Malfunkt

1000+ Head-Fier
BL-05S review - A jade gem with the 'goldilocks' signature
Pros: Similar mid-to-treble presentation to 03 allows for sufficient presence for vocals and instrumentation. Rolled off on the very upper registers can make it a bit easier to listen to. It has a touch of a smoky haze of a sound, organic but still with some sizzle.
Jade green, metal housing looks better in person
Lacking top end refinement but at the price expected
Overall, driver performs above its price point
Imminently easy to listen to
Driams
Cons: Bass still a touch too amplified for purist sound for classical and orchestral
Short nozzle may not allow enough insertion depth
Cable prone to tangling but fine for sound quality
Hospital mint green colour may trigger trauma from older listeners

There is a reason BLONs are found in many collector's kit - they offer a benchmark signature that is the perfect balance between analog warmth and live sound presentation.


This was going to originally be a post on the Blon impressions thread, but it meandered long-enough to warrant being a review. This is less a structured review but will be useful to those who are wondering how a budget iem like the BLON stacks up.

BLON BL-05S in-ear monitor


In addition to my earlier posts here is some more praise for the BL-05S.

Using this IEM I was reminded of how important tips are. For a while I had been using my BL-05S with some Sony hybrids, but still wasn't quite happy with the fit and seal. Recently, I bought a Fiio FH5S that came with a great set of tips, and the Fiio Bass tips with large nozzle diameter work fantastically with the BL-05S. The tips have an effect on sound, but more importantly I am getting a really good seal with these. I feel like I'm finally getting everything out of the 05S IEM and they are wonderful.

Let's jump into some comparisons.

The Bl-05S bass quality is better than the Mini with rich texture, warmth and a decent amount of detail. It has more dimension overall in sound than the Mini thanks mostly due to frequency presentation but also it's larger CNT driver seems to be a bit more expansive with a larger dynamic range. The upper mid-to-treble on the 05S is similar to the 03 and really they are the only BLONs that share this. The Mini, A8, and 01 all have a signature that is deeper, more 'v-shaped, fun but less realistic. The 05S, with a good set of tips still gives you ample amount of low end bass for modern genres, and its mid-range and top-end balance is excellent and able to render instrumentation and vocals with sufficient realism. At the same time, the very top-end of the treble is rolled off so it never is harsh. The 05S I found can be a touch resonant, and you may notice this on finely recorded piano. Lastly, the 05S is not missing sub-bass providing you have a good seal. Pretty easy to test this via test tones and bass-oriented genres.

In comparison, Fiio FH5S has some similarity in tonal curve, but brings the upper-mid range and treble into greater prominence (arguably perhaps just a touch too much) and is able to render the best dynamic recordings with greater precision, detail and realistic air that is missing on the 05S. However you wouldn't necessarily miss it on the 05S, unless you had something to compare it to. Also if you want, you could use a touch of EQ.

Ultimately, the signature of an IEM can impact how you listen to music and even make certain music more enjoyable. The 05S strikes a very good balance - perhaps one of the best - in accessible sound, that at the same time is lively and present. The 05S is very versatile as a result.

For similar type of presentations, I could also see the Moondrop Aria and some of the Tanchjim IEMs (ie. Hana) being candidates though I haven't heard them as of yet. All of these are still a bit too warm imo to be considered truly 'accurate' imo, as they all have a bit too much bass and could use a bit more extension. However, you may find that this type of tonal presentation is emotionally accurate.

That low-end emphasis helps convey emotion and note weight that we would typically experience in live sound - concert or high-end speaker setup - as a physical sensation. However, for IEMs, this added warmth can also muddy up the sound of instruments like piano. The Heart Mirror has a more neutralish bass than the 05S which would make it more suitable for orchestral, classical, and may just be preferred depending on how you perceive bass. The FH5S for that matter also has just a touch warmer bass than neutral (though less than the 05S), so it still conveys the low-end emotional weight with a measure of accuracy. The Fh5S is still coloured and can be a bit strident. A less uncoloured sound would be more akin to the Etymotic ER4SR (which can sound downright flat at times but that is also it's strength) or the Focal Utopia (which is somehow a touch warm while remaining breathlessly transparent and never strident).

Now how important all this is really depends. Our brains quickly adjust to these sound profiles. For myself, I like having a range of signatures. I look at each one as being able to render a certain presentation, room space, and bring it's own emotive qualities.

blon_Bl05s_garden_02.JPG

As pictured, BLON BL-05S with aftermarket NiceHCK C16-3 16-Core High Purity Copper Cable which costs as much as the IEM and worth it for aesthetic reasons just for the hell of it. Also, cables may make you think your IEM is more awesome through promoting cognitive bias of a improved perceived experience as well as keeping your regular.

So with all this said, coming back to the 05S. It is still a fantastic budget IEM, and the CNT driver is actually quite good at rendering detail and depth with low distortion where it matters. The sound has a degree of sonority. There is a touch of bloom and lack of high-end refinement at the very upper registers, but that in part gives it an organic character.

If someone wanted an upgrade to the 05S, with much great sensation of space, air, and liveliness the FH5S would be an option. But it is less accessible as it take a path of a more true mid/treble presentation that isn't dialed back. If you are listening to classical, jazz, orchestral, instrumental and vocal performances the FH5S is well-suited whereas the tunings of the 05S and similar, are more approachable and work well for modern genres. I think the FH5S might appear harsh to some listeners, but imo, it is closer to the real in-the-room brilliance of a high-end speaker setup or live performance. The bass is also incredible on the FH5S. It all comes at a cost, but you get a much better overall package, tips, cable, and beautiful housing.

That I'm even comparing my 05S to a Focal Utopia or Fiio FH5S may seem like an unfair comparison, but in doing so I hope it underscores how good the 05S actually is. In a lot of ways, the 05S is so easy to sink into, that any of its slight failings won't matter. This is the same reason why the BL-03 is still loved and may still be preferred over the BL-05S for those who want a warmer emphasis.

Also consider how you are using your IEMs. If it isn't for critical listening, then the 05S really is all one really might need in an IEM. If you are walking around, doing other tasks, the 05S won't grate on your nerves, and it's actually quite a small housing that is very comfortable.

If you are feeling confident that you have a good selection of tips, the 05S is incredible value. I only mention the tip issue as the nozzles are a touch short and fit may not be perfect for some without the right tips. The silicone tips provided may work fine for most, but even the largest size wasn't large or extended enough for my ears.

The BLON Mini I would recommend over the 05S and other Blons if acoustic accuracy isn't paramount. They have a deeper sound to them, with accented bass and more distant sounding instrumentation. But it is a tonal sound that you can adjust to, and I recommend the Mini as a 'beater' set because you can be almost assured to get a good fit and seal with them. They also have a better cable than the 05S. However, the 05S will be more comfortable for long-term listening as they don't intrude as much into your ear canal.

The real competition for the BL-05S comes from IEMs that offer similar tonal signatures as well as more complete accessories. I can't imagine the Moondrop Aria of being leagues better sonically (if at all, but someone feel free to correct me as I'm interested in them) but it still may a better choice for a single-dynamic driver iem especially as a first purchase with its range of tips and cable. The fit may also be a bit better with a slightly longer nozzle than the 05S. Another recommendation would be the Etymotic series (ie. ER2XR) which are classics, and also a good recommendation at this price range providing you are okay with their intrusive fit (which sometimes can be uncomfortable and other times something you could wear them all day). The Ety has a different signature though, and I think the Blon type of signature is going to be more enjoyable for most.

But really, for anyone who is on a budget or is curious about low-cost IEMs the 05S are superlative for their price. Ignore the 'C+' reviews as these are only in comparison to much much more expensive sets. I can assure the budget buyer that the BL-05S - and by extension the older BL-03 - are going to provide you with pretty much all you might need for sound quality. It is easy to get carried away with the obsessive aspects of this hobby and in my experience tonal signature matters more than esoteric technicalities, as ultimately our brains perception can fill in a lot of the gaps when you are just enjoying music and not just listening to gear.
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xxAMAROKxx
xxAMAROKxx
Oh, that aftermarket 16-core cable with super-heavy Y-splitter .... It's way too much for listening while walking.
Malfunkt
Malfunkt
@xxAMAROKxx definitely, it’s a home cable for sure. I switch it out with the cable that came with the Mini if I want to use it on the go.

Hooga

100+ Head-Fier
Pros: Good stage and very good imaging.
Nice punchy clean midbass.
Very nice compromise treble tuning.
Cons: Missing sub-bass.
Need to upgrade cable and tips.
I’m not the finest and most through connaisseur of the sub-$50 IEM bracket so I cant really offer a final word – and probably not even a semi-final one – about how BL05S fare towards their most direct competition. Limited to my direct experiences I must say I’ve been impressed: these things sounds very well, truth be told.

They’re not perfect – their main technical flaw is the missing sub-bass rumble – and probably not “mesmerising” either, yet a special word is definitely deserved by their technical capabilities at space and imaging rendering which I found really remarkable, and the very elegant compromised reached in the highs between livelyness and unoffensiveness.

Considering the total failure at stock cable and tips and the consequent need to swap them instantly, the price also didnt strike me either. As a pure example, final E1000 offer a hugely better value for money (on a different timbre though!). But even that being told, I find BL05S definitely recommendable.

I got this pair of WGZBLON BL05S as a review unit from my friends at KEEPHIFI (www.keephifi.com) entrusting me to an unbiased analysis and openhearted subjective evaluation, which is what I’m reporting here above and below. You can purchase BL05S at their store.


Test setup

Sources: Apogee Groove / Questyle QP1R / Sony NW-A55 mrWalkman – Sedna Earfit Light eartips – Nicehck 16core High Purity Copper cable – lossless 16-24/44.1-192 FLAC tracks.


Signature analysis

Tonality
Timbre is neutral-ish with a modest bass bump. Tonality is a mild V (almost a U) with no excesses anywhere, and nice vividness.

Sub-Bass Abruptly rolled-off, rumble is missing

Mid Bass Very good speed/meat compromise – for my taste as least. We’re definitely in DD-buttery territory, with a bump-up in terms of loudness, but a speedier transient tuning avoids bleed/bloat into the mids, or keeps it at very reasonable levels. Texturing is above decent too. Softer silicon tips like final E-clears tend to dry-up midbass further, which might be welcome depending on personal taste and musical genre.

Mids Mids are moderately recessed but well tuned nonetheless. Not lean, but not bodied either and especially not particularly textured. The higher end has a very modest tendance to glare out at higher volumes.

Male Vocals Quite nice. On the lean-ish side, still close to “natural” sounding.

Female Vocals Overall quality similar to male vocals, with the additional note of high registers tending to swish-up a tad sometimes. Not shouty nor screechy, but sometimes uniformity is a bit lacking. They also stay way from sibilance except some very rare times when they come close to it.

Highs Well done, really. Much like midbass, here too I hear a very nice compromise, in this case between livelyness and polishing. High mids and Presence are vivid and quite engaging. After them there’s a a quick reduction but with some subsequent bump-ups which add some extra detail and especially air, all while never getting sharp let alone screechy. I do hear a veeeery slight metallic tint sometime but that’s it.


Technicalities

Soundstage
Stage is presented as nicely wide, and with a very good sense of verticality; depth is just hinted – although not zero. Specific sources like Groove make depth better but that happens with just about any driver

Imaging Together with separation it’s clearly one of the best parts of the product. Within the limits of stage reconstruction it’s also not flattened onto the L-R axis as so many other IEMs in this price bracket do.

Details Not a monster at microdetail retrieval, BL05S does anyway deliver quite some nice highmids and treble details when called for.

Instrument separation This obviusly depends on source quality but beyond that separation is the other “above its price” point together with imaging. Instruments are correctly differentiated in all occasions, only in the most crowded occasions – both on bass and trebles – some in-between shades layers get partially pasted. But I honestly need to pull drivers costing way more from the drawer to do better.

Driveability Extremely easy powerwise – even too much – output quality stays more than acceptable even when scaling source quality from my usual devices down to some more ordinary stuff like X3-III or a Meizu dongle – what mostly happens in such case is bass getting muddier and trebles less brilliant (i.e. the typical noise related effects).


Physicals

Build
Housings solidity and resistance are quite convincing. Design is very “stalwart”: love or hate it.

