Today we are talking about the Hifiman RE2000 flagship earphones. Well, sort of….
The earphones we are talking about today are the Hifiman RE2000 Silver.
For the rest of this review I will just refer to the RE2000 Silver as the RE2000, unless I happen to be talking about the Gold version, in which case I will mention the difference.
The RE2000 Gold was released in 2017, at a rock solid $2000USD. It was Hifimans first attempt at a true flagship earphone. In 2018, Hifiman doubled down and released the RE2000 Silver at $1500USD, a $500USD reduction from the original price of the Gold version. I will now mention the most important part of this review.
The RE2000 Silver has been reduced (in what appears to be a permanent (?) “sale.” It now costs $799USD. That’s right. A $2000USD earphone for $799USD? Really?
I have confirmed with Hifiman support that the RE2000 Silver is exactly the same as the RE2000 Gold, apart from the fact that the shell has changed from gold plated brass, to silver coated aluminium. I used to own the RE2000 Gold, and although I don’t have them with me anymore for direct comparison purposes, they sound, well, pretty much exactly the same. This is from memory of course, and others that have been able to do a direct comparison have found the RE2000 Silver has a bit less bass, and a narrower peak in the treble versus the original RE2000 Gold. The changes must be subtle as my experience so far with the RE2000 has been remarkably similar to my experience with the original RE2000 Gold.
Right. Let’s get the technical stuff out of the way. The RE2000 utilises a single dynamic driver, which is a departure from the multiple balanced armature, or hybrid approaches that are very common on top of the line earphones nowadays. Hifiman calls their dynamic driver a “topology diaphragm.” This supposedly utilises Fang Bians thesis work in nano technology, coating the driver with nano particles in certain patterns to mold the sound in the way he saw fit. The RE2000, to me, seems to be a case of the “KISS” principle, and it has worked very, very well.
The RE2000 Silver comes in a simplified version of the RE2000 Gold’s packaging. There are less accessories, less eartips, a cheaper cable (I didn’t think that was possible..) and no presentation box. If this is what has to happen to offer a $2000USD earphone for $1200USD less, then I am A ok with that. The cable is pretty useless, and as you will see in the photos I have taken, I upgraded it to a very nice $50USD ISN Audio cable from Penon Audio. This cable works much better than the stock cable in terms of ergonomics and flexibility. I highly recommend changing out the stock cable should you purchase these earphones. It doesn’t scream “premium” and isn’t very nice to use.
Now, with all of that out the way, lets talk about the most important thing. How does the RE2000 Silver sound??? In a word. Great.
The bass on the RE2000 is a little bit elevated compared to a more neutral presentation. For a closet basshead such a myself, this is a welcome feature. The bass extends wonderfully deep, and the sub bass is rock solid. It lays such a great foundation for the rest of the sound signature to be laid upon. I am currently listening to Tender Skin by HVOB, and man….it thumps. It thumps hard. There is definition in the bass that I haven’t heard on many earphones, and certainly not on any earphone in the $800USD price range. When you get over $1000USD, sure, there is more competition, but in the sub $1000 arena, the RE2000 is tough competition. Now, please keep in mind I am not the most experienced with earphones, and certainly haven’t heard them all, but…the RE2000’s bass is good, that much I know. If you prioritise a more neutral sound signature, I would recommend looking elsewhere. It could be said that the RE2000 is a V shaped earphone. It is a very tastefully done V shaped earphone however.
The mids on the RE2000 are actually my favourite part of their sound signature, which is interesting as I normally prioritise bass and soundstage. Whilst the sonic signature of the RE2000 is more V shaped, with boosted bass and treble, the mids are absolutely the star of the show. They are what I can only call liquid andmore importantly, smooooooooth. The RE2000 aren’t a warm earphone, but they aren’t cold and clinical as some more neutral earphone can be. I think the mids on the RE2000 are what make it such a pleasing earphone to listen to. There is something addictive about them. I have owned much more expensive earphones from various companies, but I have come back to the RE2000. I can’t explain why really, there is just something about the mids in particular that combined with the boosted treble and bass, make the RE2000 an enormously fun earphone to listen to.
