HiFiMan RE-400 Waterline Review


Added Mar 2013

Details: Newest entry-level earphone from one of the pioneers of accurate dynamic-driver earphones
MSRP: $99 (manufacturer’s page); $99 for RE-400i w/mic & 3-button iOS remote (manufacturer’s page); $99 for RE-400a w/mic & 1-button remote (manufacturer’s page)
Current Price: $79 from amazon.com for RE-400; $79 from amazon.com for RE-400i; $79 from amazon.com for RE-400a
Specs: Driver: Dynamic | Imp: 32Ω | Sens: 102 dB | Freq: 15-22k Hz | Cable: 3.9′ 45º-plug
Nozzle Size: 5mm | Preferred tips: stock bi-flange
Wear Style: Straight down or over-the-ear

Accessories (3.5/5) – Single-flange (2 sizes), short bi-flange, and long bi-flange silicone tips; cable winder Updated February 2014: RE-400 now comes with 3 types of silicone bi-flange eartips, 4 types of silicone single-flange eartips, a shirt clip, and a clamshell carrying case
Build Quality (4/5) – Construction is in line with what we’ve seen from HiFiMan as of late – solid housings, long strain reliefs, and thicker cables. The top part of the cord is similar to the RE262/RE272 while the bottom part is nylon-sheathed. HiFiMan’s standard 45º-plug completes the picture. The RE-400 is single-ended – there is no option of running it balanced and no adapters are necessary to use it with standard 3.5mm jacks
Isolation (4/5) – Quite good for a dynamic-driver unit. The small housings and thick stock tips allow for a deep seal with even better isolation.
Microphonics (4/5) – Bothersome when worn cable-down; fine otherwise
Comfort (4.5/5) – The housings of the RE-400 are the smallest of all the HiFiMan earphones I’ve seen to date. The shape seems to favor a deeper seal, which shouldn’t be an issue for all but those with the smallest ear canals. Cable-up wear is easy though the cable slider is a little loose on the cable.

Sound (9/10) – The RE-400 takes the place of the RE-ZERO in HiFiMan’s new, more streamlined lineup. For the most part it stays true to what we’ve come to expect from the RE-series earphones–its tone is mostly neutral and the sound is about as clean and transparent as it gets. The RE-400 seems to be endowed with a slightly more robust low end compared to the old RE-ZERO–there is a slight mid-bass lift audible with the newer model. This gives its bass a little more weight and depth and tilts the overall tone slightly in the “warm” direction compared to the RE-ZERO, RE272, and Etymotic ER-4S. This is not necessarily good or bad—those who want a ruler-flat bass will likely still prefer the 272, but it will allow the RE-400 to cater to a wider audience, which is a definitely plus in my book.

I would still classify the RE-400 as a neutral earphone with just a hint of warmth. The midrange is clear and well-positioned, neither recessed nor forward in the presentation. Detail resolution is excellent and the overall sound is very transparent. The top end, similarly, is present but not overbearing. As with the other HiFiMan earphones, it is delicate and refined. For an accuracy-oriented earphone the RE-400 is rather smooth and forgiving – it is a little more tolerant of sibilance than, for example, the Etymotic ER-4S. Treble extension is quite good, which tends to be the case with HiFiMan sets – certainly on-par with other high-end dynamics such as the VSonic GR07 and Sony EX1000.

The presentation of the RE-400 is versatile and uncongested. Separation lags a hair behind the ER-4S and RE272, which seem to benefit from the lack of a mid-bass lift, but really isn’t far behind these (far pricier) flagships. The overall sense of space easily beats out similarly-priced sets such as the MEElec A161P and Ultimate Ears 600, and even offers slightly better depth than the older RE-ZERO. Like the rest of the RE-400’s sound, the presentation is very, very difficult to fault.

Value (10/10) – The latest iteration of the balanced-and-accurate dynamic-driver earphone from HiFiMan, the RE-400 offers an audible tuning change from the old RE0 and RE-ZERO models. It produces slightly weightier bass, a more well-rounded presentation, and smooth, forgiving treble while still offering accuracy on a level very rarely found at or near its price point.

Additional improvements over the previous-gen RE-ZERO include a more robust construction and better noise isolation, mostly due to the more compact, deep-sealing form factor. The RE-400 also boasts much nicer packaging, though there is still a disappointing dearth of accessories. The no-frills approach is fine by me – the RE-400, like its predecessors, is a listener’s IEM. All in all, adding a hint of warmth to an otherwise neutral sound should let RE-400 appeal to the casual listener better than the models it replaces while holding very close to the HiFiMan sound many—myself included—have come to love.

Pros: Very smooth & balanced sound; small & comfortable;
Cons: Cable noise can be bothersome in cable-down configuration


About Author

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.


  1. Man, your reviews are an insane resource for us mere mortals just trying to enjoy simple pleasures. I’ve been researching to hell and back to replace my iPhone buds, listening mostly to rock, and I’ve just pulled the trigger on a set of RHA T20i phones because I found a new set for $80. Thought it would be worth having before I upgrade to something like a Grado GR10 or Shure SE535, and seemed a better alternative to the RHA MA750 or 1More Triple Drivers that seem to get good reviews.

    Pity I only stumbled on these HifiMan earphones now, these seem more suited to my needs. Bugger!

    Anyway thanks again.


  2. Hi ljokerl,

    Huge fan of your reviews, as i always mention 🙂

    So, I just bought Hifiman RE-400 from wallmart.com and when i’m listening to it, it’s kind of ducking whenever the kick hits in the songs, like it’s artificially side-chaining or something. Does this mean these earphones might be fake ones?


  3. Hi joker, excellent review as always.

    I’ve been using a vsonic gr06 for the past 4 years which I just lost. I had bought it after reading your review and never regretted it for a second. Now I’m just a tiny bit sad but I also have to find a suitable successor. If there was one thing I could improve on the gr06, it would be the sibilance. Also, I could do with just a little bit more punch in the bass. Btw I’m not a bass head, and even the rha ma750 has a little too much bass for my taste – although I must say I was impressed by the build quality. The vsonic vsds3s gave me a headache – so that is also out of the picture.

    Given this, do you think the hifiman re 400 is a good choice? My budget is $50-$100. I would want the new one to last at least another 5 years so build quality is important to me. So even if you have a recommendation that overshoots my budget, I’ll try to look for a used pair.