Fit Can only be worn cable-up of course, and nozzles are not long. Non-short tips are required, longer ones do facilitate the fit, which is quite firm when set. Stock tips are just terrible. After the usual painstaking rolling session I found Sedna Earfit Lights are the best overall compromise for me also considering their relative length. Alternative choice for me are final E-clears.

Comfort In my case it’s just OK. Not the most “disappearing once worn” housings, yet their shape is quite comfortable for me.

Isolation Good, once properly fitted

Cable An authentic piece of stinky crap, binned instantly. The good news is a cheap ($10-ish) Nicehck 16c High Purity Copper cable is perfectly adequate sound wise.


Specifications (declared)

Housing
Zinc-Alloy die-cast shells, in a light-aquamarineish-green tint with golden inserts.
Driver(s) One 3rd generation 10mm Carbon Diaphragm Dynamic Driver
Connector 2pin 0.78mm
Cable 1.2mm special (?) cable, with 3.5mm male angle single ended termination, with mic and remote
Sensitivity 108 dB
Impedance 32 Ω
Frequency Range 20-20000Hz
Package and accessories Soft carry pouch, 1 set (S/M/L) silicon tips
MSRP at this post time $90,00 ($45,00 apparently “permanent” deal price)

dooxtypoox

Head-Fier
Pros: + "Safe" V-shape tuning, non-fatiguing
+ Balanced
Cons: - Does not excel at anything in particular
- Colour (?)
Video Review

Special thanks to Vivian from KEEP HI-FI for arranging to have the BLON BL-05s sent over for a full review. You may purchase the BLON BL-05s with the non-affiliate links below.

Price and specifications
Price: USD$45.00
KEEP HI-FI Official Store
Friendly Audio Store Aliexpress

Connector: 0.78mm 2-pin
Impedance: 32Ω
Frequency: 20-20000hz
Sensitivity: 108dB/mW

photo_2020-12-14_09-25-28.jpg

Accessories
1.2m cable
5 pairs of ear tips (1 set of S, M, L) + (1 set of S, M)
Soft pouch

Comments on accessories
I've read of people complaining about the molded ear hooks which curve so aggressively such that the earphones are pulled out of their ears. I've never had this problem but I have to say that I feel the cable guides here more so than other cables; I have to adjust them every half an hour or so because the ear hooks feel as if they are clinging to my skin.

Build, comfort and isolation
This review wouldn't be complete without talking about that colour. I feel that this green would have been appropriate if there were other colour options available but of course that would imply more manufacturing costs and the possibility of unclearable leftover stock from unpopular colours. The BL-05 and BL-05s were released just months apart so my guess is that BLON wanted to differentiate the BLON BL-05s from the gunmetal BL-05 with this polarizing colour; and to that I say they have succeeded.

I could not achieve a proper fit with any of the included tips in the BL-03. With the BL-05s, I am happy that they fit my ears normally with the included M tips. Passive noise isolation is pretty much what you'd expect with any UIEM.

photo_2020-12-14_09-25-34.jpg

Sound
Before discussing the BLON BL-05s specifically, I think it's relevant to share my thoughts on BLON's house sound.

The BLON house sound is a V-shaped signature but with more energy at the 2kHz and 4kHz region relative to the other boosted frequencies in the upper-midrange (1kHz - 4kHz). In particular, the extra energy at 2kHz causes vocals to sit closer to the listener as compared to conventional V-shape IEMs. To me, this was the appeal with the BL-03 when it took the market by storm upon its release. Finally, a tuning that was "close to home"/familiar yet different enough to stand out from the sea of V-shaped Chi-fi IEMs.

Since then, it seems that BLON has been releasing variations of this house sound with regard to its balance on the "see-saw" of its tuning based on consumer feedback:
- BL-03 = Favours bass
- BL-05 = More balanced than BL-03 but too lean for some
- BL-05s = More warm-colouration in the mid to upper-bass to address the lean sound

In my opinion, the BL-05s is by far the "safest" BLON tuning. It is the most balanced sounding of the 3 whilst retaining the upper-midrange tuning that was "tried and tested" in their BL-03. However, as "safe" as it may sound, the warm-colouration in the upper-bass may render tracks too muddy for those who chase a low bass shelf which is becoming increasingly popular these days.

To touch on the treble, the treble region is often overshadowed by the bass and midrange. I don't often find myself listening out for cymbals and hi-hats since the BL-05s clearly adopts a musical approach as compared to an analytical one.【1】

Technical Summary
BLON BL-05s 2.png

On that note, the BL-05s scores a 1.5 for detail retrieval. There isn't much to discuss here as the BL-05s is mostly an average IEM in terms of technical performance, which is still very much acceptable given its asking price of USD$45.

Conclusion
Recommending this is tricky since the BL-05s does not excel in any particular aspect - the technicalities are average and the treble isn't exactly the star of the show here. Even the bass doesn't slam that hard when I feel it needs to in some songs.【2】 Bar those who are looking for more technical proficiency and those who have zero tolerance for a mildly bloated bass, the BL-05s is just a fairly acceptable sub-50 budget IEM.

I hope to see BLON step out of their comfort zone to push the boundaries that they created for themselves in future products. Achieving greater technical proficiency is indeed possible as seen with the KBEAR Lark "4k" version which I reviewed previously (note that these are not the retuned version which is the official one). With that, I am curious to hear how the cheaper BL-01 which came out recently compares to these and will do a review if I can get my hands on one.

Thanks for reading! You may find more reviews on my Head-fi thread.

These are some of the notable tracks used to come to my conclusions for those who're interested (not exhaustive).
Sample tracks for reference: Artiste 1Song 1, Song 2. Artiste 2Song 1…
1. ONE OK ROCK - 完全感覚Dreamer, Nobody's Home, Cry Out. Royal Blood - Out Of The Black, Figure It Out.
2. The Glitch Mob - Carry The Sun, Black Aura, Come Closer. PVRIS - Gimme a Minute, Dead Weight.
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Tonymac136

500+ Head-Fier
Weight and see
Pros: Weighty presentation
Excellent timbre
Good all round sonic performance
Cons: May be a bit "much" for some taste
Stock tips and cable usual Blon rubbish
Not short on competition
As a fan of Blon's ever since getting one of the first BL-03s in a lucky bag way back when (in Chi-Fi terms), I've bought most of the following releases, one of which was the BL05. Suffice to say I wasn't really a fan, the tuning was well off. I therefore duly ignored the BL-05S due to this and the VILE minty green colour. Until about a month ago when I was sent a pair to review.

Straight away, the resemblance to the 05 was clear, the casing was identical apart from the horrid colour, the cable felt like one of the worst available and the tips, well, they didn't fit. Straight in the bin with those and out with a pair of Sednafits, now replaced by flipped Starlines after a bit of experimentation.

These will just about drive through a smartphone, though I would recommend an amp if you want ear bleeding volumes.

Sonically they present as almost W shaped in signature. The soundstage is about average but the separation is fantastic. Probably the best I have heard on any headphones.

To begin with, listening to "Crystallize" by Lindsay Stirling, reveals lows that don't necessarily extend super deep (certainly not to BL-03 levels) but have a real, honest weight to them without being overpowering. Despite the fact that I listen to this track to get an idea of what the bass is like, I can't help that even when the bass is at its lowest point, the timbre of the violin is fantastic.
"Merican" by Descendents is another track which is good for assessing bass, not because of the depth but because of the sheer speed of it. Many IEMs with weight in the bass struggle to keep up but the BL-05S has no issues at all.
"There She Goes" by Babyshambles reveals the bass to be remarkably even-handed. This was a track that revealed the weaknesses of the BL-03's bass. It also has just enough sibilance on Pete's vocals without becoming tiring. Plenty of detail is revealed in the midrange, the guitars sound fantastic on this track, the track makes use of a lot of muting but what both guitars are doing is easy to hear.
While I was listening to that on Tidal, Tidal decided to follow up with "What Katie Did" by The Libertines, and once again the BL-05S rewards with a weighty but detailed analysis of the track, with separation so good it's easy to hear what each individual is doing.

With all this weight being thrown around, it might be prudent to try something a bit more subtle. "Could You Believe" by Antonio Forcione shows a dynamic range I wasn't expecting to hear from such a punchy number. It can sound a bit "breathy" in vocals, which some may see as great detail and some might find a bit off-putting.

(Ghost) Riders in the Sky by Johnny Cash reveals details in the mids that other IEMs (even the mighty Tin T2 Plus) can miss, and Johnny's voice sounds awesome.

"Bring Me To Life" by Evanescence has plenty of detail in the treble without giving way to too much splashiness or sibilance. As with pretty much anything you feed the little green monsters, there's a genuine punch to the presentation in the mids and bass.

"Coin-Operated Boy" by Dresden Dolls manages to combine punch in the piano and percussion and still deliver Amanda Palmer's voice with some level of subtlety.

Ultimately I could listen to any one of a number of tracks and still be impressed by the way the BL-05S performs. The combination of genuine heft and detail and subtlety for me is super compelling. I've listened to more Heavy Metal tracks with these than any other IEM because they just sound so good (I don't ordinarily listen to much beyond a bit of System of a Down and Metallica). I've not, in six weeks, found a track I don't like with these.
In the meantime I've acquired a pair of Tin P1s, and in the presentation honestly I prefer these (though the timbre is slightly better in the P1, these have a little more detail and a fair bit more weight).

For the money the only thing that comes close for me is the Tin T2 Plus, which has a slightly defter touch. I'd say that for people who are concerned they might find these shouty the T2 Plus might be a better bet. For me, 90% of the time these are the ones going in my ears.

Yeah, I like them.

darmanastartes

500+ Head-Fier
Pretender to the Throne
Pros: vast ergonomic improvement over the BL-03, smooth treble, great soundstage, imaging, and instrument separation, tuning is relatively safe
Cons: improvements to bass articulation are marginal, less note weight and bass texture than BL-03, midrange loses the magical timbre of the BL-03 with greater emphasis on presence, slightly blurry transient delivery
DSC07662.jpg

INTRODUCTION AND DISCLAIMER:
The Blon BL-05S is an in-ear monitor (IEM) with a 10mm carbon nanotube (CNT) diaphragm dynamic driver (DD). The release of the BL-05S closely follows that of the BL-05, which was widely regarded as a disappointing follow-up to the infamous BL-03. Thanks to the shipping delays caused by COVID-19, I did not receive my BL-05 review unit until many months after its release and elected to wait to review it alongside its successor. The BL-05S currently retails towards the lower end of the $40–50 price range. I received the BL-05S and the BL-05 directly from Blon, along with a Blon-compatible upgrade cable. I am not being compensated otherwise for writing this review.

SOURCES:
I have used the Blon BL-05S with the following sources:
JDS Labs The Element
Qudelix 5K
I have tested these headphones with local FLAC and Spotify Premium. Visit my last.fm page to get an idea of what I listen to:
https://www.last.fm/user/XenosBroodLord

PACKAGING AND ACCESSORIES:
Like the BL-03 and the BL-05, the Blon BL-05S comes in a long rectangular white cardboard box which displays the earpieces in a tray behind a clear plastic front panel. Blon’s corporate contact information and technical specifications for the BL-05S are listed on the back panel in Chinese and English. The BL-05S comes with the same black detachable .78mm 2-pin cable as the BL-03 and BL-05, three pairs of round grey silicone eartips (S, M, L), two pairs of conical silicone eartips (S, L), a user manual, and the familiar Blon-branded drawstring bag.

BUILD QUALITY / DESIGN:
The Blon BL-05S shares its housing design with the BL-05 but differs in the finish used. In contrast to the mirrored housing finish of the BL-03 and the BL-05, the BL-05S has a light jade color with raised gold accents on the exterior face of the housing. This color scheme has proved polarizing in the wider community, but I like it. The 2-pin connector juts upward from the horizontally-aligned housing body at an acute angle. The forward-swept nozzles are in line with the housing. There is a single pinhole vent on the inner face of the housing. “BLON” is printed on the gold housing accents and “L” and “R” indicators are printed on the enclosed jade surface within the accents. The nozzle has a substantial lip for securing eartips and a metal mesh filter. I did not experience driver flex with the large conical silicone eartips, but I did experience considerable driver flex in the right earpiece with the large round silicone eartips. For reference, my right ear canal is smaller than my left.
As previously indicated, the BL-05S comes with the same black detachable .78mm 2-pin cable as the BL-03 and BL-05. The simple braided 4-strand cable has an L-shaped 3.5mm jack. The black plastic 2-pin connectors have raised markings to indicate left and right. The cable has pre-formed ear-guides without memory wire. There is no chin-adjustment choker. The cable is not tangle-prone and has little in the way of microphonics. There is strain-relief above the 3.5mm jack and above and below the Y-split.

