HiFiMAN RE800 Silver

General Information

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Pros: Energetic yet well balanced
Cons: fixed cable
Firstly I would like to thank Mark at HiFiMAN for sending me this sample to review, they have had over 50hrs of burn-in before this review was written.

Gear Used: Dell PC > Mytek Brooklyn DAC+ > RE800 Silver (stock bi-flange tips)

Audio Opus #2 > RE800 Silver (stock bi-flange tips)

*disclaimer: This sample was provided for the purpose of writing a review, no incentive was given to write a favourable review. All opinions expressed are my own subjective findings.



Tech Specs:
Frequency Response - 5Hz - 20kHz
Impedance - 60Ohms
Sensitivity - 105dB

Packaging, Build Quality and Accessories:
The RE800 silver come in a slightly smaller box than the normal RE800, but it is a great looking box at that. Matte black with a picture of the IEM's on the front with the name written in silver on it. On the back of the box you have the tech specs, slide the tops off the box and you'll find the IEM's held neatly in a foam insert. Next to them is the carry case which holds the accessories. The box feels and looks great in my opinion.

The build quality is very good overall, unlike the gold RE800, the silver version comes with a fixed cable. The jack is a standard affair with a silver metal housing and fairly rigid strain relief. The y-splitter is also silver with the model engraved into it. There is a silver chin slider and again lack of strain relief where the cable enters the housing. The cable feels fine, fairly rubbery and it should hold up fine over time but it would have been nice if they were detachable. The housing is metal and very well finished, no complaints here. Overall I don't really have any issues with the build quality, but a detachable cable like the normal RE800 would have been nice.



Accessory wise you get a fairly standard clamshell case, something nicer could have been included, but what I do like is the selection of tips these come with. You get some standard bi-flange tips pre-installed which I really like both comfort and sound wise, but in the case you will find a bag with clear single and triple flange tips, along with black triple flange and bi-flange tips. Overall a really good range of tips, you also get some earhooks for the cable. I am glad they included more tips this time,

Comfort and Isolation:
The RE800 housing is really small, this means they should fit all ear shaped and sizes with no issues. The small housing that is rounded and lightweight means these are extremely comfortable once you get a good fit, and I can wear them for hours with no discomfort.

Isolation is good but not great, the housing is vented and this does compromise the isolation somewhat, but they are perfect for everyday general use. Only in the noisiest environments would this ever be an issue.



Sound:
Split into the usual categories, with a conclusion at the end.

Lows: The low end on the RE800 is really impressive, like a chameleon it changes with the tracks played. It comes out of a black background when called for and is very dynamic with incredible definition and control, yet it never comes out in such a way as to dominate the sound. There is extension, there is real punch, kicks don't fall flat and yet they are just well balanced and merge effortlessly into the mix. They don't suffer from a boosted mid-bass to create false thickness, and there is no bleed into the midrange, keeping everything detailed and clear.

Midrange: Here the vocals take centre stage with all outer instruments placed perfectly around them. There is excellent clarity across the board, female vocals have a slight edge in absolute clarity due to a slight lift in the upper midrange, but male vocals still sound superb here. Guitars are backed with excellent control and power. the thing the RE800 Silver does really well is to handle heavy rock with power and authority, yet they are equally good at bringing out the nuances in slower acoustic tracks and rendering acoustic guitars with perfect body. As I said there is still a slight peak in the upper midrange, but this does not bring with it any harshness to my ears.

Highs: The highs are well placed and not toned down, the real downfall of the original RE800 was a fairly sharp peak in the treble that brought out sparkle but could also be fatiguing. To me the RE800 Silver is still not a dark sounding IEM, but it sounds like the peaks have been smoothed out a little. There is still plenty of treble presence, and they extend effortlessly. Again here the separation is key, and you can easily distinguish each cymbal crash and tap with ease. The highs won't flatter bright recordings, or poor recordings, they will reveal flaws, but then again if you feed them good quality material you will be rewarded.

The soundstage is wider than it is deep, but these do create a convincing stereo image that is wider than most IEM's. The separation is excellent, even during complex tracks you can still easily separate the mix.



Conclusion: The RE800 Silver are a very well done single dynamic driver IEM, just like the gold version are. I feel that the RE800 Silver are slightly less peaky in the treble, and have slightly more body to the sound when compared to the gold version. The RE800 Silver is well balanced, comfortable and enjoyable, what more could you ask for.

Sound Perfection Rating: 9/10 (Slightly less peaky, better value)

Pros: + Excellent ergonomics and comfort
+ Vivid, punchy sound
+ V-Shaped sound with a very natural midrange
+ Isolates well from the outside noise
+ No driver flex, ventilation does its job really well
+ Comfortable for long hours of listneing
+ No hiss regardless of the source
+ Very detailed sound for its release price
+ Absolute mad deal while on sale for 300 USD!
+ Pretty complete package with a large selection of tips
Cons: - Has cable microphonics. Can be solved if worn over-the-ear, but otherwise the cable microphonics are present when worn straight down
- No detachable cables, which may be an issue for some
- Lots of accessories included in the package, I only ever used the white / transparent tips
- Very basic carrying case included in the package
True Slayer - HIFIMAN RE800 Silver IEMs Review



HIFIMAN RE800 Silver is the more affordable version of their RE800 Gold IEM, but at a lower price, and even on sale at the moment of writing this review, being a Single Dynamic Driver based on the Topology Driver, and priced at 300 USD, making it quite an interesting IEM to look at.




