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More HDSS...Blue Ever Blue

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

My first venture with the ETL/HDSS phones happened by chance when searching the web one day. Took that chance and spent some cash to have them sent from the factory to try them out.


My original thread...

Plenty of info on the technology in that thread, swbf2cheaters thread links, TBI..., or just Google searching HDSS or ETL speaker tech. I leave it to the individual on how much they want to read up on itsmile.gif.


In my original thread I asked if we might see more of these picked up and distributed that we will be able to purchase them. Enter the Blue Ever Blue line of earphones. Thanks to David of Biolinks for sending out the review units.


BioLinks is a master distributor of HDSS products manufactured by TBI Sound and Blue Ever Blue; all of which feature ETL technology. TBI owns the rights to the tech and Jan Plummer is the inventor and CEO of the firm.


I have been advised that they will be available on the BeB site... and elsewhere like Amazon. I'll update in this thread as I find out more info. 


Here are the phones:



The 328R  or "black" earbuds.



The first HDSS earbuds were my favorite under $100 bud. Not that I have heard them all but preferred them over the MX471, MX880, PK2, and others. The newer version is very similar and may sound a bit more refined. The fit is different which does change sound. Welcome changes are a Y-cord and a much smaller housing. The drivers are 13.6mm down from 16mm. The smaller size allows for some tuning using physical means with different pads, Breppies, etc. Doubling up on foams can give them more bass or a combo of pads plus donut pads for more bass and keeping more treble. You get the drift; different combos can give different tweaks like IEM tip types.


 The fit I get with the stock foams brings a fairly neutral sound. Well extended on both ends. Good separation and excellent depth. Above average detail. High clarity and transparency. I have no trouble going back and forth with the PFE(grey filter) and these. Excellent, very natural bass that is tight and fairly quick. These continue the excellent mids shown in the previous versions; detailed, well separated, and great intelligibility of vocals. I tend to stick with the stock foam for the most part. I could double pad bringing a warmer sound but I can also just add some bass. They take EQ quite well on either the Clip+ or my Sony S639.


An attractive and sturdy housing, small size/light weight, and sound that is way above the asking price($25 MSRP). I think they are the best example of the ETL technology. They do most of the promised things such as natural sound, no fatigue, great balance, good imaging, realistic tone/timbre, matching well with sources/amps and takes EQ well. A great way to try out the speaker tech on the cheap. They don't have the most robust cable and YMMV on fit with earbuds but those are the only downsides I can see. The cable is fine, similar to earlier MEE cables and you do get a one year warranty. And fit is an issue inherent to earbuds, so nothing new there.


Again one of my favorite earbuds in a better form factor this time around. A winner and should end up being an earbud favorite similar to the PK3. Cheaper for those who don't use buds enough to justify spending $70/$80 on PK2's or MX880's and they perform well enough to satisfy those who want a more "audiophile" earbud.




The 388B or " the white"



The "white" are very similar to the first version in my original thread. Similar comfy, sturdy housing. Gone are the rubber strain reliefs in favor of solid plastic and the cable is not quite as good as before. The small cord slider on the first one is absent on the 388B.


They do share show most of the ETL traits and their particular forte is an above average stage size, good texture and highlighting vocals. The white's issue is that they are the darkest and thickest of the 3 in-ear models. Thick and wooly best paired with a brighter source. The right tips and EQ bring forth what they can do well but out of the box they have a bit of a blanket over the sound. 100 hours of burn-in at least. Tweaked a bit they do have nice low extension and a good punch down low. Some treble EQ helps to accentuate their detail and texture which are satisfying at times when coaxed out of them.




The 866B or "the red"



The 866B and 868B have more generic housings we have seen before. What you'd expect to see on a new company's first release. The good thing is that they are sturdy and not cheaply glued together like some others they resemble. The tube mesh screens are metal. The 866's are a smaller bullet style housing about 10mm across at the widest point. Again a comfortable phone that can be worn both ways quite easily with the short strain reliefs. As a first release the accessories are a bit sparse. S/M/L tips and a standard velveteen case. The good is that I find the  stock tips are an excellent match for them.


Their sound has a bit of a low emphasis with clear and sweet vocals. They have a slight boost to the treble that adds some crispness. The bass while emphasized still has good tightness and decent quickness and snap. I like the separation and decent depth. Depending on player they may be a tweak or two away from being just right but can be a very enjoyable phone that has a little bit of an "it" factor where they aren't giant killers but you are happy with them and enjoy them for what they are. I think they are a keeper myself and get quite a bit of use out of them. Easy to grab, a shallow, less obtrusive fit that still gives decent isolation, and lots of fun with snappy bass, sweet vocals, and some crispness up top. Good for those who want a less invasive in-ear.




The 868B or "the silver"



The "silver". Again a widley seen housing. Though all aluminum with fine nylon mesh screens. All Aluminum includes even the reliefs. Quite sturdy. I want to whack them with a hammer or something to see how much abuse they can take. The cable is fairly average though. These have a 5mm long sound tube to help with fit since the the 10mm drivers are the largest of the BeB in-ears.


These remind me of the CC51 in some ways. A bit thicker than I would like but the proper tips helps with that. Still these are consumer sounding and have strong bass. These have the largest, most airy sound of the bunch and the most authority. They  also have the least accentuated mids of the in-ears thanks to the big bass and the most boosted treble. The mids straddle the line of starting to be recessed. They definitely stand out the least but the quality mids are there. you have to look harder than the other phones though. The silver do best with less of a seal. Too deep a fit can result in a bit of boom. Perfectly fine if you are a bass-head they are capable of being bass-head phones. I prefer them a bit more balanced. The bass can be quite quick as well. An interesting combo of power and quickness down low. With the boost of the highs they sparkle more than something like the CC51 and don't sound as smooth or laid back. What I would call powerful and strong but lively and quite crisp. An interesting phone that I don't consistently like better than the 866 but at times do. When I'm in the mood for the power I like them. Sometimes I'll reach for the "red" instead. The silver do show more technical ability than the red but are not as smooth.