COMFORT / FIT / ISOLATION:
The Blon BL-05S is intended to be worn cable-up only. The BL-05S has improved fit over the BL-03, which had an incredibly shallow fit. With the BL-05S, I can get a good seal using larger single flange eartips, unlike the BL-03. Secureness of fit is also vastly improved over the BL-03. Comfort is worse than the BL-03 but average overall. There is negligible sound leakage and isolation is above average for a vented DD design.

MEASUREMENTS:
Blon BL-05S.jpg

My measurements were conducted with a Dayton iMM-6 microphone using a vinyl tubing coupler and a calibrated USB sound interface. The headphones are driven using my Element, which has an output impedance of no more than 1 ohm. The measurements use a compensation file derived from relating my raw measurements to published measurements from Crinacle and Antdroid. The indicated SPL readings are not accurate. The measurements are presented with 1/24th smoothing. There is a resonant peak at 8k. Measurements above 10k are not reliable.

SOUND AND COMPARISONS TO BLON BL-05 AND BL-03:
Blon Comparison.jpg

BL-05S (Green) vs BL-05 (Red) vs BL-03 (Blue)
https://www.head-fi.org/showcase/blon-bl-03.23894/reviews#item-review-22521
The Blon BL-05S has a moderately V-shaped sound signature that emphasizes the upper midrange and lower treble over the bass.
The BL-05S’ bass response is more restrained in quantity than that of the BL-03, but more full-bodied than the BL-05. The BL-05S retains the more forward upper midrange of the BL-05 versus the safe, more restrained midrange of the BL-03. I feel this is a misstep. At the time of its release, the BL-03 stood out in large part because of its vibrant but natural-sounding midrange. In contrast, the BL-05 and the BL-05S dial up the upper midrange presence and energy to levels more typical of budget Chi-Fi IEMs, losing what set the BL-03 apart from the competition.
The sub-bass is elevated above the mid-bass and there is ample impact, slam, and rumble. Sub-bass extension is very good. However, whatever advantage the BL-05S has over the BL-03 in terms of bass speed and articulation is slight at best. This is not a huge mark against the BL-05S, as the BL-03 already had a very capable driver in this area, especially at its price point. The biggest difference is that the BL-05S has slightly faster bass note decay compared to the BL-03, which enhances its ability to keep up with fast musical passages. That said, the BL-05S has slightly less note weight, and some bass texture is lost as a result of the more restrained bass tuning. The BL-05 has slightly better bass resolution than the BL-03. There is little-to-no mid-bass bleed.
As previously indicated, the BL-05S’ midrange is more forward and present than that of the BL-03. The midrange has a cool tonality and is slightly thin sounding with respect to male vocals and lower midrange instrumentation. There is a bit too much presence for my tastes. Both male and female vocal intelligibility are excellent. Male and female vocals are roughly level with each other and are similarly vibrant. While generally not sibilant to my ears, the BL-05S has less natural-sounding timbre than the BL-03 as a result of the emphasis on presence.
The BL-05S’ treble response is more even than that of the BL-05 and is very similar to that of the BL-03. The treble response is smooth and moderately extended. There is adequate air but limited sparkle. Detail retrieval is fair but it seems Blon continued to prioritize avoiding a harsh lower treble presentation over cranking up the perceived resolution. Transient delivery is mostly realistic if a little soft around the edges. Soundstage width, imaging, and instrument separation are very good. The soundstage is not particularly deep. The BL-05S is easy to drive with a variety of sources. I remain skeptical of claims that the BL-03 “scales” with high-end source devices and continue to recommend pairing the Blon DD IEMs with a competent dongle rather than chasing the dragon.

OTHER COMPARISONS:
SSR vs BL-05S.jpg

Blon BL-05S vs Moondrop SSR
https://www.head-fi.org/showcase/mo...erence-review.24439/reviews#item-review-23984
The Moondrop SSR is another single DD IEM that opts for a beryllium-coated dome and a polyurethane suspension ring instead of a CNT diaphragm. The SSR has a more secure fit and is more comfortable for me. The SSR has a lower profile fit, sitting entirely below the surface of my ear. In contrast to the BL-05S, the SSR targets Moondrop’s take on a Diffuse Field-type tuning. As I discussed in my review, however, my personal in-ear listening experience has significantly more bass than measurements indicate thanks to the occlusion of the SSR’s bass vents in my small ears. The SSR has better technical performance than the BL-05S in most respects. In particular, the SSR has faster bass articulation, shaper transient delivery, and better overall resolution, while remaining competitive in terms of bass texture. However, the SSR’s polarizing midrange tuning is even thinner than that of the BL-05 and can be shouty and congested under certain conditions. The two IEMs are competitive in terms of imaging and instrument separation. The BL-05 has a more expansive soundstage. The two IEMs offer similar accessory selections.

CLOSING WORDS:
DSC07663.jpg

There is no doubt that the BL-05 and the BL-05S are vast ergonomic improvements over the BL-03, which is as criticized for its fit as it is praised for its tuning and timbre. However, although the BL-05S is closer to being the BL-03 with a better fitting design than the BL-05 was, it is still more of a complement than a successor to the BL-03. Picking up the BL-03 again while writing this review reminded me why it conquered the budget IEM world, and I do not think the BL-05S lays a competitive claim to its older sibling’s throne.

kmmbd

100+ Head-Fier
Pleasant Surprises
Pros: Better fit and comfort than the BL-03
- Good detail retrieval for the price range (and given a single DD setup)
- Good soundstage, great imaging
- Generally very non-offensive sound with enough excitement to keep things engaging
- Scales well with upper tier sources
Cons: Awful accessories (again...)
- Fashion-suicide color-way
- Sub-bass lacks rumble and extension
- Upper-mid glare can alter the timbre on some tracks
IMG_8721.JPG


This review originally appeared on my blog.

Many assumed BLON as being a one-hit wonder, and rightly so.

The BL-03 was so unlike their previous releases and the successor BL-05 being completely outta whack in comparison made it seem like BLON accidentally struck the pot of gold and now were digging through their entire backyard in supreme desperation with hopes of another miracle.

The BL-05S was released without much fanfare. Frankly, I initially assumed they were just releasing the BL-05 with a new (and gaudy) paintjob, but the promotional materials suggested a completely new and retuned driver. BLON apparently has figured out the issues with the BL-05 and fixed them all, while royally messing up the color palette.

Yup, I’m being a bit too hung over that color scheme. Let’s just get on with the review, shall we?

Note: the ratings given will be subjective to the price tier. BLON was kind enough to send the BL-05S as a review unit. Disclaimer.
Sources used: Questyle QP1R, YuLong Canary, Cowon Plenue V, Sony Walkman A55

Price, while reviewed: $45.

Build:
The BLON BL-05S is made of the same Kirsite alloy as the BL-05 and BL-03 before it. The actual design mirrors that of the BL-05 with a gold-insert on the back and a vent on the inner side. The connector is again 2-pin. The dimensions have changed though and the BLON BL-05S is slightly more bulbous, likely to accommodate the new driver.

However, it’s really hard to get past that color. It’s probably called Mint Green or something and everyone I’ve shown this to have had negative to mixed reactions. It takes a brave soul to wear these outside while commuting — that’s all I’m gonna say about this. BLON really needs to offer a different color option (as they’ve done with the BL-03 which now comes in purple) since a number of potential buyers will immediately discard it due to the color. It’s so bad that you almost forget the tacky gold-insert at the back. Ah well…
4/5

IMG_8690.JPG


Accessories: Horrible tips, useless cable, a janky pouch… completely worthless. If you’ve owned a BLON IEM in the past you likely got some third-party tips and/or cables. Make good use of them. Otherwise get ready to spend $15 extra on a pair of tips and an aftermarket cable.
1/5

Comfort and Isolation:
BLON BL-05S has better ergonomics than the BL-03 but falls slightly short of the BL-05 due to the slightly thicker shell that presses against the ears and doesn’t provide as flush a fit. The nozzle is still short so you’d need tips with longer stem (e.g. Spinfit, Final E-type etc.) for a flush fit and tight seal. Driver vent has been improved over the older models, albeit there can be some pressure build-up from time to time (nothing too problematic). Isolation is average but you can get better results with foam tips.
4/5

IMG_8509.JPG


Now, on to the sound.

BLON BL-05S has an all new 3rd gen Carbon Nanotube (CNT) driver apparently. BLON also advertised the BL-05 similarly but that was a massive letdown.

Fortunately this time the claims check out. The driver has faster transients and sound more controlled as a result. Detail retrieval has had a generational leap as well. There is apparently a new (thicker) CCAW voice coil as well.

The general sound signature is similar to that of the BL-03 but with one important change: the mid-bass has been dialed down slightly and sub-bass extension has been reduced to some degree. This subtle modification makes noticeable change to the signature compared to the BL-03 and the BL-05S is more of a technical listen with some of the BL-03’s warmth but lacks the analogue lushness of the predecessor. In return, you get a boost in technicalities, as we shall explore in the following.

The following impressions were made with the Acoustune AET-07 tips and an aftermarket cable ($10 SPC one from AliExpress).

Lows: The lows are no longer as prominent as they were in the BL-03 and BL-05. BLON BL-05S goes the other direction with a leaner bass-response. The mid-bass is pretty well tuned and doesn’t bleed into lower-mids or congest the upper-bass. There is some emphasis at the start of the sub-bass region (~60Hz) but sub-bass starts dropping off around 40Hz and by 30Hz you just faintly hear it.

Sub-bass rumble is absent, as is evident on Siamese Youth’s Nariyeh Thanei. Bass is fairly textured though not the most textured in the price bracket (Final E3000 does that best). Bass decay is faster than typical DD though that’s partly due to the rolled-off sub-bass and toned down mid-bass. Transition of bass notes in fast flowing bass sections is adequate, not as precise as some BA drivers or dynamic driver setups with stiffer diaphragms (e.g. DLC/Beryllium). Snare hits were good, but not as authoritative or satisfying as I like them.

Overall, good bass response, but not great.
3.5/5

Mids:
The BLON BL-03 made the mid-range its bread and butter. Subsequently the BL-05 made the mid-range its biggest point of contention. BLON BL-05S tries to address the issues of the BL-05 rather than refining on the warm nature of the BL-03. The midrange here has some warmth, but it’s quite minimal compared to the BL-03.

Lower mids are neither thin not overly full, rather it borders on neutral in terms of note-weight. Tip and fit might change this perception slightly. Upper-mids do get that typical peak around 2.5/2KHz but surprisingly doesn’t sound as shouty as the previous BL-05 despite having a similar level of boost. BL-03 avoided this largely due to the bass that would mask the upper-mids to some extent. BL-05S tames the bass down by a few notches and has similar upper-mid boost, but somehow avoids shoutiness in most cases. Damien Rice’s Elephant should get shouty but it surprisingly didn’t. It bordered on shoutiness on Natalia Imbruglia’s Torn but that’s about it. To my ears, it didn’t cross the threshold with the usual tracks. There was no sibilance. String instruments had a nice bite to them without being strident. Macrodynamics were superior to most IEMs in the range with subtle gradation in instrument/vocal volumes being evident.

Resolved details in the mid frequencies is above average, especially for a single-DD setup. Midrange timbre was not the most natural truth be told, there is some coloration which I like to call “upper-mid shine”. Everything has a tinge of brightness added due to the upper-mid boost, but it’s something you get used to quickly and not detrimental or destructive to my ears.
4.5/5

Treble:
The BLON BL-05S doesn’t try to mess with the treble too much. It’s a safe-ish tuning with no extra peak between 4 — 10KHz. The upper frequencies are dipped post 4Khz but not rolled-off which helps the treble maintain its presence throughout without being a pain-point. It peaks around 12/13KHz to add some air into the mix and then drops off.

