Okay, first post here. Here's my first impressions on the Blox ANV3se earbuds.
After reading such positive things about Blox earphones on Head-Fi I waited patiently through Chinese New Year for the original ANV3 to be available for sale again and was disappointed to find they were completely sold out.
I sent an email and was pleased to get a very polite and apologetic reply from Woo saying they were working hard to satisfy all their customers and were working on something that "might be something you would like to have".
I watched the Blox website daily and took a gamble on the ANV3se as soon as they appeared despite the higher price and was glad I did as they were sold out by the next day!
Last Saturday morning I was excited to see a red card from the Post Office on the doormat and off I went to the local office to collect! I opened the box immediately, slipped on the foamies, plugged them directly into my rockboxed clip zip and popped them in my ears.
As soon as I heard them I knew that it had been worth the wait. These things are great!
I only have about 10 hours on these as yet so they may improve further as they burn-in.
The sound is very clear and balanced and, to my ears, very satisfying. I can forget they are there and just enjoy the music.
The bass is solid and tight without excessive flab or boom, the mids are detailed and the treble is clear and smooth.
Even unamplified and without equalisation, these are a step up from all other earbuds I have heard and are well worth the money asked for them.
I don't own any other Blox earphones but from the pictures others have posted they look like they share the same housings as M2C and ANV3.
The housings, while not particularly expensive looking are good enough to do the job. The cable at least is better than the stuff on my Sony MDR-E888SP and though there is no visible strain relief where it enters the housings I don't have any misgivings about the build quality. They are comfortable enough in my ears and I am happy that the effort has gone into the sound rather than flashy housings or celebrity endorsements.
Specifications on the box:
Driver: Dynamic 15mm
Frequency Response: 20Hz-18Khz
Impedance: 32 ohm
Sensitivity: 107dB/mW @ 1KHz
Cable: TPE 1.2m. (3.5mm plug)
At nominally 32 ohms they are easy to drive even for players with less robust outputs. FLAC files on my Rockboxed Clip Zip sound just great with plenty of tight low end control and there is more than enough volume available for me. A quick check inserting a CMOY amplifier in line showed no major difference to the sound so unless your player is particularly feeble I'd expect the improvement from amplification (if any) to be subtle rather than night and day. They should match well with most unamped portable DAP's. So far, I have not felt the need for any EQ which bodes well.
As with any earbud, they are not particularly isolating. For use around the home this is not an issue and is useful when you need to remain aware of your surroundings for pedestrian use too.
If you need something to use in very noisy environments you should probably consider a decent IEM instead of an earbud anyway.
Compared with Sony MDR-E888SP (Modded):
A more laid back and comfortable sound than the E888. The treble is more recessed than the Sony and the ANV3se is a smoother and more satisfying listen overall.
Compared with ER4S (Glider tips, Amplified):
The ANV3se sounds warmer overall and the bass a little more forward than the ER4S. The ER4S has a thinner sound but perhaps more absolute accuracy and detail. They are both enjoyable to listen to and my preference between them depends on the environment they are used in. For portable listening at home or walking on quiet streets without an amplifier I find myself preferring the warmer and more relaxing sound signature of the ANV3se. For noisy environments like bus travel or visits to the gym I prefer the ER4S with a Fiio E06 portable amp and custom Rockbox EQ.
A sine sweep of 20hz-20khz sounds nice and smooth with no glaring bumps or holes in the bass and mids and only relatively small ripples up high which may well be due to my own ears response as all my phones seem to do this on a sweep to a greater or lesser degree.
A quick and very unscientific test with pink noise and the Audio Kit spectrum analyzer app on my iPhone shows a reasonably flat response with a small dip at around 6.5kHz and a slight peak around 8.5kHz. I realise these results are scientifically worthless as I do not have an ear simulator and the iPhone mic is not a calibrated reference mic but I find them interesting all the same. I think the HF rolloff above 12kHz and the dip around 17kHz are due to the iPhone mic frequency response as I've seen much the same with my other phones.
[Edit] My Audio Kit screen capture won't display here for some reason.
[Update] Just realised I haven't been here long enough to have image posting permissions. I'll fix it once I have.
Thumbs up from me. If you like earbuds, you should definitely try these if you are lucky enough to be able to get some.
In the unlikely event that you don't like them there are probably many folks who will take them off your hands at full price on eBay.
Excellent value for money.
Easily driven - work well without amplification.
No EQ needed. (For my taste at least).
Stealth - They look quite ordinary so are unlikely to attract undesirable attention.
Low Isolation - You can listen at low levels and still remain aware of your environment.
Availability - Hopefully this will improve in time. Blox make great phones but it seems the demand for them is greater their capacity to supply them at the moment.
Only average quality housings. - May not survive as well as more expensive phones in the hands of those who are careless or abusive with their stuff.
Low Isolation - As with any earbuds, not really suitable for noisy environments. If this matters to you, consider IEM's instead.
That's my two cents. I'm looking forward to hearing what others think of them and especially how they compare with the other Blox models.
Edited by Astir - 4/23/13 at 2:15am