Before we start on the HIFIMAN RE600S review, just a little comment about the name: Songbird, I like the code name.
Somehow it’s reminded me about Mockingjay bird from the Hunger Games. I think RE600 should become the official earphone for the Hunger game movie.
Just to take a note, the earphone that I’ve is the RE600S V2 (with 3.5mm jack). There’s another model which is RE600 V2 (without S), it has a balanced cable (adapter to normal 3.5mm jack is included).
Even the asking price is quite high for RE600 at USD 199 compared even to the little brother RE400 at USD 39 but I do believe that HIFIMAN can deliver a sound that’s matching its price tag.
RE600 has a pretty large box for such as tiny earphone. The box covered with synthetic leather with a strip of metal in the middle and HIFIMAN logo.
You’ll also receive a clamshell casing with addition ear tips inside. I’m wondering why all of this couldn’t be included in the leather casing.
In my opinion, the packaging needs to be improved. the ear tips are difficult to take out and I can’t even take out the cable organizer stick in the middle section.
Even though I know that HIFIMAN tried to deliver a luxurious experience but I feel that it’s not up to the standard of luxurious right now. I think customers nowadays will appreciate more for better quality accessories (like the case) vs luxurious packaging.
Just like Apple design for its packaging. HIFIMAN could start by including all pieces inside one box. Another great example, 1More Triple drivers earphone has good design and unboxing experience.
- Earphone RE600 Songbird
- 4 pairs of double flange tips
- 2 pairs of black silicone tips
- 2 pairs of black silicone tips with a breaker in between
- 3 pairs of transparent Silicone
- 5 pairs of filters
- 1 Clamshell case
- 1 White Cable organizer
- User guide and warranty card
- 8.5mm single driver
- Frequency response: 15Khz – 22Khz
- Impedance: 16 Ohms
- Sensitivity: 102db
- Weight: 13.7g / 0.48oz
That’s a lot of different tips! I like the variety of tips from double flange tips till a softer transparent silicone as an option to make sure that this tiny little songbird can fit into your ear.
I think you’ll have this excitement like I do to try them all one by one to see which one can fit in the best.
The quality of these earphone tips is pretty standard overall, except for the transparent silicone and I feel it has the best quality among the others.
At this price range, I would expect better quality earphone tips. The variety of different types is great but it lacks a medium size range, as an example, the double flange tips come with large, small size and the medium size is nowhere to be found.
The clamshell carrying case is small and enough to store a couple of eartips + earphone itself. I would be very happy if the casing is a hard case or a better quality soft case.
One thing that I would compliment is the extra filters included. they are really useful down the road as your ear wax sooner or later will be stuck there no matter how clean you are. It gives some sort of peace of mind knowing that I can replace those filters.
DESIGN AND BUILD
RE600S / RE600 has the same design as his little brother RE400. The black glossy coating on RE600 is a little bit different than RE400, it’s more polished and elegant.
The single driver made from a Titanium diaphragm and a neodymium magnet. this 8.5 mm driver is currently patent pending.
There’s still no detachable cable on RE600 but the cable itself is a special composite cable (patent pending) and has a combination of crystal cooper and crystal silver which will deliver clarity and superb imaging. Since it’s a non-detachable cable, I couldn’t cross-test how good is the quality of the cable with the other earphone.
The non-detachable cable could be an issue down the road because probably you need to replace the whole unit when the cable is spoiled.
The cable quality itself is good from the Y splitter down to the 3.5mm jack. the braided cable is a little bit thicker compared to the RE400. As mentioned before there are 2 versions of RE600, with S and without S. RE600 comes with a balance cable + 3.5mm cable adapter. If you have a DAP (with balance input) that will be a perfect combination.
The straight 3.5 mm jack has a good strain relief and the overall body size is just nice, it’s not too big / too small.
From the Y splitter up to the earphone, the cable is smooth without any braided layer. I think the cable is a little bit too thin, it will easily snap perhaps / damaged if you don’t take extra care.
I kind of understand the reason for keeping the cable as slim as possible because if the cable is heavy it will affect the ergonomic of the earphone by dragging it down since the earphone is so light.
