a soft felt like padded material. It also has a moulded foam insert if just to be used for storage (without the cable). The case works well and is ideal for safe storage on a desk top, or protection when on the go.

Case and insertPerfectly sized with insert removed
All in all, the included accessories are fair (maybe on the light side considering the price) – and I would have ideally liked to see inclusion of a secondary (perhaps balanced?) cable, and maybe more tips and adaptors.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS
(From HifiMan’s packaging / website)
ModelHifiMan RE2000
Approx price$2000 USD
TypeSingle Dynamic IEM
Driver9.2 mm Dynamic with Topology coating
Freq Range20Hz – 20kHz
Impedance60Ω
Sensitivity103 dB
Cable Type1.3m, replaceable (dual pin)
Cable MaterialsSilver coated crystalline copper
Jack3.5mm gold plated single ended, right angled
Weight13.8g (earpieces), 23g (cable), total 36.8g
Casing materialBrass with electroplated 24K gold finish
FREQUENCY GRAPH

The graphs below are generated using the Vibro Veritas coupler and ARTA software. Ken Ball (ALO/Campfire) graciously provided me with measurement data which I have used to recalibrate my Veritas so that it mimics an IEC 711 measurement standard (Ken uses two separate BK ear simulators, we measured the same set of IEMs, and I built my calibration curve from shared data). I do not claim that this data is 100% accurate, but it is very consistent, and is as close as I can get to the IEC 711 standard on my budget.

I do not claim that the measurements are in any way more accurate than anyone else's, but they have been proven to be consistent and I think they should be enough to give a reasonable idea of response - especially if you've followed any of my other reviews. When measuring I always use crystal foam tips (so medium bore opening) - and the reason I use them is for very consistent seal and placement depth in the coupler. I use the same amp (E11K) for all my measurements - and output is under 1 ohm.

The graphs are provided merely as a point of discussion, and later in the review I've included comparisons to other IEMs for similar reference.


Frequency response and channel matchingMeasurements after 50+ hours “burn-in”
I have included 2 graphs – which you will see look practically identical. There had been a couple of claims of marked changes after burn-in. Anyone knowing me will understand that whilst I'm open to the possibility of change (eg changing impedance due to cable changes with BA based IEMs), I tend to take claims of burn-in with a fairly large grain of salt. When someone claims the differences are clearly audible – I tend to get my objective hat on. I made sure I measured with around 50+ hours difference in use. Claims of clearly audible changes should show in frequency response (including claims of less treble, smoother tonality etc). Often when I question it, original claimants will say the changes are subtle – and perhaps can't be measured. My answer to that is simply that if the changes are subtle – and our echoic memory is typically very bad – how can someone remember changes when they are often 10's (if not 100's) of hours apart. Quite clearly the changes are not happening on my pair. If you read a review claiming large changes (or any changes) – my personal advice is to be careful of any other claims made. Its my personal view – so please choose to ignore it if you want. Interestingly, I can find no advice or claim from HifiMan that the RE2000 improves or even changes from break in.

My sonic impressions of the RE2000 – written well before I measured:

  • Bass is one of the strong points of this IEM. It sounds very natural (so a good naturally shaped shallow mid-bass hump), reaches low with excellent extension but is not over-emphasised. There is audible sub-bass rumble.
  • Lower mid-range is slightly recessed compared to bass and upper mid-range, but at the same time male vocals are well represented.
  • Upper mid-range is emphasised, and it is a definite colouration (you could call the RE2000 mid-forward), but one I not only appreciate, but absolutely love. I would go so far to say it is one fo the best mid-ranges I have ever heard. Female vocals have a wonderful sense of euphony, and there is wonderful clarity without losing overall tonality
  • Lower treble extension is phenomenal as well, but it is done without any huge peaks. Cymbal fundamentals are very good – and the decay is very lifelike without being over-emphasised. Because the 5-7 kHz and 9-10 kHz areas have small peaks, anyone who is overly treble sensitive may have issues. Personally I love it – detailed and smooth at the same time.
  • Overall an extremely well balanced earphone with an upper mid-emphasis, but wonderful sense of spatial imaging (we'll delve more into that later).
  • Channel matching is excellent – among the best I've seen throughout the entire spectrum.

BUILD AND DESIGN

External face of the shellFront and side view
The RE2000 is very well built and finished, and definitely worthy of being called HiFiMan's top monitor. The outer shell is a two tone affair and consists of a gold coloured main shell, with a black formed plastic compound plate. The exits which house the sockets for the cables are the same compound.

The interesting thing about the actual housing itself though is some of the research which went into the material to use. HiFiMan went through a very extensive prototyping development stage, and came down to three options – bronze, copper and brass. Bronze proved too hard for forming, and copper was too soft. Brass proved to be the ideal middle ground, and also had the right tonal properties. Now we know that brass is also prone to oxidisation, and this is probably the reason for the additional use of the 24K gold electroplating to finish the shells.


Internal facingRear view of shell – note the one sharpish edge
The RE2000 is a moderately large IEM with an end to end width of 15mm, a height of 11mm (shell only) and depth of approx 15mm (excluding nozzle). The interior or internal side is somewhat rectangular, but also nicely rounded with no really sharp corners or angles. The nozzle sits out (non angled) from the front of the main body, protruding approx 5mm in length. It is 6mm in diameter, mesh covered and has an extremely good lip.

