HIFIMAN RE800

Rating:
3.92308/5,
  1. audio123
    HIFIMAN RE800 - Agile & Accurate
    Written by audio123
    Published Apr 20, 2018
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Agile Bass Presentation, Energetic Treble, Build Quality
    Cons - Midrange can be lusher
    Introduction

    HiFiMAN is a Chinese company that specializes in producing in-ear monitors and headphones. Recently, they have released the RE800 and their flagship RE2000. For the RE800, I have received the latest version which features detachable cables. I would like to thank HiFiMAN for this review unit. At this point in time, you can purchase the RE800 from https://www.amazon.com/HIFIMAN-RE800/dp/B071YN9QJR/

    [​IMG]

    Specifications

    Frequency Response : 5Hz-20kHz
    Impedance : 60Ω
    Sensitivity : 105dB
    Weight : 0.95oz (27g)

    Unboxing & Accessories

    The HiFiMAN RE800 comes in a silver hard rectangular case that has the brand name and model name printed on it. It has a protective cover that shows an image of the RE800. Inside the hard case, there are 2 small packages and a hard circular carrying case. For the 2 small packages, the first one contains a detachable mmcx cable while the other one contains eartips. On the top of the carrying case, there is the brand name printed on it with the iem inside it. Under the foam, there is a pack of tips that contains Comply foam tips, 1 pair of ear-guides, 1 warranty card and 1 instruction manual. The overall package has a premium feel to it.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    IEM Build & Design

    The RE800 has a fine 24k gold finish to its surface and it has a rather oval shape. On the faceplate, there is the Hifiman logo printed on it. The shell is made of brass with a strong build quality. At the bottom of the iem shell, there is a vent. There is also another vent near the nozzle. The nozzle is straight with a metal mesh for earwax prevention. It is rather small and not heavy at all. I am able to fit the RE800 comfortably in my ears. The RE800 has mmcx sockets. Overall, the iem is beautiful in its aesthetics and constructed well.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Cable Build & Design

    The cable included is made of silver coated crystalline copper wire. It is not braided and has a 2 core design. The overall build quality on the cable is good and there is a soft-like transparent rubber coating on the wire itself. There is no memory wire section. On each mmcx connectors, there is L & R markings to differentiate between left and right. For the left, it is blue in colour while for the right, it is red in colour. The connectors has a transparent housing. The chin slider is a circular gold ring while the y-splitter has the brand name and model name printed on it. It is gold in colour too. Moving on to the jack, it is 3.5mm gold plated with strain relief.

    [​IMG]

    Sound Analysis

    Lows

    The RE800 extends its sub-bass with authority and confidence. There is a quick rumble to it. It is typical of a dynamic driver’s bass reproduction. The presentation of the bass is clean and technical. There is sufficient punch from the RE800 and each bass note is being portrayed with precision. With an agile nature, it packs energy. The bass texture is very smooth and decay is quick. The bass articulation is accurate and on point. With such an energetic nature, the bass is very enjoyable and exciting to listen to. The transition to the lower mids is good with a smooth passage.

    Mids

    The midrange on the RE800 operates in a transparent and clinical approach. The lower mids on the RE800 has sufficient quantity to tackle male vocals. Though it does not have huge amount, the lower mids is expressed with musicality and texture. The upper mids is quite forward and there is a good intimate presentation. There is sweetness from the upper mids. Female vocals sound euphoric here. The midrange definition is clear and operates at a high standard with a good level of details retrieval.

    Highs

    The treble has a good extension with no grain. There is no sibilance and harshness. Treble articulation is precise with a good crisp. The body is rather appropriate. Texture is not very smooth. It operates in a bright approach with a good amount of air at the top end. The air gives space to the overall presentation and lightens it. The details shown is in abundance and there is good clarity.

    Soundstage

    The RE800 tackles both the width and depth of soundstage rather well. The positioning of vocals and instruments is presented precisely with no congestion. There is a good depth with a great amount of space. The RE800 has a quick expansion in its soundstage and there is a good open feel.

    [​IMG]

    Comparisons

    HiFiMAN RE800 vs Beyerdynamic Xelento

    The RE800 has less sub-bass extension than the Xelento and it has more quantity. I feel both presents their sub-bass in an authoritative and punchy manner. There is agility in each bass note. The mid-bass on RE800 has more body to it while the Xelento tackles its mid-bass with pace. Xelento has a slight edge in its bass decay. Bass texture on the RE800 is smoother. The impact brought by the Xelento is more and there is more engagement. The lower mids on the RE800 has more body and male vocals are presented with more thickness. The upper mids on the Xelento is more forward. There is more crisp and definition on the Xelento. Female vocals benefit heavily from it. Moving on to the treble section, the Xelento is more extended. There is no sibilance and harshness on both. The amount of air rendered is slightly more on the RE800. For soundstage, both have a very similar width and there is a natural expansion. The depth on the Xelento is slightly better with more space. There is no congestion on both.

    HiFiMAN RE800 vs Campfire Audio Vega

    The Vega has more sub-bass quantity than the RE800 and there is more extension. Vega stretches it more and the depth is shown. The bass presentation on the Vega is more authoritative and there is more mid-bass slam. The Vega approaches it in a heavier approach while the RE800 presents it in a delicate and lighter manner. The RE800 showcases it agility here. The lower mids on the Vega has slightly more body than the RE800. I find the RE800 to have more pace but the impact brought by the Vega is greater. The upper mids on the RE800 is more crisp. Both have good definition. Female vocals is more controlled on the RE800. The presentation is better with mastery. Next, in the treble section, the extension on the Vega stretches more. There is slight harshness on the Vega. The air rendered on both is very similar. In terms of soundstage, the Vega has slightly more width and the depth on the RE800 is better.

    HiFiMAN RE800 vs DITA Answer

    The sub-bass on the RE800 is extended better than the Answer. There is slight grain for the Answer. Bass texture on the RE800 is presented more smoothly. The decay on both is similar. I find the rumble on the RE800 to be more musical. The mid-bass on both is similar in the slam. Bass note on the RE800 is presented with more agility than the Answer. The RE800 has more body in the lower mids and male vocals are presented better. The upper mids on the RE800 has more control and the forwardness has more magnitude. For the treble, Answer is slightly more shouty than the RE800. The RE800 presents the treble with finesse. Articulation is much more precise. There is slight harshness on the Answer. The amount of air on the RE800 is more. Answer has a slight sparkle. For the soundstage, RE800 has more width and depth. Vocals and instruments positioning is rather accurate.

    Conclusion

    The HiFiMAN RE800 is a brilliant dynamic driver iem that boasts an agile bass presentation and controlled treble. It provides an energetic sound that has a high level of engagement. Furthermore, it comes in a premium package with many accessories. HiFiMAN has delivered again with the impressive RE800.

    [​IMG]

    For more reviews, visit https://audio123blog.wordpress.com/ .
      hqssui likes this.
  2. earfonia
    Treble-head Golden IEM
    Written by earfonia
    Published Mar 20, 2018
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Good build quality.
    Small size with excellent fit and comfort.
    Good clarity and transparency.
    Cons - Pricey.
    Polarized towards bright tonality, therefore not an all-rounder IEM. The Lean bass and midrange make it tends to sound good on a certain type of recordings but not so good on others.
    60 ohms impedance is not very smartphone friendly.
    01 P1390415.jpg

    Webpage:
    http://www.hifiman.com/products/detail/274


    Big thanks to AV One Singapore for the opportunity to loan the demo set of Hifiman RE800!
    I should have posted this review many months back, but there was a sudden peak on my workload that forced me to temporarily halt the completion of this review. I guess better late than never, so here is my take on this golden IEM.

    The unit that I reviewed, as shown in the pictures, was the older type of RE800 with no detachable cable. From Hifiman website, I saw that they have upgraded the RE800 with a detachable cable.

    02 P1390405.jpg


    RE800 uses 9.2mm single dynamic driver with special coating technology by Hifiman that they called ‘Topology Diaphragm’. Diaphragm with special ‘nanoparticle’ coating on its surface that distributed in a distinct geometric pattern. The technology is said to reduce distortion and to achieve certain acoustic properties. We can read more explanation about it on the Hifiman website (link above). The IEM housing is made of Brass, electroplated with 24k gold. As for the cable Hifiman chose silver coated crystalline copper, selected from 30 different options. Hifiman seems to have put a lot of attention in the design of RE800. And at this price point, the expectation is high on this cute small golden IEM.

    My personal ratings based on the sound quality alone would be around 3.5 stars, mainly due to my personal preference of sound signature is rather different than the RE800 sound signature. I think treble-heads might rate it higher. I like the small size and comfort factor. The build quality and presentation are also good, therefore I think 4 stars is quite a reasonable rating for RE800. Especially considering Hifiman has listened to user feedback and improved RE800 with a detachable cable for the newer batch of RE800. Extra points there.

    03 P1390409.jpg




    Pros:
    • Good build quality.
    • Small size with excellent fit and comfort.
    • Good clarity and transparency.


    Cons:
    • Pricey.
    • Polarized towards bright tonality, therefore not an all-rounder IEM. The Lean bass and midrange make it tends to sound good on a certain type of recordings but not so good on others.
    • 60 ohms impedance is not very smartphone friendly.


    Suggestions for Improvement:
    • Improve value. For the sound quality it offers, in my opinion, RE800 is rather overpriced.
    • Improve bass and midrange tuning for a more balanced tonality.


    Recommendation:
    • Recommended IEM for treble-head, or those who prefer a higher level of clarity and transparency.
    • Best with classical and general acoustic instrumental recordings.
    • May not be suitable for those who are looking for IEM with full-bodied midrange and realistic sounding bass.


    04 P1390412.jpg




    Sound Quality

    Disclaimer:
    Frequency response measurement in this review was done using MiniDSP UMIK-1 measurement microphone with a DIY acoustic coupler. The DIY acoustic coupler is not an industry standard acoustic coupler, therefore the measurement result is not absolute, and shouldn’t be used for comparison with other measurement result using different measurement equipment. The measurement result in this review is only useful to be used in this review, for comparison between different IEMs measured using the same system.

    05 IMG_0001.jpg


    After reading some reviews in Head-fi, I suspect that there might be more than 1 variant of tuning of RE800, that most probably not on purpose but could be due to production batch inconsistency. The demo unit from AV One Singapore sounds smooth bright and doesn’t seem to have the reported 7 kHz treble peak as reported by other reviewers. Some friends also share similar opinions that the demo unit from AV One Singapore does not suffer from the 7 kHz peak. My measurement also doesn’t show the 7 kHz peak. Therefore I suspect, there might be another variant of tuning besides the tuning of the demo unit that I reviewed, but I cannot confirm that because I never tried or measure the other variant of RE800 with the 7 kHz peak. 7 kHz treble peak is easily detectable and won’t go unnoticed. So the possibility of being mistaken about it is rather slim. My Sennheiser HD800 has 7 kHz treble peak, so I’m quite familiar with it. Although at this price level we expect a much more stringent and consistent quality control. Anyway, that is just my suspicion, and I might be wrong. And hopefully, the new RE800 with detachable cable will have consistent tuning and a more stringent quality control.

    You can read some of the discussion about the 7 kHz peak here:
    https://www.head-fi.org/f/threads/hifiman-re-800.831364/page-9#post-13616853

    In general, I’m not a big fan of bright tonality tuning, so RE800 tuning as mentioned earlier, is not my cup of tea. But having said that it doesn’t mean that I never enjoyed RE800 or my other bright sounding IEMs. Bright IEMs tends to polarize towards a certain type of recordings, good on some and not so good on others. So I generally prefer all-rounder IEMs with more natural tuning. It does sound great with certain recordings such as a classical orchestra. But I prefer a more balanced tuning with fuller sounding midrange and bass. In this review, I also will try to review RE800 from the treble-head point of view, as I think it is a suitable IEM for treble-head. What I mean by treble-head is those who prefer bright, clear, airy, transparent sound with rather lean midrange and bass.

    My 15 years old son has developed an interest in audio as well, and he has been involved in church audio setup. So I let him tried RE800 to get his opinion on the sound quality. He has no idea what is Hifiman RE800 and how much it cost. So we can say that his opinion is unbiased. After about an hour, he came back to me with this:

    06 IMG_0005a.jpg

    He said, that is roughly the frequency response of the RE800 that he observed. My measurement instrument is not reliable for frequency region above 10 kHz, so only useful for comparison of measurement below 10 kHz. From what I hear I believe the RE800 frequency response above 10 kHz is quite extended, not rolled-off as shown in the FR graph below. While for frequency below 10 kHz, my son’s estimation from what he heard is not very far from the measurement result. I’m quite impressed, he has good ears.

    07 HIFIMAN RE800 - Left Channel (Blue) - Right Channel (Red).png


    Being a relatively bright sounding IEM, RE800 handles treble and sibilant pretty well. Treble is smooth and nicely extended, and IMHO not the ear-piercing type of treble. Sibilant is well managed in the sense that it doesn't sound harsh or piercing. RE800 might not be the IEM of choice for those who allergic to sibilant, but treble-heads will most probably find the sibilant level is acceptable and still far from being annoying. Especially when paired with smooth sounding sources like my Geek Out 2A and Onkyo DP-X1, RE800 treble is golden.

    08 20170630_135855a.jpg


    Although RE800 bass is quick and has pretty good sub-bass extension. But bass punch lacks power and impact. I won't call the bass as anemic, but for me, it is not satisfying enough, especially when a potent bass punch is desirable. But for recordings that don't really demand punchy bass, such as classical music, RE800 bass sounds pretty good.

