Updated: Jan 15
Pros: Build quality and fit, Quality cable, Smooth and rich mids, Layering of instrumentals/vocals, Silky Vocals
Cons: A little too dark sounding, Coloured timbre while enjoyable, is not the most accurate, Roll-off in sub-bass and treble
Driver Setup: 1 Electrostatic Driver + 1 10mm Dynamic Driver
Price: $80 (USD)
Disclaimer: This review set was graciously lent to me by a friend and the review is written of my own accord.
This is a review for the BGVP Zero, a hybrid IEM. It packs a 10mm carbon nanotube dynamic driver and a 7mm electret electrostatic driver in a sleek matte black aluminium shell. Electrostatic drivers started gaining traction since the Shuoer Tapes debuted to much fanfare. This release from BGVP, however, has been relatively low key and under the radar. Without further ado, let’s take a look at these and how they fare.
Packaging and Accessories (Score: 8.5/10)
The packaging looks really premium and things look promising from the get-go. Opening the packaging reveals a display of an array of tips, one set for vocals, and one set for bass, together with the IEMs and a hard case.
Build Quality and Fit (Score: 8.5/10)
Build quality definitely impresses, especially at the asking price. BGVP has definitely become talented IEM designers even if their tuning hasn’t exactly been the most consistent. My praise for these extends towards the fit as well. It sits almost flush and owing to its elegant curves, the earpieces nest comfortably in my ears.
BGVP also didn’t cheap out on the included cable, with a 6N OCC silver-plated upgrade cable which not only looks gorgeous but feels super soft and supple in the hands.
All this just displays well-thought-out design and where everything just makes sense.
Sound (Score: 7.2/10)
Frequency response of the BGVP Zero
- Schiit Modi 3/Schiit Vali
- Fiio Q1 MkII
- Shanling M3s
Music and Albums listened to
- NEEDTOBREATHE Acoustic Live Vol. 1
- Mozart Clarinet Concerto in A
- Grease Official Soundtrack
- Boney M. Gold – 20 Super Hits
- Andy Gibb – The Very Best Of
- Capital Cities – In a Tidal Wave of Mystery
- Greenday – American Idiot (Deluxe)
Bass (Score: 7.5/10)
There is quite a bit of midbass emphasis. However, the subbass extension is nothing to write home about. However, the layering in the bass is very impressive and it never ever really gets muddy with complicated basslines.
On “Rivers of Babylon” by Boney M, the different layers (bassline/drums/instruments) are well separated and articulated, coming together very musically. Kickdrums, snares and toms all have a very nice attack and punch to them.
Mids (Score: 8.5/10)
I especially love the mids on the BGVP Zero and it has to be the star of the show on this IEM. On top of being silky smooth, they’re just so luscious and thick. Admittedly, it is not the most natural or accurate sounding but it certainly is indulgent.
Plugging the Zeros into an amplifier, the mids become noticeably more energetic as compared to weaker sources. The energy in the electric guitar in Andy Gibb’s “Shadow Dancing” was deliciously addictive. This, on top of the punchy and articulate bass guitar, was like an “ear Jacuzzi”.
Vocals were extremely enjoyable as well, on NEEDTOBREATHE’s “Stand by Me” and “White Fences”, there was very pleasant layering and textured male vocals which I thoroughly enjoyed. Instruments like Clarinets and Saxophones have a really warm, full-bodied sound that brings life to instrumentals.
The treble response on the Zero does not really impress and is pretty lackluster overall. The Zero has a very safe tuning and never gets sibilant. However, the treble extension is not very good and on more revealing tracks, it’s lack of detail retrieval in the highs become apparent.
On tracks like Greenday’s “Holiday”, crash and ride cymbals often lack definition and sparkle. They don’t sound unnatural but are noticeably muted and lifeless. On Sha Na Na’s “Born to Hand Jive”, treble tonality in areas such as the Hi Hats, is very mediocre and sounds a little thin.
The Zero is a very dark sounding earphone and I would say it is a little too dark at many times, and I can’t help but take a few points off for its incoherent tonality.
Although the Zeros are not hard to drive, they seem to benefit from the use of an amplifier. Also, pairing can have quite a big impact on sound and I would classify the Zeros as a very coloured IEM.
The Zero would benefit from a more neutral source or amp due to its already very dark and warm nature. Having a warm source may skew the overall tonality a little too much.
The Zero has a lot of potential but has an Achilles heel – poor extension in bass and treble, coupled with its tonality flaw. It loses the tonal accuracy and some tracks can sound a little overly unnatural.
If you are searching for a pair of earphones that are tonally accurate, the Zeros would not be your cup of tea. Nevertheless, I really did enjoy my time with the Zero and there is just something really addictive about the mids that keep me coming back for more. It is something that you could listen to for hours on end and get lost in the luscious mids without ever feeling any fatigue.
Overall Grade: C+
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