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Update on just what makes these earphones sound so horrible. There is no such thing as sound stage or instrumental separation. Everything is just one big jumbled mess. Maybe that's why these sound so bad to my ears. Good imaging is one of the biggest things that separate meh phones from decent ones.
I find no way to achieve a balanced/neutral sound on these phones. I tried amping them in case they were just really inefficient and needed some more juice. No luck. Sounds a little better but there is no balance in the sound whatsoever.
Neutral/balanced iem's: Vsonic VC02, Ostry KC06, Westone UM Pro 20
V-shaped: Vsonic VSD3S, Vsonic VSD5
Etc: Zero Audio Carbo Tenores, Sennheiser CX6, CX300, 400
What tips are you using, and what are you using to amp them? I was initially disappointed with these—I had the original RE-0, and I didn't remember them being power hungry at all. So, listening to them straight out of the box with a FiiO X3 set to low gain was disappointing. (And even that was probably a better signal/source than most of the disappointed folks here are feeding their headphones.) They didn't remind me of my cherished gateway-drug RE-0 at all. There was a lack of separation between instruments across the entire frequency spectrum, with the upper-bass and mids sounding especially squashed together.
But, after 24-ish hours of pink noise and frequency sweeps (plus obsessive listening to Bon Iver's new album while falling asleep), and with my X3 set to high gain, they sound like completely different headphones. Obviously they don't have nearly the separation/extension/imaging as higher-tier audiophile gear, but I think you're doing less audio-experienced folks a bit of a disservice by overstating how mediocre the RE-00s sound to you. Paired with an entry-level amp and high-quality audio files, the RE-00 is certainly (in my opinion) an excellent first step through the audiophile door. Sure, I'd love for the bass to be a little punchier and for the lower-mids to have a little more separation and impact, but the resolution and clarity these provide from the upper-mids and above is 100% worth all of my $35.
With entry level gear (hell, even mid-fi stuff), you're just not ever going to get a perfect marriage of detail and separation across the entire frequency spectrum. (If you're reading this, and that's what you were expecting, I heartily welcome your wallet to the dangerous world of headphone buying.) Unless you can afford to spend $1,000+ on flagship/top-tier cans, you'll obviously always be making trade-offs. I can happily accept the slight lower-frequency shortcomings here, in return for such an impressive upper-range. The only conclusion I can draw from all of the negativity here is that folks were expecting $200 IEMs and/or are not plugging their snazzy new headphones into a quality source.
I'll also add that while Comply tips do increase the quantity of bass response, what detail is present gets quite blurred. I think silicone tips are definitely the way to go with these, assuming you can find ones that provide a good seal.
My other reply to another comment of yours provided info on the source and tips I'm using. Basically I'm running them through perfectly sealing silicon single flange tips and a neutral dac/amp. I think the detail you're allegedly hearing is just different tuning to what you are used to -- accenting the details in a different way. But overall the bass is muddy/uncontrolled and the highs are a tinny mess lacking any detail and sounding flat/lifeless (not in a "flat=neutral and thus good" way. They just sound one-dimensional) I have to question your experience with budget chi-fi and bang-for-buck brands since you don't need to pay $200 for phones with a neutral sound signature and decent amount of detail. I only paid forty something dollars for the vsonic vc02's which gave me my first dose. Ostry KC06's aren't bad either although slightly more pricy. And full-sized phones you can get the AKG K553's for just $120 on Massdrop. I think you have way too low expectations of Chinese budget-fi brands. They are really pushing the limits of sub-$100 and even sub-$50 phones. Meanwhile Massdrop here is stuck in the past and not in a good way. They really should've just brought back the vsonic vc02s instead.
Speaking of which, here is a poll I created just for that purpose:
I suspect there might have been quality control issue and your unit might have been a defected unit. I would never describe these as muddy and uncontrolled, according to me and many others it barely produce enough sub bass even on music with heavy sub bass notes, the mid bass is very polite and snappy however. It could've been anything but this is the most analytic pair of earphones I've heard up to this point given any source of music from my Iphone, new Fiio X1II or even the M-Stage HPA-3U (hence why some would say this is thin sounding). Also I have to point out that this earphone is very unforgiving on bad recordings unlike my X-00 and others. I guess I will post my first ever review, comparing the Re-00 to the Meze Neo 11 I just got which have a very different presentation.
