In this article we look at the Hifiman RE-2000 Silver and RE-800 Silver. A variation of the two top IEMs from the Chinese Hifiman.
Disclaimer : Hifiman sent us the RE-800 and RE-2000 for free in exchange of an honest review.
Hifiman is a Chinese brand of audiophile players, headphones and earphones. The brand was founded in 2007 and they released their first product in 2010: the mighty HM-801, allegedly one of the first audiophile players available on the market. Since, Dr. Fang Bian and his team have released a full set of planar headphones, critically acclaimed even by us here at Headfonia.
So today, we are looking at the Hifiman RE800 Silver and RE2000 silver. Yes, Lieven already reviewed them last year in their gold edition but I didn’t have the chance to listen to them. Thankfully, they are now here.
The RE Series
Addendum : I’ll avoid some IEMs here and focus only on those that truly matter, at least from my point of view.
Hifiman RE-400 / RE-600
Launched in 2013, the Hifiman RE400 and RE-600 were the first IEMs of the brand. They were released conjointly with the HM-901, the awaited upgrade to the HM-901 which looked bulky and outdated in comparison to newcomers. They were dynamic IEMs in an aluminium shell, that alone set them apart from the crowd, quality IEMs (under 100€) were not the norm back then.
Sound wise, the RE-400 and RE-600 had a lot in common, mostly because the drivers were the same, as was the shell. If the RE-600 were harder to drive due to its lower sensibility, once you had them hooked to a good player, their prowess were obvious. Terrific highs, great sound stage, precise vocals, you could only ask for more bass… but that was it !
The catch ? You could have the same sound, same performances and same design (colour aside) for one third of the price if you got the Hifiman RE-400. Moreover, both had a fixed cable so it made the choice easier : 99€ for an easy to drive bang for buck IEM ? Or 299€ for the same IEM, in black ?
Produced by Unique Melody and tuned by Hifiman, the RE-1000 are the only CIEM of the brand. Where 99% of CIEMs use balanced armatures or balanced+dynamic drivers to boost the low-end, Hifiman decided to go full dynamic. Not with one full-range driver, no, but with two dynamic drivers (9mm+8.5mm).
Unfortunately I have never tried tried them so I can’t give any advice, positively or negatively. Even so, Unique Melody is one of the top brand of CIEMs and Hifiman know how to make great products like the HE-1000, so what could be wrong ?
Hifiman RE-800 / RE-2000 Gold
In 2017, Hifiman released the new RE-800 and RE-2000, their new top tier IEMs. Of course, to make them even more exclusive both IEMs were coated in 24k gold, because every top of the line should have gold on it.
If the Hifiman RE-800 is available for 699€, the RE-2000 costs 2000€ flat. An eye-watering amount putting the RE-2000 in direct confrontation of high-end CIEMs like the TIA from 64Audio. Fortunately, both were a success and even Lieven was pleasantly surprised by this IEM.
Sound wise, both IEM used the Topology diaphragm, a kind of special nano coating applied in various geometric pattern. Once again, Hifiman used a dynamic driver, a 9.2mm, on its IEM. Now on the the Silver versions!
Design & Build Quality
If the RE-2000’s gold was a bit too eccentric for you, or simply too expensive, Hifiman has the solution now. Thankfully for you, they released the new RE-2000 silver. Gone is the electroplated gold, this time you get a silver coated shell that makes the IEM less luxurious but also less expensive. Going from gold to silver, you can save as much as 500€, basically the price of a new DAP so…
Same treatment for the Hifiman RE-800, the catch gold layer has been replaced by a tone-down silver. It’s much more visible on this one as the RE-800’s gold is flashing from head to toe, even its cable was yellow-ish. The RE-800 silver will blend far more easier with a “standard” gear set, silver-grey housing, black cable and black tips out of the box. Ah, it’s also 100€ cheaper.
Build quality is identical to the previous generation, it’s light, feel sturdy and I didn’t find any flaw or had any issue with them during my testing. The RE-2000 is bulky compared to its sibling, the RE-800 is much more discreet in this regard. Personally I’m more fond of the RE-800 design than the RE-2000 but that’s my personal taste.
Another complain I could address to the RE-2000 would be the silver plate, as they are too shy to the eye ! The black part of the IEM, the one with the Hifiman logo, is taking the attention spot and it leaves the silver part in its shadow. The RE-800 is much more coherent with a full silver case and that makes it prettier, in my opinion.
Overall, it’s hard to fault Hifiman, as a prime owner of their first headphones (hello Hifiman HE-6) the brand really made big improvements on this side.
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room : the Hifiman RE-800 Silver doesn’t have a removable cable. Yes, this is something inexplicable for me since the RE-800 Gold has it. Sure, the RE-800 silver is 100€ cheaper but if I had the choice, I’d go for the gold version because if I have any issue with the silver’s cable, I’d have to replace the whole IEM… And that will cost much more than 100€
The RE-800 cable is only available in a 3.5mm unbalanced jack version. Personally I’d have preferred a 2.5mm TRRS with an adapter in the box. I use most of my DAPs in Balanced mode now, as more and more DAP/DAC offer a real sound improvement with their balanced output.
The cable is a straight, non-braided, silver-coated Copper wire. Out of the box, it took a few hours to get its final form but now it’s relatively straight. I still think braided cables are the best available but it’s not too bad and especially if you like light cables, you on daily use should not have any issue. Again, treat them kindly, if it fails you will have no other option than to replace the whole IEM.
The Hifiman RE-2000 silver kept the removable cable system, hurrah! It still uses this strange adapter system to connect the 2-pin cable but that allows you to connect any cable you want, so it’s a good point. The provided cable is the same as the RE-800 which feel inadequate this time.
As the RE-2000 is supposed to take on high-end IEMs, it should be fitted with high-end cable as well. The standard cable is good, sound wise and it’s got a big chuncky Oyaide 3.5mm plug. It lacks in refinement you’re supposed to feel on a IEMs of this caliber though.
The review continues on Page two, you can click HERE or use the jump below.