The shape is rounded rectangular, and it is ergonomically designed to fit inside the natural trench or hollow from your ear's tragus, to the antihelix.


2 pin cable socket and male connectorMale 2 pin connectors
The exterior or external side has the plastic/rubber compound black “cap”. It is nicely curved to match the IEM shell and has the HiFiMan logo on both earpieces. The front and sides are rounded but due to the natural shape of most people's ears, won't have any issues. The rear join is neither rounded or bevelled and is one of the few design errors made in my opinion (I'll go more into it when discussing comfort).

On the top of the IEM is the socket for the cable. It is angled forward at about 45 degrees, and consists of the same rubber/plastic compound, with a standard 2 pin socket recessed inside. The socket is grooved on one side to match the cable, so there is no way you can attach the cable out of phase. The connection is very solid when attached, and the male connector beautifully and seamlessly attaches with the recessed socket. On the male connector's housing is printed L or R. On the socket's outer housing is a single driver ventilation port.


Y-split and cinch3.5mm SE jack
The cable is a crystalline copper wire with a silver coating (SPC), and finished with a quite satiny black overwrap which appears to be a PVC base. The main cable appears to be quite sturdy and strong, but north of the Y-split the cable is quite a bit thinner.

There is strain relief at the cable exit, but it is quite small. At the Y-split there is no relief, but I don't really think its needed because of the design. The lower cable is strong enough, and the Y-split itself is essentially a hollow tube with a tapered base. It is made of the same material as the shells, printed with the model number, and has an excellent cinch.

The jack is 3.5mm, right angled, and has a quite heavy duty housing. The standard stereo plug is gold plated. An interesting thing about the jack is that despite its heavy duty appearance, unscrewing the cylinder shows the use of electrical tape for insulation rather than the more popular heat shrinking. Both do the same job, but the electrical tape sort of clashes with the price point / build expectation.

One of the good things about the cable socket is that it is interchangeable with other standard compatible cables. I've had success with both a Rhapsodio cable and also one from LZ's new Dipper. No noticeable sonic changes, but nice to know that for people who like to experiment with cables, those options are available.


HiFiMans jack (L) vs Dunu's (R)RE2000 with Rhapsodio cable
Internally HiFiMan uses what they call a 9.2mm Topology driver. They have invested a lot of time into researching advanced depositional technology, and the result is a driver with a nano particle coating applied to it's surface. The distribution of the coating has distinct geometrical patterns, and this allows HiFiMan to manipulate or control the wave patterns to achieve a desired audio effect. According to Dr Fang Bian, “different nano materials have differing structures and each of these materials has its own properties”. Therefore by carefully controlling the diaphragm surface structure, you can yield different results in acoustic performance to a degree previously unobtainable with conventional designs. Dr Bian also says that the Topology driver also reduces uncontrolled diaphragm distortions which occur in both BA and standard dynamic drivers.

HiFiman also claim that no other driver technology allows for such control and precision resulting in clarity, detail and nuance such that it can best the world's most complicated multi driver set-ups, but with none of the coherency and crossover issues.

I of course have neither the technological understanding, nor the experience with many other TOTL earphones at higher levels. But I can state categorically that I have not experienced any other IEM with quite the same combined tonality and imaging ability of the RE2000. But more on that later.


FIT / COMFORT / ISOLATION

I'll start with the easy one (isolation), and we can then look at fit and comfort. Isolation will be dependent on tip selection, and if you get a good seal, it is actually quite good (maybe slightly above average for a vented dynamic IMO), but will not ultimately reach the high isolation of sealed BA IEMs. I would even go as far to try these in noisier environments, But perhaps not on long haul flights. Unfortunately to get a great seal (and subsequent isolation) you may have to sacrifice a little comfort …..

So lets looks at fit and comfort – and these thoughts are more subjective. As I stated earlier, for the most part HiFiman have gone with a reasonably ergonomic overall design with virtually no sharp edges – apart from one at the rear. For most people this won't be an issue – as it should sit mostly above people's ears. But I have larger and deeper ears – I'm a big guy at just on 6ft.

I'm going to quote from the manual:
“The shape of the housing is again an example of blending industrial design, comfort and a striking visual. To the sweeping outer curvature juxtaposed against the angularity of the housing body yet seamlessly fitting into the ear. It at first glance looks as though it cannot eb comfortable, its angular and striking looks surely cannot be and yet, they most certainly are. The hard and yet soft satin exterior gently nestles into the listener's ear where it provides excellent fit, comfort and isolation, all to give you the most wonderful of listening experiences.”

Now we know this is marketing speak, and my issue is primarily with two areas of design. Because of the short nozzle – the fit is shallow. This means for me, I have to seat the IEM firmly with the right tip to get a good seal. Doing so (initially) meant the rear of the IEM sitting inside my ear next to the AntiHelix. This brought the sharp edge in contact with my ear. Ouch. I've mitigated it by the use of oversized tips (large Shure Olives) and angling the housing slightly forward. Its comfortable now – but it shouldn't have required this level or adjustment in the first place. Either a longer nozzle, or a beveled rear surface would have solved the issue. IMO this is a design flaw and hopefully one to be fixed in future.