Introduction

HIFIMAN is known quite well in the audio industry for producing some of the most interesting products, with excellent price to performance ratio, especially when they go on sale, and they are known to produce huge advancements in audio technology, developing drivers, both Dynamic and Planar drivers, providing solid build quality. At least in my experience, their products have been pretty exemplary, as I did a drop test on Sundara, wear test on RE800 Silver, and did my best to damage their products, but they stood well to my aggressions.


It should be noted that I have absolutely no affiliation with HIFIMAN, I am not receiving any incentive for this review or to sweeten things out. This review is not sponsored nor has been paid for by HIFIMAN or anyone else. I'd like to thank HIFIMAN for providing the sample for this review. The sample was provided along with HIFIMAN's request for an honest and unbiased review. This review reflects my personal subjective experience with HIFIMAN RE800 Silver. Every opinion expressed is mine and I stand by it, the purpose of this review is to help those interested in HIFIMAN RE800 Silver find their next music companion.



About me

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




Packaging

For a quick unboxing and first impressions article, I recommend this one, where I did actually do an unboxing and first impressions of HIFIMAN RE800 Silver, RE2000 Silver, and Sundara.

https://www.audiophile-heaven.com/2...HIFIMAN-RE2000Silver-RE800Silver-Sundara.html






What to look in when purchasing a high-end In-Ear Monitor

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



Technical Specifications







Build Quality/Aesthetics/Fit/Comfort

The build quality of RE800 Silver is pretty much amazing, they are one IEM with a basic fully metallic body. The bodies are some of the smallest I have seen in my entire life, if not actually the smallest. They simply disappear in your ears, quite literally, because their size is absolutely tiny. The only part of the IEM that touches the ear is the tip, and nothing else really.



The full metallic body still had enough space to include a ventilation hole, and I totally commend HIFIMAN on doing that, because RE800 Silver has no driver flex whatsoever, actually being one of the most comfortable IEMs I have ever had the chance of testing.

In fact, I usually brag about the fact that most IEMs aren't comfortable enough without aftermarket tips and tip upgrades, but with RE800 silver, I simply strapped on the transparent medium sized tips that were in the package, and I was done with the effort, I'm having both excellent comfort, and sonics, there's simply nothing to complain. In fact I can easily run, do physical exercise and walk with RE800 and those tips in my ears.

One thing to notice is that the cables are attached to the IEM shells, and they are not detachable. On the other hand, the cables are considerably better than they were on the Gold Version, this time the cables are more supple, softer, and easier to wear portably. On the other hand, those cables have microphonics, and I recommend wearing RE800 Silver Over-The-Ear at all times, to avoid any kind of microphonics. On another note, the IEM shells are also pretty small and since there's nothing much to keep them in your ears, while you can wear IE800 Silver Straight-Down, for best comfort I do recommend wearing them over-the-ear, they simply work much better this way. The cables are long enough above the Y-Split, that you don't have to worry about whether it will be too short to wear over-the-ear, like you had to worry with IE800 from Sennheiser.



The isolation from the outside noise is quite good, about 20 to 25 dB of noise are cut off, so you could be listening to a large orchestral and dance to it, then find yourself dancing into a construction site without even noticing much.

RE800 Silver is easy to drive, but doesn't seem to pick up any hiss, even from a rather hissy source being pretty much dead silent.

The aesthetics would work well with both a casual and a formal costume, you can see both a metalhead and a classic music listener wearing RE800 Silver and feeling confident. You could headbang with them in your ears, and I did test that, resulting in a IEM fit for an all-case scenario.

All in all, I can say that I only would have wished they had detachable cables, but otherwise, they do reach the golden level of aesthetics, build and comfort. Included tips are good, comfort and ergonomics are super awesome, and overall, this is a great little IEM.




Sound Quality

Before I dive in the sound quality, it is worth noticing that the Topology Driver is a very real technology, and although at the very basic principle, they are a single dynamic driver IEM, RE800 Silver is truly a diamond in a world of multi-BA IEMS. Having just one Dynamic Driver, and also having it based on the topology driver is supposed to reduce the distortions you'd otherwise hear from a typical Dynamic Driver, or from a multi-BA setup, and it is supposed to keep the sound coherent and natural. HIFIMAN confirmed that the drivers found in RE800 Silver and RE2000 Silver are exactly the same, the only difference between the two being the housing, which indicates how much the geometry and design of the housing can affect the sound.




Now, to describe IE800 Silver, I like using the words Clear, Fun, V-Shaped, Bright, Deep, Controlled, Coherent, Dynamic, Punchy, Vivid, Detailed, Analytical, and overall really naturally toned.

Starting with the bass, it is a deep, profound, powerful, yet controlled bass. The depth and impact are simply outstanding, while the speed is on the natural to quick. This means that they deliver incredible punches, but are able to keep up with quick music, they can be explosive and deliver blows with Dubstep, but drum with speed, even keep up with Technical Death Metal bands. With acoustic music, where real instruments tend to produce some of the deepest lower register resonances, RE800 Silver is also able to deliver a very convincing picture.



In the upper midrange, just like Sundara, RE800 silver has less of an emphasis than in the bass and in the main midrange body, resulting in a slightly less forced lower midrange presentation than what I'd call absolutely natural. This tends to cut down some energy with baritone male voices, but that's the only area where I notice it, as bass guitars do sound like bass guitars, and typical male voices have a very natural presentation.

