Disclaimer: Begin Audio sent the DM7 to me for the purposes of this review and the facsimiles I personally publish around the internet. Many thanks, Begin. Inside, the DM7 sports six Knowles balanced armature drivers per side. It’s also crazy sensitive. And it goes for 299$. You can find out all about the DM7 here.
Headfonics: BGVP DM7 Review
Headfonics: BGVP DM6 Review
ohmage to the Yinyoo D2B4
ohmage to the Hidizs MS1 and MS4
ohmage to the JVC HA-FW10000
ohmage to the Campfire Audio Atlas
ohmage to the Campfire Audio Comet
ohmage: HiFiman RE2000
BGVP’s DM6 was lotsa good, but not full of everything that Nathan Wright craved. The sort of thing Nathan Wright craved was spacier, had a brighter upper mid range, and bristled with gobs of stereo detail in every frequency band.
What Nathan craved was the DM7. It is fortuitous that, thanks to Begin Audio, he got ahold of one mere weeks after reviewing the DM6. If you want to see my longer-form review, check it out at Headfonics.
Until very recently, I knew next to nothing about BGVP (I find it easier to read it BigVip). The company straddle the borders of Chi-Fi and Hi-Fi, but it is both more brand and market aware than the former, and comes to market with sound qualities and packed-in tech atypical to their price points. Atypical of much of Chi-Fi, BGVP are intent on brand development. The BGVP nomenclature is worse than SARS (and I was in Toronto in 2003), and is something I hope never to have to utter in a video. (Too late for that.) Nevertheless, the list of BGVP FOTMs is piling up and the DM7 is destined for to find a good niche among them. It packs all the good of the DM6 but suffers none of its meh. As such, it is the BGVP tailor-made for moi.
NOTE: I’ve since reviewed the BGVP DMS, which I prefer to both the DM6 and DM7, though not because it is technically better than the latter. It just fits my listening habits better.
ohm image review: ohmage to the BGVP DMS
Fauxtaku Lounge review: Cool cans - BGVP DMS
Driver unit: 6 balanced armatures, incl. Knowles SWFK-31376, Knowles ED-29689, Sonion 33AP007, and Knowles CI-22955
Sensitivity: ≥ 115 dB SPL/mW
Input impedance: 13.5 ohms
Frequency response: 10 Hz–40 kHz
Distortion: ≤ 0.5% (1 kHz)
Cable: Single-crystal copper + single-crystal copper silver foil wire
Cable length: 3.9 ft (1.2 m) +/- 5%
Weight: Approx. 0.2 oz (5.3 g)
8 pairs of ear tips
Haptics and build: ohmage and porridge
Of the DM6, my daughter said: “It’s so pretty!”. Of the DM7 she said: “Can I touch it?”
I agree. From a style perspective, the DM6 better catches the eye. While nice to look at the DM7 won’t cause you to suck in a hard lungful like you’re looking a 1990s’s Claudia Schiffer. In contradistinction to the DM6’s airy body, the DM7 almost brims to its faceplate with hardened resin. Under it, fingerprints and other blemishes are almost nil, making the DM7 among the cleanest custom-cum-universal earphones at its price point - if not higher.
The soft-sided cable is highly resistant to touch noise and mildly resistant to hard racking. Its neck cinch is a plastic nubbin that really wants to be a dwarf marble. You won’t be able to dangle a dining table from the cable, but clotheslining a pup? You betcha. I prefer the DM6’s L-shaped plug, but it is too much of a good thing, really weighing down the cable and earphones. The DM7’s straight plug, while tricker to deal when in the trouser pocket, is lighter, and stresses the earphone less. Both have decent stress relief at the stereo plug but none at the MMCX ends.
Two key differences between the DM7 and DM6 are contained within the sound tube and mounting flanges. The DM7’s flanges lack locking channels. As such, the DM7 is much purer a custom-cum-universal design, appearing almost like a universal demo set sold to distributors. And, where the DM6 sports a shared sound tube, the DM7 splits the channels all the way to the mounting flange.
In my opinion the DM6 looks better, but as it regards insane driver counts in price-conscious designs, detailed under-the-hood implementation is of paramount importance. Could BGVP do better? Hell yes. At this price point should I expect them to? I’m not sure.
Accessories: ohmage and porridge
The DM6’s light-shaded box visibly indicates nothing about what it houses. The DM7’s darker box fronts a DM7 design wireframe. Its Hi-Res Audio badge jumps out from the darkness. Visually it is upscale and better indicates what’s inside. Visuals don’t clash, and both the placement and legibility of typographical details are good.