There some simple strain relief on the termination point between the cable and casing. You’ll see a clear marking on the side with the letter R and L. You can wear them like normal earphones straight down or over the ear like In-ear monitoring, If it’s comfortable I would suggest to wear it over the ear because it will help to reduce the microphonics effect.
RE600 has a standard Nozzle opening at 0.5mm and it’s easy to take out and put in tips because of the lip on the nozzle that will hold secure the tips.
Inside the nozzle, you can see the black filter and as mentioned before, the additional filters to replace them will be very useful down the road.
Songbird Sound Impression
Sub-bass is subtle and a little bit lacking for the thump when playing Oricono Flow – Enya but the rest of the bass is great. Playing Won’t go home without you – Marron reveals quick and accurate bass.
One thing that I appreciate is the bass has texture, you can hear a different layer presented nicely in the bass region. Hearing Stay High – Habits Remove Tove Lo, Hippie sabotage starting 0:32 you can feel the textured and accurate bass.
In the mid-region, the male and female vocals are solid and reproduce nicely. Say something – A Great Big World, Christina Aquilera sounded pure and light (in a good way), it’s pretty balanced between female and male. The position of the vocal is pretty neutral leaning forward a little bit.
The strength of the RE600 is in the transparency, clarity, and separation. Listening to Stairway to Heaven – Led Zeppelin when music getting crowded, the songbird able to keep up with the pace and clarity without over emphasizes on a region.
Playing Born, never asked – Laurie, the songbird produces a nice treble, I can’t say it’s sparkle but it has enough speed and control hearing how’s the clap, marimba play along in the song, of course not forgetting that violin played nicely.
There’s no sibilance and at the upper range the treble is rolled off quite a bit, not a problem for me but some people may find that the treble too gentle.
The treble is quite relaxed, the highs do not produce any fatigue even with a prolong listening time. Even though it’s a balanced earphone but it’s not overly to analytics piece of an earphone.
The soundstage on the width extends wider than the neutral zone while height is below the neutral zone. It still gives you a feeling that the soundstage is spacious and have enough room for all the instrument and voice to play along.
I feel that in the overall tonal balance, sometimes the RE600 songbird lack of energy – Don’t stop me Now – Queen somehow not able to give the zap that it needs to carry on with the momentum.
You can imagine the soundstage is like a bar, they have a wider stage compared to the height and it gives la you an intimate atmosphere.
Separation and clarity are great, I can hear all the instruments playing out nicely and quite an accurate positioning. If you are out there to audition the songbird try to listen to midnight city – M83, Green Machine – Kyuss or theme from Jurassic Park – John Williams, Lullaby – Bond if you prefer a quieter song.
HIFIMAN RE600S REVIEW SUMMARY
Earphone with balance tonality normally is a little bit boring, flat and thin but not with RE600 Songbird, this little songbird is a pleasantly balanced earphone. RE600 will be in my first string on the roster list.
Songbird able to bring out clarity, separation with a hint of warmness. This earphone is a little bit sensitive towards the source, Just imagine with me you put a bird in a small cage compared to a bigger cage. Give it a good source like DAP or DAC and the songbird would open up all the good stuff.
With just a single drive, I’m amazed that HIFIMAN able to produce this kind of earphone. Once again this is proof that more drivers don’t mean that the sound will be better so never trust the number but trust your ear.
What I don’t like is the cable, it’s non-detachable, easily tangle and a little bit fragile, with an investment of 199 USD I would like to have a detachable cable just in case the cable is broken and of course I would like to explore using a different cable combination.
I would also love to see a better case protector and a higher quality of tips. nevertheless, RE600 Songbird is a nice earphone that sounds balanced and has a tiny housing.
I believe you guys are wondering, how does this compare with RE400? RE600 able to fill in the weakness that the RE400 has, in terms of bass, tonal balance and musical experience. If you have the budget go for RE600 but if you are looking for an entry-level RE400 is the one. It’s hard to recommend RE600 over RE400 if you consider that the price is four times more expensive if HIFIMAN able to reduce the price to at least $125 this would be a no brainer.
HIFMAN RE600S V2 SONGBIRD
ACCESSORIES - 6/10
BUILD - 7.5/10
BASS - 8.5/10
MIDRANGE - 9.2/10
TREBLE - 9.1/10
SOUNDSTAGE & SEPARATION - 9/10