The 272 would have to be one of my favourite IEM's ever. To get the best out of them I prefer it amped.
The detail these things have is nothing short of outstanding. Bass is quick well defined and refined.
So if you like your bass in ya face....not for you. These are about quality not quantity. Only negative for me was I found the tips did not suit my particular ear shape, so getting the right kinda seal is always fiddling about for a while, but once found and then paired with a decent amp you forget about the hassle.
The 272 is special, Its a sure shame they stopped making these.
Class leading sq(among the best of what i've heard).. I would definitely put the SQ as high as the Shure SE-535 & on par with the SRH-940 out of an HUD MX-1
Very coherent presentation - i think this is the most pleasing presentation an analytical listener can get
Clinical yet musical - for this you will have to take a listen for yourself
Clarity that keeps up with speed - the almost no bass sound makes up for astounding clarity that's second to none
Motherly Micro-detail - I think this might be one of the most detailed sets i've heard till date
the treble is very very airy which helps in identifying micro-details in the music very easily.. its not the most prominent treble I've heard, but its smooth yet clinical at the same time, yes it is a bright pair of earphones but still the over all sound quality is extremely pleasing to the analytical ear
fragile build(price not justified) - I got a used pair of the re 272 after a year from my initial audition, and the build to my eye was fairly good, but then the left driver started distorting and thats when I came to know there was a problem with the wiring, which is polished and refined in appearance but finicky and cheap .. you do not get what you pay for here!
adequate bass but not satisfactory, the sub-bass shows no body, theres a considerable roll off and the overall bass is shy of neutral. even the mid-bass has very less impact and decay..
limiting soundscape - the soundstage is average but not to the competition of other flagships I've heard such as the ex 1000 or the se 535, however the sound is not at all clustered, infact its just the opposite
The HiFiMAN RE-272 are the best sounding pair of non-customs I've put in my ear. Period.
I wanted to try a pair after reading favorable reviews around these parts, and I'm glad I made the journey.
The bass is slightly accented without overdriving. The high end detail doesn't suffer at all. It's a bit of a closed in sound-- but these are full range earbuds. They have good detail and they're decent at delivering transients.
My main pair of buds are UERMs, and the supreme balance and detail put them in a much higher class (both in sound and price). But I'd say if you're looking for great sound in a universal fit earbud, look no further.
On my ears, these need to be pushed in deep. They don't image well if they are not firmly seated in the ear canal. The bass is totally lackluster until you really get them in there. Once in place, the sound is just terrific, but know that it can take some effort.
Though the shells are constructed well, the cables look like they might not withstand much abuse.
My closest earbud by comparison is the Sennheiser IE6. The RE's surpass the IE6 in almost every area save midrange. The RE's have a deeper bottom end, better tonal balance, and allow more transient detail than the IE6.
There is a slight mid range spike which isn't apparent until you put them up against other headphones, but if I dial the mids down a bit with EQ, the issue is quickly resolved.
Put up against the Beats Tour (which I genuinely enjoy) the bass is much looser and more prominent on the Beats, as you might expect, and the RE's best the Beats fall at the upper end too. The bess is tight on the RE's but not diminished at all. However the Beats Tour are much more comfortable to wear, and you don't have to shove them in very far to get optimum sound.
HiFiMAN delivers these in a nifty box, with a bunch of extras.
I'll be hanging onto these-- and unloading my Sennheiser IE6's (another pair which have to be jammed in to work). At a cost nearly identical to the IE6, the RE-272 is a better sounding headphone and a better deal.
I'm relatively new to the IEM scene (I bought RE0's for me and my wife two years ago and have been using them with great pleasure until they were stolen 1 year ago)
I liked the sound signature of the RE0, but I have never taken them seriously as a replacement for my other Headphones. I have used them mostly while on the go with my iPhone.
They were no match for my full size headphones, The highs were more distorted at times and some music just didn't sound right.
After I lost my pair of RE0's and reading some initial positive reviews about the RE272 I decided to upgrade.
When I received them my initial impressions were positive:
Better design and fit.
Sturdier cable with less microphonics.
Already after the first seconds I heard them playing I knew that they sounded very special.
Articulate highs with low distortion
Natural clean sounding bass
Voices sound beautiful with a lot of "body"
Piano sounds very lifelike with excellent decay
In general acoustical instruments sound very realistic
A large symphony orchestra sounds simply amazing on these, all the different instruments are clearly recognizable
For the price an amazing product, but needs a good source to make real magic
I am now using them on a HM-801 with a Game amp, a great match
Pros - Excellent clarity, soundstaging, texturing and extension all around; comfortable fit; modular cable; good materials; decent isolation with right tips
Cons - Cable hardens, brittle; Somewhat bass lean; need long tips in the other 2 ways; bad tips included (but many); no portable case; slight wind noise
Review is in the review thread here: http://www.head-fi.org/t/568515/hifiman-re272-review/135#post_7845383
Suffice it to say, these IEMs are perfect once equalized. No ifs or buts. Nothing I've ever tried matches these.
Even without the sound is great, if a bit bass lean and slightly forward.
Extension is unmatched by any other IEM.
I'd love if the next revision includes a case/pouch (not just jewel case) and inverse channel balanced cable.
Hifiman should really provide different tips - the included ones are unusable except the smaller biflange.
The included eartips are atrocious. Single flanges don't seal appreciably, large biflange is far too large, small biflange causes unpleasant bass texturing (kills impact) and glassy sound.
The good choices are in order of preference: Sennheiser small olives, VSonic single flange, Sony Hybrid tips (both M and S size)
Pros - realism, speed, clarity, musicality, frequency response and extensions, tonality, details, instruments separation and positioning
Cons - bass weight
Disclaimer: I've got my RE272 as a review sample for free.
