Summary – BGVP DM8 has a well-balanced, slightly warm-ish, natural but an exciting and fun take on a relatively neutral sound signature, which I can imagine being very easy to like for most. It has a nice, coloured, fun but well balanced bass presentation with good slam and punch, especially for a balanced armature, and slightly fuller lower-midrange body in the 250-600Hz region; both of which vary slightly with different stock ear tips. It has a forward upper-midrange presentation with primary peak of 10dB pinna gain around 2.75-3kHz, balanced lower treble presentation and fairly neutral upper-treble presence and extension.
The new set of stock BGVP ear tips are a wonderful pairing with not only the DM8 but make for a great set of tips to roll with all IEMs in general. So, it goes without saying that they all affect DM8’s signature differently and one should definitely tip roll to find the best pairing as per one’s preferences. I particularly like the Balanced, stock Pink bore and Vocal ear tips with DM8.
Bass – If you’ve seen graphs of DM8 floating around, this is a prime example of an IEM that doesn’t really sound like it graphs in the bass region. Even though the graphs show a big mid-bass bump of 6-7 dB, its quantity is way lesser when you listen to it. If I had to guess in a blind test, I would’ve guessed around 3-4dB above neutral with the Pink bore ear tips, lesser with Balanced tips and closest to neutral with the Vocal ear tips. The bass reaches the low end of 20Hz but is more mid-bass oriented in its presentation than rumbly with its sub-bass. Nevertheless, you can clearly hear the sub-bass rumble in songs like Dark Knight OST’s ‘Why So Serious’, a bit more with the Pink bore and Bass ear tips than Balanced or Vocal tips but its presence is not as prominent as in Harman Target IEMs like S8 and KXXS or sub-bass boosted IEMs in general. I particularly enjoy DM8’s bass’ ability of slam and punch while maintaining good speed in songs like Walk the Moon’s ‘Lost in The Wild’, ‘Kamikaze’ and ‘Shut Up and Dance’, John Legend’s ‘Darkness and Light’ as well as Twenty One Pilots’ ‘The Hype’, which are a lot of fun with the DM8. The thing I can nitpick here is that bass transients, particularly attack, is a bit on the softer side than sharp and crisp.
Midrange – DM8 has slightly fuller lower-midrange in the 250-600Hz range than neutral with the Pink bore and Bass ear tips whereas a bit more towards neutral with Balanced and Vocal ear tips. The slight fullness in this region adds a bit of warmth and extra instrument body. Upper-midrange on the other hand has a very nice forward presentation with pinna gain of around 10dBs which is responsible for nice and strong instrument definition and presence as well as keeping naturalness of tonality intact in the DM8. It has a slight dip in the 4-6kHz region which takes a bit away from the crisp stick attack in drums and initial attack of electric and acoustic guitars, particularly if you’re using it with the Pink bore ear tips. It’s a bit better with the Balanced and Vocal ear tips though. But frankly, this is me nitpicking and a lot of people might not even hear or mind it.
Treble – DM8 has a very well balanced and natural treble presentation, free of sibilance or any other prominent/intrusive peaks. Even though some graphs show a significant 8kHz, it’s probably coupler resonance since DM8 doesn’t really have it as prominent (I’d know because a significant 8kHz peak punches me right in the face. Lol!) DM8 has a very even, neutral-ish upper-treble presentation and extension. I personally would’ve liked a bit more upper-treble presence and air but that is a subjective preference as DM8 isn’t lacking by any means. What I particularly like is how even the upper-treble post 10kHz sounds, where a lot of IEMs are a bit too dipy and boosty.
Technical Performance (Soundstage, Resolution, Separation and Imaging) – DM8’s soundstage character depends on the choice of ear tips. It has quite an open and wide soundstage with the Balanced ear tips. It becomes a bit intimate with the Pink bore and Bass ear tips because of more mid-bass quantity and slightly fuller instrument body. Besides the slightly softer bass attack, which is one of my main nitpicks with the DM8, it has impressive technical capability for the asking price. It has very good resolution and separation between instruments, latter being particularly impressive for the warmer lower range character it has. Imaging is fine for the price segment, nothing to complain about. Overall, the way DM8 executes technical capability and detail retrieval in a fun signature, without ever coming off as clinical or boring, is definitely appreciable.
BGVP NE5 – DM8 has 8 BA drivers whereas NE5 is a tri-brid with 1DD+2BA+2EST. DM8 comes in 2 shell options – Resin and Wood, whereas NE5 has an aircraft grade Aluminium alloy shell. Build quality wise, I think NE5 takes the cake as it has a shell that is built like a tank and will survive rough handling over the years, though DM8 is no slouch with its exquisite wood shells for the asking price. NE5 is a bit easier to drive compared to DM8, though neither needs big power as such. Sound wise, NE5 and DM8 share a similar-ish school of tuning but NE5 picks up from where DM8 leaves and improves on it. NE5 has a bigger feeling sound signature which is not only punchier but also has better resolution and detail retrieval. NE5 has better low end extension and presence. Both have similar mid-bass quantity but NE5 has better sub-bass rumble as well as overall bass impact and punch, owing to a dynamic driver handling bass. Lower-midrange is quite similarly tuned but NE5 has slightly better separation and resolution in the range. NE5’s upper-midrange is a bit more forward sounding and as a result has slightly better instrument definition and punch. NE5 has better and more resolving treble presentation overall and better upper-treble extension. NE5 has a slightly bigger soundstage as well as better imaging too.