The midrange is vivid and energetic, they have a very natural overall presentation, and at times they feel analytical, while at times they feel just detailed yet smooth in a very natural way. The topology driver implemented by Mr. Fang seems to be doing its job really well, and RE800 Silver is able to be really really natural. The timbre on guitars and male vocals is simply spot-on, and so are the voices of sopranos in opera songs. Going to metal and electronic music, you can feel the crunch and textures in guitars really nice, and trumpets and other fancy instruments also bear both good textures, but aren't harsh or too aggressive to be listenable, everything can be simply and quickly described as natural.


Pianos are really easy to spot as being very crystalline and clean, clear, and naturally presented. As a piano fan, it is easy to notice when something plays a piano with distortions or out-of-key, and RE800 Silver manages to keep pianos really clear, and to keep them perfectly in key and natural in timbre (tuning).

The treble is very different from the original RE800 Gold, The silver having a much smoother and more natural presentation, a much softer and smoother treble, with less emphasis on the upper midrange and lower treble, and a peak in the treble relative to the bass that is much more even. This means that the overall signature is V-Shaped this time, instead of the very unique tuning the original RE800 Gold had, and RE800 Silver manages to deliver the treble in such a way that any music is simply a delight to listen to, where the original was much much sharper.



Dynamics seem to be one of HIFIMAN's strongest points with their IEMs, as I noticed that Sundara, one of their headphones is also simply out-of-this world with its dynamics, I am noticing more and more that the dynamics of RE800Silver are outstanding. RE800Silver delivers a dynamic presentation worthy of a full open-back headphone rather than a IEM, which is pretty awesome, as I'm becoming more and more an addict to good dynamics.

The soundstage of RE800 Silver is natural, having pretty much the same width and depth, good separation and layering, and I can happily notice that there is a good difference between the forward instruments and the background effects, but I'd call this expansion fair and natural in every way.

Overall, the tuning of RE800 Silver is one that pairs well with any music style, and I feel you'd enjoy them regardless of your taste, Punk sounds like punk, classical and orchestral reproduce all instruments and have the grand feeling they should, metal can be aggressive and forward, while electric is holographic and impressive. Let's not forget softer music, where the pretty spot-on timbre of RE800 Silver helps softer female voices also have the right amount of emotion and euphonics.




Portable Usage

The portable usage is pretty much excellent.


The soft and flexible cable helps a lot with wearing IE800 Silver while walking, running, or doing activities around the house. The straight plug instead of an L-Plug is also good in my honest opinion.

The ventilation port means that you aren't getting any driver flex with RE800 Silver, so you don't have to worry about their life or about your eardrums while walking with them. The tips included in the package also help a lot with RE800 Silver and their portability.



The V-Shaped signature is quite excellent for outdoor usage, the deep bass doesn't get overpowered by your inner walking noise, and the sparkly treble helps keep a good trip exciting.

If there is anything that I could complain about in terms of portability, you absolutely need to wear them over-the-ear while walking, since they do have some microphonic noise in the cable. This is a very minor issue in practice because you're likely to be wearing them over-the-ear anyways, they have a long cable, and are practical to be used over-the-ear, but I wanted to mention it, their design looks like they were made to be worn straight-down, but they're actually best while used over-the-ear.


Overall the portability is excellent, they have enough isolation, excellent ergonomics and comfort, good cables, they are easy to drive, and the only issue that exists for portability, which is microphonic noise, is really easy to fix by simply wearing them over-the-ear.



Comparisons

The problems in this review are starting here, because RE800 Silver was launched at 600 USD, but they are currently on sale on HIFIMAN's site for 300 USD. This is something interesting, as the original was 700 USD, and the Silver was made to be slightly more affordable, but if you catch the sale, the Silver is more than 50% less! Interesting, the sale doesn't have a timer either, so I'll pick 3 IEMs to compare RE800 Silver to, Sennheiser IE800, The RE800 Gold from HIFIMAN, and Dunu DK-3001.




HIFIMAN RE800 Silver vs HIFIMAN RE800 Gold - Starting with the package, RE800Gold comes in a much more fancy package, with real wood in the case they come in, but they come with pretty much the same set of accessories, including the tips and the carrying case. The Gold version comes with a different, thicker cable, but I actually find the cable of RE800Silver better for ergonomics and portability. Both IEMs have the same excellent comfort given by their excellent ergonomic shape, which basically doesn't touch your ear, leaving all the contact between the ear and the IEM to the tips. Both IEMs are best worn over-the-ear. Basically, it is the same IEM, but the sonics are quite different, with the RE800 Silver having a considerable bump in the sub-bass, bass, and lower midrange, and less of a peak in the treble, with a considerably softer and easier treble. RE800 Silver is what I'd call a really natural and versatile IEM, with the only thing I can mention about it being a bit of a lower midrange scoop that doesn't exactly favor baritone voices, but RE800 Gold was another thing entirely, RE800 gold had much much less bass, less upper bass, and a considerably stronger upper midrange and lower treble peak, that gave it one of the most convincing acoustic guitar tones and notes, but which also made it pretty specific and not overly universal, with RE800 Silver being an absolute delight in terms of versatility. At this moment, RE800 Silver seems to also be less than half of the price of the original gold, making RE800 Silver one of the best choices in terms of price/performance, and unless you were specifically looking for that really strong acoustic guitar presentation of the RE800 Gold, I think that you'll find RE800 Silver to be a huge upgrade in both sonics balance and in terms of pricing.