Ostry tuning tips and Spiral DotsSpinfits and Sony Isolation tips
One great point for the RE2000 though is the generous lip on the nozzle (thank you, thank you, thank you!). This means that practically any tips will fit so there are plenty of options. The included triple flanges provided a good seal and I already know I'd get a good seal also with the Comply tips. I also tried Spiral-dots, Sony Isolation tips, Ostry tuning tips and a number of others. For me the large Olives (I have to stretch the stem over the nozzle to have them fit) work incredibly well with shallow fitting IEMs, and have remained my tip of choise with the RE2000.

My preferred Shure OlivesGood fit – but adjusted to avoid the edge
The HiFiMan RE2000 sits almost flush with my outer ear, and after adjustment I can wear them for a considerable time. Initially I can lie down with them. I've slept with them occasionally, but with mixed results. If they remain seated during sleep (in their original position), I have no issues. If they compress into my outer ear – it will wake me up (the sharp edge). YMMV.

So the general build is good, but the shape could be improved a little. Overall though well thought out design on the whole.


SOUND QUALITY

The following is what I hear from the RE2000. YMMV – and probably will – as my tastes are likely different to yours (read the preamble I gave earlier for a baseline). Most of the testing at this point (unless otherwise stated) was done with my FiiO X5iii (single ended) and A5 amp, no EQ, and Shure Olive foam tips. I used the FiiO devices simply because paired they give me a very transparent window to the music with low impedance, and more than enough power. With both, their was no DSP engaged.

My trusty FiiO X5iii + A5FiiO X5iii solo was also more than enough
For the record – on most tracks, the volume pot on the A5 (paired with X5iii) was just under one quarter (on low gain) which was giving me an average SPL around 65-75 dB. Tracks used were across a variety of genres – and can be viewed in this list http://www.head-fi.org/a/brookos-test-tracks.17556


Relativities
  • Sub-bass – has very good extension and even at my low listening levels is audible, but there is no boosted over emphasis and it sits extremely well within the overall frequency mix. There is enough rumble to give presence without overshadowing vocals, and I'm detecting no bleed into lower mid-range. What surprised me is how well the bass compliments the rest of the frequency, and also the degree of separation. This is sub-bass that hits low, but is truly excellent quality
  • Mid-bass – has a very natural mid-bass hump – not too large (does not dominate) but provides excellent impact. There is more mid-bass than sub-bass, but neither is really emphasised. This reminds me very much of my HD800S – enough to sound tonally natural, give very good overall timbre, and there when its in the mix, but absent when its not. I would not call the RE2000's bass overly warm, but neither is it thin. This is the sort of bass that is simply perfect in its presentation – one of the strengths of this earphone.
  • Lower mid-range – there is a recession compared to bass, and also the upper mid-range, but what has surprised me is how good male vocals are with the R2000, and also that whilst there is space in the overall imaging, vocals don't sound recessed. Its very rare in a slightly V shaped monitor to find this much body and depth of timbre and tone with both male and female vocals. I don't know how HiFiMan have done it – but it is welcome
  • Upper mid-range – elevated compared to lower mid-range, and there is a rise from 1 kHz to a sustained first peak at 2-3 kHz. The result is an incredibly clean and clear vocal range, with wonderful overall cohesion and real euphony for female vocals to sound sweet and elevated. The RE2000 is not a flat monitor, and anyone used to the creamy mid-range of the RE600 and other HiFiMan monitors will recognise this type of tuning immediately. The RE2000 is unashamedly mid-forward – and especially for female vocal lovers, it is as close to perfection as I have heard in an IEM.
  • Lower treble has amazing extension, and really is quite sustained from 5-10 kHz with a slight dip around 8kHz. But it isn't over-emphasised, remaining at about the same amplitude as the upper mid-range. For me this gives an extremely detailed portrayal, but without any sign of harshness. It is smooth, but still utterly compelling.
  • Upper treble – rolls off slowly but naturally – but still has good extension right through the upper registers. There are not many earphones I've measured which manage this. I can't really comment on the sonic signature of the upper treble, as its rare for me to hear any nuance at these frequencies.
Resolution / Detail / Clarity
  • I was taken aback the more I listened to the RE2000. This is an earphone with excellent extension but no sharp peaks. Yet it is vibrant, clear and articulate. Older recordings like 10cc's “Art for Art's Sake” are simply amazing even at low volumes, and the most impressive for me was Pink Floyd's “Money”. There is so much micro detail in this track, and often the headphones that display it best are the ones with a cooler, leaner drier signature. Yet the RE2000s is clean , clear, balanced and rich – and everything is there. Every nuance, every detail. I know there is the old cliché about hearing things for the first time. Thats not true in this case – I've heard this sort of detail before. But not this sort of presentation. Unless we're starting to talk full sized headphones!
  • Cymbal hits have excellent clarity and overall presence, and this includes decay – there is no hint of truncation. I love it when you hear a cymbal trail off, and particularly with jazz fusion (Portico Quartet) the RE2000 was magnificent.(
  • Overall I feel as though I'm hearing everything in the recording – and this is even at my lower listening levels.
Sound-stage, Imaging
  • If there was one quality of the RE2000 which I would call simply uncanny , it is the sense of imaging and space. Right from the first listen I was amazed at the overall degree of separation – especially in the bass.
  • Directional queues are amazing – very precise, and presentation of stage is definitely outside the periphery of my head space with binaural tracks. They are expansive but not massively so.
  • Coupled with the imaging is the sense of separation of instruments, and this is a strong point of the RE2000. It really si the clear definition of each instrument which makes it so compelling.
  • Reasonably spherically presented sound-stage – maybe a slight L/R dominance (more width than depth), but for me a good sense of staging.
  • There are very few IEMs which manage to totally immerse me in the audience with the applause section of “Dante's Prayer”. The RE2000 manages it naturally and easily, I'm there in the audience, and you can't get much better than that with an IEM. Not as expansive as my U6, but sometimes realism is better than sheer size and the RE2000 delivers realism easily.
  • “Let it Rain” was my next track and it had a very 3D-like sense of spatial presentation – it is the way the track was miked. There was only a slight hint of sibilance with Amanda's vocal (even at higher volumes) – and I know its present in the recording – so not unexpected. What was great is that the sibilance was actually quite subdued, but the detail still shone through clearly.
Sonic Strengths
  • Overall tonal balance and clarity – while retaining a very smooth sonic presentation
  • Imaging, separation and sense of space in the staging.
  • Both sub and mid-bass have good impact and timbre when required, but do not dominate otherwise. Some of the best bass I've ever heard on a dynamic IEM
  • Wonderful portrayal of both male and female vocals
  • Detailed at low listening levels, but not peaky or harsh for me at higher listening levels
  • Slightly V shaped sound with slight richness or forwardness in upper mid-range area. Transition between lower and upper mid-range is extremely good.
  • Very subjective – I quite like London Grammar (Hannah Reid's vocal range is quite extraordinary – even if the recording quality of her albums isn't). I checked out her latest album on Tidal, and listening with my usual earphones, wasn't overly impressed (it sounded a bit flat really). Then the RE2000 arrived, and I happened to listen to the album again. I bought the CD the next day. The RE2000 has that ability to get me lost on the music – to feel less like reviewing and more like simply listening.
Sonic Weaknesses
  • Sonically I simply can't find a weakness. For my preferences this is end-game territory. I would not change a single thing.
  • Although I wouldn't change anything – there may be some who have sensitivity to lower treble. While its not peaky – it is present – so if you like smooth and warm possible the RE2000 is not for you.
AMPLIFICATION REQUIREMENTS