    Midrange is clear and transparent but sounds rather lean, not the full-bodied type of midrange. All my friends that have tested the RE800 mostly mentioned about the midrange as being lean sounding, sometimes too lean to their liking. Someone even said the midrange sounds hollow for his recordings. For me, although I agree that the midrange sounds lean and transparent, but not at the level that I would call hollow. Midrange probably rather too lean for vocal lovers, and rather too bright for some pop recordings, but most vocal audiophile recordings that I've tested with RE800 actually sounds fine to me, in the sense that I still enjoy them with RE800. But generally, I agree that vocal is not RE800's forte. Classical orchestra, chamber music, and general acoustic instrumental recordings are what RE800 will truly shine. Again, it is a matter of personal preferences, but that would be my general recommendation for RE800.

    Different ear tips might cause slight changes to the tonality as well. As you can see below, a generic large bore ear tips (as shown in the picture above) that I tested on RE800 actually sounds pretty good as it reduces the treble brightness slightly.

    09 Hifiman RE800 Stock Grey Eartips (Blue) & Generic Eartips (Yellow).png


    In summary, I perceived the sound quality of the demo unit of RE800 that I review as:
    Moderately bright, clear and transparent, sparkling yet smooth sounding treble, lean clear midrange, lean bass with good sub-bass extension, fast bass but lack of bass punch, good bass and treble extension, fast transient, excellent detail retrieval and instrument separation.

    10 P1390431.jpg




    Compared to DUNU DK-3001
    11 P1390442.jpg

    RE800 perceived as slightly brighter with leaner midrange and bass. DK-3001 is slightly more forward sounding, with a bit more emphasize on the upper midrange. Bass sounds fuller on DK-3001, with more powerful punch and slam. DK-3001 bass is really good, effortless without being overpowering. Midrange body also sounds fuller and much better with vocal. RE800 bass is actually pretty good as well, especially the sub bass extension, but midbass part lacks body and punch power, and the smooth and clear midrange might be to lean for most vocal lovers. The resolution, detail retrieval, clarity, and transparency level are more or less similar. As you might have guessed, in my opinion, DK-3001 is the winner with a more 'spot-on' well-balanced tuning.

    12 Hifiman RE800 Stock Grey Eartips (Blue) - DUNU DN2k (Yellow) - DUNU DK-3001 (Orange).png



    Compared to AK T8iE Mk2
    13 P1390440.jpg

    AK T8iE Mk2 is the only single dynamic driver IEM that I have, that I think worth to be compared to RE800. The sonic signature of AK T8iE Mk2 is quite the opposite of RE800 sonic signature. AK T8iE Mk2 sounds warmer with fuller and stronger bass, fuller sounding midrange and smoother treble. Treble sparkle on AK T8iE Mk2 is not as sparkling as the RE800, and the smoother character of AK T8iE Mk2 treble is more sibilant friendly. When switching from RE800 to MK T8iE Mk2, I do miss the nice treble sparkle of RE800. But when playing vocal, AK T8iE MkII immediately takes the crown. Although AK T8iE Mk2 may sound warmer, but generally it is not a 'very' warm sounding IEM. AK T8iE Mk2 has just the right amount of warmness to the sounds to make general Pop recordings sound more pleasurable, without sacrificing the overall clarity. For my personal preference, AK T8iE Mk2 tuning is more suitable for me.




    Build and Comfort
    In my opinion, overall build quality is pretty good. Besides that 3.5mm jack that I feel unnecessarily too big for this small IEM, I don’t have any other complaint. I used it over the ear, therefore cable microphonic is not an issue. It is very small and comfortable to my ears.

    14 20170618_112305.jpg
    15 P1390426.jpg


    In the discussion thread, some mentioned about the bass tuning port position that might get blocked unintentionally and caused a very high increased of the bass level, causing inconsistent sound quality. I think it is a valid concern even though I never experienced it myself. I guess placing the bass tuning port on the opposite side of the barrel might be a safer option.

    16 P1390424.jpg
    17 P1390427.jpg 18 P1390428.jpg




    Conclusion
    Now the $699 question. Is it $699 good? Quite subjective, and not easy to answer that question. For me personally, the answer is no. Simply because I’m not a treble-head. But those who enjoy emphasized clarity and transparency might say yes. I really like the small size and the comfortable shape, but I prefer a fuller sounding midrange and bass. RE800 performs really well on certain area, but the tuning might not suits everyone.





    Specifications:
    Drivers: 9.2mm Dynamic Driver with Topology Diaphragm
    Frequency response: 5 Hz – 20 kHz
    Impedance: 60 Ohm
    Sensitivity: 105 dB/mW

    19 P1390435.jpg
    20 P1390432.jpg


    Equipment used in this review:

    IEMs:
    DUNU DN-2000
    DUNU DK-3001
    AK T8iE Mk2

    DACs & DAPs:
    Chord Mojo
    Geek Out 2A
    Onkyo DP-X1


    Some recordings used in this review:
    16 Albums - A 1000px.jpg
      FastAndClean likes this.
    1. FastAndClean
      awesome review
      FastAndClean, Mar 20, 2018
      earfonia likes this.
  3. Nymphonomaniac
    Overated, Overpriced & Underwhelming Gold IEM.
    Written by Nymphonomaniac
    Published Mar 6, 2018
    3.0/5,
    Pros - Highly detailed sound, comfortable.
    Cons - Small soundstage, lifeless bass and mids, not so musical sound, too fowards sounding, average construction, non detachable cable, very expensive, poor sound value, cable microphonic.
    HIFIMAN RE-800 REVIEW:

    P3060663.JPG

    SOUND: 7/10
    CONSTRUCTION: 6.5/10
    VALUE: 5/10


    Hifiman got good reception among audio community for there RE-400 and RE-600 IEM models, both using great dynamic drivers. With the RE-800, its the first model using the Topology driver technology that we can find as well in the TOTL RE-2000. This do not mean this 700$ IEM sound the same than 2000$ RE-2000, but there some similarities in how sound feel detailed and balanced without feeling too forced or trebly, even if they are more sharp in vocal region than the RE-2000. Still, this 500-800$ price bracket have alot of competition, can the RE-800 be a valuable option in term of price value? I will share my toughs about this in this little review. Must be noted that there a new RE-800S model with a much needed detachable cable, the one I have is old version.

    (Little info about your humble reviewer: NymPhono is a 34 year old french dude from Quebec (Canada), 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.)

    SPECS:
    Frequency Response : 5Hz-20kHz

    Impedance : 60Ω

    Sensitivity : 105dB

    Weight : 0.95oz (27g)

    9.2mm Dynamic Driver with Topology Diaphragm

    24K Gold Plated

    Silver Coated, Crystaline Copper wire


    CONSTRUCTION & DESIGN :
    P3060669.JPG

    Let’s be clear here : i’m not impress at all by this 700$ IEM construction and I think it’s a issue with near all Hifiman product including there DAP, they just don’t give lot of effort for durability and use of great sturdy material. I remember how I feel insecure with my Hifiman HM601 at the time, built was really cheap, especially the type of plastic used. Having read lot of complaint about QC issue with there IEM and headphones, I don’t unserstand why they don’t give more effort in construction aspect. This IEM, for near 1000$, is just an insult in term of construction as we can find better one constructed at about 50$ these days in china.
    P3060672.JPG P3060679.JPG

    The cable is so so and create lot of microphonic, the housing is gold plated but that’s all about his fancyness as it can be scratch quite easily. The L plug is the same used in lot of cheap chinese detachable cable, and I find it too big as well.
    P3060667.JPG

    Housing is very small, wich is nice, but as the cable create microphonic it make it less interesting.

    All in all, I would not have been impress by this type of construction even if I pay 100$ for the RE-800.


    SOUND :
    P3060675.JPG


    Even if very small in size, sound do not feel too small and have an average soundstage, it offer a slightly bright soundsignature with good extension in both end. Vocal are fowards, but a little too sharp for me, it sound grainy and tend to be harsh or nasal sounding sometime, and lack expansion. This is really where the RE-800 feel imperfect, perhaps some people will like this type of presentation but it isn’t my case. RE-800 offer an overall foward and bright presentation with good treble extension but a lack of air and an average imaging.

    Bass is tigh and punchy, not very thick or round, but it have good texture and great speed. RE-800 aren’t bass light, neither are they V shaped, more W where its the mid bass that have the more impact, so it do not feel loose or too rumbly and give great energy to rock and jazz, even if it lack weight for electro or beat heavy music. As well, it can creat sometime distortion with music that have too much sub, wich confirm the low ends have an issue in 20-500hz region. Cello lack body and sound quite thin because of this, wich is a big drawback for such pricey earphones.

    Mids are treble fowards and very textured, it isn’t particularly sibilant but can feel too bright and peaky for some, especially in upper mids region. Vocal are well separated from rest of instrumental and have an inviting presence wich you have no choice to listen to, so invitation is forced and colored alot, and its a hit or miss game depending of signer, if signer have a grainy voice it will sound dry, its subtle, but lot of time it happen that I just say to myself:man, I don’t like listening to this type of vocal presentation. I prefer clear and warm and organic vocal, here we have an agressive vocal presentation that will not suit all music genre and feel shouty with smooth signers. It have some hissing as well, another time depending of the signer. For instrument, this fast and agressive treble presentation can be good, like for classical, where violin will sound agile. I don’t think mids are exactly recessed, they are push fowards with treble in a non natural way.

    HIGHS are were the RE-800 shine, it have a very revealing treble that give extra resolution and texture to instrumental. The sparkling highs help to give a sens of clarity and dynamic that it lack naturally, it show microdetails easily but isn’t particularly harsh. What it lack is decay and air to extend beautifully, because of this the RE-800 sound sometime dark even if detailed, as if it lack PRaT bravado. I hear details but they do not have a special impact and dynamic to them, and feel underline by a magnifiing treble.

    SOUNDSTAGE as said is average, nothing impressive here, it lack deepness and especially air and even if imaging is good overall sound isn’t very immersive.


    COMPARAISON :

    P3060657.JPG



    VS HIFIMAN RE-2000 (2000$):


    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!

    P3060662.JPG


    VS CAMPFIRE AUDIO POLARIS (600$):


    The Polaris are from another league in every aspects, the soundstage is like 4 times wider, taller and deeper and instruments separation is way clearer and have more air. Bass is rounder and more impactfull and never distort and go deeper. Mids are more fowards and airy and realist and musical. Highs are more detailed and perhaps a little sharper in upper highs but it isn’t an issue. RE-800 feel absurdly congested compared to these incredible performer and even if they were sell 500$ you will feel cheated by such an underwhelming sound presentation.

    P3060659.JPG

    VS TIN AUDIO T2 (50$):

    Soundstage of T2 is wider deeper and more airier and instrument separation is better as well. Vocal of T2 have more body but less texture, they feel less hissy as well. Both have about same level of details but the T2 feel more realist because of way wider soundstage and a little more impact in bass and mids, where the RE-800 have more highs treble emphasis. RE-800 feel faster and tigher because sound have less natural decay. As well, T2 have a detachable cable and an overall better construction if we take the price in account. All in all, I feel the T2 is a better performer and have more musicality, and all that at a 14 times les expensive price.

    CONCLUSION:

    I really don’t understand why this very mediocre earphone have such great reviews here on headfi and I suspect that it’s due to selled ass semi-biased reviewers that became a plague these day as they are promoting agent for hifi brands and they want to seduce there furnisher brand to please them and receive more freebies. I’m against this practice and became very sceptical about some reviewers here (I will not tell there name but they can be find in this very reviews page). It’s simple, if a reviewer is near always hysterical about how good IEM sound its suspect, even more if they don’t take the price as a big factor. At 700$ we can’t be as permissive as with sub 100$ IEM and the RE-800 just do not deliver a precious high end sound and have very amateurish flaws that will even make me mad with a 50$ iem, like overall thin and near congested sound, small soundstage, peaky treble and non musical vocal. If your about to spend 700$ on these, wait a minute and try to find a store to listen to them as well as other 200-800$ iem, i’m pretty certain you will prefer the Sennheiser IE800 or Campfire Audio Polaris over this way overated and utterly overpriced IEM. As a chinese brand, Hifiman should check out what can be find these day in IEM chinese market, because I honnestly find this IEM ridiculously so-so sounding for the price and will suggest any TFZ, Senfer, Ibasso, Brainwavz, Zhiyin, Tinaudio, Macaw, Magaosi or PMV chifi iem over them.
      B9Scrambler likes this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. B9Scrambler
      Not to mention the embarrassing build quality. KZs feel like a luxury item in comparison.
      B9Scrambler, Mar 6, 2018
      Nymphonomaniac likes this.
    3. Nymphonomaniac
      Price aspect is very important in my reviews as you know...and the RE-800 is an insult to this price range IMO Somebody must tell it as it is. Cable is sticky and make lot of microphonic...so the 800S is surely a more mature product....feel RE-800 was lauch too fast, like lot of Hifiman products...I read an interview of the Hifiman founder and wasn't impress by his over the top confidence.
      Nymphonomaniac, Mar 6, 2018
      B9Scrambler likes this.
    4. Nymphonomaniac
      well, okay then, will not try them even at 25$:wink: Reading right now another interview of Fang Bian and was confuse to read how much care he supposedly give for high quality cable choice. As well as this strange but revealing sentence: "High quality sound is becoming more expensive today.''
      Nymphonomaniac, Mar 6, 2018
  4. justrest
    Golden Age
    Written by justrest
    Published Jan 13, 2018
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Beautifully built, Open, detailed, dynamic sound, Transparency, impressive resolution, Crystal clear trebles, amazing comfort and fit, Detachable cable,
    Cons - Trebles can be too much for some, not for bass-heads.
    Before start this review, I would like to share technical aspects and package details.

