Updated tuning 2.0!
PROS: Good build quality, snug fit, comfortable neutral-to-warm signature with good bass, clean and open soundstage, price segment defining resolution and details, very good stock cable, ample accessories, attractive stock shell design, numerous customization options.
CONS: Not much for me personally as the switches give me enough flexibility to fine tune the IEM as per song/genre demands.
I would like to thank BGVP for sending me the VG4 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 initially came into prominence with successful products like DMG and DM6. Since then they’ve launched a wide range of products with us having reviewed their EST hybrids EST12 (4EST+8BA) and EST8 (2EST+6BA), Artmagic V12 (12 BA) and DM7 (6BA) here on the website.
Today I’ll be checking out their 4 Balanced Armature based VG4 from their ArtMagic series. It is priced at $229 (MRP) but is on sale currently for $195 on BGVP’s Official Store (AliExpress).
This review has been a long time coming but due to my busy work schedule, Coronavirus chaos and lockdowns, I could not get this out sooner. But here’s an interesting backstory.
BGVP sent VG4 and DH3 around later part of last year along with some of their IEMs which I have reviewed here on the website. When I ran VG4 and DH3 through its paces, their sound signatures sounded alright for the most part but had one major flaw. Both of them had a substantial 8kHz peak (4-6dBs more than the highest point of upper mids peak) which brought out sibilance and also added sharp attack to some instruments. I’ve noticed prominent 8kHz peaks in some Chi-fi IEMs and as per what I’m told (don’t know if true in practice or not), some people like it with some genres of Asian music as it adds sparkle to vocals because maybe the vocals are mixed warmer/softer in those genres. Now, it may or may not truly be the case but it surely doesn’t work well for mainstream music.
I let BGVP know what I felt and told them that majority do not appreciate massive prominent peaks in the sibilance region as it makes vocals sibilant and adds shrillness, unnatural attack and sizzle to some instruments. They took my suggestions seriously and asked me to give them some more pointers for an update. I suggested them a few more things here and there but tuning the 8kHz peak down by a couple of dBs was the priority in order to balance it nicely with upper mids, while not changing the rest of the treble character. They kept me in the loop and after a month and a half told me that the updated versions of VG4 and DH3 were ready and that they were able to implement some changes within the confinements of the original driver setup. A few weeks later while I was recording merrily in my studio, I received a package that I was not expecting. In it were minty fresh VG4 and DH3 samples. Since then, I’ve been using them regularly in my tests with other IEMs as well as my daily rotation of IEMs that I use for listening to music and am happy to report that they were able to tune out the problematic peak in the sibilance region as well as refine the overall sound signature for the better. More on this in the sound analysis section.
Disclaimer #2 – This review is of the updated VG4 tuning and so might not add up to the previous reviews people have done. Also, I think I should make it absolutely clear that I DO NOT have a percentage share in the sales nor is this my tuning or signature IEM. BGVP tuned this all by themselves with some suggestions and inputs from me. I had no idea how these were going to turn out until I got them. I also purposefully tried hard not to let any of this influence my review in any way. But still, take this review with a pinch of salt just in case. Haha.
Note – If you decide on getting the VG4, make sure you check and ask the seller for the new updated VG4 and not the older one before purchasing. I wish they had named it version 2 or something similar.
- Drivers – 4 balanced armatures (2 Sonion + 2 Knowles)
- 3 tuning switches
- Impedance – 12 Ω
- Sensitivity – 110 dB dB/mW
- Frequency response – 12Hz-40kHz
- Channel difference – ≤1dB
- Distortion rate – ≤0.5% (1kHz)
- Rated power – 6mW
Included in the box.
- BGVP VG4
- Silicone ear tips – Black wide bore (SML), White ‘Bass’ (SML) & Blue ‘Vocal’ (SML)
- Foam ear tips – 1 pair
- Cleaning tool
- Warranty and QC card
- Manual and instruction papers
Since I specifically asked BGVP to send me IEMs without the branded packaging, here are some pictures of the box and accessories provided by BGVP.
Photo courtesy – BGVP
Shells – According to the company’s description, all the shells are developed using German Envision TEC 3D-printing equipment and use PMMA acrylic fibre (resin) made of medical grade materials. The stock shell design of the VG4 is surely eye-catching. Mine has red shells with red guitar plectrum style faceplates which have good layered depth to them. VG4 comes with BGVP’s updated MMCX sockets which are now stronger and sturdier. I rolled a lot of cables and even after 3-4 months, the sockets are as tight as I got them. It has 3 tuning switches nicely integrate into the shells.
Cable – VG4 comes with BGVP’s 8-core cable Furukawa OCC + silver-plated mixed braided cable. It’s a looker and feels ultra-soft and flexible. It is one of the best cables that comes stock with an IEM at this price range.
Case – I love the stock case! It is surprisingly spacious for its size as it can fit the IEM with cable as well as all the ear tips and cleaning tool in the pouch.
Fit and Comfort.
VG4 has semi-custom shaped shells which fits very comfortably and snugly in my ears. They are very light and are comfortable for longer sessions too. I’ve always liked the fit of BGVP semi-custom shaped IEMs, except for the DM6 which didn’t fit me that well. VG4’s shells are smaller in size than DM7 and so should fit smaller ears very comfortably too. Fit and isolation is very good with the stock medium white tips but is even better with the stock foam tips. I use VG4 a lot with foam ear tips because I like the comfort and snugness they offer as well as the influence they have on the sound signature.