The treble on the RE2000 can be a a bit peaky, and sometimes wanders into “raspy” territory, especially with male vocals. I also notice some sibilance on occasion, but not to the point where it annoys me and I want to turn down the volume. The treble is elevated. If you are a treble sensitive listener, I would recommend trying a different earphone. The treble is probably the weakest area of the RE2000, especially when things get raspy, but with that being said, again, I haven’t heard better in the sub $1000USD area. There is a bit sparkle to the treble, and it has a nice airiness to it. All in all, it could be worse, but it could also be better. Perhaps this will be worked on if Hifiman ever releases an RE3000….or something.
The RE2000 is a mightily dynamic earphone. The small gradations between various drum strikes, no matter how small, come across very well. The RE2000 is also a very punchy earphone that can hit hard when called upon. The soundstage is quite wide, but not as wide the Tia Fourte, which is my reference for soundstage on a pair of earphones. Detail on a whole is reference level, but again, the mids steal the show for me in terms of detail.
Build and Comfort
For all this has been a positive review so far, things are about to get messy. Build? Not great. Comfort? Eh…not great.
The RE2000 just lack the refinement one would hope to see on such an expensive piece of gear, be they the Gold version at $2000USD or the Silver version at $800.
The RE2000 are a bit of a funny shape, and could be a lot better in terms of comfort. I find tip rolling is essential with the RE2000 to find the best fit for you.
Please note these comparisons are from memory, so take them with a huge grain of salt. I would definitely prefer to still have these IEMs around for comparison purposes, but I just can’t afford to do so.
Campfire Audio Atlas
The Atlas has a much more metallic sound to it, especially in the treble. This is a trade off though, as you get the slight “raspiness” with the RE2000. The bass on the Atlas is more elevated, and slams very hard. However, I find the RE2000’s bass sounds more realistic and true to life. The RE2000 has slightly better technicalities vs. The Atlas. The Atlas absolutely destroys the RE2000 in terms of build quality and comfort.
64 Audio Tia Fourte
The 64 Audio Tia Fourte is one of the most expensive IEMs on the market, which doesn’t always equate to the best sound. However, with the Tia Fourte it does do some things extremely well. Its technical competence is higher than the RE2000, but the Fourtes treble is a bit too elevated, in my opinion. The Fourte has a wider soundstage, and the bass, whilst similar in terms of quantity, is a bit further ahead in terms of quality vs. The RE2000. The RE2000 keeps up remarkably well with the Fourte considering the massive price difference. I would recommend both of these IEMs, but that you should try the Fourte before purchasing, as it is a large purchase, and the treble might be troublesome for some.
The RE2000 is a highly competent, and well tuned earphone! It seriously lacks in terms of build quality, and comfort. However, these shortcomings are overcome by the quality of the sound, for me anyhow. I find the RE2000 to be an addicting listen, one that I keep coming back to. I sold the Gold version that I owned, but ended up coming back to the Silver version due to their considerably reduced price and quality of sound. The RE2000 is a bit fiddly at times, requiring tip rolling, and care to achieve the best fit. Once you have achieved a good fit, and have them sitting comfortably, they are some of the best earphones I have heard, regardless of price.
All of this praise comes with a stern warning! Be careful with your RE2000 should you chose to purchase a pair. When I owned a pair of the Gold RE2000, the stem separated from the body of the earphones after one month of use. This is not good enough for such an expensive piece of gear, and there should be more than glue holding these together. Take very good care of these earphones if you ever come in contact with a pair. They are fragile!
All in all, I can recommend the RE2000 Silver due to its stellar sonic performance. I won’t say they are the best earphone on the market, but they have an addicting, pleasing, well tuned sound. It is a sound I continue coming back to, time and time again, and I think that speaks volumes to how good this earphone really is.
Thank you for taking the time to read my review!