    I’m in no hurry, though! All suggestions are welcome 🙂

    Thanks a ton! And happy new year! \(°∆°)/

  4. Hi joker,

    I’ve used the re-400(broken :/) and upgraded to Aurisonics Rockets(which i misplaced unfortunately) following your reviews, I found the Rockets to be less mid-centric like you said and preferred the more foward mids of re-400. I enjoyed the rockets better after hacking the re-400 filters onto the Rockets :P. Any recommendations for iems with similar sound signature to re-400 but better build quality?


    • Haven’t come across anything better than the Rockets TBH. I found the MS100BA from Phiaton to be a reasonable RE-400 alternative considering it’s both cheaper and better-made, but it’s not an upgrade. I compared them here: https://www.innerfidelity.com/content/phiaton-single-balanced-armature-earphones

      There are some other BA monitors that have a somewhat similar smooth/mid-focused sound, such as the ATH-IM02, but these tend to differ more in tonality. If you really like the HiFiMan sound I probably wouldn’t venture this far away from that signature and just pick up another RE-400 (or the RE00 from Massdrop if they run it again).

    • I am in the same boat Phillip, recently acquired the opus#1 (not sure if i like it just yet) and was looking to get an “Upgrade” to the RE400’s but cant seem to find one.

  5. Hi Joker

    I need help picking out a pair of earphones.

    The things that I find to be important in a pair: comfort and immersion.

    A pair of earphones that I’ve enjoyed in the past were Sony’s MH1C though I felt that they were lacking in comfort.
    With a break in comfort I find it difficult to become immersed in a song.

    So as little fatigue in listening to music would be ideal for me.

    I want to get lost in a song. Music I listen to the most: shoegaze, alternative (think sonic youth or Smashing pumpkins), and indie-folk.
    I don’t hold a preferred sound signature. So feel free to throw me whichever way!

    Recommend me anything at 40 to 100 dollars please and Thanks for all your efforts.

    • MH1C is fairly small and lightweight for an IEM – smaller and lighter than most. If it’s the cable that bothered you then that’s easy to fix, but if it’s the earpieces that’s going to be harder.

      I’d actually recommend a Klipsch, which I don’t do often – specifically, the Klipsch X11, which remains one of the most comfortable IEMs I’ve ever owned AND has a rather smooth and non-fatiguing sound that is more reminiscent of the MH1C than the RE-400. It’s very similar to the newer X12, but the X11 generation can be had for under $100 on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2mbg7dE or ebay: https://goo.gl/NZTQbZ

  6. I have read and lived with the re400 for a while, sold it but now im missing it
    I am now wanting to find a pair of iem that sound like re400 (i love their sound signature) plus better durability. The price range should be around $150. Can you give me your recommendation?
    Thank you

    • The only real substitute for the RE-400 with top-tier durability is the Aurisonics Rockets, but those are now discontinued and even used ones now go for more $$.

      I would stick with HiFiMan if the RE-400’s sound is what you miss. As I see it you have three options: get another RE-400, get the RE-600 for the slightly thicker/more durable cable (but don’t expect an SQ improvement), or wait for the Massdrop x HiFiMan RE-00 to have something with the HiFiMan signature but at a “disposable” price.

      • Thank you for your reply,

        I am still digging into your posts to find another pair of in ear that would fit my preference. I also go to some local headphone stores to try out a few models but still no luck.

        I will keep my eyes on the Massdrop, thank you for the advice. And I am still keep looking for a mid-centric pair of inear as I love this sound signature

      • Hello ljokerl

        It’s me again, recently I got the pair of Phonak Audeo PFE 012 and quite love how they perform !
        I obly wish they would be abit mid forward and clearer, since they are sounding a bit muddy to my ear, lack of spiky and edgy.

        I have read about their grey filter would improve the sound in my prefered way, can you tell me the difference between the stock green filter and the grey ones (they are so hard to find plus high prices)

        Thank you very much

  7. Hi!
    I use Cowon D2+ (love it for the combination of sound, runtime and dimensions) and Astrotec AX-35 earbuds. At the moment I’m looking for new IEM to broaden my outlook. After weeks of continuous googling and reading multiple reviews I’ve ordered Zero Sound Tenores from Japan and now I still want to get more and I’m choosing between the brand new RE-400 for 64$ and used M-Audio IE-10 for 46$. The second one is absolutely unknown for me. Is it a good deal for money?

    • Or maybe it would be even better to prefer Vsonic VSD3S (can buy used one for 37$) instead of poorly built RE-400 and old BA from M-audio?

      • As far as I know the M-Audio IE10 is a rebranded UE Super.Fi 3, which is at least a 10 year old design. These were pretty solid when were on clearance at the end of their natural life 5+ years ago, but I would not buy one in 2016. If you want a ~$50 BA, I’d get a Phiaton MS100BA.

        Both the HiFiMan and the Phiaton will give you a very strong contrast to the much more v-shaped AX-35 – they are balanced, somewhat mid-centric earphones with a neutral-to-warm tone.

        The VSD3S will be less in the way of a contrast, but it is a very good value and introduces you to the VSonic sound, from which there is then a clear upgrade path with the GR07, if you end up hooked.

  8. Hi |joker|, really enjoying your reviews on these earphones! Thanks so much for doing them!

    Recently, after borrowing an M50x from a friend, I fell in love with the extra details I’ve gotten from my songs, especially the vocals and instruments, since I’ve only been using warmer/bassier IEMs. Having come to appreciate the neutral sound signature, which of the RE-400 or GR07BE do you think will be a better choice? (the M50x is considered neutral-ish, right? :P)

    Where I live, I’m able to get the RE-400a for about USD63, or the GR07BE for about USD100. From what I’ve read in your site, I understand that the GR07BE is slightly more sibilant, but provides more pronounced lows and highs, but the RE-400 is able to deliver 90%-ish of the former’s performance for almost half the price. Otherwise, what other suggestions do you have, for a detailed IEM that can really bring out vocals and instruments (or what other sound signatures should I look for)?

    Once again, thank you so much, and I look forward to your reply!

