[REVIEW] Blue Ever Blue 328R “The Black”, 866B “The Red” and 868B “The Silver”
Oct 13, 2011 at 2:12 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 11

ClieOS

IEM Reviewer Extraordinaire
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First, I’ll like to thank Blue Ever Blue (BeB) for the samples. BeB is a company specializes in making earphones under the HDSS (High Definition Sound Standard) licensing. What is HDSS exactly? Well, it is based on a patented technology called the ETL (Embedded Transmission Line).  The description on ETL is rather confusing on BeB website, so I dig up the actual patent and read it form the source. In simple term, ETL is basically a special way to dampen the unwanted sound wave inside the speaker enclosure. By dampening these unwanted sound waves, the speaker will be able to move more freely, thus lowering distortion and getting better or more linear performance across the whole frequency response range. ETL is originally invented by Jan P. Plummer of TBI Audio Systems to be used in the company’s loudspeaker design. Now it has found its way not only to BeB’s earphones, but also to loudspeakers made by Sharp and Marantz. This is of course a good sign to indicate some effectiveness in the ETL technology or else these companies won’t be paying for the HDSS licensing. The real question is - with enclosure so small on an earphone, does ETL works just as well as their loudspeaker cousin? It is really hard to say in definitive on whether ETL has a very significant effect on sound quality of BeB’s earphones or not. But there is a simpler question we can ask – do they sound good or not?
 
328R-1.jpg

 
866B-1.jpg

 
868B-1.jpg

 
 
SPEC
328R “Black”
Driver: 13.6mm Dynamic
Frequency Response: 25Hz - 20kHz
Sensitivity: 104+/-4db
Impedance: 16 ohm
Housing Material: plastic
Cable Length: 120cm
MSRP: US$25
 
866B “Red”
Driver: 8.2 mm Dynamic
Frequency Response: 22Hz - 20kHz
Sensitivity: 104+/-4db
Impedance: 16 ohm
Housing Material: Aluminum
Cable Length: 120cm
MSRP: US$50
 
868B “Silver”
Driver: 10 mm Dynamic
Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz
Sensitivity: 104+/-4db
Impedance: 16 ohm
Housing Material: Aluminum
Cable Length: 120cm
MSRP: $80
 
868B-2.jpg

 
Packaging, Accessories and Build Quality
Packaging is really close to minimum on all the BeB. This does put them into a rather inferior place especially when other U.S. companies (like MEElec) are really pushing up the packaging standard even on sub $50 offering. While packaging really doesn’t reflect sound quality, the fact that you can’t attract buyer to buy it in the first place means they will never know whether your earphone sound good or now. In the consumer’s world, first look does matter a lot. Accessories wise, 328R comes with a pair of foam pad, 866B and 868B both come a soft pouch and three pairs of eartips (S, M, L). The quality of the eartips is neither really good nor really bad, but certainly something that can be improved upon.
 
866B-2.jpg

 
868B-3.jpg

 
Build Quality wise, BeB is only okay – the part the looks weak is the cable on all three models. They reminds me too much of the cable from Apple iBud. The cable on 866B (Red) is slightly better though overall still largely flimsy. The earpieces on the other hand look at least well built. If BeB were to swap out the cable with something better, they would have instantly looked much better than they are now. Both 866B and 68B have minor driver flex issue- not enough to affect normal use but certainly mildly annoying when inserting the IEM. Isolation is below average for both IEM models as they are vented at the back.
 
Overall, BeB is a little unimpressive on both look and build. However, those are issues that can be readily fixed. The fact that both BeB IEM models are priced near / in the current IEM war zone ($50~$100) means BeB really needs to step it up a level in order to compete with companies like MEElec, Brainwavz and DUNU.
 
Sound Quality
All three models have been given at least 50 hours of burn-in before the review.
 
328R-2.jpg

 
Out of the 4 BeB’s earphones, 328R is the only earbud and the cheapest among them. But don’t let the price tag fools you – If you are an earbud user, this is possibly one of the best sounding earbud you can buy for $25. It might not look quite as nice as Sennheiser’s $25 offering like the MX580 / MX581, but it does have better sound quality that’s good enough to compete with the beloved Yuin PK3. With PK3, it is the quick, lively, specious and fun sound that draws in the listener. With 328R however, it is the warmth, the texture and the deep bass that captivates the audience. The overall sound signature is warm, smooth and with a bass that reaches down really deep, where you can hear the rumbling end of the bass notes. It is ever so slightly deeper than PK3, though not quite as quantitatively abundant, especially on the mid-bass. The mid is well textured with a good vocal – neither overall forward nor too sweet, but still intimate and quite possibility one of the best vocal performance in the price bucket.  Treble is smooth and well extended. While it is not quite as sparkly and crisp like PK3, but overall the detail is still well presented and doesn’t feel like lacking. Soundstage is decent – not quite as specious as PK3 but still layer and image are still fairly good on its own.
 
866B-3.jpg

 
The overall sound signature of 866B Red is slightly warm and sweet yet remains fairly neutral with no particular emphasis on a certain frequency or the lack thereof.  In fact, the end to end extension is rather good for IEM in such price bucket. Bass reaches deep and slightly on the thick side, quantitatively not monstrous but overall larger-than-average. Occasionally it can become slightly too thick (which reduces the texture and resolution) on bass heavy music, but it is still enjoyable and not too offensive. Mid is warm and slightly full, but not overly sweet or forwarded. Vocal is very decently textured while still retains a sense of space between the singer and the listener. Treble, especially lower treble and upper mid, is clean and clear, giving a rather good highlight over female vocal without sounding sibilant. Upper treble is however slightly rolled off. There is still some sparkle, but really lacks a sense of crispiness. Soundstage is quite good with a clearly defined sense of air, separation and image. It might not have the best soundstage in the sub$100 category but combines with the evenness of its sound signature, the 866B is remarkably good for slow and relaxing music like vocal jazz.
 
