Updated: Mar 29
Pros: Gorgeous Wood shell, Resin CIEM options available, Technical Ability, Musical Layering, Midrange tonality
Cons: Huge shell and nozzle, Warm Coloured Sound (Tonal Accuracy)
Driver Setup: 5 Knowles + 3 Sonion BA Drivers per side
Disclaimer: This review set is a demo set graciously lent to me by Daniel at Oardio and the review is written of my own accord and all thoughts are my own. The BGVP DM8 is available for purchase from Oardio through their website should you find yourself interested in a pair.
BGVP made waves with their release of the DM6 to much fanfare a few years back. They have not looked back since and have been working hard on releases such as the ArtMagic lines. The release of the DM8 replaces the DM7 as the flagship Pure BA IEM with 8 balanced armature drivers (Sonion+Knowles) per side. It comes in 2 shell options, resin or stabilised wood. CIEM shells are available on request at a premium. (resin shell only of course)
Accessories and Build Quality (Score: 9/10)
The packaging and accessories are as expected of the price tag of the DM8. It has the aesthetic and style of a polished product and is overall rather impressive. There is a wide selection of tips available, neatly arranged like clothes hanging on a clothes rack.
Build Quality and Aesthetics are what separates the DM8 from its peers in its price range. The stabilised wood shell each possess a unique design and the colours are so eye-catching and vibrant. This is the most beautiful pair of IEMs I have laid my hands on for under $500. BGVP certainly went all out on this one. My only complaint would be that I prefer a 2-pin connection over the MMCX but it seems MMCX has been their connector of choice since the beginning.
Fit (Score: 7/10)
The version I reviewed is the wood one, which is only available in a universal fit. I struggled a little with getting a comfortable fit as these are huge, understandably so given the wood material and the 8 BAs per side. The nozzle is one of the widest I’ve had experience with and felt like they were enlarging my ear canals. Nevertheless, I managed to get them fit snugly after some fiddling and found myself enjoying them without having to worry about them breaking the seal.
I’m sure the customised resin version would be much more comfortable should you find yourself looking for a pair of CIEMs.
Sound (Score: 9.2/10)
Frequency Response Graph of the DM8
- Hiby R5
- Lotoo Paw S1
Albums and Tracks tested with
- Itzhak Perlman
- Broods – Free
- Why Don’t We – The Good Times and The Bad Ones
- 10cm – 4.0
- Michael Bublé
- Scary Pockets
- Boston Symphony Orchestra
Bass (Score: 9/10)
There is a noticeable Midbass hump but no messy bloat or bleed. The bass remains clean and stable and instruments and parts demonstrate excellent separation and layering. Although I personally prefer a more sub-bass focused bass, the bass on the DM8 still performs very well, providing a great supporting foundation to the sound signature. Those who cannot live without the sub-bass extension and crisp, weighted punch of a DD would need some adjustment. Despite that, the DM8 does well with the bass slam and punch, coming rather close to the rumble that one typically finds on well-tuned dynamic driver IEMs.
Bass is silky smooth when the situation calls for it and has a very organic decay. The elevated bass response gives a very warm sound, which may be a plus or not depending on personal preference. The attack of the Bass guitar notes on Scary Pockets is quite on point, with a nice punchy texture complemented by a smooth natural decay.
Mids (Score: 9.5/10)
My favourite part of the DM8’s sound is the mids. The mid-centric nature of the sound shines through and really comes through. Vocals very airy and textured and the imaging and staging gives it a really immersive “3D experience”. Both female and male vocals have decent weight and body to them and never come close to being harsh or thin. (Scary Pockets – Stand By Me & Valerie)
The tonality and timbre of instruments are… sumptuous and just so enjoyable. Brass instrumentals on “Waiting on the World to Change” by Scary Pockets are so well positioned, layered and engaging.
The DM8’s real flex of technical ability is in the mids, achieving a resolving yet musical set that many higher-priced sets struggle to achieve.
Treble (Score: 8.5/10)
Treble is done tastefully. The highs are present but more laid back as compared to the upper mids. This makes the overall tonality much more pleasant and smooth and the music never gets too “in-your-face”. This was especially well-done considering how the sound is already rather heavy on the upper mids.
Jingles are a little 2D-sounding, not that much of that upper range shimmer, and instead has a more lower-treble focused sound. Laid back, not splashy. Once again, this comes down to preference. Treble sensitive listeners may prefer the treble on these, though I would’ve loved to see more upward extension. Nonetheless, the overall treble performance is still competent and complements the sound signature well.
In terms of soundstage, I would classify the DM8 as average in its class. It has a pretty nice width, with a rather accurate positioning and separation of instruments but just wish there was a little more extension in the treble at both extreme ends as the sound can get a little cramped at times when I wanted a more expansive atmospheric sound.
Imaging and layering are what the DM8 excelled for me. Everything was layered well and it was so so satisfying, just like admiring a perfectly stacked Jenga tower or pyramid. The coherency and fluidity of the sound is something that many more expensive sets fail to achieve.
One potentially divisive point of the DM8s is that the sound is rather coloured. It isn’t the most tonally accurate especially when talking about the timbre of wind and string instruments.
Thieaudio Legacy 5
Full Review of the Thieaudio Legacy 5
Legacy 5 sounds overly intimate, which the DM8 deftly avoids. The bass on the Legacy 5 is also a little boomier and less controlled despite having the dynamic driver. The highs on the DM8 are also more expansive and extended. Overall, I would say the DM8 is a much more “whole” product than the Legacy 5, justifiably so since it is almost double the price of the L5.
The midrange performance and the overall coherence of the DM8 are the two main standout factors of the DM8 and those two are alone for me to say these truly have the X-Factor.
My biggest sources of apprehension towards the DM8s are the finicky fit (due to my smaller than average ears) and the durability of the MMCX connectors. However, BGVP has shown pretty excellent customer support recently so that should put to rest most of my worries.
Overall, the BGVP DM8 is a polished product that is worthy of its TOTL title of the Pure BA Driver line. It holds its own in its own price tier and I very much prefer the DM8 in some of my side-by-side comparisons with higher-priced IEMs like the IBasso IT04 and the FIR Audio 5×5.