Disclaimer: The Hifiman RE2000 universal IEM was sent to us free of charge by Hifiman. Hifiman is a site advertiser and the unit doesn’t need to be returned.
If you’ve been reading Headfonia then you know we quite like the Hifiman sound, if there is such a thing. Hifiman over the years has delivered a series of incredible ear- and headphones in all price ranges, some of my favorite being the HE-500, HE-400i, HE-560, Edition X and the HE-1000.
Recently Hifiman has most been focusing on the high end part of the market and they have developed the Shangri-La (the only HE-1 competitor) and the Susvara which we here at HFN like as well. Then when everyone thought Hifiman was going high-end only they surprised us with the launch of the Hifiman Sundara which will sell for $499. The price/quality ratio of Hifiman’s mid-range headphones has always been extremely good and I’m sure the Sundara will deliver great value once again.
Hifiman over the years has released some great and affordable universal in-ear monitors and they’re now back with the RE800 and RE2000 24K Gold Edition IEMs. This review will focus on the RE2000 which up to date is Hifiman’s reference model.
“Custom IRM in a universal fit with topology Diaphragm”
The RE2000 and RE800 IEMs were released by Hifiman at the same time but supposedly Hifiman has spent 3 years designing this reference monitor. The Hifiman RE2000, while different, does have some of the same characteristics the RE800 has. We therefore suggest reading up on our Hifiman RE800 review first if you haven’t so already. It was published just two weeks before this RE2000 review.
“Radical new housing for a radical new driver”
Like the RE800, this RE2000 was designed with a Topology Driver and Diaphragm.
The last year(s), a lot of IEM companies have been engaged in a driver war with Balanced Armature designs, and others have been trying to find the ultimate hybrid configuration (BA + Dynamic mix). Hifiman with the RE800 and RE2000 specifically chose not to go that route and they’re focusing on a single Dynamic Driver design. Hifiman isn’t the only one doing this and top players such as Sennheiser and Beyerdynamic are doing the exact same with single dynamic driver designs. Warbler is even following that philosophy with single BA-design in a custom shell.
“By controlling unwanted distortion and vibration, our Topology driver provides clearer, more lifelike sound”
In order to get the best possible result from a single driver, Hifiman has created their so called “Ideal Dynamic Driver”. This is a 9.2mm driver and it’s developed so that there isn’t any distortion while playing music.
As this is a reference driver, Hifiman also decided to build it with a removable 2-pin cable connector and while the sockets are very deep, that does allow the listener to use his high end boutique cables with this reference IEM.
Build Quality, Look & Feel
While brass made for the perfect housing material for the acoustics, it according to Hifiman, did not quite convey the fine richness of its audio output. That’s why the RE2000 24K Gold Edition (and the RE800 for that matter) has been electroplated to give it a lustrous sheen that befitted the golden, rich audio inside.
The build quality of the RE2000 is excellent, it’s as simple as that. I’ve read complaints of people saying they found residue of glue on the monitors but I can’t see where that comes from as my pair is perfect. The look great and feel nice.
The RE2000 is a lot bigger compared to the very small RE800 and it’s not entirely made out of brass & gold. The RE2000’s body mostly is made out of it but a large “piece” of it is in plastic. The RE800 to me personally looks more fancy and classy and it’s less bulky, giving it a more stealth look. Both of the designs are very typical though and these units stand out from most of the competitor’s designs. At the same time I’m a bit disappointed to see this plastic material on a reference model. The RE2000 would have even been prettied if the outside of the unit (the part you see when wearing it) would have had that brass-gold finish as well.
As said this RE2000 IEM comes with a removable cable with 2-pin connectors. We often see that cables, even for reference models, get overlooked by the producing companies but the cable that comes supplied in the box actually is very nice. You get a silver coated, crystalline copper wire with a good amount of isolation making it pretty but not overly thick. The cable and connectors are qualitative and it’s finished with a nice 90° angled Oyaide 3.5mm plug. On both sides of the cable you’ll find stain reliefs and you get a gold plated Y-splitter with Hifiman and RE2000 etched on it. There’s also a matching gold plated chin slider. The stock cable is a qualitative cable that sound-wise certainly sounds good but I have to admit I mostly use my Effect Audio Leonidas and TOTL Horus cable in a balanced configuration with the RE2000.
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