    • Yes, that’s a good summary of the differences between the two. Honestly, unless you’ve been using a good mid-level IEM already, I would think either of these two will deliver the details you crave and you can’t really go wrong. They both perform well in the detail department, though the GR07 tends to be a bit more “in your face” with it and is the one I’d go for if money were no object. The DUNU Titan 1 is another one in that price range that’s extremely good at bringing out details in vocals. Has a slightly different sound signature to the GR07 (more forward upper mids, brighter overall tonality), but performance and value are about on-par.

      There aren’t really any alternatives that fall much under $60, either – you can again get like 90% of the RE-400’s detail with something like an Ostry KC06 or VSonic VSD3 but you won’t be saving much $$ with those so you might as well jump up to the HiFiMan.

      • Hi |joker|, thanks for the reply! Think I am leaning towards the GR07 now after reading the horror stories of RE-400’s build quality, but then again the GR07 doesn’t have much going for itself too with regards to QC. But anyway, what are your opinions on the differences b/w GR07BE vs the CE (classic)?

        • It’s exactly how it sounds – the BA has a (very small amount) more bass while the classic is slightly more neutral. Both have more bass than the RE-400 so if that was on your list you might as well get the less expensive GR07 Classic.

      • I had the RE-400 AND the RE-600, The sound extremely similar, very neutral, but the build quality is terrible, on both IEM’s one of the earpieces cut in and out until eventually the sound was more out than in.

        Just bought the Shure SE-215 and the rich powerful sound is right in my wheelhouse! Except it took me a whole hour to figure out how to put the cotton things on, not used to that over the ear wrap. But I figured it out. takes a tad longer to put them on than your average IEM but they’re more comfortable.

        • Wow my left channel started to cut out at random, it happened twice already. It had me completely confused because I have never had that happen to an IEM ever. Guess I will be returning that pair and probably going for an HF5 next.

  9. Coming from an SM3, how would I feel about this IEM? I absolutely worshiped my SM3 haha

    My SM3 recently got eaten by my dog (I know…) and I cant really afford another one right now.
    What I really value in an IEM is the sibiliance and highs, I am kinda sensitive to highs and I like to do some extended listening sessions. Plus, I also really like the pronounced mids signature of the SM3 and UM3X

    • Pronounced mids and no sibilance – check. However, that’s about the extent of the similarities – the RE-400 is not going to have the warm, bassy full-bodiedness of the SM3. The upper mids are a lot more forward (they’re a little subdued on the SM3 to create the abovementioned sonic flavor) and the soundstage is way less 3-dimensional and involving. RE-400 is a good IEM, it’s just not a great match for some of the strengths of the SM3.

      • Any IEM you would recommend that sounds like the SM3 on a budget?
        I also really liked my UM3x (which I sold once I chose the SM3 as my daily driver).

        About the RE-400, when you say upper mids, which frequency range would that be, more specifically?
        I tend to down-equalize the 8k range on most of the phones, as it sounds artificial to me when they have a bump (or are not subdued?) in that area.

        Thanks Joker.

        • UM3X and SM3 are similar to each other… and pretty much to nothing under $300. The SM2 is not too different from the SM3 but it’s almost as expensive at about 200 EUR.

          Ideally you’d want something a lot thicker and more full-bodied than the RE-400. Some of the bassier IEMs in the price range will do that – e.g. the RHA MA750 and Yamaha EPH-100 – but they give up some of the midrange forwardness in return (especially the MA750). Not sure which would be a better option for an SM3 fan between these and an RE-400, I supposed it depends on what they value most about the SM3.

          One other option is the Sony MH1C. You can find these on ebay for about $30 and sonically they punch way about their weight with a warm and smooth sound signature. Might be worth trying just because they’re so inexpensive. Cable on these is pretty annoying though.

          RE-400 has pretty strong presence around 2-3k. The treble is smooth, though – 8k shouldn’t be a problem, at least no more so than other smooth-sounding IEMs.

  10. I got these based on this effusive recommendation. I must say, the sound quality is superb, but the cable quality is absolutely terrible, which was evident from the moment I opened the box. Hard to understand how anyone, specially someone who tests all kinds of headphones for a living, could think this is worth a 4/5 build quality rating. The cable peeled at several places overtime, even though I was extremely careful and always kept them in the bundled hard case. All of a sudden, after around six months, they weren’t even recognised by whatever I plugged them to. I decided to not ship them back, as I’d just receive back a pair that would break quickly again. Checking on Amazon you can see this is a common issue, so needless to say I’ll sadly have to take this site with a grain of salt and also look for opinions elsewhere.

    • As always with these things, YMMV. I got my RE-400 in spring of 2013 and have put thousands of hours on it with no problems, but I also use the case and all that. It wouldn’t make too much sense for me to base ratings off of reviews on Amazon rather than what I actually experience.

      • Guess you got a better one or something of sorts. I’m pretty surprised it’s lasted you this long. As I said, I also used the case, but the low quality of the cable was immediately apparent to me, which is why calling it a great cable surprised me. Not asking you to base your reviews on other people’s experiences of course.

  11. What is the power rating of these IEM (and IEMs in general)? How much can you amp them before you risk damaging them?
    Would 2.9 V rms / +11.5 dBu (said to drive 600ohm headphones) be enough to damage an IEM driver?

    • Can’t edit. But I should point out that this is the top volume high gain of the DACport Slim. And even under this setting these awesome IEMs don’t rattle at all during the Bass Shaker test (<100Hz).

      • It varies, and isn’t always listed (or listed accurately) by the manufacturer. Like other specs, I am sure it’s often mis-reported and generally not great to rely on.

        Lower-impedance headphones need more current while high-impedance ones (like 600 Ohms) need more voltage. Depends on which one your source has an easier time with. It might be impossible for you to damage a low-impedance IEMs because of low peak-to-peak current output.

  12. I’m looking for the most “analytical” IEMs I can find for under $100. Would the RE400 be a good choice?
    It has been so frustrating trying out different IEMs and their fake signatures, it’s almost as if people never heard of EQ. What’s the point in listening to something fake anyway? You have a brain with a capable EQ.

    • Pretty good, but wouldn’t be my top pick specifically for analytical IEMs – it’s a little too dull and smooth. I’d go for the best Etymotic you can get (HF5 ideally, but MC5 if that’s over budget), or a Final Audio Heaven II. You’ll get a crisper, slightly flatter sound with those.