    IMG_0364-1.jpg

    Specification:

    Frequency Response : 5Hz-20kHz

    Impedance : 60Ω

    Sensitivity : 105dB

    Earphone Weight : 0.95oz (27g)

    Driver: 9.2mm dynamic driver

    Housing: brass 24k electroplated gold.


    Package:

    - RE800 Earphone

    - Detachable MMCX cable

    - 3 Pair silicon Tips – 1 pair Comply Foam

    - Aluminium Case

    Untitled-2.jpg

    Design & Isolation;

    The RE800 has high quality 24K gold-plated brass body. The junction points are clean and there are no flaws or faults on the body. It feels very good in the hand. It is extremely successful in terms of ergonomics and fit. The model I owe is the current version which can be plugged into the MMCX. It's not loose when the cable is plugged in. Its very durable and solid. The cable can be inserted into the current MMCX version unlike the previous model, so you can upgrade your cable. Visually, RE800 looks like jewellery in your hand and much more beautiful than its pictures.

    The RE800 has a tiny little body and it is almost disappearing when you wear. Fit feels incredibly comfortable. Although the RE800 itself is a little bit heavy, you don’t feel any discomfort or imbalance in the ear. It is also quite comfortable with silicone and Comply tips. The stock cable that comes with RE800 also looks good. The material is soft and nice to touch. When you put the RE800 into the storage case, there is no tangling. I don’t have any MMCX cable, so I haven’t been able to experienced it sound with another type of cables. I think the right cable choice would be a copper or copper hybrid cable.

    In conclusion, I liked the RE800 in terms of design, materials and workmanship.

    Untitled-1.jpg

    Sound Type:

    The RE800 has crystal-clear presentation and amazingly high resolution at top frequencies. The level of resolution is unbelievably high. Especially, I would like to point out the resolution; I don't think it is possible to buy any earphones with higher resolution in this price range. Immaculate vocals, clear timbres and nice strong bass are the best words to describe the RE800. Particularly the details and the speed of the trebles are really top notch. This may not be suitable for everyone, but the RE800 has a quality that can impress you even if you do not like trebles. Middle frequencies are a bit behind in the general spectrum but not too far behind. However, when you listen with warm sources, the bass is satisfying. Soundstage is wide as open-headphones. The overall sound character is transparent and bright.

    IMG_0419-1.jpg
    IMG_0416-1.jpg
    IMG_0432-1.jpg
    IMG_0434-1.jpg

    Trebles:

    The RE800 is one of the most detailed dynamic earphone I have ever listened and I think treble is the most special frequency area of the RE800. The amount of the treble is much more prominent than the other frequencies and these tops add clarity to the earphones. When playing music, it gives the feeling of every sound coming from different place into the soundstage. It is quite detailed and fast. It reflects all the errors and details in your ear clearly. The upper frequencies have extremely high resolution, fretless and distinctive. I can easily say that I haven’t heard any universal earphone that have better treble. The RE800 reflects every mistake of the records. If the record is clear, you cannot hear any sibilance, but if the record is bad, the sibilance is quite obvious to hear. The RE800 has its own unique tune that I have never heard before.

    The treble is generally bright / shiny, but in spite of it character, it doesn’t show any unnatural presentation. Dr.Fang did a very fine tuning of the treble. If you use it with bright sources, it may be a little tiring and that’s why I recommend to use it with warmer sources. The general presentation of treble may be excessive for some users, but if you are a treble lover, this is the right earphone for you.

    I would like to mention that RE800 is the most compatible with Dap’s I owe AK120 and DX200. Also, I really appreciate its harmony with Dragonfly Black.

    IMG_0385-1.jpg

    Mids:

    RE800 is very musical and mid frequencies have nice level of detail but a little bit behind of the bass and the trebles in general spectrum. The lower mids are slightly recessed, but it is not bothered too much, so you don't feel any lack of mid. RE800 doesn't play mid frequencies that bold and meaty, so those who love that kind of mid can find it a bit weak. Actually, I was waiting full body sound and bold presentation but when I played the song, I heard clean, bright and highly resolved sound. The separation of mids are very successful. The upper mids are bright but its control is really good. Whenever I listen to the fast passages I observed it's rarely losing the control, in my opinion it is due to the recording and sources. The vocals are neither behind nor front but its recessive in overall presentation which defining RE800 as slightly V-shape. My personal taste is to hear closer vocals but I barely find it. The vocals are a bit recessed. I found female vocals slightly better than male vocals. The reason of it is the mid frequencies have thin notes.

    IMG_0428-1.jpg

    Bass:

    I am not a bass-head but the most important frequencies of a headphone are bass for me. The RE800’s bass is not so powerful as a bass headphone but it can go deep when it calls. Actually, I can say that many users are going to like the bass tone and quantity of RE800. Bass is not very authoritative in the overall presentation but as I mention before, if there is bass in the music, it is not shy to rumble. I tried to test bass quantity, listened to the EDM music and I can easily say that I am satisfied with it. Apart from that the amount of bass in popular genres is more than enough. Bass frequencies doesn’t take up much room on the general spectrum, they don’t have a negative effect on the background. Also, it doesn’t dominate the other frequencies. The speed of bass is much faster than I expected. It achieves fast passages without losing its resolution and detail. it is able to hit hard, extend and go deep whenever it is necessary. While I listen to EDM I think the bass speed is quite high for a dynamic driver but it doesn't reach to the speed of balanced armature driver. Bass is lightly emphasis and controlled. Overall, bass level meets expectations in terms of timbre, quality and details.

    IMG_0427-1.jpg

    Soundstage:

    The width of the soundstage is as like as an open-back headphone. In spite of the width of soundstage, instruments do not spread around, rather they can be distinguished easily. it offers a spacious concert by means of the wide soundstage. The separation of the instruments is extremely good and it is possible to position them in the track. Instruments are perceivable due to high resolution.

    IMG_0440-1.jpg

    Verdict:

    The RE800 has a bright presentation with wide and deep soundstage, high instrumental separation, natural and refine tune. The resolution is extremely high that I have never heard that before in this price range. The detail level of the trebles is much better than the more expensive earphones. I can say that I really liked the Hifiman RE800. Resolution and detailed presentation that should definitely not be ignored in this price range.
  5. Dobrescu George
    HiFiMAN RE800 - Outstanding, Engaging, Vivid
    Written by Dobrescu George
    Published Oct 26, 2017
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Excellent Soundstage, Clear Sound, Detail and Microdetail Retrieval, Separation Between Instruments, Energetic Signature, Lots Of Treble, Well-Layered Bass, Top-Notch Sound, Flawless Comfort, Build Quality, Beautiful
    Cons - Treble Might Be A Bit Sharp For Some
    HiFiMAN RE800 - Outstanding, Engaging, Vibrant

    HiFiMAN brings a new contender to their high-end IEM offering! RE800 promises to do a lot with their Topology Diaphragm, technology also found in their bigger brother, RE2000.

    [​IMG]



    Introduction

    HiFiMAN electronics has been a huge company in the Audiophile Industry for a while now, and they made a big name for themselves with well-known products like their HE-560 and HE-1000. Founded in 2005 by Dr. Fang Bian, HiFiMAN has been refining their IEMs and headphones offerings ever since.

    HiFiMAN also made some of the best-known audiophile DAPs, like the HM-901 DAP, which has been held in the hearts of the fans for a long time as having one of the sweetest sounds they ever heard.

    [​IMG]

    It should be mentioned that, like IE800, RE800 is a single Dynamic Driver IEM, and it doesn't rely on multi-BA setups. The main feature is the lightweight driver made under the Topolgy Driver Diaphragm name, a technology that proposes to make drivers that respond even faster to impulse than the typical dynamic driver, leading more details and better precision.

    I have absolutely no affiliation with HiFiMAN Electronics, I am not receiving any incentive for this review or to sweeten things out. This review will be as objective as possible and it reflects my personal experience with RE800. Every opinion expressed is mine and I stand by it, the purpose of this review is to help those interested in RE800 find their next music companion. This review is part of a small tour organized by HiFiMAN for their newly released products and my opinions have been taken after having used RE800 for at least two months, enough time to accommodate with the sound and all the details about this wonderful IEM.



    About me

    My name is George Dobrescu and I am the Director of the Seventh Heart Studios game studio. I work as one of the main programmers for the company, and I am the writer for Quantum Magica and Falsetto Memories projects. I spend eight – twelve hours a day working on a computer, writing and sometimes drawing. I also take care of administrative work which means that I require a portable setup so I'll be testing the portability of iDSD as well.

    Music is present all around me for a big part of that time as working with music is always more fun. With all the devices I own, I need great sound, comfort and ease of usage, not to mention that my listening volume ranges from "please stop that, it's far too loud" to "I can't even tell that you're listening to music".

    My collection includes everything from Classical to Metal, from Rap to Pop, from Punk to Cabaret and absolutely everything in between. There are great artists from every type of music, and I'm one to collect their albums, and keep a tidy order for my files.

    You can check out more about our games on our pages https://www.facebook.com/seventh.heart.studios/ and https://twitter.com/7heartstudios .

    At Seventh Heart Studios, we all love music and this has had an impact on our games as we hold the music close to our hearts and we are committed to only use ogg -q10 as the encoding format for our music since it offers the best disk space to sound quality ratio, OGG -q10 being closest to audibly transparent when compared to FLAC encoding.

    Personal philosophy: Music is more than a hobby or sound. Music is inspiration. Music is life. Music has meaning by itself, being the one thing that can define one's life while shaping one's imagination and creativity. Music can open doors to new plains and music can change one's mood. Music can rest the mind better than days of sleep or can give one energy better than a thousand cups of coffee. Music can be anything we want it to be and the music we experience using professional audition tools is more but at the same time it is nothing more than our way of enhancing the emotion we get from music. Love is a concept too shallow, unable to encompass what music really means to a music lover.



    First Impression

    When it comes to high-end IEMs, I have owned quite a few by now, and while it might seem ironic, HiFiMAN's own RE2000 is one of the best IEMs out there, high in the top with other well-renown IEMs. RE800 and RE2000 both rely on a single Dynamic Driver setup, comparable with Sennheiser ie800, in technology, since ie800 is also a TOTL (Top-Of-The-Line) IEM which employs a Single Dynamic Driver setup.

    [​IMG]

    I have owned quite a few IEMs and headphones before, Ultrasone DJ One Pro, Meze 99 Classics, Ultrasone Signature Studio, Dunu DK-3001, Sennheiser ie800, HiFiMAN RE-2000, Oriveti New Primacy, Kinera H3, FiiO F9, Beyerdynamic Xelento, and a few others. I also owned high end sources like DAPs (Opus #3, iBasso DX200, Opus #2, FiiO X7mkii), and high-end DAC/AMPs (iFi iDSD Black Label).

    I actually received the RE800 as part of a package from HiFiMAN Electronics, being part of the tour for their newly released products, and this time, the package arrived in a pretty funny way. I must commend HiFiMAN's communication and support as the package almost got lost on the road, and they provided great amounts of effort to help me receive the package safely.

    It was a rainy day when I first took RE800 out for a listen. Describing the weather that day as rain is too little to be said, the aphotic skies vaguely resembled the end of the world, thunderous applauses from above shaking the buildings from their grounds. The clock stroke around mid noon when I noticed that I have no provisions left and that I should go purchase some. I quickly dressed up, took on my coat and plugged RE800 in Opus #3 and prepared to challenge the nature itself for nutrition and survival. The bleak walls of my room felt as if they were melting down on me as the rain was pulling more and more force in each drop. Disheartened, I took a few steps out of the room and pressed play. A shock went through me like a lightning as I wandered through the corridors. A sweet melody dazzled my mind far into a fantasy world as my ears were tickled and delighted by sweet symphonies coming from RE800 and Machinae Supremacy's music. A quick thrill ran down my spine as multiple layers of sweet guitars and glazing cymbals were presented by this little golden IEM. Everything got brighter in mere minutes. No rain could darken my mood anymore, not even the storms raging outside. It was time for more listening with RE800 and to see how it combines with other sources.



    Packaging:

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

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    HiFiMAN goes a step beyond when it comes to their packaging, RE800 coming in a rather mid-large sized wood box that bears all the accessories needed within. The presentation is quite luxurious, especially considering that most IEMs up to this price point come in cardboard boxes.

    Although the tips included might work and should work for most people, I actually borrowed the Spinfit tips that came with Dunu DK-3001 for my sonic impressions.

    The metallic-grey wooden box comes packaged in a smooth cartoon paper that includes a few bits of information about RE-800, like a presentative photo, the Frequency Response, which is 5Hz – 20kHz, the impedance, which is 60OHM, and the sensitivity, which is about 105 dB. HiFiMAN wants to note their users that RE800 are electroplated with a gold finish, by having a sticker mentioning this in the upper left corner of the paper wrap.

    The metallic-grey wooden box is simple, elegant, and on the top side you will find the logo of HiFiMAN and the model name.

