Thanks to BGVP for sending me the NE5 to test and review. I am not affiliated with the company or any of its sellers and write this review with an unbiased opinion regardless of how the review turns out.
BGVP is based out of Dongguan, China. They manufacture and sell a wide range of products like in-ear monitors, earbuds, cables, cases, etc. They initially came into prominence with successful products like DMG and DM6. Since then they’ve launched a wide range of products with us having reviewed their EST hybrids EST12 and EST8, ArtMagic V12, DM7, ArtMagic VG4 and BGVP ArtMagic DH3 here on the website. Today we’re reviewing their newly launched 5 driver tri-brid with 1DD+2BA+2EST – BGVP NE5.
Website – BGVP NE5 (Official AliExpress Store)
- Five driver tri-brid configuration (10mm Dynamic driver with liquid silicone diaphragm | Sonion 2300 series BA for midrange | Knowles RAD BA for high frequencies | Dual Sonion EST drivers for ultra-high frequencies)
- Impedance – 12 ohm
- Sensitivity – 109dB
- Frequency Response Range – 10Hz-40kHz.
- Channel difference – </= 1dB(20Hz-10kHz)
- THD+N – </= 0.5%.
- Patented four-way frequency distribution.
- Swappable tuning nozzle filters (Shadow Grey, Red and Champagne Gold)
- High-precision CNC machined earpieces made with 7000 series Aluminium alloy.
- Fifth-generation DLC 3D printed inner cavity.
- 6N Silver-plated mono-crystalline copper cable.
- Connector Type – MMCX
Included in the box.
- BGVP NE5
- Filters – Shadow Grey, Red and Champagne Gold
- 6N Silver-plated mono-crystalline copper cable.
- Silicone ear tips – Balanced (SML with black bore), Vocal (SML with different bore colours), Bass (SML clear tips) and Black ear tips (SML).
- Memory foam ear tips – 1 pair
- Cleaning tool
- Manuals/warranty cards
Build quality, fit and noise isolation.
NE5 comes in 2 colours – Shadow Grey and Silver. My unit has very well built Shadow Grey (smokey nickel) coloured 7000 series aircraft grade Aluminium alloy shells. They are perfectly milled, plated and have an extremely smooth glossy surface with a semi-custom shape that slides and fits in my ears perfectly. Shells are slightly on the bigger side and fit my above average size ears like a glove but may protrude outside in smaller ears. However since they have nice semi-custom shaped contours, they should fit most ears well. It comes with 3 different detachable (screw on) nozzle tuning filters which can swap for some tuning customisation. They complete the semi-custom contours of the shells with good length and enable a medium to deep insertion fit depending on the choice of ear tips. The threads on the filters and shell are long, so they screw in perfectly and securely. Noise isolation is on the average side since the shells have a vent on the top for the dynamic driver.
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Cable – NE5 comes stock with a 6N silver-plated mono-crystalline copper cable. It is slim, very supple and extremely easy to manage but isn’t the most premium looking flashy cable. I do like its form factor and even the looks but well, I expected more coming from BGVP having tried the cables that came with their cheaper IEMs like VG4, DM7 and DM8. NE5’s cable has slim chrome plated 2-pin connectors, chin slider, y-split and jack with 3.5mm termination. You can in fact choose the jack termination you need in the stock cable from the order page. Even though DM8’s stock cable was a bit on the heavier side, it was a 2.5mm balanced cable that came with 4.4mm and 3.5mm adapters and was much more versatile as you could use it with different outputs. BGVP should’ve taken the same route with NE5 too.
BGVP has new patented tuning filter tech where they have a vent in the Champagne Gold and Red filters with an acoustic filter on them that tweaks the sound. If one doesn’t know, it’s easy to miss since it is so small! In my tests, I felt Shadow Grey (SG) had most amount of bass, Red had a bit less bass and a tiny bit more lower treble and Champagne Gold (CG) had the least amount of bass in comparison. But frankly, these differences are more minute than substantial.
Summary – My impressions are with the Red and Champagne Gold filter as I liked them best for my preferences and liking. Also, the included ear tips have an affect on the signature and you can use them to fine tune the signature to your liking. I mainly used the wide bore Black and Balanced ear tips (Black bore) for the sound impressions.
