These took their sweet time to break in
By Indranil Halderon
These took their sweet time to break in. In the absolute beginning it sounded like the systems in tuk-tuk, built of only woofers and twitters, sounding thoroughly metallic, and wrong. The minimal break in is 50 hours, throw in 25 more to be on safe side, they'll change colour like chamelions. Sweet treble, wonderful mids, the base is like a studio monitor, it is properly there but refuses to go 'boom'. It is wonderfully detailed, but doesn't sound harsh. Oh, please use comply eartips, the bundled ones are laughable.I have two low and mid end sennheisers, cx 300 II and an old HD-485. Compared to this, both sound muddy. But they are fun, this one is not all stiff upper lip, but less fun.
A magical wand to discern good music from the rest
By Sachin Chavanon
Let me begin by saying that these earphones are not for everyone. So, as for everything else in life, this decision is also dependent upon knowing yourself well. I bought these earphones from Amazon India around two weeks ago and here's what I can share about them.Let me put it this way. These speakers will make you trash a lot of music in your collection. It is like possessing a magic wand that helps you distinguish good music (good sound) from the average. But believe me, the albums that you retain, you will enjoy them like you never did before.These speakers do almost nothing to make the music feel better or sweeter than it already is. If that's what you are looking for, go for Sennheisser or Bose. (I have Bose Soundlink II on my desk which makes any music sound good, real good). The HifiMan RE 400, on the other hand, produces music just like it was recorded. Well, almost. Perhaps it makes the mid bass a bit coloured to enhance the effect, but only just. Apart from that, you are listening to the music that the artist and sound engineers intended you to listen when they played and recorded it. And they better did a good job of it, for if they didn't, you can tell it with these speakers.I am an avid music fan with an eclectic taste. I enjoy Hindustani Classical records as much as Jazz of the 60's and the wonderful fusion of today. Rock from Beatles and Dire Straits to Coldplay and Indian Ocean. I enjoy the soulfulness of Sufi and Soul music alike. And the relaxation of a good ghazal, old Hindi film music as much as Simon and Garfunkel or Norah Jones. The drums, from any kind of world music are as thrilling as the Jugalbandi between two Indian masters. And more.For me, what music it is is far less important than 'how good' it is. Now, how good a music is, can be subjective assessment. But I believe good music is one that harmonises your mind, body and soul, and you can listen through the entire album without distraction or fatigue. And the joy has to be divine, even if the music is earthly.Coming to the recoding, I like to feel as if I am listening live. And that's what these speakers do! Close your eyes, and you hear every instrument clearly. Even the instruments and voices you didn't previously register in your favourite tracks unless you owned speakers above Rs 25000 (that too not all of them). For example, take the case of 'Ishq Bina' from Taal. When the main singer says 'Imli se khatta', the singer in the background says 'ishqa..' These speakers made me realise there were two, not one background voices saying 'ishqa...' The second one, coming from the right speaker, was very faint, husky, childlike, but added so much to the listening joy. Now, this is what Rahman intended us to hear.The soundstage is not very wide, but each sound has its physical location in it. So you hear the tabla being played on the right of the classical singer and the sarangi/harmonium to her left (your right) if the mixing was correctly done during the recording. It's like attending your own private concert.If music is a medium for you to just groove and dance to it, and you are limited to hard rock and EDM, please look elsewhere. The tight, but proportionate bass won't satisfy you.If you only listen to old recordings, especially Indian, don't use these phones. They will make you hate 80% of your music collection as the flaws are closely conveyed. Mind you these aren't just flaws on count of technical poverty of the recording, but you'd easily make out when a singer was off key. And you'd be surprised to find that even leading ones were sometimes.These phones get you sound at the level of Shruti's and not just at the level of Swar's. The flip side is that you'd love and enjoy good music, from the real masters, like never before!I won't get into technicalities of the speakers themselves. You can read them in the other capable reviews here. Yes, the long term reliability of the product is questionable if I go by some reviews esp on Amazon.com. But any music lover would be okay spending Rs 6k for musical bliss. A we all know, bliss is short lived, yet, worth it.