Cymbal strikes and hi-hats had a satisfying crispness to them. In Lamb of God’s Ruin from the 2:30 marks onwards there is a great solo section with hard-hitting drums accompanying the riffs. Cymbal hits/hi-hats weren’t splashy, and crush cymbals didn’t sound smeared at all. Even in faster drum sections I didn’t feel congestion.

I really can’t complain much about the treble here, even more so when I look at the price tag. Separation of notes isn’t the strongest in the treble area but this is a common theme across all single-DD IEMs in the price bracket so it’s mostly an expected weakness.
4/5

IMG_8506.JPG



Soundstage: Soundstage is wider than average, and definitely the widest among all BLON models until now. BLON BL-05S also has a surprisingly tall stage for such a small shell so color me surprised. Soundstage depth isn’t class leading however.
4/5

Imaging:
Now, I wasn’t expecting the BLON BL-05S to have such excellent imaging. It really caught me off-guard. Instrument separation and layering is top notch, better than certain $100 models *cough* Tin T4 *cough* Moondrop Starfield *cough*.

The only time where the imaging suffers is when something is happening at the back of your head (common weakness with most IEMs). Cardinal/Ordinal imaging was mostly spot on (as defined by the mix). Left-right separation was impressive as well, and if you can pair the BL-05S with a balanced cable to connect with portable sources you are in for a treat.
4.5/5

Bang-for-Buck:
This is a bit difficult to ascertain in case of the BLON BL-05S.

Firstly the price goes ~$60 with extra cables and tips (unless you already got some around). It’s playing with some established IEMs in the range i.e. Final E2000/E3000, Tin T2 Plus, iBasso IT00, and their own BL-03 and the other numerous hybrids that gets released at an alarming frequency.

The BL-05S does cut a little niche for it. It’s got the technical chops without going overboard with the details ala Tin T4. A single-dynamic is also more coherent overall than multi-BA or hybrids. The paintjob is a divisive point though this is something I’d judge based solely on sound quality.
4/5

IMG_8511.JPG



Source and Amping: The BLON BL-05S is fairly easy to drive and will get loud out of most portable gear. However, it does scale surprisingly well for such a budget IEM. I got the best performance when connected to Yulong Canary and frankly I didn’t expect such improvement over, say, the LG G7. That being said, I don’t encourage buying a dedicated source just to run these IEMs. Source should never be the most expensive item in a chain, or at least for the most part (Electrostats are another story).

However, if you own a nice desktop amp or two try plugging in the BL-05S into them, especially if they offer a fully balanced architecture. You’ll be pleasantly surprised. Also pairing with slightly warm sources is recommended.

IMG_8688.JPG


Select Comparisons

vs
BLON BL-03 ($25): The BLON BL-05S has better fit/comfort vs the BL-03 and both share horrible accessories. Sigh.

In terms of sound, BL-03 is considerably warmer and bassier with a more lush midrange tonality whereas the BLON BL-05S lowers the warmth and focuses a bit more on clarity. Treble is also slightly more emphasized on the BL-05S and has more upper-treble reach. On the other hand the bass on the BL-03 hits harder even though it’s not the cleanest of bass responses. Soundstage, imaging is considerably better on the BL-05S, so is instrument separation and dynamics.

The BLON BL-05S is more of a complementary IEM to the BL-03 than an outright replacement, though I haven’t used the BL-03 once since getting the BL-05S so there’s that.

vs BLON BL-05 ($35): The BLON BL-05S is better in every single aspect. No contest.


vs Final E3000 ($50): The Final E3000 has far better accessories and are also more comfortable.

In terms of sound, the E3000 has a more laid back sound with more recessed upper-treble. It has a very soothing tonality that may sound too dark upon first listen but it does have a decent treble response. The bass is slightly better on the E3000 due to more thump and better texturing, though they also suffer from similar roll-off issues. The midrange is a toss-up though I prefer the E3000 more for vocals. String instruments and distortion guitars fare better on the BLON BL-05S.

Treble is similar in terms of detail retrieval on both, though the BL-05S has more pronounced lower treble. If you’re very treble-averse or just want something completely fatigue-free no matter what you throw at it: try the Final E3000. Otherwise BLON BL-05S will be more genre agnostic.

Instrument separation/layering/dynamics were slightly better on the Final E3000, however, and same applies to soundstage/imaging. Overall resolution though was in BLON BL-05S’ favor. In short: I like both of these IEMs and would gladly own both of them for a combined $100 instead of spending that on something mediocre like, say, the Moondrop Starfield (reviewed here) which both the BL-05S and Final E3000 beats with aplomb.

IMG_8504.JPG


Conclusion

The BLON BL-05S is not without its issues. The accessories are a disgrace at this point. The bass lacks sub-bass rumble and lacks extension. The midrange may get a bit shouty for very sensitive people. The treble meanwhile isn’t the most resolving out there and would likely lose to some multi-BA offerings in terms of sheer resolution. As an aside — the model name causes confusion with the old one. To top it all: the color scheme is fashion-suicide and I had to shed part of my dignity as I went outside wearing them in the metro just to check isolation. sigh

As an overall package though, sonically, the BL-05S is hard to beat. It handled every genre well, had good staging and great imaging/instrument separation, and can still be retrofitted under $60 with a nice pair of tips and a decent cable.

The BL-05S is the second BLON earphone that I can recommend without reservation. It’s earned that medal.

Overall rating: 4.25/5
Recommended

https://tidal.com/browse/playlist/04350ebe-1582-4785-9984-ff050d80d2b7
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lueneburg
lueneburg
Just bought this and the Jade Audio EA1 and did a critical listen today after 2 days of burning in... Agree with the reviewers here about the comparatively lean bass and lack of sub-bass, but nice imaging and soundstage. This is a good IEM at its price but not perfect. It's indeed lean on lower bass (e.g. less punch than Jade Audio EA1 but also less mushy), with quite good separation and timbre (e.g. clearly better than EA1's mediocre timbre on certain instruments). Low quality cable and the tips fall off the IEM regularly/stay stuck in the ear (the EA1 is far better with all included accessories: cable, tips and pouch). This BL05s will be good enough for acoustic, e.g. classical music, on the go - and I'll get to use the EA1 instead when I need some punchier bass (without needing grossly exaggerated "basshead" levels of bass). Oh and I do like the Green jade color, why not...
kmmbd
kmmbd
The BL-05S is quite a bit tip sensitive. You should try swapping some tips if you have them in collection. I've found all of Final E-type/Spinfit Cp-100/145/Accoustune AET-07 to have significant improvement over stock BL-05S tip.
lueneburg
lueneburg
Thanks for your advice! :) For now it's working quite well for me with the biggest one of the stock tips of the BL-05S, but I'll give that a try when the occasion arises.
By the way, with time I enjoy how this BLON has a much more precise and less mushy bass for acoustic instruments (e.g. double-bass in jazz) by comparison to the Jade Audio EA1. The EA1 disappoints more and more when comparing the two for acoustic music... The BL-05S really is the better alternative for genres like Jazz.
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baskingshark

Headphoneus Supremus
BLON BL-05S Review III – Third Oppoty’s The Charm, You Better Belief It!
Pros: Light and comfortable. Good fit.
Smooth and organic tonality.
Good technical performance for a budget single DD (though still won’t beat multi BA/hybrids in general).
Good timbre.
Fixes fit issues and midbass bloat of the BLON BL-03, fixes shouty upper mids of the BLON BL-05 (non S).
Quite all rounder for most music genres.
Above average isolation.
Good price to performance ratio.
Cons: Gaudy coloured shells, takes guts to wear it outdoors!
Distorts with higher volume/overly robust EQ.
Same crappy accessories (stock eartips/cable).
May be overly safe in tuning, some may find it lacks pizzaz.
Bass is not the most textured.
Fares better with amping. May not be getting full potential with low powered smartphones.
DISCLAIMER

I would like to thank BLON for providing this review unit. My views are my own.

frontis-1-795x445.jpg


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

It does take a brave BLON cultist to wear the BLON BL-05S down the street, due to the unconventional radioactive green shells. But don’t judge an Oppoty by its cover, this is one set with an excellent price to performance ratio, boasting an organic and coherent tonality, good technical performance and accurate timbre for a budget single DD set.

This third Oppoty’s the charm. You Better Belief It! After the false dawn of the BLON BL-05 (non S), which didn’t have the best reviews for overly shouty upper mids, the BLON BL-05S has tamed the upper mids of the BLON BL-05 (non S), and simultaneously fixed the midbass bloat and fit issues of the venerable BLON BL-03. I’m glad BLON “Never gave up” after the BLON BL-05 (non S) fiasco.


SPECIFICATIONS
  • Driver Type: 3rd generation 10 mm carbon diaphragm (single dynamic driver)
  • Impedance: 32 ohms
  • Sensitivity: 108 dB/mW
  • Cable type: 2 pin 0.78 mm
  • Tested at $39 USD

ACCESSORIES

In addition to the IEM, it comes with:

1) Silicone tips.

2) Stock cable.

3) Sackcloth pouch.

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Essentially the famous (or rather infamous) stock accessories of previous BLON iterations is here to greet us. This includes a barely serviceable cable and the usual BLON tips and lame sackcloth pouch. The familiar BLON box advising BLON cultists to “LET MUSIC BURN”, together with BELIEF and NEVER GIVING UP and OPPOTY greets us in a rainbow coloured hue.

Budget CHIFI companies need to cut costs somewhere, so as to pass down a cheaper price to the consumers, and accessories are usually the first area they target. Some CHIFI (cough cough TRN BA8 and TRN VX) retailing at more expensive prices may also have a similar dearth of accessories, so I won’t beat BLON with a stick for this and can close one eye. Anyway, what’s more important is the IEM’s internals and how it sounds, and I think those of us in this CHIFI hobby might have some aftermarket tips and cables lying about, so no biggie swapping the BLON BL-05S’s stock tips and cables out.

With regards to whether aftermarkets cables affect the sound on the BLON BL-05S, well that’s a big can of worms that is beyond the scope of this review. Suffice to say, I respect both camps. You save a lot of money in this hobby if you don’t believe in cables, while cable believers will have a new area in the audio chain to play with to achieve audio nirvana. Anyway, I think we’ll agree that most aftermarket cables will still be better asthetically and haptically than the stock one provided by BLON.


BUILD/COMFORT

The BLON BL-05S is very well fitting, similar to its BLON BL-05 (non S) older brother, it is very ergonomic and comfortable. It is much better fitting than the infamous BLON BL-03’s poor fit with stock tips/cables, due to the latter having a too short nozzle.

I didn’t find any driver flex. I liked that the BLON BL-05S came with a 2 pin connector, as I had tons of issues with MMCX connectors and their general longevity in the past.

The BLON BL-05S has a very garish radioactive green lick of paint. I tried wearing it outdoors and got a myriad of looks from passerbys, ranging from the disapproving to curious to disbelief (these heathen have no Belief in the BLON cult!). It was as though they were observing an alien device from another planet.

And this is the most dangerous thing about the green shells that I have to warn you folks about: your significant other will definitely notice that a new IEM has come in the mail, due to the obvious colour. And no, they will not be green with envy (no pun intended) seeing another IEM added to the collection. In fact, you might even be chased out of the house or have to sleep on the floor at night. There’s no excuse to disguise it as one of the other conventional black or silver coloured IEMs in your pokemon (gotta catch them all) collection of IEMs. Even my wife, who isn’t into audio, knew it was a new IEM from the colour. I took the Oppoty opportunity to try to disguise it as a preexisting Moondrop SSR (both had the radioactive green colour), but no dice, the Moondrop anime waifu box wasn’t present and it was just a lame mispelling of Oppoty and Belief on the box that let the cat out of the bag.

The radioactive green colour unfortunately doesn’t glow in the dark, so I don’t know what is the purpose of said colour, maybe to be radical and stand out from the cut throat competition at this price bracket? Perhaps for the local mainland Chinese who like jade, it might be an auspicious sign, but I got a feeling a lot of Westerners may not be willing to wear this colour outside. I hope BLON can consider producing the BLON BL-05S in conventional colours in the future, it shouldn’t be so difficult to do a new paint job isn’t it?