        • The ER4S? The difference is much smaller in magnitude than between the HF5 and model below it, but the ER4 gives an even clearer and more refined sound. It’s one of the top earphones for clarity and detailing regardless of price, and the HF5 is not far behind.

  13. Hi Joker, sorry to bother you but I don’t know how to choose between HiFiMan RE-400, Etymotic HF5, Shure SE215 or VSonic GR07, I listen to Pop, Rock, EDM, and Epic Music (Hans Zimmer mostly).
    Could you help me pick one?

    • Should choose based on your preferred sound signature – whether you need any bass boost, like brighter sound, are worried about harshness, etc.

      Without any additional info I almost always recommend the GR07 (or GR07 Bass Edition). It’s a good midpoint between truly neutral/accurate earphones and ones that are more fun but give up some fidelity in exchange. The bass is pretty punchy but not heavy and the sound overall is very clear and detailed. It’s a great way to jump into higher-end IEMs.

  14. Tejas Gajjar on

    could you compare between the sound quality , bass , neurtral, soundstage, subbass, wide , clear, treble, of RE-400 & VSONI GR07 BASS & VSONIC GR07 ORIGNAL AND DUNU DN-2000???

    • Generally speaking they get from more mid-centric to more v-shaped as you go RE-400 -> GR07 -> GR07 BE -> DN-2000, with the DN-2000 having the most bass depth/impact and treble energy the RE-400 having the least. This is approximately true for soundstage as well – the RE-400 is the most intimate while the DN-2000 is the most out-of-the-head.

      Which one is more neutral between the RE-400 and GR07 depends on who you ask – true neutral is probably somewhere between those two.

  15. Hi Joker. Hope you are OK.

    It’s been a long time since I asked for your opinion. If you dive into previous comments you will see how much I loved (and still do) the RE-400 as well as the old TF 10’s. I had been looking for an upgrade over the RE-400 for quite a while and eventually ended up getting the Flare Audio R2pros which is the sound I have always dreamt of.

    They are very close in terms of sound signature to the RE-400 but at the same time, better in every single factor. From what I gathered, the R2pros should be very similar with the Aurisonic Rockets not only in signature but design-wise and construction-wise as well.

    I still own the RE-400 and give them occasional use when I want to switch from the Flares. I also got a cheap pair of Brainwavz Deltas for gym use which are really great for what they are.

    Yesterday, I noticed that Massdrop is offering a discount for the HifiMan’s RE-00, a headphone which is essentially the revival of the legendary RE-0.

    The reason I’m thinking of getting these is that I remember myself wanting these headphones back in 2011 while had been discontinued. So the prospect of getting them now is more of a fulfilment of an old dream than a realistic need or anything else… Although, for 40 dollars (shipping included) itch me to order!

    Do you think it’s worth to get a pair based on my likings in sound and the headphones I own?

    Many thanks.

    • $40 is a no-brainer for a pair of the RE-0s even today. They do have a slightly different sonic flavor than the RE-400s without deviating much from the HiFiMan house sound, so I think you would like them, especially for $40. And while they’re not as well-made as the RE-400s (unless this has been improved for the Massdrop version), it won’t hurt too much when $40 earphones go bad, so you could even use them as your gym pair.

  16. Hi Joker,

    First of all thank you for your amazing site, it is very useful !

    I had the RE-400 for a year now and they are starting to break, sometimes the left channel doesn’t work… I’m looking to buy a different IEM and I thought that maybe you could help me, because even if the RE-400 sounds great overall, there are some small things that starts to annoys me…

    I find that the forward mids, and especially the vocals, are fatiguing my ears after some time. If I EQ the 1K and 2.5K band of my 6 bands EQ by 2 or 3 dB it’s much better, but I can’t do that on every devices I use. I have another cheap IEM which is very very bassy and sounds bad, but I can listen to it all day with no problem…
    I also find, when I don’t EQ, that sometimes male vocals can sound a bit thin, a bit as if they were coming from a megaphone. Female vocals, however, are outstanding.

    I’m also looking for a mild stronger bass. I often listen to the RE-400 in noisy environment (subway) and I find the bass a bit hard to hear in those situations.

    Regarding the treble I just reallty love their smoothness.

    It would be awesome if you could recommens me an IEM 🙂 Thank you !

    • To me that sounds like the Aurisonics Rockets. They are close enough to be called a direct replacement for the RE-400, yet differ in all of the areas that seem to be key for you – the bass is a bit stronger (and noise isolation is better, which should help even more on the subway), the mids are a little less forward, and the treble smoothness is preserved. For a not-too-radical change from the RE-400 the Rockets are the best choice from what I’ve tried.

      The few other sets I can think of that maintains balance and smoothness comparable to the RE-400 but also pursue a slightly less mid-centric sound – e.g. the Sony MDR-7550, Audio-Technica IM02, InEar StageDiver SD-2 – have even less of a bass impact difference vs the RE-400. And of course sets that have significantly stronger bass tend to either have harsher highs (a more “v-shaped” sound tuning) or lack the clarity of the RE-400.

      • Thank you for your answer 🙂

        I checked the headphones you mentioned but they all are too expensive for me and difficult to find here in Europe. I read some review and compared the mesurements between the RE-400 and the Audio Technica ATH-IM02 on GoldenEars and it seems to correspond to what I’m looking for, but importing it here would cost 210 USD, which is almost 3 times the price of the RE-400…

        Is there something in the $100-150 price range that would meet my needs without losing too much clarity ?
        If not I should probably buy another RE-400, I still really enjoy them with a bit of EQ.

        I’m definitly keeping in min the Rockets for when I’ll have more money though 🙂

        • TDK BA200 but they’ve been discontinued so chances are you won’t find one new in that price range either. Don’t think there’s anything else under $150 – that’s a big part of what makes the RE-400 so special despite its flaws.

    • Hi joker! I also have the Re-400 for over an year and half and I’m pleased with’ em, specially using my Sony a-15 as source. I tried the Sony with HIFIMAN HE 400s, and the sound was very pleasing and smooth, but not loud enough. Do you have any suggestion or do I have to use a external amp?
      Thanks in advance.

      • No choice except to use an external amp/DAC – there’s just not much else you can do in this situation. On the upside, it’s the ideal use case for an amp – you don’t have to think about whether your setup needs one…

        • Thanks very much Joker. Any ext. amp/DAC suggestion (considering the overall cost pf Sony’s walkman and HIFIMAN HE 400s)?

