Getting Highs with the Viento B
Pros: Excellent highs
Bass doesn’t overwhelm mids
Cons: Brutal sibilance
Bass is lacking in quantity
Up for review today is the Hidition Viento B (there are A, B, C, D, and R versions (has switches) – each offers different tuning – don’t ask me to explain the differences in the A-D, I can’t read Korean). These run $1,400 new and they’re very hard to get a hold of in the U.S. You’ll probably have to order them from Zepplin & Co to get a hold of a pair as I can’t see anywhere else to get a set. The Viento B has 4x BAs doing the driving duty and they’re very impressive considering how little tech and how few drivers are running these. I got mine in trade and can’t imagine ordering them directly from Hidition in Korea – but they will let you do that if you’re a masochist, or speak Korean, or live in Korea (the southern one, probably not the northern one). On with the review!
Uh… mine came with a tiny box with some Styrofoam inside and a few ear tips and a blue plastic travel case with foam inside. You really can’t say they spent all their money on the packaging – or really any money for that matter. I’d almost take the $19 Truthear HOLA packaging over this – and the $80 HEXA packaging is better, I’m just using those as examples of significantly cheaper IEMs that came with better packaging – proving that it’s totally doable without spending lots of money. The Xenns Up, which I reviewed at the same time as these costs $700 and has significantly superior packaging. I’m not saying I need anything fancy, but at $1,400, and with only 4x BA drivers, where is all of the money going with these? The Xenns Up has 4x BA drivers just for the mi – at half the price – with much nicer packaging. Yeah… these are not a budget IEM, they shouldn’t have budget IEM packaging. 4/10 points here. As always, I’m using my Spinfit W1 tips since they’re the best I’ve found (You can buy them here if you want a set: https://amzn.to/3WDrNIk.)
They certainly didn’t put all that money into the cable. It’s not the worst cable I’ve ever seen on an IEM over $1k (that may still be the Aroma Thunder or FiR Xe6, but there’s been quite a few). It’s also definitely not the best – it’s thin, microphonic, tangly, and 3.5mm – again, on a $1,400 (!) IEM. We’re not including a 4.4mm balanced connection at this price. Really? The VxV comes with a much nicer balanced cable (2.5mm unfortunately) at $400 less – and as you’ll see later, it sounds better too. 3/10 points here)
Build Quality/Comfort (9/10):
The build quality is good, and these feel solidly built. The only complaint I have here is that the nozzle cuts look a bit cheap compared to…most IEMs ever. They’re functional, and you can’t tell when they have ear tips on, but they didn’t polish the cuts and left them raw, so it looks like bare plastic and obviously decreases the overall durability – I can just see that snapping if dropped.
Comfort is good, though the nozzles are pretty long and the shell itself is quite thick. These may not fit everyone, but they’re lightweight and don’t annoy my ears. 9/10 points here.
Check out the wolfhawk.squig.link frequency response graph below. I’m comparing it to the excellent FiR VxV, which costs $400 less. As you can see on the chart, these have very different tunings – almost nothing matches up. It’s funny to see an IEM that actually has less bass than the VxV since it’s pretty bass-light, but here you go – the Viento B. There are also very recessed lower mids on the Viento B and a bit more pronounced Upper-mids and in some spots highs. Luckily for the Viento B, the sound manages to make up for the rest of the poor-quality stuff mentioned above.
I am powering these off my HiBy RS8 as usual with the A/B amp and medium gain at around ~43/100 volume. I’m using Tidal Hi-Fi with MQA enabled and the 4.4mm Kinera Leyding cable with Spinfit W1 tips to give these a fair shake.
I am starting off with the Mid-bass/Sub-bass test – I’m using David Guetta’s “I’m Good (Blue).” The intro drums have decent impact and presence, but the sub-bass is definitely muted compared to something like the Xenns Up or just about any other bassy IEM. The wind-up before the sub-bass can be easily heard though, which is an excellent detail. 5/10 points.
Up next is Demon Hunter’s “I Am A Stone,” which I use to test whether the bass is too strong and overwhelms the mids. Yeah, the bass doesn’t overwhelm here at all. Yet, the bass instrument can still be clearly heard and the mids feel up close with excellent presence. There’s no sharpness or thinness to the song – it’s a very good presentation. 9/10 points.