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In view of the wife not being happy with another IEM coming in the mail, I took the Oppoty opportunity to try to disguise the BLON BL-05S (top picture) as the preexisting Moondrop SSR (bottom picture), (since both came in a garish radioactive green colour). Unfortunately, no dice. The Moondrop anime waifu box wasn’t present and it was just a lame mispelling of Oppoty and Belief on the box that let the cat out of the bag.


ISOLATION

At the risk of getting arrested by the police for wearing the garishly coloured shells out in the subway (for the sake of audio!), I found that the isolation of the BLON BL-05S is above average. As per most vented single DD sets, it won’t beat non vented multi BA types in this area.


DRIVABILITY/SOURCE

For the purposes of this review, I tried the BLON BL-05S with a Khadas Tone Board -> Fiio A3 amp, Khadas Tone Board -> Topping L30 amp, Shanling Q1 DAP and Tempotec Sonata HD Pro. The BLON BL-05S is drivable from low powered smartphones, but scales better in soundstage, details and dynamics with amping. I preferred warmer sources with it in general, to give a bit more heft in the bass.

Unfortunately the BLON BL-05S distorts with higher volumes or overly robust EQ, that’s one area of weakness in the driver. So for those that like to blast their music or fiddle with a lot of EQ, this might be one area that may be a potential dealbreaker.


SOUND & TECHNICALITIES

The BLON BL-03 was lauded for excellent tonality and timbre, but had an achilles heel of a bloated midbass that couldn’t keep up with fast/complex bass movements. Not to mention the BLON BL-03 had fit issues due to the too short nozzles (which necessitated most folks to buy aftermarket tips +/- cables) and it had below average technicalities to boot. The next BLON, the BLON BL-05 (non S), tried to fix these problems by lowering the midbass quantity and fixed the fit issues of the BLON BL-03, but was decried for having shouty upper mids/lower treble and a somewhat off tonality in the mids (probably a seesaw effect due to the bass reduction).

I’m glad to report that this third OPPOTY is the legit charm. The BLON BL-05S combines the best characteristics of both the older BLONs and irons out their major deficits. The BLON BL-05S fixes the midbass bloat and lowers the midbass quantity of the BLON BL-03, and fixes the poor fit of the BLON BL-03. It also manages to tame the shouty upper mids/lower treble of the BL-05 (non S) with a better balanced tonality in the mids. The icing on the cake, is that the BLON BL-05S is technically superior to both the BLON BL-03 and BLON BL-05 (non S) too.

5clkVjZ.jpg

Graphs courtesy of KopiOKaya from Audioreviews (IEC711 compliant coupler). 8 kHZ area is probably a resonance peak.


The BLON BL-05S sports a mild V shaped tuning, rather consumer friendly and coherently tuned, it is quite all rounder for most music genres as such.

BLON BL-05S’s bass is just slightly north of neutral, more subbass than midbass focused. It isn’t a basshead set for sure. For a DD set, the subbass doesn’t have the best extension, I would have preferred more subbass quantity and extension actually, but the BLON BL-05S’s bass is faster than the BLON BL-03’s bass, though it’s not that well textured or accurate compared to some DD peers at the same price range. There’s no midbass bleed and those that found the BLON BL-03 too bass heavy might like this set in the bass department.


The BLON BL-05S’s lower mids are a tinge recessed compared to upper mids, though the lower mids don’t seem as recessed as on the BLON BL-05 (non S). There’s a slight upper mids boost at the 2 kHz area, but it isn’t shouty at all (despite what the graphs would suggest). The BLON BL-05S can still on rare occasions get hot in the upper mids with boosted volumes (fletcher munson curve), but at moderate volumes, it is very tamed compared to most of the budget CHIFI out there. Female vocals are still more forward than male vocals, but not shouty. The upper mids/lower treble on the BLON BL-05S is much better than the BLON BL-05 (non S) in being not as harsh. The BLON BL-05S is more well balanced in tonality for the mids as such, and I liked that the mids were rather transparent. I would have preferred a bit thicker note weight in the mids, but this is just nitpicking.

Treble is quite well extended on the BLON BL-05S, with a good amount of details, but without sibilance/harshness. I’m treble sensitive and this treble actually falls on the safer side tuning wise, maybe trebleheads and those wanting a bit more pizzaz in their music might find the treble too tame actually. Perhaps for the cable believers, you can try using a silver plated cable with the BLON BL-05S and see if it does bring some clarity and details to the forefront.


Technicalities (in imaging, instrument separation and details) are better in the BLON BL-05 than the older BLON siblings. Against other multi BA/hybrids at the same price bracket, perhaps the BLON BL-05S can’t beat them in the technicalities department, as is expected of the limitation of a single driver. But for a sub $50 USD single DD set, I would consider it as having good technicalities for sure, with the driver being one of the faster single DDs I have heard at this price range. The BLON BL-05S’s soundstage depth is about average, but the width and height is above average. While the soundstage is not exactly classleading (my pick goes to the Final Audio E3000 at this price range), music never sounded congested on the BLON BL-05S for me.

Timbre is accurate for acoustic instruments as per its single DD roots. Note weight is moderate – it isn’t as thick as the BLON BL-03’s note weight, but isn’t as thin as that in the BLON BL-05.


COMPARISONS

I chose some common budget single DD sets to compare below. I left out multi BA/hybrids from the comparison as the different transducers have their own pros and cons, so it would be an apples to oranges comparison as such.

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BLON siblings here. From left to right, BLON Cardinal, BLON BL-03, BLON BL-05 (non S), BLON BL-05S. Not many folks have the BLON Cardinal (red coloured shell on the extreme left), and it is out of production anyways, so I’ll leave comparisons out. Essentially, the BLON Cardinal is just a BLON BL-03 with better fit, isolation, better subbass extension. Timbre on the BLON Cardinal is similar to the BLON BL-03, with similar midbass bump and similar mids. Treble is a tinge brighter with better soundstage and slightly better technicalities on the BLON Cardinal.


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Graphs courtesy of KopiOKaya from Audioreviews (IEC711 compliant coupler). 8 kHZ area is probably a resonance peak.


As per the above graphs, though the graphs of these 3 BLONs appear similar from afar, these sets actually sound very different (they do use different drivers too among the three and slight changes in bass/upper mids can cause a see saw effect in how the ears perceive the rest of the frequency spectrum). Suffice to say, the BLON BL-05S manages to fix the shouty upper mids of the BLON BL-05 (non S) and fix the midbass bloat of the BLON BL-03 very successfully.


VS the BLON BL-03:

The BLON BL-05S is different in tonality and tuning to the original BLON BL-03, so it is not a direct upgrade in a sense. Those wanting an upgraded version of the analoguish bassy warm tuning of the BLON BL-03 best look elsewhere. The BLON BL-05S has a tinge of warmth but is not as warm tuning wise compared to BLON BL-03. BLON BL-05S has a clearer treble but less subbass quantity, though subbass quantity on the BLON BL-03 is a bit tough to discuss among different individuals as most are using different aftermarket tips due to the poor fitting stock tips of the BLON BL-03. And different aftermarket tips give different isolation and bass amounts.

The BLON BL-05S has a more tamed midbass with minimal midbass bleed, with better technicalities (in imaging, clarity, instrument separation and soundstage and details). It fixes the slow and bleeding midbass of the BLON BL-03 with faster bass speed. I find it more balanced than the bassy BLON BL-03 actually.

The BLON BL-05S has better fit for sure, and better isolation, no need to mess with aftermarket tips.

Both have very legit timbre as per their DD roots, but BLON BL-03 has slightly better instrumental timbre in terms of timbral accuracy.

I feel they are complimentary sets, the BLON BL-03 having slightly better timbre and having a warm bassy analoguish tuning. The BLON BL-05S has better balancing in the mids and midbass, and it brings better fit and technicalities to the table. I think the BLON BL-05S has fixed the 2 main issues of the BLON BL-03 (ie crap fit and the midbass bloat), though it loses a bit of the warm analoguish bassy sound. One can consider the BLON BL-05S to be the BLON BL-03 MK2 that all BLON cultists are clamouring for, but the tuning is a bit different to really describe it as a direct spiritual successor, as bass forward music still has more midbass punch on the BLON BL-03.


VS the BLON BL-05 (non S):

I think most will agree the BLON BL-05 (non S) wasn’t that well received in view of the overly shouty upper mids, and its mids were off tonally wise, so the BLON BL-05S is a big improvement in this area. BLON BL-05S’s mids are more balanced, with the upper mids not being as hot (and the lower mids not being as recessed) as the BLON BL-05 (non S).

The BLON BL-05S doesn’t have as cold a tonality as the BLON BL-05 (non S), and timbre sounds more natural than the BLON BL-05 (non S).

Fit and isolation is similar between the two siblings. Technicalities are better than the BLON BL-05 (non S).

Overall I think the BLON BL-05S has made the BLON BL-05 (non S) superfluous. The BLON BL-05S is better in the 3 Ts: tonality, timbre and technicalities, no contest. So for those who are wondering between the 2, just skip the BLON BL-05 (non S). The BLON BL-05 (non S) will probably be a footnote now that the BLON BL-05S is in town.


VS the Tin HIFI T2 Plus

The Tin HIFI T2 Plus is a crowd favourite, sporting a U shaped tuning that is coherent and balanced, having good timbre and tonality. The Tin T2 Plus has a very inoffensive signature, but I find the Tin T2 Plus lacking a bit in dynamics and attack/bite compared to the BLON BL-05S.

The upper mids on the Tin T2 Plus are less boosted, with also less midbass punch/bass quantity than the BLON BL-05S. The Tin T2 Plus has slightly more extension/quantity in the treble and the bass is a bit more accurate than the BLON BL-05S.

The Tin T2 Plus also has poorer isolation, and has slightly poorer details and imaging than the BLON BL-05S when both are amped decently. Tin T2 Plus has better clarity and instrument separation. The Tin T2 Plus that I have unfortunately has a wonky MMCX connector on one side, and from forum reports it seems a few other users have been having MMCX issues from this model too and some of the older Tin HIFI MMCX ones (eg Tin T4, Tin T2 Pro). I think the penny has finally dropped for Tin HIFI and they are shifting towards 2 pin connectors in their newer releases (I prefer 2 pin connectors to MMCX ones for longevity any day). But if you are considering the Tin T2 Plus, it might behoof you to get it from somewhere with a good returns policy eg Amazon, in case an MMCX lemon comes in the mail.

Overall, just focusing on sound (and setting QC aside), I would consider the BLON BL-05S to be a sidegrade or at best marginal upgrade (if we were to split hairs here). Both are very good budget single DD sets, it may boil down to your sonic and music genre preferences. The BLON BL-05S has slightly better imaging and dynamics and edges it for me over the Tin T2 Plus most of the time. Maybe for classical genres, I’ll take the Tin T2 Plus for its more neutralish signature, though I personally find the Tin T2 Plus a bit boring and less dynamic for other genres, so it gets less air time for me, but YMMV.


VS the Moondrop SSR

The Moondrop SSR is tuned somewhat diffuse-field neutral with an upper mids boost, with a colder tonality and thinner note weight and poorer isolation. It has less bass and is much more sibilant than the BLON BL-05S. Moondrop SSR is shoutier at the upper mids/lower treble than the BLON BL-05S, especially when used at louder volumes (Fletcher Munson Curve). Moondrop SSR is the technical superior of the BLON BL-05S in the areas of better clarity, imaging, details and instrument separation.

I’ve said this before, but the Moondrop SSR actually sounds nice at low volumes, but by pumping up the volume a few dB, the 3 kHz area is shouty and is too much for me (Fletcher Munson Curve). The Moondrop SSR has very polarizing reviews, and I think this may be due to the different volumes all of us are using it at, and volume levels are typically not mentioned by reviewers or consumers. Not to mention the different sources, tips, hearing health we all have may affect our perception of upper mids/treble in the Moondrop SSR. After doing A/B testing using the same source, tips (and even cable), I’ll take the BLON BL-05S any day over the Moondrop SSR, as the 3 kHz peak and the sibilance on the SSR is a deal breaker for me.