The RE2000 is an interesting IEM with its 60ohm impedance and 103 dB sensitivity. Looking at the specs, you'd immediately think that this IEM will need extra amplification, and it does need a higher volume from most of my portable devices. To maintain my usual 65-75 dB listening level utilises around 55-60/120 on the X5iii by itself. This equates to almost 50% on my iPhone SE with the same track.

But I went back and forth (volume matching with test tones and fixed volume on the A5) comparing the X5iii both amped and unamped, and I couldn't say that there was any change in resolution or dynamics. Both sounded excellent. And I have been spending a lot of time with my iPhone SE at work during the day. Its a great portable set-up. iPhone and RE2000 – who would have thought?


Testing with the IMS HVA, iDSD and FiiO A5All the sources I had could also drive the RE2000 easily
I also with tried with the IMS Hybrid Valve amp and my iDSD but none of them seemed to be adding anything to my listening set-up other than some extra bulk. So I'd suggest that amping is not a requirement but for those who enjoy using a stack – definitely it won't hurt anything – and perhaps you'll notice improvements which were lost on me.

I also had my daughter check for hiss, but none was present on any of my sources.


EQ / BALANCED PERFORMANCE

Unfortunately I could not test balanced performance as I don't have a compatible cable. It is the one thing which puzzled me at the price point – why would HiFiMan not include one? From the issue of cost, it would not be a large expense – but it would be a welcome addition to the overall package. DUNU includes an extra on their new DK-3001. Perhaps something to think about HiFiMan?

X5iii and A5's bass boost was quite goodBut nirvana reached with -2 treble on E17K
As far as EQ goes, I didn't initially test because I couldn't see how anyone would want to EQ the default tuning. I used the bass boost on the A5 and the RE2000 responded with no signs of distortion or clipping – So I have every confidence you can EQ to your heart's content. When I was doing the comparisons (next section) to other IEMs, I actually tried for the first time EQing the upper mid-range and lower treble back a little with the tone controls on the E17K (a small -2 dB nudge). The results really surprised me, and this actually hit my personal sweet spot. I didn't see this coming – and for me personally this takes the RE2000 from superb to “must have” territory. Personal preference I know – and YMMV depending on your own needs.

COMPARISON WITH OTHER IEMS

Oh boy – what to compare the RE2000 to in order to give you the best idea of its sonic quality and comparative value. Its such a tough one because I don't actively solicit review samples – so I don't have a lot of top tier IEMs at a similar price bracket to compare with.

Well lets start with the source. I wanted something neutral, but with a finely tuned digital control, to make sure I could volume match properly, and still make sure there were no questions about power output. So in the end I chose to use my old work-horse combo – the FiiO X3ii and E17K. Neutral – check. Power output OK – check. No DSP or EQ was used. Gain was low (I didn't need any more). I volume matched using a calibrated SPL meter and fixed 1kHz test tone first. My listening level was set slightly higher than my normal 65-75dB, and I averaged most of the time at an actual listening level of around 75-80 dB depending on the recording.

