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[REVIEW] Blox TM7 - King of 'Buds

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 
A few months ago when Blox sent me the M2c for review, they also included a yet-to-be-released earbud labeled ‘BX3’, a prototype intended to be their next flagship. Though an excellent sounding earbuds on its own and better than M2c on certain aspects, it isn’t quite the ‘killer’ as one would expect from a model that will eventually replace M2c. Perhaps M2c is just too good of an earbud for the price (with top-tier performance no less) that it is hard to surpass with any good length. Fast forward to two weeks ago, Blox contacted me again about sending me the finalized BX3, which is now officially called the TM7. Frankly, I wasn’t keeping my hope too high at the time. Based on the BX3 prototype, I knew it should be really good sounding as well. But the question is, will TM7 be good enough to make M2c users swing, especially with the much more expensive price tag? That doubt eventually gets stamped out on the day I received TM7 – as I still remember that my usual 5 minutes brief audition before committing the earbud to burn-in somehow turned into a 2 hours long enjoyment, I know this is really something special. As I sat on the sofa listening to song after song that day, the only things that lingered in my mind are the awe for the sound and a clear thought: This isn’t the old BX3. It is a totally new beast of its own.

TM7.jpg

Spec
Driver: Dynamic 15 mm.
Frequency Response: 20Hz - 19KHz
Impedance: 32Ω
Sensitivity: 112dB/mW @ 1KHz
Cable: TPE 1.2 m. (3.5mm. plug)
Price: US$140 + shipping fee (less than $10 worldwide)

Packaging, Accessories and Build Quality
If you read my M2c review, you will know Blox is basically a minimalistic when it comes to everything outside of sound quality. This means you don’t get any fancy box or storage case. What are included are just two pairs of regular foam pad. For TM7, I’ll suggest you either convert these to donut foam by cutting a small hole on the front of the foam using a hole puncher or carefully with a sharp scissor (fold the foam pad in half, then again to quarter, then again to one eighth, then cuts the tip and unfold).

It would be nice for Blox to include a case or pouch, but there is none. Good thing that a good hard case is generally inexpensive on eBay, so just get a good one there. However, never try to be cheap and warp the earbud (or any earphone on that matter) on your mp3 player or cellphone.

TM7 basically has the same design as M2c and TM5. Blox never bother to change the housing (which is more or less a generic old Sennheiser MX housing) and it is fine for me. Maybe they can use a fancier housing in the future but it is what it is for now. I reckon even making the black housing into blue or red color would have made most happy. Of course that doesn’t really make it sound or fit better. The 15mm drivers do appear to be physically slightly larger than most of the common Sennheiser earbud or iBud so people with small outer ears do need to take that into consideration before ordering. Personally, it fits my mid-sized ears just fine. The one thing that does improve from M2c is the cable. Instead of the more plastic-like outer sleeve of the old cable, the new cable has the more rubber-like TPE sleeve that is generally less prone to breakage or hardening.

Sound Quality
The earbuds has gone through about 100 hours of burn-in before review. Blox recommends at least 80 hours, but I personally find it great sounding even without any burn-in so you don’t really have to worry about it a bit.

Tonally, TM7 doesn’t stray too far away from M2c – lush, lively, and dynamic. Bass is quick, impactful and with good quantity. Not as rumbling as NineWave Studio Pro but with better speed. Vocal is still excellent. Less thick than M2c but better textured. In a sense, it has all the ‘good’ traits of the previous Blox earbuds, but gone is the ‘fun’ part of the sound – it is a notch more reference and neutral thank to better treble extension and soundstage rendering. While TM7’s soundstage doesn’t actually stretch out as wide as M2c, it does have the proper depth and layer, making the overall soundstage much more three dimensional and the placement of singers and instruments much more accurate. All and all, TM7 has the most life-like and well-rounded presentation of any earbuds I have heard. This is where it truly out-shines top earbuds like Yuin PK1 and HiSound Living. It will sound great with just about any music genre you can throw at it.

