Advice on IEM's that will be complementary to the RE0's
Oct 9, 2010 at 11:02 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 42

showa60

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Hello everyone,
 
First of all, this site is the bomb. In my search for a new pair of iem's, 90% of the time I've come back to head-fi.org. The community is large and dedicated and friendly, and the reviews are excellent.
 
My descent into IEM madness began after I'd gone through about 5 pairs of stock ipod earbuds and decided I needed something better. After much searching I settled on the Klipsch Image S4's as good value, comfortable, and forgiving of low source quality (the last point isn't an issue now). They didn't disappoint in the SQ department, but I had issue with fit and durability. Firstly, the only way I could get a decent fit was to wear them upside down and over ear. Secondly, the stress reliefs on both sides split all the way until the cable gave out on one side. They cost AUD$139 and lasted 4 months. 
 
That was 3 days ago, and I'm deep in the throes of iem withdrawal. I spend 6-12 hours a day using them, and often sleep in them too. I really can't live without a decent pair. After agonizing over the choices, I finally caved and settled on the HiFiMan RE0's due to the overwhelming amount of positive reviews and comments on the net. They seem to fit the bill in all respects (value, comfort, durability, SQ) however I'm still worried about the reported lack of bass, esp. coming from the S4's. Will they more than meet my expectations?
 
 
I only just ordered the RE0's from Head Direct, and I'm currently after a second pair that will make up for what the RE0's lack (if they indeed lack anything). The RE0's will be my portable ipod iem's, while the second pair will be mostly used at home for movies/music/gaming on my laptop.
 
My budget is about US$100-200. I'd like good overall sound quality, perhaps leaning a little towards bass. They need to be comfortable and not have major issues when lying down in them (the S4's were a little annoying in this regard, but I got by).
 
Now a major concern. The output on my laptop is a Creative X-Fi Surround 5.1 USB soundcard. I know this is in no way an audiophile setup, so will I even hear the difference in a $200 pair of phones without a DAC or amp? 
 
These are the models that have come to my attention:
 
Radius DDM - I was contemplating these as my first choice, but I was held back by possible fit, and comfort problems and poor isolation. Otherwise they seem perfect SQ-wise, and I'm still quite keen on these (very intrigued by reviews). I've heard a new model is coming out this year, better to wait? (I'm steadily reading through the 55 page appreciation thread... so tempted now).
 
Fischer Audio DBA-02 - These seem like a good alternative to the DDM's in SQ, but with a more practical design. Problems: difficult to find, lack of stress relief? (Turns out I can get these at treoo.com, based is Singapore. They're back ordered til October tho).
 
Panasonic RP-HJE900 - SQ might be slightly lower than the other two, but they look awesome, are made out of fake diamonds, and have detachable cables (love this feature). Also difficult to find, but less expensive.
 
Ultimate Ears SuperFi 5 - Similar thoughts to the Panasonic, but without the cable feature. Easier to find.
 
I think there were others, but I can't remember them. Please comment/suggest/advise.
 
Finally, since the Aussie dollar is so strong against the USD atm, prices for premium iem's are ridiculously overpriced here, so I'm pretty much set on importing. I don't mind having to ship overseas for returns, I'm just worried that some warranties may not be covered overseas. If you can suggest something, I'd appreciate a good online store to go with it. I've found AccessoryJack.com and they seem quite good w/ international warranties.
 
Mammoth first post, I know but you're still here, thanks for reading 
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Oct 9, 2010 at 11:49 PM Post #3 of 42

rawrster

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I would not consider the DDM esp if you want to lie down. I'd pick the HJE900 if you don't mind a shorter cable although you can get another cable with proper length. The stock cable is 1m instead of the typical 1.2m or so. I also don't consider the HJE900 to be inferior to the DDM. If you can get the HJE900 for anywhere near the less the $100 shipped that would be a great deal.
 
Oct 10, 2010 at 12:30 AM Post #4 of 42

showa60

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Wow rawrster, you're just the guy I'm looking for. Do you own all those iems? I'm now reading your RE-Zero, DDM and HJE900 reviews 
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Q's: are the RE-ZERO worth the extra money over the RE0? If so, I think there's still time for me to change my order.
Edit: Nevermind, answered in your ZERO review.
 
Does having larger than average ears help with DDM comfort when lying down?
Any idea where I can get the HJE900's online? (I'm looking right now).
 
Cheers!
 
Oct 10, 2010 at 12:38 AM Post #5 of 42

ProjectDenz

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I own the SuperFi 5 and the RE0, they do not complement each other at all. The SuperFi 5 feels like a more darker, clarity and separation deficient version of RE0 - a combination that is sure to disappoint.
 
Oct 10, 2010 at 12:41 AM Post #6 of 42

ClieOS

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A few cheaper but good IEM to compliment for RE0 are Fischer Audio Silver Bullet and Phonak PFE Perfect Bass. Both are the more bassy type so they have a different presentation compared to RE0.
 
Oct 10, 2010 at 12:51 AM Post #7 of 42

showa60

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@ProjectDenz, thanks for the input! I can strike that off my list then.
 