    HiFiMAN's slogan is pretty cool, "Innovating the Art of Listening", and we are going to look how much HiFiMAN delivers on their slogan in the sonic and usage aspect of RE800.

    Inside the wooden box, you will find RE800 In Ear Monitors, a carry box (that proven to be quite useful and practical), a selection of tips, both Comply and double/triple flanged tips, and plastic earhooks. The selection of accessories is quite good, and RE800 comes with enough to enjoy them. It should be noted that the official current version of RE800 comes with detachable cables as well.

    RE800 comes with a high-quality, beautifully designed owner's book, that includes a lot of useful information. It was enlightening to read about HiFiMAN's quondam models, like RE600 and their first headphones.

    The wooden case in which RE800 is packaged will come in handy for keeping other audio-related equipment, especially as it is padded with a soft, velvety material that will caress your audio items, keeping them in good condition and gently defending them from scratches.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    To recap, RE800 comes with:

    - Foam tips

    - EarHooks

    - Single Flange tips

    - 2-Flange tips

    - 3-Flange tips

    - Owner's Guide

    - Earphone Travel Case

    - Premium Wooden Case

    - RE800 IEMs

    All in all, a good package for a good-looking IEM.



    What you should look for when considering a IEM (In-Ear Monitor)

    When purchasing an IEM, there are a few factors you should take into account to ensure that you’ll have the best experience possible. Sooner or later, all those factors will come into play, one way or another:

    - Sound quality – This is, by far, the most important aspect of every purchase, when you invest in high end audio products. The sonic characteristics, along with the frequency response / sonic signature widely differs from IEM to IEM.

    - Comfort / ergonomics – The fit and comfort are quite important, especially if you plan on using the same IEM for hours in a row, or in a live performance.

    - Isolation – Every IEM will offer some degree of isolation, but there are both models that focus on ultra-isolation from the outside noise, and open models.

    - Good Value – Always nice to have

    - Interesting/Intriguing design – Every user will have a personal preference and taste for what an “interesting design” is, but it is generally recommended to pick a IEM which you consider to be aesthetically pleasing, or in simpler words, Good Looking.

    - Drive-Factor – How easy it is to drive and how prone to hissing it is, since certain IEMs and headphones will require special sources to offer the best performance.

    - Accessories included – It is better to have a large selection of tips and accessories included with a IEM, especially for those that feature unique tips or require their own accessories.

    - Build Quality and Warranty – While it is good to have a solid warranty included with Every IEM, having a solid build quality is far better. Having best of both is the icing on the cake.



    Technical Specifications

    Impedance - 60 Ohm

    Connector - 3.5mm Single Ended Jack

    Frequency Response - 5Hz - 20.000Hz

    Rated Power Efficiency - 105 dB

    Cable length - 150 cm / 3.5mm Jack

    Cable Type - Crystalline Cooper, Silver Coated

    Driver Type - Dynamic Driver

    Driver Technology - Topology Diaphragm

    Housing Material - Brass, Gold Electroplated

    Earphone Weight - 27g

    Coupling Type - In-Ear, Deep Insertion Fit

    Low Magnetic Emissions - Yes (Inherent)



    Build Quality/Aesthetics

    From the moment you receive RE800, you know that you are dealing with a glamorous, top-end IEM, presented beautifully in a wooden box, and seated in a gentle velvety sponge cutout, which is covered in a luscious coating, RE800 appear like two golden jewels that are crying for attention.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The IEMs themselves are made from Brass, a resilient alloy made from weaving in cooper and zinc, then they are electroplated in gold. HiFiMAN took great care to mention that their IEMs are caressed with the best of materials, to bring most enjoyment to the listener.

    The cables are supple, and are very flexible, providing an excellent option for both those who want to wear them straight-down and over-the-ear, sporting a very solid 3.5mm L-angled connector.

    The IEMs themselves have extremely small bodies which are smooth to the touch, providing gentle slopes and curves in their design for improved comfort and splendid design. Both IEMs housings have HiFiMAN's logo printed on the back, and they also have an L and R markings to notify the user of which is the left and which is the right earpiece.

    [​IMG]

    The only downside of RE800 might be that they don't have detachable cables, but soon after the initial release, HiFiMAN issued a recall and provided RE800 with fully replaceable cables to their users.

    With their minute sized bodies, RE800 can only be compared to IE800, which also have a keen look to their construction bodies, both being extremely comfortable, even for users with very small ear canals.

    The Travel Case is not branded, but it features a smooth rubbery texture on the outside, with a small pouch on the inside. At first, one could judge the Travel Case to be pretty frail, but I have thrown it in my bag, even under many heavy other objects, and it survived without a scratch, proving to be one of the best Travel Cases for IEMs out there.

    All in all, with their sweet golden color and their gentle bodies, RE800 look like two jewels and while they won't make anyone turn their head as they almost disappear inside one's ears, they sure are a cute and stylish IEM to see on the table and to analyze while you're not using it.



    Fit / Comfort

    Inside the Owner's Guide, HiFiMAN is proud to present that RE800 can be worn both straight down and Over-The-Ear. After testing, they proved to be wearable in both situations. Furthermore, they are extremely comfortable in both conditions, the IEMs, the bore sizes, and the tips usually being small and having a gentle contact with one's ears, providing excellent fit and comfort.

    [​IMG]

    Given that they are small IEMs, I am not sure if the largest provided tips are large enough for someone with larger ear canals, but since RE800 works with most aftermarket cables out there, I wouldn't worry about their fit in any way.

    I have actually been using the pair of Spinfit tips that came with the Dunu DK-3001 while using RE800 since Spinfit offers the best comfort for me, and I have to commend Dunu for including it and for opening my mind to those tips. It would be great if more companies would start to add Spinfit in their default tip selection, but HiFiMAN's default selection of double and triple flanged tips, along with Comply foam tips is fairly good as well.

    All in all, RE800 will be extremely comfortable for almost any user, and their fit should be excellent with all ears out there, given their small size. Even if a user wants to use a third party set of tips, this is easily doable since RE800 has a typical bore size and most third party tips will work with them flawlessly.



    Testing

    HiFiMAN RE800 has been tested with Xiaomi Mi Max 2, FiiO X5ii, Opus #3, Opus #2, iBasso DX200, Hidizs AP200, Shanling M2s, FiiO X7mkii and with the benchmark DAC/AMP, iFi iDSD Black Label.

    [​IMG]

    RE800 can easily be driven from most portable sources, but given their rather revealing signature, they will answer well to using a better source. It should be noted that they have a somewhat odd impedance for a IEM, 60OHM, this aspect making them less sensitive to impedance matching and prone to work well with a wider array of sources, regardless of their output impedance.

    RE800 is not prone to hiss from any kind of sources, thing probably attributed their increased impedance, thing which makes them an excellent IEM to combine even with noisier sources.



    Sound Quaity

    HiFiMAN RE800 is a little energetic IEM that provides a lot of energy in the higher registers, an impactful, full, and natural bass, a natural yet slightly recessed midrange, and a very good instrument separation. Drums are snappy, voices have a natural tone and texture to them, especially male voices, and everything comes out sweet and musical, similar to how IE800 is pretty sweet and musical. The true-to-life tonality and bite in the upper registers will work amazingly well with Acoustic music.

    [​IMG]

    Although they are musical and natural for voices, RE800 is not free of coloration, providing a rather fun and engaging sound, with a little unique signature, which will appeal more to certain users. They are really good at expressing a well-extended sound in both bass and treble, they have enhanced and electrifying textures, and the detail and micro-detail presentation is over the top. The Topology Diaphragm Driver technology works very well for RE800's resolution and its sonic abilities, providing an exceedingly detailed yet fun, engaging, and musical sound.

    The signature can be described as vivid, vibrant, euphoric, deep, and energetic. There is a little dip somewhere in the 3.5 – 4 kHz area and a little peak in the ~6-8 kHz area, which leads to a sound that enhances acoustic guitars and acoustic instruments very nicely, providing them with more bite and vibrancy. Many IEMs go in the opposite direction and are cutting too much bite from acoustic guitars, so it is nice to see a different approach this. The layering RE800 provides is also insanely good, being up there in the top with the best IEMs.



    Little disclaimer

    All sonic impressions for RE800 have been taken with DX200, Opus #2, M2s, AP200, X7mkii and iDSD BL, all of those being impressive audio devices, each having a signature of its own. All sources will influence the sound more or less, but RE800 has a certain sonic character that is present with all sources. Some sources might tone down or change the initial signature provided by RE800, while other sources will enhance their natural signature.



    Channel balance

    RE800 seems to have an excellent channel balance and there is no aberration to be detected.



    Bass

    The Bass of RE800 is excellently well extended, down to the lowest registers with no roll-off, providing an excellent impact and resolution. RE800 is able to resolve micro-textures and minute-level details quite well, Hip-Hop music feeling quite vivid and detailed. Natural and acoustic instruments have an excellent timing and RE800 manages to sound very natural, providing the level of texturization and depth you would expect when hearing a live double-bass or other bass instruments.

    The impact and depth are above what one would expect from a IEM with such small housings, the bass is deep, and provides earth-shattering levels of impact, but doesn't really go overboard, having no traces of bloat. It is like RE800 has an enhanced bass, but a bass that keeps its timing tight and its resolving abilities straight while still being quite enhanced.

    Fara zahar – Starea Natiunii – This is the first time Romanian music is added to the song impressions list, but we have to take into account that there are excellent Romanian artists out there. Fara Zahar is a Romanian Folk / Parody / Avant-Garde – Pop band that had excellent recording and mastering for their 2008 album, Neamul Lui Penes Curcanul. All of those are supposed to be comedy songs, but they still sound excellent through RE800, providing a different outlook on this type of music. The song starts with an outstanding guitar composition accompanied by a deep and large bass playing in the foreground. Voices sound natural and have a very true-to-life tonality and texture to them, RE800 making them feel more like a live presentation rather than a recorded piece listened through IEMs. The acoustic guitars play with amazing detail and a sweet tonality. The drums sound very crispy and detailed, and the whole composition is playful, dynamic and enjoyable. The message about the condition of Romania from back in 2008 sounds sweet and funny, RE800 proving to be an excellent IEM to play the songs of Fara Zahar.

    The Tiger Lillies – Killer – Since RE800 is best at acoustic music, let's explore another band that employs a strong combination of both gentle and harder acoustic instruments, The Tiger Lillies. Their song Killer is an excellent test-song due to its good mastering. After the theatrical intro, the song starts with a very groovy, large and impactful bass line, played along a quick and snappy accordion and a gentle drum and snare pattern. The voice is very clean and clear, providing an excellent driving mechanism for the entire song. The story about how the singer could have been a killer is sent forward with amazing emotional depth and convincing statement. Although TTL is a comedy / Avant-Garde band, the song feels quite real and the instruments are rather tangible.

    Ленинград – Комон эврибади – Leningrad is one of the best-known bands of Parody, Comedy and Avant-Garde music from Russia. Their compositions and songs have millions of lovers world-wide and their playful and melodic style has impressed many already. The song starts with a playful combination of guitars and drums that are quickly followed by the trumpets and the rather hoarse voice of the lead singer. The voice feels natural, as if the singer is next to the listener, and the smoothing that is sometimes applied is absent, leading to a very vivid experience. The bass is always deep and heavy, played with a natural decay, and offers a convincing sound of a real-life bass guitar. The trumpets and other blow instruments are presented very energetic and vivid, and the cymbals bear a realistic vibrancy to them.



    Midrange

    The Midrange of RE800 is an open experience, as they provide a very convincing soundstage and instrument separation, especially with Spinfit tips and Mandarin tips. The tonality of the midrange is excellent for Acoustic music and Pop, but might sound a bit hot for some of the harsher Metal music. I love how they sound with metal, as they render it quite vivid, but it should be noted that cymbal hits come a bit hot. There is a overly nice sweetness to the sound of a violin and to the sound of an acoustic guitar when playing a ballad, along with a certain sense of rhythm to all music.

    RE800 can be tamed and treated to sound leaner with a bit of EQ, feeling a bit like a wild animal, that can be tamed and taught to do anything the user desires.

    A static Lullaby – Toxic (Cover) – This song is a part of the "Punk Goes Pop" compilation, an excellent set of pop songs performed by punk, rock, and metal bands. The song starts with an engaging combination of acoustic guitar notes, followed by natural voice meddled with sweet rhythm guitars and snappy drums. Everything is kept in its own place and presented with a good amount of space and air between the instruments, RE800 being really good at presenting music in a well-separated way. The cymbals have an exquisite energy about them, and this enhances the detail and the micro-detail levels, bringing forward many nuances that are otherwise subdued form this song, like the background synth sounds and the fine textures in the rhythm guitars. The story about the toxic love that becomes addictive to the one feeling it is felt vividly and presented with a good amount of emotional involvement.

    Rings Of Saturn – The Heavens Have Fallen – The instrumental composition by the rather heavy band, Rings of Saturn, starts with a sweet combination of synth notes woven together, giving the listener an introduction to the parallel plane he is going to explore through the song. When the song starts, it starts with great impact and it pushes the listener forward in the sixth dimension, quickly playing with all his senses. The vibrant solo guitars woven with sweet rhythm guitars played along a snappy, quick, yet powerful drum set sends the listener's mind dreaming at thousands of stars flowing through the space-time continuum. The solos are sweet and delicate, yet bear great amounts of power and emotion. The message of this instrumental song, unclear, yet vividly presented, about the universe as a whole, its creation, and unavoidable ascension throws the listener into both a listening craze, and a sweet meditation about life and its meaning.

