HiFiMan RE2000 and RE800 Silver

Sound Analysis and Gold-Silver Comparison.

Since it’s a dynamic driver and considering that manufacturers typically recommend DD burn in to reach its full potential, I let these IEMs play for about 4-5 days in a loop before starting my sound analysis.  I’m not going to argue what has changed during the burn in since the focus of this analysis is to compare a “mature” Gold vs Silver versions of these IEMs.

With RE800 going from Gold to Silver, the most noticeable change I hear is in a lifted sub-/mid-bass and lower mids.  Upper mids and treble sounds similar to me, but with a lift in bass (probably at least 3dB) the signature is more v-shaped now rather than mid-forward like it was before.  Also, 7k treble peak is not as harsh now and has a less of in-your-face perception.  With additional body in lower mids, you can also hear a noticeable difference in tonality of vocals, being warmer, smoother, and velvety.  If it wouldn’t be for the treble lift, I think RE800 would lose some resolution, but the new v-shaped signature brings more focus to low end and smoothest out the perception of the lower treble.

 

With RE2000 going from Gold to Silver, the bass is a little attenuated down and 5k-5.5k peak is narrower (in comparison to gold RE2000). As a result, the lower treble sounds more natural and overall signature is more balanced. While being attenuated, the quality of the bass didn’t change, and instead I just hear a little attenuation in quantity which reduces some sub-bass rumble and gives low end more control, especially when transitioning into lower mids, while also helping mids with improved focus in vocals by bringing them more forward.  While RE800 sound change was more drastic, here the sound change has a more subtle fine-tuning.

 

Of course, the sound preference is very subjective and depends on your personal taste.  It also has to do with your hearing sensitivity, especially when it comes to high frequencies where due to age and the noise of surrounding environment our sensitivity and tolerance changes.  For me personally, the original RE800 Gold was a little too piercing in treble and I preferred RE2000 Gold instead.  With RE800 Silver, the treble peak doesn’t bother me anymore, but I would have liked a little less mid-bass.  I still prefer RE2000 over RE800, and now the Silver version sounds closer to my personal sound preference.  With that in mind, I decided to focus on RE2000 Silver comparison to a few other IEMs in the next section of the review.

RE2000 Silver Comparison.

In my original review, I have compared RE2000 Gold to a handful of other IEMs.  Now, with a more fine-tuned sound, I wanted to revisit the comparison of RE2000 (RE2k) Silver with a few other IEMs.  In every comparison the volume was matched, and I was using SP1000 SS as my source.

RE2k vs Noble K10UA – RE soundstage is wider, while both have the same out-of-your head depth expansion.  RE has more bass rumble while K10 has a little stronger mid-bass punch, but overall bass quality is very similar, especially when it comes to speed and decay.  Mids are very close in tonality and presentation, both having a similar neutral body in lower mids and a revealing yet natural tonality in upper mids, just with RE being a touch brighter.  The biggest difference I hear in treble where RE is brighter, crisper, and airier.  For those who want a more controlled smoother treble, K10 would be it.

RE2k vs Campfire Audio Andromeda – Andro soundstage is a little bit narrower and at the same time a little more out of your head (depth), while in comparison RE staging is more focused.  Bass and lower mids in this comparison are different, while upper mids and treble are nearly identical.  With bass, RE is tighter, faster, and has more control especially when transitioning from mids-bass to lower mids.  Ironically, while RE bass has a speed of BA driver performance, Andro BA lows have a more dynamic driver performance.  Andro has more sub-bass rumble and a touch more mid-bass punch, while RE speed and control benefits lower mids with better clarity while in comparison Andro lower mids are a bit more congested.

RE2k vs 64 Audio U12t – RE soundstage is wider, while U12t soundstage depth extends further out. With bass, both have a similar sub-bass rumble, but U12t mid-bass slam a lot harder, with more quantity.  Lower mids are quite different too, with RE being leaner in comparison to a fuller body U12t lower mids.  As a result, U12t upper mids sounds a little smoother and warmer, while RE is more revealing.  Also, big difference in treble, with U12t being smoother and more controlled, while RE has more sparkle and airiness with a brighter treble.

