disclaimer: I bought the Blon BL-03 as a lucky bag special from WooEasy via their aliexpress store so no disclaimer necessary.
Unboxing / Packaging:
The package has the earpieces in a plastic tray at top and a box beneath with the accessories hidden from view. They attempted to create a slogan using words that’s first letters spelled BLON but it comes out as largely non-sensical and somewhat bemusing. The box contains the cable, three sets of silicone tips (SML) that are fairly wide and shallow when compared to something like the KZ star tips or Shure Olives. A burlap style carrying bag and a cable tie complete the kit. Overall, the kit is uninspiring, but at the price point it is more than sufficient with the possible exception of the tips. A larger selection of tips that allow for a deeper fit would be beneficial as many users will likely need a different tip style to successfully enjoy the BL-03.
The earpieces are a 2 part metal shell and cannot really be defined as the standard body and faceplate as the inner shell is the smaller of the two components. The inner shell makes up only the inner most surface of the iem iwth the nozzle and a vent that sits behind the nozzle. Both earpieces have BLON and either L or R imprinted on the under-side. Nozzles exit the front of the shell with a forward rake and a large lip to retain tips (More on tips in a bit). The outer shell comprises the bulk of the shell and has an extension that contains the hooded bi-pin connector in addition to the main body of the shell. No vents to the outside of the shell exist so the exterior is a solid silver polished teardrop. Fit is good as size is fairly small but nozzle depth is fairly shallow in the ear canal and tip selection is critical to getting good performance from the BL-03.
First off, it took me some time to find a tip that really fit my ear and sounded good on the BL-03 as well. It does not need a wide bore tip that enhances the bass response so things like the spiral dot or RadioShack models I usually go to are not the best options. Shure Olives were better sounding but not great at getting a good seal. I ultimately settled on RHA dual density as the best fit for me with the large Spin-fits coming in a close second. I found the BL-03 to be very tip dependent so taking some time to find what works best for you may be necessary.
Once I got the tips sorted out, sub-bass has good depth and rumble and bass on the overall is better controlled than anticipated. Mid-bass steps back a bit and has good thump without dominating the rest of the signature and again good control and texture. there is a small amount of mid-bass bleed but not so much to obscure details in the mids which still show good clarity as well. I have heard several comparisons with the EP10 and it is a natural comparison with the similarities in drivers and construction. I pulled my EP10 back out and did some A/B testing and found both to have similar extension with the BL-03 having slightly more of a sub-bass emphasis and tighter control of the mid-bass with better textures than the EP10.
Lower mids are roughly in line with the mid-bass and show good detail levels. Male vocals have some weight, but are not overly forward or heavy and guitar has good timbre. Mids move forward as we climb toward the treble and the upper-mid emphasis gives vocals a push forward with female vocals getting a bit more of a shove. Higher vocals are definitely a step or two in front of their lower counterparts. The BL-03 does a good job reproducing the middle strings (cello, viola) and does well with ensemble pieces that can sometimes be a problem for models with more recessed mids.
Upper mids rise to a peak and then fall off again about as quickly as you move into the lower treble. Treble is inline with the lower mids and is well behaved without any tendency toward stridency. Roll-off starts at about 12kHz with a fairly steep drop off. The BL-03 does have enough energy to not feel enclosed and does have some air but sparkle is a bit limited to say the least. The upside is the BL-03 remains polite even with brighter tracks and maintains good control throughout the treble range. Detail and clarity are both good considering the price point.
Soundstage / Imaging:
Soundstage is well proportioned with width being slightly larger than depth. At best, the BL-03 seems best defined as small theatre or impromptu concert where you are within a few rows of the instruments. Seating the orchestra is somewhat congested due to the limited stage size but instrument separation helps as it is above average. Imaging is good with movement around the stage being easily tracked. At times some spatial cues seem to come more from beside than behind, but that is more a gaming concern than a musical one. Layering is reasonably good, but can get a bit overlapped on more complex pieces.
Thoughts / Conclusion:
Early comparisons of the BL-03 to an upgraded EP-10 are not without merit as the two share similar construction and signatures and vary more by a matter of degree than by anything truly different. The BL-03 has better control through-out its range, has a removable cable that the EP-10 lacked, and is tip up wear instead of tip-down. Resolution is a bit better on the BL-03 as well providing a bit more detail to the user. Both require a bit of work to get a good fit so that part doesn’t seem like a huge improvement from one to the other. Overall, if you liked the EP-10, you’ll like the BL-03. For those without an EP-10 for reference, the BL-03 is a sub-bass and upper-mids emphasized signature that is tastefully done and has good control so doesn’t get boomy or overly in your face as a result. Strings are reproduced well so those looking for an in-ear for concerto or small ensemble classical pieces will find the BL-03 to be a good value.
- Bass - 6.5/106.5/10
- Mids - 6/106/10
- Treble - 5/105/10
- Soundstage - 6/106/10
- Imaging - 6/106/10
Pros: Good bass depth and control, fun signature, comfortable for long wear
Cons: Cable, lack of isolation due to insertion depth, very tip dependent for good seal and sound.