Today we’re checking out a very interesting 2+2 hybrid from BVGP, the DM5.
The last earphone from BGVP I got my hands on was the SGZ-DN1, a 29 USD 1+1 hybrid with MMCX detachable cables and a low profile, ergonomic design. They sounded decent but lacked some energy with too much mid-bass focus, and also fell short in terms of material quality. Hearing them after the admittedly disappointing sounding but wonderfully built YPS04 and BKYT MRY6 single dynamics, I felt BGVP was moving in the right direction but not quite there yet.
With their newest hybrid, the DM5, BGVP put on their game face and pulled up their big boy pants. Going the route of a 2+2 hybrid, the DM5 uses two Knowles 30042 balanced armatures (BA) and two graphene composite dynamic drivers (DD), per side. Instead of the somewhat chintzy feeling shell which went into the DN1, they went with an all-metal, CNC machined shell that will probably be familiar to Magaosi/Audbos fans, adding an open-back. The MMCX removable interface returns of course. If feature checklists are important to you, the DM5 is probably ticking all the right boxes and we haven’t even looked at the fairly extensive accessory kit, nor the price which is very low considering everything the DM5 has to offer.
So far it’s off to an impressive start, but what does any of that matter if they don’t sound the part too? It doesn’t so keep reading to find out if the DM5 is any good at being an earphone, or if it’s just a master of checklists.
The BGVP DM5 was provided free of charge in exchange for a fair and impartial review. The thoughts within are my own and are not representative of BGVP, Penon Audio or any other entity. There is no financial incentive for writing this.
At the time of writing the DM5 could be picked up for 65.00 USD: https://penonaudio.com/BGVP-DM5
For at home use the DM5 was powered by a TEAC HA-501 desktop amp or straight out of my Asus FX53V laptop. For portable use it was paired with an LG G5, HiFi E.T. MA8, Walnut V2s or Shanling M1, all of which brought it up to listening volume without any effort. I tried running it through the Walnut F1 in balanced mode using Brainwavz’s Candy Cane 2.5mm cable, but it was unbearably bright.
I listen primarily to various EDM sub-genres (liquid drum and bass, breakbeat, drumstep, etc.), hip hop, and classic rock. While I enjoy a variety of signatures in my headphones I generally lean towards slightly warm with elevated treble and sub-bass, an even and natural mid-range response, with reduced mid-bass. The HiFiMan RE800, Brainwavz B400, TinAudio T2, and thinksound On2 offer examples of signatures I enjoy.
– Drivers: 2 Knowles 30042 Balanced Armature + 2 Graphene Composite Dynamic Drivers
– Sensitivity: 120 dB
– Impedance: 32 ohm
– Frequency response: 10 Hz – 40000 Hz
Packaging and Accessories:
Like the DN1, the DM5’s packaging is basic but effective. The exterior sleeve follows the same glassy black design motif with odd little pill-shaped icons that give it a snake-skin like feel and appearance. On the front is the BGVP logo and slogan, “The Best Experience”, while the sides contain only the log. The rear is blank minus a silver sticker housing the specifications.
Sliding off the sleeve reveals a black cardboard box, once again adorned with the BGVP logo. Under the lid the DM5’s earpieces are on display nestled in some foam cutouts. The silver-coated cable is attached and loops down and underneath where is is neatly coiled and secured with a twist tie. Beneath the foam cutout is a smaller box containing the accessories and manual. All-in you get;
– DM5 earphone
– 18-core 0.05 OFC silver-plated cable
– copper cable with mic
– 3 pairs of small bore silicone tips (s/m/l)
– 3 pairs of wide bore silicone tips (s/m/l)
– 1 pair foam tips
– a set of grey medium side wide bore tips were pre-installed
Considering how barren the accessory kits from other similarly priced products can be, this is quite extensive. The included tips are of decent quality, though the wide bore set is decidedly flimsy and it can be hard to get a seal sometimes. The rest of the unboxing experience is unremarkable, but pleasant enough.
Build, Comfort, and Isolation:
The DM5’s CNC machined metal housings look glorious. The gaps between to two main pieces of the housings are a little more vast than I would prefer, but that’s the only negative I can levy against their build. The chrome gunmetal look is sleek and the five large vents on the back are functional and cleanly cut with a fine mesh protecting the drivers behind. They add a bit of visual spice to this housing, not present with other earphones using a variant of it.