RE2k vs iBasso IT04 – a very similar soundstage expansion, both in width and depth.  RE sub-bass has more rumble, while mid-bass quantity is relatively similar.  Surprisingly, both have a bass with a similar speed and control.  Lower mids are similar but going to upper mids and treble is where you will hear a noticeable difference.  RE upper mids are brighter and more revealing, while IT04 is a little smoother in comparison.  Also, RE treble is crisper, brighter, and airier, while IT04 has its sparkle under more control.

Source Pair up.

Since the drivers haven’t changed, both Silver models of RE2000 and RE800 still have a spec with 60 ohm impedance and low sensitivity, RE2000 – 103dB and RE800 – 105dB.  As a result you need a higher power/volume to drive these lower sensitivity higher impedance IEMs.

RE2000 SilverSP1000 SS gives it a more natural tonality with a little more low end impact and smoother treble: WM1Z is a little brighter in treble while bass has more analog texture; Hiby R6 has a more revealing yet still well controlled balanced sound, and there is no effect of high output impedance; LPG also has a revealing sound with a nice low end slam and crisp treble; Plenue 2 mk2 has a more natural revealing tonality with a balanced signature; Galaxy S9 has a surprisingly good pair up with a deep sub-bass rumble, natural mids and crisp treble, but a little less resolution.

hifiman_silver_re2k_re800-37

RE800 SilverSP1000 SS sound is a little more L-shaped with a warm analog low end slam and smoother detailed treble with mids pushed slightly back; WM1Z has a more V-shaped sound with great clarity in upper mids/lower treble, but the bass is not as well controlled and lower mids sound a bit veiled and congested; Hiby R6 still has V-shaped sound but bass has a lot more control and mids are a little more forward (pretty good pair up); LPG has a V-shaped sound with a thick bass and crisp treble where lower mids are a little congested; Plenue 2 mk2 has a warmer sound with a big thick bass; Galaxy S9 has nearly L-shaped sound where the bass slams hard and treble is crisp and energetic.

hifiman_silver_re2k_re800-36

Conclusion.

I did enjoy the tuning of the original RE2000 Gold and have featured these IEMs in a number of my recent reviews as part of the pair up, comparison, and cable testing.  And in my opinion, their Silver version fine-tunes the sound and improves the comfort of the fit due to a lighter shell.  With RE800, Gold version wasn’t exactly my cup of tea due to its more aggressive 7k peak which my ears can’t tolerate that well.  The Silver version updates the sound with a more noticeable bass boost and a smoother top end perception.  It’s still not exactly my preferred cup of tea, but I enjoyed it a lot more than their Gold version.

The big question here if the sound changes are due to a new shell material or some other internal retuning?  I have been reassured by HiFiMan that nothing else has been changed in these IEMs, only going from Gold (gold plated brass) to Silver (aluminum) shell material.  With DAPs, sometimes a manufacturer introduces other variables (like caps) which makes it harder to be 100% sure if the chassis material influenced the sound change.  Here, we are dealing with the only difference in a shell material, and the sound change is quite noticeable, especially in RE800.

There is one more thing I would like to mention because HiFiMan already started their Black Friday Sale and just reduced the price of RE2000 Silver down to $799 and RE800 Silver down to $299.  If the original RE2000 Gold caught your attention in the past and you have been contemplating to get it, it’s very hard to ignore this sale.  And not only RE2000 Silver which is tuned for audiophiles, but also RE800 Silver which is tuned for a more general consumer crowd with a preference of V-shaped signature.

 

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2 thoughts on “HiFiMan RE2000 and RE800 Silver

    1. Which one, or both? Yeah, the sound signature might not be everyone’s cup of tea. You know, for some people they are not tuned bright enough. We all have a different taste.

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