Key feature: Variable bass system (3 tuning settings)
Wear style: Straight-down or over-the-ear
In Short: An energetic earphone with incredible bass
The Hippo VB’s most obvious characteristic is its Variable Bass system that is operated by screwing on various plates to the back housing of the earphone. The MEElectronics SP51 uses a very similar design. While this is a novel idea, it is tough to pull off since headphones are typically designed to master one sound with one housing, not three. Turns out that most people will find themselves sticking to one, maybe two plates. It is also worth trying to remove the plates altogether, as some listeners have reported that this breaks open the soundstage, but doing so will obviously reduce the isolation and increase leakage.
The VB is an atypical headphone that is unlikely to be the one-stop-shop headphone that most entry-level shoppers are looking for due to its aggressive style. Rather, the VB should be seen as a tag team partner that goes absolutely haywire once it steps into the ring. In other words, you’ll probably want a second pair of headphones to complement them when you are listening to laid back music.
The bass quality is scary good: it can compete with top-tier IEMs. It is extremely powerful, achieves sub-bass rumble, and extends deep. It is also well textured and does not chase the smoothness that other headphones in this price range go for. The mids are similar to the RE-0 but are not quite as refined. They sound a bit thin when compared to the lushness of ‘phones like the Brainwavz M2. The treble is forward, crisp, and detailed. Some might find it sibilant, but others might want to EQ it up to bring it out even more. Overall the VB has a strong V-shaped frequency response, and the combination of punchy bass, thin mids, and forward treble give the VB a raw garage band sound.
A nice trait of the VB is that it sounds just as good at low volumes as it does at high volumes (normally IEMs lose some of their personality when volume is low).
In summary, the VB is an amazing deal for $80. It has such a unique and fun sound that is also quite technical. The forceful presentation is not for everybody, but if you want some raw power injected into your music, the VB is an affordable way to do it.
|Frequency Response||18-22k Hz|
|Cable||4.3’ with L-plug|
|Included accessories||Single-flange silicone tips (3 sizes), shirt clip, hard clamshell carrying case with wrist strap, bass tuning ports (3 sets)|
|Recommended tips||UE single flanges|