I am all ears. Please do share your review. When I got this and played for the first time, my impression was that it is very mid forward.
Lacking the bass and highs.
The highs were very grainy and rough. It tamed down a bit so female vocals are not so piercing and hearable.
Far from sparkles.
The lows are too lacking but because I am used to very bass heavy iems, I don't want to give wrong impression. I am trying to get used to more neutral and natral sounding IEM and have been buying a few.
This RE-00 does not sound neutral to me. Its like Xiaomi Piston 3, pretty mid forward.
After making all above complaints, I am still using it daily. I guess I like its mid enough.
I am not really sure and I am trying to learn how to differentiate the sound signatures and quality. I have a looong way to go.
So, would appreciate your review and I will try to compare how you describe and match from what I hear.
Nope. I suspect that you have never heard a half-decent pair of balanced iem's. These are crap period. Bass is crap - way too sluggish and unrefined. I don't even care about sub bass quantity since these are budget phones - it's just that the quality is just really bad. I mean sure the phones sound ok when there is no sub bass in the song, but it shouldn't crap all over it just because it does. Like do you only listen to pop and classic? How does this bass sound ok to you??? Highs are mehhh. Super artificial sounding. Mids are just barely acceptable, but sounds veiled due to the tweaked high/low frequencies. Try a pair of Ostry KC06. Vsonic VSD3S (even though it's V-shaped), heck anything that advertises itself as balanced/neutral sound sig. They'll blow these out of the water any day of the week.
These are the most analytical earphones you've heard?? What kind of budget have you been spending on iems? Under 40? I really wish I had a pair of Vsonic VC02s on me so I could ship them to you and you would realize how colored and unnatural the RE-00s sound. Unfortunately everything that sounds exceptionally good for the price point has a tendency to break :(
These would be acceptable at this price point if they weren't a group buy and this was like 5 years ago, but it's not. Seems like the RE-0's were tuned for the worse in this iteration.
Haha I have listened to all IEMs you mentioned my friend. I'm a member of head-fi and know what a good IEM should be. You can check my profile here. http://www.head-fi.org/u/346841/ozkan
I don't think that Vsonic VC02 is as good as or better than the Re0. Let me tell you the most balanced IEM so far. It is Etymotic ER4S and they are truly a masterpiece for me but the fit always put me off.
And I bet I've auditioned more IEMs than you so far mate. Maybe you didn't like the RE-00's sound signature but that doesn't mean they are crap. Just my 2 cents ;)
Perhaps you should send me your unit of Re-00 so I can compare the two. In case you wonder then I've had the Fx850, Aurisonic Rockets, Fidelio S1, ATH IM50 and a few other crappy chinese IEMs on aliexpress. Your finding about the bass being sluggish is just ridiculous lol, these IEMs barely produce enough low end unless it's called for, let alone being "muddy" or "sluggish".
Give spiral dots tips a shot mate. I will have the comparision done when I get some free time. My inital impression is pretty much what I find them to be, even though you do eventually get used to the light bass so the tonal balance is not bad.
Ok, first of all being a head fi member doesn't tell me anything besides the fact that you are most likely a little bit snobby about your audio hobby. Second, if you're going to link me to your profile at least list some basic info on your profile like what cans/iems you've owned, auditioned, your sources etc. so I can understand a little better where you're coming from. Third, I never compared the VC02 to RE0 since I've never heard them. However, the RE-00s have been noted to be tuned a little differently if not made from completely different drivers by several others in the MD community. And from what I have listened to, sound vastly inferior to the VC02's, albeit my impression of the VC02's are from several years ago since they've been discontinued. Fourth, yeah the ER4S and Etymotic in general are regarded as one of the best neutral/balanced sound sig phones/manufacturer. You restating that gives me no insight into how the original RE0 was better than the VC02.