          • Not sure – the only one I have is the OPPO HA-2 and it’s good, but I’m not sure how it will perform with the HE400. It does ok with my HE560, but doesn’t reach full potential.

  17. “Detail resolution is excellent and the overall sound is very transparent”. i totally agree. I love detail and clarity, especially mids.

    As an upgrade i was thinking between either VS GR07 or Dunu 2000? Again, I’m trying to find an IEM that matches re400s but has a more hi end sound.

    I’ve recently bought the Dunu Titan 1s which i love and only yesterday discussed here, but they are more V shaped and I’ll use them as my “fun” set as they are great to listen too and tap your feet to… but I’m still after that perfect-for-me sound where you hear all those little hidden sounds. And now that i am hooked on sound… I WILL FIND THEM haha

    • The DN-2000 is arguably more v-shaped than the Titan 1 so it doesn’t seem like the answer here. The GR07 is also more v-shaped than the RE-400, about on-par with the Titan in that regard. It’s still more neutral than the Titan 1 overall, but mids aren’t really its strength. If you want a smooth-sounding, accuracy-oriented in-ear that channels the HiFiMan sound (more or less), the closest thing to an upgrade I can recommend is the Aurisonics Rockets.

  18. As I mentioned on the Gr07 page, you suggested I try Dunu Titan 1s for something similar to the re400s, but with more “energy and colour”. You couldn’t have been more right (thus the thank you’s).

    I like the re400s, they are accurate sounding, very neutral, decently revealing… but ultimately a bit dry and lifeless. I was after something a bit more fun. The Dunu’s are just what I was looking for. They are £90 on Amazon uk, £30 more than re400s.

    From the very first pluck of the guitar on Abba’s Chiquitita (first song on my Fioo X1) I was hooked. When listening to the same song on the re400s I thought the guitar sounded great and accurate… but with the Dt1s I was hearing it as if my head was glued to the guitar. I can’t describe it but the notes shimmered and every pluck and sounded way more ‘musical’. Everything from the vocals, harmonies, piano, etc… all better with dt1s. The re400s won’t let you down for the price. They were my first upgrade from Soundmagic e10s and a big upgrade at that. Funnily enough, the DT1s actually sound like a cross between both the SM10s and re400s IMO. They have the warmth and fun of the SMs and the accuracy of the re4s.

    The bass in the re4s is a let down. People will say they are accurate to the song’s intended sound, but to me they really lack any energy whatsoever. You can use EQ to increase their warmth, but with the DT1s I was hearing bass a way I hadn’t ever heard before, and love it.

    I’d defo recommend the DT1s if you want a warmer and even MORE accurate sound. They are more than worth the extra £30. The DT1s are even more revealing than my Grado sr80es without the aggressiveness of the Grado sound. I’d give the re400s a 7.5/10… the Dunu’s an easy 9/10 (which may go up to 10/10 once I’ve really taken them a ride among all mu favourite artists).

      • Awesome, glad you like the Titan 1 coming from the RE-400!

        Great impressions post – I’m sure it will be useful to some of those reading this page with a similar dilemma! Upgrades to the RE-400 and SM E10 are still some of the most common recommendation requests people post on this site.

      • I should have mentioned, the sound-stage on the Titans is very wide which makes them more fun, and helps you pick out some little things in songs that the re400s couldn’t reveal

  19. Bhavyansh Thapliyal on

    Hi there! Nice review. I was thinking of buying the Vsonic VSD5 but since it would be my first and only pair of IEMs for a long time, I want to make sure I don’t go wrong. How do the Vsonics stack up against these HiFiman re400?
    And what about Ostry KC06, Shure SE215? Many thanks for your time! 🙂

    • As always, it really depends on what you’re looking for as those all sound different. The VSonics are a good choice as a starting point for Hi(er)-Fi in-ears if what you want is a very clear sound with punchy but not heavily emphasized bass and crisp treble (and don’t need the treble to be super smooth). They’re not as bass-heavy and treble-light as the Shures, not as midrange-focused as the RE-400, and not as bright and laid-back as the KC06.

  20. Hey there,

    I need some advice on my next set of IEM’s. I’m a (prog) metalhead at heart, but I also enjoy pop punk, rap like yung lean, and soft stuff like modern baseball, so all around the spectrum. My last set of buds were the Vsonic VSD3 that I had found through one of your guides. I really liked them, but I lost them, because I’m an idiot. I feel they could’ve been a bit more bassy, but I liked the spacious clear fullness of them the best, as compared to store bought scull candies that are way muddy. Sound Isolation and accuracy is a bonus as I usually use low to medium volumes. Warm and smooth sounds intriguing and the V-shape was fun. I use my car radio EQ boosted all the way around for my AUX fun. So a balanced, aggressive, fun sound that can articulate well for under or about $50?

    I was looking at getting the VSD3s version and the MA 350s sounded fun.

    I’m pretty lost on what to be looking at. If anyone could point me at a few models or signatures or terms I want to be looking for that’d be great.


    • You seem pretty open to trying different things so chances are you’d enjoy any of the high-performing sets in that price range. The Xiaomi Piston 2 or Sony MH1C, for example, will give you a warmer, smoother-sounding contrast to you VSD3 without sacrificing too much in the way of clarity. That would be a fun way to go if you want to try something different.

      Of course if you’d rather just have more of what you had with the VSD3, the VSD3S would be a good one to get, though it honest;y won’t sound any different than the VSD3 without the ability to compare them head-to-head.

      Lastly, lately people have reported getting their hands on JVC FXT90s around that price. That would be a great buy for what you want – they’re a little bassier than the VSD3/VSD3S and a little less spacious, but the clarity is superior to sets like the Sony MH1C and Piston2, and value for money at

  21. Hi Joker,
    I love the sound that the hifiman re400 gives in terms of the details in the mids. I have read that you would recommend the aurisonics rockets, audio technica im02, in regards of an upgrade from the hifiman’s. Just wondering if the Etymotics HF5 and ER4 would be a tad too extreme from what I’m used to coming from a hifiman user? I read that the accuracy and details that the etys are unparalleled but yet because of it it maybe fatiguing and too clinical for the average listener.

