Review - Hifiman RE-600S v2

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Also available on YouTube in Spanish: Acho Reviews YouTube 



Let me start by saying that these IEMs were sent to me for review by Hifiman, for which I am very grateful. I have not received any requests from Hifiman except for this review and have not been asked to make any specific comments, good or bad. As always, my opinions are my own and are what I sincerely feel about the earphones in questions, however, it has not cost me anything to be able to test the RE-600S



Intro…

Not long ago I received both the RE-400 and the RE-600S v2 from Hifiman. I published the review of the RE-400 here (Review - Hifiman RE-400) but I did not open or listen to the RE-600S until after I had published that review.

The reason I am saying this is because I mentioned in the RE-400 review that I knew nothing about them until I received them and I know exactly the same amount about the RE-600S, nothing, excepto for a quick web search that I made after putting them on for the first time.

I also mentioned in the RE-400 that I would like to try a set of IEMs with the same tuning but with improved detail and a few other things. It seems that the RE-600S are exactly that. I know this sounds like a bit too much of a coincidence, that the next Hifiman item review is basically what I asked for at the end of the last review, but I really hadn’t tried these earphones until after I published that review.

My quick web search brings me to the conclusion that these IEMs (the V2) have been available since 2017 and are a revision of the previous RE-600S, something I have never tried. Hifiman shows them on their website with a RRP of $199 but reduced to $75, that is quite a discount and while it doesn’t place them in the sub 50€ category, it does make them very affordable.

I haven’t read any of the reviews before publishing my own because I like the fact that I know nothing about them, something that is difficult when you spend any amount of time on headphone related forums and websites.



Presentation…

The box that the RE-600S are presented in is by far the nicest box I have received with any IEMs so far. The box is imitation leather, of very good quality, which has a flap that opens upwards and another that opens downwards, embossed with the Hifiman logo, separated by a steel band with RE-600S engraved on it.

Lifting the top flap we find the IEMs, located in a cut out of a velvet covered rigid piece of foam (or rubber).

The bottom flap opens to reveal 6 different kinds of silicone tips along with a cable management accessory (made of white rubber).

As with the RE-400, for some reason Hifiman ships a round carrying case alongside the main box, with another selection of tips and 10 replacement filters.

Again I find it strange to ship these separately but they are appreciated, with the case and filters being very handy.



Build and comfort…

If you have read or watched my RE-400 review, these IEMs are identical, except for the RE-600S being black whereas the RE-400 were silver.

They unfortunately use the same cable also, which is fabric covered as far as the split and then 2 thin wires from the split to the IEMs. On the RE-400, this cable suffered greatly from microphonics when worn with the cable down (solved by wearing them cable up) but in the case of the RE-600S, while there are still some microphonics, they are greatly reduced in comparison to the other model.

The same chin slider is present (although black instead of silver) and the IEMs are the same small size with strain relief at both ends of the cable.

As with the RE-400, the IEMs are very comfortable due to their (tiny) size. They are almost the same size as the tips themselves (smaller than the tips if you opt for the included double flange) and disappear inside your ears. This makes laying on your side while wearing them a non-issue.

Basically these IEMs are identical to the lower priced version, at least visually, so let’s move on to how they sound.



Sound…

Now, as I said at the beginning, I mentioned in my previous review that I would like to try the same tuning as the RE-400 but with improved detail and a couple of other things. The RE-600S is literally the same tuning, at least to my ear. I haven’t seen a graph of these IEMs (as I said, I haven’t checked out any reviews) but I would guess that on a FR graph they would look almost identical. However, for any of you that haven’t seen the RE-400 review, I will give my usual impressions and descriptions.

In the sub bass department, the extension is pretty impressive, as it does not roll off until it reaches very low frequencies. As with the RE-400, I could hear a test tone quite clearly all the way down to 30Hz.