    The Offspring – Cool To Hate – This old-school punk song starts with an picturesque and vintage atmosphere representing America during the year the album was recorded in, about 1997. Guitars are always presented with a good amount of texture and sweetness to them, while the voices always sound natural and come through with a good amount of power, yet never sound harsh. The cymbals are presented with a good amount of force and life in them, providing a vivid experience for the listener. The story about the protagonist, the negativistic teenager we all once been, hating everything, is transmitted on a fun and happy tone, almost like listening to a happy tune about happy teens, but with the opposite message.



    Treble

    HiFiMAN RE800 has a unique way of conveying the treble, adding a lot of energy and life to the cymbals and other instruments that have a lot of content in the lower treble, like trumpets. This makes RE800 an excellent IEM for well-recorded music and music that has a very honest treble presentation, like acoustic music. On the other hand, metal music can sound a bit hot for some, RE800 having a small enhancement in that area.

    This unique way of presenting the treble with a lot of energy makes RE800 stand out in clarity, detail, micro-details and honesty, giving them a strong edge when it comes to having a life-like presentation.

    Besides the energetic side of the treble, it is good to mention that RE800 are quite detailed and that their treble sounds rather solid, especially compared with something like IE800 which has a softer sound to their treble, albeit having an energetic top end as well.

    Machinae Supremacy – The Greatest Show On The Earth – The song starts with a few feeble and shy guitar notes played together, like children playing gleefully through hidden woods. The song starts strong with a series of sweet guitar notes. The voices always sound natural, never being harsh or overexposed, and they are accompanied by gentle sound of bells and other special effects. The bass keeps being quite strong through the song, but it doesn't shadow the sweet midrange. The top end of the song is always presented vividly, with the cymbals having a tiny peak to them, yet without feeling harsh or over the board.

    Jason Derulo – Talk Dirty – A good test track, to show what RE800 can do with a heavily compressed pop song that features extreme amounts of bass. The song starts with a good amount of drums/effects played in an airy and open space. There is a good sense of rhythm and playfulness with the whole song, the bass is heavy and goes very deep, but it is well controlled and provides an excellent clarity and texture, whilst keeping good amounts of control. Voices are clear, natural and sound very clear as well. The background voices are also vivid and presented with good amounts of life to them. The jazzy blow instruments are vibrant, but they don't go over the top, staying quite playful rather than being stringent. The enhancements in RE800's treble don't bother at all, and RE800 does an amazing job at playing pop music. The story of the song feels real, and although this song doesn't have a necessarily interesting or nice story, it is good to know that RE800 has the ability to present it well.

    Rob Zombie – Werewolf baby – Rob Zombie's songs are always good to test with all equipment. Excellent recording, mastering and post production conditions make Rob Zombie's music some of the best out there. The song starts with a funky yet playful combination of rhythm and lead guitars played along quick and rowdy drum sets. The voices feel realistic, and the whole song is presented in a large and open space, with a very good separation between the musical instruments. The song chorus is vivid and playful, being quite easy to move your head while listening to this scary yet addictive song by Rob Zombie. The story about the man who becomes the werewolf is presented in a dark yet fun light, almost like a painting about Rob Zombie's movies, where the watcher almost sympathizes with the antagonists.



    Soundstage

    HiFiMAN RE800 has quite an expansive soundstage, especially considering their physical size and what one would expect form them before plugging them in. Most IEMs that feature a deep insertion, or small IEM bodies, will have a more intimate soundstage presentation, but RE800 seems to do its best to defy this logic, providing an excellent all-around soundstage. Special effects in the music of Escape the Fate can come from quite far away, there are certain instruments that feel as if they are played above or below the listener, and there is a very good general sense of space and air, all instruments being able to breathe as they should.

    The instrument separation is very good as well, comparable with the mighty Sennheiser IE800, a TOTL IEM priced similarly to RE800. The listener can easily tell different instruments and instrument layers apart from each other, it is very easy to identify every single nuance in every unique instrument.



    ADSR/PRaT

    HiFiMAN RE800 has a uniquely quick driver, which leads to a very life-like presentation of the ADSR (Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release) / PRaT (Pace, Rhythm and Timing). The Attack of each note is quick and RE800 gives acoustic instruments an especially natural presentation, with all the natural textures and enhancements they are supposed to have. Listening to RE800 can easily lead to tapping your feet while listening to rhythmic electronic or while hearing the sweet Jazzy melodies sang as if they were played right in front of you.

    [​IMG]

    The rather large and impactful bass presentation doesn't hinder quick rendering of other elements, the ADSR being quick enough to present all details and micro-details, even while RE800 has large amounts of bass impact.

    Electronic guitars have a uniquely enhanced texture representation, that is probably a characteristic of the unique Topology driver designed by HiFiMAN. All in all, there is no space to complain about the ADSR / PRaT, even at their rather high price.



    Portable Usage

    RE800 has been thought and designed to be a portable IEM, starting with the small IEM bodies, excellent ergonomics, and their easy-to-drive nature.

    [​IMG]

    The cables are designed to be portable as well, with their supple and flexible construction. It is good to mention that the cables provide very little to no cable noise (microphonic noise), and they are quite comfortable to wear, being light enough to allow for walking and doing other activities while wearing RE800.

    The isolation of RE800 will be dependent on the tips used, my personal favorites, the Spinfit tips and the Mandarin tips both offering an excellent amount of isolation from the outside noise. It is possible to use RE800 at low levels while taking a walk through the thunderous streets of Bucharest, as RE800 is able to defend the listener from most of that commotion.



    Drive factor

    HiFiMAN RE800 is fairly easy to drive, and while it can be driven from almost any smartphone, and even sound great as such, adding a professional DAP (Digital Audio Player), or a DAC/AMP, will surely enhance the experience and will help the sound become not just great, but amazing. RE800 is not particularly sensitive to hiss, and seems to work pretty well with most sources it was tested with, but it is fair to mention that depending on the listener's tastes, some sources might provide a better synergy.



    Select pairings

    RE800 + iDSD BL – The acoustic genius playing along the TOTL benchmark DAC/AMP is a totally sweet combination. RE800 doesn't need the switches on iDSD BL to be engaged, as it has a very good sound just by being driven by it. The unique signature of iDSD BL will sweeten the midrange of RE800, giving them even more musical edge and widening the types of music it works best with. iDSD BL will enhance the bass impact and the treble clarity of RE800 a bit, but it won't make them harsh nor increase the peaks they have, making a very good companion for details and musicality. iDSD BL will also enhance the soundstage size of RE800 by a good amount.

    RE800 + iBasso DX200 (AMP1) – This is a very recommended pairing for RE800 since iBasso DX200 is the neutral master of DAPs, providing a very linear, yet musical and detailed sound. As such, it doesn't increase the bass nor the treble of RE800, but it will enhance the dynamics and textures, giving RE800 even more detail, without taking away any of the musicality they present to the listener. DX200 is also one of the best DAPs when it comes to its instrument separation, further enhancing the instrument separation of RE800. Since this is the SE version of RE800 with no removable cables, it was impossible to test DX200 + AMP3 with RE800. Commercial versions should have interchangeable cables, providing option for balanced cables as well.

    RE800 + Opus #2 – Opus #2 makes an excellent companion for RE800, being one of the DAPs I used a lot with it. The sound can be described as sweet and musical. Opus in general has a sweet spot for sounding musical and for playing things with a lively energy in the mids, along with a large bass impact. The organic Opus sound will enhance the vocals presented through RE800, giving them an edge when it comes to smoothness in the midrange and lifelike tonality. Opus DAPs are also known to have large and expansive soundstages, providing an intricately wide and well-separated presentation for music played through RE800.

    RE800 + Shanling M2s – A portable, light, yet powerful combination, Shanling M2s is known to bring a lot of sparkle and bass hit to the IEMs connected to it, being a bit U shaped. M2s will smooth some of the detail in RE800, making them a bit laid back and offering a relaxed experience, without taking away any of the vibrancy and life from the sound.

    RE800 + Hidizs AP200 – AP200 is an excellent DAP if you're looking at offering RE800 an upper midrange companion to compliment their sound. AP200 is a bit U shaped by its nature and comes with a smooth midrange that doesn't enhance aggressiveness, but rather gives music a laid-back presentation that feels detailed yet smooth. The highlight of AP200 would be its rather natural tone in the midrange, enhancing the acoustic experience with RE800, without adding any harshness or aggressiveness.

    RE800 + FiiO X7mkii – FiiO X7mkii is an energetic performer with a lot of life in the midrange and an explosively fun presentation. The midrange of the combo is sweet and X7mkii will sweeten the midrange of RE800 by a good degree, giving them a rather happy and vibrant presentation, along with a nicely layered sound. X7mkii also has a natural type of bass that will enhance the bass impact RE800 naturally has, along with the rather quick sound, giving them an edge when it comes to speedy music.



    EMI

    HiFiMAN RE800 has been tested against EMI and they don't pick any EMI (Electro-Magnetic Interference) from any source, regardless whether they are used under high-tension power sources or right next to a wireless router.



    Comparisons

    Although they are priced in the high-end range of IEMs (considering that anything above 500$ is already a high-end IEM priced as such) RE800 has to do a lot for themselves to justify their 800$ price tag.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    RE800 vs Dunu DK-3001 – Although there is some difference in their price tags, DK-3001 makes an interest competition for RE800. Starting with the bottom end, DK-3001 presents bass with a slower decay, while RE800 is quicker, both providing really good impact and control abilities. The midrange is a bit more V shaped on RE800, where it feels a tad more linear on DK-3001, both having a pretty natural tonality and texture presentation. RE800's top end is enhanced when compared to DK-3001, the presentation highlighting details and fine nuances more on RE800, although DK-3001 doesn't try to do that, but rather to offer a relaxed presentation to the music. All in all, DK-3001 is more of a complementary IEM to RE800, being a smooth and laid-back presentation, while RE800 is vibrant and energetic, with an inherent tendency for presenting more details.

    RE800 vs Oriveti New Primacy – ONP is priced considerably lower than RE800, but still makes an interesting comparison to RE800. ONP has less bass, having a tighter bottom end. The midrange is quite sweet on both, its midrange being ONP's highlight, while RE800 has a somewhat more recessed midrange. The top end is smoother and less enhanced on ONP, leading to an inherently more detailed sound on RE800.

    RE800 vs ER4-XR – Although we visited this comparison once before, it is good to do it using RE800 as a point of reference. In direct comparison, ER4-XR has a tighter bottom end, while RE800 provides somewhat more impact, with a larger bass. The midrange is very forward on ER4-XR, while it is slightly recessed on RE800. The treble is considerably enhanced on RE800, which affects the way top-end microdetails are presented, but ER4-XR puts up a very good fight when it comes to the midrange details. The soundstage is larger on RE800, along with a more vivid instrument separation, ER4-XR blending the instruments more to create a "whole" sound while RE800 defines each instrument as its own unique entity.

    RE800 vs HiFiMAN RE2000 – RE2000 is far more expensive than RE800, being more of an ultra-high-end concept IEM, produced by the same company. RE800 has a more enhanced and a little slower bass, while RE2000's bass is closer to a natural sound, with a quicker decay, but still presenting a lot of impact. The midrange is less V-shaped on RE2000, and the tonality goes one step further into being quite life-like and natural, RE2000 having an even better texture presentation, although RE800 still puts up a very good fight, showing that they have the inherent qualities provided by the same topology driver technology. The top end is more natural and less peaky on RE2000, while RE800's top end provides a better match for acoustic music, and micro-details enhancement, where it is very hard to match its performance. All in all, RE2000 is a very nice upgrade to RE800, and some the sound characteristics present in RE2000, inherent to their technology, are also present in RE800.

    RE800 vs Sennheiser ie800 – This is probably the most interesting comparison, especially since ie800 is priced similarly to RE800, and has a similar signature, with a strong top end, and a deep bottom end, and with a rather recessed midrange. Starting with the bottom end, both RE800 and ie800 provide a very nice presentation, with ie800 having a bit more sub-bass quantity than RE800, while both have very good amounts of control. RE800 has a bit more midbass enhancement which leads to a slightly thicker sound than ie800. The midrange is quite detailed on both, and while both have a similar level of instrument separation, RE800 glazes music with a slightly larger soundstage, while ie800 presents music more intimately. The top end is where they sound more different than similar, RE800 having a little peak around 6-9 kHz, then slowly going down, while ie800 has a larger treble area enhanced, leading to a softer sound, with even more treble. Both are energetic, but the cymbals sound rather soft on ie800 and harder on RE800. The detail levels are quite similar, and it is hard to choose between them, both of them being amazing performers, with excellent fit, ergonomics and sound. Ie800 looks like it is made of obsidian / ceramic, while RE800 is made out of golden brass, each adding some inherent sheen to the sound.

    RE800 vs Beyerdynamic Xelento – Beyerdynamic Xelento is more of a complementary IEM to RE800 rather than a competitor, since Xelento goes for a far more balanced, natural, and smoother approach. Both RE800 and Xelento are extremely musical, but they present the music quite differently, Xelento being quite the romantic performer, while RE800 sounds a bit more like the technical-musical performer, especially due to their treble enhancement. Xelento's top end is the biggest difference from RE800, where Xelento doesn't have any peak the top end, but a smoother top end when compared to RE800, providing a leaner sound that can feel a bit more natural, compared to RE800's energetic and vibrant approach.