NE5 has a big and punchy sounding signature with a bass emphasis, fuller lower-midrange body, strong instrument defining upper-midrange, resolving treble and an overall warm and natural tonality. It has a more musical and fun signature than reference or clinical.
Bass – NE5 has a 10mm DD to handle bass duties. It has a 7-9dB bass shelf (depending on the filter) which boosts not just the sub-bass but also around 5dBs of mid-bass compared to neutral. As a result, it has strong sub-bass rumble as well as strong mid-bass slam which adds good excitement and fun into the signature. Bass has softer, more rounded hits that you casually expect from a dynamic driver, with bass having fuller notes and more punchy impact compared to what I consider neutral. Drum kicks have well rounded organic ‘in your face’ punch rather than them being small, sharp or clicky. You can tweak the bass quantity using the filters as well as different stock ear tips. But in general, even though NE5’s bass is well present, NE5 has a clean presentation in the centre without the bass overpowering the mix much.
Midrange – The slightly fuller 250-500Hz lower midrange adds extra body to snares and vocals than neutral. The 700-1kHz region of lower-midrange sounds ever so slightly dipped by 1-1.5dBs in comparison. Upper-midrange has a forward presentation with a tonally accurate 11-12dB pinna gain boost from 1kHz to 5kHz, which balances the bass shelf and helps instruments have good, strong definition and presence without ever coming off as shouty (mainly because of the bass to upper-midrange relative tuning). Most instruments have a natural tonality with a slightly fuller and warmer tinge, owing to the fuller lower-midrange body.
Treble – Lower treble is natural and well-balanced without any intrusive peaks standing out particularly. NE5’s upper-treble has good extension till 20kHz but is tuned very slightly on the warmer side. I personally would’ve like a bit more upper-treble air to perfect NE5 to my preferences but I enjoy the stock tuning as it is nevertheless and YMMV anyway. The slightly warmer character does help in boosting volume levels a little above average when I want to, without any harshness coming in the way. Acoustic guitars have good presence and clarity but have slightly fuller sounding body compared to IEMs like Moondrop Blessing2 or S8/A8 because of fuller sounding 20-500Hz.
Resolution, Soundstage and Imaging – NE5 has really good resolution and clarity for the musical, fuller, fun sound signature it has as well as for the price. What I really like is how NE5 presents note definition, instrument realism and dynamic punch of mixes without clouding detail retrieval, making me notice every instrument in the mix precisely. The soundstage’s width and depth are above average considering its fuller sounding signature but its sense of space portrayal depends as per song. In some songs it engulfs you and throws you into the space created in the mix really well. I tried X Ambassadors’ song ‘Gorgeous’ first and was impressed by how NE5 presented this particular songs with a nice holographic soundstage, strong bass, kick and snare punch as well as good clarity, instrument definition and precise imaging. Definitely check this song out with the NE5!
BGVP DM8 – DM8 has 8 BA drivers whereas NE5 is a tri-brid with 1DD+2BA+2EST. DM8 comes in 2 shell options – Resin and Wood whereas NE5 has an aircraft grade Aluminium alloy shell. Build quality wise, I think NE5 takes the cake as it has a shell that is built like a tank and will survive rough handling over the years, though DM8 is no slouch with its exquisite wood shells for the asking price. NE5 is a bit easier to drive compared to DM8, though neither needs big power as such. Sound wise, NE5 and DM8 share a similar-ish school of tuning but NE5 picks up from where DM8 left off and improves on it. NE5 has a bigger feeling sound signature which is not only punchier, has better resolution and detail retrieval but is also more focussed and has better precision. It has slightly better overall tonality too. NE5 has better low end extension and presence. Both have similar mid-bass quantity but NE5 has better sub-bass rumble as well as overall bass impact and punch, owing to a dynamic driver handling bass. Lower-midrange is quite similarly tuned but NE5 has better separation and resolution in the range. NE5’s upper-midrange is more forward sounding by around 2-3dBs (but never shouty) and as a result has better instrument definition, punch as well as tonality and timbre. NE5 has slightly smoother, better lower-treble presentation and better upper-treble extension as well. NE5 has a slightly bigger soundstage as well as better imaging.