BGVP DM7 – DM7 has 7 balanced armatures. DM8 improves on DM7’s signature significantly. Right off the bat, DM8 has much better upper-treble presence and extension whereas DM7 starts rolling off past 10kHz. DM7 might have a tiny bit more sub-bass rumble. Even though the graphs show that DM8 has slightly more mid-bass presence, they both are quite similar when you listen to them back to back. Where DM8 is a definite winner is bass separation and resolution. Both have slightly fuller instrument body compared to neutral as well as a forward upper-midrange presentation but DM8 has better and more even tuning in the upper-midrange and as a result, better tonality and timbre. They both have similar lower treble presence but DM7 has peak presence at 7kHz whereas DM8 has it at 8kHz. As I stated before, DM8 has better top end presence and extension whereas DM7 rolls off past 10kHz. DM8’s soundstage is more open, airier as well as wide. DM7 sounds more intimate in comparison.
Moondrop Blessing2 – Blessing2 is a hybrid with 1DD+4BA and is tuned towards being a reference IEM whereas DM8 is tuned to be more a fun and musical IEM. Blessing2 has better sub-bass rumble and reach whereas DM8 has more, north of neutral mid-bass quantity. Blessing2 has better and more crisp bass attack and texture. DM8 has fuller instrument body whereas Blessing2 is leaner sounding in comparison. Both have a forward upper-midrange presentation with similar pinna gain of 10dB but Blessing2 is more linear in the 4-6kHz region whereas DM8 has a bit of dip there. Blessing2 is brighter in its treble presentation but has a dip in the mid-treble region of 10k-15kHz whereas DM8 has better presence and is more even in the region. DM8 has slightly better resolution but Blessing2 is more open and airy sounding. Both have similar soundstage width but Blessing2 seems a bit more open because of its leaner presentation whereas DM8 comes off slightly more intimate in comparison because of slightly fuller instrument body.
Fearless S8F – S8F has 8 balanced armatures as well. S8F too is a more fun oriented signature than neutral/reference-ish but overall, S8F has a brighter v-shaped signature compared to the warmer sounding DM8. S8F has slightly more sub-bass rumble but similar boosted mid-bass presentation as DM8. Fearless has a forward presentation in the upper midrange too but has peak presence at 4.5kHz whereas DM8 has it at 3kHz which is more natural and accurate sounding. As a result, DM8 has better instrument tonality and timbre. Also, S8F is peakier in the 4-6kHz region and can come off shoutier and aggressive sounding in comparison. Both are similar in lower-treble presentation past 6kHz but S8F’s upper-treble starts rolling off past 10kHz whereas DM8 has much better upper-treble extension. Even though S8F is aggressive but impressive when it comes to micro-detail retrieval, DM8 does it quite well while maintaining a more pleasing and easy to listen to signature. Both have very good soundstages for the price segment, but DM8’s might be slightly wider and S8F’s a bit deeper. Overall, DM8 is easier when it comes to boosting volume levels for louder, fun and enthusiastic listening whereas S8F can get a little aggressive and peaky.
I’ve tested and reviewed quite a few BGVP IEMs over the years, if not all. Some have been great VFM winners and some weren’t as much my cup of tea but one thing is for sure that BGVP surely knows how to tune some killer IEMs, with EST12 still being one my favourite Top 10 IEMs. DM8 is no slouch and is one of the nicest IEMs I’ve had the pleasure of testing in the sub-$500 segment. It is a significant improvement and upgrade over DM7, which was quite a good IEM in itself at its price when it was launched a few years back but DM8 improves on it significantly and takes the sound and overall value proposition to the next level. DM8 has a nice, pleasing, warm sound signature which is not only fun and musical but also has very good technical capability; resolution, detail retrieval and separation between instrument layers. Sure, the socket and sound bore drilling in the wood shell option can be improved upon but the stable wood shells are definitely a very attractive offer, which aren’t available in this price segment or one above otherwise. IMO, DM8 is a very good alternative and complementing IEM to the segment king Blessing2 for people who like a more fun tuned IEM than a reference one. If that is what you’re looking for, definitely give DM8 a shot!
Gear used for testing and review.
- DAPs – Hiby R6 2020 | iBasso DX160
- Laptop – Apple Macbook Pro 15″
- Phone – OnePlus 7 Pro
Reference Songs list.
- 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
- 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