Since I reviewed the Tin Hifi T4 a while back, I have been getting loads of comments to check out the Blon BL-03. So here it is with all its meme-worthy packaging so let’s take this ‘oppoty’ to take a look at the Blon BL-03 and find out if they are the IEM of your ‘Driams’?
I purchased the Blon BL-03 from Ali Express seller EE Audio store. They cost £27/$30 and came bundled with an aftermarket cable from Yinyoo. This is a good thing and highly recommended as the stock Blon cable is rather lacklustre. The Blon cable is rather thin and admittedly quite flexible. However, it does tend to tangle a little too easy and part of that is due to the rather stiff ear hooks which catch on other parts of the cable when stored and make it difficult to untangle. These stiff ear hooks also cause another issue, being as stiff as they are they don’t conform to the shape of your ears too well. Whilst this has obvious comfort implications this can also cause tension which exerts a force against the IEM in your ears and can lead to the cable slowly pulling the IEM out of your ears.
This is probably not a big issue if you are buying the BL-03 bundled with an upgraded cable. But it should be noted that perhaps the upgraded cable is not merely a luxury upgrade but a necessity. I should also note that the BL-03 uses a 2 pin 0.78 connector not a QDC as it appears to. If purchasing from the likes of Amazon this might end up being rather costly and perhaps defeating the value proposition of these earphones. However for £27 all in from Ali Express this is a rather good price and should be noted is less than the cost of the Blon BL-03 by itself when purchased from Amazon.
Comfort is really rather good, they have a svelte and ergonomic shape with very little bulk. The body of the IEM itself is made from Kirsite which is a form of cast Zinc alloy and are quite light. In terms of tips which are a very personal thing, I struggled to find a good fit with any of the supplied tips. The Blon BL-03 comes with 5 different pairs of tips. 3 pairs of regular silicone tips in small, medium and large sizes. As well as two different sizes of tips that have a Spinfit style tip. The tips themselves are quite tall for a deeper insertion, however, due to the seemingly short nozzle, the insertion depth is no deeper than any other IEM. And so I have been using the Blon BL-03 with aftermarket foam tips but that does present other issues.
I tried the Blon BL-03 with Comply T400, Tin Hifi tips and
NiceHCK tips from Ali Express. I have currently settled on the NiceHCK tips. I
was able to get a nice comfortable fit with the foamies however, insertion
depth was really rather shallow and this led to them pushing out a little too
easy. On closer inspection it seems that the IEM nozzle is getting a much
deeper insertion into the foam tips which are sliding onto the nozzle right up
to the body of the IEM, this is having the effect of shortening the insertion
depth in the ear.
This tip fit also highlights another issue. When the foam
tip is touching the body of the IEM it is also blocking a vent hole near the
base of the nozzle. The result of which is a significantly increased bass performance
and a considerable amount of driver flex when adjusting the IEM in the ear.
The best solution I could come up with is to pad out the IEM
nozzle using a small o-ring. Big enough to restrict depth to the IEM nozzle
preventing the foam tip from sliding on too far. But small enough not to block
the vent hole. I settled on some nitrile o-rings with a 4mm internal diameter,
8mm outside diameter and 2mm width. With these in place at the base of the
nozzle the foam tip is unable to slide completely up to the body of the IEM,
the vent hole remains unblocked and the ear insertion depth of the IEM is
I mentioned driver flex, this is not just something I
noticed when the vent hole was blocked but also more generally. It was
certainly worse when the vent was blocked however I regularly noticed driver
flex, particularly in the left ear, when adjusting the IEM to get a tight seal.
I did not notice this issue quite so much in the right ear. Now I didn’t notice
this during normal operation and it never caused the driver to lock up or
anything. So how much of an issue this actually is is debatable but its
something I thought I should mention.
This would also be a good time to mention unit variance. As with all headphones and earphones, there is going to be a certain amount of unit variance, however to what degree depends on the quality control process of the manufacturer. In this case, there have been a fair few reports of quite large variances in sound signature from one unit to the next with the Blon BL-03. In this way, it may be pot luck the quality of the unit you receive. Whether that is worth the gamble for £27 is up to you.
Speaking purely of the single unit I have here. In terms of sound, these have a rather relaxed and fun, bassy sound signature with a somewhat warm or even dark tilt to them. In terms of soundstage and imaging, they are nothing special with an intimate staging but one that is not cramped. Regarding timbre, they are rather natural sounding so no complaints there.
Bass is big and full with a good amount of authority, whilst not the most dynamic or quick, it’s decently articulate considering the price point. In terms of raw power, the bass is maybe about 5db up vs the Tin Hifi T4. There’s a good deal of extension in the sub-bass as well as a rather boosted mid-upper bass region. However, this does bleed into the mids somewhat.
Mids are quite warm and full in the low end. This is a ‘thicc’ and fat sound. Unfortunately, this does tend to reach the point of bloating and muddiness, particularly for rock music. However, for EDM or hip-hop, this gives a really large and full sound which is quite enjoyable.
Upper-mids through to low and mid-treble are on point but are perhaps a little recessed between 5kHz and 8kHz vs the T4 meaning they have a little less of that brightness or shout than the T4 has here. I personally have no problem with a recession in the sibilance range here. Vocals are smooth and sweet, male vocals are a little back in the mix but not to the point of being overly recessed depending on your taste of course. Female vocals are rather quite good and present without sounding thin and brittle or sibilant.
Treble, particularly upper treble seems a little rolled off.
There is a bit of energy at 8kHz but not to the point that I personally had any
issue with it and it’s certainly not any stronger than on the T4.
Overall a rather smooth, inoffensive and relaxing sound signature. They are not an aggressive or exciting earphone and are lacking somewhat in terms of dynamics and detail resolution throughout. Unfortunately, that does tend to mean they are a little bland or boring at times. However, I think that’s acceptable for their casual style and price point. I wasn’t expecting a super analytical sound for this price, in fact, I wasn’t expecting much at all. I knew they had a more ‘fun’ sound signature rather than a neutral sig and was expecting something a lot more coarse and rough around the edges. However, the Blon BL-03 do manage to put in a decent performance for this price point. I’m quite forgiving in terms of casual low priced headphones and earphones designed for portable use. I tend to think that if you can’t provide an analytical performance then at least smooth off the rough edges and make a casual and relaxing sound signature. And I think the Blon BL-03 do this perfectly.
Overall then, whilst not without its flaws, the Blon BL-03 are about as good an earphone as one can expect for the price. Comfort is good as long as tip fit isn’t an issue for you. Those who prefer foam tips are going to have to tweak a little bit to ensure the vent port is not blocked. The stock cable is poor but easily replaced. Driver flex could be an issue and there is also the consideration of unit variances to contend with. The sound whilst not particularly stellar in terms of detail and dynamics is relaxed and inoffensive which suits a more casual style. Bass is a little overboosted and in places muddy but this does work for EDM and hip-hop. They don’t topple the Tin Hifi T4 in terms of performance and if I were trying to decide between the Blon BL-03 or the Tin T4 or maybe even the T2 and T3, I would probably say just get the T4. But for £27 or $30 there really is a lot to like about the Blon BL-03. I’ve been really enjoying my time using the Blon BL-03 and I think these prove there is a lot of value to be found in chi-fi earphones.