Hidition In-Ear Monitors

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Hidition is an In-Ear Monitor Manufacturer based in Seoul, South Korea. They have a variety of IEMs that are custom built and typically are designed to be custom-fit, although they do offer universal versions as well.

They are not widely available, and can only be found in a small number of retailers in Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore. Other international customers have to order by email and use wire transfers to purchase their IEMs.

http://hidition.co.kr/

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Those are gorgeous. :+1:t4:

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REVIEW of the HIDITION VIENTO-R Reference Universal In-Ear Monitor

Hidition is a custom in-ear monitor company based in Seoul, Korea and they have a small line-up of monitors that come in varying driver counts and prices. The Viento Reference model is one of their more popular models due to some very high praise within the audio community for a company, that for the most part, is completely unheralded and unheard of by most people outside of Korea. And that’s because this product isn’t available anywhere outside of Korea except a few select small retailers across Asia.

Because of this, hearing about it or getting your hands on this is more word of mouth and finding someone to demo it from. In my case, living in Seattle, there’s no where to try it, and the number of people who actually own this is quite small, so getting an opportunity to listen to this before blind buying it is almost nil. I took a stab at just buying blindly and getting the full Reference model, which comes with 2 switches that creates 4 separate tuning profiles. You can also choose to pick a specific tuning for a large discount. At the time of buying it, the universal reference model was $1450 for universal, and $1490 for custom, while the single-tuning models were $930 and $990 respectively. Additional charges apply for customized faceplates and designs.

Each IEM, no matter if it is custom or universal, are built-to-order and the process took about 3-4 weeks for the fabrication process. Once it was shipped, it came very fast, as Hidition uses FedEx International services and it came within 2-3 days to my house.

Design and Accessories

The Viento came in a gift bag, and within the gift bag was another gift bag. Inside that gift bag, was a custom Hidition case made by another Korean company, Dignis. This Dignis case is pretty large, so you can pack with accessories, or even a small DAP. The universal set came with a selection of tips, cleaning brush, and a silver-colored cable. The cable itself isn’t very great. It’s not very soft, nor easy to work with. It’s springy, stiff, and really just feels bad. I opted to use my own 2-pin connectors. This is another option you can choose from at the time of order: 2-pin or mmcx connector types.

The design I chose for this universal set was a simple translucent design with one side being a purple color and the other a dark gray color. With the translucent look, you can see all the bundles of wiring and the four drivers inside as well as the tubes and cross-over switches. The stem on these is extra long. They extend pretty far in and end just before the first bend of my ear canal. With that, I ended up picking Spinfit tips to go with these as they have good flexibility and can make the turn around the bend.

Sound

The sound signature varies depending on which switch settings are used. There 4 settings total, the default “A” setting, which is quite similar to Etymotic’s take on Diffuse Field with a slight bass boost that makes it just a smidgen higher than flat. The “B” setting is very similar to an earlier version of the Harman Target curve, with a 4 dB bass shelf added to the “A” setting. The “C” setting bumps the mid-range up and gives it’s a warmer tuning, and the “D” setting bumps both the low-end and mid-range giving it a more V-shaped signature, albeit not as bassy as typical V-shaped signatures would sound like.

While I have not heard the custom in-ear version, I’ve been told that the universal one has a little more treble gain due to the fit, and so these impressions will be primarily based on what I hear using the universal fit. The custom version seems to graph quite similarly, albeit with a slightly more extended treble response, to the ER4 series of IEMs, for reference.

The measurements below are using silicone tips which exacerbate the 7-8KHz peak. With foam tips, the measurement is toned down a bit. This is shown below in my Viento-B measurement.

Bass on a whole isn’t the strongest suit for the Viento, and those that are looking for bass-focused IEM really need to look elsewhere. The Viento’s bass response is clean, articulate, and rather subdued, even on it’s B and D settings. For me, I find it very ideal, especially somewhere between the A and B modes. As these are presented using balanced armatures, bass response is quick and nimble, and only carry weight when used with the bass switch on. The “A” setting, still, can have a perfect amount of bass, especially if you’re coming from the Etymotics ER4/ER3 series where there is roll-off in sub-bass.

The mid-range is fantastic on this set. This is noticeably the most coherent IEM I’ve heard to date. Everything is presented from low to top, in a beautiful smooth and elegant display of music. Tonality across the mid-range is really perfect for acoustic music in my eyes, with its reproduction making me feel more and more motivated to listen to classical, bluegrass, and jazz music endlessly. When it comes to rock music, the mid-range presents everything equally weighted, however, some may find male voices a tad lean and with the brighter treble, and sharper upper mid-range, female vocals can come off a little shrill. This isn’t much of a problem for me as I really enjoy how vocals are presented on this in-ear, with most of the problems I’ve experienced having a lot to do with poor pop recordings.

