HiFiMAN RE-262 and RE-272 In-Ear Headphones Measurements

Measurements (by TH)

Click on graphs image to download .pdf for closer inspection.

Click on graphs image to download .pdf for closer inspection.

With the exception of the significantly different impedance (262=140 Ohms, 272=20 Ohms), measurements of these two headphones bear a strong family resemblance.

Unlike most dynamic in-ear headphones---which usually have a fairly strongly rising bass---both the RE-262 and RE-272 have a very flat frequency response below about 800Hz. Above 800Hz, both headphones have a moderate rise in the presence region at 2kHz, with the 272 showing slightly more emphasis than the 262. The response on both fall after 2kHz at a rate that I'd consider slightly too extreme, with the 272 about 3dB higher in treble energy than the 262. The modestly higher amount of energy in the 272 over the 262 at 800Hz and above correlate well with ljokerl's listening experience. The peak at 8kHz is likely ear canal resonance and is a common artifact with most headphones.

30Hz square-wave response has good shape and is indicative of tight bass response, as is the THD+noise plot that shows no rise in distortion in the low frequencies.

Both headphones show an increase in distortion (THD+noise) through the mid-range on the 100dB SPL plot which may indicate some difficulty playing loud, but the 90dB plot show a fairly distortion-free headphone.

The 300Hz square-wave shows some significant ringing, and the impulse response of both cans are fairly clean, but look a little slow to me. I have to say, however, that both cans did sound quite good to me, so I'm not quite sure what to think about these two measurements. The 272 does look a little faster overall, which matches up quite well with ljokerl's listening experience.

Isolation is good at about 27dB broadband, but not at the level of some balanced armature IEMs. The RE-262 requires 43mVrms to reach 90dB SPL, the RE-272 29mVrms making it the slightly louder headphone. Both would work well with portable players, but the 20 Ohm impedance of the RE-272 does seem a little low and interaction with a portable player may occur.

Head-Direct and HiFiMAN websites.
Product pages for RE-262 and RE-272.
Head-Fi threads and reviews for the RE-272 here, here, here, and here.
Head-Fi threads and reviews for the RE-262 here and here.


Alondite's picture

With ljokerl's contribution to Innerfidelity, can we expect more IEM reviews, or was this just a one-time thing?

There are quite a few IEMs he's reviewed over at Head-Fi that I'd like to see measured. Maybe I'll get to see that full GR07 review, and the measurements that I have been dying to see. One can only hope...

Anyway, good review. Can't wait to see more.

ljokerl's picture
Thanks--I'll be doing more pieces for InnerFidelity in the future. Tyll and I will work on getting select earphones from my collection measured as well.
FLAudioGuy's picture

Nice review on the IEM's. Would like to see more.

Long time listener's picture

I'm always curious about something, which is that sometimes a 300Hz square wave will show a lot of ringing, yet measured distortion levels may still be low. What is the relationship between these?

Also, unless I'm misreading the graphs, these Hifimans seem to have extremely low measured distortion (lower than the Shure 535s, for example), except for the rise in the midrange at higher volumes. My experience with the Shures is that their sound is wonderfully balanced, but on my equipment the highs sound rather dry and harsh. Does the low distortion on the HifiMans translate into cleaner sounding highs? Thanks!

Tyll Hertsens's picture
Unfortunately I don't have a complete answer for you, but I'll try.

Ringing at the leading edge of a square wave is possibly due to time alignment. In other words, if the lows and highs are going through the system at slightly different rates you can get thngs that look like ringing. I don't know if this is what's happening, but in that case each frequency might be low in distortion, but the time errors lead to some transient artifacts.

I'd say that the lower distortion would indeed lead to a cleaner sounding highs in general. Whether that's exactly the case between the 535 and HiFiMAN cans I'm not sure. Next step would be to carefully listen between the two to see if you head stuff that might be related.

It's the same old story: measurements will lead to certain thoughts about cans, but listening really needs to inform the interpretation of measurements for the story to come into full view.

doublea71's picture

I can't think of a more qualified reviewer - I'm glad your dedication and expertise is being noticed and appreciated.

Tyll Hertsens's picture
+1 :)
aravind's picture

one very nooby question..how to change the filters in these earphones? i'm too apprehensive to fiddle with these so haven't tried removing the nozzles..

ljokerl's picture
The filters are meant to be destroyed when you remove them. You have to poke through them with something (like a needle) and then hook them and pull them out/peel them off. The new filters can then be put on (they are sticky on one side).
aravind's picture

need to be very careful when doing that..thanks for your reply..

droilfade's picture

Hey Joker! It is wonderful to see you here. I have been following your thread on head-fi for quite a long time now and have asked for suggestions more than once. A very nice review to start off with.

ljokerl's picture

Thanks. Not sure why I'm surprised to sear near-total overlap with Head-Fi!

Jaron M.'s picture

|joker| didn't say "none". What are these few sources that have the balanced headphone out jack?

ljokerl's picture

By precious few I was thinking of the one that'd I've actually tried - the HM801 with balanced card - and the upcoming HM901. The 3.5mm TRRS configuration HiFiMan chose is rare but there are a number of balanced portable amps out there that would simply need an adapter - the RSA SR-71B/Protector, iBasso PB1/PB2/DB1/DB2, ALO Audio RXMKIII, and probably more that I don't know about.

Jaron M.'s picture

..does the increased price of balanced gear, portable or otherwise, easily justify itself?

ljokerl's picture

There are some theoretical advantages to running in balanced mode but I think they are minimized greatly with portable setups. The difference I heard with the HM801 was not nearly worth the $900 investment in running the RE272 balanced instead of simply using a decent source. I haven't heard enough full-size balanced setups to opine one way or another on those. 

itsastickup's picture

...is that he's a quiet listener. To a quiet listener a peak in the mids is "forward mids" but for loud listeners it's a shouty honk. For example the PL30 or the H2O audio flex, both of which get half-decent reviews by ijokerl but both of which are painful for the loud listener.

Quiet listeners like too many headphones that the rest of us can't use.

Bennyboy's picture

but they break far too easily. My 262s fell apart and my 272s broke twice in less than a year.  True, you can get replacements under warranty, but they're cheap for a reason I think.....

AstralStorm's picture

Yes, that's why their drivers make for an excellent piece for custom dynamic IEMs or for any other kind of reshell and recable.

I'm about to do that right when my new pair arrives. (old pair apparently has a dead driver which I didn't notice until it was far too late)

alfonsojarvis's picture

Wonderful information! HiFiMAN RE-262 and RE-272 this two types of model are really good. And I am thinking for buy one. Thanks a lot for your upload.

Gavin Brad

Guitarist9273's picture

I went to purchase an RE-262 last week and found that Head-Direct was no longer selling them. When I asked why, they informed me that HiFiMan had discontinued them. 



jamessmith's picture

Sennheiser was the first company to develop the first open headphone that toppled the entire concept of headphones. yes It was a towering development in the field of headphones as it greatly enhanced the sound quality produced by traditional and earlier headphones.


czxcxcc2's picture

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