BLON BL-05

?10m Dynamic Driver

$35~$40
4.5/5.0

We were expecting the BL-05, the successor to the highly polarizing BL-03, to fix some [in my opinion] deal-breaking issues.

What we got here is redesigned housings to match a standard over-the-ear design, with basically similar sound signature and quality as the predecessor.

You still get the same nutorious cable with the pain-inducing built-in ear loops, and the same upper-mids-driven sound signature with mild bass output, but a bit louder on the mids, because, you know... that's what was lacking on the BL-03 (sarcasm).

All in all, a great model for those who like to listen to something low-key and non-demanding when it comes to bass, but my expectations were set much higher. While my disappointment with the BL-05 is higher than with the predecessor, it would be unfair to rank it lower given the similar performance, but please, do read the whole review before jumping to any conclusions.

Buy on

Pros

  • Amazingly clear and highly detailed mids and treble.
  • When fitted properly, the bass is clean, warm and fluffy, suitable for vocal-oriented music styles.
  • Very loud and easy to drive even on weak audio sources.
  • Top-notch, almost monolithic build quality. Those surely will last for a long duration.
  • Still cheaper than most of the competition, albeit more flawed.

Cons

  • Like BL-03, the bass is still not suitable for bass-heavy content, like electronic dance music, or anything slightly exciting.
  • The upper-mids are slightly more oversaturated and in-your-face than the BL-03.
  • Might be difficult to fit properly with those dreadful built-in ear loops, and painful to use for more than a while.
  • Tangly cable due to the stiff ear-loops combined with the slim thickness.

Package & Accessories

Package:

Hard paperboard + soft plastic (clear)

Ear Tips - Single-Flange:

S+M+L, grey (translucent), ?4mm bores

S+L, grey (translucent), ?5mm bores

Pouch:

Burlap, beige, branded

Extra:

Hook and loop fastener, branded

Build & Materials

Housings:

Metal, ?5mm nozzles (?4mm bores)

Connectors:

2-pin (custom 0.78mm)

Y-Split:

TPE, soft strain reliefs

Cable:

TPE (braided), 134cm, extra-soft, straight, pre-shaped ear loops

Plug:

TPE, 90° angled, soft strain relief

Comfort & Fit

On the one hand, BLON has completely redesigned the housings to better resemble something that's actually mean to be put in an ear, and I think they've done a decent job. I no longer have fitting issues, even though I have to push them quite deep given the relatively short nozzles.

On the other hand, the BL-05 is basically more of the same: we still get that cable with the unforgivingly high-pressure ear loops, which can both mess up your perfect seal, especially as the cable moves around, and cause soreness to the top part of the ear (also called "root of helix", Google it) after wearing them for a short while, because of the continuous pressure.

Lows / Bass

The lows are focused on the mid-bass, much like the BL-03, but doesn't seem to go too deep. Bass drum hits are rather dry and unexciting, so that bass is only suitable for non-demanding basslines, subtle pop and rock music, audiobooks, podcasts, and such. Basically, anything voice-oriented sounds quite good with these, but if you're looking for any kind of rumble or energy, you won't find much.

Mids / Vocals

The mids, especially the upper-mids, have a lot of pressence. Not shouty or nosy by any means, but still a bit too in-your-face for my taste. I'd always have to reduce the volume to reach a comfortable listening experience, as the mids can get quite loud, louder than what I experienced with the BL-03, for comparison. Instruments and voices are very detailed, with a slight tint applied by the new "2nd Generation" CNT diaphragm driver, but not as much as to be noticed by a casual listener. In short, quite excellent mids, just a bit too loud.

Highs / Treble

Like the BL-03, the BL-05 has excellent highs. In fact, to me they sound about the same, maybe slightly more subtle, but about the same timbre and level of detail, which is not a bad thing. Like the saying goes: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". While I don't have much to complain about the treble on these, I just wish they were more in balance with the lows and mids, as the sound is basically exclusively driven by the high-mids and highs, while the rest is just a background.

Frequency Response

Published on 2020-07-05 18:27:20 (GMT)
BL-03 (V1)
BL-05
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