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EST12

BGVP

Rating

Price

8.9

1270 €

Review published:

07/2020

Driver

12

per Side

0

Dynamic

8

Balanced

Impedance

30 Ohm

PZ/ES/PL

4

Sound

9

Bass

8.5

Mids

8.5

Trebles

Sensitivity

110 dB

8.7

Handling

9.5

Haptic

D

Value

+

Daily Life

Frequency

10 - 40000 Hz

Intro

The BGVP EST12 (8*BA & 4*EST) together with the V12 (12*BA) currently represents the flagship of BGVP. No less than 12 drivers try to harmonize together, which in my opinion works very well. The EST12 can be tonally influenced with the help of 3 dip-switches and we are not talking about slight nuances, but about real signature changes. This makes the EST12 of course quite versatile, but you should also have a certain preference for the basic signature, because as much as you can influence the sound, the basic characteristics of the individual drivers are of course not changeable. Apart from that, not every setting is really a musical enrichment, but more about that later. Nevertheless, the EST12 won't appeal to everyone's taste, but I also think the EST12 doesn't want to appeal to the masses. This is already taken care of by the much cheaper models, which are not only accessible to a wider mass, but are also a bit more mass-compatible in terms of sound.

Handling

Unlike its smaller siblings, the EST12 comes with a 2-pin connector. Up to now BGVP has only used MMCX.

The scope of delivery is almost the same for all models in the ArtMagic series. Only the cable varies and also the included transport case. Otherwise there is a pair of foam tips, standard, vocal and bass silicone tips, as well as a cleaning tool. In this case the cable is taken from the DM7/VG4, which is one of my favorites from BGVP.

Due to the long and somewhat narrower sound openings, the EST12 in its semi-custom design is incredibly comfortable to wear and you can also reach for shorter tips, while maintaining the same seal, to further enhance the wearing comfort.
Apart from that, the EST12 is already a small humming machine and even outdoes the rather bulky DM7. But well, 12 drivers also need space and when they are integrated as well and ergonomically as here, it's remarkable. Also the board with the 3 dip-switches has to find its place.

The isolation is excellent and that in both directions. This advantage results of course from the completely closed construction.

Sound

The BGVP EST12 is so far the most versatile IEM I can review when it comes to tuning possibilities using dip switches. 3 switches make 8 combinations in total. So here the signature can be manipulated with a variety of variants. The VG4 also has 3 switches, but the differences are not as serious as with the EST12, where you can have an influence up to +-8dB. For the review I choose the standard setting, with which the EST12 is delivered and which is in my opinion the most balanced and linear. Of course, I will also briefly discuss the individual switches, but not the combination of them. This would go beyond the scope of this article and if you get the chance to listen to the EST12 you can play a little bit yourself.

The bass of the EST12 is really great. I'm talking about the neutral setting (000), as well as the bass-emphasized combinations (010, 011 etc.). You can squeeze up to 6 dB more out of the bass and still it doesn't tend to overdrive. The bass has a satisfactory depth, even if it doesn't reach the pressure found with a SHURE SE846, but is in no way inferior in quality. Fast, dry, detailed and textured. And it can also turn up the heat when it's needed, especially when you pull the lever. It's a pity, however, that there is no confioguration where only the sub-bass is emphasized, but instead the whole bass range gets a proper boost. Nevertheless, I evaluate the bass tuning of the basic setting and here it presents itself well balanced, to the point and naturally, as one is used to from reference earphones, without excessive testosterone. Nothing for bassheads, but for the lovers of fine bass nuances.

The mids are extremely detailed, but also a bit tricky. In and of itself they are of the warmer type, sound mostly natural, but sometimes a bit tough and somehow slightly tonal off track. The impression is rather subjective, as the mids, with their smooth nature, don't emphasize a few things as separated and sharply as one is used to from the VG4, for example. Concerned are for example electric guitars, which lack a bit of power and freshness. Voices step out of the mix and are presented with a natural timbre. Rarely, however, male voices can sound a bit more distanced and not quite so lively. Women have a slight advantage here. With the mids you can play properly and depending on the switch setting, the signature can be shaped from warm/neutral, to classic V, light W, up to the bass-dominant L-signature. Of course, this has a strong effect on the midrange presentation. Nevertheless, I notice that the mids have a lot of quality, but for my taste they still deliver the "weakest" performance in the trio, but still on a very high level. No matter which setting you choose, you can't rob the mids of their warmth and softness, which is why rock music, for example, sometimes doesn't sound crisp enough for me, so that some elements are felt to be swallowed, even if they are present when listening closer. The mellowness of the mids takes some getting used to, but in the end they know how to convince me. But I can also understand if someone can't do anything with them and if the mids are too dull and/or lifeless.