The first release under the Blue Ever Blue label is quite interesting. Four phones was some undertaking to start out. All a bit different. Maybe something for everyone. As with the first HDSS, where I thought there was one winner out of the two,  We have a couple keepers out of the four(as far as my preference goes). The 328R earbuds are a real winner and make it all worth it, AFAIC. Buds are not the most popular but these are probably the best cheap bud we have seen. The small, comfy, and fun 866B are also a keeper. The 868B can be quite good but may just get lost in the $60 - $75 price range. The white are just fine and fall in line with many other budget in-ears, they just don't differentiate themselves very much. A decent start for sure. Like Mee back with the SX and M2 it would be nice to see where this goes in a few years. Thanks for reading!

Edited by jant71 - 5/27/11 at 5:14pm
post #2 of 11

Just got the earbuds and the reds today. Thanks for sending them all the way to India :)


On the Earbuds:


Comparing the 328R with the EP-888E1 (Updated after actual comparison) -


  • My first impressions of the 328R is that it has a good wide sound stage with both depth and height. This is the probably the best improvement over the 888.
  • Separation is very good as is imaging.
  • The smaller housing is a bit more comfortable than the larger, ear filling 888.
  • Y-Cord is much better, more comfortable than the J-Cord. The cable seems slightly thinner than 888.
  • Extension at both ends is better compared to the original HDSS.
  • 888 has more forward, warm and well textured mids compared to 328R.


866B "The Reds"


Similar to the earbud, very good sound stage with good depth. I think it's a very decent IEM - not the best in class or a giant killer, but certainly nice to listen to.


It took a few minutes to get used to the hefty low end - well extended, a bit hard hitting with a slight bit more emphasis towards the lower end of the spectrum. They certainly don't smooth out the vocal sibilance present in the recording, but not horrible either. Some fine tuning here and there using Rockbox EQ, they should be good to go. So far to my ears, there are no terrible peaks and spikes, which should make EQ-ing much easier.


I'd say I'm more impressed by the "Red" than the earbud in the very short time I spent with them. It would be interesting to see how they fare after regular use and comparisons.

Edited by esanthosh - 6/7/11 at 12:45am
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 

Yep, agree with much of that assessment. I thought out of the box, the 328R were a bit more transparent and had a bit more treble emphasis. Maybe not quite as big top to bottom with the fit of the smaller drivers but still the excellent separation and even more depth.  Still great placement and imaging and the natural tone and timbre. Bass seemed tighter out of the package most likely the previous 16mm drivers needed to loosen up but the V1 still doesn't have quite the tightness/sharpness out notes down low even with way more hours on them.


UPDATE: A link for a simple clear website:


They are starting to pop up...


Edited by jant71 - 6/2/11 at 12:51pm
post #4 of 11
Originally Posted by esanthosh View Post

I'd say I'm more impressed by the "Red" than the earbud in the very short time I spent with them. It would be interesting to see how they fare after regular use and comparisons.

My thoughts exactly, its been a long time since I was genuinely impressed with an IEM.  It has been an overall pleasant experience. I dont think its a good idea to use my picture for the amazon page, Im not sure 9wave will be okay with having its product appear right next to BeBs on BEBs advertisement.   

Edited by swbf2cheater - 5/30/11 at 9:09am
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 

Another bit of an update...


A new link where all four are now "available" for sale:


I agree with swbf2cheater, that maybe the picture should probably be changed.

post #6 of 11

I can tell you right now that 9wave wont let you do that, so try to get it removed asap 

post #7 of 11


post #8 of 11
I've finally had a chance to listen to the 328R and the 366B. Thanks jant71 and BioLinks for letting me try these out!

Can't really go into detail as I'll need more time listening as I write the reviews, but I must say I'm quite pleased by the performance of the "Black" earbuds. It's nicely balanced, has surprisingly good midrange detail, and is just smooth and refined. But I knew these were going to be good. wink.gif

It's the "Red" 366B that took me by surprise. Granted, I really wasn't expecting much, but I find these canalphones to be just a lot of fun, a joy to listen to. Its performance-per-dollar isn't as impressive as the the 328R but it's rare for me to come across a fun sounding canalphone that is both fun and non-fatiguing (i.e. either due to excessive or bloated bass or overly hyped upper midrange).
post #9 of 11

Got "the black" earbuds Friday. Very impressed. They sound (to me) very natural and well rounded. They were a little small so I took the rubber rings off of a pair of Senn. MX471's I had laying around and now they fit great. I gave them 5 stars on Amazon. For $20 they can't be beat.

post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by KCrabbe View Post

Got "the black" earbuds Friday. Very impressed. They sound (to me) very natural and well rounded. They were a little small so I took the rubber rings off of a pair of Senn. MX471's I had laying around and now they fit great. I gave them 5 stars on Amazon. For $20 they can't be beat.

Yep, the first version send my MX471 packing. I think that the newer smaller "black" tend to vary the sound more since they fit varies more. But at $20 they are cheap enough to order and some extra rings or foams(and make donuts foam if desired) and get the desired fit/sound. I also think they are a bit small for me and a extra ring(from my Breppies) does a nice job.


post #11 of 11

Here's a deal for US. $23 free shipping.

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