- Amazing sound quality!!! Review by Twister
Price Value Quality
The first thing you notice when you take these headphones out - how super lightweight and compact they are. The barrel of these earpieces is made out of lightweight aluminum material and has a great ergonomics to fit comfortably inside of your ear. The barrel opening is covered by a cloth material filter (5 replacement pairs included), and right next to the strain relief there is a pinhole port for sound shaping. Followed by a decent strain relief the cables use a durable shiny rubber coating up until the y-splitter. Included chin slider moves very smoothly and made out of the same aluminum material. After y-splitter, the cable has a "shoe lace" type of cloth material cover which is still very durable and doesn't have that annoying springy effect found with so many other cables. The cable is terminated by a gold plated 3.5mm angled connector with a flexible strain relief. I also noticed microphonics effect was down to minimum.
When it comes to sound quality, RE-400 delivers amazing results! This single dynamic driver in-ear really focuses to deliver a neutral transparent sound but unlike other neutral headphones that sound lifeless - these are very smooth and warm. The sound is not in your face, it's a few steps back, but it sounds very natural without any artificial enhancement. The characteristics that surprised me the most was the low end where neutral headphones usually try hard to show details but lack the extension. Here, you still get a very detailed bass sound without any humps, but it actually extends beyond mid-bass punch down to some sub-bass texture. It's not enhanced or boosted, just perfect to enjoy your low frequencies, well controlled without spilling into mids. I found bass to be not as fast in comparison to my other headphones, but it's very well rounded and full. Mids are very detailed, clear, maybe a bit forward but not too much. The vocals sound very natural and lush. High frequency (treble) is extended, detailed, bright but not harsh and without any hint of sibilance. Upper mids/treble is very well controlled and just perfect for extended listening period without ear fatigue. The soundstage is average, not too wide which was definitely a step back from RE-400B balanced version that had an amazing 3D width. But this is in-line with other similar IEMs, while balanced wiring/architecture is intended to widen the sound. The headphones were really easy to drive from my phone and X5, but I did notice I had to dial in a higher volume level to enjoy them more.
Overall, I knew that I will not be disappointed with RE-400, and my testing just solidified that! No matter what genre of music you are listening to, these headphones will guarantee to bring out the best in every song. The sound has just a perfect balance of neutral natural tones without going into any extreme. Perhaps if you are a basshead craving for a more bass impact or need an analytical bright set of headphones - these might not be your cup of tea. But as all around headphones that sounds and looks great, and has a very reasonable pricing in comparison to other single and multi-driver IEMs in the sound sound category - these deserve a serious consideration. (Posted on 3/26/15)
- These things are wonderful! Review by Mark E Brauer
These things are wonderful!
I would not have said that a month ago when I first started writing this review but since then the RE-400 has changed drastically - all for the better.
I was looking to purchase in-ear phones up to $100 as a summer alternative to my exquisite-sounding Sennheiser HD650. When it's hot, the full-size over-ear Sennheisers are uncomfortable and with the windows open their open-back design offers no isolation from outside noise.
Initially I liked the RE-400 a lot and had been going to give them a 4 star review. After one month of almost daily use they were entirely satisfactory and fully met my expectations for a $100 IEM - in other words, significantly better than my cheaper IEMs in every respect. In most ways they were also better performers than my similarly priced Sennheiser HD555 ($90) and Audio Technica ATH-A700 ($110).
I did not really believe in "break in" - never noticed much difference in past equipment - but up front I did play the radio through the RE-400 for 3 days straight (70+ hours), figuring it couldn't hurt. Didn't notice any difference. But then into the fifth week of use (around 150 hours total) they just started opening up. I was all WOW, these things really sound great! Now, after about two months of almost daily use the sound is smoother and more lush from top to bottom. It's not that the frequency response changed, it's more that the small things like instrument harmonics and recording venue ambiance are fully fleshed out making the presentation just plain more musical. A joy to listen to. Now they are markedly better than the either the HD555 or the ATH-A700. Not quite up to the standards of the HD650 - but that's a $500 headphone. 5 stars for sure. Break in??? Maybe it is necessary.
The small form factor and light weight make the HiFiMan extremely comfortable to wear. It's easy for me to get a very good seal with the standard small double-flange ear tips, making for consistent sound and good isolation. 5 stars for comfort/isolation too.
Background (for those who care.)
Most of my listening is done with a high quality DAC and desktop headphone amp. I like music with an acoustic vibe - chamber, jazz combo/vocals, blues with an occasional bit of folk and pop. In these genres the RE-400, while having a different sound signature, comes pretty close to matching the Sennheiser HD650 for musical enjoyment. The bass goes very low, is distinct, and is properly balanced with the rest of the instruments. The mids and highs are very detailed and have no bad qualities. But bassheads beware - I have to agree with most other reviews in concluding that these are not ideally suited for bass-heavy genres. Depending on the recording, even big orchestral works can come off a bit weak.
Although not purchased for such, I occasionally use the RE-400 with my Samsung Galaxy S smartphone. The phone easily drives the these IEMs to high volume, with a couple of upticks to spare. The overall sound quality is similar to, but not as full bodied as, the desktop DAC/headphone amp.
Highly recommended - especially after break in. (Posted on 3/25/15)