disclaimer: I purchased the BGVP DMS at a reduced price along with the Zero for purposes of review. I have owned the DMS previously (borrowed by my children) and was surprised to see this new one has removable filters that the original did not. For that reason, I have dubbed this the V2. BGVP offered a discount for the purchase, but no other incentives or remuneration were provided for this review. If you have an interest in BGVP products, check out their Facebook page, or AliExpress store.
Unboxing / Packaging:
Packaging starts with a black slipcover with the line drawing of the iem, model, and BGVP logo on the face and the specs on the reverse. Once removed, the box itself is tan with a large BGVP logo centered on the front. Lifting the cover reveals the earpieces and a variety of tips nestled in foam at top, and a soft case with the remaining items inside it in the lower portion. The kit now consists of the earpieces, mmcx cable and Velcro tie, 9 set of silicone tips in 3 different styles (gray, black, and blue), a single set of foam tips, a shirt clip, the filters (3 sets), and the soft case. Filters come in their own small plastic clam-shell for storage while not in use which is a nice touch as they are very small and easily lost if not kept in some sort of locking container. The case has enough room for the earpieces and cable with a side pocket for spare tips. Unfortunately, putting the extra filters in that pocket makes for a cramped fit for the earpieces so one needs to select a filter and leave the others at home to keep from over-stuffing the case.
While I have seen some claims that the original DMS was 3d printed using magnesium alloy (as was the DMG), current production DMS are being made using a machined aluminum shell (per BGVP) and are no longer available in silver. Blue is still an option for those wanting something a bit more lively than the black shown in this review. Despite being a full metal shell, the DMS is fairly lightweight. This is probably partially due to the size and shape and partially due to the weight reduction the large front vents accomplish. I consider the DMS to be medium sized so those with the smallest ears may have fit issues, but most should not. These have a true face-plate and inner shell design with all of the electronics sitting in the inner shell. The Face-plate has 3 large vents shaped to match the BGVP logo. Unlike a lot of others, these are functional vents. An additional pin-hole vent sits at the mid-point of the underside of the shell. Nozzles are separate components and are threaded onto the inner shell in a unique manner. The filters screw onto the shell rather than into it which seems to be a much more common arrangement. Its hard to picture but easy to see if you look at the pictures below. Nozzles have a distinct forward and upward rake to allow for deeper seating in the ear but isolation is limited due to shape and venting. Comfort was quite good and I had no issue with long listening sessions.
The DMS is another entry into the greater driver race with a 10mm dynamic driver with gold plated diaphragm for additional rigidity. handling the lows, two DEK-60318 packages for mids (for argument sake, the DEK is a dual package so this is 4 drivers) and a Knowles SWFK-31736 package (again dual drivers in one frame) for highs. A 4 way crossover is used giving the two mid driver packages two separate tunings, the other two branches of the cross are for the dynamic and the SWFK respectively. The DMS uses an internal support designed from the ground up to hold the drivers in perfect alignment to reduce phase issues and reflections/resonance (This part is still 3d printed I am told). Rated impedance is listed as 12Ω with a sensitivity of 110 dB/mW and a rated power of 9mW. I found the DMS easy to drive using a phone or tablet and with some higher potency sources some hiss is audible if power is raised with no music playing. These fall into the high sensitivity class where beyond a certain cut-off additonal power actually starts becoming detrimental as distortion and hiss both increase. At moderate volumes, I had no issues but for those who like to listen loud, keep this in mind when selecting a source.
