The Blon "Prometheus" A8: ambitious!
Updated: Jun 12, 2022
Hey there everyone! Welcome back to The Neighborhood. It’s Your Friendly Neighborhood Reviewer, with another IEM review. Today we’re taking a look at a very special IEM to the channel. The Blon A8, or the, “Prometheus,” as it was named in its prototype stage. Speaking of its prototype, I was lucky enough to be one of the few reviewers selected to give Blon feedback and help them with tuning notes of this IEM. They sent me two units, with different tunings, and I was able to give them notes and feedback about each. Out of these two units I really liked one of them, and had a limited amount recommendations for them to consider. As I’ve been listening to that unit "off-and-on" since then, I’ve quite come to like it, and had hoped that that Blon decided to go with the tuning that I preferred. And I’m happy to say they did that and more. It appears not only did they chose the IEM that I preferred, but they also tried to improve upon them by adjusting the tips to result in a sound that seems close to what I requested of them. So, without further ado. let’s... get InToit!
The build of the A8 is an interesting one, in that it is mostly a hollow, cage like shell with a small ball in the middle, which houses the driver. This ball also appears to be slightly ported- giving these and interesting feel to them. Regarding isolation, they weren’t the best, as this port seemed to almost result in a semi-open feel to the sound. And because the frame is also mostly open, this didn’t help outside sounds from getting-in. But, the frame is constructed of a seemingly dense, sturdy metal material like other Blon IEMs before it. So, I think ruggedness won’t be an issue for these.
Weight is neither too light nor too heavy, and I can wear these for hours. But be aware, the fit can be somewhat shallow fitting with certain tips, so you’ll want to find tips that work for you. Luckily these don’t seem to be super tip dependent in terms of sound. While I liked the adjustments that the secondary set of tips made with these, I ultimately preferred Final Type E ear tips or SpinFit CP145’s with this set (the later of which was somewhat loose-fitting, and would fall off from time to time; so take that under advisement) .
The nozzle the tips affix too is gold, lipped, and on the larger sit, but I had limited difficulty swapping in most aftermarket tips for use with this set. The connection at the cable is a flush 2-pin connection, and the ear hooks of the stock cable these come with was neither too aggressive nor too loose-fitting. Speaking of the cable these come with, its very nice for a Blon. In fact, I’d say this is the nicest cable that they’ve ever included with an IEM they sell. And really, it should be a nice cable for the price they are charging for this set, at $88 dollars; which is a bit ambitious for Blon in my opinion. But yeah, the cable terminates in a nice 3.5 mm TRS jack that is both smaller and sleeker than most. The cable itself winds and unwinds easily, and has limited memory, even with frequent use.
In terms of sound, the A8 is reasonably forward sounding, but balanced with a robust and dynamic, moderately detailed low-end. It’s not as forward sounding as something like a KBEAR KS1, but its going in that direction. Like the KS1, even if these graph as V-shaped in some manner, they really do not sound that V-shaped to the ear. So, expect a shallower V than that of the Blon offerings of the past- at least auditorily.
Clarity, resolution, and technicalities of the A8 are also a step above anything else that Blon has produced to date. While it may not be as proficient as offerings from the 100-200 dollar range, such as the Tanchjim Hana, Ikko OH10, or TRI Starsea; overall, you are still getting great sound from these in the 50-100 dollar price-range here with the A8.
Regarding its peripheral detailing, it is simply just a standout on the A8, and the vocal presentation also makes the listener take a step back and take notice. Vocals are not overly forward, but they still stand out, and, alike the rest of the mix, they are never harsh nor sibilant. The sound stage isn’t the widest, but is natural with good dimension and excellent immersion. Globally, I would say that the stage is slightly above average in width and height, but with excellent depth of field at the same time. Unlike prior Blons, nothing appears stretched or smeared to my ears. Instrument distinctiveness is slightly above average, and individual note separation is mostly good, but it can also get somewhat confused on busier tracks.
Still, the A8 almost sounds open at times. I’m not sure if it’s the small port in the tiny housing of the driver inside the cage-like structure, or what? But these do have an open-like sound to them. The song, “Can’t You Say (You Believe in Me): Still In by Bostson is a good recording that depicts this feature. On the flip-side, outside sounds also get-in, and they also do not isolate very well as a result. The A8 would not be an IEM that I would recommend to a commuter as they will be influenced by excessive outside noise. Positively, air is ambient and natural sound in its amount and accent, and not over-emphasized. So don’t expect, an overly airy set, but there is a mild, appropriate amount of air here for most genres, nevertheless.
Also, unlike other previous Blons, both treble and bass extensions are pulled off well in the A8. I mean there is actually treble here! Is it the best treble extension in the world? No, but it’s certainly respectable, enjoyable, and considering the price-point, well-executed- without too much roll off to it. Neither did I find the mid-range to be lacking; nor over embellished.
Regarding the bass, there is a healthy quantity, but I don’t find the low-end to overly encroach upon the mid-range here. In other words, the low-end mostly stays put where it should, but, at the same time, also contributes a good amount of warmth to the A8 still.
In terms of power requirements, this is where things got a bit interesting. They did play well off the headphone jack of my Note 8, but I did notice that not every headphone jack would do with these, as they did require a bit more power than your average IEM to get the most out of them. For instance, they sounded great balanced out of the BTR 3K, but underpowered out of the single-end output. It seemed the more power I could give these the better. I mean within reason. In fact, I really enjoyed these on the iFi iDSD Micro that had in for review at the same times as these. With increased power, separation increased, along with a sense of additional space and dynamism.
So, in the $50-100 dollar price range, there’s certainly a lot of competition right now. But, the Blon A8 surely stands out- both in terms of its design and its sound. And yet, if you’re keeping up with the channel, you’d know I also reviewed the Moondrop Aria too- another IEM in the marketplace that stood out to me at $79 dollars. In comparison to that set, I’d say the A8 at least competes, and in some ways I like the A8's detail retrieval and technical capabilities more. But, then again, I also suppose that will come down to to personal preference. The A8 also costs a bit more at $88 dollars. And, unlike the Aria, you’re more than likely to end up needing to spend even more money to tip roll the A8, as its package is not as complete as that which one gets with the Moondrop Aria. For example, the A8 doesn’t come with the nicer case that the Aria does. Yet, the Aria is a less forward sounding in comparison to the A8 as well, and some will prefer it for it being somewhat more relaxed in its presentation, even if, in the end, the Aria is less articulate than the A8- despite being similarly priced.
So, with that said, my biggest gripe with the A8 is that it is somewhat limited as a value proposition- both in terms of its price, and for its package. When I was able to preview this set, I had hoped that Blon would have stayed truer to its budget roots, and priced the Prometheus more around $65 dollars or so. As, like I’ve already said, the A8 can’t really keep up with other notable IEMs from the next price-tier (those beyond $100 dollars) up, even if it may be one of the best IEMs at, or around, its own price. In other words, the Blon A8 sounds great for an IEM under $100 dollars, and I’d be hard pressed to say that anything in particular within the $50-100 dollar price-range sounds notably better, even if I don’t think it is really a value, for its price, per say. In the end, I still think you get what you pay here for $88 dollars, even if the price tag feels somewhat ambitious at the same time. So, if you dig its unique, alien-like design, and you’re willing to provide it with enough power for it to thrive, then you’re surely to enjoy the Blon “Prometheus” A8. And with that, I’m out… for now!
*Thanks to KeepHiFi for sending in the Blon A8 for review!
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