HiFiMAN provided the RE800 free of charge for the purpose of my honest review, for good or ill.
I originally contacted HiFiMAN in hopes of securing a review sample of their HE1000 V2. Peter Hoagland reached back, expressing deep concerns over my credentials and status as a legitimate reviewer. A $3,000 headphone was not going to happen. I can appreciate that. Pinky is not the cleanest of souls. Yet he did hit me back a few months later with an offer to review one of their newest in-ears, the RE800. Since I didn’t currently own any single-driver dynamic IEMs, I jumped at the opportunity. I’ve become quite interested in how high-end dynamics are progressing.
Reading the press literature Peter sent me, my interest only grew. HiFiMAN’s new RE800 and RE2000 are rife with brilliant innovation.
The Topology Driver has a nano coating, painted in a specific geometric pattern for the purpose of controlling soundwave formation and countering the distortion driver diaphragms naturally suffer when in use.
I cannot attest to whether or not they’ve achieved this goal, but I can say these don’t sound like anything else I’ve heard. Which can be good and bad. But we’ll get to that. First…
I’ve never been one to care much for packaging, but sometimes a piece will come in that demands your attention. HiFiMAN went above and beyond here. The glossy outer slip shows off the RE800’s charms quite well. Once that’s removed, you have a large hinged box. Due to the handsome lining, I’m not sure if it’s wood, or just a very sturdy cardboard. It feels like wood, but don’t take that as gospel. Within, you are presented with deep black felt lining precise cutouts for the IEMs and the little carry case. Beneath the carry case lays a hole, which you can use to pull out the felt cutouts, to reveal all the documentations, ear tips and assorted accessories.
The IEM was so tight in its cutout I had to be VERY careful not to tear out the cable while trying to remove it. I think I ended up pulling up the felt and pushing the IEMs out from behind.
So… the RE800 is beautiful. No other way around it. It’s one fine-ass looker. You are left in no doubt it’s plated in 24 karat gold. It has a heavy, solid feel, apart from the cable, which lacks any sort of strain-relief and fills Pinky with fear for their survival. This model does not have a removable cable, but from what I understand there are versions that will.
As you can probably deduce from the size and shape, these will fit practically every ear. They are SMALL. Find the right tips and you are golden. Comfort it top notch. My only complaint is the thick and springy nature of the cable, which fights me constantly. I would much prefer one that draped easier.
There are lots of tips included. Traditional silicon, double-flange, foam… I’ve been using the Symbio Mandarin W, which is a foam-filled hybrid, with silicon on the outside. It doesn’t tame the highs as well as all foam, but the silicon makes sure the bass stands tall.