The Hifiman RE800 Silver and RE2000 Silver are re-edition of the limited, “Gold Edition” RE2000 and RE800 that Hifiman produced one year and half years ago, and are their flagship models up to this day. The new versions differ from the former revisions in that they have, accordingly to their name, silver housing and they cost about 25% less than the original models, while the internal of the two models is unchanged.
The RE2000 Silver have a list price of 1499$ (against the price of 2000$ of the original RE2000), while the RE800 Silver have a list price of 599$ (vs 699 list price of the RE800).
The RE2000 and RE800 matter in the portable audio world, because they have very balanced, realistic sound, that doesn’t overly colour any recording, thus being very high fidelity.
This review aims to compare the RE2000 Silver and the RE800 Silver in order to give advice on the most fitting model depending on the listener’s sonic preferences.
Structure and Fit
The Hifiman RE2000 and RE800 Silver use the same dynamic drivers as their “parent” models, and as such eartips that are larger in diameter than those adopted by Etymotic, Westone, Shure IEM’s, and don’t go equally deep inside the ear canal. Eartips used by Hifiman are compatible with those used by Sony, Sennheiser, Ultimate Ears, Dunu canalphones.
Dynamic driver IEMs have several advantages, such as more frequency extension, more linear treble, powerful bass due to bigger diameter. The driver diaphragms used in these two models are very advanced and achieve tonally rich and very detailed reproduction.
Both the RE2000 Silver and the RE800 Silver are more ergonomic than the average dynamic driver canalphone, don’t feel huge in the ears and can keep the seal for a long time. This is especially true for the RE800 Silver that is incredibly tiny. After have experimented a lot with eartips, my preference is to use the Hifiman large biflange eartips with the RE800 (which, thanks for the deeper insertion provide by the small shape of the earphones, give particularly powerful bass) and comply foam tips with the RE2000 Silver (which combine very well with the RE2000 housing for comfortable positioning).
The two models have removable cable, which is very important considering cables are the most fragile point of any earphone. The cables use 2-pin connectors (which is much better than the MMCX type of connectors used by cheaper brands). Plus, the connection between the earpieces and the removable cable are very sturdy and well protected.
Of the two models, the RE2000 Silver cable is especially good quality and super sturdy. The cables are quite aginst microphonics (noises coming from walking, common issue with all sealing earphones).
Hifiman, instead, made the right choice, using 2 pins connectors like several custom IEMs producers do; plus, the connectors are covered with a plastic-rubber section that’s designed to give very strong stability, so the connectors are well protected.
Sound Quality: Hifiman RE2000 Silver
The RE2000 Silver have balanced, lush, warm sound signature, they are very dynamic and visceral. Despite the darkish tonality, they are also extremely quick and detailed, with very wide soundstage and super precise instrument placement.
The warmth of the RE2000 Silver doesn’t really color the music, it rather makes it more solid, vivid, present. Vocals are beautifully rendered and intimate. The lister is constantly focused on the music, there are no uneven peaks in the frequency response to disrupt the flow, the rhytm is toe tapping.
The soundstage, as said, is very large. It’s three dimensional, deep, and helps creating instrument images that are both precisely located and big. Vocals and instruments are all very dynamic.
Bass is tight, impactful and reaches very deep, it’s never lacking nor it bleeds to the midrange, making for a very realistic pavement (for soundstage) and building the right tone.
With such a great tonal setup, it goes without saying that the RE2000 Silver doesn’t exhacerbate any sibilance: it’s a very smooth headphone. Still, it does’t sound smoothered, and it’s never muted in the highs: that would have been a problem, since headphones that don’t have the right amount of treble end up sounding “innocuous”, uncapable of scratching a veil between the music and the listener. The RE2000 Silver don’t have any problems with any part of the frequency spectrum, and “scratch” the veil when the recordings call for it.
Sound Quality: Hifiman RE800 Silver
Similarly to the RE2000, the RE800 Silver have a balanced and natural sound signature, with some differences. It’s slightly less impactful and slightly less saturated, though it is still is very realistic, lively and refined.
Just like the RE2000 Silver, RE800 Silver is very transparent and detailed. Soundstage is very wide (impressively so, considering how tiny the earphone is) although slightly less deep than the RE2000 Silver.
The sound of the RE800 Silver is also very cohesive, without any distracting peaks in the frequency response. Compared to the RE2000 Silver, the upper midrange has a bit stronger presence and the lower frequencies are slightly drier. Still, these findings are only by direcy comparison to the RE2000: by all standards, the RE800 Silver are extremly balanced, tonally right, musical, smooth.
Just like with the RE2000 Silver, detail retrieval is very impressive and not achievd by exhaggerating treble responses, but the inherent speed of the driver. There is no attenuation in the cymbals region, nor sibilance.
The bass is slightly less deep than what’s produced by the RE2000 Silver, but still impactful, fast and tuneful. The whole frequency response is organic and colourful, never sounding digital.
The bass, while not being the most powerful, is very tight, fast and detailed. It’s there when it needs to be, contributing strongly to the sense of rhytm of the music. It’s more natural and less thin than, for example, the Etymotic HF-3 (or HF-5), which are more strongly tuned ,towards the midrange and treble, but where the bass is always too lower volume compared to the rest of the spectrum, resulting in a too digital sound signature.
Both the RE2000 Silver and the RE800 Silver are top class universal IEM’s, and among my favourite, both because of their very high frequency response, build quality, and comfort.
They are not leagues apart between each other, but the RE2000 is slightly more “special” because of its special take on saturation.
Both are comfortable to be worn for a long time during the day. The RE800 are THE most comfortable, they really disappear in the ear given their super tiny size.
While the two IEM’s are slightly on the expensive side (especially the RE2000 Silver) there is a lot of quality for the price, in both cases. Plus, Hifiman periodically makes special discounts (for Christmas, for example) so to make even the more expensive model much more affordable for the budget conscious.
Compared to other models among my favourites (such as Dunu DN-2002 and DK-3001), the two Hifiman offerings have much better comfort, ergonomics, build quality and durability, which makes them a more thoughtful purchase.