Different strokes for different folks though, I know a lot of our friends like the Moondrop SSR, especially those that use it at lower volumes. The Moondrop SSR actually has better technical performance than the BLON BL-05S, but unfortunately it isn’t my cup of tea in terms of tonality, and I’ll take tonality over technical performance as my first priority.


VS the iBasso IT00

The iBasso IT00 is a U shaped set that comes with better accessories but unfortunately has driver flex. The iBasso IT00 has better extension at both ends (subbass/treble). The iBasso IT00 is more basshead, and is warmer sounding with a thicker lower mids. Upper mids are less boosted on the iBasso IT00. Technical performance is about thereabouts between the two sets.

The BLON BL-05S distorts with higher volume/overly robust EQ, and may lack a bit of dynamics compared to the iBasso IT00, but overall I would consider them sidegrades, with the iBasso IT00 perhaps better for bassheads/bass forward music and those that love a coloured and thick lower mids frequency.


VS the HZSound Heart Mirror

The HZSound Heart Mirror is tuned neutralish bright with less midbass quantity and is less “fun sounding” than the BLON BL-05S, especially when bass foward music is involved. The HZSound Heart Mirror sounds a bit more analytical and colder. Timbre and technicalities are better on the HZSound Heart Mirror. Both sets have fast drivers for a single DD but the HZSound Heart Mirror wins in transient response speed. The BLON BL-05S has lesser upper mids boost than the HZSound Heart Mirror and is generally less fatiguing for longer sessions than the HZSound Heart Mirror.

Isolation is better on the BLON BL-05S. The HZSound Heart Mirror is $10 – 15 USD more expensive, and this may be explained by the better accessories on the HZSound Heart Mirror. Both sets do better with amping, but the HZSound Heart Mirror scales much more with amping. Unfortunately, the BLON BL-05S driver distorts with higher volumes/EQ, so that’s an area of weakness when pumping up the volume compared to the HZSound Heart Mirror.

I see the V shaped BLON BL-05S and neutralish bright HZSound Heart Mirror as complimentary sets with different tunings to suit different music genres/preferences. The HZSound Heart Mirror is superior in vocals and instrumental timbre and technical performance (though this is with amping), but is a bit thinner in note weight and colder in tonality. For bass forward music or for something warmer and less analytical, I’ll still pick the BLON BL-05S. If one has no powerful source available (eg just a low powered smartphone), then go for the BLON BL-05S instead, as the HZSound Heart Mirror needs amping to sound good.


CONCLUSIONS

The BLON BL-05S succeeds in fixing the main issues of the BLON BL-03 (ie poor fit, poor technicalities and bloated midbass) and the BLON BL-05 (non S) (in the shouty upper mids), and also adds better technicalities to the mix. It has one of the better technicalities in a budget single DD set, with fast transients, though multi BA/hybrids at the same price bracket will generally trump the BLON BL-05S in this department.

Timbre on the BLON BL-05S is good, the tuning is rather coherent and smooth with no major peaks/troughs in the tuning. It has good price to performance ratio and should be a good all rounder for most music genres. Crap accessories aside, the BLON BL-05S does distort with higher volumes/overly robust EQ, so that’s one area to take note for those that like to blast their music or fiddle with EQ. The colour of the shells may be a potential deal breaker too, though I would take a weird/ugly looking yet good sounding earphone over a beautiful but lousy sounding set any day.

The BLON BL-05S isn’t a direct successor to the BLON BL-03 in my opinion, as it loses the analoguish midbass heavy sound signature of the BLON BL-03 to pursue better balance, speed and technical performance. Otherwise, the BLON BL-05S is a set that lives up to the name “price to performance ratio”. So this third Oppoty‘s the charm. You can Belief that and I’m glad BLON Never gave up after the BLON BL-05 (non S) fiasco. Let music burn!!!!

mrbuzzer

New Head-Fier
BLON BL-05s is a nicely made piece of gear for $50
Pros: Jewel Like Craftsmanship
Fun Green Color
Clean Tight Sound
Comfortable
Cons: Same Old Cheapy Cable
Can be Strident on Some Music
Not as Engaging as They Could Be
I will give you a succinct review because I don't believe a lot of blather handed out on trying to assess specific sound accents is much more helpful than the snobbish wine talk you sometimes hear at cocktail parties. Further, I see no need to list every damn song I used to review these IEMs with and brag about my eclectic musical tastes.Your time is too valuable.

The BLON BL-05s is the follow up to the highly gushed over BL-03, which many felt was a class leader in the bargain earbud category. But the entire unit was basically redesigned and re-tuned for a couple of reasons, one being that the predecessor sounded great but didn't seem well designed for humans ears. It was very uncomfortable. The other being that Linsoul, which I believe is the parent company of BLONS and a number of other highly ranked budget pieces, never seems to sit still and pushes out an unbelievable number of new designs and new buds almost monthly, although they claim to have spent a year redesigning the BLON BL-05. They used a very nice zinc alloy diecast body and tweaked the sound through a new 10mm carbon diaphragm. We still have the cheapy cable finished with a two-pin mount and pre-shaped ear wraps.

I tested the BL-05s through my Astell and Kerns A&Norma SR25, which is a very neutral and sweet sounding player. I switched out the stock cable a few times and plugged in an upgraded Linsoul Tripowin core silver plated cable which was tipped with a 2.5mm end for the balanced output on the SR25. This provided a very noticeable difference in clarity, power and substance in the bass end. But I doubt few will bother with that upgrade.

The BL-05s in mint green as shown is a very unusual and I think appealing design. They look like little jewels. But much more importantly, I found them very comfortable for lengthy earing. What the hell good are your expensive highly rated earbuds with their delicious sound profile if you can't wear them without pain for more than 5 minutes. The BL-05s seem to just meld into my ear. They are not the lightest pieces but they do not protrude excessively nor do they torture the ear canal. The shaped ear wrap exerted just the right amount of pressure and even lived in harmony with my glasses. Very much an improvement over the predecessor.

Now for the sound: Up until a couple years ago you could not touch this type of precision and detail for less than $250. Now you get it for $50. The highs are very detailed and crisp, although sometimes they get a tad screachy. But they are very clean. A few hours of break in also helped. The mids are truly exceptional, giving nearly perfect timbre to vocals and substantial depth for instruments falling into that hard-to-get-right middle range. The bass is very much a function of earpad fit. The set comes with the usual layout of half a dozen or so styles, including some weirdly thin-tipped versions, but I ended up digging something out of my collection to get a snugger fit and therefore some very nice bass extension. Not as heavy as some head knockers might prefer, but adequate and not boomy.

My problem with the overall sound is something I can only describe as integration. All the aspects on their own are very capable, very clear and nicely staged. But the overall musicality is just a tad lacking. It doesn't always fit together perfectly to make an engaging experience. My gold standard in this class is the KZ ZS10 Pro, for the same price, I can keep them in my ear and a smile on my face forever. The BLONS just don't quite bring the same smile. Don't get me wrong, they are excellent and you should probably buy them for your collection. But they aren't perfect yet.

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Gorillaphant

100+ Head-Fier
BLON BL-05S - First Impressions
Pros: Good soundstage
Mids stand out
Cons: Lacks a bit of bass impact
Horrible stock cable
Issues with fit using stock tips
Intro:

BLON’s most well-known offering is probably the BL-03, which is frequently recommended as an intro IEM. The BL-05S is one of the company’s latest offerings, and I was recently sent a pair for review. I spent around 6 hours total with the BL-05S to develop my first impressions. Prior to trying these, I have not had the chance to try out the original BL-05, so I am offering my opinions as a first-time listener.

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Packaging/Presentation/Build Quality:

Let’s begin with the packaging itself – the writing on the box never fails to get a laugh out of me. Beyond that, there isn’t anything too special to talk about here. You get a few sets of replacement stock tips, a truly terrible stock cable, and a small cloth pouch, which was a nice little addition. That being said, I had a difficult time getting a comfortable fit and good isolation using the stock tips. The units themselves seem to be built pretty well. They feel substantial in the hand but not heavy, and I felt like they would stand up to some abuse if used as a daily driver IEM. These IEMs come in a minty-green color, which, if I’m being honest, really doesn’t work for me. That being said, they definitely stand out and some people will praise them as being different and refreshing compared to typical IEM colors.

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Bass:

The bass for these IEMs came through as being clear and detailed but I wouldn’t describe it as being overly emphasized. It is definitely present throughout the listening experience but I found myself wanting a little more impact.

Treble:

The treble was similarly detailed and crisp but never too overwhelming. The BL-05S occasionally sounded a little bright but never crossing the boundary into sounding harsh. No real complaints here.

Mids:

This is probably the most enjoyable aspect of these IEMs for me. Vocals as well as instruments like guitars definitely stand out in a good way.

Soundstage:

Soundstage is surprisingly good, especially at this price. It is easy to get a sense of where instruments are supposed to be and overall, this creates a relatively immersive listening experience. I think this probably beats out some of the more expensive IEMs I have tried at the $80-90 price point as well, so that is always a plus.

Overall Impressions:

There are some clear positives to the BLON BL-05S. Mids are where it stands out but it isn’t severely lacking in other departments at all. My main complaint is with the fit– I had a hard time getting a proper fit and good isolation with the stock tips, and ended up trying a few stock tips from other IEMs to see if it made a big difference. For my listening, though, I did try to use the stock tips that fit me best. Beyond that, the stock cable is truly garbage, and even a mild improvement there would be pretty beneficial for the overall experience. The sound signature of the BL-05S leans more toward neutral which isn’t my personal preference, but I can definitely see why people like this and would definitely recommend if it you usually enjoy a mid-centric listening experience.

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dragonx64

Head-Fier
Review: BLON BL-05s
Pros: Mids have a nice bite to it
Clear vocals
Bass goes low
Crisp highs
Cons: Midbass lacks impact
Isolation not the best
Highs could have more presence
Today we shall look at the BLON BL-05s, the third generation in the BL-05 series of earphones!

Disclaimer: All products mentioned here was sent to me by KeepHifi. However, this does not affect my review of the product in any way whatsoever. I was told to give my honest opinions on the products.

INTRO
Having a successful budget earphone from them, the BLON BL-03, BLON isn't new to the earphone game. The BL-03 has been widely praised for being one of the best earphone under 50 USD (you can read my review of the unit here). Riding on the success of the BL-03, BLON has released the BL-05 series of earphones, with a much different sound than the BL-03. Now with the release of the third generation of the BL-05, let's see how the BL-05s fares!

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QUICK SUMMARY
Sound: Mid-focused with deep bass

This graph depicts how the earphone sounds to me
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Driver : 3rd generation 10mm Carbon Diaphragm Dynamic Driver
Socket: 2-pin 0.78mm
Price: 45 USD (+1 USD for microphone cable)
Where to buy it: KeepHifi

Suitable Genres : Guitar/Mid focused tracks, Acoustic, Jazz, Mandopop

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WHAT'S IN THE BOX
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1 Set of different sized standard eartips (S, M, L)
1 Set of narrow eartips (S and M)
1 x Canvas carrying pouch
1 x earphone cable (3.5mm; L-shaped jack)

The BL-05s comes in a decent package with all essentials included. I like that they included a small carrying case for the earphones as it makes it easier for users to use right out the box.

I noticed that BLON also included two different sets of eartips, one normal ones and one that is narrower. I liked that they did that but for myself, I found that I had to use the standard eartips in its largest size since the rest didn't give me a proper seal (more on that later). I still think that that's nice for people with smaller ear canals and would require something smaller.

The stock cable provided feels supple and is lightweight which really helps with the comfort aspect. I also like the fact that these cables have an L-shaped jack. I personally feel that this reduces the likelihood of bending the joints of the cable as it doesn't protrude much, potentially increasing the lifespan of the cables.

Overall, the packaging is simple yet complete, and the addition of the narrow eartips is a nice touch though I am unsure how many people might actually need the narrow eartips since the standard ones are already smaller than usual.

BUILD QUALITY
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The BL-05s comes in a zinc alloy die-cast body and it feels really premium and dense. It may not look like it, but this earphone has a decent amount of weight to it. It's mint green paint also seems to be very well coated and does not look like it will chip off easily. I also like how they have included the gold accents on the faceplate, but I noticed that it is susceptible to scratches as compared to the body of the earphone.