    Value

    HiFiMAN RE800 is priced at around 800$, being one of the more sophisticated and luxurious high-end IEMs around.

    Looking at the package content, they come in a wooden box, which is quite rare. They come with a good selection of tips, although SpinFit or Mandarins are recommended as a little, very inexpensive addon.

    [​IMG]

    The sound is exceptional, even for this price point, and RE800 is one of the very impressive performers out there, a rather exclusive and engaging IEM.

    The more interesting part about the value is the cable, which was not detachable on the model reviewed, but at the same price HiFiMAN released a RE800 IEM with detachable cables. Since this was one of the only gripes most users could had had with RE800 at this price point, HiFiMAN's move to release a detachable cable version of RE800 places RE800's value from average to a very good value. They don't cost less, but having detachable cables makes them a far greater value, providing a good balance of sound, ergonomics and futureproofing for the price paid.

    All in all, there is no space to complain about the price, since they are one of the more glamorous high-end IEMs with a few bells and whistles to check your list.



    Conclusion

    HiFiMAN RE800 has been one of the most interesting IEMs to look at, with their golden looks and supple yet curved bodies. The sound matches both the looks and the price point, although at times the sound is actually much better than one would expect it to be, given their rather petite size. RE800 comes to refresh the 800$ price range with the addition of HiFiMAN's Topology Driver, which brings more speed to the dynamic driver, and enhances the transient response of a IEM, leading to more details and an enhancement in the naturalness of the sound.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    While RE800 comes with maybe a little too few tips, they come with comply tips, which are favored by many. Purchasing matching Spinfit or Mandarin tips is quite easy and inexpensive, and could further enhance the listening experience when using RE800, at a very small fraction of their price.

    Purchasing the version of the detachable cable of RE800 will futureproof them a bit, leading to a rather good purchase of a high-end IEM that is not to be taken lightly, despite their nimble size and beautiful aesthetics.

    So far, HiFiMAN delivers on their word, and RE800 is a IEM that innovates the art of listening, providing excellent fit, clarity, detail levels, bass impact, treble energy, and a beautiful look.

    If you like a sound that is well-separated, has a great bass with extreme impact, a sweet midrange and an enthused top end that matches acoustic music, and gives life to acoustic guitars, RE800 might be just the IEM you're looking for, a truly amazing listening experience in a small package.



    Thank you for reading, and remember to have fun while listening to music!



    Link to the review on Audiophile Heaven: https://audiophile-heaven.blogspot.com/2017/10/hifiman-re800-outstanding-engaging-vivid.html

    Link to the official Thread on Head-Fi: https://www.head-fi.org/threads/hifiman-re-800.831364/

    Link to the official product page: https://store.hifiman.com/index.php/re-800.html

    Link to the official product page (Penon Audio): https://penonaudio.com/HIFIMAN-RE800

    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/
      hqssui, Vlad 398, Paulo Abreu and 2 others like this.
  6. tassardar
    Bass Goodness: RE800
    Written by tassardar
    Published Sep 1, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Fantastic Bass, Good Soundstage, Small and Light, Good Sibilance Control
    Cons - Fixed Cable, A Little Hollow Sounding at times, Not much treble energy
    The RE800 is the second Hifiman IEM review I'm writing after the RE2000. Thanks to AVOne and Hifiman for the review sample.

    image1 (1).JPG

    The RE800 is probably the smallest dynamic driver earphone I seen. Fully sealed and in gold, this little thing bears some similarity to others of its type but also a significant difference.

    I wont touch so much on what came with the packaging here where many reviewers covered. Personally I thought its just about right for a earphone of its type: Some tips, a carrying case and a box that holds both of this. I do find the box space alittle wasted since you cant put much else. Other that that, for its price, I find it acceptable.

    image2.JPG

    What I couldn't find acceptable was the fixed cables. The first thing that breaks in most earphones was the cable going wrong. Hifiman in its pursue for miniaturisation probably taught it was a good idea to leave removable cables out and this was definitely not what most people would had wanted unless its something like electrostatic. Add on with the thinness of the cables, my dealers did say they will do their best if anything happens...

    Other then cables, the build is decent: All metal at around 1cm + long. Put on a double flange tip, its light and will sink in deep into your ear. Due to it being relatively small and light, it did not need a hook over ear. This is self is quite a pro since small means easy to mange, keep and wear. It would also mean have less fit problems for most.

    So how does it sound?

    image3.JPG

    Albums used:
    Aimer Day Dream
    Final Fantasy 14 Soundtrack
    Beauty and the Beast
    Skyfall

    Player: ZX2
    Compared to : KSE1500, RE2000

    Coming after the RE2000, I was prepared to lower my expectation since this was meant to be the little brother. But after hearing it, I personally thought the quality of sound difference isn't great except 2 major things: Vocals and Warmth.

    Lets start with the warmth, the RE800 do not bear much similarity to most IEM using Dynamic Drivers from my memory when it comes to warmth. Be it the Lyra or the RE2000, the RE800 sounded a little cool, at times it even felt a little hollow. It didn't have the mass and warmth I expect from a dynamic driver. However this is a preference and luckily due my preference to KSE1500, I quite enjoy this lighter, cooler touch of sound from the RE800. So a direct switch from RE2000 to the RE800, this is definitely its biggest and most apparent difference.

    Then it follows the vocals, the RE2000 isolates the vocals and brings it forward, quite a surreal experience if your enjoy vocals. The RE800 treatment of vocals were a little different. It sounds separated but distant, at the edge of the music together with the instruments. It also sounded a little hollow and metallic at times due to the lack of warmth and mass. Its also just not as smooth as RE2000 liquid like or KSE1500's quick and light. I am probably exaggerating here since the difference were small and you probably will only notice it if you been hearing something like the Re2000 for extensive period of time.

    After the comparison above lets talk about whats great: The Bass.
    Personally, I may actually enjoy this more then the RE2000. It has just enough of everything: Impact, Depth and most importantly "Feel". KSE1500 sounds like bass is there, RE2000 has the impact and warmth, but the RE800 had the impact when needed together with the tiny feeling of bass vibration. Fantastic really. This was noticeable with FF14 Sound Track - Dragonsong, I can surely say, I will listen that sound using this earphone over the RE2000 and KSE1500.

    The other good characters is something it shares with RE2000, which is the sibilance characters. Short of the worst of tracks, its relatively tamed, making it a great choice of modern pop music. Plus it being less warmth, it definitely fits into modern genres a lot better then the RE2000.

    Soundstage is wide, wider then what i remember for most earphones of its class. Its probably just a touch smaller the RE2000, definitely good enough for its class. Similarly for details, its good but just a little lower then RE2000 and KSE1500. This is noticeable in complicated instrument tracks from FF14 Soundtrack. Some softer instruments will get lost in the track, not a huge issue though and if you are a loud listener, it probably wont be as much of a issue.

    What I think it lacks was treble energy. Treble was there, just not much excitement, energy or speed compared to BAs and KSE1500 electrostatic. This made it less musical for tracks that are bass light and treble heavy. However when the opposite happens, I think this was not an issue in my listening experience. An example was listening to Skyfall, which really did not contain much of the higher frequencies, and through the RE800, it sounded fantastic.

    image4.JPG

    All this said, I thought the RE800 is a rather good IEM for its class, except the lack of removable cable and not much accessories, its definitely something that people can consider for its sound quality. If I had to recommend it to someone, it will be to people who listen to modern pop music due to its good sibilance and bass character.
      Dobrescu George likes this.
  7. B9Scrambler
    HiFiMan RE800: Going for the Gold
    Written by B9Scrambler
    Published Aug 2, 2017
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Vibrant, detailed signature - Ergonomic shape - Quality Materials
    Cons - Fit and finish - Lack of adequate strain relief - Cable weight
    Greetings Head-fi!

    HiFiMan was founded in New York in 2005 by Dr. Fang Bian, at that point under the name Head Direct. Over the last decade the brand has grown and their lineup expanded with numerous models of headphones, earphones, media players, and more, spread across a vast swath of price points. 2017 has seen the release of some pretty impressive new top tier products.

    Today we are going to be checking out one these new products; the 9.2mm, dynamic driver based RE800. This is a compact in-ear monitor which advances and refines the physical design of the popular RE400 and RE600, with the inclusion of some neat new driver tech. Are they any good? Yes, yes they are, so let's look at why.

    Disclaimer:

    I would like to thank Mark with HiFiMan for sending over the RE800, along with a few other goodies, for the purposes of review. I'm not entirely clear yet on whether this gear needs to go back to HiFiMan after the reviews are 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 RE800 retailed for 699 USD: http://store.hifiman.com/index.php/re-800.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, HiFiMan MegaMini, and my TEAC HA-501 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.

    20170704_143318.jpg 20170704_143347.jpg 20170704_143501_HDR.jpg
    Packaging and Accessories:

    I have to admit that I was pretty excited to dive in and see what the RE800 was all about after catching my first glimpse of the packaging. The exterior sleeve contains a close up of the RE800 with a honeycomb pattern in the background. Up in the top right hand corner is a sticker highlighting that this is the 24k Gold Edition, "electroplated with a fine 24k gold finish". Cool. The rear of the sleeve has come contact info for HiFiMan, their supported social media platforms, and some basic specifications.

    Sliding off the sheath means you're getting to the interesting parts. It reveals a large jewelry box sized case on which the HiFiMan logo is printed along with "Innovating the Art of Listening" and the model number: RE800.

    Flipping open the steel latch and lifting the lid reveals a swath of deep black, felt-like material coating a thick, dense foam displaying the RE800's earpieces and the included hard, clam-shell carrying case. Lifting out the foam sheet you find some documentation and those accessories not being held in the clam-shell case. Overall you get:

    - RE800 earphones

    - full-size display case

    - clam-shell portable case

    - 1 pair Comply T400 Large

    - 1 pair Comply T400 Medium

    - 1 pair grey bi-flange silicone tips (small bore)

    - 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 have to give special acclaim to the Owner's Guide which is less manual, and more small coffee table book. The quality is fantastic with each page made from a thick, durable paper that shames the packaging many earphones come in. It starts with a message from HiFiMan's Founder and CEO, Dr. Fang Bian and proceeds to explain the technology behind the unique Topology Diaphragm used in the RE800, materials used for the housings and cable, and how to properly wear and maintain the RE800. It's a fairly basic but interesting read and a welcome inclusion.

    Overall I am pleased with the RE800's unboxing experience. The accessory kit admittedly feels a bit lacking, particularly the clam-shell case which you can pick up on AliExpress for less than a dollar, but there should be enough variety in the included tip set to find something that works for you. If not, someone who is in the market for this earphone probably already has a slew of 'favorite' tips to choose from instead.

    DSC01594.JPG DSC01599.JPG DSC01608.JPG
    Design, Build, Comfort, and Isolation:

    The RE800's ear piece design is basic, understated, and to my eyes quite attractive in it's simplicity. The matte gold plating is subtle enough to avoid catching the attention of those around you and doesn't look gaudy as one might expect when out of your ears and on display. While there isn't much going on with the design at first glance, a closer look reveals a slight flare at the rear of the housing which helps with gripping the ear pieces. The soft edges that make up the curves of the earpiece add some extra dimension to what would otherwise be a mostly featureless design.

    The materials selected for the RE800 are certainly quite nice. Gold-plated brass housings help give the RE800 the tonal properties HiFiMan was looking for. The Cystaline-copper, silver coated cable was selected for "its performance characteristics and notably its low cable capacitance..." which according to HiFiMan benefited the RE800's high frequency performance. Since I have no way of comparing the various cables that were in consideration, I'll take their word for it because I quite enjoy the RE800's vibrant treble presentation. The y-split and chin slider (thank you!) also look to be gold-plated, but I can't tell if HiFiMan used brass down there too. It's definitely metal though. The 90 degree angled jack is all-metal, gold-plated as well, and very chunky. Since I'm a blaspheming scrub I tried the RE800 with my smartphone. I found that the case didn't get in the way of the thick jack due to an extra 4mm of metal that gives the upper portion of the jack plenty of leeway.

    Once we start looking at build quality, my enthusiasm begins to wane. It's not that the RE800 is poorly built, far from it, but at the price I expected more. The two constituent parts that make up each ear piece have a clear seam separating them. On the right ear piece the coloring isn't consistent with the ear facing section being darker. This contrast isn't overly visible with the ear tip on, but remove it and it's quite obvious. It's not a major issue since it's purely cosmetic, but at 699 USD I would expect this to be flawless.

    DSC01611.JPG DSC01612.JPG DSC01613.JPG

    I also have mixed feelings about the cable, those cable noise certainly isn't one of them. Below the y-split it is thick and feels quite dense. Bends from being wrapped up remain after weeks of use, though it's not horrible and they've been slowly lessening, though they're still there. Above the y-split the cable is wonderfully flexible and all bends are gone. The offset is that it thins out significantly. This wouldn't be so bad if the cable was properly relieved at the ear pieces, y-split, and to a lesser extent at the beefy 90 degree angled jack (which seems to be self serviceable). This is being somewhat addressed by a revised version of the RE800 with a removable, MMCX terminated cable. Still, I would like to see HiFiMan keep the fixed cable version alive and update it with proper strain relief. It's a nice cable, it just needs some support.

    Another reason I think it needs the extra support afforded by proper strain relief is because it's a fairly heavy cable. This also results in cable down wear being less comfortable than I know it should be. The RE800 is tiny, ergonomically shaped, and the ear pieces themselves weigh very little. When worn cable down the weight tugs at the ear pieces and while it's not enough to pull them out completely, it gets obnoxious very quickly when I'm mobile. When worn cable up the comfort levels are high and I can use them pretty much indefinitely without fatigue or discomfort.

