HiFiMan, formerly Head-Direct, is not a well-known company to the general US population. Being a Chinese-based company, it would be easy to assume that they make low-quality merchandise. The fact that these look surprisingly similar to another well-known IEM doesn’t help this cause. However, when we assume, we tend to get things wrong. To the audiophile society, this company is well known for their quality headphones. The HiFiMan RE0 headphones are one of the most prevalent and well liked among this community. After reading about them myself around the internet, I had to see, for myself, what all the fuss was about.
In The Box
- HiFiMan RE0 In-Ear Headphones
- 5 Sets of Ear Tips – Single Flange: S, M, L; Bi-Flange: S, L
- 3 pairs of replacement mesh caps (6 in total)
- Cable Clip
- Driver: 9mm powered by neodymium magnets
- Impedance: 64Ohms
- Sensitivity: 100dB / 1mW
- Frequency Response: 15Hz – 22kHz (22000Hz)
- Warranty: 30 day refund, 1 year replacement
Being from a Chinese company that isn’t well known to the general public, these headphones make their first impressions by design. China is well known for releasing knockoffs. These headphones, to put it in the most delicate way, are inspired by the V-Moda Vibes. They don’t look as good as the Vibes, nor are they bright and chrome-colored, but they sure do look like them in shape.
These headphones resemble the V-Moda Vibes quite nicely
The headphones feature an all-metal body that is painted a matte black. The overall design is nice and works all around. From a distance, these headphones won’t be turning any heads like V-Modas would. However, once you get close up, they look like complete knock-offs. The design is still soft on the eyes though. It may not be their design, but it works.
When you first plug them in, the bass is edgy and too strong, and the mids are not as in your face as the Apple IEMs. Still, the mids are clear. The highs are extremely high and out of control. Head-Direct suggested that I burn them in for about 150 hours.
After burning them in, the difference was night and day. Everything seemed to even out and brighten up. The final signature on the headphones is flat; this is not a bad thing either. Sure, a flat signature sounds boring, but that’s a misconception. Flat allows you to hear the song exactly how the artist wanted you to hear it, not how the headphone manufacturers wanted you to hear it. With these headphones, the signature seamlessly disappears allowing you to listen to the song as intended.
These headphones are softer when it comes to the low end, but this doesn’t result in any loss in detail. The bass is still punchy and accurate. These headphones had me wishing for the Apple IEM’s bass more and more, and I said those had little bass. However, after swapping tips with my Sony EX36iPs, I was able to achieve much better bass response, but still no where near the Apple IEMs. Even with the low bass, it’s still great. The non-stressed bass doesn’t intrude with anything else in the song, partly because it can’t. I do wish that it was a little higher though, and had a little more impact. Overall the bass is good, but not great.
Please also note that I’m not using any of the provided tips that came with the headphones. I’m using the Sony Hybrid Replacement Earbuds that came with my EX36iP headphones. They provide me with the best seal and give it more impact.
The mids on these headphones are clear to the touch and really detailed. They do seem a little more backgrounded at times. Other times, they seem to be in the foreground, but it depends on the song. Even with the recessed sound to them, every detail in the mids is still accounted for. The mids are smooth from the low mids all the way up to the high mids. Nothing is too harsh or too light. Everything is just right, just recessed to the background.
Ah, the highs. While many headphones forget about this and leave them out, HiFiMan decides that we as an audience still need to hear them. The highs are crisp, bright, and glimmering with every detail that comes to your ears. If there is one thing that these headphones outperform in, it’s this. The highs are just amazing; you have to hear it to believe it!
At a rated 20dB, the noise isolation is pretty good. They aren’t as bad as the MEElectronics M6 or Sony MDREX38iPs. On the other hand, they aren’t as good as the Apple IEMs either. However, they come very close to the isolation provided by the Apple IEMs. The isolation is great, but nothing is over the top though.
Noise Isolation: ★★★★
Microphonics is a well known problem with these headphones, for anyone who has actually heard of them. They are quite bad, worse than the Apple IEMs. However, wearing them over the ear relieves lots of microphonics, similar to the Apple IEM’s microphonics. Once they are over the ear, microphonics are absent once music begins playing. HiFiMan include a clip to help with this though. They are well aware of the problem and changed the wiring from fabric to plastic to help aid microphonics. Even with the change though, the microphonics are still there. Wind noise also seems to be a small problem with these as well. The microphonics don’t intrude too much if you are using them casually though.