If you're trying to give some input, maybe you should try thinking a little bit longer before you post and see if your post makes any sense?
Just my 4 cents :) Keep the change.
Dude none of these phones you listed are mid-fi chifi phones. They're all big brand Japanese or Western phones -- several costing over $200. How the hell is that supposed to give me any reference to your mid-fi chifi experience? Don't tell me "crappy chinese IEMs from aliexpress" are what you think those are. Those phones rarely even have an established brand name. Talk to me when you've listened to a balanced/neutral sound sig offering from something along the lines of dunu, Ostry, VSonic, etc. A Chinese brand that has an established reputation and won't disappear overnight. Those are the ones that are pushing the limits of budget iems.
You had asumed my experience with IEMs are limitted under $40 budget which is why I gave you the list of IEMs which I own. Sorry I tend to stay away from those Vsonic or Ostry stuff which are advertised as "bass signature" or what ever they call it. I do not have to listen to those chinese earphones to have an understanding of how a good pair of earphones sound like. I will not make any comment about how these sound like compare to whatever chinese brands or models that you named because I did not listen to them. I simply disagree with the fact that you called these IEMs muddy and sluggish just because it does not suit you. But yeah if you are happy with those Xiaomi, Ostry, Vsonic then good for you. I only feel sorry for those who listen to your oppinion and pass on this wonderful IEMs which they might actually enjoy lol.
LOL You just admitted you don't know anything about chinese sub-$100 iems which the RE-00s just happen to be in the same category as. Vsonic does have bassy models, but they also produce models with less bass. In fact the VC02 which was discontinued was widely considered a bass anemic phone. Ostry's don't feature heavily enhanced bass either. Dunu I personally haven't listened to but some of their models are praised by mid-fi enthusiasts. You really shouldn't go on bashing quite highly respected bang-for-buck Chinese manufacturers when you are trying to sound like an authority on this area of audio equipment.
MY ASSUMPTION by the way was that you weren't experienced with NEUTRAL SIGNATURE PHONES from CHINESE BUDGET BRANDS. And you spent maybe less than $40 budget in that area based on your impressions of them and the RE-00s in comparison. It's sounding an awful lot like I hit the nail on the head...
Most of the phones you mentioned aren't even flat/neutral sound sigs anyway. (The only one I found corroborated was the Aurisonics) It's pretty clear that you don't lean towards that signature in your audio preferences.
I'm currently on Westone UM Pro 20s (Dual BA driver iems) because I was able to get them for a really good deal and enjoying them quite thoroughly. A bit less musical than the W line supposedly, but I wanted to try Pro line earphones so they would actually last me. Probably won't turn to Chinese budget brands for a while, especially after how badly the RE-00s flopped, but I would pick up another pair like the VC02 in a heart beat. They punched way above their asking price and were rumored to be discontinued because the company wanted to sell more of their top-of-the-line phones with a similar sound signature -- ones that were based on the TWFK Knowles BA drivers. Now tell me the RE-00s come anywhere near that kind of sound quality. Please?
I never claim to know everything about chinese earphones, mid-fi this chi-fi that or what not and certainly did not bash other brands, feel free to quote me. You made a false assumption about my audio background and now you are continuing shoving words into my mouth. My list of IEMs cover alot of different presentations which gave me a fairly good amount of understanding on how IEMs are like, just because I do not listen to alot of VSonic, Dunu and Ostry stuff does not mean I can not judge the RE-00 accordingly, don't be absurd please thank you. Now back to the fact that you could not even justify your own judgement of the RE-00 being muddy and sluggish, your tantrum is not leading this argument anywhere so I would stop after this post, you have a nice day :)
" Sorry I tend to stay away from those Vsonic or Ostry stuff which are advertised as "bass signature" or what ever they call it. " --Riiiight lumping these brands together with "bass enhanced" consumer trash isn't trashing them. Okayyyy.
" I do not have to listen to those chinese earphones to have an understanding of how a good pair of earphones sound like" --Yes, but you aren't exactly qualified to judge their value in terms of money based on where they stand in the market, because you haven't heard any other offerings that are comparable.
