HiFiMAN 242

9 01 2012

Introduction  Hello and on first hand I would like to thanks Ms. T from HiFiMAN for sending the sample that made this review possible. Also a big plus is the quality of their customer service always willing to help, and very friendly throughout the process.

Being these a pre-production sample, my review may not reflect the quality of the final product.

At first, I didn’t know what to expect from these as the review floating around the internet had very ambiguous results. But coming from HiFiMAN I knew I could expect at least some good quality IEM’s. My primary musical choices are electronic music, dance, drum and bass and some dubstep. But I will also listen to some other genres to see how well these phones perform.

Description

From HiFiMAN

  • 20 to 20K Frequency Response

Wide Frequency Response to fit Frequency Range of Human Hearing

  • 0.3% Total Harmonic Distortion

Extra-Low Distortion: One of the Most Important Feature of Hi-Fi Sound Quality

  • 16 Ohm Impedance and 103 Db Sensitivity
  • Can Be Used on Any Mobile Device
  • 20 Db Noise Cancellation

People Can use RE242 in a Noisy Environment

  • 6 mm Driver Units
  • Compact and Comfortable

Technical Data

§  Driver: 6.0 mm drivers

§  Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20KHz

§  Sensitivity: 103 dB

§  Impedance: 16 ohms

§  Connector: 3 pin stereo 3.5mm gold plated 45° plug

§  Accessories: 4 sets of silicone ear tips (small/medium/large; bi-flange); user replaceable filters

Packaging  Being these a review sample they didn’t come with a retail packaging or anything like that. They came in a clear plastic case that displayed both the phones and the accessories. The phones and the accessories were each in one transparent zipper plastic bag.P1000747.JPG

Accessories  The usual or even more that you can ask for a pre-production sample. It came with small, medium and large normal flanges and a transparent bi-flange. I normally use them with the medium sized flanges, because although I like the bi-flanges, my ears think they’re too intrusive. They also come with a little ring on the cable that allows to put the left/right cable to the length you desire (after the Y splitter).

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Build Quality  At first glance we can spot two things. The metallic look of the phones and that there is a color code on each housing, that help distinguish both sides (blue is for left and red is for right).  Although this is a good feature, I like to have a tactile feedback to distinguish both sides (useful when you want to hear on an environment with low or no light at all). It’s also important to say that their nozzles should cope with normal tips (I assume, I tried with my other phones and it fitted).  Also their small size is important to notice. On a quick note the strain relief of the housings doesn’t seem that much durable.

After the housings what stands out is a “thick” (in a good way) cable. It seems to be capable of suffering some abuse with any damage. Like the cable, the jack itself, a gold plated 45º angled plug, it’s also sturdy with a very robust strain relief. I think that, in a build quality way, they are great to cope with everyday abuse, without major consequences (of course, like with everything, if you don’t take care of them they will end breaking somewhere).

A huge plus here, the build quality, being the strain relief of the housing a little bit below the average of the product.

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Comfort/Isolation  Due to their small size, the RE-242 feel extremely comfortable in my ears, and they provide deep insertion. Also the fact that they are lightweight helps the comfort. In my opinion they are excellent “sleeper phones”  due to the fact that they’re really comfortable and the fact that they have good build quality, so you probably can fell asleep with causing any damage.

Now, the isolation. Due to their deep insertion they provide great isolation from the outside environment. Without music you can’t hear much of what’s around you, but when you “blast” the isolation provided by these is good to the point of not hearing nothing in a street full of people (only a little bit of louder cars, and airplanes, but that’s it). On a quick note the cable of these is a bit microphonic but the microphonics reduce drastically when worn over the ear.

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Sound

Source – Rockboxed Sansa Clip+ and a laptop (LG R400)

Files Used – 320 kbps and FLAC

Before Burn-in – I only heard them a little before burn-in because I was impressed (in a very bad way) by the way they sounded. I think the reviewers who gave these a bad grade in SQ didn’t burn them in time enough for them to sound their best. So, they sounded extremely muffled throughout all the spectrum. It seemed that these were those 10$ consumer grade phones. After the listening I put them burning in.

Burn-in – My burn-in consists in pink noise along with a playlist that is composed of the songs I usually hear on my daily basis.

After burn-in – Oh boy… The sound has changed. A lot! It’s like they’re not the same phones. The muddiness had disappeared. Now these phones feel balanced, with a little bit of everything, plenty bass, good mids, and nice highs. A note to the mids, that I find particularly, interesting. When I heard a song that had good mids along with a great bass line it was simply great. The quick, bodied (not bloated) bass of these along with the mids they provide it’s simply astonishing.  Of course they don’t have all the detail of pricier phones, (for example the bass isn’t the most detailed) and in some songs you can clearly distinguish that (FLAC’s mostly). In terms of SQ, I would classify them as flat, because in their sound nothing really, neither part of the spectrum outstands from the rest. Of course if you hear a bass heavy song, the bass stands out and so on.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for good sounding phones in their price range (if they come out with a price range of 20-40$) look no further. These are by no means bass-heads IEM’s, so if you’re looking for rumbling bass you got to go look further. These phones are for those who want to appreciate music as it is, without any emphasis in any particular area of the sound spectrum. You also get as bonus of great sounding phones (for the ones who like the flat SQ), the rugged feel of these. They should last sometime in an everyday environment so I would recommend these as a beater phone as well. Their only possible drawback is, if you are really interested in your appearance, the doubtful aesthetics of these. They are always a good option in their price bracket.

References

Price: N/A

Link to the manufacturer’s siteHiFiMAN RE-242

Manufacturer’s warranty: N/A


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