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HifiMan RE272 - Tony's Review

  1. antonyfirst
    I own a review sample of the HifiMan RE272 and, after a few weeks of listening, I have finished my take on them.
    The RE-272 to me build on the to that of the RE-262, not just for aesthetics, but also for sound signature.
    The main earpiece “grows” to form a spherical addition with a small open port, necessary to obtain the desired sound.
    As I had occasion to describe in other, similar designs, such kind of opening means that the isolation is only partial, and compared to a regular IEM presents both positives and negatives (on the good, they are safer for road awareness; on the bad, some details are lost in noisy transports or you can hear idiots talking too loud during quite passages).
    Soundwise, just like with the 262, the stage size is bigger than a IEM and widely out of the head, resembling the effect of wearing open earphones in that regard.

    Tonally, the RE-272  is very similar to the RE262, which I had described in the past as "ER4 merges with RE252 and then the result becomes warmer”.
    Compared to Etymotic ER4, the RE272 have fuller vocals and thus more real, and by comparison, given the same digital source (Sony A846, extremely linear, a bit cold, great bass w/o roll off, very clean and detailed at all frequencies), make Etys sound more digital. The RE272 has a bit more tilt over the ER4 I the mid/upper mid region, so sporadically certain notes (mostly found in Electronic music, or female vocals) become a bit too resonating, giving a bit too emphasis on certain passages over what I’d have expected.
    The rest of the treble is basically flat and perfect, perhaps a bit rolled of but in a good way since it retains the details and gives the whole tonality a warmth and sense of envelopment that makes the music better and more real, intimate.
    Sonically, I advice using silicon tips (I mostly used the big biflanges). Comply tips would work too but they’d produce an imbalance raising the midrange and reducing the higher treble too much, thus defeating the good purpose of the canalphone.
    The bass is just tight and right, perhaps a bit less strength in the deep bass than ER4, but just a tiny bit, but being fuller than the ER4 and also slightly fuller than the RE262. Just like with the RE262 (and also like used to happen with Triple.fi 10 Pro), the bass sounds out of the head and adds up to the sense of soundstage.
    Improvements over previous designs
    The RE272 has an extremely pleasing tone and is very, very similar in my opinion to the RE262, just sounding a bit more cohesive.
    The other big difference compared to its predecessor is due to impedance / efficiency:
    1. The RE262 has an impedance of 150 Ohm, which means that, while you can use it worrying about any kind of hiss (especially if pairing it with a higher gain portable amp), an mp3 player without external amplification would strive a bit to produce the right volume if the listener likes loud listening… or anyway one is often forced to keep a dap volume in ranges like 28/30, 29/30, or at full range… meaning there isn’t much freedom in that regard.
    2. The RE272 has an impedance that’s much lower (I need to re-measure it to provide the right number), it’s similar / more efficient than Etymotic ER4P or Westone 3, Klipsch X10 etc, so you won’t need any external amplification over that of your DAP… and in practical ways, it means you’ll use it with your dap most of the time, especially if it's high quality like a Sony or latest Cowons and it’s more convenient and cheaper as overall investment.
    Fit / Structure
    As far as comfort goes, all said for RE262 applies, since fit is a bit harder than using ER4 with biflanges or Westone IEMs. The size of the tip is that of Sony / Sennheiser IEM, so people used to that style won’t find many problems, while others having issues with them might find fit issues and need to fiddle around or play with different silicon tips.
    In regards to microphonics, as usual, like I do with 90% of in-ear monitors, they will be got rid of by simply wearing the cable over the ear.
    So, in conclusion, the RE272 feel like an update (not a revolution nor a big step aside) over the RE262, addressing mostly the issue of portability / efficiency, with some other tweaks to the sound, thankfully building over a sound signature which I had found very successful last year (and, already back then, much much superior to the RE252, which started the line-up, as well as to others like RE0 or RE1 which sounded tonally – and totally – different from the RE2x2 family).
    Thanks for reading,
  2. Negakinu
    Hey Tony, thanks for the great review! Looking forward to reading more impressions on durability since that seems to be an issue with the Hifimans (although my RE0 never showed any sign of defect). Could you perhaps add some photo's and make a nice layout? Break up the wall of text a little with some headlines in bold? Would enhance readability a bit. :)
  3. antonyfirst
    By construction I would say durability is similar to Etymotic HF5 (etymotics using standard materials instead of ER4 high quality materials)... rubber cables don't last long in most cases (including Shure and the soft version cable of Triple fi 10, iphone version if I recall right). I think Etymotic ER4 and perhaps Westone are the only one making really durable cables.
    I have seen plastic parts of earpieces having problems with HifiMan RE252 (it happened to me as well!) but it isn't happening with my RE272 until now.
    Will do some outlining during lunch break and take a few pictures after work too.
  4. mukulymn
    I was looking for a major update with re272....
    Anhow i will wait for retail version. Do u have any info on the price
  5. tomscy2000
    I'm looking for an IEM that works well with a desktop head amp. Would a RE262 equal the RE272 in SQ when properly amped? I guess what I'm asking is whether it's worth it to get the RE272 and struggle with the volume pot at a less than 7:45 position, or would it be easier just to get the RE262 and be able to more easily manage its volume at 8:30 to 9:00 on the pot (just guesses on their respective positions)?
  6. antonyfirst
    Mmmm... I think in your position I'd favor the higher impedance one, thus going for the RE262.
  7. tomscy2000
    Yeah, that was my thought too; I only wish the RE262 had the sturdier looking metal shell of the RE272.
  8. munkyballz
    Damn, I totally missed this.  Been looking for news on the 272 forever, thanks for the impressions.
    They seem to sound good, no pun intended, but not quite the evolution or revolution that I was hoping for.  Perhaps more of a half step or two versus a big leap, or stride forward.
    Hmm, still... wished the production version and pricing would come out soon, still kind of tempted to get these if the build quality has improved and the sound has been more refined upon the 262's.
  9. TheDreamthinker
    Is it as hollow as the re262?
    And muddy? (yes, i find the re262 muddy).
  10. dilpal
    How is treble on Re272 as compared to RE 262?
  11. WNBC
    Hey Tony, thank you for the thoughtful review.  I use the RE-262 + HM-601 as my primary portable set-up.  While the RE-272 sounds intriguing I will probably wait until my 262s fall apart before getting the 272s.  Also, you mention the isolation on the 262's is better than for 272's which is a key reason for me to wait.  I ride the bus and it can be loud on the highway so better isolation is plus for me.
  12. kostalex
  13. david1978jp
    I really think 262 and 272 should be the same price. 

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