And that’s where the issues really do start to show itself. For me, I never found the treble region to be a problem until I listened to modern pop music. The lifted upper range really makes sounds come off with great airy soundstage and a little bit of zing to add flavor to songs putting them just a bit brighter than neutral. I’m told with the CIEM version, the treble isn’t so elevated, since the IEM is placed deeper in your ear canal.

Back to the previous thought – I’ve been using this one song lately to test pop recordings and how tame the IEM is in handling sibilance and just general overly-extended treble gain – when the recording studio goes a little excessive on the knobs.

Tegan & Sara’s “Boyfriend” has a lot of sibilance right around the 47 second and 1:47 mark of the song, when they sing out “I don’t want to be your secret anymore.” The “s” sound can be rather sibilant on some IEMs where treble is exaggerated. The song immediately follows up with, “I’m trying to honest cause I can’t relax. When I get around you, I can’t hide the fact. I let you take advantage cause it felt so good. I blame myself for thinking we both understood.” As you can see, there’s a lot of sibilant consonants in this verse, which can be rather painful on some IEMs.

My other main IEM that I use in the qdc Anole VX, and it too also has a treble rise between 7 and 9 KHz, and can also accentuate some sibilance on really exaggerated recordings. It also struggles with the specific song, and becomes worst with volume increase. The same is said with the Viento-R universal.

Despite also having wide-ranged vibrato vocals, First Aid Kit’s “Emmylou” sounds really pleasant and never harsh with the Viento in all modes, while really standing out on either A or B settings, which quickly became my preferred choices. With either of these, each acoustic guitar pluck felt intricate and masterful, and the steel pedal was full of texture and detail.

When I listen to a song like GoGo Penguin’s “Hopopono,” which is a fusion of jazz, classical, and post-rock, I find the imaging and soundstage of the Viento really shine here. There’s an abundance of little details that pop out and they come from different locations. Cymbals crashing to my left, sliding off the strings on the double bass on my right, piano coming right down the center but slight higher in the scene. Even when I mentioned that the low end does lack a little bit of weight, the bass guitar and kick drum and snares have good impact and you feel every pluck and every hit, though tamer than an IEM or headphone with more elevated bass.

For this type of music, I prefer the levels to be where the “B” setting resides, because any more and I feel like the drums and bass would dominate the piano portions of this band’s music. Subbass is very good for this IEM despite it’s lower gain. I feel the housing rumbling or at least having the impression of it rumbling in my ear when bass notes hit low. It’s quite a feeling that I can’t really say I’ve heard elsewhere in such a clean, clear and highly textured way.

Nickel Creek and Allison Krauss & Union Station are two really wonderful bluegrass bands that cross-over to indie rock and add bits and pieces of pop, jazz and other genres to their music, and I find this music really exemplifies the Viento’s tuning and capabilities. It handles fast, busy sections well, and bluegrass music tends to have very technical mandolin, guitar, and fiddle sections.

Comparisons

My comparisons of the Viento the 64 Audio U12t and the qdc Anole VX can be found here: https://www.antdroid.net/2020/03/64-audio-u12t-review.html or here: https://www.headphones.com/blogs/news/64-audio-u12t-universal-iem-review-1

Overall

Despite buying the universal version, which has some elevated treble response (some may like it and some may not), I find that the Viento is easily one of the most coherent and natural sounding in-ear monitors I have tried out. It’s got variable switches to change tuning, which I found each to sound pleasant, and it’s got great resolution and imaging, hanging with the big boys. I think anyone who enjoys acoustic instruments and music with orchestral sections, or jazz, or just simple bluegrass music will really enjoy this sound, as it really hits home with me for those genres.

For more pop and rock genres, it’ll still play them with great detail and coherency, but I find it does lack a little bit of low end grit and a little too boosted in the upper mid-range and lower treble (pinna compensation zone) that it may make some pop music sound a bit over-extended.

If you enjoy the Etymotic line-up of IEMs, but want something that adds more stage, more layering, and more openness, while also adding touch better resolution, this is the one you’ll want to take a look at. The Universal version adds an increase in the treble range, while the custom (from what I’ve seen and have heard) is more in-line with the Etymotic ER4XR.

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For reference to my last paragraph statement:

This is the CIEM version of the Viento-A (stock tuning) and the Etymotic ER4XR

CIEM of Viento-B and Etymotic ER2XR

and vs the Samsung Galaxy Buds

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Yes they are absolutely beautiful. One of the finest looking one seen.

