Before I start this review, I would like to share technical aspects and package details.
- Frequency Response: 5Hz-20kHz
- Impedance: 60Ω
- Sensitivity: 105dB
- Earphone Weight: 27g
- Type: 9.2mm dynamic driver
- Housing: Brass 24k Electroplated Gold.
- Detachable Silver Coated Crystalline Copper MMCX cable
- 3 Pair silicon Tips – 1 pair Comply Foam
- Aluminum Case
Design & Isolation
The RE800 has a high quality 24K gold-plated brass body. The junction points are clean and there are no visible flaws on the body. It feels very good in the hand. It is extremely successful in terms of ergonomics and fit. The model I own is the current version which is MMCX. It’s not loose or particularly stiff when the cable is plugged in. Its very durable and solid. It is good that Hifiman finally chose replaceable cable route. You can upgrade your cable and fine-tune the curve. Visually, RE800 looks like jewellery in your hand and much more beautiful than its pictures.
The RE800 has a tiny little body and it is almost disappearing when you wear it. Housing feels incredibly smooth & comfortable. Although the RE800 itself is a little bit heavy, you don’t feel any discomfort or imbalance in the ear. It is also quite comfortable with silicone and Comply tips. The stock cable that comes with RE800 looks good as well.. The material is soft and nice to touch. Unfortunately I don’t have any MMCX cables available around, so I haven’t been able to experienced its sound with 3rd party cables. I think the right cable choice would be a multi strand copper or copper hybrid cable.
Frankly, I really liked the RE800 in terms of design, materials and workmanship.
The RE800 has crystal-clear presentation and amazingly high resolution at top frequencies. The level of resolution is unbelievably high. Again, I would like to emphasize the resolution; I don’t think it is possible to buy any earphones with higher resolution in this price range. Immaculate vocals, clear timbres and nice strong bass are the best words to describe the RE800. Particularly the details and the speed of the treble are really top notch. This may not be suitable for everyone, but the RE800 has a quality that can impress you even if you don’t like the treble region. Middle frequencies are a bit behind in the general spectrum but not too far behind. Moreover, when you pair it with warm sources, the bass is satisfying. The overall sound character is transparent and bright.
The RE800 is one of the most detailed dynamic driver earphone I have ever listened to and I think treble is the most special territory of the RE800. The amount of the treble is much more prominent than the other frequencies and this results in impressive clarity.. When playing music, it gives the feeling of every sound coming from different places into the soundstage. It is quite detailed and fast. The upper frequencies have extremely high resolution, fretless and distinctive. It is one of the most detailed treble responses I’ve ever heard throughout my years in this hobby. The RE800 reflects every mistake of the records. If the record is clear, you cannot hear any sibilance, but if the record is bad, the sibilance is quite obvious to hear. The RE800 has its own unique tune that I have never heard before.
The treble is generally bright/shiny, but in spite of its character, it doesn’t show any unnatural presentation. It is clear that Dr.Fang did a very fine tuning on the treble. If you use it with bright sources, it may be a little tiring and that’s why I recommend to use it with warmer sources. The general presentation of treble may be excessive for treble sensitive audiophiles, but if you are a treble lover, this is the right earphone for you.
I really liked its synergy with AK120 and DX200. Also, as an low budget alternative, Dragonfly Black v1.5
RE800 is very musical and mid frequencies have nice level of detail but a little bit behind of the bass and the treble in general spectrum. The lower mids are slightly recessed, but it is not excessive, so you don’t feel any lack of mid presence. RE800 does not have a bold and meaty tonality, so those who love that kind of mid region can find it little bit weak. Actually, I was waiting full body sound and bold presentation but when I played the song, I heard clean, bright and highly resolved, reference-like sound. The separation & layering of mids are very successful. The upper mids are bright but control is really good. Whenever I critically listen to tracks with fast passages, upper mids stay in check and they rarely lose control. In my opinion it is linked to the recording quality and sources more than other IEMs. The vocals are neither behind nor front but its recessive in overall presentation which defines RE800 as slightly V-shaped. My personal taste is to hear closer vocals but I really liked this presentation of vocals as well. Interestingly, I found female vocals slightly better than male vocals. I think the reason of it is that mid frequencies has thinner tonality.
I am not a bass-head but no audiophile can refuse that bass equals to excitement and it is an essential part of the spectrum. The RE800’s bass is not as powerful as a bass centric headphones but it can go deep when the recording asks for it. Actually, I can say that many users are going to like the bass tone and quantity of RE800. Bass is not very authoritative in the overall presentation but as I mentioned before, if there is bass in the music, it is not shy to rumble. I tried to test maximum bass quantity, listened to the couple EDM tracks and I can easily say that I am satisfied with it. Apart from that the amount of bass in popular genres is more than enough. Bass response is controlled, they don’t have a negative effect neither on the soundstage nor on the background. The agility of bass is much better than I expected. It pulls off fast passages without losing its resolution and detail. Does this mean that it is as fast as some balanced armature drivers on the market? Such as S-EM9’s? No. When I listen to EDM with RE800, I think that the bass speed is quite good for a dynamic driver but ultimately it doesn’t reach to the speed & agility of a balanced armature driver. Overall, bass level meets expectations in terms of timbre, quality and details. It is able to hit hard, extend and go deep whenever it is necessary.
Soundstage is very wide. I can almost say that this is the most spacious earphone I’ve ever heard. In spite of the width of soundstage, the depth is not as good. The separation of the instruments is extremely well and it is possible to determine all of their positions on the stage. Instruments have enough air between them and they feel quite accurate.
The RE800 has a bright presentation with a wide and spacious soundstage and a astonishing separation. It has a natural and refined tone. The detail level of the treble is almost on par with much higher priced earphones. To be honest, I can say that I really liked the Hifiman RE800. This type of resolution and detail oriented presentation should definitely not be ignored in this price range!