The cable provided with the DMS departs from the standard of late in that it uses two parallel casings similar to lamp cord rather than going with the braid that is so popular right now. I actually like the style of this cable as it starts with a 90º 3.5mm jack with good strain relief. The cable is oxygen free copper in the parallel casings up to the black rubber splitter and chin slider. Single strands exit above that point with the right side carrying a single button remote / mic. (Other makers should take note here, it is very possible to put a mic and a chin slider on a cable and have both be viable if placements are correct). The cable has fairly gentle earhooks (again a plus) followed by MMCX connectors in black housings. The right side has a red band around the housing for easy identification. The earpieces are marked L/R but at first glance this appears to the be the last letter of the serial number so hides from the user. (As a side note this new pair has the same serial as my previous pair, and 3 others I’ve seen photos of online so I suspect it is less a serial and more a part #). The one drawback to the cable is it can be microphonic at times due mostly to weight. Those who run with these in may want a lighter weight cable to eliminate some of that, or at the least a shirt clip may be a good idea.
There are 3 provided sets of filters (black, red, and silver) with the DMS. Per BGVP literature, the silver filter is to accentuate high frequencies, the red is balanced/neutral, and the black is bass enhanced. I found their descriptions to be fairly accurate with the red filter stopping a bit short of neutral as it was still mid-bass boosted, but basically it comes closer to neutral than either of the other two filters. For that reason the sound notes that follow are all based on the red filter.
The DMS sub-bass has good extension and authority with the driver being quite quick on both attack and decay so rumble is quite satisfying. The bass emphasis centers at around 50Hz and tapers gently as we move through the mid-bass to the lower mids. Mid-bass is still elevated slightly and again shares the quality of the sub-bass with good slam but without a lot of lingering warmth due to a fairly quick decay. I find the V2 to be slightly more bass elevated than the original, but faster and cleaner so its a good trade off. These probably won’t satisfy the most diehard of bassheads, but everyone else will find they deliver plenty of punch and speed for EDM and similar genres.
Lower mids are still slightly forward of the true mids as they follow the slope from the mid-bass down. The bottom of the trough doesn’t arrive until just shy of the 1kHz mark. This gives the DMS a very different tuning than most as it has forward lower-mids that level off and then climb again as we move into the upper-mids. This gives the DMS a very rich mid-range with neither vocal being particularly in front of the other (male/female) but both being ahead of the other instrumentation. Guitar is well presented with acoustic being slightly less realistic than electric to my ear. Violins are good for the price class but lack that last little bit they need to be natural and realistic. Overall the defining word here is smooth, transitions between drivers, presentation of voices, and emphasis of both ends of the range are all done smoothly and cleanly.
The DMS has a polite treble tuning with lower treble presented roughly on the same plane with upper-mids and mid-bass to give the DMS an overall very even sound. Lower treble has good energy before dropping back some above that to prevent the DMS from getting strident. A final push between 10 and 12 kHz gives the DMS some top end air but avoids that 9kHz range that can very quickly make an in-ear sound shrill. Detail is good but not spectacular with micro-details being fairly minimal, but what is presented is very clean and crisp. Snare rattle is good with sharp lead edges and cymbals have no hint of metallic if falling a little short of entirely lifelike. This is a treble all but the most treble shy will be comfortable with.
Soundstage / Imaging:
The Stage on the DMS is helped by the venting of the driver which gives it a bit more depth than it might have otherwise. Width is still larger than depth, but not so much so that it sounds disproportional. There is some height, but it is limited compared to the DM7 (hey it cost twice as much it should be better). Instrument separation is good so seating the orchestra is a fairly straight forward task with the result being a slightly wider/shallower stage than in real life. Imaging is reasonable, but if the open back helped with stage, it may have hurt here. At times positions are a bit more general than pin-point and while movement is easily tracked exact positions are sometimes harder to define. The speed of the dynamic has definitely improved from the earlier version as I was hard pressed to find a track that was busy enough and complex enough to hear any compression as a result. While not impossible, you do have to work at it and it will handle most things without getting overwhelmed.
With so many models in the BGVP line carrying similar names, it can be hard to keep up. I’ve tried to put together a short list below comparing the DMS to other models in the line and even that took me several passes to make absolutely sure I wasn’t confusing one for another.
Similar shell but lacking venting to the outside, the DMG is more forward at both ends compared to a more neutral signature of the DMS. Those looking for Slam and sparkle may prefer the DMG, those looking for a more natural presentation will like the DMS a bit better – both offer tuning filters, but they are not interchangeable between models.
