For this review, I used two players : the all-new FiiO M9 (review coming) and the iBasso DX120 (review available here). Sure, there are more high-end DAPs available out there, but I preferred to try them with new gear.
Ok, I also used the A&K Ultima SP1000 for the the Hifiman RE-2000…. but who wouldn’t if you have it. Right ?
Hifiman RE-2000 Silver
“The irrepressible passion for Music”, I really like this sentence. Ok, this makes audiophiles look like crazy maniacs craving for the utmost experience, waking up in the middle of the night to check if the burn-in is still in place (no personal experience here…) But, it’s also a great motto : if you listen to the Hifiman RE-2000 Silver, you’ll become addicted.
So, do I feel this irrepressible passion for Music after a few hours of listening ? Strangely… yes, I do ! This IEM trades comfort for sound. The RE-2000 really put the emphasis on bass and mids and on a daily use it really pushes you forward. It’s not a neutral IEM by any means and at the same time it never feels unbalanced. Bass is hard and sounds amazingly accurate for a dynamic IEM.
You could think that amount of bass would lead to a V-shaped IEM but that”s not the case. I never felt the RE-2000 was lacking in any frequencies, even at low volume. It’s a true high-end IEM in every aspect. Of course, the level of detail is impressive, on my usual playlist I could hear every hidden little note which is only audible with my top-gear. If you have a good DAP, the RE-2000 will offer an amazing experience.
Again, I warn you : this isn’t an IEM suited for the analytics listener. If Etymotic is your standard, you’ll find the RE-2000 too full-bodied, luckily for you, there is the RE-800 Silver now.
Hifiman RE-800 Silver
At one third of the price, the Hifiman RE-800 Silver is a killer, if you can forget about the non-removable cable. Compared to the RE-2000, this IEM sounds very neutral as the bass feels lighter and the treble more engaging. If you ever had the RE-400 from Hifiman, you’ll get all the good and bad you already know.
Sound is clean and accurate, you can easily spot every instruments thanks to the deep layering. Mids and highs take the spot and the RE-800 is a brighter IEM in all its glory : amazing vocals, crystal clear cymbals and shy lows.
Again, the Hifiman RE-800 offers one of the tidiest performances I listened to up to date. I may prefer the Hidizs NF-3U which feel more suitable for my taste (I mean, there is bass on the Hidizs) but if you want to be overwhelmed with details, the RE-800 is a great choice.
Sensitivity / Hiss / Association
At 60 ohms, the Hifiman RE-2000 and RE-800 are not the easiest IEMs to drive but thanks to that they are absolutely not prone to hiss. A modest amp like the FiiO Q5 gives a good impression but they scale up easily and you truly feel the difference each time you go up. The Hifiman RE-2000 paired nicely with the iBasso DX200 and if I used to complain about the noise on my CIEM, the background on the Hifiman is pitch black.
A dynamic driver usually offers a massive sound stage and Hifiman doesn’t disappoint me. At first, I I thought the RE-800 could sound more spacious but overtime I tend to prefer the RE-2000. I had to push harder on the volume but I was pleasantly rewarded.
It’s obvious but these IEMs were intended to be used with a good source. They will sound good on your smartphone but they sound amazing on a good DAC/AMP or DAP. Treat your self !
The Hifiman RE-2000 Silver and RE-800 Silver are a good iteration of the golden versions. They are more affordable yet retaining all the good points, they – to me – are the best experience Hifiman offers in IEMs so far.
The RE-2000 gives you an amazing experience with its extensive dynamics and richness in every aspect of the sound, but the size of the shell may be a limitation for some listeners. Still, for those who can fit the IEM correctly, it’ll be a blissful momentum and aside from the golden plating, it’s exactly the same as before… for 500€ less!
The RE-800 on the other hand comes in a nimbler shell, making it one the most comfortable IEMs I tried this year. It’s not as good as the RE-2000 due to the lack of bass, but it keeps an airy presentation and it gives you a terrific precision in every other aspect. Honestly, the only flaw I can see on this one is the cable. If you can raise your budget, get the golden version as it has the detachable cable and a unique design.