    When it comes to blocking out your environment, the RE800 is about what I was expecting; average. It's a ported dynamic driver earphone with a fairly shallow fit. I can hear myself type, the desk fan behind me, my work computer's fan screaming away to my right, trucks cruising outside, etc. It's all muted, but I can still hear it.

    Overall I think it's a beautifully designed and very comfortable earphone made from quality materials, but one that needs a bit more attention paid to the finer details.
    Specifications:

    Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz

    Impedance: 60 ohms

    Sensitivity: 105 dB

    Driver: 9.2mm dynamic driver with "Topology Diaphragm"

    DSC01601.JPG DSC01602.JPG DSC01605.JPG
    Tips:

    I personally quite enjoy the two stock bi-flange options. I'm not entirely sure what the differences are between the two, but I found myself leaning towards the black set as they seemed to seal better. My review was conducted based on how the RE800 paired with the stock bi-flange options. Some other tips I tried were;

    Comply T400 medium - If you are treble sensitive toss these on. They do a good job of sucking up any excess top end while filling out the low end. I didn't notice much effect on the mid-range. If I didn't enjoy the stock bi-flange tips so much, these would be my go-to.

    JVC medium from FXT90 - Opened sound stage even further but attenuated treble to an uncomfortable extent while making the RE800 sound somewhat loose and splashy.

    Ultimate Ears medium from UE600 - Similar experience to JVC's tips but with greater treble control and lessened emphasis.

    KZ 'Starline' medium - They provided the same sound as the stock bi-flange option, but via a longer tip. If you find the stock tips too short and don't want to resort to the tri-flange, these might be worth a shot. Only downfall was decreased comfort worn cable down. The extra length made the tugging of the cable more prominent.

    Dunu Heir-style medium single flange - Best of the 3rd party bunch. The extra shallow fit helped take in some of the cable weight without affecting the stock signature much, if at all.

    Havi Sennheiser-style dual flange - Normally one of my go-to tips, yet a very bad choice for the RE800. Way too much and very splashy treble.

    DSC01616.JPG DSC01620.JPG DSC01627.JPG
    Sound:

    I'm a bit of a sucker for the application of unique technology. In the case of the RE800 and it's flagship sibling the RE2000, that technology is HiFiMan's "Topology Diaphragm". According to the included documentation, a special nano-coating is applied to the diaphragm. By adjusting the layout, thickness, pattern, etc. they can achieve their desired tune. What I hear from the RE800 is relative neutrality in terms of mid-range and bass presence, with a nice uptick in the treble regions to give them some extra pizzazz.

    As someone who enjoys boosted treble, the RE800's presentation was quite enjoyable. Other reviews have noted a sharp peak in the 7k region which can cause fatigue if overdone, such as on the RHA CL1 Ceramic which re-calibrated my definition of "bright". I thought it was a fun earphone, but for brief periods only. Thankfully, with the RE800 I did not find this peak a tiring affair. It instead offered a slightly thin, very honed, airy, sparkly sound, not entirely unlike the treble tuning JVC applies to their micro-driver units. This also meant that it wasn't an entirely natural presentation with cymbals attacking a little too aggressively, though I though the decay time seemed about right. This tuning seemed most effective at the low volumes at which I typically listen; anywhere from 2-5 out of 32 (track and location dependent) through HiFiMan's MegaMini for example. Only when upping the volume considerably did it start to get uncomfortable and cause fatigue, but to my ears this is the case with most earphones.

    The RE800's mid-range is probably my favorite aspect of their signature, coming across quite natural sounding and exceptionall well-textured and detailed to my ears. Running through some great albums like Supertramp's 'Crime of the Century', Elton's John's 'Golden Yellow Brick Road', and Massive Attack's 'Mezzanine' were invigorating experiences. Leading into the upper mids the lean qualities of the treble were retained, thickening up as you shifted down into the lower mids. It's not entirely unlike how the mid-range is handled on my Accutone Pisces BA hybrid, though with greater subtlety and coherence.

    The RE800's bass seems tuned to follow the track's agenda, not it's own. If the track has bass in a supporting role, that's where it stays. If a deep bass line leads the track, such as on Massive Attack's 'Angel', the RE800 will portray it that way. Add to that some authoritative mid-bass punch with a quick attack and decay and the RE800 can quickly draw you into your music as you re-explore familiar tracks. It's a very convincing presentation that really helps with immersing myself into my music when I simply want to sit and listen.

    This earphone's expansive sound stage also helps with this immersion factor. My live recorded King Crimson tracks sound larger and more open than I'm used to, exacerbated by the RE800's slightly slender note presentation and excellent separation. The amount of detail this earphone pulls out of the track is pretty intense as well, making tracks like 'Easy Money' a blast. Using the RE800 for gaming is a killer experience, handily easily besting some of my favorite (though much less expensive) in-ears that I routinely use for this purpose, those being the Brainwavz B100 and Fischer Audio Dubliz Enhanced. The accuracy of imaging and layering with the RE800 is uncanny. As long as the sound design permits it, minute changes in direction are quite easily picked up.

    Overall I found the RE800 to be a very impressive listen. I can certainly see some finding the combination of treble energy and extreme detail a little fatiguing, but for my preferences I wouldn't have it any other way.

    DSC01621.JPG
    Final Thoughts:

    When it comes down to it, I think the RE800 is a fantastic earphone. It's made from quality materials, the design is beautiful, and it's small and comfortable. It has an exceptionally detailed and vivid presentation that to my ears manages to avoid being uncomfortably bright or fatiguing. It's also an earphone that worked well with nearly anything I tossed it's way.

    It's sound and design are top notch, though fit and finish could see improvements. The poorly relieved and slightly heavy cable is also something to watch when considering raw longevity, but that's almost a moot concern since an MMCX equipped version is on the way to remedy this.

    While earphones in this price range are still somewhat alien to me, of those I have had the opportunity to spend a significant amount of time with the RE800 and it's vibrant sound clearly stands out and leaves a lingering, positive impression. I'm thankful to have heard and experienced it.

    Thanks for reading!

    - B9Scrambler

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

    Aesop Rock - Skelethon (Album)

    Elton John - Yellow Golden Brick Road (Album)

    King Crimson - Lark's Tongues in Aspic (Album)

    King Crimson - Starless and Bible Black (Track)

    Supertramp - Crime of the Century (Album)

    Infected Mushroom - Converting Vegetarians (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

    Felt - Felt 2 (A Tribute to Lisa Bone)
  8. ostewart
    Bright, Clear with a lot to like
    Written by ostewart
    Published Jul 31, 2017
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Clarity, coherency, soundstage, comfort
    Cons - Potentially troubling treble peak
    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, in my opinion I have heard small changes and recommend you burn them in fully.

    Gear Used: Audio Opus #2 / HiFiMan MegeMini > RE800

    [​IMG]

    Packaging, Build Quality and Accessories:
    The RE800 come in 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 held in a foam inlay. 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 un-boxing experience is first class, fitting for the price.

    [​IMG]

    The metal housing of the RE800 is tiny and very well finished; the cable is thick below the y-split but maybe a little thin above it. The cable on my pair is fixed, but HiFiMan have brought out a revised version with a detachable MMCX cable. Strain relief is mainly good but is lacking on the entry to the housing, hopefull this is fixed with the detachable cabled version. I think these are well built and the housing definitely feels like a quality IEM.

    The RE800 comes with quite a few accessories, you get some ear guides for wearing them with the cable routed behind the ear, 2 different types of single flange tips, and triple flange tips in M and L. You also get 2 pairs of Comply foam tips and a clamshell carry case. For the price I think more tips could have been included, and a metal case like the one of the RE2000 would be nice over a normal clamshell case.

    [​IMG]

    Comfort, Isolation, Driver flex and Cable noise:
    The RE800 are one of the most comfortable IEM’s around, the tiny housing combined with the light weight means once inserted they are comfortable for hours. I found them most comfortable with the cable routed behind my ear.

    Isolation is good, they are vented so won’t isolate as much as a fully sealed IEM but for general use and some commuting they would be perfectly fine.

    Driver flex is present occasionally, but only upon initial insertion and is not bad.

    Cable noise is minimal when worn cable straight down, and never present when worn with the cable over the ear.

    [​IMG]

    Sound:
    Based on the sound with stock grey bi-flange tips, split into the usual categories with a conclusion at the end:

    Lows: The lows on these are similar in some ways to the RE2000, but a little leaner, they come out when called for yet stay in the background when not needed. The extend right down to the sub-bass with ease and linearity, stick on some acoustic and the body is there, some heavy rock and they keep up with ease, then put on some hip-hop/rap and be prepared to hear/feel the sub-bass come out to play. The lows are enjoyable with all genres, and are never bloated; they never encroach on the midrange.

    Mids: The lows don’t bleed into the mids, keeping them crisp and detailed without any extra body. The do come across with a slightly cold tonality, but has excellent separation and speed. There is an emphasis on the upper mids giving female vocals a bit more presence than males, but there is also a tiny bit of sibilance. The mids are well balanced with the rest of the sound of the RE800, never becoming strident or shouty.

    Highs: First off, let’s get the bad out of the way, there is a bit of a peak at 7 kHz that can cause fatigue for some and also gives cymbals a bit of a metallic tone upon initial impact. But with that out of the way, some tip rolling can help tame this, as could a touch EQ if you find the peak to be problematic, which I do not. I actually like that these have a nicely extended high frequency response, with plenty of detail and air. You will never lose track of the treble frequencies, but I still don’t find them sharp or overly bright (your mileage may vary).

    The soundstage on the RE800 is realistic and track dependent, it is fairly intimate but everything is well separated with about equal width and height.
    Instrument separation is superb with excellent transient response.

    [​IMG]

    Conclusion: The RE800 is fast, exciting and borderline bright to some ears and with some tips. There is a flaw, which is the peak, but this can be remedied somewhat with tips to those that are sensitive to treble. The other downside has actually been fixed, HiFiMan have now revised the RE800 to now come with a detachable cable that uses a MMCX cable.

    Overall the RE800 is an excellent monitor that does well with a multitude of genres, there is fantastic coherency that you just don’t quite get with multi BA designs, full bodied bass when needed, a midrange packed full of micro detail and some shimmering and well extended treble. If you crave details, crisp sound and a convincing soundstage these are worth a listen. I have found these play very well with a lot of the faster rock music I listen to.

    Sound Perfection Rating: 8.5/10 (some won’t like the treble peak, but there’s a lot to like in these)

    [​IMG]
  9. Falconlistener
    Hifiman RE800
    Written by Falconlistener
    Published Jul 31, 2017
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Great soundstage, great imaging
    Cons - Price and the cable noise
    1)
    I would like to thank Hifiman and AV One for this opportunity to review Hifiman"s latest Iems called the RE800.
    I love the unboxing experience as the box and presentation feels premium and the unboxing begins. I do feel like its a jewellery box at first glance with it black background and it focus my attention to the Iems and its carrying case.
    Inside the box, you will the Iems, user guide which explains the unit itself and the history of Hifiman and the paper documents. In the carrying case, you will find two sets of comply foam tips, a pair of ear guides for those who prefer to wear over-the-ear style. Lastly the various silicon tips which are the standard small, medium and large plus it comes with some flange tips. However, the unit itself has been attached with a pair of grey silicone tips which to me is just nice for my comfort and seal.
    The Iems are a small unit and it houses a single dynamic driver. The outer housing is stunning to look at with the 24K gold plated brass housing and same goes for it thin Y-splitter. The cable is fixed so its not detachable and terminates in a right angled standard 3.5mm Oyaide plug.
    I generally use the unit on the go and the only thing that caught my attention was the cable noise while walking as I do travel to work. The cable noise is very noticeable as it hits my body when I put them on with or without music played.
    Out of the box, the RE800 sounded thin, it has a lot of sparkles in the highs, the bass impact was noticeable but at times not really there and the mids sounded grainy. Therefore, through burning in the unit for a number of weeks. I will explain the sound further in the next section.
    2)
    First, I would like to to explain about the lows. It gets a whole lot better as it gets more punchier when it needs to be, a more cleaner punch and with a noticeable sub bass. I am able to get goof low ends that does not interrupt the mids and highs. Furthermore, it is able to deliver a much fuller sound and warmth which I enjoyed it very much.
    Next will be the mid-range. They eventually will get much smoother over time and its clean sounding and when the vocals come, its positioned slightly forward. I enjoyed the mids from some tracks that I played like from Enya and ACDC.
    Third, the highs and what a a great improvement. They get sweeter and less sparkles here and there plus the highs do not roll off too quick. This is because I like to listen to genres like Rock and Roll, Classical and Opera. This is where the highs are more important because it has to be just right like the cymbals and not too much of the hissing sounds that I get a lot initially.
    Lastly will be the soundstage, its wide and always is. I do have a nice presentation when listening and has an amount of airiness to it. I do like that the drivers are quick for its frequency range.
    3)
    After explaining much, I will summarize what I have written so far. Though the RE800 is not the flagship of Hifiman, it sounds great for it category. Its a wide range and wide soundstage Iems but it leans toward a bright sounding signature.

