HiFiMAN RE-00 (Mini Review)

HiFiMAN RE-00 (Mini Review)

Back in 2016 I bought a pair of HiFiMAN RE-00 in-ear monitors (IEM) from Massdrop for around $30. I didn't know much about them other than what I had read. All I really knew was that they were a bargain considering what Massdrop was asking for them. When they arrived, a few weeks later, I quickly realized that all the tips were too small for my huge, mutant ears, and I shoved them in a box and promptly forgot about them. They sat, unloved in my "retired" headphone box for the past three years. Last night, at four in the morning, I remembered that I had recently bought new ear tips from Rebound and that's when I suddenly remembered the RE-00s. Curiosity got the better of me and I ended up digging them out of the closet. Sure enough the new ear tips fit. Cool!

I took them up stairs to test them out with my Apogee headphone AMP/DAC. I sat down, popped them into my massive, Sasquatch-like ears, fired up iTunes and sat stunned for a good 30 minutes. I simply couldn't believe what I was hearing. These little, butt ugly, $30 RE-00 IEMs sounded, to my ears at least, just as good as the pair of Audioquest NightOwls that I had bought two weeks ago. It couldn't be. I switched to the NightOwls and listened to the same songs. Yeah, it could be. I switched back to the RE-00 and sure enough they sounded nearly identical. It was true. However, I still couldn't believe it. A quick Google search and an hours reading on headphone enthusiast sites revealed what I already knew but couldn't admit. Yes, these $30 IEMs were well known as the best sounding IEMs that you could buy for under $500. I had missed out all this time because I didn't have tips that fit.

All I can say is that I'm now making up for lost time.

– Patrick

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