I chose my comparisons carefully. First up was Dunu's new DK-3001 at ~$500, then progressively upward in price from there – including HifiMan's own ~$700 RE800, Rhapsodio's older ~$800 RTi1 single dynamic, 64Audio's ~$900 U6, Fidue's $900 A91 Sirius, LZ's new ~$860 Big Dipper, and 64Audio's ~$1400 U10. Hopefully this gives enough insight to anyone interested in this IEM. Here are my very subjective personal thoughts:


HiFiMan RE2000 (~USD 2000) vs Dunu DK-3001 (~USD 500)
HiFiMan RE2000 and Dunu DK-3001Frequency comparisons
Starting as usual with build quality – both are built very sturdily built with no real weaknesses. Both also suffer a little on overall design from a truly ergonomic point of view – though in this case I do find the RE2000 a little more comfortable for longer term listening sessions. Accessories are in favour of the Dunu – especially with both balanced and SE cables included – as well as the extra tips and other accessories. The RE2000 is also considerably harder to drive – requiring more volume input to match.

Sonically these two have very similar tonal properties. The RE2000 is a little brighter through the lower treble, while the DK-3001 is a little more mid-forward and also a little smoother as far as lower treble goes. Bass is similar in quantity – but the RE2000's bass just appears a little quicker with a bit more definition.

As far as preference goes – if price was no object – I would take the RE2000 simply because of the extra definition, better imaging and separation, and the slightly more ergonomic fit. But when you take the DK-3001 at one quarter of the price – for a quite similar overall signature, its hard to go past it. For the price point, the DK-3001 is truly one of the best monitors I've heard this year. But if price is no object, then the RE2000 is (for me) an incremental improvement (albeit one at quite a massive price jump).


HiFiMan RE2000 (~USD 2000) vs HiFiMan RE800 (~USD 700)
HiFiMan RE2000 and RE800Frequency comparisons
Build quality on both is similar in terms of materials. Obviously the two are very different sizes, and that makes quite a difference in terms of comfort – with the RE800 being an IEM I can wear without any comfort issues for hours. The RE800 has a fixed cable system, and for a $700 earphone this is a little unusual (most at this price point would be removable), and the thinner wires from y-split to earphone would concern me slightly if there were any longevity issues (unknown at this stage). Both have similar accessory packages (personally one area I find slightly weak with HiFiMan compared to other offerings). The RE2000 and RE800 have almost the same power requirements.

Sonically these two have similar bass through to upper mid-range, (the RE800 is a little thinner and cooler comparatively). The RE800 is lot brighter in the lower treble with a considerable 7 kHz peak. This peak sits more than 10 dB above the upper mid-range peaks, and 20 dB above the bass line, and for me personally is overdone. Compared to the RE2000, the RE800 tends toward glare, and also enhances sibilance. Some people will still really enjoy this presentation (there were a lot who liked RHA's CL1). For me though, the lwoer treble is simply overdone on the RE800 and I'd take the RE2000 regardless of price point. With EQ though (softening the 7kHZ area), the RE800 definitely is a beautiful sounding IEM.

HiFiMan RE2000 (~USD 2000) vs Rhapsodio RTi1(~USD 800)

HiFiMan RE2000 and Rhapsodio RTi1Frequency comparisons
Build quality again on both is similar in terms of actual materials (longevity), but there is no doubt the RE2000 has the better finishing and looks more like a higher end IEM aesthetically. The RTi1 has the better quality cable, and incidentally the cable also fits the RE2000. Both were similarly sparse on overall accessories included (considering their respective prices). Both are shallow fitting and have an ergonomic type build. Of the two, the RTi1 is a little more comfortable for long term listening. The RE2000 does require more power with its lower sensitivity and higher impedance.

Sonically these two have similar bass through to lower mid-range, but differ in the upper mid-range and lower treble. The RTi1 has less presence in the upper mid-range, and quite a peak at 6-7 kHz. The two don't sound tonally dissimilar – its just that the RE2000 sound more balanced, richer and smoother. The RTi1 is brighter, thinner, cooler, and can get a little peaky depending on the recording. Like the comparison with the RE800, I'd personally take the RE2000 over the RTi1 (and pay the difference) simply because the RE2000 sits closer to my overall preferences.


HiFiMan RE2000 (~USD 2000) vs 64 Audio U6 + G1 ADEL module (~USD 900)
HiFiMan RE2000 and 64 Audio U6Frequency comparisons
The U6 is my go-to monitor, so please take that into account during this comparison. For this comparison I chose to use the G1 module simply because it elevates the mid-range a little and I prefer a more mid-forward signature.

Build quality (materials) is firmly in the RE2000 favour. Its going to last for quite some time with the use of the alloys and has a better quality default cable. You'll note with my U6 that I'm now using the Linum Bax cable and thats because my 2nd 64Audio cable has broken at the 2 pin connector. I know 64Audio would have replaced it – but this time I wanted a longer lasting solution. Accessories are in the 64Audio camp with the U6 having the ADEL (or Apex) modules and ability to tune. Fit and comfort is in favour of the U6 – the ergonomic build with no edges is simply more comfortable for me. The RE2000 does again require more power with its lower sensitivity and higher impedance.