HIFIMAN RE800 Silver vs Sennheiser IE800 - I keep bringing up Sennheiser IE800 throughout my reviews, but I think this will be the last time I'm doing so, this being the moment I bury it. This is because RE800 Silver outperforms IE800 from Sennheiser, and most ~300 USD IEMs to so as well, that unless you'd really love the presentation of IE800 from Sennheiser (which I really really did), it doesn't make much sense to think about it anymore. Regardless, starting with the package, IE800 from Sennheiser is similar to RE800Silver, but RE800Silver comes with more tips, and with an actually more useful carrying case, where the carrying case of IE800 from Sennheiser, although beautiful, isn't one bit as useful, being made of leather, which means that you'd be taking care of the case more than using it for its intended purpose. Furthermore, the package is pretty similar, but RE800Silver has interchangeable tips that are universal, so you're not stuck with one pair of tips, like you'd be with IE800 from Sennheiser, which felt like a huge letdown in terms of tips, the stock tips being really uncomfortable for me. Now, here's the thing, I really really loved IE800 and its sound, but the comfort, even for me, was terrible. IE800 from Sennheiser had one of the best sounds I ever heard at the moment I originally reviewed it on Head-Fi, and I still love its sound today, but the comfort of IE800 was just unbearable, the cables were too short above the Y-Split to wear them over-the-ear properly, but the cables had too much microphonic noise to wear them straight-down. The tips were not universal, and the silicone in the tips would get slippery and then the IEMs would lose their fit every ten minutes, and then there was the issue with the cables hardening in the first 20.000 units or so. This being said, I loved IE800's sound to bits, it has been one of my favorite tunings, subjectively really touching me in a special way, the splashy cymbals combined with the really sweet midrange and the thick yet quick bass really put a smile on my face every time I wore them. Now, on to RE800 Silver, the fit of RE800 Silver is pretty much perfect. If you have ears, you can wear RE800 Silver comfortably, the cables go around the ears easily, the tips are good quality, even the ones included stock in the package, and the cables are of good quality. The IEM shells are pretty much as small as IE800 from Senn were, but with RE800 Silver you get none of the disadvantages of IE800 from Senn. Now, the sound, is quite different actually. The bass is more natural on RE800 Silver, still above the midrange I'd call it, put punchy, not quite as deep and low as IE800's bass, which was more focused on the sub-bass, and RE800 Silver has a better overall tonal balance and a more natural midrange. Overall, I would recommend RE800 Silver above Sennheiser IE800 at any given moment for any user, mostly because the ergonomics and comfort are that much better, even if I do love IE800 and their sound, I simply find myself going for RE800 Silver way more often. The instrument separation was slightly better on IE800, while the soundstage depth and width are slightly larger on RE800 Silver. The resolution and detail levels are pretty similar either way, and so is the final overall enjoyment, one who liked the sound of one, should like the sound of the other. Given that RE800 Silver is 300 USD, it simply slays the notion of value in this comparison.

HIFIMAN RE800 Silver vs Dunu DK-3001 - This may not be an entirely fair comparison since DK-3001 is a bit less expensive than RE800 Silver normally, but given the fact that RE800 Silver is currently on sale for 300 USD, the comparison starts making more and more sense for most customers. Starting with the package, DK-3001 actually wins hands-down in terms of packaging and in terms of what is included in the packaging, having both Single Ended and balanced cables, a better carrying case, and better tips included in the package. This being said, RE800 wins so easily that it's funny, in terms of comfort, DK-3001, even with Spinfit tips, can't hold a candle to the small bodies and very comfortable and ergonomic design of RE800 Silver. The cables are detachable on DK-3001 though, which bumps their value a bit. The sound is quite different, with DK-3001 having less sub-bass and less bass, being considerably colder and more neutral, where RE800 feel more V-shaped, but a high-quality V-shaped sound, where not only the upper midrange, but also the treble is enhanced, and where the overall clarity feels actually better. The instrument separation is better on RE800 Silver, and so is the detail and resolution, but the soundstage is wider and more expanded on DK-3001. Overall, I find RE800 Silver to be better for those looking for a fun and punchy signature, for a vivid and dynamic signature, while DK-3001, if they fit your ears, is better if you are really looking for a high-quality neutral signature, as their detail level is insanely good. Given that RE800 Silver is currently priced at 300 USD, though, it once again slays the notion of value from this comparison, they simply are an excellent value relative to the sonic performance.



Recommended Pairings

HIFIMAN RE800 Silver is one of the easiest to match and pair IEMs in the world, and although it scales quite a bit with better sources, it doesn't need them as much as other flagships do, and it will sound amazing even out of ultraportables, like FiiO M9, M6, HIFIMAN Megamini. A flagship, like iBasso DX200, FiiO X7mkii or something mighty like the Brooklyn DAC+ will surely bump the experience with RE800 Silver. This being said, they don't pick up hiss at all (it is inaudible), and RE800 Silver doesn't care much about high output impedance, so even Hiby R6 with its high output impedance is a good match for them. Please do note that they don't have detachable cables, and as such RE800 Silver can only be used with the Single Ended Outputs of your source.




HIFIMAN RE800 Silver + iFi xDSD DAC/AMP - iFi xDSD is one of my favorite DAC/AMP, along FiiO Q5, because it touches a really sweet spot in terms of price / performance ratio, and because it has both a good ergonomic shape, and a good design, enough battery life, and enough driving power for most IEMs and Headphones. RE800 Silver with xDSD feels like a true breeze, with an airy presentation, and with a slightly less bassy presentation than most sources, but if you're keen on having more bass and sub-bass, you can always turn on the X-Bass function on xDSD, and you'll have a much better day. You also get Bluetooth access from your smartphone, and the driving power needed for a larger number of devices with xDSD. Everything feels natural and spot-on, including the soundstage, the tuning and the overall presentation.