    • Yep, that sums it up very well. I only recommend Etymotics as an RE-400 upgrade if the request specifically mentions that a brighter, leaner, more analytical sound in exchange for more detail is OK. Otherwise my top recommendation for an RE-400 upgrade right now are the Rockets.

  22. I marvelled at the detail heard listening to these at first, hearing things i hadn’t heard before made up for the complete lack of bass, but overtime they start to sound very clinical and cold and slightly boring. I got INAIRS tips which made them sound a little warmer. There’s a complete lack of colour (is that the right word?). Nice resolution and they are good IEMs at £60, but I’ll probably look about for something with a bit more punch. I’m not particularly big on bass btw and I knew before i got them they wouldn’t be bass prominent… but they really lack in this dept and IMOthat is to their detriment.

    I know it’s been mentioned, but the cable noise is horrendous while on the move, very distracting and forces you to put the volume up which IMO makes them sound a bit harsh. I use a Fiio X1 and occasionally a topping nx2 amp on certain songs. Don’t get me wrong, on certain songs they sound really nice but more hit and miss IMO.

    It would seem I’m going against the generally favourable reviews so don’t hound me lol.

  23. I know you have not posted an Aurisonics Rockets review, but are you still happy with those compared to the re400? Any idea what the overall sound score on the Rockets would be?

    Thanks for all your review work.

    • Yep, still happy with them! I’d rank them on-par with the TDK BA200 (which has been discontinued) as an RE-400 upgrade for sound. And it’s an upgrade in most other ways as well – that’s one of the biggest strengths of the Rockets.

  24. Hello lad, I got a RE-600 and I’m a bit disappointed. I was expected much better quality product, i dont know, doesn’t sounds special at all. I’ve a few IEM in my collection ( etymotic er6i (died a few weeks ago), ety 4p, shure se215 , sennheiser CX300)
    I was looking for some combination (maybe its impossible) like the quality and perfection of the er4 and the confort and portability of the shure’s 215.I really like the build quality of the 215’s but can’t compare the clarity and soundstage of the etys , 215’s has a lot of bass (too much for my taste). I thought the RE-600 gonna suits me but i dont think they’re good at all . Even I read a few posts from people who put a filter in the RE-400 and sounds similar than the flagship for 1/3 of the price.

    I was thinking about the shure se315 (the frequency response looks similar than the etys in headphone.com) Did u test it ?

    Like you see am a bit confused right now …what do u think?

    thanks a million !

    • Answered this Q on Facebook already but for anyone who might end up reading this later down the line, what I recommended were the Audio-Technica ATH-IM02 and Final Audio Heaven II.

  25. Hi, i just bought these today after a long and painful search. It’s early doors but I’m not totally convinced I’ll like them. I love my AKG k451s, but I wanted a pair for walking around with as they are uncomfortable under a hood when it rained.

    I feel they re400s have a really good sound for £60, I can see why they would be classed as neutral as nothing really stands out in terms of instruments or vocals, they’re all there equally and i can hear them. I’m struggling not to compare them to my AKGs though which is probably very unfair as they are two different animals.

    Would you be able to suggest an IEM that has the similar characteristics of the k451s… in particular that big warm sound?

    Also, would I notice a big difference if i paid more and got the GR07s BE or even a lot more and got the Etymotic Research ER4S?

    Thanks in advance

    • I should have mentioned that i found the HF re-400s a little too dry for my taste and a little aggressive, but again they are worth £60.

      • I take it all back, these are great. After some burn in they have a great clear soundstage, nice and wide. Particularly nice revisiting my Queen collection. Nice hearing some of the highs I’ve missed before. Things like cymbals, higher notes in the harmonies all appear. Drums are nice. They are still a very neutral earphone but again this is nice as you get to hear most of what was intended in the recording, all sitting nicely in place, all in equal measures.

        Bass – although there – still isn’t prominent, sometimes a little bit weak. It sits nice in the track, but if you are looking for a big warm booming bass i’d definitely go elsewhere because you will probably not like these IMO. In We Are The Champions the bass in the middle part chorus is very faint, whereas in my AKG K451s or even in my Soundmagic e10s it is very clear and really adds to the energy and upbeat nature of the song. In the e400s though the harmonies are clearer and wider, rhythm guitar is really nice and central.

        I’d recommend these, 8/10

        • Haha, this is quite an interesting journey, thank you for sharing. I’m almost glad I was feeling under the weather the past couple of days and didn’t butt in.

          I’m glad you’re starting to the enjoy the RE-400s more! Yes, they are different from the Etymotics or VSonics, but ultimately these are all just different flavors of “balanced” sound and all are best at things like revealing fine nuances and staying true to the recording. There are earphones that sound way different from these three (e.g. with big, warm sound, slamming bass, etc.).

  26. Wow, I’m impressed you’re still reading and replying to these comments! If I could ask for a bit of advice…

    I just auditioned the RE-400s at a shop and found that there was a severe peak at somewhere below cymbal frequency, making the sound very unnatural. My ears got somewhat used to them after a while and I did find some threads online about having to insert them deep, which I did, but 1) It’s uncomfortable, or I’m not used to it, and 2) The peak isn’t totally eliminated. Have you or anyone else encountered this issue? Or is it just because I came from the rather bassy S4s/EP-630s? (Former just broke, latter is my current backup)

    While I’m here, I’d like to ask how the GR07 Classic compares with the RE-400 in terms of sub-bass and airy-treble extension. Also, I’m sure the RE-400 provides better value for $$, but since the GR07 does actually cost a bit more, does/could it actually perform a bit better than the RE-400? I preferred the GR07 in tests, mostly because of the issue with the 400s I described above. GR07 does have stronger highs (easily EQd) but none of that unnatural kink in the frequency curve.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Craig Williams on

      I just got notification of RE-400’s on sale for $59. The ratings and sound description sound like a major improvement over my Nuforce NE-700’s with Comply tips but I’m concerned about (a) durability, which was a major issue with Nuforce, and (b) compatibility with computer use, possibly with a Dragonfly v1.2 DAC and also my Grundig Traveler II FM radio (WFMT in Chicago has great programming and signal). Thanks .

      • RE-400s need to be treated well I guess. Mine are still fine about three years on, but I treat them the same way I treat my $500 earphones. Don’t buy them if you had many issues with the NE-700s because the construction is not that different.

