Quick Look: UCOTECH RE-2 In-Ear Monitors


UCOTECH is a South Korean audio brand that was founded in 2007 and has put out nearly 20 products in the time since. This means the brand tends to take its time in the research and development phases although it would be fair to say that UCOTECH has yet to make a big presence outside of its local market. This past December, a company representative reached out to me to gauge my interest in covering its latest products in the form of the RE-1 and RE-2. I was curious and do have a soft spot for covering new brands that have an extremely hard time entering a new market so I accepted, only to find out there was going to be a long delay. Between UCOTECH opening a new online shop and gaining a new US-based distributor, there were clearly a few things going on behind the scenes so I spent my time covering other items. Then came along CanJam New York 2023 in late February with a plethora of exciting new releases and somehow word of mouth spread about one particular product an attendee had decided to bring along to the show—the UCOTECH RE-2.

UCOTECH appears to currently be focused on the more budget-friendly market but that has not stopped the brand from its goal of maximizing what the end user gets for the money. The new RE-2 aims to do just this by using a new 10 mm beryllium-coated dynamic driver in a comfortable shell to produce a clean but engaging sound. I saw near-unanimous praise for the RE-2 from the show attendees who heard it so I reached out to the company again and here we are. Thanks to UCOTECH for providing a review sample to TechPowerUp, as we begin our coverage with a look at the product specifications in the table below.

UCOTECH RE-2 In-Ear Monitors
Shell: Machined brass shells in anodized gray finish
Cable: Four strand Litz silver-plated OCC copper cable
Driver Units: 10 mm Beryllium-coated diaphragm dynamic driver
Frequency Response: 20 Hz–20 kHz
Sensitivity: 110 dB/mW +/-15%
Impedance: 32 Ω +/-15%
Cable Connectors: 3.5 mm TRS plug to source + two MMCX plugs to IEMs
Cable Length: 4 ft/1.2 m
Warranty: One year

Packaging and Accessories

Packaging for the UCOTECH RE-2 is on the simpler side of things with a relatively small product box. It uses an external white sleeve that has the company logo and product name on the front, back and sides alike. A simple render of the IEMs is also seen on the side whereas contact information for the company is present on the back. Sliding off the sleeve reveals a thick black cardboard box whose lid lifts off to show a contact/support card for UCOTECH placed over the IEMs, which are snugly packed in a thick foam sheet with machined cutouts for added protection. There is enough room to get the IEMs out as well as get access to the bottom layer with more foam surrounding the carry/storage case itself. The case is a rather unique design in that it’s square, flat and can be easily placed inside a purse or backpack. It has a sturdy fabric cover with the UCOTECH logo on the bottom right corner and uses a zipper mechanism to keep things safely inside.

Opening the case shows a separate compartment on the inside lining that has a plastic zip-lock bag containing three sets of silicone ear tips in sizes S/M/L. Do try them all to see what works best for you among these, or grab aftermarket tips if you prefer. The main compartment has the cable inside as well as another zip-lock bag which has a plastic MMCX extraction tool to help you disconnect the cable from the IEMs if you find the MMCX connection too firm or stiff to remove by hand. There’s just enough room here to have the cables and IEMs, especially after having removed the spare ear tips, so this is not a case to use for other, thicker IEMs but rather one best suited for the UCOTECH RE-2, with increased portability in mind.

UCOTECH decided to send the RE-2 along with an IEM stand accessory. As far as I can tell, retail purchases of the RE-2 do not come with this and neither is this currently sold either. Just in case things change and it interests some people, I figured I’d show some photos. It is a 2-piece stand with a base and the body itself, both of which are laser cut from acrylic before a sticker is applied. It’s another take on the female artwork implementations that a few other IEM brands have used to target customers who are also fans of anime—a divisive thing no doubt but one that works well enough. Seeing as how the product box, case, accessories, and IEMs themselves do not have any such design, this would be a purely voluntary accessory to partake in.


