Synergy is an often-forgotten aspect of building an audio system, but in fact, it can be the key part of solving a problem with a piece of gear. For example, my above impressions of the RE-600 are with it paired with my Audio-GD SA-31, which is a great amplifier; I’ve never wanted more power with it in the house. But it’s on the warm side, with slightly laid back treble. Combining that with the RE-600 made for a less than ideal combination. The SA-31 augmented my problems with the lower treble and warmed it up just a little too much. However, if you’ve paid attention to the HM-700 review, you’ll notice that the HM-700 and RE-600 have complimenting deviations from neutral. As if by magic, the sound signature straightens out.

Instruments no longer sound slightly muted, vocals are forward, but not grating, and oh goodness the bass. It’s kind of disappointing to think this tiny DAP drives the RE-600 better than my desk-eating SA-31. But the balanced amplification plays a slight, but noticeable difference. Plugging the RE-600 into the adapter leads to a thinner, less controlled sound. Bass doesn’t have the same definition, mids are a little honky, and the treble starts to sound a little muted again. I do want to emphasize the differences are slight; going from unbalanced to balanced doesn’t necessarily remove a veil, but more of a scrim. All things considered, I probably wouldn’t miss the difference on a subway, but in situations like right now, as I’m sitting alone in my room, the difference is enough for me to wish I had more balanced IEMs to try.

What I love most about the HM-700 and RE-600 combo is that it’s not necessarily meant to impress at first listen. Yes, the SE846 is spectacular in many ways, especially because its bass is out of this world for an IEM but it just didn’t mesh with me in the same way the RE-600/HM-700 does. It’s not the “best” IEM by any objective standard, but it just does something so right for me (not unlike the ZMF T50RP) that I actually look forward to walking to my classes. Whenever I use them, I go back to when I was younger and first heard a pair of genuinely good headphones; I wasn’t versed in the lingo enough to accurately dissect the sound. All I knew how to do was enjoy the music.

Thanks to Dr. Fang Bian and Peter Hoagland for the opportunity to review such a fine setup!

Technical Specifications

HM-700

Frequency response: 20Hz-20KHz
S/N: 91 dB
Max output: 50mW(1.35V @36 Ohm)
Dimensions: 49mm x105mm x12mm
(1.9X4.1X0.5 Inch) WXHXD
Weight: 82g (2.9 Oz)
On-board ash memory: 32GB
Battery life: 15 hours
Acceptable music formats: WAV, MP3, APE, FLAC(16Bit)
WAV(24Bit,44.1/48KHz)

RE-600

3.5mm mini plug
Mini adapter for regular earphone jack
Frequency Response: 15Hz-22KHz
Impedance: 16 Ohms
Sensitivity: 102 dB/mW
Weight: 0.48Oz (13.7g)

Links:

http://hifiman.com/Products/?pid=192

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3 Responses

  1. Marcus

    N3 is more aggressive sounding, better low-end impact and generally more dynamic in its presentation. It also has a lower noise floor with its 3 step gain.

    Reply
  2. Indrajit Mishra

    Hi, I am indecisive between two music players. Is there a comparison out there between Cayin N3 and Hifiman HM 700+RE400 regarding their sonic differences.

    Reply

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