TRI Starshine – Starshine has 2BA+2ESTs with a full resin shell. Starshine with its 56Ω impedance and 98dB sensitivity needs significantly more power to drive and benefits from powerful sources. Sound wise, Starshine is a significantly different sounding IEM compared to NE5. It does have a 5dB bass shelf which boosts sub-bass, mid-bass as well as lower-midrange under 1kHz but has significantly boosted treble starting from 8kHz upwards. As a result, it comes across as much brighter, sizzly and sparkly in comparison. NE5 is much more balanced sounding. NE5 has more sub-bass rumble as well as mid-bass punch. Drums and vocals sound fuller in NE5 whereas they sound slightly leaner, thinner, sizzly and sparkly in Starshine. Starshine does have a forward upper-midrange presentation but has its primary peak at 4kHz instead of the more tonally accurate 3kHz of the NE5. This gives a slightly different tonal character to Starshine. Starshine has a wider soundstage owing to its leaner and brighter character whereas it has similar depth as NE5. Overall, NE5 is a fuller, richer, punchier and more dynamic sounding IEM whereas Starshine is brighter and more sparkly, making for a more energetic listen.
Moondrop Blessing2 – Blessing 2 is a hybrid 1DD+4BA IEM with a resin shell and a metal faceplate. Sound wise, it is a reference-neutral IEM with a clean and accurate tonal presentation whereas NE5 is a much more punchier and fun sounding IEM with a nice tasteful bass boost and fairly natural tonality and timbre that has a slightly warmer and fuller tinge to it. Blessing2 has a subtle linear bass boost of around 4dBs which primarily boosts sub-bass and very little mid-bass. In comparison, NE5 has a significantly bigger bass boost in sub-bass as well as mid-bass and has much more punch, boom and rumble. NE5 has fuller lower-midrange in the 250-500Hz whereas Blessing2 is rather linear, more neutral there. As a result, NE5 has a fuller bodied presentation and Blessing2 is more clean and neutral sounding. Both IEMs have a similar forward upper-midrange presentation but but NE5 has stronger instrument definition as well as better dynamics in the region. Both have a similar treble presentation but NE5 has better detail retrieval and resolution. NE5’s has a slightly fuller soundstage whereas width and depth boundaries are similar.
NE5 is a nice worthy upgrade over BGVP’s previous models, DM8 and DM7, and is very well priced at $500 in my opinion. Even though I wouldn’t necessarily classify NE5 as a bass head IEM per se, most people who like their IEMs to have good fun bass presence without compromising on definition, clarity or details will quite dig the NE5. A little upper-treble boost and it would’ve been even better, but that’s just me, my preferences and YMMV. Nevertheless, with its strong and sturdy 7000 series aircraft grade Aluminium alloy shells, an attractive shell design, fun-musical-dynamic-punchy sound signature and good set of accessories, NE5 is hard to fault and is a good strong contender in the otherwise highly populated sub-$500 segment. If you’re in the market with a budget of $500 and want a highly enjoyable and punchy IEM, definitely check the NE5 out!
Gear used for testing and review.
- DAPs – Hiby R6 2020 | iBasso DX160
- Laptop – Apple Macbook Pro 15″
- Phone – OnePlus 7 Pro
Reference Songs list.
- Foo Fighters- The Pretender, Best of you & Everlong
- Coldplay- Paradise, Up in flames & Everglow + Everyday Life Album
- Ed Sheeran- Thinking out loud, Bloodstream & Galway Girl
- Chainsmokers – Somebody, Sickboy, This Feeling & Closer
- John Mayer- Slow dancing in a burning room, Stop this Train & Say
- Gavin James- Always & Hearts on fire
- Switchfoot- Meant to live & Dare you to move
- Our Lady Peace – Do You Like It & Innocent
- Linkin Park- Papercut, Somewhere I belong & Talking to myself
- Maroon 5- She will be loved, Payphone & Lost stars
- Lifehouse- All in all & Come back down
- Breaking Benjamin – Diary of Jane
- Karnivool- Simple boy & Goliath
- Dead Letter Circus- Real you
- I Am Giant- Purple heart, City limits & Transmission
- Muse – Panic station
- James Bay – Hold back the river