Running on full 12BA cylinders!
PROS: Sound and build quality, very comfortable fit, ample accessories, attractive stock shell design, numerous customization options, available as CIEM.
CONS: Nitpicking – I prefer switch mode 12 more than 00. In stock switch mode 00, lower mids are slightly warm and upper mids can use a dB or 2 more of presence for even better clarity at lower volume levels. Mode 12 sorts that mostly. Also, BGVP should’ve included a more premium cable.
I would like to thank BGVP for sending me the V12 to test and review. I am not affiliated with the company or any of its sellers and write this review with an unbiased opinion regardless of how the review turns out.
I majorly listen to rock, acoustic, pop, metal, and sometimes popular EDM songs doing the rounds on the charts.
BGVP is a company based out of Dongguan, China. They manufacture and sell a wide range of products like in-ear monitors, earbuds, cables, cases, etc. They came into prominence with successful products like DMG and DM6. Now, they’ve launched an even wider range of products including EST hybrids ES12 (4EST+8BA) and ES8 (2EST+6BA), V12 (12 BA), DM7 (6BA), VG4 (4BA) and DH3 (2BA + 1DD).
Today I’ll be checking out their 12BA flagship ArtMagic V12.
Note : BGVP has some cool offers for everyone. If you order a V12 or EST12 from them directly through their BGVP Official AliExpress store, you can order them as a CIEM at no extra cost. Also, they are selling V12 for $1143 ($157 discount!) instead of the regular $1300 MRP on their official Aliexpress store (checked at the time of publishing this review).
When BGVP got in touch with me to review their flagships EST12 and V12, I was excited and equally intrigued as I wanted to see how they were going to play in the TOTL flagship category, especially since BGVP is known for their good value for money products like the DM6 and DM7, which were incredibly well priced for the tech, sound and build quality. Now with V12 being $1300 and EST12 being $1500, it surely puts them in premium flagship territory. But when it comes to defining what the TOTL flagship category really is, I find it extremely difficult since there are companies like Campfire Audio who have a $1500 flagship and then there are companies like 64 Audio, JH Audio and Noble Audio with flagships north of $2500. So instead, what I personally like to do is try gauging if an IEM is true flagship material with great sound and build quality and if it can provide a good value for money proposition against some of its competitors.
- Driver – 12 Balanced Armatures (Knowles & Sonion)
- Frequency response: 10-40kHz
- Sensitivity: 114dB
- Impedance: 25Ω
- Channel balance: ≤0.5dB
- Distortion rate: ≤1%
- Waterproof: IPX3
- Connectors – 2-pin 0.78mm
Included in the box.
- 8 -core Furukawa OCC + silver-plated mixed braided cable
- Black silicone ear tips – SML
- Grey silicone ear tips – SML
- Blue silicone ear tips – SML
- Foam ear tips – 1 pair
- Cleaning tool
- Carry case
- Manual and warranty card
According to the company’s description, all the shells are developed using German Envision TEC 3D-printing equipment and use PMMA acrylic fiber (resin) made of medical grade materials.
The stock shell design of the V12 has silver chips in a dark blue faceplate which is paired with a cyan shell. In my opinion, the design and color pairing along with spectacular finishing makes the V12 quite a cool and premium looking IEM. The cyan shell is translucent and you can see the drivers and wiring partially. It has 2-pin sockets rather than BGVP’s standard MMCX. It has 2 switches but the direction of switches between the 2 shells are inverted. Right shell’s ON position faces the 2-pin sockets whereas the left shell’s faces away from the socket. I felt that this was a bit inconvenient at first but then I got used to it and now it doesn’t bother me.
As for the cable, V12 comes with BGVP’s 8-core cable Furukawa OCC + silver-plated mixed braided cable. It’s a looker and feels ultra-soft and flexible but sadly is the same cable that comes with DM7 and VG4 too. I wish it came with a more premium cable in the package, something like UP-OCC Litz maybe.
BGVP offers numerous customization options where you can select the color and design of the shell and faceplate as per your liking. You can also order the V12 as a CIEM (custom fit for your ears using your ear impressions) and go berserk with customizing that too. As stated above, they’re offering it as a CIEM at no extra cost.
Fit and Comfort.
V12 has semi-custom shaped shells which like the EST12 fit very comfortably and snugly, one of the best in the segment for me. I think they will fit most ears very comfortably because of the shells being very ergonomic and relatively smaller. It also remains very comfortable for long periods. Degree of noise Isolation depends on the ear tips you use. While listening to music, even with the stock ear tips it isolates outside noise very well, enough for me to be completely unaware of what’s going around me aurally. All in all, it’s a big thumbs-up from me for this section.