Today we’re taking a brief look at the YSP04 from BGVP. The brilliance of the naming schemes for products from this company continues to escape me…
The YSP04 features a 10.2mm nano-titanium crystal composite diaphragm which is mounted transversely within CNC machined metal housings out of which extend a 32 strand, double shielded OFC copper cable. Sounds impressive doesn’t it? Does it all come together to produce a good sounding earphone worthy of your hard-earn dollar? Well, sort of.
The YSP04 was purchased at a discounted rate for the purposes of review. The thoughts within are my own and do not represent BGVP, Penon, or any other entity. There has been no financial incentive put forth for writing this.
At the time of this review the YSP04 could be picked up for 19.50 USD: https://penonaudio.com/BGVP-SIDY-all-model/BGVP-YSP04
For at home use the YSP04 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 enjoyed running it through the Walnut F1 which lowered the absurd mid-bass quantity.
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, MacaW GT600s, and thinksound On2 offer examples of signatures I enjoy.
Frequency Response: 13-23000Hz
Drivers: 10.2mm titanium crystal composite diaphragm dynamic driver
Maximum power: 15mW
Packaging and Accessories:
One thing BGVP does quite well is offer up their headphones in a nice package, and support it with a strong accessory kit. The YSP04 is a good example of this arriving in a small case about the size of a watch box. The exterior sleeve which can be easily removed features the BGVP logo on the front and a sticker on the back with the YSP04’s specifications.
Sliding off the sleeve and lifting the lid reveals the earphones displayed in a foam cutout, much as you would expect had BGVP been selling you a watch instead. Lifting out the foam insert reveals the cable neatly wrapped, and a pile of accessories;
- felt-lined carrying bag
- black silicone tips (s/m/l)
- green silicone tips (s/m/l)
- orange silicone tips (s/m/l/)
While I appreciate that BGVP gives you a ton of spare tips, they’re all pretty much the same tip but in different colors. This means that if one set doesn’t fit your ears well, none of them will. Some variety in tip style is sorely needed in order to provide legitimate value to the quantity and give you options in getting the best possible seal. As is, they might as well have dropped to sets and included something else.
Build, Comfort, and Isolation:
Another area BGVP seems to excel in is build, something you immediately sense upon first picking up the YSP04. The feeling of quality puts much more expensive products to shame when you see how carefully machined and well-put together this earphone is. There’s no glue squeezing out between the component parts and nothing sits at an odd angle or with gaps here and there. The L and R indicators are printed and look very sharp, as does the YSP04 branding on the inside by one of two pin holes vents.
The excellent materials and build continues to the cable which is a standout among budget offerings. The sheath is very dense and durable with strong anti-tangle properties, no stickiness, and no bounciness. It does retain some memory meaning the original bends from when you first unpack the product stick around for a while, but that’s about the only real negative. Strain relief at the ear pieces and 45 degree angles jack is excellent, and the inclusion of a chin cinch is always welcome, even if movement is limited by the inline mic. Speaking of the mic, the module is a common one found on a few other products but it’s well built. The button clicks purposefully with a clear, tactile response and the mic sounds good on calls.
Despite the odd shape and sharp angles, the YSP04 is not an uncomfortable earphone. This is likely due in part to the light weight and stubby nozzle that protrudes straight out of the housing. At least for me, it ensures the earpiece doesn’t touch my ear at all, and sort of floats in place. If it didn’t do this, I could see the angles touching and causing hotspots which is something I suspect others users may experience..
When it comes to isolation I found the YSP04 well below average for a metal-shelled single dynamic, blocking out very little sound. When using this earphone outside, turning the volume up considerably more than I liked was a necessity to combat external noises like cars and voices. The sounds of my keyboard clacking while typing away was clearly audible too, even with music playing.
Overall the YSP04 is beautifully constructed with a unique design. Ergonomically it’s pretty decent, but isolation is well below average. It’s a fine earphone to use in quieter areas, especially since it doesn’t bleed a lot of noise, but it definitely won’t cut it for commuting.
The YSP04 is characterized by a very warm, v-shaped signature skewed heavily towards the low end, backed by an expansive soundstage uncommon in this budget earphone.
The YSP04’s treble has a smooth, easy going presentation that is completely free of harshness or sibilance. It’s not particularly sparkly, though it has just enough emphasis to keep it from being dull. Despite not being overly prominent, it still gives a good sensation of space. Detail levels are okay at best with micro details being smoothed over. This is a good presentation for long term listening, not critical listening.