The 2 pin sockets are also protruding out but is covered by the sleeves on the cable itself, giving it some protection which I thought was nice.

The nozzles on the BL-05s are also thinner than most earphones, but it is connected to the earphone as one entire inner piece of the shell.

I think the only thing that I dislike about the earphone's build is that it has this very distinct line that shows where the inner and outer parts of the shell are combined at. It loses some point in its looks when looked at from the side.

Overall, the BL-05s is very well-built with its zinc alloy body and feels premium due to its heavy weight to it. It shows no signs of weakness except for down the line in the middle that shows where it is connected at.

COMFORT AND ISOLATION
I must say, despite the earphones having such a heavy weight to it, the earphones never feel like they are falling off of my ears at any time even when I shake my head around. The rounded edges of the earphones also help with the comfort as there are no points on the earphone at which it feels like it is poking at your ears.

Isolation is not the best and could be better. While listening to music I could sometimes still hear my phone's notification tone slightly. Had to use the largest sized eartips to get a better seal but there were still slight gaps in the seal. I also have to angle it properly to get a proper seal but I find that getting a pair of third party eartips do help such as SpinFit or AZLA sednaearfit eartips. I generally use medium sized eartips but even with large, it is still smaller than the mediums I am used to.

In summary, the earphones are really comfortable and the rounded edges on the earphones do help. However, the isolation is not the best and the included eartips can definitely be larger.

SOUND
Before I give a general overview of the sound, the setup I use to test are as follows :
DAP - Cayin N6ii (T01)
Cable - Stock (3.5mm)
Eartips - Stock

The overall characteristic of the sound is mid focused with airy highs and a very pronounced subbass. I think the first thing that caught my attention was how deep the bass could go because I definitely wasn't expecting this of an earphone at this price point. I'd talk more about this in the later section. Each section sounds very distinct from each other and you can always discern between the highs mids and lows.

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Highs
Highs are crisp and airy, it has decent extension but doesn't outshine the other segments. In most songs that I listen to, the highs are always clear and due to the extended extension it has, it adds to the clarity of the earphones which is what I really like about it.

Everyone song that I threw at it sounds clear and has that crisp treble. However, I did notice that cymbal crashes always lack that energy. This is because cymbal crashes tend to sound distant and hence lack energy. An example of this is in POLKADOT STINGRAY's FREE where the high hats are ever present and never overwhelming but when cymbals crashes, it tends to sound rather laidback and lack excitement to it.

In Frederic's "Sukiraism" the high hats are quite satisfying but when the cymbals crashes it does not spark much excitement.

As with such laidback highs, I would tend to try some slow jazz to see if it fits the mood and it does! Listening to the Shanghai Jazz album, "情人的眼泪" sounds very soothing on these and the highs just shine subtly in the background.

Overall I still like that the highs are crisp and sounds clear regardless of the genre however it does not handle cymbal crashes that well as it tends to be laidback.

Mids
I think this is the most outstanding aspect of the earphone as the mids are clear, has energy in the impact of the drums and the guitars have a ton of bite to them! The vocals are also clear though they sound slightly thin. Not that the thinness bothers me but it's something that I noticed in certain songs.

Been re-listening to my rock songs on this earphone as the mids are just so good on it and the quality of the mids are great! When listening to Polyphia's "The Worst", the guitars have that certain bite to it which I particularly enjoy. On top of that, when the drums enter, it always makes its presence felt with its snare slamming against your ear. It's not sibilant nor sharp, just that you'd be able to feel that impact of the snare!

I also found that listening to John Mayer on the BL-05 to be very immersive. John's vocals and guitar are particularly captivating on this earphone; vocals are sweet and slightly warm while the guitars sound like they sing to you at times. Particular tracks by John Mayer that I enjoy the most on these are "Edge of Desire", "I'm gonna find another you" and "Bold As Love".

Testing this track on this band "deca joins" that I found recently and it was an absolute treat. Their songs mostly focus on the guitars and vocals and with the BL-05s being a more mid-centric earphone, it replays it really well. Each strum of the chord on the guitar can be clearly heard with that "dreamy" tone to it. On this track "夜間獨白", the subtle basslines and high hats adds just the right hint to it to give it a really airy and light feel, while the guitars give it a very "spacy" and "dreamy" feel to it.

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Guitars tend to stand out more than the drums here, you can still hear the snares but it's usually a bit more laidback than the guitars.

Vocals in general have a medium presence, it's there but doesn't stand out to you. I have to say, I like the natural tonality of the vocals but at times they do sound a bit thinner. Somehow it feels like it lacks a bit of depth especially when listening to Diana Krall. However if you are listening to higher pitched vocals, it would be alright such as with Yoga Lin's "浪费" track, as his voice isn't very deep and doesn't require much depth.

Overall mids are the highlight of these earphones and they really highlight guitars and snare drums. Vocals sound natural and are sweet but may lack a bit of depth when listening closely but to be honest it doesn't bother me much.

Lows
The subbass of these pair caught my attention immediately and I was really surprised by how deep they could go. Bass tends toward the subbass regions more as it goes deeper but the upper bass regions are slightly lacking. Its usually there in songs but makes itself very distinct from the rest of the frequencies.

Listening to more bass-focused songs like Frederic's "Tarinaieye" showcases what I previously mentioned: Bass guitars perform well here and you can hear each distinct note, however, kick drums tend to be lacking here as it doesn't have much of an impact. Kick drums sound rather thin even on songs where it's meant to shine. The kick drum doesn't sound very "round", feels very one dimensional.

Despite that, I really have to praise the BL-05s for having such a low reaching bass. This is usually very uncommon for an earphone at this price range and even when it does, it sounds thin. Not on the BL-05s, it retains quality subbass and sometimes I just wish there was a bit more.

Overall, I really like that the bass on the BL-05s is of good quality that reaches low but I just hope that they can brush up on the midbass segments, by giving kick drums more impact to it.

OTHER NOTES
As I am writing this review, I tested this earphone on tracks from this Taiwanese band called "deca joins" and I think the BL-05 plays their songs really well. The focus of their songs are mostly on vocals and the dreamy guitar sounds and the BL-05s excels in that! Do check out their songs such as "海浪" and "散去的時候"

Upgrade Cable
I was also sent a KB EAR 4-Core Silver cable in 2.5mm termination (check it out here) but for testing purposes I would use it with a 3.5mm cable so as to make this a comparison between cables. Though it is a 4-core cable, the cable is still lightweight and supple, similar to the stock cable but slightly thicker. It does not add much weight to it so you don't have to worry that it will weigh it down.

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I was really surprised at the difference in the quality of the sound. Instantly, the highs are crisper and more airy, the mids have a tad more bite to it and the bass has a bit more depth to it. Listening back to "Darwin Derby", the guitars at the intro sound more energetic and feels like they have more power. The highs are also crisper, high hats tend to sound a bit sharper but never sibilant. The bass guitar also tends to stand out a bit more.

I mentioned previously that the kick drums lack impact but now with the upgrade cable, there is an improvement in this area. The kick drums are not really lacking now and definitely have more impact! In "Tarinaieye", the kick drums definitely have more of an impact and is not as laidback as with the stock cable.

The separation in the sound is also more distinct, making the earphone sounding a bit more technical but not losing its main characteristics. The whole sounds more lively and more exciting that with the stock cable. I also noticed that through these KB EAR cables, the earphones are easier to drive.

Thus, if you really want to kick things up with the BL-05s, I highly recommend getting the KB EAR 4-core silver cable to go with it!

Soundstage
Soundstage of these are just normal, it doesn't feel very out of head except for the highs. Highs tend to sound a bit elevated in your head but mids and bass are generally within your head.

Imaging
On first impressions, imaging did not sound particularly outstanding but upon closer listening, I noticed that the imaging is actually better than most earphones at its price range. Using Chon's "Can't Wait" as an example here, the guitars are well separated between the left and right channels and high hats are center with some distance behind vocals. Though exact distance is a bit hard to tell, it still does imaging decently for an earphone at its price.

COMPARISON
Most people would be curious how it fares against the previous generation BLON BL-05 and thanks to Keephifi, I can do a comparison of the two! For convenience I will be referring to the newer generation as 05s and the previous generation as 05.

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Right off the bat, the 05s definitely has better extension; bass reaches deeper and highs goes higher. The 05s sounds more exciting than the 05 due to this. When listening to "Sukiraism" by Frederic, the overall sound is more exciting on the 05s than 05. High hats are crisper, bass guitar has more depth to it than on the 05. On the 05, everything sounds rather equal so it tends to sound less exciting.

Mids on the 05s and 05 are somewhat similar but the 05s has a slight edge over it with mids being more prominent. This is rather minor though and I had to listen out very closely to hear this. To test this, I used Vulfpeck's "Darwin Derby" and listen out for the guitars. It's more aggressive on the 05s and has more bite to it than on the 05. However, this extra spice to the midrange could also be just due to the added extension on the 05s that adds to that bite. Vocals also sound very similar on the two so no comments here.

Overall, the general difference between the BL-05s and the BL-05 is just the extra extension on both the highs and the lows. If you own a BL-05, there's no need to get the BL-05s. However, if you are considering on which to get, definitely get the BL-05s as the music sounds more exciting on it.

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CONCLUSION
I actually really like the BLON BL-05s as it is an earphone that is neutral but with slight extension on both the highs and the lows, adding just enough excitement to it. I also like how it's mid focused and I can hear out guitar lines well! It just only needs some improvement to the midbass segments and then it'd be very ideal. If you're in the market for an earphone that has a natural tone, with a focus on mids with deep bass, then I'd think the BLON BL-05s would be the earphone for you!
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Otto Motor

Headphoneus Supremus
Blon BL-05s Review – New Gold Driam
Pros: Swift driver; cohesive, warm, organic sound; good staging; small earpieces with excellent ergonomics; value.
Cons: Retro shape and squeaky green colour not for everyone; cable and eartips a write-off.
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A different version of this review exists at www.audioreviews.org


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The Blon BL-05s earphone is a well tuned single-dynamic-driver budget earphone that excels in its coherent and organic sound. Its speedy 10 mm dynamic driver handles the most complex music well. Simply a great allrounder that will be a general crowdpleaser and provide listening pleasure independent of price. It is a true upgrade from the popular Blon BL-03 and the best Blon earphone to date.
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The Blon BL-05s is an agreeable, compact, coherent sounding earphone that has provided me with much pleasure so far. It is cheap, green, and many may find it ugly – others may find it refreshingly different. It fits well, and I feel myself reaching for it over and over again. As I tend to say “the best earphone is the one you use”, and I use this one a lot. The only downside is that the cable and eartips are underwhelming and grabbing a $10 8-core pure copper/silver-plated copper cable adds to the price. Is it worth the upgrade? Yes it is darn well. After some teething with the original BL-05, the BL-05s is a worthy successor to the BL-03 in terms of both sound and ergonomics.

The Blon BL-05s go on my [unpublished] Best-Of-2020 list. They join the only other one on there so far, the $199 Shozy Form 1.4.


BlON BL-05S COMPARED

You find reviews of all of these single-dynamic-driver iems mentioned below here.

The $109 Moondrop Starfield has a less homogenous sound, particularly the transition from the warm low end and the neutral lower midrange could be smoother…and the treble rolls off a bit early towards the top. The Blon BL-05s is sparklier in the treble and has better bass control and imaging. The $79 KBEAR Diamond is similarly homogenous sounding as the Blon BL-05s, but the midrange is more recessed, which was actually a main point of criticism. The $79 Tin Hifi T4 has a thinner, aggressive midrange and does not offer the BL-05s’ cohesion…and the $60 Tin Hifi T2 Plus lacks the Blon Bl-05s’s dynamics and punch but may be a better choice for the realistic reproduction of classical music (punch may be enjoyable but is not necessarily realistic). The $40 Moondrop SSR is much brighter and more neutral sounding than the Blon BL-05s, which offers great transparency enjoyable at low to medium volumes but it can be painful when played loud; its brightness has been the subject of controversy in forums.