HIFIMAN RE800 Silver + HIFIMAN Megamini - Megamini is a super minimalistic DAP (Digital Audio Player), but the sound is one of the best there are. If you want a minimalistic UI experience, you'll be greeted by a very vivid and punchy sound, that is really dynamic and pretty forward, with amazing details and just a very lively presentation, for a very fair price. Megamini tends to sound better than most ultraportables, but it is slightly complicated to recommend more often due to its interface, which can be quite minimalistic for most users. The soundstage is quite wide, but not very deep, and the midrange has a warm and happy tuning to it.

HIFIMAN RE800 Silver + iBasso DX200 (AMP5) - DX200 from iBasso is a real flagship through and through, and if you also pair it with AMP5, or even with AMP8, you're in for a lot of fun. The sound of the pairing is pretty much as sublime as you'd expect, but at the moment of writing this review, I'm talking pretty much about a ~900 USD DAP driving a 300 USD IEM that has the value of a 600 USD IEM, so you can expect a really natural and vivid presentation, excellent dynamics, a larger soundstage than you usually get of RE800 Silver, in both depth and width, and better detail than most pairings tend to reveal.



Value and Conclusion

Now here's the thing, the value of RE800 Silver is just insane. They were a fair value at 600 USD, the price they were launched but as they're 300 USD at the moment of writing this review, and this doesn't look like a limited offer, it doesn't have a timer of any sorts on HIFIMAN's site, RE800 Silver's value is simply through the roof. The name of this review was True Slayer, and in all fairness, they are, priced at 300 USD, with their comfort, detail revealing abilities and natural midrange, the only thing that could keep them away from being your instant best buy is the non-detachable cable.



Starting with the package, RE800 Silver has a pretty basic package, with all the basics necessary included, like tips, and a wide selection of them, the transparent medium sized working pretty sweet for me, and being easy to recommend, a carrying case that is really basic, and with booklets and other micro-accessories necessary to use them. The package this time around is a cardboard box, and it doesn't offer much fluff, but then again, it shouldn't, the experience of unboxing them is enough glamorous as it is.

The build quality is pretty much excellent, they are tiny, they are ergonomic and comfortable, and basically you can't get much better in terms of comfort than a IEM that simply doesn't touch your ears besides the point where it has to, which is the silicone tip. The cables are of good quality, so you don't need to worry about them, even though they're not replaceable, but the cables are a touch microphonic, and wearing RE800 Silver over-the-ear is recommended.

The sound is really amazing, this time being really balanced and well-thought for a wide public, regardless whether you like a more sparkly, or a more bassy sound, the pretty natural V-shaped sound with good dynamics and punchy presentation will work well with your music, starting from rock and metal, all the way to electronic, and even working well with classical and orchestral music, the Topology driver magic that Dr. Fang Bian developed reaching a truly good balance between detail revealing abilities, natural sound, and low distortions.

I know I didn't mention this quite yet, but RE800 Silver sounds pretty sweet with Slayer as well, I love rocking to some of their juicy guitar solos while wearing it.



The verdict is positive, and with the price being dropped at 300 USD, RE800 Silver from HIFIMAN is the first IEM that enters Audiophile-Heaven's Hall Of Fame, for their excellent price-to-performance ratio, for their excellent comfort and build quality and for their detailed, punchy and vivid sound.



At the end of the day, if you're a fan of V-shaped tunings, with a natural midrange tonality, you'll surely fall in love with RE800 Silver from HIFIMAN, and with a comfort that will feel comfortable in every ear, with good build quality, and if you find them at their 300 USD price, with a price to performance ratio that is really hard to beat, RE800 Silver should totally make its way into your choice list, and be very high in there.






Full Playlist used for this review

While we listened to considerably more songs than those named in this playlist, those are excellent for identifying certain aspects of the sound, like PRaT, Texturization, Detail, Resolution, Dynamics, Impact, and overall tonality. We recommend trying most of the songs from this playlist, especially if you're searching for new most, most of them being rather catchy.


