10-year-old audio manufacturer HiFiMan—whose Shangri-La headphone system took home Best of the Best honors this year—has applied its mastery of the minute (the company’s founder, Dr. Fang Bian, holds a PhD in chemistry with a focus on nanotechnology) to a duo of new in-ear monitors (IEMs), the RE800 and RE2000.
The secret sauce that distinguishes both recently launched monitors from more conventional ear speakers is a driver design incorporating what the company calls a topology diaphragm. In typical drivers, small distortions across the surface of the diaphragm can produce alterations in the speaker’s frequency response, reducing clarity. But the surface of the topology diaphragm is treated with a special nanoparticle coating that—depending on the thickness, pattern, and specific material applied—helps better control the sound waves it produces, thus reducing audible distortion.
The housing of both IEMs is constructed from brass for its outstanding acoustic properties, but to give the material added visual punch, it is plated with 24-karat yellow gold.
The $699 RE800 is equipped with all the aforementioned features, but is lighter and more compact than its sibling. Aside from beefier size, the $2,000 RE2000 has the distinction of being the first IEM from HIFIMan with removable cables. This allows the most persnickety audiophiles to swap out the included silver-coated copper-wire cables for those that best suit their personal preferences.
Of course, HiFiMan would prefer that you pair the headphones with its top-of-the-line HM700 digital audio player, but as we pointed out recently, there are myriad other quality options out there for taking your tunes on the go.