Note – This review is of the newer DH3 which received a tuning update because of some feedback I provided, so it might not add up to reviews other people have done previously.
For best fit and sound, I suggest using foam ear tips. The stock foam tips are good as are standard AliExpress T400 ones. In my case, they provide a better snug fit and a fuller sound.
Summary – After the re-tune, DH3 now sounds warm, musical and has a very nice and easy to like sound signature with good clarity, details and soundstage. It is well balanced, more natural, cleaner with nice DD warm low end and good BA clarity in the upper registers without any sibilance, splashiness or sharp attack it had earlier. Most people worried about sibilance in the previous DH3 will be happy to know that BGVP were able to tune it out and refine the signature for the better.
Switches – This is what I perceive the switches doing. The effect is more subtle than one expects.
Switch 1 – Slight boost in upper mids which is a bit plasticky. I much prefer stock 00 mode.
Switch 2 – Slight recession in mids because of which a slight boost in sub-bass is perceived too.
My favourite switch mode is 00 and I’ll be using the same for the sound analysis.
Bass – We have a dynamic driver here for bass duties but it’s not your run of the mill boosted DD bass. It’s actually very tastefully tuned where bass notes have good well-rounded note definition, weight and good sustain. Quantity is slightly north of neutral but is more linear and never overpowering. Bass quantity can be increased slightly by flipping switch 2 up. Attack is on the nice neutral-soft side and the sub-bass goes deep with good fun rumble. In Young the Giant’s ‘Superposition’, the kick drum has very nice tasteful thump and the synth bass has good presence and rumble throughout the song. Bass is the star of the show in Dua Lipa’s ‘Don’t Start Now’. It made me first start grooving and soon I was dancing with a funny bass-face pout. Lol! Jokes aside, the bass character is engaging and makes you tap your feet and groove to well performed bass lines in songs without it being the overly boosted kind.
Mids – Lower mids are quite linear, have good amount of body while always sounding clean without any boominess or bloat. Upper mids have the right amount of gain for good natural instrument definition which makes for a very nice and interesting listening experience without it ever sounding peaky. It has one peak around 3kHz and another one around 4.5kHz which defines its primary upper mids character. I did not require an adaptation period at all here as the tonality and timbre of most instruments sounds very natural. Detail and resolution in this area is very good for the price segment. Porcupine Tree’s ‘Sound of Muzak’ and Dave Mathews Band’s ‘Samurai Cop’ & ‘She’ sound particularly good with the DH3. DH3 portrays the sense of space in the songs very well, where the guitars are hard panned wide and vocals, kick and snare along with the bass are well defined in the centre without too much smudge and bleed in imagining.
Treble – DH3’s treble adds nice warm clarity and air on top and stays comfortable at most listening levels. The sibilant 8kHz peak that the DH3 had in the previous tuning is now in control and supports the upper mid-range well without ever sounding intrusive. There is no harshness nor any sibilance. Orchestral instruments have a good natural attack, drum cymbals never sound splashy and acoustic guitars have good natural spank without the artificial sheen on top. There aren’t any intrusive peaks in the upper treble which keeps DH3 sounding easy and comfortable. Maybe I would’ve loved slightly more air but the stock treble tuning is the kind that makes DH3 very versatile, playing almost every genre with equal enthusiasm and finesse.
Soundstage and Imaging.
Soundstage is where DH3 impressed me most as width and depth are very nice considering the price range it comes in, where most IEMs I have tested in this range are narrower sounding compared to DH3. Of course, it’s not extremely wide like some TOTL IEMs but it has a nice clean character with strong imagining which helps provide a good feeling of spaciousness in most tracks.
Tansio Mirai TSMR-2 ($169) – TSMR-2 is a strong competitor for DH3 as they both fall in the same price range. TSMR-2 has 2 BA drivers whereas DH3 has 1DD+2BA drivers. DH3 is the warmer of the two and has a more natural sound signature in my opinion. DH3 has nice DD bass qualities with good natural transients whereas TSMR-2 has BA bass strengths with quicker transients and precision. TSMR-2’s bass in isolation in Mode 100 has similar quantity as DH3 in stock mode, though DH3’s bass is more balanced and better presented because of its warmer character. Also, DH3’s bass quantity can be increased slightly by flipping switch 2 up. Lower mids in both are quite linear and clean though DH3 sounds slightly warmer and more natural to me in comparison. TSMR-2 has a more forward upper midrange presentation which brings guitars and vocals more upfront but it can also sound peaky for people who are sensitive to forward sounding upper-mids. DH3 has a more natural upper mids presentation for good instrument definition. TSMR-2 has more treble presence which adds sheen on top of instruments but also adds sharper transients to drum shells and cymbals. DH3 again sounds more natural with adequate amount of treble for clarity. TSMR-2 gives you the illusion of more micro-details because of its forward upper-midrange and treble presentation but DH3 has good amount of clarity and resolution while maintaining a more natural and enjoyable sounding signature. DH3 has a wider and cleaner soundstage compared to TSMR-2.
