Welcome to my Cliffnotes, a series where I push out rapid fire opinions of some of the IEMs I’ve heard while I was back in Singapore during the month of July. Thus I won’t get too in-depth, nor will I be too formal and technical. Less analysis, more… from-the-heart if you will.
(I forgot to take pictures so in lieu of eyecandy, I’ll just plaster the graphs so the article doesn’t look so dreary.)
Product page: http://hidition.co.kr/products/64573
MSRP: 1,485,000KRW (~$1,220)
Driver configuration: 4BA
I myself have quite a long history with the Viento before this. I had my first listen all the way back in mid 2017 and it basically blew my mind at the time, as well as confusing me a fair bit. So Hidition has a 6 driver model, and their top-of-the-line flagship has… 4? Especially since it was released right in the middle of the driver wars and 2 years before the controversial HUM Pristine Reference, it was no wonder it got overlooked.
At the beginning I put the Viento straight to my highest tier: S. Then after a year so, probably due to self-doubt and lack of listening time, I bumped it down to S-. And finally in the first few days of 2019, I removed it altogether since I basically forgot how it sounded. I mean, could you blame me? This was back when I was churning out graphs like this:
It was only recently when one of my main audio hangouts Zeppelin & Co started to carry Hidition, and the Viento-Reference was one of the last demo units that they received from the slippery Koreans. Honest to God, I wasn’t expecting much when I grabbed hold of the ex-flagship for the first time in literal years, but listening to it again felt like reuniting with a long lost friend.
And this isn’t just nostalgic value either. The Viento is still, to put it conversatively, absolutely-freaking-amazing.
The Driver Setup and Why You Should Care
I know what you’re thinking. Oh my god, sections in my Cliffnotes? What madness is this? Well this is the Viento we’re talking about so I think it does deserve a little special attention.
The Viento sports a 4 driver setup, with a twist: it also comes in a 4-way crossover. That means that each one of its drivers handles its own frequency range and there is no “driver stacking” going on.
The 3-way crossover network is pretty much the “industry standard” considering that it takes into account what is arguably the three biggest sections of frequency response: bass, mids and treble. The 4-way is gaining popularity but often comes with driver and price inflation, and isn’t necessarily an indication of the quality/placement of the crossovers themselves. The most common 4-way setup in the industry is a bass/mids/treble/”supertreble” configuration, one that I’m admittedly not the biggest fan of.
Then we have companies like Spiral Ears doing 5-ways and 6-ways, alongside other companies that shamelessly inflate their crossover count but I digress. (Seriously, who are trying to fool here when you have more crossovers than drivers?!)
And it’s not like the Viento is doing the fake “less is more” shtick like HUM and Warbler. The Viento is what I would call “efficiency porn”; every driver has its own job to do and there is no stacking for the sake of raising a number. And the setup is just my style: its subwoofer (Knowles CI) handling the lowest of sub-bass frequencies, the ED driver handling the general bass area/lower mids, the HC driver contributing to an absolutely stunning pinna-bypass emphasis, and finally the tiny FK driver reaching as high into the treble as it can.
Top Tier Sound
If you’ve ever read through my older posts on Head-Fi, you’d see that the one time I keep harping on about the Viento is its tuning. And my, what a beautiful tuning it is. The tonal balance, the bass control, the treble sparkle that comes with gobs of energy yet with zero sibilance… I will say this outright: the Viento is the only pure-BA IEM that I have any desire of personally buying.
And that’s not to say that it lacks in technicalities, oh no. There is zero veil in the Viento (at least in the “A” and “B” configurations), the transients are snappy per BA expectations and the imaging is surprisingly decent. It’s not going to play ball with its tubeless and chambered newer generation cousins, but it’s certainly enough to not pose a problem. All in all, you’re looking at an A+-grade level of technical ability, which is already far ahead of many companies’ own driver-spam flagships.
If that’s not enough, the Reference edition of the Viento comes with two switches that is one of the best implementations of a switch system that I have ever come across.
“A”: The neutral configuration, very Diffuse Field-ish.
“B”: Bass switch activated. Bass begins to rise from 150Hz and below.
“C”: Mids switch activated. A general boost in the lower mids from 1000Hz down.
“D”: Both switches activated.
My personal favourite would be the “B” mode, though I can see myself going with the “D” configuration if I find myself wanting more richness and weight in my notes. And that’s the beauty of the Viento-Reference; it may not be a perfect all-rounder given its subjectively suppressed lower-midrange and relative sterility in its default tuning, but you have the option of going the other direction if you ever desire so.
Y’all are going to kick me in the nuts for this. So I’ve just done an absolutely glowing semi-review of the Viento, how do you go about buying one?
Well uh… good luck.
Hidition’s own website is a pile of hot garbage, and if you want to order from them personally you’d have to overcome a massive language barrier. Yes, the Hidition team barely speak a word of English, and there have been horror stories of international customers trying to claim warranty on a direct purchase.
Basically, you’re going to need a local middleman to help you with orders. It’s certainly not FitEar levels of exclusivity, but y’know… buying a Hidition IEM is not going be a “Add to Cart” job is all I’m saying.
(That said, if you do get a local middleman you can get a Viento without switches for 891,000KRW.)
After so many days of tearing apart mediocrity after mediocrity, it feels good to love again. Viva la Viento.
As per usual, my greatest thanks to all my supporters on Patreon. And another greatest+1 thanks to my big money boys “McMadface”, Denis, Nicholas, and the two newest members to of the “I’ll shout you out” tiers, “caravan” and Justin. Y’all crazy and I love y’all.