I mean if you can't hear the impreciseness of the bass response or the artificial timbre of the highs I can't help you there. The lack in sub bass quantity I believe is the culprit behind the sluggishness I am hearing. These are also compared to my reference of bass notes produced on dual balanced armature drivers so if you haven't heard that kind of bass detail, maybe you wouldn't realize just how sluggish the RE-00s are. I just chose not to grace you with a response on that front since you just brushed off my impressions as absurd. I didn't try to convince you since I can't convince somebody with such a closed mind. Would love to see your response to this one. Let's hope it's not as snobby as the other ones and you actually consider somebody who exhibits more precise articulation of their argument points as somebody who's worthy of a reasoned conversation rather than just saying "No you're wrong because I'm right." Also, you misspelled judgment.
For your own sake go look for a dictionary lmao, and yeah right sluggish and muddy bass are caused by the rolled off sub bass FR lmao, what a response!!! Oh and apparently stating the fact that a brand advertised their earphones as "bass signature" is bashing and trashing ahaha. You won the arguement ahaha I'm done here. (Only reply because you asked for it).
Umm ok. I graduated from a "public Ivy" college with a 3.7+ GPA. I think you're the one who needs to "look for a dictionary," since you can't even spell basic words like "judgment" or "argument" correctly. Maybe you'll go a little bit further in life if you listened to advice from somebody who's better educated than you. Oh wait, if you're "looking for a dictionary" in this day and age then you're probably doing something wrong since you aren't making use of the vast amount of word reference resources available online.
I think the arguments I laid out are very clear and yet you fail to grasp any of it or face any of your mistakes. Yes, I won the argument. And keep laughing your butt off -- you're only making a laughing stock of yourself.
gud on you me friend :) very naice and interesting facts about your background education, thats really good to know like for real no kidding. Thanks for the free "how to spell 101".
By the way, to deconstruct your argument on the brands advertising "bass signature" thing, just because they offer models with a relatively bass-heavy signature that doesn't mean that all their earphones are bass heavy. You made a massive logical error right there. And that's what I was calling you out on. You were clearly dismissing the value of the earphones these brands produced because they advertised some of their earphones as having a "bass signature." Flip flopping on that and denying that fact isn't going to get you anywhere. Learn to argue logically -- it'll take you a really long way in life. Maybe even land you a job.
You're welcome. I try to look out for those of us who are less fortunate in life. It's the least I can do to offset my educational privilege.
By the way, it's "educational background." I know the rest of your errors were made on purpose but I have my suspicions about that one.
Nope. I don't spend any time on those kinds of forums because I have better things to do with my time. Too many trolls and young adolescents.
Yeah, right! Things for example like bashing a $30 earphones you could not stand and perhaps a part time spelling nazi?
lol I'm just trolling you to get you to quit troll life. You don't seem to show very much promise at it. Well I guess you aren't very sharp in reasoned argumentation either... Maybe you should get a job that doesn't require decent verbal/writing skills in the future...
noted, thanks for your precious time :) love you!
Also, just a heads up for anybody else inclined to judge these as "$30 earphones." The MSRP for these is very clearly advertised as $80. We should judge them as such because Massdrop/HiFiMAN is claiming that is the actual value of these phones if they were sold as a retail pair and that we are getting them at a massive group buying discounted price. If you hear anybody saying "these are pretty nice for $30 earphones" when they recommend them, IGNORE THEM -- they clearly don't understand how the group purchase economy works.
Based on the community response, I highly doubt that HiFiMAN would try to sell these in their current form to retailers to be sold at $80 to consumers. And I have my suspicions if these were built to be sold at retail at all in the first place, considering how non-consumer-friendly they are. (Inefficient; lacks portability. Basically designed to be desktop earphones) If these iem's don't go on the actual consumer market (and they were never designed to) I'm pretty sure the $80 MSRP would count as fraud. Might be worth filing a class action lawsuit if that's the case.
This whole late shipping with no compensation, no carrying case fiasco reeks of foul play.