Head-Direct is an online headphone store which sells just about everything you need in order to get a serious listening rig. Head-Direct carries a lot of interesting Asian brands. Head-Direct were until recently just a headphone reseller, but that has changed now. Not that long ago I reviewed an interesting new product from Head-Direct called the RE2, today I have the pleasure of listening to its bigger brother called the RE1. Despite the two sharing almost the same design their internals are radically different from each other. This should result in the RE1 performing better and being more neutral to listen to than the RE2s.
The biggest difference between the two is that fact that the RE1s are based around a different driver. The RE1s impedance rating is of a staggering 150 Ohms which is quite a lot. Most normal dynamic headphones have an impedance of around 30-65 Ohms except for a few audiophile grade headphones like for example the Sennheiser HD 650. Impedance is generally a measurement of how hard the headphones are to drive, and since the Head-Direct RE1s have an impedance of 150 Ohms they need a dedicated headphone amp to truly shine.
Being an IEM with a really high impedance rating is somewhat unusual because most in-ears are aimed at portable use. The Head-Direct RE1s can be used on the move, but in order to sound their best you would have to carry around a portable headphone amplifier.
The Head-Direct RE1s are still so new that the guys behind the brand have not figured out a package for them yet. The bundle is, however, final as of this moment. The Head-Direct RE1s will ship with three pairs of single flange tips and a long bi-flange tip. This bi-flange tip is extra long and wide so that people with a greater distance from their canal to outer ear will get a better fit. Just like the RE2s the new RE1s come with a normal length cable and an extension cable. I like this approach to the cable problem, this makes it easy for you to both enjoy them at home and on the move.
The only specification figure on the web right now is that they have an impedance of 150 Ohm which makes them the hard to drive compared to other high-end earphones. Because of this it is highly recommended that you use them in a system with a dedicated headphone amplifier since the internal amps in DAPs and such are far from capable of driving them to their true potential. The high impedance is unusual in the earphone market the only earphone that can match them impedance wise is the Yuin PK1s which are earbuds aimed a hardcore audiophiles, much like the RE1s.
The Head-Direct RE1s feature the exact same exterior design as its little brother the RE2. The only things that have been changed are some small details like for example the small faceplate on the earphones are now in gold whereas they are silver on the RE2s. The color of the Y-split reinforcement is also held in the same gold like color. The Head-Direct earphones are a bit larger than the average in-ear, but nothing horrible. The design is straight forward and without a lot of unessential details, apart from the silver or in this case gold parts.