Closer Look

The cable that ships with the UCOTECH RE-2 looks and feels more premium to where I would not be surprised if someone else sold a very similar cable alone for more than the cost of the entire RE-2 package. This is a single-ended cable that has a 3.5 mm TRS plug on the source side and associated with an anodized aluminium housing with a knurled section at the bottom for added grip. There is decent strain relief incorporated which leads to a 4-strand silver-plated high-purity OCC (Ohno Continuous Cast) copper conductor inside in a Litz configuration. The silver housings everywhere add to the matching aesthetic thus and the strands themselves are also braided tightly to not take up much room. This has the added benefit of coming off less amateurish while still being easy to re-shape and not prone to microphonics. The splitter is similarly executed as the rest of the metal hardware on the cable and there is a highly functional plastic cable cinch which can help position the two separated sections wherever you would like. The other end has pre-formed ear hooks with see-through plastic sheathing over the cables. Each of the strands terminates an MMCX connector, with black or red plastic rings on the housing to help identify the left and right channels, respectively. MMCX isn’t as universally loved as a 2-pin connector, although I had no issues with these specific connectors. The metal plugs are gold-plated for oxidation resistance.

If you told me the RE-2 was a TinHiFi product then I would have believed you. Then again, there are only so many things you can do to distinguish yourself with a machined metal shell adopting a petite form factor too. The RE-2 uses brass shells that are screwed in and glued shut after getting a durable gray anodized finish. There are also gold accents for added flair and no branding anywhere to be seen. The circular shape coupled with the smaller size makes for an easier fit in the ears too. On the side is an extension containing the female MMCX connector with matching black or red rings to help identify the channels. There is a vent on the side for the dynamic driver inside and we see a nozzle jutting out the machined slope built into the shells. This is angled slightly inward and long enough to not be overly stubby at ~5.4 mm width while having a defined end point to help secure the ear tips that easily fit over and remain there as seen above. A metal mesh at the end helps prevent contaminants from entering the acoustic chamber.

Installing the cable is simple enough with the pre-molded ear hooks that go over the ears and L/R indicators helping identify what goes where. Push the MMCX connectors into the IEM connectors as seen above until they click in place allowing you to freely rotate the cable for an easier fit behind the ears. If you do happen to get the IEM stand accessory then good luck trying to figure out how to actually use it without making a mess with the cable.

Fit and Audio Performance

Seen above is the right side of the UCOTECH RE-2 installed in an anthropomorphic pinna that does well in showing my own experience with these. I have average-sized ears, and found the provided size M silicone tips to work fine, although you may want to look at aftermarket tips given the flange here is on the stiffer side and can buckle as seen in the photo. The size and shape of the IEM shells is highly conducive for those with smaller ears too given they fit easily in the concha. The relatively average-sized nozzles are another factor contributing to good comfort in addition to a decent seal, especially since there is a lot of room to position the shells to angle the nozzle in straight in the ear canals. The cable can also provide additional support points given you can rotate it behind the ears courtesy the MMCX connections and the cable cinch helps secure the two sections in place in front or behind you. There’s no physical fatigue otherwise given the shells weigh ~7 g each, so no complaints on this front. I mentioned before how the RE-2 is a single DD set and here we see the use of a 10 mm beryllium-coated diaphragm for added stiffness—read the equivalent section here to know more about why Beryllium is such a good choice for dynamic drivers. This results in a set of IEMs that is quite easy to drive given the relatively average rated impedance of 32 Ω and above-average sensitivity of 110 dB/mW. A basic dongle will be plenty enough thus, and I paired it with the Qudelix-5K and Questyle M15 for most of my listening experience.

