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[REVIEW] Blox ANV3 - I AM ORDERING YOU TO BUY A PAIR

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Blox ANV3 Earbud Review

 

Introduction:

 

I love all things headphones but if I were going to say the area I specialize in it would be portable audio and more so earphones. I have tried and owned over 70 and some of them are the very best you can get. Well searching the Internet I saw that there was a few people were speaking great things about earbuds. Yes earbuds, them things that come included with iPods and are generally associated with poor low-fi audio. Looking into it I saw that companies do concentrate solely on make earbuds to sound great and one of these was Blox which seemed to have rave reviews all round. I contacted them and I managed to get hold of their latest outing, the ANV3 that is a limited edition model for their third anniversary. It contains the diaphragm of their flagship the TM7 and housing of the lower m2c model. To get one of these you will only be set back about 50 pound shipped but make sure you grab one before the 133 units are all sold out, now that would be a shame.

 

AppleMark

 

 

Set-up:

 

Now I was out a lot for the main testing of my ANV3 even though it is made ideally for home use. Because I was out or away I used a lot of my portable rig of iPod Classic with a line out too the GoVibe Vest Amp+ or MyST PortAMP as well as the HiFi ET MA9.

 

AppleMark

 

I did however get too use it at home a fair bit and this consisted of using my iMac with USB to either the Audioengine D1 or the much superior MyST PortaDAC 1866 and using either there headphone outs or a line out to either Tube Amp BL-2 or the Objective 2.

 

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With the MyST PortaDAC 1866 - Great Piece Of Kit

 

Build Quality/Design:

 

Hehe…. Well…. £50 Earbuds… That look cheaper than the old earbuds and the same as some cheap 1 pound Chinese earbuds off of eBay. Do not expect much more. So be warned and do not expect anything luxury.

 

AppleMark

 

These have an all plastic housing, no strain relief and generally feel cheap and of bad quality. The cable is like what you get on any cheap earphones with the bottom half being the cables stuck next to each other. The cable does not boast strength but it does the job. The jack is just a cheapy plastic one with a little strain relief.

 

AppleMark

 

Funny enough though you soon get used to it and becomes a real minor problem.

 

AppleMark

 

Comfort/Fit:

 

I think the fitting of these is hardly something to be explained. You just pop it in you ear, I mean, who has never worn an earbud. As for comfort these do slightly irritate my right ear where they sit in it. At the end of the day I am sure you know what earbuds feel like so there is not much to really go into detail about them. They are very light so there is no problem in that respect though.

 

Isolation:

 

Little to none. These are open and let all the noise around you in. They are like open full-sized headphones in this respect and need a relatively quiet environment to enjoy the maximum.

 

Burn-In:

 

Blox actually recommend an amount of burn in but fortunately they burned mine in for what I believe to be 70 hours and said I should do about 10 hours on top that I quickly done (well it took 10 hours) with them in my ears so that they are fully burned in terms of what Blox recommend.

 

Sound Quality:

 

In the case of these headphones all of the previous stuff is absolutely irrelevant. That’s right it all counts t nothing because these sound amazing. I am not exaggerating here but these could take on most top tier IEMs and even win if they suit your sound signature. When first listening to these one thing will hit you before anything else. And that is the soundstage, huge and airy. Other than that these have a bright sound that is rather smooth regardless and has good energy and presence in all departments and ticks a lot of boxes. The only place it does sometimes show that it is not a true top tier is speed. I get the sound I describer here out of most rigs but I actually get a lush warm sound with toned down treble and brightness from the iPod Classic > MyST PortAMP, that is the best synergy!

 

AppleMark

 

Soundstage and instrument separation:

 

This is just amazing. These are open but you still do not expect something so small to deliver so well in this area. It is huge, really in height, width and depth, well and truly three-dimensional. It is complete with great imaging and only let done the slightest when comparing to better full sized headphones with its center image.