Sonically once again we see a similar pattern in the bass – with the U6 very closely aligned to the RE2000 through to the lower mid-range, and the main differences coming in the upper mid-range and lower treble. With the G1 module, the U6 has a bump in the immediate transition to upper-mids, but the U6 has less overall upper mid-range presence, and more of a peak (albeit narrow) at 7kHz which gives clarity and definition to cymbals in particular). Comparatively the RE2000 has a fuller, richer signature but also appears a little brighter up top. TheU6 because of the lesser upper-mid and lower treble emphasis actually sounds the warmer of the two. Both are also very open sounding IEMs with a great sense of staging, width and depth.

Both are extremely good sounding monitors – just with a little difference in overall tonality. The RE2000 conveys a little more emotion, or richness, or musicality to me (I know – horrible subjective terms – but that's what I personally hear). This is one of those (like the DK-3001) where value starts becoming a deciding factor. If money was no object – then ultimately I'd prefer the RE2000. But I am perfectly happy with my U6, and at half the price its difficult to justify the overall value difference in direct comparison.


HiFiMan RE2000 (~USD 2000) vs Fidue Sirius (~USD 900)
HiFiMan RE2000 and Fidue A91 SiriusFrequency comparisons
If there is a single IEM in this comparison series which can match the RE2000 (and to some extent pass it) in build quality, materials and aesthetics – it's Fidue's A91 Sirius. The Sirius has better overall build quality, better finishing, more accessories, better ergonomics, and better overall fit (for me personally). The Sirius, like the RE2000, has one semi-sharp edge which simply shouldn't be there – but with tip and fit management I find the Sirius can be manipulated into better comfort. Something for HiFiMan to look into is the approach from Fidue with the cables – much better quality and versatuility with the balanced and single ended options. Again the RE2000 required more power with its lower sensitivity and higher impedance.

Sonically these two are quite different. The Sirius has an internal vent which does affect bass quantity – so the bass measurement on the graph probably understates the actual worn level of sub and mid-bass. But the Sirius still sounds (in direct comparison) leaner, thinner and drier. Both have a mid-forward leaning (particularly upper-mids), but the RE2000 has better upper end extension, and for me a warmer, richer and more enjoyable total signature. I really like the Sirius – and in isolation (with a little brain burn-in) it is a signature that could be end-game for a lot of people. However when directly compared to the RE2000 its again that sense of emotion that the RE2000 conveys which would have me again disregarding price, and potentially saving for longer to achieve the much higher priced offering from HiFiMan.

HiFiMan RE2000 (~USD 2000) vs LZ Big Dipper (~USD 860)
HiFiMan RE2000 and LZ Big DipperFrequency comparisons
LZ's Big Dipper is a relatively new IEM on the scene, and its point of differentiation is the ability to tune the sound with on/off switches which tune bass, mids and treble for a variety of different tonal combinations. It can be purchased as low as $620 for no switches (set tonality) or up to $860 for three switches. It is a 7 driver BA IEM.

Whilst the RE2000 has the better specification permanent materials, the actual build quality on both IEMs is extremely good. Aesthetically the RE2000 probably has the edge in terms of looks – but for actual fit and ergonomics, LZ's Dipper is quite simply one of the most comfortable IEM's I've ever worn. I can't comment on accessories as the Dipper arrived to me without it's retail packaging. The RE2000's power requirements is again higher its lower sensitivity and higher impedance.

For the sonic comparison I used the +bass +mid -treble settings on the Dipper as thats my own preference (blue on the graph). I also graphed a slightly different setting (white) to show the versatility of the dipper. Sonically these two are somewhat similar. Both have a similar transition from sub and mid bass to lower mids and even somewhat similar in upper mid-range. The Dipper has a little more bump at 2 kHz, but it is minor. Both can have very similar treble disposition – but with the Dipper it comes at a cost of a peak at 9 kHz which I can find slightly sharp (hence I use the lower treble settings). In direct comparison, the difference is not so much in terms of tonality – but in terms of presentation. The Dipper is simply a little more clinical, reference, and cleanly defined – where the RE2000 is smoother, bass has a little more richness, and again that term musicality comes to mind.

The funny thing is that I actually really like both presentations, and preference depends on the mood I'm in. There is no doubt that the RE2000 has a more romantic, less clinical overall presentation – the sort that allows you to easily get lost in the music – but the Dipper can do the same. Its only in direct comparison that you listen to the Dipper and go – wow the RE2000 does this with a richness that I actually like a little better. Like I did with my U6, the Dipper is an IEM I could easily live with as close to end-game, as long as I'm directly comparing. Sonically I like the RE2000 more – but the question is whether the difference is worth more than double the price.


HiFiMan RE2000 (~USD 2000) vs 64 Audio U10 + G1 ADEL module (~USD 1300)
HiFiMan RE2000 and 64 Audio U10Frequency comparisons
I wanted to pit the RE2000 against the most expensive monitor I had access to – which happens to be the $1300 64 Audio U10. For this comparison I chose again to use the G1 module simply because it elevates the mid-range a little and should bring it marginally closer to the RE2000. I also want to shout out to 64Audio with my thanks. After reviewing the U10 I've asked a few times about returning it, and they seem happy for me to carry on using it for comparison – so for this they have my continued appreciation.

