Blon BL-05 Review: hard-pass.
Updated: Oct 3, 2020
It’s your Friendly Neighborhood Reviewer with InToit Reviews. Welcome back to the Neighborhood!
Today, we’re looking at the long awaited and highly anticipated Blon BL-05. So, was it worth the wait?
Let’s, get InToit…
So, let’s start things off with the build. It is a pretty looking earphone in my book. The shell is made out of metal housing, and has a two-way color design consisting of a gun metal and gold combination. In general, I like the style of this earphone. I will say, from an aesthetics perspective, I think they nailed it. Like the BL-03, these appear appropriately hefty and durable.
Unfortunately, that’s about where the praise for the build stops. The included cable is the same as the BL-03, and I don’t know many that are a fan of those. Additionally, the included tips also appear to be same as the 03’s, and again, there are not many fans of those out there either.
With regard to the fit, in the ear, it is my understanding that Blon was attempting to make the fit of the BL-05 more universal, yet these somehow fit me worse. I tried a variety of tip options, from the stocks to third party options, and could rarely get the IEM to sit appropriately upright in my ear. Most of the time, the nozzle placed the IEM at a weird cock-eyed angle. CP100’s were the only tip that both sounded good, and placed the IEM at a good angle in my ear.
With regard to sound. Staging is generally in your head, but the stage is deeper than it is wide. Layer is good, but separation isn’t stellar. Additionally, overall resolution is limited and there is significant grain and treble glare in particular. Treble extension is rolled off at the top-end, but the roll off point was actually decently chosen and executed, but there was additional distortion in the treble extension compared to the rest of this segment in the frequency response.
Additionally, the rise in the early mid-range is not an immediate problem, but does wear on me after a few songs. After about 20 minutes of use I start to develop a bit of a headache, and it is definitely coming for that accentuation in the frequency response in my opinion. There is also some mild sibilance of consonant sounds, such as S’s, which may also be contributing to my escalating intolerance over time.
Timbre is slightly metallic, tinny, mildly hallow, and thin. On guitars, it accentuates the sound of picks hitting the string more so than the sounds of the notes themselves. Other musical details somehow get lost or muddled. For example, on chords, the individual notes are mushed together other than the noise produced by the initial strike of the string themselves. It is like the music gets sucked up in a vacuum rather than being sustained.
Tonality was best using the round, stock tips, and being amplified balanced on a Loxjie P20. The tubes fixed some of the tonality issues, but vocals became a tad bit shouty, and treble resolution even more distorted at the top end.
The bass, in general, is very flat sounding, and there is limited sub-bass presence. Listening to “Hotline Bling” by Drake, the bass line has limited musicality, and sounds like silent, but deadly, farts to my ears. If there is an emphasis, to the bass, it begins late in the mid-bass region.
While the BL-03 had excellent bass quality, it was just “a bit too much,” and disproportionately skewed towards the mid-bass. The BL-05 has the right proportion of bass, but the quality of the bass is substantially lacking. Having said that, the best bass definition was achieved with the stock tips; providing the fullest presentation.
In general, there is a thinness to the overall presentation; however, and both male and female vocals take on a thin quality to them despite being separated and pulled forward from the mids decently. Vocal clarity is somehow good, despite general musical clarity being poor.
If this IEM does anything right, transients are good, but details are limited. Overall resolution, might be better than the BL-03, but if it is so, it is barely an improvement upon its predecessor.
In the end, I find the BL-05 generally thin and grainy. They sounded most full with their round, stock tips, but were also muddied by them. Although the peak in the early mids was not ostensibly apparent on all tracks at first, it did grate on my ears after a short time, and I could not limit this with neither source selection nor tip rolling.
Oppity? More like “A-Pitty.” A pity that Blon missed an opportunity to build upon the success that they had with the BL-03, and instead came to market with an inferior product this go-around. If given the opportunity to purchase these, I would avoid this set like the plague.
Switching back to the BL-03, the BL-05 made the ‘03 sound like it was otherworldly. Having said all of this, outside of the elevated 2K peak, I actually think that Blon has made strides with their frequency response with the ’05. Give me the FR of the BL-05 with a reduction at 2K, the presentation of the ‘03, and kick-up the resolution more than a smidge- then, Blon, you’ll have a winner. This is what the people want!
And thanks to a member of The Neighborhood, who graciously sent in the Blon BL-05 to the channel for review. Links to all Neighborhood access points, will be below, so make sure to check those out, if you haven't already!
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