Tidal Playlist


https://tidal.com/playlist/64555551-ec3c-4279-ae44-248fdfcf6c4b


Song List


Bats - Gamma Ray Burst: Second Date
Eskimo Callboy - Frances
Incubus - Summer Romance
Electric Six - Dager! High Voltage
Kishida Cult - High School Of The Dead
Dimmu Borgir - Dimmu Borgir
Breaking Benjamin - I Will Not Bow
Thousand Foot Krutch - The Flame In All Of Us
Gorillaz - Feel Good Inc.
Infected Mushroom - Song Pong
Attack Attack - Kissed A Girl
Doctor P - Bulletproof
Maximum The Hormone - Rock n Roll Chainsaw
Rob Zombie - Werewolf, Baby!
Escape The Fate - Gorgeous Nightmare
SOAD - Chop Suey
Ken Ashcorp - Absolute Territory
Machinae Supremacy - Need For Steve
Ozzy Osbourne - I Don't Wanna Stop
Crow'sclaw - Loudness War
Eminem - Rap God
Stromae - Humain À L'eau
Sonata Arctica - My Selene
Justin Timberlake - Sexy Back
Metallica - Fuel
Veil Of Maya - Unbreakable
Masa Works - Golden Japang
REOL - Luvoratorrrrry
Dope - Addiction
Korn - Word Up!
Papa Roach - ... To be Loved
Fever The Ghost - Source
Fall Out Boy - Immortals
Green Day - Know The Enemy
Mindless Self Indulgence - London Bridge
A static Lullaby - Toxic
Royal Republic - Addictive
Astronautalis - The River, The Woods
We Came As Romans - My Love
Skillet - What I Believe
Man With A Mission - Smells Like Teen Spirit
Yasuda Rei - Mirror
Mojo Juju - Must Be Desire
Falling Up - Falling In Love
Manafest - Retro Love
Rodrigo Y Grabriela - Paris
Zomboy - Lights Out
Muse - Resistance
T.A.T.U & Rammstein - Mosaku
Grey Daze - Anything, Anything
Katy Perry - Who Am I Living For
Maroon 5 - Lucky Strike
Machinae Supremacy - Killer Instinct
Pendulum - Propane Nightmares
Sirenia - Lithium And A Lover
Saving Abel - Addicted
Hollywood Undead - Levitate
The Offspring - Special Delivery
Escape The Fate - Smooth
Samsara Blues Experiment - One With The Universe
Dope - Rebel Yell
Crazy Town - Butterfly
Silverstein - My Heroine


I hope my review is helpful to you!

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Contact me!











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Pros: Lightweight, comfortable housings - Clarity and detail - Better sounding than the original RE800
Cons: Fixed cable - Less premium materials and overall presentation
Greetings!

Today we're checking out the follow up to HiFiMan's premium gold-plated single dynamic earphone, the RE800. What's it called? The RE800 Silver (RE800 S, or just Silver from here on in).

HiFiMAN as they currently exist began in 2007 and is the brainchild of Dr. Fang Bian. Known best for their extensive lineup of high quality planar magnetic headphones, over the years they've expanded their lineup to include amplifiers, DAP, and earphones, as well as introduced interesting new technologies. With the original RE800 and RE2000 HiFiMAN debuted the 'Topology Diaphragm'. This technology applies a nano-level coating to the diaphragm in various geometric patterns. By varying aspects like the surface pattern and compound used, the idea is that you can manipulate the sound the driver outputs and it's sonic qualities, improving the way sonic waves interact with your ear. To date, four HiFiMAN products featuring this technology have crossed my plate and all have sounded spectacular. With their newest releases, the RE800 Silver and RE2000 Silver, I feel they have refined this process to create the two of the best earphones to come from the brand (from those I've tried of course).

Let's take a closer look at the RE800 S to see why I think it is a premium earphone worth consideration.

Disclaimer:

This RE800 Silver is a sample provided by HiFiMAN for the purposes of review. It remains their property and will be returned if requested. The thoughts within this review are my own based on use of the RE800 Silver over the last two months. They do not represent HiFiMAN or any other entity. At the time of writing, the RE800 Silver was selling for 599.00 USD: http://hifiman.com/products/detail/292[/SPOILER]

Source:

The RE800 Silver was powered primarily by my TEAC HA-501 desktop amp with a ZiShan DSD or HiFi E.T. MA8 taking on source duty. For mobile use, it was either run straight out of the Shanling M0 which powered it just fine, or through the Radsone Earstudio ES100 over LDAC connected to my LG G6. The RE800's impedance is higher than usual for an iem, but the high sensitivity makes up for this so it's not particularly difficult to get up to comfortable listening volumes.

Personal Preferences:

I listen primarily to various EDM sub-genres (liquid drum and bass, breakbeat, drumstep, etc.), hip hop, and classic rock. In 2018 I learned that I no longer have a preferred signature and can understand and appreciate vastly different earphones. The HiFiMAN RE800, Brainwavz B400, and Massdrop x MeeAudio Planamic are examples of earphones with wildly varied signatures that are enjoyable for different reasons. I generally listen at very low volumes, so keep this in mind when perusing my thoughts on how an earphone sounds.

Specifications:
  • Driver: 9.2mm dynamic with 'Topology Diaphragm'
  • Frequency Range: 5Hz - 20kHz
  • Impedance: 60 ohms
  • Sensitivity: 105dB
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Packaging, and Accessories:

The original RE800 had a premium unboxing experience that was appropriate for the 800 USD price tag. Along with a reduction in price, the Silver RE800 sees a reduction in the quality of the unboxing experience.

Gone is the jewelery box type case, replaced with a more traditional but still quite large cardboard box. On the front of the lid is an image of the RE800 Silver (RE800 S from here on in) set on a dark background. A heavy bokeh effect has been applied, blurring out all but the rear of one of the housings which displays the HiFiMAN logo. Below is a black strip where the HiFiMAN branding and model information is displayed. Around the sides you find additional HiFiMAN and RE800 S branding. On the base of the box you find a few specifications along with some contact information, a QR code, and social media links for HiFiMAN.

Lifting off the lid you find the RE800 S nestled in a dense foam sheet with the same basic clamshell carrying case we saw on the original RE800. Inside the case is a plethora of ear tips. Lifting out the foam sheet you find some silicone ear guides, a warranty card, and a high quality Owner's Guide that wouldn't be out of place sitting on your coffee table.
  • RE800 Silver earphones
  • clam-shell portable case
  • 2 pair black bi-flange silicone tips (medium bore)
  • 1 pair white bi-flange silicone tips (wide bore, large)
  • 1 pair black single flange silicone tips (wide bore, medium)
  • 3 pair white single flange silicone tips (medium bore, small/medium/large)
  • 3 pair black tri-flange silicone tips (small to medium bore, small/medium/large)
  • 3 pair white tri-flange silicone tips (small to medium bore, small/medium/large)
  • 1 pair of silicone ear guides
  • warranty card
  • soft cover Owner's Guide
I was expecting the same accessory kit that came with the original RE800, but nope. Minus the unfortunate omission of Comply foam tips with no replacement, the RE800 S comes with a much better selection of tips than the original RE800, including most styles in various sizes. This should make the need for after market options less necessary. The pre-installed medium bi-flange set was a perfect fit for me, just as it was on the original RE800, and accompanied the RE800 S throughout testing.