    Thank you.
      Dobrescu George likes this.
  10. HiFiChris
    HiFIMan RE800: Mr Brightside
    Written by HiFiChris
    Published Jul 31, 2017
    3.0/5,
    Pros - pretty neutral bass response (if the vents aren't blocked by one's ears), good coherency, good resolution, small size
    Cons - treble prone to sibilance and sharpness, highs could be a bit more even, poor tip selection for the price (only one or two sizes per tip style)
    Preamble:

    Originally posted on my German audio review site, the "Kopfhörer-Lounge", here comes my review the HiFiMan RE800 single DD in-ear that features HiFiMan's new topology driver design that will be briefly introduced in this review as well.


    Introduction:

    Along with introducing the $2000 dynamic driver RE2000 in-ear as well the $6000 SUSVARA planar magnetic headphone, HiFiMan also introduced the (in comparison) more affordable RE800 that retails for $699 and uses one dynamic driver per side, too.

    [​IMG]

    Just like the RE2000, the driver diaphragm features a new design that HiFiMan calls “Topology Diaphragm”. What this means is that it has got a layer of nano-coating in a specific pattern, which can be used to fine-tune the sound waves and to also increase the membrane stiffness according to HiFiMan. Whether this is a revolutionary invention or offers just a small real-world advantage is up to you to decide.


    While dynamic driver in-ears that cost more than the RE800 do exist nowadays, making it fall into the upper medium price bracket in comparison, it is ultimately one of the more expensive dynamic driver in-ears, and, besides the price, shares other features with the Sennheiser IE 800, such as a proprietary as well as newly designed and developed dynamic driver, comparatively small housings as well as non-detachable cables [this was changed after the review was finished - now the RE800 does indeed come with replaceable cables], wherefore the IE 800 will also be one of its main antagonists in this review.


    What tonal direction does the RE800 head into and how does it perform? This and other questions will be answered in the course of this review.


    Full disclosure: I was approached by HiFiMan who wanted me to review the RE800 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$699
    Frequency Response: 20 Hz – 20 kHz
    Impedance: 60 Ohms
    Sensitivity: 105 dB
    Driver: 9.2 mm dynamic “Topology Diaphragm” driver
    Cable: silver-coated crystalline copper wire
    Weight: 27 g


    Delivery Content:

    The RE800 arrives in a quite luxurious package that is a fairly big, hinged box/chest that somewhat reminds me of the one my Sennheiser HD 800 came with.

    Inside, one can find the in-ear, along with a standard, unbranded carrying case (really?! They could have at least put a HiFiMan logo on it) that includes a bag of different ear tips and silicone ear guides.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Although the ear tips consist of a variety of different tips (Comply Foam, single-flange silicone, bi-flange silicone, triple-flange silicone), the selection is rather poor, especially at this price point, since not more than one or maximally two sizes of each tip type are included. This would be tolerable for a lower two-digit in-ear, but definitely not for an in-ear in the higher three-digit price range.

    [​IMG]


    Looks, Feels, Build Quality:

    Rather unusually at this price point, the RE800 does not have detachable cables, which is a bit sad. After the review was finished and edited, HiFiMan announced that the RE800 would be produced with replaceable cables with MMCX plugs from now on, based on popular consumer feedback. So it is indeed nice to hear that HiFiMan listens to constructive customer feedback and suggestions for improvements. However, due to the small housings, something more reliable such as threaded SSMMCX connectors, such as the ones used for the Jays q-JAYS, would have probably been an even much better choice.

    While the cable is nicely soft and also somewhat flexible (although not as flexible as some other cables), it is a little rubbery and ever so slightly sticky though. Additionally, it also lacks strain relief on most important transitions.

    While it is ultimately still better than the Sennheiser IE 800’s cable, it is not a perfect cable either although reports have that it is a clear improvement over the RE-400’s cable.

    [​IMG]

    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 “RE800” labelling and last but not least the chin-slider.

    The in-ear’s shells are fairly small and consist of brass that was electroplated with 24k gold. While the gold surface is rather matte than flashy, the general design of the in-ears is quite standard and doesn’t really have a design that would be special for a $699 product. On the plus side though, the shape is not unlike HiFiMan’s other in-ears, so there is some brand recognition and a continuous design language.

    [​IMG]


    Comfort, Isolation:

    The RE800 can be worn both with the cables down as well as around the ears. Latter is the more professional method that improves the fit as well as security and tames cable noise.

    Due to the small shells, the in-ears should also fit people with really small ears very well. For me and my large ears as well as large ear canals, that’s not a problem anyway.

    As noted, the tip selection is rather poor given the price. Almost all tips except for the large Comply Foam tips that I however don’t like much were too small for me, 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 (mainly due to the same length).

    [​IMG]

    This way, I could achieve a good fit as well as seal and get the in-ears to comfortably stay in my large ears.

    When worn with the cables around the ears, microphonics (cable noise) are pleasantly low and close to being inexistent.


    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 two vents per side.


    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.

    - - -

    Some 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:

    Depending on how much the tiny vent close to/behind the ear tip lip is covered, the bass can vary from fairly neutral to rather full and sub-bass-heavy.

    The reality, when in one’s ears will likely lay somewhere in-between, with probably a less sub-bass-oriented bottom-end presentation with large ear canals and large tips and perhaps a more sub-bass-oriented bottom-end with very small tips and ear canals.

    For me with my large ear canals, the first is the case and the RE800 portrays a quite neutral bottom-end with just around 1 dB more bass quantity compared to the Ultimate Ears Reference Monitors but a bit more slam typical for the dynamic driver.

    Compared to an in-ear that follows the diffuse-field target in the lows, such as the Etymotic ER-4S/SR, the RE800 has got around 4 dB more bass quantity and warmth in the lower root.

    The lowest sub-bass is present with just a minor drop-off.

    The midrange is fairly flat except for a moderate clarity lift centred around 3 kHz, followed by two peaks around 6 and 8 kHz that are rather broad than narrow.

    The RE800 could have therefore been an almost perfectly neutral sounding in-ear with a slight clarity lift, but the treble emphases around 6 and 8 kHz make it sound a bit strident and unnatural in the highs compared to in-ears that are more linear and smoother up top, and even metallic. Additionally, the upper of the two emphases emphasises sibilance with brighter male and female voices.

    More evenness in the highs with less sibilance, stridency and metallic-ness would be definitely appreciated given that there are hybrid, multi-BA and dynamic driver in-ears at lower prices that can achieve this, too.

    The Sennheiser IE 800 sounds brighter and splashier around 10 kHz when listening to the two after each other, however the RE800 is more uneven up top in comparison.

    Cymbals also sound somewhat more like a sharp “sss” than an actual note. Lowering the emphasis at 6 and 8 kHz by using an EQ, the presentation becomes much more realistic and authentic. To be precise, at least around 8 dB less of a peak (along with 4 dB less around 6 kHz and 3 dB less at 3 kHz) would have made the RE800 a highly realistic and quite even sounding, fairly neutral monitor, but as it is, it is a bit sharper than it should be, especially at the price point.

    Extension past 10 kHz is really good however and there is some nice subtle air and sparkle (but without peaks, unevenness or sharpness) in that region if the recording allows it.

    Resolution:

    Various companies have already proved that single dynamic driver in-ears can be very convincing and capable when it comes to technical strengths, and the RE800 is fortunately no exception and adapts some of the good things and strengths of the RE2000.

    Detail retrieval is good and at least on the same level as the Sennheiser IE 800 (more on that with a more detailed comparison further below).

    Its bass is pleasantly tight, fast and well controlled for a dynamic driver in-ear. It doesn’t reach the tightness of closed Balanced Armature woofers but is nicely tight and controlled for a dynamic driver, and especially fast, wherefore it does not struggle with handling fast genres and tracks at all.

    When comparing it to its larger and more expensive brother, the RE2000, the RE800 however lacks the nice texture and layering in the lows.

    Speech intelligibility and midrange details are good.

    Despite the upper treble peak, the highs are probably not as radical or annoying if you are someone who either likes and prefers a bright upper end presentation or are generally quite tolerant towards treble emphases. A part why it is not very annoying (but still sharp, somewhat intrusive and bothersome given the price point) is because the resolution is also quite high in the treble.

    Note separation in the bass and mids is good. It is good in the treble as well, however slightly behind the other two areas.

    Soundstage:

    The RE800 has got a soundstage that portrays a nice amount of airiness and size, with a width that is more than average so that it manages to just exceed the base of my head.

    While the HiFiMan has got spatial depth, the presentation is overall more oval than circular and the width dominates over the depth.

    Instruments are separated well but not outstandingly well – they don’t bleed into each other but the fine borders around them appear slightly less defined with busier recordings.

    [​IMG]


    ---------


    In Comparison with other Single Dynamic Driver In-Ears:

    Sennheiser IE 800:

    Both in-ears are really small and could pretty much be called “tiny” as well. Both have got non-removable cables that are not the best of their kind (however the HiFiMan’s is ultimately superior) and both cost around the same (depending on where you live).

    The IE 800, in my opinion, features the more unique design though, while the RE800’s cable is more flexible and a bit softer.

    Tonally, the IE 800 is heading into a stronger sounded, more v-shaped direction with a strong midbass and sub-bass elevation, a dip in the middle treble around 5 kHz and a powerful as well as splashy treble emphasis around 10 kHz.

    While the Sennheiser’s upper treble emphasis around 10 kHz is splashier, brighter, sharper and stronger, its middle and lower treble appear more harmonious and realistic in comparison – the dip in the middle highs around 5 kHz that generates some head-room for the emphasis is certainly responsible for that as well. So what can be said is that the RE800 is brighter between 2 and 8 kHz, whereas the IE 800 has got more brightness above.

    The HiFiMan’s midrange tends to emphasise sibilance more and does not sound as even in comparison.

    The RE800 has got the even slightly tighter and a little better controlled appearing bass compared to the IE 800 while speed appears similar.

    The HiFiMan seems to have the ever so slightly better midrange resolution (but I had to switch back and forth many times to make out a “winner” in this area, so it is rather negligible) while the IE 800 has got a bit more body in the lower mids and less sibilance. Treble separation is about on-par with an ever so slight advantage for the HiFiMan.

    When it comes to soundstage, the IE 800 has got more spatial width while the RE800 has got some spatial depth that the Sennheiser somewhat lacks in comparison. The IE 800’s spatial precision and separation is somewhat more precise than the HiFiMan’s.



    HiFiMan RE2000:

    The RE2000 has got removable cables, but the RE800 does as well. The RE800 is a good bit smaller and can be worn both around the ears as well as with the cable straight down whereas the RE2000 is designed strictly for an over-the-ear-use.

    The RE2000 has got a somewhat warmer, more pronounced bass and root. The RE2000 is a little brighter in the upper midrange while the RE800 has got the more pronounced 8 kHz region.

    The RE800 is a little less bright sounding in the middle treble around 5 kHz, however it is somewhat uneven as well and triggers more sibilance with brighter vocals due to its relatively strong 8 kHz emphasis. Ultimately the RE2000 has got the more realistic treble in comparison even though its cymbals don’t sound 100% spot-on realistic either.

    In terms of detail retrieval, the RE2000 features the higher resolution, however not by a large margin at all, while it has got the noticeably better texture and layering.

    Where the RE2000 is quite a bit better though is the note separation that is just noticeably cleaner, sharper and more precise.

    The RE2000 has also got the more dynamic, textured bottom-end while being slightly tighter at the same time.

    Also when it comes to soundstage, the RE2000 features the superior instrument separation and more precise imaging along with the generally larger soundstage.

    LEAR LHF-AE1d (upgrade nozzles):

    The (now discontinued) AE1d (that will be replaced with the more expensive titanium end beryllium version of it) features ergonomically shaped plastic housings, also removable cables (2-pin) and a bass tuning knob that cleverly attenuates the lows’ level from “sub-neutral” to “neutral/balanced” to “mega basshead” by using a variable resistor.

    The LEAR’s bass is variable, so it can be either less present than the HiFiMan’s, more present or on the same level.

    The LEAR’s midrange is more in the foreground.

    Generally in the midrange and the treble, it is the LHF-AE1d that is (much) more authentic, realistic and even sounding – it is generally one of the most authentic and even sounding dynamic driver in-ear I know anyway.

    The HiFiMan has got the tighter, faster and better controlled bass. The LEAR’s is generally more on the softer and slower side anyway.

    When it comes to control and separation with complex and fast recordings, the more expensive HiFiMan is ahead as well.

    In terms of midrange and treble resolution it is again the HiFiMan that is ultimately ahead, but on the other hand it is the LEAR that is more natural, even and authentic sounding.

    The HiFiMan has got the somewhat wider soundstage while depth is about comparable (with still a slight advantage for the HiFiMan).

    Instruments are placed equally well and the LEAR manages to create the better empty space around instruments while the HiFiMan separates the borders a little cleaner.


    Conclusion:

    The HiFiMan RE800 could have been a fairly neutral and excellent dynamic driver in-ear with small housings, a detailed presentation, good separation, a tight and fast bass as well as a fairly nice soundstage, however what’s somewhat keeping it off from being exactly this is its rather over-energetic and also somewhat uneven treble with a fairly strong 8 kHz emphasis that can be just too much at times.

    [​IMG]

    I sincerely wish that HiFiMan had spent some more time with fine-tuning the highs, because everything from the lows to the mids sounds really good and convincing, however the treble only becomes even and harmonious when using an EQ. Un-EQ’d, there are in-ears for less money that are probably not on the same technical level as the RE800, however with a higher treble realism and evenness.
      Dobrescu George likes this.