There is also plenty of notification on which channel is which with left and right indicators printed on the cable plugs, and on the inside of each earpiece. On the left you also find printed “Four Drivers” while on the right you’ve got the brand and model; “BGVP DM5”. While I haven’t run into this issue with mine, I have seen one report of a nozzle falling off while changing ear tips. They’re just glued in place which is not an uncommon practice and easy to fix should it happen to you.
The two included cables are excellent. The pre-installed, silver-plated mic-free cable with the clear sheath is ever so slightly sticky, certainly not to the extent of KZ’s cables, is memory resistant, and is quite flexible. The y-split and chin sliders are nice hunks of plastic and metal and feel quite durable. While the slender 90 degree angled jack in nicely relieved against tugs and pull, the rest of cable is not. That’s about the only improvement I could ask for at this price. The second cable, a mobile option quite similar to that found on the pricier LZ A2S is much the same, though with a straight jack and no chin slider. The inline mic and control module is the same as that on the OutART Ti7 and BGVP SGZ-DN1, so it’s sturdy and works just fine for phone calls.
Once you’ve picked the right set of tips and have the DM5 in place, you’ll find it’s tubby little shell pretty darn comfortable. Smooth edges combined with a short nozzle sticking out at a 45 degree angle lead to ergonomics that are quite good. It lets the earphone rest naturally in your outer ear. They are heavy though, and never quite disappear the way some lighter earphones do. Despite their cable up design, I was pleasantly surprised to find they were just as easy to wear cable down, though they protrude at a weird angle and it’s clear that they were not intended to be worn that way. Still, comfort remains excellent and they are perfectly stable, you just have to deal with some microphonics (cable noise) not present when wearing them cable up.
Given the five large vents, isolation is predictably poor, though not as bad as one would expect. They’re below average in this regard, similar in quality to the TinAudio T2. Outside noise is muffled slightly but still present. Not ideal for travel in noisy areas.
Over the DM5 is put together well with nice materials and decent fit and finish. Comfort is also a positive due to the smooth, well-shaped housings, though weight means you’ll always know they’re there. Isolation is predictably poor due to the ample ventilation, but not so bad they can’t be used outdoors. They’re just not ideal for use in really noisy places.
Since the upgraded cable from the OurART-Ti7 is virtually identical, much of this section was pulled and edited from my review of that earbud.
Upgraded cables for me are more about improving usability and enjoyment of the product, and not about changing the sound. I’m not going to definitively say the DM5’s cable does or does not change the audio quality because I have no way of supporting such a statement with visible evidence. That said, after spending a fair bit of time listening with both cables stock cables, mixing and matching with the upgraded cable, and analyzing in various unscientific ways, it seemed like the upgraded cable made the sub-bass even more rumble-filled and addictive.
Now, that said I really like the DM5’s upgraded cable and feel it is well worth the extra 10 bucks. Why? The 12 cores are extra thick, especially above the y-split. This gives me confidence in this cable having improved longevity and durability over the stock cables, and it doesn’t give up the excellent behaviour of the stock cable to offer this. It is also less springy, and as a result comfort is improved. It also has a very beefy 90 degree angled jack that is user-serviceable should something go wrong. I prefer the straight jack used on the Ti7’s version of this cable simply because strain is reduced when my player is in my pocket, but, to each their own right?
So yeah, I like the upgraded cable and have no issues recommending it as an add-on to the DM5. You don’t necessarily need it, but it’s an inexpensive way to make them look and feel more premium, it’s more durable than the stock cables, and it’s also more comfortable. Win, win, win.
The DM5 has a distinctly v-shaped signature with massive sub-bass and prominent treble. It has a lean presentation through the treble and mid-range regions gaining some body and weight heading into the low end. The low end is clearly weighted towards sub-bass regions with a notable dip in the mid-bass, yet it retains some serious punch and agility. The DM5’s bass presentation is it’s ace in the hole in my opinion, and the primary reason why they should be up for consideration.
Treble is definitely on the bright and sharp side, so be warned. If you enjoyed the warm, relaxed presentation of the DN1, the DM5 might not be up your alley. The thin presentation combined with good extension and some notable peaks makes this an energetic and fatiguing earphone, one that I could really only enjoy at the low volumes I tend to listen. Even with foam tips in place to soak up some of the high end, they were still quite aggressive.
