Reversible. Once the lid on their classy metal-decal fitted display box lifted for the full reveal, I was disappointed. No cleaning brush, no broader variety of tips. Even on a pouch or case, ALO Audio and Final had more useful items than HifiMan's hard canister that leaves no room for the cable: ALO a zippered leather case, Final a very trick rubber pouch with outer channel to wrap the cable around. On highlights meanwhile, there were spare connectors for cable DIYers; very lovely finishing; and reversible orientation. Unlike other asymmetrically shaped bigger IEM, the RE2000 can be inserted cable up or cable down. That's why the bodies themselves are unlabeled. Only the cable ends show R and L. Depending on which body you assign to which channel, the very stout one-way connector that inserts into a deep recess exits on top so the cable drapes behind your ear as shown next...

... or it exits down so the cable simply hangs free in front of your ear. Perhaps because that scheme wouldn't want curved memory guides that none seemed to be included? I actually found wearing them as shown very convenient but still ended up with the opposite orientation because it involved zero cable draping.

Either way, HifiMan's clever body shape stayed securely put even during excess jaw movements just to see whether I could dislodge anything or loosen the fit. Not. I also didn't have to practice just how to insert these which happened in the past with competitors of unusual geometries. Once cable direction had been committed to, these seemed to want to go in only one way. In other words, no fuss, no muss. From an ergonomic and comfort angle, the RE2000 placed right at the very top.

For showing off more gold, the downward dress code had it. To flash to an audience of none—well, one perhaps if our 4-month old Bengal kitty Nori paid any attention—I opted to play at not Goldfinger but GoldenEar. Where's James Bond when hubris needs his license to kill?

Mega props also to HifiMan's choice of two-prong connector. Unlike competing varieties which often frustrated with flimsiness and intermittent electrical connection, these with their minuscule orientation nub were very confidence inspiring and stout like Guinness Original.

On the subject of Irish ale, a recent search for a travel alarm, in our local Westport boutiques, had turned up the Dalvey brand from our Scottish Highlands neighbours. Sláinte. Going back to 1897 and the creation of musical instruments like bagpipes, these folks today are committed to gentleman's accessories. Their stylings may harken back to the slower times of haberdashers and cobblers. Hence pocket watches, manual shavers, flasks, money clips and cuff links. The only items missing from the below assemblage of the well-groomed 21st century traveler are—you knew it—a classy pair of IEMs and stylish DAP to drive 'em with. It's precisely where the HifiMan RE2000 come in; and something like our Soundaware Esther M1 Pro or Questyle QP1R. Compared to their closest in-house competitor, Ken Ball's original Campfire Audio Lyra now usurped by the Lyra 2 but with a single dynamic driver like HifiMan, the RE2000 had the more pedestrian looking but in practice far less fussy cabling. Ken's silvery tinsel wire has the fine elfin optics down pat like miniature Crystal Cable but curls, twists and tangles like mad whenever stuffed into its leather pouch, then retrived. Ken's one-prong connectors wouldn't hold a candle to HifiMan's, either. Sonically things were a lot closer and the Lyra's sensitivity far higher. But post break-in once the bass testicles had fully dropped, I thought that on raw sound quality, the RE2000 came out ahead over one of my favourite in-ears.