Build quality (materials) is again in the RE2000 favour for the same reasons I outlined with the U6. While the cable on the U10 is still in pristine condition – its more likely to be that I don't use the U10 as much (mainly for comparisons), and I expect at some stage I'll possibly need to replace it. Accessories are again in the 64Audio camp with the U10 having the ADEL (or Apex) modules and ability to tune. Fit and comfort is also in favour of the U10 – the ergonomic build with no edges is simply more comfortable for me. The RE2000 does again require more power with its lower sensitivity and higher impedance.

Like the U6, we see a similar pattern – the bass is very similar– with the U10 very closely aligned to the RE2000 through to the lower mid-range, and the main differences coming in the upper mid-range and lower treble. With the G1 module, the U10 has a bump in the immediate transition to upper-mids, but then a flattening off through the rest of the upper mid-range and lower treble. Both have excellent extension. The RE2000 has a fuller, richer signature but like the U6 also appears a little brighter up top. The U10 because of the higher bass vs lower upper-mid and lower treble emphasis sounds again the warmer of the two. Both are very open sounding IEMs with a great sense of staging, width and depth.

I'm almost reminded of the Dipper in this comparison and over the last 6 months I confess to enjoying the U10's strengths more and more each time I've spent time with it. Preference comes down to how you like your music presentation. The BA's used in the U10 give great clarity and definition, excellent overall balance, and an excellent tonality – if a little on the clinical side of the spectrum. The RE2000 is again richer, fuller and there is something about the overall timbre that just pulls you in. I can't put a finger on it – but its quite intoxicating.

Like the comparison with both the Dipper and U6 – it comes down to what you ultimately are prepared to pay for. The RE2000 has a certain je ne sais quoi which is hard to articulate but continues to draw me in. But each time I compare in one-on-one situations to other IEMs I am equally amazed by what they have to offer. A definite edge sonically to the RE2000 for me – but at the price difference, the overall value might be questionable.


VALUE

Normally I comment on value in the summary, but as there is such a big difference in pricing with some of the monitors I'm comparing, I think maybe I should delve a little more into the subjective question of value. There is no doubt that the RE2000 has sonic abilities I would put at close to end-game territory, and especially if I apply that small EQ I mentioned earlier, the RE2000 (along with the HD800S) would satisfy all my needs if I had to keep just one IEM. But at $2000 its hard to justify the difference from other monitors around the 1K mark. Yes the packaging is fancier, and yes they are gold electroplated, and obviously targeted toward a specific very discerning market. But if we look at what they should have had, the sense of true value is eroded a little. There is no balanced cable, the accessories are a little sparse overall, and the shell (despite their claims) is not truly ergonomic (close though). How to increase value for an updated model? Well for starters I'd look at the materials and shape. Maybe see if something ceramic would give similar casing stability, and this time no sharp edges, and maybe a slightly longer and possible angled nozzle. Throw in some more tip choices, and at least another cable. By shedding the gold – hopefully they could get a new model (RE1800?) down in cost to around the $1500 mark. At this level with better accessories, better fit, and similar sonic abilities – I'd pick it would be (like Campfire's Andromeda) considered class leading. And if you trimmed that upper end by about 2 dB – it'd tick my boxes (just leaving it out there).

HIFIMAN RE2000 – SUMMARY

Despite having these for only 3 weeks, its surprising when you sit down for a formal review how much you will discover in a very short amount of time. I'd have hated to try and compress the review into just a week – there is so much I would have missed.

The RE2000 is a very well built and presented IEM which has very few flaws. The build quality is very sound, and is a step up from most of the other IEMs I've seen from HiFiMan. There has been a lot of thought gone into the overall design (reading the supplied manual is quite illuminating) – but they still have some minor work/tweaks to do on overall fit and ergonomics to get it perfect (IMHO anyway). For a $2000 monitor I did find the accessories “OK” but not stellar. The addition of a balanced cable would probably go a long way to fixing this.

Sonically the RE2000 is extremely well balanced with practically everything I appreciate in a TOTL monitor. Great extension (both ends), a natural sounding bass, coherent transition though the mid-range (with strengths in both male and female vocals), and detail up top without crossing into etch or graininess. But where the RE2000 absolutely shines is in its sense of timbre and tone, the richness of both vocals and bass, and above all its sense of staging, imaging, and above all separation. I have never heard an IEM quite like it, and it comes very close to ticking all my boxes (drop the upper mids and lower treble slightly and it gets there). Whatever the new topography driver is bringing to the table – I can definitely say for me it is really working!

The RRP at around the USD 2000 mark means that this is more than most people will be able to afford, and whilst its hard to put a value on something which gets you close to perfection, I wouldn't ultimately call the RE2000 a “value” proposition. For me, $2000 should buy you perfection, and HiFiMan aren't quite there yet. They are however well along the track, and I applaud their efforts. 80% ranking for me – with most critique at the minor flaws, and the high price.

I just want to close with thanking HiFiMan and Mark for arranging the review sample.



Pros: Natural, very impressive soundstage, detail retrieval
Cons: Lack of tips and strain relief
Firstly I would like to thank Hifiman for this sample, I always try to write honest reviews. These have had well over 100hrs of burn-in, I have heard changes and recommend you burn them in fully.