While I found the unboxing experience less satisfying than on the original RE800 due to the omission of the classy case, it's made up for by a more fleshed out and useful tip set that caters to a more broad range of ear shapes and sizes. It's a bit of give and take, and in my opinion, if it had to happen it went in the right direction by ditching flashiness for substance.

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Build, Comfort, and Isolation:

While the RE800 S shares it's compact shell design with the original RE800, it eschews gold-plated brass for a lighter, more cost effective aluminum alloy. As such, the shape is still alike a Hershey's Kiss with the twirl lopped off. At their widest point, the RE800 S is only just over 10mm thick, and from the tip of the nozzle to the back of the ear piece is only 19mm long. The 6mm wide nozzle is pretty standard in size and shape and can accommodate a wide variety of tips which in my opinion is pretty awesome. You can use pretty much whatever tip you want with the RE800 S. Construction quality is okay, but it could be better. The two main sections that make up the majority of the ear pieces are nicely machined and fit together well with a tight but visible seam. As on the original RE800, I found the front half of the the shell slightly glossier than the back half. Hardly noticeable, but it's there. The protrusion the cable enters is fitted less neatly, with some uneven spacing where it should be touching the rest of the ear piece. It doesn't look bad and isn't particularly noticeable unless you're deliberately hunting for flaws. It is also a bummer to see that there is no strain relief, criticism I had with the original RE800.

Unlike the original RE800 which ditched this fixed cable design for an MMCX upgrade shortly after release, HiFiMAN went back to the original fixed cable design with the S model without addressing potential durability shortcomings. The cable itself is mostly unchanged with a fairly plain looking rubber sheath housing quality silver-plated wiring within. I actually do like the cable quite a bit for the most part. It is pretty flexible and doesn't tangle, with my main criticism being levied at cable noise. Wearing the RE800S down, it picks up a fair bit of noise from movement, especially if you're not using the chin cinch. Noise from anything that touches that little ring of aluminum travels straight up the cable and into your ears. Wearing the RE800 S with the cable up and around the ears, especially with the silicone ear guides in place, addresses this nigh completely.

At least comfort is amazing. Given the RE800 S is lighter than it's predecessor, it is even more comfortable. The RE400/600 inspired design is tiny, there are no sharp edges to rub on the ear, and since it is so light they virtually disappear when in use. The low profile also means that on windy days, you don't have to worry about a ton of interference from wind rushing by. The two vents on the base of each ear piece are protected from the wind, while the rounded shells let it rush by with little interference.

I found isolation, even with silicone tips in place, to be above average for a dynamic based earphone. Going out for my nightly walks with the RE800 S saw me leaving one ear piece out most of the time so I could hear cars and others around me. Using it in my local Tim Hortons was a great experience with the RE800 S pretty easily drowning out the chatter and bustle around me, without needing to resort to volume to block it out. Using the included triple flange tips or some spare Comply foamies I had lying around improves isolation even further. If you like to enjoy your high end audio in noisy places or on the run, the RE800 S is a good companion.

When much less expensive products using the same type of materials have better fit and finish, often with more complicated designs and removable cables, I can't help but be underwhelmed with the construction of the RE800 S. It's certainly functional, but I know HiFiMAN can do better. At least the RE800 S makes up for any build shortcomings with outstanding comfort and long term wearability, and above average isolation.

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Sound:

Tips: The pre-installed bi-flange set is my favorite with the RE800 S. Wide bore tips like Havi bi-flange and JVC single flange tips tend to accentuate treble and open the sound stage. While the treble accentuation was a bit too extreme on the original RE800, the pairing was much more acceptable on the Silver. Foam tips like Comply Isolation T400s or Comfort TS400 were also a nice pairing. They tamed the treble somewhat and let the clean mids and deep bass shine. These are my second choice to the stock bi-flange, if only because it's inconvenient to have to compress and reseat them every time the RE800 S is removed from my ear to tend to something. KZ's cost effective, community named “Starline” tips are a great alternative to the stock bi-flange since they retain the stock signature. They also allow a slightly deeper fit if needed.

Like the original RE800 before it, the RE800 S is a vibrant sounding earphone. While they certainly share some traits, the S model comes across as the superior product from an auditory perspective.

The S is less treble heavy to my ears with reduced spikes that make aggressive cymbal work on Havok and other metal bands albums more natural. Cymbal decay is still snappy as heard on something like Radiohead's “Weird Fishes”, enabling stong instrument separation, further aided by some solid air between notes. It also sounds wonderfully realistic with higher register instruments easily matching the emotional vocal performance of Paul Williams on Daft Punk's “Touch”.

