I’ve been burned by hype before. In my near-decade in this hobby and 7 years on this site, there are very few things that I’d say have withstood the tests of time. VSonic’s GR07, Etymotic’s ER4, FitEar’s 334, Sony’s EX1000, just to name a few. The rest are hardly ever of spoken of and yet people still listen to these hype train conductors despite their abysmal track record. So when I heard of yet another Flavour of the Month IEM making its rounds, I got curious. I was absolutely itching to write something critical so this could be quite the exercise.
This BGVP DMG is a review unit provided by Linsoul Audio (no affliation). As per usual, no talking about fit, build, accessories or whatever; I’ll leave that to the others. Just a straight analysis of the sound as y’all like it.
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The bass. Yes you heard me, the part that seemingly everyone else praises. The bass is emphasised and heavily skewed towards the midbass. Subbass rumble is present though overshadowed by thump and slam. The issue with the DMG’s bass is that there is very little definition to it all. It’s fuzzy and slow, the attack is dulled and it has quite the tendency to bleed into the lower mids. You can’t even call the bass fatiguing due to the how soft the impact is; sure, there is a lot of it, but it feels more like the driver shoving a pillow in your face than throwing a proper punch. There’s too much smearing in the bass notes so the moment you head into a genre like metal, you can clearly hear the percussions overlapping over one another and almost turning into one indistinguishable blob of general “slam”. Now on the other hand, at least it’s DD bass so I’d personally still pick it over any pure BA IEM, but it’s just… not good DD bass.
For comparison, the other $100 contenders I have with me at this moment is the Periodic Mg and the FiiO F9, both of whom are superior to the DMG’s bass in overall resolution and decay control. Perhaps if the midbass was dialed down a tad (while maintaining the subbass) and the lower transients tightened up, it’d have a fair fighting chance. But that’s all hypothetical.
Preface: my favourite filter is the gold which has the least mids and treble. This review will be based on that filter, though the difference between all of them are within 3dB of each other. Comparison graph here.
Alright, so now that most of the fanboys have clicked away after I said something bad about their baby, here’s the real meat of the meeting. Considering the price point and even the underperforming bass, the DMG is good. Surprisingly good.
My review process is as follows. Put in an IEM, identify every bad thing I can hear and only then do I move into the positives. Now, the bad (not horrible, just bad) bass came out to me immediately so that was easy. As I moved onto the mids and treble, I struggled. The tonality of instruments weren’t particularly skewed towards any side of the frequency response despite the big bass emphasis. The timbre was fine; nothing sounded out of place or particularly wrong. The vocals, while slightly recessed, was pretty much neutral, favouring neither males or females strongly. Again, I’d really appreciate a reduction in midbass/lower mids just to clear up the air of the stage a little, but that’s probably nitpicking for personal preference than in any objectively critical way.
The treble has enough emphasis but also appropriately rolled off where it counts. There’s good speed and it hardly ever gets harsh or sharp (for me at least). It isn’t really any more forward as compared to the midrange so I’d describe the overall signature of the DMG as “L-shaped” (emphasised bass in front of mids and treble), or more accurately it’s just “bassy”. For that kind of sound, the DMG ain’t half bad at all.
The DMG also has one of the better imaging competencies that I’ve heard. Not excellent or EX1000-tier, mind you, but definitely above average. There is decent width, not quite diffusing beyond the pinna but at least strays away from the ever-common “in your head” effect. Positional ability is a little weak; the wall of bass sort of messes with the instrument placement a little but it’s nothing too drastic. If you sort of ignore the position of the bassline (which is almost always wrong on the DMG), the rest of the instruments are pretty accurate.
The F9 very clearly has the better bass response. The midbass is much cleaner, the subbass is better balanced with the midbass and is better separated from the mids as a whole. As a bass connoisseur, this aspect is basically a no-contest in favour of the F9.
Now, the tonality of the F9 has always been my issue. The notes are a little too thin and skewed to the higher frequencies, which does boost perceived detail and clarity quite a bit but at the cost of the “naturality” of the instruments. In other words, the timbre of the F9 also takes a significant hit, especially for the lower registers like alto and baritone. In comparison, the DMG definitely sounds a lot more correct for a much wider range of instruments and vocals and as such I enjoy it more on a personal level.
A known weakness of the F9 is its characteristic treble pierce. This might be a preference thing, but I can’t stand the F9 being rather sensitive to the higher frequencies myself. The DMG is much better controlled and easier to listen to, and without odd spikes to mess with overtones and harmonics. 2 for 1 win for the DMG.
The bass of the Mg isn’t as clean as the F9 but it is certainly cleaner than the DMG. It’s a close fight at least, but the extra emphasis of the DMG just makes it a lot harder to control for.
The Mg is also quite a bit warmer, its tonality skewing more towards the lower frequencies as compared to the DMG. There’s a lot of smoothness and richness, perhaps masking some essential detail that the DMG displays without any issues. The Mg sounds better on bassy instruments like bass guitar and cello, though it has its weaknesses on the other spectrum of instruments. On the other hand, the DMG is a better all-rounder for instrumentals.
Treble is similar in that they both have the same spike-to-rolloff tuning, but I’d give the resolution edge to the DMG.
Went in hatin’, came out likin’. The DMG is certainly competent and a solid bassy IEM for $140. Though, I’d recommend you not buying these for the bass despite its tuning.