 

Instrument separation is good but does have some faults because I think the speed of this does not always truly keep up. Now at slower and medium speeds everything is easily distinguishable in the huge sound stage but things do get a bit murky and close together when it gets faster with some dragon force or slipknot.

 

Bass:

 

Bass is fast and in the mid-bass with a quick decay and a nice punch. It is only ever so slightly boosted above neutral and I guess you would say what most people would say is just a bit more than what is typical for an armature.

 

What is not typical for an armature however is the sub-bass extension with these. They dig down deep with a very natural and honest rumble that has really impressed me. It really completes the entire sound and gives you a full complete bass.

 

Bass drums just have a great solid impact and bass guitars really have a great well-textured groan to them. This is a very strong and confident performance.

 

Midrange:

 

The midrange leans towards the high mids and can sound a bit to uneven at times with male vocals but female vocals strive. Clarity because of this is insane and top notch and this oozes throughout the whole sound. Transparency seems to take a slight knock from the colouration of the brightness coming from the treble but it still impresses me nonetheless and these may well be the most transparent things you can get under 50 GBP. Detail retrieval in turn is impressive and you really do get the finer details with songs.

 

The overall presence of the midrange I slsightly behind in the lower mids but not a dip that causes a nasaly sound or anything like that and the high mids are slightly boosted above the rest. So this gives you great vocal position that can always clearly be heard.

 

With some amplifiers, mainly the MyST PortAMP the balance in the mids is better and so is the transparency.

 

Treble:

 

Treble is boosted in the lower region that gives these and overall bright colouration but it is not too harsh or over bearing. It is also not in the area that causes sibilance or fatigue on my ears so this is good. The overall treble is greatly extended right into the area that gives you the airy sound and it is mostly smooth through out. Detail is also very good and sparkle is in ample quality and snares drums and other high pitched snaps can be easily heard over the rest but not too piercing are over done.

 

The boost really depends on the synergy with the amp or source, the more it likes the source the less the boost is and the better the overall sound, not that the boost is a bad thing.

 

Conclusion:

 

I did not really care much for anything else but the amazing sound that is just so spacious after not too long and I found my self becoming addicted to the sound, using these over many other items in my possession. I am going to be honest here and tell you to BUY A PAIR NOW. There is no messing about because you HAVE TO OWN THESE. You may have the best headphones and IEMs but you need to add an earbud to that collection. It is just something that you must do… unless you have already started a earbud collection which I know many of you have not!

 

This has been copied from my website:

 

http://www.inearspace.co.uk/inearspace/Blox_ANV3.html

post #2 of 14

How long did it take for you to receive yours? I ordered mine Tuesday night and never received a confirmation other than paypal.

post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 

I got mine over a week a go but mine were a demo unit for review. It is Chinese New Year now so I am not sure that will help the situation. Hope you get them soon!

post #4 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Swimsonny View Post

I got mine over a week a go but mine were a demo unit for review. It is Chinese New Year now so I am not sure that will help the situation. Hope you get them soon!


Good lord, I think I actually own a pair of these. A while ago I bought a clot of headphones,iriverplayer,magellangps etc for 5 bucks at a local thrift shop. A few weeks ago I was going through the lot looking for a 3.3mm plug to cannibalize for a project and found these twisted up in a little ball. Cord hard as raw spaghetti (I guess they'd been "Stored " that way for a while). No discernable markings and so bland in style I actually believed they were an airline give away or something. At any rate I thought I'd give them a go before cutting up the cord. Plugged them into the M Audio Transit attached to my PC and let rip with a few 24/96 flacs of choice. Jawdropping amazement. These critters actually picked up flaws in the system my ER4S's did not. The highs can get a little out of control on cymbals and the like if your system is out of balance, but by all the gods in Rome these are stunning. Kate Bush The Kick Inside never sounded better and that disk is loaded with highs. The fast transients and guitar work on the remaster of Patti Smith's Gloria make you feel like you are trapped in CBGB's in the 70's you can smell the smoke. For a real treat put on a well mastered classical recording of your choice and listen to the orchestra come alive.