There are more pros and cons in my full review, like
But this is just a nitpicking, and I do not consider this as a real "negative aspects" (this is how cons are defined here in Reviews section). I rather call this "wishes".
Conclusion: I prefer RE272 over any IEM I tried.
Tried, in order of preference (not just SQ): RE262, RE252, RE0, ER-4P/S, MTPC, E500 (SE535), RE-Zero, CK10, SA6, ER-6i, E4c (wow, this is ancient!), UM2, some more. Note: order may change depending on the source.
Similarity: RE272 sounds like ER-4P reincarnated into dynamic driver version. And it turns out to be a step up over ER-4P, rather than a side steps presented by former HiFiMan models.
Luxury. That's the first thing I thought when I saw the wooden box with a vinyl outside. The top of the box is gold stamped that says "HiFiMAN" and there's a gold colored clasp to open the box. Once opened there's a vinyl coated interior with the accessories on the right and the headphones in a plastic casing, which surprisingly is only painted on the outside, not the inside as well. Included is a variety of cable attachments to connect the RE272 through a TSS connection or a standard 3.5mm. There's also two different double flanged white tips and XS->L mushroom tips.
Overall the packaging is nice, but it looks more luxurious than it really is. I wish that there had been more attention to detail, especially in the hard plastic casing which should have been fully painted. Everything was secure though.
Design and Build Quality
The design of the RE272 looks sill at first, but it actually makes a lot of sense when worn over ear with these. Compared to the RE0, these are a huge step forward in comfort. The build is plastic with a rubber edging, I assume for easier gripping when placing them in your ears, and surprisingly feels better quality than the all metal RE0. Each IEM has a rather long stress relief with an L or R stamped on them. The RE272 definitely feel solid. The RE272 terminate to a balanced plug short to allow the user to choose from one of 4 extensions to cater to any sort of 3.5mm plug. The y splitter has some nice touches, on one side RE272 is stamped, on the other HiFiMAN. The plugs are terminated in an odd 45 degree angle that I don't know if I agree with, but it seems sturdy.
The isolation is rather lacking though, no matter what tip I tried I couldn't get fantastic isolation. I would say it blocked out about 50% of the noise when they were just sitting in my ears.
Overall these are built decently, I feel for the price they could have done better, but it's a huge step up from RE0 to me in every aspect.
As always I've burned these in for 50 hours before conducting any sound tests. These have also a claimed 60+ more hours burn in as part of the RE272 loaner system, for an estimated 150 hours.
Analytical and bright, I honestly could not enjoy music on these. These are very detailed, airy sounding, and clear, much like the RE0. Much like the RE0 though the bass is severely lacking. The upper/mid bass has come impact, but the extension is very weak. I can hear some of the sub bass, but I struggle to hear it, I most definitely can't feel it. The mids are strong, detailed but very cold sounding and not very engaging. Everything sounds great in the mids, but I don't enjoy them. The highs are where the RE272 shine, but they're too bright and forward to me. They've very well extended, clear and detailed, but they are too forward and at times a bit harsh. The soundstage is nothing special, very similar to the RE0 from my memory, an airy feel to it.
Since these are analytical sounding I decided to listen to only fantastically mastered albums to see how they hold up:
Bob Marley & The Wailers - Is This Love
I am using the Barry Diament mastering from 1990 which is highly regarded. Right away the usual smooth silky sound of this recording is gone. The bass line is completely outshined by the ska inspired guitar, the little guitar riffs are way too forward in the mix, and Bob's voice is a bit irritating. Everything sounds absolutely crisp and clean, but from a surgical view. It's as if every instrument was taken, put on a table with a clear outline as to where it began and started and placed in the headphones. Great clarity, but not enjoyable and the lack of bass makes this song irritating.
Rage Against the Machine - Killing in the Name
Rage's self titled album has long since been a standard in the audio industry for it's excellent production and mixing. I've listened to this track at least 100 times in my life throughout various pieces of audio equipment and I can say without a doubt this is the least enjoyable I've ever found it. The kick drum has some punch to it, but the bass is lost in the mix, it's barely audible. What usually gives the guitar it's punchy backing is now gone. The guitars sound overly bright and the vocals have lost their aggressive attack they have on my Ad900.
The Rolling Stones - Sympathy For the Devil
This is taken from the MFSL CD rip. The sound sounds wonderful. The bongos are easily heard in the right channel. The shaker and bass in the left sound great. The vocals are in the middle and sound very clear. The piano comes in and melds perfectly in the mix. Honestly everything sounds wonderful in this until the little guitar solo comes in and it's just too bright, too irritating.
The Beatles - Here Comes the Sun
This is from the 2009 remaster. There's many versions, MFSL, pbthal rips, and so forth, but the legend Dr. Ebbett claimed this was better than his and his was known as the standard for years. Either way this remaster was done right. To get on with the song, it sounds wonderful on these. Absolutely wonderful. Every instrument is clearly heard, the intro acoustic guitar sounds as if it's on the other side of the room. I really have no complaints with this song, the RE272 does this song right.
Fans of the RE0 will find a welcome linear upgrade to me. These are detailed, clear, and focus on the mids and highs. These are definitely lacking in bass and are a bit bright though, which will turn a lot of listeners off. If that doesn't the hyper analytical sound of these will. If you're looking for a musical IEM, these are not it. If you want to dissect your music these will be a welcome addition though. I like these, but only for very specialized listening, I even enjoy my SoundMAGIC E30 over these for every day listening.
As always you can see more photos of the HiFiMAN RE272 here!