Moondrop KXXS ($189) – KXXS is a Harman Target curve tuned single DD IEM from Moondrop. It is one of my favourite IEMs under $200. Overall, DH3 is slightly warmer sounding of the two. Both have nice DD bass that is very enjoyable though KXXS has a bit more sub-bass quantity, though DH3’s bass is as enjoyable if not more. Both have clean and linear lower midrange but DH3’s is slightly warmer of the two. KXXS has Harman target style forward upper midrange whereas DH3 has just the right amount for good instrument definition while always keeping upper mids comfortable even at louder volume levels. KXXS’ has slightly more lower and upper treble compared to DH3. DH3’s treble is very comfortable even at louder levels whereas I’ve noticed that KXXS can get slightly hot for the treble sensitive (subjective), though it’s fine for me personally. Both have nice soundstages but DH3’s soundstage is impressive because it has good clarity and space while maintaining a nice warm sound signature, without depending on extra treble boosting for the same. DH3 and KXXS are differently tuned and what one might prefer over the other depends on one’s liking and preferences. You can’t go wrong with either. I like both!
BGVP VG4 – Overall both DH3 and VG4 have a similar approach to tuning and can sound close (of course not perfectly) with the manipulation of switches and ear tips but are different when compared side by side in stock tuning mode (all switches down). DH3 in stock tuning is the warmer of the two. VG4 is even cleaner and more spacious sounding though gets closer to DH3’s stock tuning in Mode 120 because VG4’s switch 2 fills up the lower mids. DH3’s bass shows its DD traits with a more rounded and warmer tone, note definition, sustain and rumble, whereas VG4 has more of BA’s agility and precision but keeps up and competes neck to neck with DH3’s DD bass in terms of quantity and enjoyment factor. Upper mids tuning is similar but VG4 has slightly more attack, presence, resolution and clarity, plus switch 1 and 2 give you more control over it. VG4 has ever so slightly more lower treble whereas both are quite similar in upper treble tuning. VG4’s soundstage is slightly wider in mode 000 but just a nudge wider or fairly similar in the rest of the switch modes. VG4 has slightly better resolution but DH3 is no slouch for its asking price. DH3 presents great value at its price whereas VG4 is slightly better technically and also provides a slightly fuller/better fit and more isolation in my case.
BGVP DM6 – Let me tell you right off the bat that DH3 is a more maturely tuned and is a much better sounding IEM compared to BGVP’s own DM6 in my opinion. If you’re in a dilemma between these two, I’d suggest getting the cheaper DH3 right away as it has better balance, soundstage and is even more enjoyable. DH3 also has a better fit and form factor compared to DM6. To break it down in frequency bands, DH3 has better and cleaner bass character with good natural attack and sustain with linear lower mids character without any bass bleeding into the lower mids whereas DM6 is bloomy down low and not as clear and refined sounding. DH3 is more natural sounding with good presence in upper mids whereas DM6 lacks the adequate upper mids for natural instrument definition. DM6 depends on its lower treble peak for the clarity and details but in turn brings out sibilance as well as makes the sound signature a bit too sparkly with unnatural attack. DH3 is more natural sounding in the treble region. Overall, I personally like DH3 as a complete package.
IMO, BGVP has another winner in DH3, especially considering the price point they’re selling it at. They’ve come a long way since launching IEMs like DM6, which I wasn’t a big fan of but they’ve been taking feedback and have been belting out well tuned IEMs one after the other. Their EST12 is still in my top 5 favourite IEMs. I quite enjoy V12, VG4 and DM7 too. After DH3’s quick tuning update, it now has a very nice musical and balanced sound signature which is easy to like and enjoy. Foam ear tips provided the best sound and fit in my case but the nozzle can fit a multitude of ear tips and the sound benefits from good tip rolling and snug fit. Its sound signature is quite versatile and performs well with most genres. It works very well with my playlist and I can easily enjoy it without fussing or longing to switch to one of my expensive/TOTL IEMs. Now, I don’t want you to think that I’m calling it a TOTL killer or anything like that (it’s not and I dislike that terminology). It definitely hits above its asking price but I primarily want to let you know that it has a signature that is easy to like and is very enjoyable for its asking price. For sale price of $140-155, it’s a no brainer recommendation from my side. Very good value for money!
Gear used for testing and review.
- DAPs – iBasso DX160 and Hiby R6 Pro
- Laptop – Apple Macbook Pro 15″
- Phone – OnePlus 7 Pro
Reference Songs list.
- Dave Matthews Band – Come Tomorrow album
- Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia album
- Dave Matthews – Shake Me Like a Monkey
- Foo Fighters – The Pretender, Best of you & Everlong
- Coldplay – Paradise, Up in flames & Everglow + Everyday Life Album
- Ed Sheeran – Thinking out loud, Bloodstream & Galway Girl
- Chainsmokers – Somebody, Sickboy, This Feeling & Closer
- John Mayer – Slow dancing in a burning room, Stop this Train & Say
- Gavin James – Always & Hearts on fire
- Switchfoot – Meant to live & Dare you to move
- Porcupine Tree – Sound of Muzak, Blackest Eyes & .3
- Our Lady Peace – Do You Like It & Innocent
- Linkin Park – Papercut, Somewhere I belong & Talking to myself
- Maroon 5 – She will be loved, Payphone & Lost stars
- Lifehouse – All in all & Come back down
- Breaking Benjamin – Diary of Jane
- Karnivool – Simple boy & Goliath
- Dead Letter Circus – Real you
- I Am Giant – Purple heart, City limits & Transmission
- Muse – Panic station
- James Bay – Hold back the river