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Head-Direct (HiFiMan) RE0

Reviewed Nov 2009


Details: Summer 2009 version of the RE0 IEM (cloth cable).
Current Price: N/A (discontinued) (MSRP: $239)
Specs: Driver: Dynamic | Imp: 64 Ω | Sens: 100 dB | Freq: 16-22k Hz | Cord: 4.1′ I-plug
Nozzle Size: 5.5mm | Preferred tips: Soundmagic PL30 foamies, De-Cored Shure Olives
Wear Style: Straight down or over-the-ear

Accessories (3/5) – Spare filters, a nice selection of silicone tips (both single- and bi-flanges), and a shirt clip
Build Quality (4/5) – Classy-looking metal shell feels sturdy, but there are occasional reports of splitting. Cabling is properly relieved and features an L-plug in the current version
Isolation (3/5) – Typical for a sealed straight-barrel IEM
Microphonics (3.5/5) – Low when worn over-the-ear, and still not bad when worn straight down
Comfort (4/5) – Housings are small and light. Comfort hugely dependent on tips but is generally very good

Sound (8.3/10) – The overall sound is natural and boasts incredible clarity and top-notch separation in the average-sized soundstage. The high-end is incredibly detailed and seems to extend upwards endlessly. The detailing is close to the best I have heard. Very impressive also is the apparent flatness of response. The mids have good clarity and are also incredibly detailed. They are very neutral with maybe just a hint of warmth, but lack lushness or liquidity. The lows are not huge in quantity, but very good in detail, extension, and control. These can drop below 35Hz and individual notes can be distinguished all the way down. Overall, it is a sound signature that makes it easy to both tune them into the background and pick out fine details, whichever strikes your fancy at the moment.

Amping: Like being amped, but don’t require it explicitly. High impedance rating is deceiving. Warm amp (e.g. T4) will make these more well-rounded for those who prefer a warmer, darker sound.

Value (10/10) – At $79, it is easy to recommend the RE0s as what is probably the best-value all-around earphone for the detail freak and accuracy lover. The RE0s’ sound signature is definitely not for everyone, but those looking for the absolute best accurate sound reproduction to be had in the realm of reasonably-priced IEMs will not be disappointed.

Pros: Top-tier sound quality for mid-fi money; superb detail, accuracy, separation, and clarity
Cons: May sound thin, boring, or bright to some, some reported durability issues





Living in the fast-paced city of Los Angeles, ljokerl has been using portable audio gear to deal with lengthy commutes for the better part of a decade. He spends much of his time listening to music and occasionally writes portable audio reviews across several enthusiast sites, focusing mostly on in-ear earphones.


4 Responses

  1. Not sure, my contact from HiFiMan seems to have disappeared. I have to finish up that RE-300 review I’ve been putting off so I have a reason to get in touch again 🙂

  2. Thank you ljokerl. A further price drop had me hovering over the button. The RE272 should have me covered, sound-wise and fear-of-breaking-wise.

    Unless of course the new custom RE1000 blows s away. Is that on your might-review list as of now?

  3. IIRC this was my first review of an “expensive” IEM. How things have changed…

    I wouldn’t bother with it unless you need a backup for your other sets. Not that the RE0 makes a great backup – it’s not exactly bulletproof. For this type of sound I’ve always preferred the RE272 anyway.

  4. ljokerl, for someone who has the RE272 and RE400, do you see any value/reason to purchase a second hand RE0 for ~72$?
    Is the RE0 magic still relevant today? More so in my case?

    PS: Early days review :). You’ve become so rambly these days 😛

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