        RE-400s are pretty easy to drive, as long as your source is relatively clean you don’t really need to worry about it. I would think about the sound tuning being very different from the NE-700s, though.

    • I tend to prefer the GR07 but they each have their strengths. The RE-400 has a mild upper midrange rise (probably what was bothering you, especially coming from a mid-recessed earphone like the S4), but it’s very smooth through the treble. The GR07, on the other hand, is the opposite and can even be a little sibilant. I do find the GR07 to be more airy (the RE-400 is not particularly stuffy but it has a more intimate presentation) and to have better bass depth, so if you want those two things it’s going to be the better option here.

      • Thanks, that was very informative! Can I also ask, what on earth does this “smooth treble” I’ve seen being thrown around about the RE-400s actually mean, and could you describe what it means for the GR07 to be the opposite?

        • You can probably get a better definition in the audiophile glossary on Head-Fi or Stereophile but smooth is the opposite of “harsh” treble, which is a potential negative aspect of sound tuning. Harsh treble can manifest itself in different ways but is usually caused by undesirable (sharp or poorly positioned) treble peaks in the frequency response of a set of earphones.

          In the case of the GR07 this mostly manifests itself as sibilance, which is the accenting of the “s” sound and similar sounds in vocals (think hearing “sSsnake” where it should be just “snake”). It’s a mild effect and not bothersome to everyone, but some people find it quite unbearable.

  27. Given that my older pair of RE262s hardened up after 2 years of use and literally snapped in half, I am just wondering how the cable is for your RE400s? You probably don’t use them as much as I used my RE262s (daily) but is the cable still soft and pliable? And how does the build quality compare to the RE262s?

    • The cable material on the bottom half of my RE400 cable is is different compared to the RE262 – it has a cloth-type covering and is safe from hardening/cracking. The top part is holding up fine about 2.5 years since I got them but like like you said I try not to use them in situations that may affect the cable, such as when sweating.

      Build quality is not too different from the RE262, aside from the housings being metal and the cable material difference.

      • Is there any reason in particular why you rated the RE400 at a 4/5 for build quality whereas the RE262 was at 4.5/5? I would think the nylon sheathed cable and metal housings would augment the quality rather than lower it.

        • It was rated at 4.5/5 originally (same as RE262) but I kept receiving messages from people whose RE-400s failed. I have a feeling it’s because there’s way more RE-400 owners than any other HiFiMan product but who knows. My experience with both models has been good.

  28. I just got the re400 half an hour ago and I am already blown away by the sound I am hearing. I own many iem: eph100, Ie80, se215, um3x, m6pro. To my ears the re400 has an incredible trasparent and detailed midrange that is another level. The best vocals i heard in an headphone/earphone. You really can hear some ‘hidden’ details in the music that are covered with other earphone. Bass is there, not owerpowering, I think many will pleased but bassheads not! Highs are gentle, present without being harsh. For the price I paid they are a steal. Thank you Joker for the recommendation!

  29. Hi, I was planning to get an RE-400, but I read about some units having durability issues. I found a used e-Q7 for about the same price, is this a good match for the sound? How would you compare these two?

    Which one would have a more “euphonic” feel and less analytic tilt?

    • Funny, there was a similar question I answered here a little while ago: https://theheadphonelist.com/headphone_review/ortofon-e-q7/#comment-120729 . Almost like the e-Q7 is having a resurrection of sorts on the used market.

      The e-Q7, while not nearly as rock-solid in construction as something like the Aurisonics Rockets, is a better earphone than the RE-400 or anything else I’ve tried in that price range for that type of sound. It is fairly similar to the HiFiMan but not overly analytical. I’d buy it.

      • That’s interesting because the one I was looking at sells for $75, maybe we’re looking at the same ad? I just asked the seller and he said the spare filters are missing. That’s okay right?

        After reading reviews and finally your opinion which I totally value, I think I just decided to take your advice and buy it. I knew it! I’m gonna pick it up on my payday (I won’t even wait for shipping! Yey I’m so excited) Thanks, man! Cheers

        • Rings? I thought it only came with filters. Filters aren’t a problem… you can probably just buy more from HiFiMan or someone else who carries them.

  30. Hi Joker,
    I was wondering what would be a good alternative or upgrade for the hifi man re 400.

    I’m currently using the re 400, they’re great iems but the durability is starting to become an issue for me.
    I had to replace the headphone jack and also use super glue on the plastic cables since the plastic is starting to crack/rip off on the edges/locations of strain near the jack and the driver.

    I like the smoothness of the re 400 and have gotten quite used to the neutral sound signature of the re 400.
    I mainly listen to female vocals, jpop, anime, asian(japanese/korean/chinese) music.

    • I used to recommend the TDK BA200 for this but they’ve gotten very difficult to purchase since TDK discontinued them a while ago. Recently I’ve been enjoying the Aurisonics Rockets and I think they are the ticket for an RE-400 upgrade, especially as far as build is concerned. The sound is very good and quite neutral, no issues with smoothness, and the construction seems bulletproof.

      Here’s the relevant bit from my upcoming review of the Rockets:

      “Not only is the HiFiMan unit also based on a small dynamic driver, it too is a smooth, neutral earphone with prominent mids. The RE-400 is a little more crisp and boasts higher sensitivity than the Aurisonics. The Rockets have a slightly less midrange-focused sound, with a bit more bass emphasis and depth. Clarity is similar but the Rockets are less revealing of harshness and sibilance. Their soundstage is a little more spacious and natural compared to the RE-400.”

      • Thanks for the recommendation, unfortunately the rockets are beyond my budget at the moment. Will try and use some sugru and see if my re 400 can last a bit longer :).

        The rockets look very sturdy according to the specs, with titanium housing and quad weaved aramid cable, but it seems that it does not have any strain relief near the drivers, bit concerned about how durable the joint between the cable and driver housing is.

        • This is precisely what makes the RE-400 so special and such a good value despite whatever shortcomings it may have – there just isn’t anything I’ve tried near its price range that can be considered an upgrade in both sound and construction.

          Normally I’d have an issue with the lack of an external strain relief as well but with the strong cable and lightweight housings of the Rockets I doubt this will be an issue. There’s also a 5-year warranty.