The included clip is used to help with microphonics, but using the over-the-ear method is more effective
Overall these headphones are flat, but bright compared to many headphones. They are a fun pair of headphones to listen to, especially being able to tackle just about any genre of music out there. The bass is great, the treble… Well amazingly-outstanding is still an understatement, they are really at a level of their own. The mids are a bit recessed, but still great. The microphonics and noise isolation is good, but not great. The clarity and detail in every note can easily compare to headphones equipped with balanced armatures.
HiFi man really worked some sort of magic with these headphones. They sound spectacular and just amazing. The details, the clarity, the treble all just sound amazing. HiFiMan really shows with these headphones that flat is where it’s at.
Sound Quality: ★★★★½
This pair of headphones have great quality. Although it lacks accessories that help protect it, like cases and cable winders, it still has all of the major parts of the headphone accounted for.
The metal housings on the headphones are extremely strong and durable; they will help protect the drivers from physical damage. The housings themselves also seem to be able to take plenty of physical damage. No, I’m not telling you to try to flatten them with a brick, but they do seem strong.
The cables are actually pretty thick, but not too much since these were meant to be portable. Compared to other IEMs in this price range, they are much stronger. They cables are made of plastic and don’t tangle easily at all. The cables are also very robust.
Large and thick, those are the only words to describe the headphone jack. The headphone jack is almost 9mm thick, so there is 2.75mm of plastic surrounding the gold-plated jack. This ensures that it is durable, and the gold plating will resist corrosion. The headphone jack is almost as thick as my iPod… with a case on. It’s already thicker than the actual iPod itself, but that’s not saying much.
The headphone jack is almost as thick as my iPod with a case on
The only complaint that I have is the material used on the mesh that blocks access from the environment into the canal that leads to the drivers. They are made of a rough, cloth-like material. The material seems durable, but not as durable as a metal mesh could have been. Still, they at least protect it somehow, so this is minor. I would like to also mention that there have been reports of of headphones splitting online multiple times, but haven’t experienced it myself.
The mesh cap on these headphones is made of a rough, cloth-like material
HiFiMan did a great job with the build quality on these headphones. The thick cable and headphones jack are very durable. They also doesn’t tangle up easily. These headphones look like they were built to last.
Build Quality: ★★★★½
When you first put these headphones into your ears, you’ll feel chills. I mean this in the most literal sense because the metal is extremely cold to the touch compared to other materials. In the long run, these are some of the most comfortable headphones I’ve ever worn. The metal is actually quite light. Once inserted, the headphones disappear and it’s just you and the sweet sound of music.
Comfort Quality: ★★★★★
Value for the Money
These headphones MSRP at $79.00. Unfortunately, that is the cheapest you’ll get them. With shipping, it’s about 84 dollars total. However, they are well worth the dough that you put out for them.
You don’t get many accessories with these headphones; that isn’t that big of a problem. They come bare-bones with only 5 ear tips, a clip, and the RE0s themselves; what you actually pay for is the audio quality. The audio quality is, simply put, amazing. There is no way around it. The build quality on these is great too, making them worth that much more.
Although they aren’t for everyone, as bass-heads would absolutely hate these headphones, they provide listeners with quality sound at an affordable price. For 80 dollars, you’re really just robbing HiFiMan.
Value for Your Money: ★★★★★
HiFiMan may not have a well-known name like Bose. However, they don’t overprice, or provide overrated quality like Bose. They may be a Chinese company that made a pair of headphones that resembled the V-Moda Vibes, but these sound nothing like them. They provide users with amazing, flat sound quality that allows listeners to hear the other side of the song, the artists’ side. The headphones have great build quality and are quite comfortable. However, what sets them apart from the rest is the audio quality. When you buy the headphones, you pay for the outstanding audio quality, and to HiFiMan, that’s all that matters.
- Design: ★★★★
- Audio Quality: ★★★★½
- Lows: ★★★★½
- Mids: ★★★★½
- Highs: ★★★★★
- Microphonics: ★★★★
- Noise Isolation: ★★★★
- Build Quality: ★★★★½
- Comfort Quality: ★★★★★
- Value for Your Money: ★★★★★
† All prices are in US currency unless stated otherwise.
This review was written by the iFans.com Review Team. Overall scores are rounded to the nearest half or full star.
All applications and accessories were purchased at their respective prices unless stated otherwise.
Previous versions of RE0s came with a leather case and different packaging.
Previous versions of the RE0s had a fabric cable instead of plastic.