Hiditon Viento-B Review




Sorry, I'll take more pictures next time.

Introduction + An Update


It’s been a while since I’ve written a review, and that’s mainly due to wrapping up my spring semester compounded with searching for something to review. Frankly, after writing three reviews on Campfire Audio - the Orion, Io, and Andromeda - I wanted to move away from the company and search for something else. Well, due to some unique circumstances and a lot of luck, I had the chance to get a Hidition Viento-B when it was loaned to me by a friend as part of a private tour. If you know anything about the Viento, it was S rank on Crinacle’s list for quite some time (now relegated to a paltry S-) and is quite elusive outside of South Korea (although Antdroid recently seemed to prove otherwise in his review). Anyways, to put it lightly, I knew that I had to try these.

For some more context, since my initial reviews, I’ve become a bit disillusioned with audio, maybe jaded if you will. I’ve gone through and tried some high end offerings in various form factors, owning the Aurorus Audio Borealis and the Moondrop S8 since I’ve last written a full length review, eventually selling them in favor of my trusty ER2SE, KSC75, and HD580 (with the ER2 essentially remaining unused during quarantine in favor of AirPods Pro around the house). This is probably good for you to know because I don’t actually want to spend tons of money on audio; I need to buy things like Moondrop boxes and LEGOs, so for something to impress me to the point of slapping the cash down should hopefully hold some weight. Anyways, that’s enough about me, let’s get into it.

Specs, Accessories, and Source Pairing


All Viento models have four balanced armatures, with one subwoofer driver, and then one driver each for rest of the low frequencies, mids, and treble. The Viento-Reference has switches that allow you to choose your preferred tuning and will run you around $1,300 or so, but the model I am reviewing is switchless and stuck in the “B” tuning of the Reference, which applies a lift in the lower registers and floats more around the range of $1,000.

Because this was loaned to me, I can’t say too much about accessories, but I used the small included tips fit as deep as possible. Most IEMs don’t fit me well unless they go deep, and I had no problems getting a seal.

Something I can talk about is the cable. The Viento’s cable is reminiscent of my least favorite cable in all of history (this includes non-IEM varieties of cables too, such as elevator or jumper), the Campfire/ALO Silver Litz, which was fortunately dropped in favor of my favorite cable, the Smoky Litz. However, the Viento cable only really retains the cheap feeling to a lesser degree, while improving upon ergonomics by using preformed hooks instead of the awful bendable wire found on the Litz.

Overall, my experience with the Viento’s fit was great, and I found myself able to wear it for quite a while despite the deep insertion before the back of my ear got slightly irritated in the back by the ear hooks, but certainly not enough to be a no go. I switched between using Spotify on my iPhone with the Apple dongle and FLACs on my PC with Apple dongle into a JDS Atom Amp; nothing that fancy for a source chain, but nothing too bad either. Certainly not bad enough to throw my criticisms down the drain in my opinion.

Overall Sound Summary


The main reason I was interested in the Viento was because coming from an ER2SE, I was looking for something with a DF-reminiscent tuning with improvements in extension and technicalities. The IER-Z1R I tried was by no means a slouch, but I found myself not being wowed by it with my music, leading me towards a more DF-style sound. The Viento-B is quite reminiscent of the ER2SE in my opinion, although the bass lift of the B configuration I have is much appreciated with some extra warmth added for good measure, removing some of the overly clinical sound of the Etymotic. The universal Viento is said to have a treble peak if you don’t fit it deep enough, but I’m personally not too sensitive to a bit treble, and the deep fit helped on top of this I presume. The Viento's strengths lie in its strong tonal balance. If this helps, another comparable model from an FR perspective would be the Moondrop Blessing 2, but I haven’t had the chance to hear it yet. Enough beating around the bush though, let’s go in depth.

Bass


My past reviews would probably give away my opinion yet again, but the Viento-B, despite its appealing bass lift focusing on the region from 20-200 Hz, is still being done by a balanced armature. Admittedly, I’ve been on a guitar music kick recently, which inclines me to be less critical, but even going to something cheap like the Sony AS800AP, or reminiscing about my long-gone Beyerdynamic Xelento (scroll down and leave an F in chat), I still find it sounding pretty limp and a bit quick (y’know, BA stuff).

Although this song is infamous for its 128kbps master and is probably just a trash pick for a review, I’m going to bring it up anyway because no matter how you look at it, Have a Nice Life’s “Bloodhail” has an intro that should be amazing on a good dynamic driver but the Viento only acknowledges the bass presence, with it being there, but leaving a lot to be desired. The same can be said for Big Black's punk rager "Racer-X". Known for their pretty heavy mixing on the bass, it just was not meant to be on the Viento even in its B configuration.

Most of my praise is relative though, and I have to say that the Viento-B's sub bass lift at least performs strongly when compared to other BA IEMs I have tried in the past, such as the Andromeda, bringing a respectable amount of rumble in the electronic tracks I tested. Just don’t expect dynamic driver stuff, its mainly notable that it doesn't roll off too badly in the lower registers, and ultimately is some of the better bass I've heard from a BA (likely thanks to that BA woofer).