 

Gawd but I love "Cheap Fi" :)

post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 

I doubt these would be lying around in a thrift shop as there is only 133 of these in the world and they have only recently been shipped out! Also a lot of earbuds use this housing and cable etc, it is rather common for cheap earbuds but they stick there own awesome driver in it!

post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Swimsonny View Post

I doubt these would be lying around in a thrift shop as there is only 133 of these in the world and they have only recently been shipped out! Also a lot of earbuds use this housing and cable etc, it is rather common for cheap earbuds but they stick there own awesome driver in it!


The brand has been around for about 3 years, and I believe the pair you are referring to are a special anniversary run. You would be surprised at what you find in thrift shops in wealthy cities. Case lots of Comply tips, Meridian speakers and something really cool by a company named Oracle:)

 

That said, if they are not, they are the most astounding earphones I have heard. Love to do a recable, but not too keen on violating that housing.

post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
Oh they could well be bloc, I meant probably not the anv3. They have a fair few different models that are all meant to be good. By your description they do sound blox! Not much Is at there level.

Meridian speakers, don't mind if I Do ;-)
post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Swimsonny View Post

Oh they could well be bloc, I meant probably not the anv3. They have a fair few different models that are all meant to be good. By your description they do sound blox! Not much Is at there level.

Meridian speakers, don't mind if I Do ;-)


I am extraordinarily fortunate to live in a city with the highest per capita of wealthy individuals in the country (myself excepted from that list). A lot of very old sons and daughters of the empire, and of course being British they have a fine appreciation for audio. When they pass away, (very much older population which goes in hand with the wealth I guess) Their stuff gets donated. A friend got himself a few year old set of Callaway golf clubs that way, he was chuffed.

 

I'm still blown away by these earphones and winding through the music inventory I cannot find anything that makes them sound bad. Pop an E11 into the equation and I think you have one of the most magnificent  portable combos around.

 

You have to wonder, when a company can put something like this out for the price, what exactly are the 500 buck and up products doing for the extra money?

post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 

Your very lucky in terms of thrift shops, i have never found anything that exciting over in the UK.

 

Blox are a magnificent company, these are the best darn value i have ever heard. I just wish they done something premiums like a high quality, sturdy silver cable and solidly build earbuds with the same quality sound but like 200-250 USD. They said next year they will be able to build earbuds a lot quicker so we may actually see them with a solid stock compared to what they have at the moment as they go out of stock in hours!

post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Swimsonny View Post

Your very lucky in terms of thrift shops, i have never found anything that exciting over in the UK.

 

Blox are a magnificent company, these are the best darn value i have ever heard. I just wish they done something premiums like a high quality, sturdy silver cable and solidly build earbuds with the same quality sound but like 200-250 USD. They said next year they will be able to build earbuds a lot quicker so we may actually see them with a solid stock compared to what they have at the moment as they go out of stock in hours!

 

I'd give a lot for a recable here. Perhaps these were left somewhere hostile but they seem almost brittle.  At their current prices it's no surprise they go out of stock so quickly. Once they get the production volumes handled perhaps they will turn their eye to the premium edition.

post #11 of 14

great review. where would i be able to buy these?

post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 

Only from Blox direct!

 

http://www.bloxearphone.com

 

But you have to be quick, stock does not last! I would email them as they may have a waiting list!

post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Swimsonny View Post

Only from Blox direct!

 

http://www.bloxearphone.com

 

But you have to be quick, stock does not last! I would email them as they may have a waiting list!

 

well, everything is out of stock...

post #14 of 14

I'd like to try various BLoX models in search of my favorite earphone.  Yesterday I ordered Vsonic UU2, Audio Technica CM707 et cetera.

 

 

I will pay anyone to rent their pair for 2 weeks, and then if I like it I'll then pay you 100% of the MSRP.

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