Testing was done similar to all other IEMs, such as the recently reviewed MOONDROP Blessing 3. Seen above is the measured frequency response for both channels of the UCOTECH RE-2 which can be inspected further here if interested. Channel balance is fairly decent on this sample and I’ll also re-affirm there was no burn-in effect felt or measured here. The overall tonality of the RE-2 could be classified as neutral leaning towards a brighter tonality. Some folks here might also see some Etymotic similarities here. The second graph seen above is with a single low shelf EQ filter applied at 100 Hz. Feel free to play around with the Equalizer tab in the link above to see what works best for you also. Long time readers of my reviews will note that I am always for EQ but don’t really explicitly talk about the specific changes I make given how personal this can be for people. In this case I am making an exception because I truly believe the RE-2 in its default configuration is being held back from its true potential. The stock tonality favors extremely clean mids leading to an expected ear gain and a relatively smooth treble response thereafter with the coupler resonance peak matched at 8 kHz and then some air later on. This feels tuned with Kpop and Jpop in mind, maybe also acoustic jazz and classical music. The bass on the RE-2 would likely come off limp by comparison and this is also the first time I’ve had a set of IEMs which sounds colder in the mids compared to flat or warmer as usually the case.

That one EQ filter can make all the difference for a lot of people. The biggest thing the RE-2 has going for it is its highly dynamic acoustic engine with the single DD punching well above its price point. A bass shelf as seen above helped address the colder mids as well as adds in energy in the sub-bass and mid-bass that will convince you this is an engaging and musical set without compromising on detail retrieval and its core tonality later on. You will get punch and hear the bass guitars strum nicely if you are a rock or metal music aficionado and yet allow for vocals to be forward facing at the same time in the mids. The ear gain might be a bit much for some which can result in some female vocals being overly prominent, if not bordering on shouty. The bass shelf also helps balance this to an extent depending on your HRTF. Technically the driver is quite good with nice instrument separation, very low on distortion allowing for the 9 dB shelf I applied without a hitch, and presents good imaging even if the soundstage is on the more intimate side. I found myself enamored with the RE-2 after EQ to where I can’t help but say it’s almost a must here.

The price range that the UCOTECH RE-2 belongs to is an exceedingly competitive one. Seen above are just some other IEMs I’ve reviewed, including the single DD Tripowin x HBB Olina SE, the 1 Be-coated DD/1 BA hybrid ThieAudio Legacy 2, and another recently released single DD DUNU KIMA. There are quite a few others too, including planar magnetic IEMs such as the 7Hz x Crinacle: Salnotes Dioko, but overall I’d say this is a decent state of where the market is right now. Out of the box I would pick the Olina SE as an excellent all-rounder set. The tonality there is more amenable to my ears and I suspect many others too. But with EQ the RE-2 really steps up to where it’s excellent dynamics can be a true contender for your wallet. It makes the Legacy 2’s Be-plated DD come off extremely lacking by comparison, especially when it comes to punch and slam in the lower frequencies. The DUNU KIMA is the most expensive set here by a tiny margin and arguably feels overpriced by comparison. It offers a decent set of accessories but otherwise didn’t impress me enough to even merit a dedicated article. As it turns out, things are fairly simple for the UCOTECH RE-2. Those who are not willing to EQ will find this suitable for a niche set of music genres, if not specific songs depending on how your exact sample turns out. A simple EQ filter or two, which can be pre-loaded on apps such as Wavelet on mobile or Equalizer APO on the PC, makes this an easy recommendation. This is all the more valid in certain regions such as Korea, where you can find the RE-2 for 139,000 Korean Won from the UCOTECH online shop as well as in the USA where it can be had for $109 from Bloom Audio. Things are less favorable in the UK, however, where the £129 (inc. VAT) is a bit much, especially when there are other excellent options as seen above.

Source link




Proszę wpisać swój komentarz!
Proszę podać swoje imię tutaj





Tesla wprowadza na rynek chiński zaktualizowany Model Y, zachowując tę ​​samą cenę początkową

Chińskie ramię Tesli zostało ogłoszone w Wpis na WeChacie W niedzielę rano wypuścił nowy Model Y z ulepszeniami konstrukcyjnymi i wydajnościowymi, które utrzymują...

Zagrajmy w Heat: Pedal to the Metal w najnowszym odcinku Overboard

Istnieje wiele gier planszowych ze świetnymi motywami i wiele gier planszowych ze świetną mechaniką, ale rzadko zdarza się, aby gra łączyła...

Every movie and show coming to Netflix in October

Even with Netflix’s recommendation algorithm serving you new movies, new TV shows, and original programming tailored to your viewing habits, the...