Gear Used:
Audio Opus #2 > RE2000
Dell PC > Topping D30 > Topping A30 > RE2000
Hifiman MegaMini > RE2000



Tech Specs:
Frequency Response : 5Hz-20kHz
Impedance : 60Ω
Sensitivity : 103dB
Earphone Weight : 0.48oz (13.8g)
Cable Weight : 0.81oz (23g)
MSRP : $2000

Packaging, Build Quality and Accessories:
The RE2000 come in one hell of a luxury box, the box has an outer sleeve that says the model name, with a picture and basic specs on the back. Take the sleeve off and you have a wooden box that has a laminate coating on it, with a metal plate with the brand and model number on it. The box has a metal latch and metal hinges, once you open it you will find the accessories and the IEM’s are in the carry case. Underneath the main tray you will find additional tips and also an owner’s book which is a very elegant paperback book. The packaging is superb and the unboxing experience is first class, fitting for the price.





Build quality overall is good, there are some improvements that could be made though. Finally Hifiman have included detachable cables for their flagship IEM, it has the standard 2-pin connector and has recessed sockets for these. The housings are lightweight and made of metal, the gold may not appeal to all tastes but they are well finished and not cheap feeling. The stock cable is silver plated copper, with a sturdy right angled jack with good strain relief, a slim metal y-split and chin slider. Unfortunately the cables are lacking any strain relief on the 2-pin connector which lets them down a bit, however you can easily replace the cable. Even so for $2k I would have liked a better cable with better strain relief.

Accessory wise these come with bi-flange tips pre-fitted, and another 2 pairs, they also come with 2 pairs of triple-flange tips, and also 2 pairs of Comply foam tips. Also included are ear guides for the cable, and an extra set of 2-pin connectors if you want to make your own cable for them. The IEM’s come packed in a sturdy metal case that is padded on the inside and is the perfect size for transporting these. Overall a good amount of accessories, but a few more different types of tip would be welcome.





Comfort, Isolation, Cable Noise and Driver Flex:
The RE2000 have an odd shaped housing that is quite wide, however once fitted I did find them very comfortable for long listening sessions. With the stock tips I never got the most secure fit but the fit was good and I wasn’t worried about them falling out. All the edges are smooth on the housing, and again they are lightweight so don’t feel heavy in your ears, the cable is soft and goes over and behind the ear with ease and stays there. Maybe not perfect for sports, but for long listening and general use they are excellent.

Cable noise is not an issue, the cable is soft and goes over your ear eliminating any cable noise.

Isolation is only average on these, they have quite a large vent on them so they let some outside noise in, but do not leak badly. Fine for general use but not the best for noisy commutes.

Driver flex is not an issue, not once have I heard the drivers flex.





Sound:
Split into the usual categories, with a conclusion at the end, the below is based on using the stock grey bi-flange tips.

Lows: Now this is what people want, and this is something that only a dynamic driver can deliver, smooth, dynamic and punchy lows that extend right down to 20hz, and come out to play when called for. The driver in these is extremely responsive, it can keep up with the fastest metalcore, yet put on a modern pop recording at it will pulsate and deliver exquisitely textured bass. Put on some jazz you can hear the body of the double bass reverberate and deliver such realistic tonality. The thing that is most impressive about these is how they morph depending on the track in question; they stay tight and controlled if needed yet warm and full when called for. The texture, layering and tonality cannot be matched by multi BA driver IEM's.

Midrange: The midrange is pure heaven, it is lush warm and inviting, yet at the same time it manages to be crystal clear and bring out the subtlest of detail. Again during busy tracks the layering is sublime, they sound more like a full size headphone with their layering and soundstage. I have been out and about listening to these and the mids just hit you sometimes with the way they portray the emotion in vocals (Slipknot – Vermillion Pt.2). Nothing is on top of each other, you have the vocals in the centre with the other instruments surrounding them sounding totally separate, they never sound congested.

Highs: The highs manage to be soft and non-fatiguing, but without loss of extension or air. They manage to extend effortlessly, and the definition is there, each different tap of a cymbal is easily heard, yet without peaks or harshness. They are also about right in presence, without taking a back seat, they just complete the whole sound perfectly. These are all about high definition sound in a smooth package, without sacrificing the finer details and emotion.

The soundstage is the largest in an IEM I have heard (except maybe the fully open Audeze iSine series). These offer real out of head experiences, and the soundstage has width, depth and height, very impressive.

The instrument separation is also very good with an airy soundstage and excellent layering everything is kept well separate.



Conclusion: Now these are $2000, and that is a lot of money, whether these are worth that is up to the person buying them. Looking at them you might not assume that they are worth the money, but just like the Final Piano Forte series, these offer a very unique sound for an IEM, especially one that seals and is good for on the go use. These are in all ways a TOTL IEM, the sound is dynamic, slightly warm, euphoric and emotional. I don’t recall any other IEM managing to evoke such emotional response from me whilst listening to certain tracks and the good thing is they play well with all genres.

So there you have it, I personally would never be able to afford these with my current job, but do I appreciate what these deliver, hell yes. They sheer dynamics of the sound, the tonality and realistic soundstage all come together to offer a natural sound that is not missing out in the technical aspects either.

These are not an IEM that impress upon first listen, they take time to appreciate.

Sound Perfection Rating - 9.5/10 (Tip selection could be better, and the cable needs strain relief)
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