Weaving The Fate’s “The Fall” is a test song for guitars and vocals. The intro guitars actually sound really good with excellent tonality and the dirty guitars can be clearly heard with no muddiness and the cymbals can be clearly heard separately from the guitars and drums. The drums of course cannot be easily heard due to the low bass quantity, but they’re still there in the background – they just sound flat and a little thin. The vocals feel a bit distant, but they’re still of good quality. This entire song comes across as flatter and more 2D than I’d like despite the detail and instrument separation. 4/6 points.
Staind’s “Something to Remind You” has clean electric guitars and wonderful vocals – this song tests the vocal quality and background noise. The guitars sound clean, if not full-bodied. The vocals sound really good and are some of the best I’ve heard on this song in IEMs under $2k. Even the bass guitar is present and not overwhelming. 6/7 points.
To test classical instruments in the mids, I’m using The Piano Guys’ “Code Name Vivaldi.” This song is presented well, but it’s not at its best. Like several other songs, this one comes across as feeling a lot flatter than it should. The sound doesn’t surround you with its presence – still, it’s detailed and well-presented overall. 5/7 points.
To test sibilance on headphones I use Panic! At The Disco’s “High Hopes. Sharper “S” sibilance is apparent if you listen for it in this song. Absolutely terrible – painful to listen to. I literally had to turn this song off because of how bad it sounds. This is one of the few times I’ve had to give an IEM 0/6 points here.
The first highs test song I’ll be using is Dream Theater’s “The Alien,” which I use to test and see if the cymbals/high-hats/snare can be clearly heard and distinguished from the rest of the music. Pretty good highs presentation here. The cymbals/snare in the background can be heard quite clearly over the guitar. This competes with or tops the VxV in highs quality. Unfortunately, the mids take a backseat to the highs – something that’s pretty rare. Still, as this song tests highs, it’s 7/7 points here.
Michelle McLaughlin’s “Across The Burren” is another of my favorite highs/sharpness test songs as it can easily sound painful on some headphones. I’m expecting some sharpness here based on the previous two songs’ performances and I’m not surprised. These present this song more sharply than quite a few other options. It’s not as bad as some IEMs I’ve heard this on, but the sharpness is definitely still there. 5/7 points.
Soundstage/Instrument Separation/Imaging (6/10):
I use MGMT’s “Time to Pretend” to test soundstage, instrument separation, and imaging. The overall soundstage still feels very flat and forward, though the instrument separation and imaging are really good. 6/10 points.
The Viento B is very similar to the FIR VxV (in sound presentation only), but just slightly worse basically across the board – except for the high detail where it is a step up. Seriously, their tuning is extremely similar (despite what the FRG shows), though the build quality of the Viento B is a little higher than the plastic-y/sticker VxV. Also, the Viento B is very hard to find in the U.S., so the availability makes it hard to recommend as well since you can really only find them in Singapore – which is great if you live there or near there. The cable on the Viento is also terrible and the VxV has overall nicer packaging. Comfort is pretty comparable between both of them. However, I prefer the Fibae 5 over either one because of the more pronounced bass.
If the VxV didn’t exist, the Viento B would be an easy recommendation – just not for $1,400. Unfortunately, at least in the U.S., the Viento B is so hard to get a hold of that the VxV is the obvious recommendation – and it’s quite cheaper. Outside of North America, the Viento B becomes much more of an easy recommendation, though the Fibae 5 makes that a challenging recommendation as well. If you can pick one up used, the Viento B becomes a really good value presentation that gives the Monarch Mk2 a run for its money for less money while being FAR more comfortable and compact.
|Headphone Scoring (v3):|
|Accessories / Earpads / Eartips (10 pts):||4|
|Cable (10 pts):||3|
|Build Quality/ Design / Comfort (10 pts):||9|
|Lows (20 pts):||14|
|Mids (20 pts):||15|
|Highs (20 pts):||12|
|Soundstage / Instrument Separation / Imaging (10 pts):||6|