Like the mids, the highs are very experimental and adaptable. On the one hand, the high frequencies can be influenced with the 1st and 3rd switch, although actually all settings are indirectly influenced by changing the weighting. However, this is most noticeable with the 3rd switch. Out-Of-The-Box the trebles sound wonderfully transparent and also bring an airiness that not only opens the stage horizontally but also opens up a wide space in width. Compared to the VG4, the trebles are a bit more secure and relaxed, although they have more presence in the lower high frequencies of the EST12, but roll off a bit earlier. This makes the VG4 sound slightly more defined, but the EST12, despite its lightness, brings more content across without kneading. Easiness, or relaxation is also the keyword here, because without using the 3rd switch, I have almost no problems with sibilants, or unpleasant stinging etc., which also improves the audibility. Sometimes the ES12 is too well-behaved in the high frequencies and I have to be a bit more careful not to miss anything.

The stage is one of the absolute strengths of the EST12. It feels very spatial without seeming lost, but thanks to the good voice positioning, it can still provide a free but intimate feeling.

100: Usually dip switches push a certain frequency range, with the 1st switch this is exactly the other way around, which makes it more interesting in combination with the other two switches. It attenuates the range from 200 to over 4kHz by up to 3 dB. This gives the bass more presence, as well as the high frequencies. So we get a slight V-signature where the mids retreat a bit, sound thinner and, to be honest, the EST12 is robbed of its liveliness in the mids.

010: Hello bass! Hello warmth! The 2nd switch boosts the bass and mids up to 6 dB. I like bass and the bass of the EST12 technically offers a lot of quality, but this setting doesn't work for me on every track. This setting does noticeably discolour the otherwise quite natural reproduction of voices and sometimes makes the sound too fat for me. Since the EST12 is not the most crisp, it sounds slightly washed out with this setting. But well, if you need bass you can get it, but unfortunately not separately (at least not in this setting), but only together with the midrange boost. But you get used to it, it's a big change only when changing directly from the basic setting.

001: If there is too little level in the high frequencies and you are not deterred by an increased sibilant emphasis, you will get used to the 3rd switch. It gives the EST12 a brighter and more transparent signature and lets the sound clearer. In itself I like this setting, also in combination with the 2nd switch, but here it depends on the song whether I can cope with the celebrities in the high frequencies in the long run. However, it's easier for me to localize details and subjectively I get more out of it.

111: This setting is actually one of the most fun, in a W-signature. Fat bass, mids that can exist next to the bass boost and pushed highs so that the signature doesn't become too dull, bass-heavy and dark, like at 110 for example. Sometimes a bit overloaded, but also powerful and driving.

Outro

The mids, with their gentle, "sweet" character, and the highs, with their rather earlier roll-off, give the EST12 a technical edge, as these characteristics cannot be changed. The bass, on the other hand, doesn't play quite as low as for example the BA bass of the SHURE SE846, but it's on par in terms of quality. It is a bit softer and warmer, but on the other hand more transparent, dynamic and versatile (no one-note bass).

For me the price jump from the VG4 is too high though, because I don't know why I should spend more than 1000 € more. Yes, we have slightly improved ergonomics, but the ear size has to fit. Of course, we also use a more expensive driver technology, and that in total also in a triple amount compared to the VG4. I also have more versatile sound adjustment possibilities and I am more variable in the signature. Only the EST12 does not quite live up to its flagship claim in terms of sound for my taste when I consult the other cheaper BGVP models. Taste is of course the keyword here, because with its soft, detailed, matter-of-fact, fatigue-free (without 3rd switch) and warm nature, owning the EST12 is certainly a fairly mature tuning, as many of the other BGVP models are rather playful and excitingly tuned, with the exception of the DM7, or perhaps a more straightforward VG4.
But I think that the potential of the drivers, even in their number, is not yet fully exhausted, the EST12 needs some getting used to and in the end is certainly not an IEM for the masses, if you ignore the price tag.
The BGVP EST12 is an excellent and extremely versatile neutral/warm IEM (basic signature), but it can't quite live up to my expectations and doesn't quite set an exclamation mark in its price range, because with many big players you would have to dig a lot deeper into your pockets when it comes to driver selection, implementation and number, but sometimes less is more when it's not technical features but sound!

Thanks to OARDIO for the review unit.
https://www.oardio.com/bgvp-es12-artmagic.html

Legend

Haptic:

Here the processing plays a role and the usability of the scope of supply. Additionally the appearance, wearing comfort and robustness.


Value:
Here I evaluate for me subjectively the price/performance ratio - does not flow into the evaluation!

Z: No Brainer

A: money well spent

B: all right, you can do

C: gives better for less money

D: overpriced

E: collector's price

Daily life:
Here, I focus on the long-term audibility and whether I can hear it well out of the box. This is of course very subjective and therefore only a minimal deduction or bonus. 

(-0.1, 0, +0.1)

Frequenzgang

Rating in Letters

S: 9.5 - 10

A: 9.0 - 9.4​

B: 8.0 - 8.9​

C: 7.0 - 7.9

D: 6.0 - 6.9​
E: 5.0 - 5.9​

F: 0.0 - 4.9​

SGZ-DN1

SGZ-DN1

ZERO

ZERO

DH3

DH3

DMS

DMS

DM6

DM6

VG4

VG4

DM7

DM7

DMG

DMG

EST12

EST12

EST8

EST8

V12

V12

...

Contact:

chi-fier@gmx.de

CHI-FIEAR © 2020 by David Hahn

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BGVP EST12 - 3