While I won’t call TM7 the perfect sounding earbuds, it is certainly the best in my collection. In a way, TM7 is the perfected M2c, so to speak, with all around improvement and no obvious weakness. It is in itself a completed package that doesn’t need extra amping or EQ compensation and frankly, I like that a lot.

Verdict
It in unavoidably that some will want to compare the price difference between M2c and TM7. But does that really matters when you can’t find M2c anymore? As far as my opinion goes, TM7 is an excellent earbud of its own right and compare extremely well to any other earbuds of the same price range (and beyond). That alone is enough to justify for its price tag. The only worry is, with track records of TM5 and M2c running out so quickly, Blox just might not have enough TM7 in stock or have sufficient long production run. Let’s hope those will never be the case. Finger crossed.

*A thank to Blox for the review sample.

Check out the Earbuds Round-up thread in my sig. for quick comparison.
post #2 of 37

Excellent review.

post #3 of 37
Subscribed
post #4 of 37

huh. the fact that they made zero aesthetics changes is sort of silly

post #5 of 37

Agree, for the price they should at least do some trying out of other housings. The rather flat bottom doesn't hold on my ears better than some others and it isn't my favorite for fit. Maybe some style and some sort of fit options for $150 shipped. At least Yuin tried with the OK series making them convert into canalphones(though straight tubes might not have been the best choice). Give us a little something on the design and ergonomics front.

post #6 of 37
Thread Starter 
I think partially the reason for them not to bother with housing change has to do with the fact that they ain't exactly mass producing these earbuds. TM5 is said to be 250 pairs and I don't think M2c is any where near 1k. TM7 will likely to be only a few hundreds as well. At that rate, making your own earbud design is just out of the question, consider how expensive plastic injection mold is. So beside the question of ergonomics, do you think any other earbuds housing design (beside the MX400) that are commonly available (MX760, AT earbuds, etc) will really make a lot of difference? That being said, what kind of design you guys find to work best for you?
post #7 of 37

I don't even care about the housing itself, it would be nice if there was at least a name or model number on them. From what I can tell, the TM5, M2C, and TM7 all appear identical. Is there any way to differentiate them? What is stopping some unscrupulous individual from passing an M2C off as a TM7?

post #8 of 37

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post #9 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by sharkz View Post

I don't even care about the housing itself, it would be nice if there was at least a name or model number on them. From what I can tell, the TM5, M2C, and TM7 all appear identical. Is there any way to differentiate them? What is stopping some unscrupulous individual from passing an M2C off as a TM7?

this!

post #10 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Melvins View Post

this!

 

The cable is different.  Ask for a specific picture of the cable and a electronic receipt or other identification papers otherwise decline the purchase or trade.  Simple.

post #11 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sharkz View Post

I don't even care about the housing itself, it would be nice if there was at least a name or model number on them. From what I can tell, the TM5, M2C, and TM7 all appear identical. Is there any way to differentiate them? What is stopping some unscrupulous individual from passing an M2C off as a TM7?

Actually they are not totally identical. I believe TM5 has a matte black finish and M2c has a smooth and shiny grey finish. Both has the plastic-ish smooth cable. TM7 has smooth and shiny black finish with a rubber-like matte cable.
Edited by ClieOS - 8/7/12 at 5:12am
post #12 of 37

ClieOS, thanks for clarification. It is very difficult to tell the differences from the pictures. I am glad there is a clear way to differentiate if need be.

post #13 of 37

Although I understand that sound always comes first, it's a bit hard to understand why, at such a price they wouldn't decide to atleast design a fancier housing

post #14 of 37

I actually appreciate the simplicity behind the design and see Clieos' point regarding the company only making small runs (and therefore not being able to finance new casing designs for every model). I kind of like the continuity as well.

 

Not sure I am going to be able to rustle up the cash for a pair before they are all snapped up, but here's hoping...

post #15 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by feigeibomber View Post

Although I understand that sound always comes first, it's a bit hard to understand why, at such a price they wouldn't decide to atleast design a fancier housing

 

Hisound chose an existing housing of nice quality for the Live/Living. I don't expect designing their own housing but the third time out and for $150 shipped I'd expect something along the lines of what Hisound did for their $99 and $149 earbuds.

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