Smooth yet detailed
Priced at $229, the VG4 dwells at the lower end of ArtMagic lineup from BGVP and delivers a detailed yes smooth notes. It trades some bite and attack for a more musical approach.
If you like the control and precision of BA earphones but don't want it to sound very serious, the VG4 is for you.
Matching with sources
Feel inside the ear
HOW DOES THIS SOUNDS:-
The BA based BGVP earphones have made a distinct name for themselves. The DM6 and DM7 are some of the most popular earphones in their respective price ranges. They are said to be ahead of the competition when it comes to overall balance and the level of details.
The VG4 uses two Sonion 33AJ007 drivers and two Knowles drivers in an electronic 4 way crossover circuit.
The VG4 belongs to the Art Magic lineup but sides more with the DM series of earphones. It houses two Knowles and two Sonion drivers in a 4 way crossover. They have not specified how many drivers are responsible for lows mids and highs but from their description one can assume that there is one driver of lower end, two drivers for the mid range and one driver for treble region.
The overall signature is balanced with smoothness to boot, it neither sounds warm, bright or dark. There is little to no coloration and the control over harsh peaks or aggressive notes is outstanding.
Burned for more than 80 hrs I am using stock tips with Plenue R and shanling M5s for the review.
The VG4 uses two Sonion 33AJ007 BA drivers for both the lower and mid range frequencies. The VG4 doesn’t sound flat or dry like the TSMR 2 or Avara AV3. It delivers a nicely balanced but still exciting lower end.
Unlike the AV3 which uses one BA driver and sounds flat and lacks thump the VG4 deliver fuller and meatier notes. True to BA characteristics it barely has any flab or wooliness to it. What it does is move good amount of air with a sizeable slam with good amount of control over notes. The sub-bass have very good extension and acceptable amount of rumble to it. Mid bass has more energy and body giving the lower end a fuller and considerably meatier feel when compared to TSMR 2 or AV3. The upper bass is well controlled and blends nicely into the lower mid range. The stage size is nicely rounded and has good density and imaging.
The decay speed is slightly slower than most of the BA based earphones giving it better precipitation and a tad more weight to the notes. It doesn’t seems to be in a hurry and lets the listener enjoy the music. The VG4 delivers very good amount of texture and the level of details is right up in this price segment.
When it comes to quantity it lies somewhere in between Fibae Black and ER-4P (closer to the Fibae Black). The quality of the bass which accounts for definition and resolution slots the VG4 slightly under the Avara AV3 and neck in neck with TSMR 2.
There is rarely any BA based earphone which has a similarly detailed and musical sound signature.
MID RANGE :-
If the bass region is good and nicely compliments the VG4, the mid range runs the show here. The mid range is where the VG4’s strength lies. Held up partly by both Sonion and Knowles drivers the VG4 delivers a smoother still detailed mid range with very good clarity. The smoothness of notes is evident here. There is not a single note, let it be an instrument or male or female vocals which jumps out of the line to make the VG4 sound uncomfortable. Notes sound slightly fuller still accurate with thickness.
The transition from upper bass to lower mid range region lacks a hint of forwardness but still has good amount of clarity to it. Earphones like TSMR 2 do better in this phase with better transparency and energy.
The vocal of the VG4 is nicely smooth and creamy. It doesn’t let any harshness off exhibiting fantastic amount of control without sounding restricted. Both male and female vocals sound tonally correct with good amount of energy to them. Notes have right amount of depth and thickness too. One might feel that some texture is ironed out while trying to make things smoother. It slightly lacks a bit of texture and resolution when compared to more capable earphones like Avara AV3 and Fibae Black.
The VG4 delivers good instrumental attack while keeping things smooth. When compared to the AV3 and even the TSMR 2 the VG4 lacks a bit of attack and bite, it just slides down smoothly. The upper mid range has no peaks and is nicely leveled with the rest of the mid range.
Layering and separation is very good with good amount of space between instruments. The stage size of the VG4 has good natural expansion. It is nicely rounded with a bit more depth than width or height. Due to the bigger stage and smoother notes the VG4 lacks a bit of density.
The VG4 has two Knowles drivers to work around the mid range and treble region.
The VG4 has one of the best upper mid to lower transition in its price range. The transition from upper mid range to lower treble region is very smooth and does not have a single bothering element in it. It is one of the cleanest sounding treble region in this price bracket.
The treble region has good amount of spark and energy to it, it doesn’t bite like the TSMR 2 but still leaves a good impression. The extension along with stage size is very good. What makes the VG4 slightly dull is it applies a bit too much cream over the treble region to make things smooth. The prime strength of the VG4 lies in its bass and mid region. Where the smoothness of notes in the mid region keeps any type of harshness away, the VG4 over compensates with smoothness of the treble region. It leaves the VG4 with lower amount of attack. It has good amount of details but thanks to the smoothness it sounds marginally dark.
Layering and separation of the treble region is up to the class with good amount of air between instruments. The stage size is bigger than most of the earphones in this price range.
PAIRING WITH SOURCES:-
The VG4 with a nominal impedance of just 16ohm and power requirement of mare 6mw it is a very source friendly earphone. I have not experienced an all BA earphone behave this good with mobile devices. It barely changes its stance, it neither sounds thin or unnaturally thick. It is not justified to expect mobile devices to churn out better details than dedicated daps but the Asus 5Z manages to deliver slightly better SQ than the Tempotec V1a.
The V1a is an entry level DAP better known for its versatility than its sound quality.
Its sound signature reflects exactly on the very neutral sounding VG4. It lacks a fair bit of treble extension and the level of micro details is not something to write home about. It limits the natural stage expansion of the VG4, specially the stage of the treble range. Mid range sounds considerably better than the Treble region with better details and stage size. Vocals too sound good but sadly the overall tonality is on the metallic side. The lower end of the V1a nicely sides with the capabilities of the VG4 with good amount of thump and extension. The sub-bass extension is good if not fantastic and mid bass body is meaty and full.
I find the Layering, separation and stage size of the V1a is limiting the ability of the VG4.
Regarded as one of the best DAPs for under $500 it brings out the musical side of the VG4. With a more capable chip and extra power the M5s drives the VG4 to its full potential.
The Bass sounds fuller and deeper than the V1a. The mid bass is nicely paced and delivers very good amount of details. Mid range sounds very spacious and accurate with tonality. The level of details is very good. The treble region exhibits fantastic extension and good amount of details. The overall stage size with the M5s is considerably bigger than the V1a.
Layering and separation is as good as it gets.
The two years old DAP still delivers some of the cleanest sound output.
The slightly drier sounding R makes a nice pairing with the musical and smooth sounding VG4.
The bass sounds more accurate and slightly flatter than the juicier M5s. It delivers nice sub-bass reach. Mid bass has a hair faster decay. Mid range sounds clean and accurate with very good amount of details and accuracy. Vocals sound slightly less intriguing than the M5s. Treble extension and energy is as good as it gets. The stage size is slightly smaller than the M5s.
Layering and separation is cleaner with slightly better air between instruments compared to the M5s.