Completely different shape, materials, and internals as the DM6 uses a resin shell of the classic semi-custom shape and uses 5 balanced armature drivers internally. While both the DM6 and DMS use Knowles made drivers, they share none of the same models as the DM6 uses 22955 and 30017 in place of those listed above in the DMS. What both do for me is prove that BGVP knows how to build a crossover to get the most out of those drivers. The DM6 has less rumble but good slam and a bit more tightly defined bass than the DMS. Both have good mids with the DM6 having better detail and micro-detail. Treble hands down goes to the DMS though as the 6 has a much more forward treble that while more details is also prone to become a bit harsh at times.
DMS (original) –
No filters, same build otherwise. bigger and faster low end on V2 compared to V1 but top end remains largely the same.
So how about some competition from other vendors? Ok, the BQEYZ Spring 1, TFZ King III, and Ikko OH1 are all roughly the same price point, so lets so a quick compare.
BQEYZ Spring 1
Both are metal shells but the Spring1 is closed back, both are hybrid with the spring adding a piezo element the DMS does not have. Both have similar low end extension and both have sub-bass that isn’t super tight or detailed. Starting at the mid-bass though, the Spring 1 has considerably better detail presentation at the expense of some smoothness from the DMS. The top end is much more detailed on the Spring, but again at the expense of smoothness and fatigue. The treble shy will almost assuredly prefer the DMS while those looking for more detail than the DMS can provide may well like the Spring 1 better (I do).
TFZ King III
Both are aluminum CNC made shells but the TFZ is closed back vs the open back DMS. Internally they share little as the TFZ is a single dynamic vs the hybrid DMS. Both share good low end thump and somewhat fluid mids and both have fairly mild treble. Stage favors the DMS as it is both wider and deeper while the TFZ is more intimate. Honestly these two are fairly close and it will come down to preference to decide a winner. For me the fit is a bit easier on the DMS, so I gravitate that direction.
Both have metal shells but the ikko is almost art while the DMS seems a bit more industrial. Both are hybrids with the ikko using a 10mm dynamic and a single knowles armature per earpiece. The Ikko has less bass emphasis and a bit less sub-bass extension but what is there is more textured and detailed than what the DMS is able to produce. Mids are solid on both with the Ikko being more linear as its rise is in the lower treble and it carries that rise further into the true treble than the DMS does by comparison. This gives the ikko a bit more treble detail but also makes it prone to a bit more fatigue. The ikko is also a touch warmer than the DMS which some may find appealing while others will prefer the cooler sounding DMS.
Thoughts / Conclusion:
When presented with the option to purchase a couple of BGVP models at a discounted price for review, I kind of tossed around which ones it should be. With my emphasis on budget, I ultimately settled on the Zero and the DMS partially because I already had the DMG (and its clone the M6), and partially because I had owned a DMS one time before and had one of my kids lay claim to it. I knew the DMS had been good at the time I’d tried it before, but wondered if it was still competitive 18months or so later. At the time I didn’t realize there was a version 2 as this would have made my decision easier. I think the the thing I appreciate most about V2 is the improvement in driver speed in the dynamic. I know some expect me to say the filters, but honestly they don’t do enough to distinguish themselves from each other in my opinion and the speed ends up making a bigger difference than the filter combinations. The signature is relaxed and comfortable if not super detailed and analytical, but when looking at the target audience, I think this is a design choice that is probably well made. The DMS is very forgiving of poor source material, is about as non-fatiguing as it gets without losing all life in the process, and still manages to be engaging in the process. So yes, the DMS especially in its V2 incarnation is still relevant. It may not be miles ahead of its competition in its price bracket, but it certainly doesn’t fall far behind either.
Pros: Good build and kit, relaxed comfortable signature, improved bass speed
Cons: Limited details, Filters could do more, imaging is only average