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Another fine and interesting review. This is a company that I have heard about for a few years but like you say they are pretty rare out in the wild.

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Those sure look pretty! I live in SK so I’ll keep my eye out for them.

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Just so everyone is aware, @antdroid’s excellent Hidition Viento review is now published on the headphones.com main page here:

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Sheesh that looks near perfect

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Yea the custom “A” version may suit your T2-preferences.

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We made a Viento Roundtable podcast that’ll be out shortly.

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Here’s a pic of my Universal and my Custom set of Viento

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I wrote a Viento-B Review if you feel like checking it

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Introduction

Late last year, I put in an order for the Hidition Viento Reference universal In-Ear Monitor (IEM) and received and reviewed it earlier this year. The Viento is made by a small boutique South Korean company called Hidition, and is tuned to be a reference monitor that has a very similar sound signature to the Etymotic target. It is tuned to really not have any part of the frequency response to be relatively flat and neutral as possible, but also has tuning switches to add more sub-bass or lower-midrange gain to suit specific user preferences.

After owning the Universal for a few months, I decided to take the next step and buying the custom unit instead. This review will go over the basic process as well as sound differences between the universal and the custom set, and some general impressions overall.

For reference, the custom I chose cost $990 USD and was tuned to only the “B” tuning, which has elevated sub-bass. This was my favorite of the 4 tunings the Viento is offered in. A Reference/Switch custom will cost just over $1500 USD. Additional artwork/design choices may incur additional fees.

The Process

Normally to get a CIEM, you start with getting ear impressions made typically by an audiologist, or someone who knows what they’re doing. They will take a 2-part mixture of special ear impression silicone material and mix it around and put it into a syringe and inject the material into your ear cavity and create a nice clean mold of your ear. This can then be sent off to the manufacturer to use as a mold to cast the CIEM shell from. In my case, I’ve actually learned how to do the impressions on my own, but I highly recommend getting it done by an audiologist.

After getting my impressions made (by myself), I took some photos and emailed Hidition to make sure they looked right before I sent them across the world. Once confirmed, I dropped them in the mail and had them shipped express, since I did not want to take any chances with the COVID-19 Pandamic happening.

Once they arrived, and were inspected, we discussed the design and billing. I chose a purple/blue themed design, as shown in the above photo and sent them that idea and gave them liberties if needed.

As for billing, just like my universal set, they only took payments via Wire Transfer direct to their bank account. This process does incur an wire transfer fee, so be sure to remember that if you decide to go forward with this. My HSBC transfer cost $35.

The Final Product

After about 3.5 weeks, I got an email notice from Hidition with tracking number. They shipped it back via FedEx International Express, and it arrived within 2 days. I opened the box with great anticipation and when I put my eyes on the CIEMs for the first time, I was definitely not disappointed.

The design and look was exactly what I was envisioning, and they transferred the artwork and shell choices over perfectly. I chose to go with mmcx connectors and those had no problems with fit on my cables I already had owned. They do include their own cables, but I chose to go with 4.4mm balanced cables made by Dunu - the DUW-02, the be exact.

In addition to the cable, the Viento CIEM also comes with a personalized engraved small pelican case, a cleaning cloth, and cleaning brush tool, as well as a pamphlet, and paper copies of the measurements of each side.

Fit & Quality

The shell is much larger than I expected, with the final product being almost twice as large as the universal shell. The shell size was a tight fit into my ear cavity and is a deeper insertion depth than my other two CIEMs – the Unique Melody ME1 and the Thieaudio Legacy 3. With this larger fit, there was some pain on my upper concha for about a week or so, but over time, my ears got used to the fit and do not hurt much anymore except if I do not put them Viento in my ear in the right orientation. It does require near perfect placement to not cause any mild pain spots, but can quickly be adjusted to fit.

Getting used to the fit also helped by the use of ear lubricant such as Oto-Ease, which I used often with the Viento, and also occasionally with the other CIEMs and even Etymotic earphones that I own. It helps slide the Viento in easier and gets better seal. I don’t typically use it now with the Viento since the large size of it seals up pretty much anything and leakage is never, ever an issue with this set.

Sound Impressions

I have covered most of the sound impressions of the universal set in my previous review, and so I’ll mainly go over what I find the main differences between the Universal and using the Custom version of the Viento-B.

The measurement above in purple is my best attempt at measuring the Viento-B CIEM. You’ll notice there is a bit of bass distortion, and that’s due to how it was fixtured and also held with pressure manually. In reality, the graph should fall in-line with how the universal looks, which is overlaid in gray behind it.

