With 24 karat gold accents and some gorgeous packaging, the Hifiman RE2000 exhibits an inescapable air of sophistication. But as an earphone, how does it sound? And is the sound really worth the money, or are you just paying for packaging?
Hifiman RE2000 Review
The Hifiman RE2000 comes packaged in an ostentatious box with eartips, cable replacement parts, and some literature regarding the headphones. The accessories may be slim pickings, but the design is anything but.
The biggest claim regarding the RE2000 centers on a topology driver, touted by the manufacturer as the next step in sound design. This driver rocks a topology diaphragm – a diaphragm coated in particles that form geometric patterns to manipulate and pinpoint certain audio effects.
And when it comes to design, the earphone is no slouch – comfort is top notch, with a strong but lightweight removable cable featuring a two-prong connection. Included with the earphones are two soft plastic clips that hold the cable in a more rigid position over and behind the ear (similar to the way most in-ear monitors are currently worn).
Despite the use of gold on the earphones, the modules still manage to stay lightweight, and you’ll soon forget about them as you delve into the RE2000’s immersive sound.
Frequency Response: 5-20,000 Hz
Nominal Impedance: 60 ohms
Sound Pressure Level (SPL): 103 dB
The specifications include a fairly standard frequency range, but one that may offer a bit more low-end detail. Impedance is a robust 60 ohms, so while you could use this headphone with a smartphone or personal music player, you would still benefit from some amplification. Last but not least, sound pressure level is an adequate 103 decibels – meaning volume shouldn’t be an issue with the RE2000.
In the low end, the RE2000 exhibits stunning detail with natural, mature bass. Not over-pronounced, but rich and resolving, these lows run deep but still come across as being fairly reference-y. The lack of thumping bass seems a bit surprising when taking the specs into account, but in this headphone I find that same lack to be more appealing – the general even-handed attitude of the low end definitely lends the RE2000 to focused and thoughtful critical listening.
Detailed and accurate, the mids are solid. Perhaps slightly less present-sounding than the lows or highs, the sound isn’t bad, but I’m still left wanting more. I almost want to call the midrange weak, but it’s not so much weak as it is a bit soft or recessed. It’s all there, just a bit removed and somewhat overlooked when the lows and highs come in to do their thing. Rest assured, though, the details remain clean and unsullied here.
Good detail and solid treble are the hallmarks of the RE2000’s high end. Not too bright or piercing, there’s a good sense of fidelity in the highs. Unlike most upper-echelon ‘phones at this price, the sound doesn’t seem colored or marred by excessive emphasis. This is a heady, natural sound that easily compliments the lows and mids with finesse.
Good placement and strong depth result in an impressive soundstage. Clarity and separation stand out as exemplary, and it’s easy to visualize instruments and vocalists arranged about you. “Airy” is the perhaps the best word to describe the RE2000’s overall sound; there’s plenty of headroom here for things to stand out from your normal, humdrum listening experiences.
For gold-plated nonsense, the design remains fairly lightweight and comfortable. Add to this the wealth of eartips and you’ve got a pretty decent “universal fit” – something I’d be willing to chance over all the “custom or die” snake oil.
The sound is pretty phenomenal. Not many companies have nailed that high-end reference earphone like Hifiman has. Maybe the Final Audio Piano Forte X-G, though that particular headphone might be a bit more dynamic in nature, and not truly better where reference sound is concerned.
For those who want bass, the RE2000 might not be the best horse to bet on. My personal recommendation would be the 64 Audio U12t if you’re looking for more low end, but equally capable mids and highs.
However, if you’re like me and actually prefer a more reference sound, the RE2000 is a real prodigy, and worth every penny – at least to my ears. Regardless of what I listen to, this earphone handles it with ease.
Don’t let the gold trim or $2000 price tag fool you; the Hifiman RE2000 is all about delivering sound – it just does so with a little panache. Indeed, the immense quantity of detail and wide-open soundstage do much to recommend this earphone. I won’t be so cocky as to say this earphone is the final word regarding in-ear reference sound. But you will be hard pressed to find this sound in a better earphone.
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