The RE800 S' midrange is amazingly clear with outstanding vocal articulation that really stands out. Artists like Aesop Rock have a very dense lyrical style which can lead to listeners having a hard time understanding what he's saying. This is especially notable on older tracks where he was still finding his flow and didn't articulate quite as well as he has in recent years. Since he has so much to say and does so in a way that requires analysis, an earphone with outstanding vocal clarity and detail is helpful. The RE800 S is just that, easily picking up every tiny detail and nuance. Sibilance is kept in check too, something that in lesser earphones can be a prominent issue on Aesop's “Blood Sandwich”. Timbre is accurate too which each instrument on King Crimson's 'Lark's Tongues in Aspic' album sounding distinct and unique from each other.

The original RE800 was lacking sub-bass emphasis and extension in my opinion, and that has been fixed with the Silver. It digs deeper and has a more satisfying texture and punch, in addition to providing a more visceral feel on the deepest notes. This is evident in the closing minutes of Daft Punk's “Touch” when the choir is singing. A simple bass line plays along in the background. On the original RE800 is it present but lacks impact, while through the Silver you both hear and feel each beat more significantly. On Skrillex's “Breakin' a Sweat (feat. The Doors)” you can also feel and hear the improved bass response. As a result I feel it makes the RE800 S a more well-rounded and complete sound earphone benefiting greater compatibility with a wider variety of musical genres.

The RE800 S also has a pleasingly natural sound stage and on King Crimson's live rendition of “Night Watch” puts you in a small concert hall, a few rows back from the stage. Vocals are forward a centre with instruments splaying out to each side encompassing the width of the stage. Even electronic tracks like Evil Nine's “Crooked feat. Aesop Rock” somehow manages to sound spacious. The vocals are set amidst dynamic drum beats and swirling digital effects that move with precision and accuracy between channels. Congestion is not a part of the RE800 S' feature set either, instead displaying impressive layering and separation even during the noisy, closing moments of King Crimson's “Starless and Bible Black”.

Select Comparisons (volumes matched with Dayton Audio iMM-6):

Campfire Audio Polaris: Let's just get out of the way now that I feel the Polaris' construction is vastly superior. The machined aluminum and ceracote housings with removable ALO MMCX cables are oozing with style and a level of durability the RE800 S cannot match. In HiFiMAN's favour, the RE800 S is significantly smaller and more universal in it's fit with much better isolation. In terms of sound both display a mildly v or u-shaped signature with deep bass, crisp mids, and well-extended treble. The Polaris has a colder, brighter, less organic sound which places more emphasis on the upper-mids and lower treble. The RE800 S' bass digs deeper and has more sub-bass emphasis. The Polaris' mids are similarly weighted but have a somewhat dry, analytic quality to them especially noticeable with male vocals. The Polaris' treble doesn't display the same level of shimmer on cymbals and other instruments, but does come across more detailed. The RE800 S' sound stage is deeper and more rounded when compared to the Polaris which sounds large but reasonable flat. I find the HiFiMAN to provide more accurate imaging, while the Polaris' additional drivers give it the edge with layering and separation.

HiFiMAN RE2000 Silver: Like the RE800 S, the RE2000 S shares it's design with it's more pricey counterpart, swapping out brass for an aluminum shell. Overall build quality is pretty similar to the RE800 S, though the RE2000 S is much larger with an over-ear design and some plastic flourishes for the faceplate and the 2-pin cable port that take away from the premium feel a bit. I really wish HiFiMAN would have pressed their logo into the plastic, but it's still printed. The RE800 S' laser etched logo looks better and will be more durable long term. The Silver variants of the RE800 and RE2000 certainly share some qualities, as did the original gold variants. As before, the RE800 S is leaner and brighter, though the RE2000 no longer has an advantage in terms of bass depth. The RE2000 S is slightly more detailed and overall has a fuller and bodied presentation set within a wider, deeper sound stage. It just sounds bigger and more bombastic compared to the RE800 S' making it seem more intimate and analytic.

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Final Thoughts:

HiFiMAN's high end iems are a testament to the argument that a single dynamic done right is hard to beat. The original RE800 was no slouch and impressed me in a number of ways. The Silver variant builds on the successes of the original by making improvements in just the right places, namely taming some treble peaks while improving bass extension and sub-bass presence. Support that with a lower price tag and a more cohesive accessory kit and you've got yourself a top tier earphone that is well worth an audition. While I wish they carried over the MMCX upgrade the original RE800 received shortly after release, the fixed cable used on the RE800 S should be good enough for those that don't want to worry about the cons that go along with removable cables, such as the inherent fragility of MMCX and the potential for lost ear pieces.

Thanks for reading!

- B9Scrambler

***** ***** ***** ***** *****​

Some Test Tunes:

Aesop Rock – The Impossible Kid (Album)
Hail Mary Mallon – Are You Going to Eat That? (Album)
King Crimson – Lark’s Tongues in Aspic (Album)
King Crimson – Starless and Bible Black (Track)
Supertramp – Crime of the Century (Album)
Infected Mushroom – Legend of the Black Shawarma (Album)
Gorillaz – Plastic Beach (Album)
Massive Attack – Mezzanine (Album)
Fleetwood Mac – Rumors (Album)
Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels (Album)
The Prodigy – The Day is My Enemy (Album)
Tobacco – F****d Up Friends (Album)
Felt – Felt 2 (A Tribute to Lisa Bonet) (Album)
Michael Jackson – Thriller (Album)
The Crystal Method – Grace (feat. LeAnn Rimes) (Track)
Jidenna – Long Live the Chief (Track)
Skrillex – Ragga Bomb (Track)
Big Grams – Run for Your Life (Track)
Funkadelic – Maggot Brain (Track)
Aesop Rock – Fishtales (Track)

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