Pros: Decent Technical Performance for the price, Fun V-shaped Tuning
Cons: Impossible Fit, Muted Mids, Potentially Sibilant
Driver Setup: 10mm Bio-fiber Diaphragm Dynamic Driver
Disclaimer: This review set is a demo set graciously lent to me by a friend from his personal collection. This review is written of my own accord and all thoughts here are my own. Should you find yourself interested in a pair, they can be found online here.
BLON hits the markets hoping to strike another Oppoty with the BL-01. It comes in at a few dollars cheaper than their most successful product to date, the BLON BL-03. I would be making many references and comparisons to the BL-03 given their similar price points, which you can read the full review I did for them here.
Accessories and Build Quality (Score: 7/10)
The same old crummy ear tips and no-frills cable that comes with the BL-03s. The cable holds up for regular use but the tips don’t work at all for me. Build quality is, rock-solid as were the BL-03s. They come in the same 2 colours, namely Gun Metal and Mirrored Silver. These have a full metal build and have significant weight to them.
Fit (Score: 3/10)
I’ve never struggled with the fit as much as with the BL-01s. Even if I manage to fit them in after a ton of fiddling, they never feel like they are truly secure. The centre of gravity of these earbuds seems to cause them to fall out of your ear. The adoption of this needlessly unique shape is a problem that could (and should) have been avoided if only BLON had not tried to get creative. As much as I respect the effort to create a new product instead of simply releasing the BL-03s in another paint job, this ain’t it.
Sound (Score: 7.3/10)
Frequency Response of the BLON BL-01
- Hiby R5
- Lotoo Paw S1
Albums and Tracks tested with
- Bon Jovi – Living on a Prayer
- Lumineers – Gun Song
- Spinners – Essentials
- Itzhak Perlman – Paganini Violin Concerto No.1/Carmen Fantasy
- Michael Bublé – To Be Loved
- Robin Schulz – Sugar
Bass (Score: 8/10)
The bass response on the BL-01 is quite decent. It punches well with decent speed and extends deep with a satisfying rumble. The bass is more sub-bass focused and has significantly less midbass bloat as compared to the BL-03. I really enjoyed the sub bass listening to Robin Schulz. This makes it sound a little faster and more detailed overall. Bass texture is really nice, listening to tracks like “Cupid/I’ve Loved You for a Long Time” from The Spinners.
Unfortunately, the Mids onwards is where I would prefer the BL-03s tuning. This may be borne out of personal preference. The lower mids and male vocals sound especially muted and recessed, even for a V-shape signature. This took away quite a lot of soul and emotion from a lot of vocal tracks from artists like Michael Bublé, Spinners among many others. The positioning of the mids also seems to be rather thrown back and suppressed. Things pick up a little more in the upper mids and are lively and engaging, though they can get a little thin sometimes. That said, tonality is still decent and doesn’t sound wonky. I was still able to enjoy the violin runs on Itzhak Perlman’s performance of Paganini’s Violin Concerto.
Treble (Score: 7/10)
The lower treble is a little more pronounced, though it sufficiently avoids sounding harsh. On some tracks, it can sound a little grainy and messy. This, however, is expected for the technicalities of a $20 earphone. In fact, the sound quality that the BL-01 brings to the table sufficiently exceeds the expectations of its price tag.
The BLON BL-01 is actually a decent sounding earphone for 20 dollars. Sonically, I would say it is a sidegrade to the BL-03, with its strongest suit being its reduced midbass bloat (and hence greater perceived clarity). Soundstage and Imaging are just average, nothing stellar or terrible. The BL-03s have already set the bar for what a pair of $20 earphones can do and the BL-01 isn’t going to blow anyone’s minds by being a few dollars cheaper, though… it does well. This is going to come down to preference.
I’ve already established that the BL-01s actually sounds rather decent, way better than one would typically expect for a $20 earphone. It does have its own tuning, a more V-shaped one. However, I cannot in good conscience recommend something that I could not even fit in my own ear. Should they fit well for you, then they would work well as a pair of daily beaters that would hold up well with their build quality. Personally, I would be sticking with BL-03s.
Overall Grade: C+
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