BGVP has a growing line of Hi-Fi IEMs that sit at fairly moderate prices. I’ve just began getting more wind of their IEMs as they’ve started to gain more popularity, and today I got my hands on a pair of their NS9 IEMs, which run for $169 and feature both Dynamic and Balanced Armature drivers. IEMs in this price range I’ve found to be very hit or miss, so let’s talk about how the NS9 performs. I did a video review on the NS9, you can watch it here.
What’s in the box
- Hard shell carrying case
- 2 extra sets of tuning nozzles
- 1.2m cable
Look and Feel
I would give these good marks in the style category. We have the gold model here today, but they also come in grey and blue. I found the metallic shell with its unique dimensional design on the back makes a fun retro statement. The rest of the IEM is pretty standard matte black, ear curvature shaped. However, of course some feel more snug than others. The NS9, at least for my ears was a very comfortable fit, and locked in right away.
These have an E50DT balanced armature driver for the high end, a Knowles RAF-3287 balanced armature driver for the high mid range, and two FDK-60718 drivers, which were custom designed for BGVP. In total they contain 7 balanced armature drivers and 2 dynamic drivers. They also use a frequency driver circuit to help balance the sound. The cable included is a high purity 5N crystal copper silver-plated cable, with an expandable MMCX design, said to reduce distortion and transmission loss. The cable is available with a 2.5, 2.5, or 4.4mm termination.
They have an impedance of 25Ohms and a frequency response of 10Hz-40kHz
The soundstage on these is very cohesive, perhaps not the widest I’ve ever hear but very strong nonetheless. It feels like there is a good amount of blend between the layering that really fills out the sound well, and vocals get a comfortable amount of room. The edges of the stereo field feel well conveyed and the sense of width feels slightly above the expectation in this price range. These definitely have a soundstage on par with and often slightly above their competitors.
The high end on these is bright but specific. It functions primarily around the 16kHz range and less prominently in the 8kHz range. Overall, their high end is very warm, and in terms of that high end shine you’re gonna get it but just a thin layer. There’s substantial definition and detail throughout, but they’re pulling the detail in more of a smooth way than a snappy articulation. However, like I said, we begin to have more sparkle as we get near 16kHz. Because of their less wide boost on the high end, I almost wanted to call them slightly dark at first, but that’s definitely not the case. More so, they’re realistic and honest. I listened to Eartheater’s album Trinity which is drenched in high end and still felt its full, feathery air coming right through the NS9s. However it was definitely not boosted, and this rang true on less intensely bright songs, where you will get a very honest translation as these are not afraid to lean into a slightly darker sound. The detail and crispness remains no matter how bright of a sound you get out of them on any particular song. They’re very accurate but never lose any intricacy.
The high mid on these seems to take precedent over the high end, we get a bit more activity from them. I listened to “Defender” by Simian Mobile Disco, a song that uses a combination electronic and acoustic drum sounds underlying a full live choir. These gave a ton of presence to the massive vocal layers and warmed up their wide-spread, reverb-filled production. The low mid, namely sitting on the drums on this song, retained a ton of punch and body, with huge timpani drums panned left and right sending velvety rumbles to each ear. These have noticeably present midrange without it getting sharp. They don’t give you that thinner, overly smooth mid some headphones lean towards, but they definitely stick to their overall warm, built sound throughout the mid range.
These have pretty booming low end, and I personally consider booming a positive word. There doesn’t seem to be a level low-end these cant handle, no massive kick drum or bass line seems to be of any challenge. They balance the lows well with the rest of the tuning, allowing their large character ample space to perform without dominating. I listened to “He” by Jai Paul on these, an 80s synth filled, sub-tastic track. The incredibly cinematic, punchy, guttural translation the NS9s gave of this song was truly impressive. My head felt like it had been transformed into a subwoofer and I wanted it to stay that way forever. By no means is this the experience of every song, but when asked to deliver incredible bass, the NS9 hands it right over. Less bass heavy songs get an honest translation, and still get buckets of punch and intensity. I tried LP’s “Suspicion,” where bass is not the focus of its brighter, more resonant composition. On this track, the NS9 had no problem taking a more subtle approach to the low end and letting it breathe more. For me, the NS9’s low-end may be their most pleasant feature.
I wasn’t sure whether or not I trusted the extra tuning nozzles on these to make a difference or not, and I couldn’t find much information on which was supposed to do what. Upon giving them each a try, I noticed a bit more change in the sound than expected. The black nozzles I used throughout this review, so I’ll tell you what I felt was altered with the others.
Red Nozzle: These felt a fair amount brighter, upping those 16k frequencies and starting to edge a little closer too the 8k range too. These might’ve been my favorite.
Silver Nozzle: These seemed to extend the highs even more so along with subtly extending the low-end.
I think these definitely cater to a specific listener who wants big bass, warm high end, and full mids. They have a very smooth, very warm sound, and are not meant to be that extra defined, snappy, mid/high heavy sound. At what they do, they do it extremely well. Their bass response is very exciting, and their overall sound feels way above its price range. I think these could be a real hit and get my seal of approval.
You can find them at Audio46