HiFiMan has always been a manufacturer of headphones at respectable prices. It has, however, been quite a while since HiFiMan has released a headphone that was priced around the 50 dollar mark. If memory serves, that would be way back when I began my audio journey.
With the new HiFiMan RE-300 series of in-ears, HiFiMan has selected to introduce a new IEM into their lower lineup and also do something they’ve never done before: introduce an integrated remote and mic. As with most other HiFiMan models, the 300 offers great sound quality at an affordable price.
Driver: 8 mm Dynamic
Frequency Response: 20 Hz – 20 kHz
Impedance: 16 ohms
Sensitivity: 108 dB
In the Box
Silicone Tips (Dual Flange, Single Flange)
If there is one thing that HiFiMan has vastly improved upon over the years, it’s definitely their take on design. The new RE-300i design looks quite modern with ergonomic curves throughout that look both unique and attractive. The minute design that HiFiMan employs definitely doesn’t go unnoticed. HiFiMan offers the 300 series in two colors (or lack of): black and white. This being another first for HiFiMan, color options.
When I think of HiFiMan, the first thing that normally doesn’t come to mind is bass heavy, especially when regarding their IEMs.
Well, with the 300i, they most certainly didn’t forget about the bass, it’s all there, and possibly a little too forward; though it’s nothing too deterring. The 300 has a low-to-mid-bass focused low end with a sweet midrange and controlled treble.
Starting out at the low-end of things, the bass on the RE-300i is quite strong. It offers a sound that is borderline boomy with a strong thickness and presence due to the slower decay period of the lows in general. Bass texturing is on the solid, one-noted side with just a hint of fluidity to it. As we go up into the mid-bass, we do find that it is not the tightest, but also not out of control. Overall, it does have a sense of control to it despite the quantity.
As we go up into the midrange, we do find that it is slightly smoothed over, but no overly so. Details are able to shine through for the most part, while the upper midrange is slightly hindered by the smooth nature of the sound. Vocals offer a warmth and lushness to them but also give strong energy as you reach up high. This combination allows strong vocal dynamics.
As we go up even higher, we find that the highs do offer good quantity overall. The treble offers a strong, well-defined snap with good detailing and presence. As we go up high, we do get a good amount of detailing and presence. Separation is great as well for the most part, there can be some slight smearing at times. The upper highs are, however, slightly smoothed over.
For an entry level IEM, HiFiMan offers no sort of case or pouch with their RE-300. Personally, I’d be much more comfortable with a case for this IEM, but to keep prices low, HiFiMan opted out of a packaged case. Not to worry, they generally only go for 5 bucks on Amazon.
The housings on the RE-300 are made of plastic, a material I haven’t seen HiFiMan use on IEMs in quite a while. Actually, all the HiFiMan IEMs I’ve had up to date (RE-0, RE-400, and RE-600) have all had metal housings. Despite the use of plastic, I don’t feel this being a weak spot in terms of build. What concerns me more is the lack of size in the strain relief, they definitely need to be larger.
The cabling on the RE-300 is a little thinner than I’d like unfortunately, especially on the upper half of the IEM. It makes it feel a little more fragile, especially when mixed with the smaller strain reliefs. The cable doesn’t tangle though, which is a big plus, and has ample flexibility. The cable is just a simple rubber/plastic covered cable; though I wasn’t expecting anything fancy.
The termination for the cable is quite well designed though. They use the newer headphone jack that is angled at a 90-degree bend. It has a nice size to it and feels rigid and strong. The strain relief is nicely sized down here, so I don’t really see an issue arising due to a faulty strain relief. The gold plating is also a nice touch.
Comfort is a big deal when it comes to headphones, especially portable ones. The RE-300’s minute size definitely works to its advantages here as they fit snug and hug the ear in an ergonomic fashion. In terms of housing design, this is definitely a plus.
Tip selection is a little problematic with the 300 unfortunately as there are only 2 pairs of tips bundled: a small/medium dual-flange tip, and a medium/large single flange tip. Personally, neither of these tips fit the best for me. I ended up falling back on the single-flange, barred tip that comes with HiFiMan’s other offerings. The lack of tip selection can definitely be problematic, but you can always buy more tips for a few extra bucks.
The HiFiMan RE-300 series comes priced at 50 dollars. It comes with your choice of remote and mic selection: iOS, Android, or none (audio-only). This is definitely a big plus for smartphone users. It offers sound quality that is competitive in the highly saturated entry level while the design is quite attractive.
The build quality is questionable with me, I highly recommend purchasing a 3rd party case. A few extra tips wouldn’t hurt either. Overall, if you plan on purchasing the 300i, I do recommend adding a case and extra tips which would then make them closer to 60 dollars after all is said and done.
HiFiMan’s RE-300 series represents HiFiMan’s new entry level IEM. It comes packaged with the bare minimum which can become problematic. However, they don’t slouch when it comes to sound quality and are still a good value at the 50 dollar price point.