The universal version does exhibit a higher level of treble as indicated in this graph comparison. It’s obvious when I listen to poorly recorded tracks, pop songs, or music with higher pitched female singers. For example, when I listen to “Boyfriend” by Tegan and Sara, there’s plenty of sibilance scattered in the track when I listened to the Universal, and I covered that in my review earlier.

With the custom version, that sharp sibilance is no longer and issue and with the deeper insertion, I feel like the treble extension is more even and smooth. This wasn’t an issue necessarily for the universal either, but it did seem to sound more focused on the 6-9KHz range than the upper treble beyond 10KHz.

One thing that I do find that I miss a little bit is the extra perceived space and soundstage that the universal had, probably due to the shallower fit and the extra treble. This made some of my orchestral and jazz music sound a little more open and wide. The CIEM version still has a nice medium to wide soundstage and imaging is still excellent.

I also believe bass sounds tighter and the overall coherency is just as good as I remember the universal to be. Again, the Viento is the most coherent multi-driver IEM I’ve heard to date and that equates to a very nice smooth listen across the board, despite having a boosted pinna gain.

Wrap-Up

So a few quick takes before I sign off on this short review:

On where it excels:

I think the Viento is a great all-arounder, but specifically excels in acoustic music – things that use real instruments – genres like classical/orchestra, jazz, samba, bluegrass, acoustic guitar, and the like. It will play rock and dance and hip hop alright, but you may find it’s thinner sound to be lacking a tad compared to something that may have a warmer bass presence or a dynamic driver.

Coherency is top notch. Resolution is solid to excellent. Imaging and depth are great.

On whether this was worth the time and wait:

Yes, for me personally, it was worth it. I love the custom design I picked, of course, and it came out great. I also always wanted a custom neutral reference monitor and I think this fits that definition well. And it’s relatively affordable for a top tier IEM in a custom form-factor at $990 USD.

Final words:

I’m pretty happy with the Viento-B. It’s maybe not for everyone, but definitely something to investigate if you’re in the market for a unique reference-style IEM.

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More awesome stuff @antdroid. You are the goto guy now in the Iem world. Respect.

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Folks, I am having trouble buying Hiditions. Where do you buy yours in the US? I tried Zeppelin but I’ve never got a response.

QDC VX’ s are my favorite. Is there a Hidition you recommend? I was seriously considering Violets, then Viento B, then Viento R.

Thoughts? Store? Model?

Cost not really factor.

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Pm @antdroid he’s the goto guy on these thing around these here parts. :slightly_smiling_face:. Good luck too I wish it were me buying another Top Quality Iem.

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Hi,

I found this page after reading @antdroid ‘s excellent reviews of the Viento. I’m looking to upgrade from the ER4XR, and his is the only review which mentions the Etys in comparison, so I thought this could be the right place to ask for advice.

If I understand correctly, the Viento is a step up from the Etys. Would you say it’s a small upgrade, a significant one, or a day-and-night one? My main complaints about the Etys are the lightweight bass and the small soundstage - would the Viento be an improvement in those two regards? (My listening is 95% classical music, 5% jazz/rock/pop)

Should I look at other alternatives too?

Thanks very much in advance!

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Hi,

I listen to a lot of jazz music and occasional classical.

The Viento comes in different tunings, or you can get the Reference model which has all the tunings. The most similar to the ER4XR is probably the Viento-A tuning, but I prefer the -B tuning because it has more sub-bass elevation without ruining the technical performance of the Viento, which I found the C and D tunings do (they add more mid-bass).

When comparing either -A or -B tunings, I think the Viento has a bigger soundstage, better imaging, and better resolution. This has probably a lot to do with the multi-BA setup vs a single BA, but generally the sound similar. The Viento also has much better treble extension which helps with more realistic upper harmonics, and an airier sound which helps with the openness.

Its not the most open soundstage but its better than average and better than the closed-in Etymotic.

I do consider the Viento as a natural and significant step up from the Etymotic.

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@antdroid thank you so much for taking the time to respond. That’s really helpful.

I also listened to your round table discussion about the Viento on YouTube. That was very helpful too, as I realized that the criticism of the Viento (thinness, bright treble etc) came from those whose personal preference was for warm / colored or laid-back sound, and who found the Etymotics boring or unpleasant. As I find the Etymotics quite wonderful (they were my daily IEMs for years), I think I can disregard their criticism.

So, I’m going to get the universal Viento-R :slight_smile: I can’t choose between -A and -B without listening to both first. If I end up liking one or the other as much as I hope, I might do the same thing you did and get the custom version of that tuning.

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