In the general bass frequencies, these are not elevated in any way in comparison to the mids, therefore, the IEMs give a sensation of missing bass with some tracks that are highly dependent upon bass and sub bass. In the case of a song like “El Cuenta Cuentos” by Nach, this track is recorded in a way where the typical V shape gives it a nice bass presence, however, as the RE-600S is much flatter, it leaves the song with a clear lack of bass in comparison to other IEMs. 

What I can say is that the bass is very controlled and well defined, presenting lots of detail when listening to tracks such as “Elephants on Ices Skates” by Brian Blomberg. As this track is based around a slap bass line, this results in a very clear and detailed sound, allowing you to focus on the nuances of the bass playing.

The transition from bass to lower mids is very balanced, with no rises or drops, avoiding any kind of bass bleed from the bass range over into the mids. Again, this may result in the feeling that there is some warmth missing on certain tracks that are dependent upon bass or lower mid boosts (due to their recordings) but results in a very clean and detailed sound.

Moving through the mids, which are smooth, articulate and very pleasurable to listen to, with a slight elevation when reaching the higher mids, giving more presence to voices. Vocal tracks that are accompanied by acoustic guitars and other similar instruments are nicely presented, making the voice seem a little more forward than the instruments but without being overdone. This slight elevation around the 3k mark manages to give that extra presence without seeming shouty or overly forwards. 

Again, it is possible that at times there is a feeling that there is a little warmth missing from the lower end of some string instruments or pianos, but it does not result in a bright or fragile sound, and the clarity of the instruments and voices allow you to enjoy details that are not present on many other options in similar price ranges.

Up in the higher registries, the RE-600S manages to avoid sibilance for the most part without being overly dull. There is slightly more sibilance than the RE-400 but at the same time, there is also a better sensation of air and clarity. The highs I find to be pleasant and while they do roll off, they don’t leave me feeling that they are lacking in highs. 

As a usual sibilance test, “Code Cool” by Patricia Barber is very listenable as is “Hope Is a Dangerous Thing” by Lana Del Rey, proving that there isn’t excessive sibilance, as both of these songs can become unpleasant fairly quickly.

As far as details and speed, here is where I find the RE-600S to be a clear improvement over the RE-400. In busy songs such as “The Room” by Ostura, they hold together well and don’t seem to fall apart when tracks get busier. 

The sound stage width and imaging is more than acceptable. The width does seem to be improved over the RE-400, not as intimate as the lower priced alternative, but is still not excessively wide. I will point out again, as I have in many reviews, that I haven’t really come across a set of IEMs that I consider to be wide. The RE-600S are not the widest IEMs I have tried but are above average. Imaging is decent, with a better sense of transition than on the RE-400, and while they are still not able to pinpoint to the mm, they do a very good job of placing instruments and sounds, as is proven by listening to “Letter” by Yosi Horikawa.



Conclusion…

I feel that these IEMs are what I was asking for when I mentioned that I would like to try the tuning of the RE-400 with better detail and resolution. The RE-600S maintain the same overall sound signature but improve on things like speed, detail, sound stage and imaging.

There is still a feeling, depending mainly on music choice, that there is a lack of bass at times but that stems from being used to an elevation in the bass department on most IEMs.

I find the mids to be very pleasurable, with smooth treble that really doesn’t become harsh at all, especially for an IEM that I don’t consider to be warm.

The size and shape of the RE-600S makes it extremely comfortable and if it wasn’t for the cable, I would say that build and comfort are excellent.

To be totally honest, while they are not my favourite sound signature for all kinds of music, they are earphones that make voice centered music, such as “Hallelujah” by Pentatonix, a very pleasant experience.

Due to their good mids and general sound signature, they also make voices very intelligible and if the cable were interchangeable, they would make a great option for calls and video conferences.

All in all, I feel that the Hifiman RE-600S v2 at the current price of $75 is something that is well worth the price. Yes, there are improvements that could be made and the signature is not for everyone, but they are not offensive in any way and I have enjoyed listening to them over the past week or so.

SenyorC