  31. Hi joker,
    I currently have klipsch s4i IEMs and I’m looking to upgrade. I find the s4i much too boomy on the low end. I live in China and I have a budget of about $100 – certain IEMs are very hard to find here or marked up (Momentum in-ear is over $120 for example), while others are cheaper here (such as Yamaha, VSonic, Soundmagic and Hifiman).

    So far I’ve narrowed down my options to the following: Hifiman RE-400(~$64), Yamaha EPH-100 (~$76), VSonic GR07 BE (~$96) and the new Soundmagic E80 (~$64). I listen to EDM (Monstercat, some VG OSTs), classic rock, acoustic guitar (Rodrigo y Gabriela, etc), alternate/indie rock (Muse, etc) and some modern female vocals (like Florence & the Machine, Adele, Imogen Heap). I like bass but I found the s4i incredibly too boomy and lacking clarity.

    To put my sound preferences in perspective, I use the HE-400i as my main phones at home.

    What would you suggest out of those headphones and the Chinese prices? Thanks!

    • Most things will sound less boomy than the S4, but if you want something that’s noticeably more accurate but not significantly less impactful or anemic in comparison to the S4, my choice would be the GR07 BE. No lack in clarity but the bass still has pretty good punch. Just don’t get these if you’re extremely sensitive to sibilance; in all other cases they’re awesome.

      • Thanks joker! After reading through many reviews and impressions, I have indeed narrowed down my choices to the GR07 BE and EPH-100. I know you compared these a couple times in the past, and it seems like you think the EPH-100 has significantly more bass, perfect for EDM. From what I’ve read though, the GR07BE would be better for most other genres I listen to.

        Even with less bass than EPH-100, do you believe the GR07BE should have enough low end for EDM? What advantages do the EPH-100 have over GR07BE anyway? I am leaning toward the GR07BE personally, but since it is more expensive here in China (about $20 more than the EPH-100), I want to make sure I’m making a good choice. Thanks!

        • Yes, your first paragraph about sums it up. I think the EPH-100 is a fantastic fit for EDM but on the whole its balance (and especially bass quantity) are closer to the S4 than the GR07 BE, which is why I was leaning towards the GR07BE in my reply above.

          I personally do think the GR07 BE has enough bass for EDM, but the “BE” part is a bit of a misnomer because it’s by no means a basshead or even bass-heavy IEM. It’s just a balanced IEM with some added punch. Advantages of the EPH-100 are mostly bass quantity related – the bass makes the overall balance warmer, the sound fuller, and so on. Other than the only advantages I can think of are the smoother treble (something the GR07 is not known for) and the soundstage depth (VSonics generally have good sounstage width but only OK depth… the GR07 BE is no exception).

          • Thank you joker! GR07BE it is then 🙂

            One last question: I noticed that the GR07 have higher impedance than the EPH-1000 (40 vs 16 ohms). I do not have a dedicated DAP or portable Amp. Will my Iphone be able to drive the GR07BE sufficiently? If not, how much will it scale with an amp like the Oppo HA-2?

          • Also, if I were to increase my budget to $200, would the Dunu DN-1000 be a significant upgrade? I know it is more V-shaped than the GR07BE, but it doesn’t seem to be as boomy as my Klipsch (or as sibiliant-prone as the GR07). Is that worth it for twice the price?

          • iPhones can drive VSonic earphones fine – that’s not really enough impedance to start worrying about and the sensitivity/efficiency of the GR07 is pretty high.

            DN-1000s are indeed closer to the S4 sound signature. They are not lacking in clarity, but the GR07 is the safer choice considering how little you liked the S4, and also the price difference.

          • Thank you joker. I just purchased the GR07BE. I will let you know how I feel about them when I receive them later this week. Thank you for all your advice!

          • Hi joker, I haven’t received my GR07BE yet, but out of curiosity I went to a local Xiaomi store and picked up a pair of Piston 2.0 for 99 RMB (16 USD). I don’t know what I was expecting from these, but I thought that they would at least be better than my Klipsch s4i’s.

            Surprisingly, my pair seem extremely veiled in the midrange compared to my s4 (and especially compared to my HE-400i). They are better than my stock apple earbuds, but all my songs sound extremely muffled, and the bass isn’t even as impactful as my s4i’s. Very strange! I’m pretty sure these are authentic too since I bought them directly from the Xiaomi store and I checked online for the marks of a counterfeit and these don’t have them. Maybe I am just too used to the relative clarity of my open back headphones… so now I am waiting for the GR07BE with bated breath.

          • Probably needs some burn-in but generally the Piston 2 is a pretty warm earphone, I wouldn’t recommend it as an upgrade from the punchy and crisp (albeit more harsh) S4. It’s more in line with the sound you’d get from a Beats or RHA (or in some cases Sennheiser) product. VSonics don’t sound very similar to the Piston 2.

          • Hi joker, I received the GR07BE yesterday and I’ve been listening to them (and burning them in) for the past two days. After the initial disappointment with the Piston 2.0, I was a bit worried that IEMs just weren’t going to be my thing. Consider that worry completely unfounded. I absolutely love the sound signature of the GR07BE! They actually sound very similar to the HE-400i I use at home (mostly neutral with some low end emphasis, though I don’t feel the sub bass extends as far as the 400i). Soundstage is OK (better than what I expected from an IEM but still not great compared to open headphones) but overall I am extremely happy with these. Gone are the muddy vocals and mids of the Klipsch S4i and Piston 2.0 – guitars and strings sound excellent and the bass doesn’t overpower the lower mids.

            I do think I see why these are so much cheaper in China than in America though. I paid less than $100 (they are genuine) but they do not come with any of the Hybrid tips. This is a bit unfortunate as I feel that finding a good fit with the GR07BE is a bit difficult – if I don’t get the seal the bass just disappears. I guess this is just one disadvantage of IEMs over headphones though (since headphones are generally a bit more dummy-friendly).

            Thank you once again for the recommendation! I am extremely happy with these IEMs. I just wish I could have some more tips to play around with as I feel the seal with my ear could be improved.

          • Very glad to hear that you’re enjoying the GR07BE!

            And yes, you are totally correct about tips, the importance of a good seal (especially for bass), and the peril of judging an earphone without a good seal. In fact, I would say that probably one in every three or four negative reviews I read for an IEM on Amazon and other retail sites is for issues caused by bad fit.

            Luckily, aftermarket tips are less expensive and typically easier to find compared to replacement headphone pads.

Leave A Reply