The older sibling Blon BL-03 ($40) graphs very similarly as the Blon BL-05s, but is has a looser bass. While it beats the Blon BL-05s optically, its shorter nozzles generate a fit problematic for many. The BL-05s’ upper-mids are not as smooth sounding as the BL-03’s, but they make up for it with crisper and more agile treble. Finally, although the graphs between the original Blon BL-05 and the Blon BL-05s may not be monumentally different, they are so in a sensitive part of the range: from the midrange trough of the original Blon BL-05 (600 Hz) to the ~2k peak is about 12dB, whereas on the Blon BL-05s it is about 9dB. These differences are therefore perceived as significant. Of all the three Blon models, the BL-05s has the best bass control and the best imaging.

It is interesting to note that the sonic differences between the Blon models are significant although they graph very similarly. Note that all three Blons have different drivers and the Blon BL-05s’ is the fastest. This shows that quantity (graphs) and quality (sound; drivers) are generally not directly correlated.

In summary, I pick the Blon BL-05s out of all of the above single DD models.

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Nimweth

Headphoneus Supremus
Green Giant!
Pros: Excellent all-round timbre
Powerful sub-bass
Transparent mids
Clear treble
Massive soundstage
Excellent stereo effect
Cons: Very poor cable
Tips not fit for purpose
Occasional sharpness in treble
Bass sometimes dominates
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After the major success of the BL-03, BLON followed it with the first iteration of the BL-05 with a "second generation" CNT diaphragm dynamic driver. Possessing a different sound profile from the earlier model, it received a mixed reception. Now we have an updated model, the BL-05s, which features a "Third Generation" dynamic driver and is clothed in a fetching shade of green.

The BL-05s comes packaged in the now-familiar long white box with a clear lid emblazoned with the bizarre BLON acronym, "Belief-Letmusicburn-Oppoty-Nevergiveup". Inside the IEMs are displayed in a plastic tray above a plain white oblong box containing the cable and accessories.

The contents include:
* BL-05s IEMs
* 2 pin cable
* Cloth storage bag
* 2 pairs high profile tips (M, L)
* 3 pairs low profile tips (S, M, L)
* Information leaflet

The IEMs are made of metal and finished in a bright jade green colour with gold accents. They have a kind of 1950s look and are certainly very striking in appearance. The 2 pin sockets have a narrow rake and there is a small pinhole vent on the underside near the base of the nozzle. Channel identification is provided in the centre of the gold circle in the centre of the faceplate. The medium size of the high profile tips was pre-fitted.

The 2 pin cable is black and consists of a thin 4 core braided material with hooded plastic connectors. The angled 3.5mm plug is also made of black plastic and there is no chin slider. The cable is very prone to tangling.

Testing was done using an Xduoo X20 DAP as the primary source. A CD player and Huawei smartphone were also used. Adequate volume was achieved with all sources with no need for extra amplification. The poor quality stock cable and tips were replaced with a Senlee hybrid cable and JVC Spiral Dot tips. Thus equipped, a comfortable fit and good seal were obtained. A burn-in period of 100 hours was carried out.

First Impressions
Early auditioning revealed a very expansive soundstage with accurate positioning and imaging. The general profile was a mild V or L shape. Bass was deep with a sub-bass emphasis, mids were only slightly recessed with a natural timbre slightly brighter than the '03 and the treble was well-detailed and extended. The BL-05s combined the best features of the '03 and original '05.

Bass
Unlike the BL-03, which has a mid-bass focus, the emphasis was more on the sub-bass which was somewhat elevated above the rest of the range and sometimes became dominant. The transition to the mid-bass and lower mids, however, was even and smooth with no bass bleed.

The introduction to "Skyland" from "Windjana" by the late, great Tony O'Connor begins with bass synths and the sound of thunder. The O5s produced a satisfying rumble here and this generally did not overwhelm the accompanying didgeridoo, guitar and percussion instruments. With all this going on and an expressive woodwind solo on top, the bass retained focus and detail and was nicely balanced with the rest of the production.

The Guildhall String Ensemble's performance of Albinoni's Adagio in G minor demonstrated the weighty bass of the BL-05s. The lowest pedal notes of the organ were deep, well-textured and airy, producing a believable atmosphere and forming a perfect foundation for the lead string melody. The bass continuo was also very well handled with an authentic tonality and good separation.

"Harmony of the Spheres" by Neil Ardley is based on the Pythagorean concept that each planet produces a musical tone in its orbit. In "Soft Stillness and the Night" we hear the full harmony with the lowest notes represented by Pluto (248 years orbit) and the highest by Mercury (88 days orbit). The BL-05s managed to reproduce the bass parts very clearly and with impressive extension and depth.

Mids
Like the original BL-03, the new model displayed a natural timbre but sometimes displayed a little extra brightness in the upper range. The lack of bass bleed allowed the mids to breathe, improving the soundstage and generating more midrange detail. The stereo imaging was exceptionally wide and deep.

Reynaldo Hahn's beautiful "A Chloris" written in 1913 took us back to the baroque era. It was the perfect piece to display the midrange timbre of the BL-05s. As the graceful melody dovetailed with Bach's bass line, the rich woody tones of Julian Lloyd Webber's cello blended wonderfully with John Lenehan's sensitive piano accompaniment. The accurate reproduction of harmonics allowed the character of the cello and the natural decay of the piano notes within a believable acoustic to be fully appreciated.

Wally Badarou ("Kiss of the Spider Woman") was perhaps the first musician of black heritage to produce a new age album and he succeeded admirably with "Words of a Mountain". In "Feet of Fouta" he combines a host of percussion sounds with inventive keyboard voicing and a South African style rhythm. Everything hung together perfectly on the BL-05s with imaginative interplay between the various instrumental sounds and the whole effect was very entertaining and foot-tapping.

Vocals also benefited from the transparent midrange delivery and Linda Ronstadt's "Adios" sounded great. The character and emotion of her exceptionally clear solo vocal was preserved perfectly and, set against the backing vocals and superb arrangement with imaginative key changes, produced a very enjoyable result.

Treble
The high frequencies on the BL-05s were a significant improvement on the previous models, being brighter, more extended and providing more detail than the '03 and addressing the somewhat uneven performance of the '05.

"Reunion" by Richard Burmer from his second album, "Bhakti Point" begins with an arpeggiated rhythm supported by assorted electronic percussion and effects which moved around the stage in a very effective fashion. A simple melody plays over this which is then followed by a more lyrical theme in the climax to the bridge, and accompanied by a staccato Emulator flute sample. The high frequency sounds here were reproduced with extreme clarity and excellent separation and had an attractive crystalline quality.

Michael Giles's delicate percussion work in "Moonchild" by King Crimson brought the track to life. With a rhythm alternating between left and right and set against trippy-hippy vocals and avant-garde guitar and mellotron, the shimmering metallic cymbal tones in the central instrumental break produced a real psychedelic and hypnotic effect totally redolent of the era.

Chloe Hanslip's wonderful reading of Jeno Hubay's Violin Concerto No.2 with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra was very impressive on the BL-05s. The clear and expressive solo soared above the imaginative scoring to great effect and was perfectly balanced with the accompaniment. The harmonics on the highest notes were nicely portrayed and were testament to the excellent treble extension.

Soundstage
The BL-05s impressed with a wide, deep and spacious stage. Separation and instrumental positioning were notable, with stereo imaging being particularly effective.

The brooding atmosphere in Sibelius's "The Swan of Tuonela" performed by the Lahti Symphony Orchestra under Osmo Vanska was captured very well with the menacing bass drum rolls at the beginning evoking distant thunder and the beautiful and haunting cor anglais solo clearly presented over the supporting orchestral backing. The dynamic shifts in the climax were very well handled and the orchestra was laid out in a very believable way with a good sense of depth.

The introduction to "High Hopes" from Pink Floyd's "Division Bell" features distant bells and piano on opposite sides of the image. A bee flies across the stage before a bass guitar comes in followed by Dave Gilmour's dramatic vocals. All this was presented in a large and spacious acoustic which suited the material perfectly and maintained the feeling of the song.

"Carlsbad" by David Lanz and Paul Speer from the album "Desert Vision" begins with a bass drone courtesy of guest artist Jonn Serrie. Joined by woodwind from Georg Deuter, Lanz's main piano theme and Speer's guitar presented a dramatic sound picture of the American South West. Delicate crystalline percussion elements enhanced the production which filled the soundstage from edge to edge with an attractive ambience.

Conclusion
With the BL-05s, BLON have managed to combine the best features of their previous models whilst addressing some of the shortcomings. It is not perfect; the powerful bass occasionally dominates the presentation and there is a slight sharpness in the upper mids and lower treble from time to time but overall, I consider this to be the best model so far from the company. The mid-bass bloat of the BL-03 has gone, and the treble has more detail and extension. Being based on the original BL-05, the awkward fit of the BL-03 is history, but the cable and tips remain so and it is recommended that these be changed for the best result. The somewhat uneven upper register of the BL-05 has been addressed with only the occasional peak showing up.

The design will, no doubt, divide opinion but it is certainly a bold choice and stands out from the crowd. The BL-05s certainly takes its place among the best of the recent batch of single DD models and is in some ways a combination of the Tin T2 plus which is more neutral/bright and the Smabat NCO with its superb breathy bass and natural presentation. Perhaps with their next model the minor issues I encountered could be addressed and we will have the earphone of our "Driams".
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dharmasteve
dharmasteve
I'm quite a fan of the Blon 03. I liked the Blon 05 for a while but eventually couldn't take the Blon 05's mids, glare. Do you reckon it's worth investing in the 05s?
Nimweth
Nimweth
I think so, but it's not my money! The 05s fixes the problems you mentioned and I have a new purple 03 which fits better than my old 03. I will be doing a review and comparisons soon.

Wretched Stare

Head-Fier
OPPOTY Forever
Pros: Better tuning than the 05, good build, extra oppoty
Cons: accessories are same as previous version and color is not for all
BLON BL05S
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Package is the same, Pouch , Ear tips and cable are the same and as expected.

The housing is slightly bigger the nozzle is a little wider and less longer than the regular 05. Build quality is the same solid feeling looks good and it is very comfortable. I would suggest new tips and a new cable after you decide if they are to your liking
Sound:
Bass:
Sub Bass has a nice pronounced thump but yet its balanced with a mild elevation, Mid Bass has a nice punch and has good speed. Both have a nice amount of details and scale depending on the song they sure won't disappoint.
Mids:
Clean and clear,the mids are forward and vocals are right were they should be making them sound natural.
Highs:
Treble is super detailed with a perfect amount of sparkle and sir.
Soundstage is good has a nice width and height , imaging is really decent.

Overall I find these more to my liking than the other BLON offerings. Build, sound signature , basically are perfect for me, new cable better tips and im good even if the color is a bit radical. I like these very much.

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Fahmi Misbah Bangsar
Fahmi Misbah Bangsar
Hi There , this compared to Bl 03 and Tin Hifi T2 plus ? in terms of Timbre , Soundstage and Clean detailed texture for bass and mids.

Thank You

JasonLucas

New Head-Fier
Best blon yet!!! Ugliest color 🤢
Pros: Best blon yet , neutral ish to bright, spc livens these up, handles eq well. Fun to listen to and comfy fit
Cons: Color 🤢
Stock cable is 💩
Blon 05S Review

Tight controlled bass and sub bass that is more on the neutral side

Clean mids and sparkly treble ( with spc )

Fun to listen to with mild V shape sound

Dd handles eq boost well for bass

Surprisingly good mids and highs for dd

Good staging depth and placement

Realistic timbre and good vocals

Relaxed and laid back with stock cable Slightly boring.

Improvement over blon 05 with spc or pure silver cable

Engaging fun listen that only tends to break up at high volume and power levels.

Excellent sound up to medium high power and volume.

Best single 10mm dd driver in price range.

Same fit seal cables tips as 05

Ugliest colored iem but women and children seem to like the green.

👍🏼
Fahmi Misbah Bangsar
Fahmi Misbah Bangsar
Hi There , this compared to Bl 03 and Tin Hifi T2 plus ? in terms of Timbre , Soundstage and Clean detailed texture for bass and mids.

Thank You
JasonLucas
JasonLucas
Timbre may be slightly better on 03 but these are better in every other way. I’d choose these over both you mentioned, cept they are ugly lol
Fahmi Misbah Bangsar
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