The mid-range, while quite recessed, is naturally toned and very detailed with great clarity. It is well separated and there is little interference from the upper or lower ranges. Texturing on vocals and instruments is impressive and I never had any issues with making out finer nuances or details. I was somewhat expecting the DM5’s lack of warmth to hinder their reproduction of female vocalists, but that has shown not to be the case. They handle all vocal ranges adequately. If only they were more forward, this would be a great pick for vocal lovers.
Heading into the low end we are in for a treat. The DM5’s sub-bass is punishing, but in a good way. Bass lines thunder along and rumble your eardrums giving you a very visceral experience. It’s also quick and nimble and doesn’t trip up on congested and busy tracks. The texturing is impressive too, further adding to the raw and primal bass experience. If you enjoy using iems for movies, or EDM genres like dubstep or drumstep, the DM5 will be right up your alley.
The DM5 also has a pretty good sound stage, above average for the price. Effects are tossed out a good distance past your head with a good sense of depth. Instruments layer well and are clearly separated. Where the DM5 really stumbles however is with it’s wonky imaging. For whatever reason, just off centre on either side there is a clear dead zone preventing sounds from transitioning smoothly between channels. They whip side to side instead. This makes the DM5 worthless for gaming which is too bad. The awesome end-to-end extension and detail this earphone this can pull would have made them great otherwise.
BGVP DN1: The DM5 has a brighter, more sparkly presentation with less mid-bass and much more sub-bass. The DN1’s mid-range is thicker and more forward and it has a more concentrated sound stage. The DN1 pull details nicely, not not to the extent of the DM5. Where the DN1 has a clear advantage is in it’s imaging which works as intended.
Kinera H3: The DM5 and H3 both offer up a bassy and bright v-shaped signature. I find them both exceptionally bright with the H3 offering up greater shimmer and sparkle. The H3 has a slightly thicker presentation, but neither are particularly beefy, especially in the mids and treble. The DM5’s mid-range is more natural and better balanced without the low mid-dip of the H3 and has a major advantage in this regarding. Heading into the low end, the H3 has more mid-bass kick without the crazy extension of the DM5. The H3 is slightly more detailed and much more accurate in terms of imaging, but has a smaller soundstage and less depth.
Audbos K3: Prior to this review it had been a while since I last sat down and really listened to the K3. While I think the DM5 has a smoother, cleaner sound that outputs more detail and has better end to end extension, the K3 sounds more cohesive. This is particularly due to a slightly thicker presentation and better mid-/sub-bass balance. Even though the K3’s low end is more balanced, it’s far from as engaging as the DM5’s. It’s too soft and lacks authority and texture generally coming across somewhat one-note.
The DM5 is a good value when you look at the complete package. You get a quad driver hybrid with a well-constructed metal shell, two nice cables, lots of tips, some of the best bass I’ve heard in a budget hybrid, and it all comes in at well under a 100 bucks. That said, I do recommend opting for the upgraded cable. At 10 USD extra it’s worth it for the improved durability and comfort.
Pending you are find with the peaky treble and can overlook some wonky imaging, the DM5 makes for a very entertaining listen. It’s got a great soundstage, outputs lots of detail, and despite being recessed, a very pleasing and satisfying mid-range. Those that like to tip roll and cable swap should be satisfied too. The nozzle has a well-defined lip that can accommodate a variety of tips, and BGVP went with a standard MMCX connector leaving countless cable options available to you.
Thanks for reading!
***** ***** ***** ***** *****
Some Test Tunes:
Aesop Rock – The Impossible Kid (Album)
Hail Mary Mallon – Are You Going to Eat That? (Album)
King Crimson – Lark’s Tongues in Aspic (Album)
King Crimson – Starless and Bible Black (Track)
Supertramp – Crime of the Century (Album)
Infected Mushroom – Legend of the Black Shawarma (Album)
Gorillaz – Plastic Beach (Album)
Massive Attack – Mezzanine (Album)
Fleetwood Mac – Rumors (Album)
Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels (Album)
The Prodigy – The Day is My Enemy (Album)
Tobacco – F****d Up Friends (Album)
Felt – Felt 2 (A Tribute to Lisa Bonet) (Album)
Michael Jackson – Thriller (Album)
The Crystal Method – Grace (feat. LeAnn Rimes) (Track)
Jidenna – Long Live the Chief (Track)
Skrillex – Ragga Bomb (Track)
Big Grams – Run for Your Life (Track)
Funkadelic – Maggot Brain (Track)
Aesop Rock – Fishtales (Track)