The mid-range is naturally toned with lots of warmth befitting female vocals greatly. Unfortunately, the mid-range is heavily recessed. That combined with a monster of a mid-bass hump means the lower mids are subject to heavy bleed and end up sounding veiled and overshadowed more often than not. It’s pretty disappointing as otherwise the mid-range is quite pleasant.
Bass on the YSP04 is a party piece. It’s big and bold, very much devoid of any form of technical prowess. The mid-bass hump is massive and combined with a reasonably sluggish response means it is a very boomy, one-note kind of presentation. Sub-bass extension is actually quite good, it’s just hard to hear or feel over that mid-bass lump. Texture is lacking too which further emphasizes that one-note feel. This is one of those cases where the presentation is simply too smooth.
To go along with that big bass is a big sound stage. These two qualities go together pretty well actually with basslines reverberating outwards away from your head as they diminish. It reminds me of when I uses to work as an Usher Supervisor at Paramount Canada’s Wonderland during their Kingswood Festivals, standing in front of the massive 8 driver loundspeakers while trying to keep idiots from climbing on the stage. Layering, imaging, and separation are all pretty average. In all honestly these qualities are better than they should be given how silky smooth the YSP04 makes everything.
Overall the YSP04 is just okay at best. If that mid-bass hump was toned down, a lot, it would make for a very pleasant listen. However, as is the bass overwhelms and overpowers the rest of the signature and diminishes all texture and detail under some one-note thumping. I was really hoping for more from these given how great they look and beautifully they’re built.
BGVP BKYT MRY6 (~15.00 USD): The MRY6 and YSP04 make for an interesting comparison. From a physical standpoint I find the MRY6 vastly inferior. Sure, they’re just as well built and have a look that is just as unique, but from the perspective of ergonomics they’re just wrong. The broad housings and stubby nozzles mean none of the included tips actually fir the earphone properly, and if turning to third party tips your options are severely limited due to the nozzle length. Once you find something that works they’re about as comfortable as the YSP04. You’re given 9 pairs of tips though, none of which fit. That’s just wrong. The MRY6 is a nightmare ergonomically compared to the YSP04 if using it in it’s stock format.
In terms of sound, the YSP04 and MRY6 share their bass-heavy signatures with the MRY6 getting a number of tweaks that make it superior. It tones down the mid-bass hump (it’s still huge), dials in a bit more treble, brings forward the mids which means there is less bleed, and improves clarity top to bottom. Texturing is improved as well, and the already impressive sound stage is even larger. They’re very similar and I prefer the YSP04’s mid-range tonality, but the tweaks made to the MRY6 mean it the superior sonic performer.
Kinera BD005 (~25.00 USD): The BD005 is a nice budget hybrid that for the most part seems to have flown under the radar. If tasked with choosing between it and the YSP04, Kinera would be my choice.
The earpieces on BGVP’s offers are superior given the use of CNC machined metal and a unique design. The BD005 uses a generic plastic housing used by numerous other companies. I found both equally comfortable, preferring the Kinera’s more stable over-ear fit. Their cables use an identical sheath with the BD005 getting the win there due to the use of MMCX to make them detachable. Gotta give props to BGVP for including a chin cinch though; something the BD005 could use.
In terms of sound, the BD005 is a huge step up to my ears. It’s v-shaped signature has a better balance between bass, mid-range and treble without the low end stealing the show and masking everything else. It is notably more detailed and textured with more punch and definition to it’s bass presentation.
BGVP nailed a number of aspects with the YSP04, but soared past the mark on the most important one; sound. It’s a fantastic looking product made from quality materials that are put together well, and the accessory kit is extensive though redundant. It’s also priced very well for what you get.
That said, while it’s treble and mid-range presentations are entirely pleasant, it is all hindered by an abundance of overemphasized mid-bass that drowns out everything else. It also doesn’t help that the YSP04’s signature is so smoothed over that this massive bass ends up one-note and lacking punch.
I am sure that there will be many out there that purchase these and enjoy the heck out of them, but in the grand scheme of things their sound is merely acceptable in the most basic sense of the word. At least they’re great to look at and well built, so you’ll surely get your money’s worth out of them in the long run.
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)