ClieOS: 200 bucks is cheap, ouch... I'm prepared to stretch further, but the increase in SQ has to be worth it. Am I better of investing in an amp/DAC setup? P.S. Reading your ZERO and RE0 comparison now. Found the link to your blog, I'm in for a late night of reading 
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.
 
I must say, I'm honoured to have such esteemed personages as ClieOS and rawrster comment in my thread, but at the same time...
AAAARRRGH! So many reviews to read!!! Mind... melting.... can't read...eyes...bleeding!
 
Oct 10, 2010 at 1:24 AM Post #9 of 42

showa60

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Great, I just read mvw2's post on RE0 vs ZERO, and now I'm worried again. From what I've read, RE0 is more critical and musical, while the ZERO has improved soundstage and a hint more bass? Considering I'm going un-amped, was the RE0 a good choice? Probably have until tomorrow to change my order.
 
Plus according to kostalex, RE0 is cruddy for ipod. GREAT, I got buyers remorse and I don't even have them yet!
 
Oct 10, 2010 at 1:30 AM Post #10 of 42

ClieOS

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Quote:
ClieOS: 200 bucks is cheap, ouch... I'm prepared to stretch further, but the increase in SQ has to be worth it. Am I better of investing in an amp/DAC setup? P.S. Reading your ZERO and RE0 comparison now. Found the link to your blog, I'm in for a late night of reading 
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.


Oh both that I mentioned is more or less around RE0's price point, definitely cheaper than those you have mentioned in OP. Sometime less is more, if you know what I mean. I would think DDM is possibly the best complimentary SQ wise for RE0 in your original selection, but it is not for everyone, as you have noticed yourself.
 
Oct 10, 2010 at 2:03 AM Post #11 of 42

showa60

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Hmm, I'm now wondering if I should scratch the RE0's altogether. If I got the Panasonic 900's, would I even need anything else? I guess I originally wanted a higher quality 2nd pair to use at home for movies and gaming, since the RE0's are said to lack bass. If I could get a pair that has excellent all-round SQ, comfort, durability, and is suitable for ipod use, I wouldn't need a second pair.
 
Now that I've read a bit more, it seems the RE0's really are quality, and produce detailed sound, but really needs a professional setup to get the most out of ie. not ideal for ipod use.
 
Anyone know how they compare to the Panasonic HJE-900's? I can get them at J&R for $89.99. I'm a little disappointed with the 3 month warranty though.
 
P.S. Keep in mind I'm coming from Image S4's, so I dunno, maybe the RE0 are all I need? Just looking for an upgrade.
 
EDIT: After reading rawster's HJE900 review, and taking into consideration joker's evaluation of them with the price drop, it seems these come into the same category of SQ and value as the RE0's. Heavily leaning towards ditching the HiFiMan's now. Comments?
 
Oct 10, 2010 at 2:34 AM Post #12 of 42

ClieOS

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I think you worry too much. Wait till the RE0 arrive, then plan your next move.
 
Oct 10, 2010 at 2:54 AM Post #13 of 42

a_recording

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I agree with Clie, see how you go with the RE0's. You might be absolutely thrilled with them.
 
I actually think the DDM's are a great complement to the RE0's just because they are more or less diametrically opposite in the focus of their sound. They do for bass what the RE0 does for treble, and of all the IEM's in your list they are probably the most rewardingly different in your price range. The big caveat is fit - I actually find them tremendously comfortable myself and they are the only IEM's that I *can* lie down with because they rest in my ear flat rather than sticking out like every single other model I own.
 
I don't know about DBA-02's as a complement to the RE0s  - they are compared to the CK10's a lot, which are also compared to the RE0s, in which case you may as well get the DBA-02's *instead* of the RE0's. The RE0's are amazing with an amp though, that won't cost you too much.
 
It's nice to see another Australian! The AUD situation is pretty sweet isn't it haha... 
 
Oct 10, 2010 at 3:23 AM Post #14 of 42

ProjectDenz

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RE0s sound fine out of iPod. I don't know why people criticize that aside from the iPod's inherently inferior DAC. RE0 is an excellent headphone for a more critical listening. You will appreciate this even more when you buy something much different in sound signatures. DDM is an excellent choice in its price range and is an excellent iem to use when you just want to kick back and enjoy the music, as apposed to the critical listening associated with the RE0.
 
Oct 10, 2010 at 3:24 AM Post #15 of 42

showa60

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DAMNIT! I sent an email cancelling my order already! Where was the reassurance before!!! 
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 Should I cancel the cancellation? It's Sunday, so I doubt they'll do anything until tomorrow anyway.
 
I certainly do worry too much. I'm such an audiophile noob, I don't know anything. It seems to me though that the RE0 and HJE900 are in the same league, except the 900's have plenty of bass to boot. If the 900's are as good as I've read, the RE0's seem unnecessary to me (although I would like to have a backup pair).
 
That said, if I do get two pairs, I'd like them to complement each other (original intention of this thread), thus it becomes RE0 or 900 + something else (maybe DDM's).
 
So confused right now, been reading threads for 3 days almost straight...
Edit: Just found the RE0 vs 900 comparison threads, reading now.
 
P.S. Oh yes, the AUD is damned good atm, and I intend to make good use of it. I just don't get why retail prices in Oz haven't dropped?
 

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