The simple inner box is tough, and holds everything firmly. Everything includes ten ear pieces: one in foam, and both hard and soft sided silicon in shades from black to clear. As far as comfort is concerned, the grey tips, which are free of lateral seams and which pinch easily, are tip top. The black tips straddle the line between soft and hard. The translucent tips are too hard for my sensitive ears but probably return the most neutral sound.
Kitsch: ohmage and porridge
I’m not sure what BGVP were trying to emulate in the DM7’s faceplate. It looks like polished granite. It is nice, but it sort of ghosts-out the BGVP logo. The DM7’s packaging is nicer than the DM6’s, and the layout is more professional. I’m glad that BGVP are working on this, because shedding Chi-Fi look and feel is important for a brand. If only they’d think of changing up their name.
First, the bad news: The DM7 hisses a lot. It hisses more than the CK10 and almost as much as the Hidizs MS4. This is a real shame for us Minidisc users, whose Sonys and older Sharp units really make known the pitifulness of their amps. Your FiiO M6 and M3 will hiss. If you’re an AK guy, your SPM1000M and AK70/AK70MKii will hiss. Ho hum.
The DM7 sounds like a Frankenstein of the DM6 and CK10. The DM6’s warm lows and mids sneak in as does a good bit of the CK10’s signature high-range clarity and stage width.
Because the DM7 is brighter than the DM6, it feels airier at the ear. Parts in the high-mids and highs that the DM6 veils, the DM7 reveals. Don’t get me wrong- I love warm highs, and even slow roll-offs. But for me they have to be done in context of a wide, warm midrange and texture-rich or melty lows. The DM6 doesn’t perfectly do either, and therefore leaves listeners like me stranded between two worlds.
At times I wish the DM7 had as wide a stage as the CK10. But at other times I really like the median-straddling line the DM7 takes. It shows average to good stereo detail along most frequency bands. Neither stretches as far to the left and right as the CK10, or as far forward along the Z-axis as monsters from Ocharaku which take two steps forward to the DM7’s one. Of prime import are the mids, whose stereo image isn’t compressed between über detailed highs and hard-edged lows. In fact, DM7 mids brim with above-average levels of texture and stage detail. Given the right music, they may even even pop, drawing all focus into themselves. The DM7’s Y axis rises as high as the forehead while the X axis pushes as far as the shoulders. Contained within this sphere is good separation and good-to-great environmental response. And those mids are more emotive than their analogues in the DM6, and certainly moreso than in the boxy Yinyoo D2B4.
While the DM7 doesn’t appear to output more bass than the DM6, it may show more low-range detail, especially in stereo cues. Following suit, its lows tromps forward about a step beyond neutral but definitely nowhere near bass monster territory. When pressed, fast-paced music can nearly throb with low end pressure, but response evens out beyond 70Hz, rendering sub-bass material nearly inaudible. Ergo, you won’t hear much sub-bass in of those yawning opening seconds to Marcus Schulz’s Mainstage. You’ll also not get reverb-induced bleed, bloom, or stultified decay.
While brighter than the DM6, the DM7 isn’t bright in the CK10 sense. The good of this is that it never approaches sibilance in any genre, nor does it get overly hot, and it certainly isn’t peaky. High-range stereo detail comes to the fore more through the DM7 than the DM6, and joy of all joys, mids stand out more against highs, making music of all kinds funner to listen to.
Because it sits so comfily between the DM6 and CK10, it edges out the Yinyoo D2B4 to be my current favourite non-MS4 custom-cum-universal Chi-Fi earphone. It totally nails my favourite genres of trance, electronic, and loads of other fast, bass-y genres. It is great.
Apart from hiss and overall sensitivity, the DM7 is gold. It does what the DM6 appeared to have tried to do, but better across the board, and with greater clarity. Is is warm where needed, and detailed in all the right spots. It shows a bit less bass response than the Yinyoo D2B4, but is more emotive in the mids. While I prefer the DM6’s flange and colour, I prefer listening to the DM7 hands-down. 299$ is pushing the envelope, but because the DM7 packs in six drivers per side, its cost/performance ratio is high. It’s just that, the higher you go on the price scale, the less you get in return. Are six drivers that much better than two? In some ways, sure, but overall, not really, especially if those two drivers are well implemented. If you want more than two, try three. If you want more than three, try four. If you want more than that, try the DM7 before you try the DM6. In the context of Drivers-Galore (R) the DM7 is worth the hullabaloo.