Midrange


Even though I didn't have extremely high praise for the Viento regarding its bass performance, I am ready to absolve it of its balanced armature sins because the mids are some of the best I've heard not just in an IEM, but in any audio equipment I've heard, period. The previous songs I mentioned are characteristically hazy or vocally recessed, but on the Viento, every word is clear, even in the quiet murmurs of "Racer-X"'s intro. The midrange on the Viento just proves itself as some of the most coherent I've ever heard. With my general favorability towards DF, I would legitimately be hard-pressed to change anything about it.

The bass doesn't bleed into the lower mids at all, and the detail is excellent; I was finding new details in songs I’ve heard hundreds of times. I don’t get any of the characteristic plasticky BA timbre out of the midrange, although that generally doesn’t bother me too much in the first place. I’d buy this for the mids alone.

Treble


I have to admit I probably have shit taste in treble. The ER2SE and Xelento both received high praise from me, despite rolling off in the upper registers pretty severely, especially the latter. With this is mind, the Viento makes me question my ability to even write this section. However, I feel like the Andromeda 2019 got me to reflect on this aspect more, and I’m happy to say that sparkle and air are so refreshing to hear in an IEM again after being departed from it for so long. The Andromeda had more sparkle and air but considering that’s what it specializes in and the Viento slaps the Andromeda down the block in midrange and arguably bass, while being no slouch in the treble region, this is more than a worthy trade off in my opinion.

However, air aside, I feel like the Viento does suffer from some timbre issues, with the treble sounding a bit plasticky coming from using dynamic drivers for a while, which is something I was more inclined to notice in the treble region than in the midrange of which I praised. Additionally, the treble can be occasionally harsh even with a deep fit, which while generally not affecting me too much, an example of this exact peak was discovered on some background whine during Women’s “Can’t You See”, essentially striking a nerve for the whole runtime. Supposedly the custom version resolves these issues, but if you aren’t too treble sensitive, I wouldn’t be too concerned with this.

Technicalities


Most technical flaws reside in the treble’s timbre and the bass just not being that of a dynamic driver. Outside of this, the Viento has strong imaging with an average soundstage for an IEM. I think that the Viento's strengths lie in its solid tonality, so I don't have much to write about besides what's been already said here.

A Few Test Songs


Once again, I used the songs I listen to normally. These aren’t going to be necessarily great masters, but I’d rather use what I know than try to pretend I know the ins and outs of Steely Dan.

Iglooghost – “Grey Jab”


This serves at a pretty solid short test for bass rumble, and while the Viento was enough to scratch my itch, it simply wasn’t something that was built for electronic music like the Xelento was.

New Order – “Age of Consent”


Essentially a good catch-all for vocals, drumming, and bass, while also a great upper register test to see if the vocals get shouty, or if the synths are too harsh. With all this stuff for the Viento to potentially botch, I am pretty happy to say that besides the bassline not having as much definition as I'd like, everything else I mentioned ranged from serviceable to straight-up incredible, with the vocals having the presence I would expect with the hi-hats sparkling just right. I better start a new section before this one turns into a Power, Corruption & Lies review.

Yung Lean – “Yayo”


A product of me wanting to test some rap while also being the first audio review to explicitly put Yung Lean to the test. The bass, while mastered a little distorted, doesn't have the same impact as something like even my Airpods Pro (I have to flex somehow). In usual Viento fashion, the snares are quite satisfying. Snares aside though, I’m sorry, but Leandoer is best enjoyed on a dynamic driver frankly.

LCD Soundsystem – “Dance Yrself Clean”


While I enjoy this track, the Viento’s near-brightness is pushed just into my threshold on this track, and I found the track getting a bit hot at times, and some parts of the hats can sound plasticky. However, even on something like the HD580 which has great timbre, the hats already sounded a bit artificial to begin with, and the Viento just exacerbates the issue. Vocals were great as usual though, with a lot of room to breathe especially in the intro.

Conclusion


With the assumption that the custom fixes the treble peak that I already didn’t have too much to complain about, the Viento-B is quite hard to fault outside of a few BA characteristics which it more than makes up for with its excellent midrange. If you're like me and can live with BA timbre, and either have an above-average treble tolerance or are in the market for a custom, as an all-rounder (bar Lean), the Viento is hard to fault. Most stuff I threw at this ranged from damn good (all guitar and pop), to good enough (electronic).

However, as I said in my introduction, I am personally not that interested in buying portable gear right now, especially with COVID. With the additional caveat that this thing is harder to get in the US, if you ever have a chance to get ahold this thing and are in the market for an IEM with impeccable midrange tone and detail, look no further than the Viento. For its price, I'm pretty impressed, especially considering that I prefer it over the IER-Z1R myself. I'll be sticking with my basic stuff for now, but the Viento has convinced me to start keeping my eyes peeled for future porta-fi releases to use after the pandemic ends. Sorry Moondrop box designers, sorry LEGO, but a man has needs.

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