868B-4.jpg

 
The overall sound signature of 868B Silver is built upon the 866B Red, still warm and sweet but with an added layer of forwardness and thickness that makes 868B more aggressive and upfront. While it makes the mid fuller, the vocal more intimate and the upper treble crispier, it also has the side effect of turning the lower treble into borderline sibilant and making the bass note overly thick, which begins to interfere with the rest of the presentation. The fullness also reduces the sense of air and thus lowering the soundstage to about average. While overall performance going from 866B to 868B is positive, it pretty much is three steps forward and two steps back and thus not quite a significant upgrade as one might want it to be. It will suit those who are really into full forward sound that has a strong rumbling bass. If you don’t mind EQing a bit however, there are still a lot of potential left in 868B by simply lowering the sub-bass level for 3~6dB (which is always easier than increasing bass as it doesn’t increase distortion much, if at all)
 
Verdict
One of the claims on ETL technology is that it will allow the speaker unit to perform more linearly across the whole frequency range and especially on the bass. While there is no easy way to confirm such a claim, the three BeB’s earphones do indeed prove to be able to pump out some serious bass without much compromise. Out of the three earphones, the 328R Black is really a big hit for its $25 price tag and I will recommend it to any earbuds lover wholeheartedly. The 866B Red is quite good as well – but it could have been an even better buy if it offers better build quality. I am however have some reservation over 868B Silver – it too needs a better build quality and a bit of EQ to bring out its best, but most importantly the asking price is right inside the sub$100 IEM warzone where we have seen the stiffest IEM competition from companies like MEElec, Brainwavz, DUNU and even from Shure (of its $99 SE215). While my overall HDSS experience from BeB’s earphones remain quite positive, I also think it is still a hidden gem that requires more polishing to really bring out its inner shine. This will be something to look forward to.
 
For quick sum-up, check out the Concise Multi-IEM Comparison and Earbuds Round-up thread in my sig.
 
Oct 25, 2011 at 2:29 PM Post #2 of 11
I loved all the BeB models, I really enjoyed the Reds.  Have you gotten to hear the HDSS 27 model?  It is quite nice, a good balanced neutral sound sig.
 

 
Oct 25, 2011 at 3:13 PM Post #3 of 11


Quote:
I loved all the BeB models, I really enjoyed the Reds.  Have you gotten to hear the HDSS 27 model?  It is quite nice, a good balanced neutral sound sig.
 


They are indeed quite enjoyable. Haven't heard much of the HDSS-27. All I know is it is still in pre-production and uses BA driver.
 
 
Oct 25, 2011 at 3:25 PM Post #5 of 11


Quote:
I like mine, I was given a demo beta set a few weeks ago.  I am not allowed to say much other than what type of sound it offers :p  


ph34r.gif
haha, I have heard news of more HDSS coming, I guess HDSS-27 is one of them.
 
Jan 9, 2012 at 10:17 PM Post #6 of 11
Any noticeable improvements on the 328R after burning in? I think they kinda lack transparency out-of-the-box (improved a bit if used with an E5). I'm quite surprised I don't like them that much as everyone highly recommends them for their value. Or it may just something to do with taste :)
 
Jan 10, 2012 at 2:02 AM Post #7 of 11


Quote:
Any noticeable improvements on the 328R after burning in? I think they kinda lack transparency out-of-the-box (improved a bit if used with an E5). I'm quite surprised I don't like them that much as everyone highly recommends them for their value. Or it may just something to do with taste :)



I don't remember it improves much before / after burn-in. 328R is not known to have very high transparency. After all, it is warm sounding.
 
Jun 23, 2012 at 1:27 PM Post #9 of 11
Quote:
does the 328r plug into a samsung galaxy 2 smartphone?


I can say in 100% certainty (as I don't own an S II), but I don't see why not.
 
Jan 30, 2015 at 1:53 PM Post #10 of 11
$25? (and I've wanted something like a PK3 for a long time due to the ease of use, ie: no foam tip fidgeting and what not)
 
Just bought!!!! 
 
Jul 8, 2018 at 5:45 PM Post #11 of 11
P1010577.JPG


Here's a quick review of the Blue Ever Blue 328R Ear Bud

Introduction:

The Blue Ever Blue 328R was featured on Massdrop recently for only $9.99. Being an earbud fan, I quickly stuck in my cart and ordered it. They arrived about a week ago and I've been listening to them since. The BeB 328R features the licensed HDSS technology which I don't fully understand but it. What I do understand is that it supposedly reduces heat and pressure build up in the enclosure allowing for reduced distortion in the music coming out.

Build:

Its very lightweight and made fully of plastic. The photo I showed is modified from the original ear bud. What changed? I removed the cable and put on my own cable. The stock cable absolutely sucks. Its one of the worst cables I've ever used - flimsy and easily tangled. I opted to solder on a braided cable I had available. Removing the housing wasn't as simple as other ear buds. The driver and the housing are connected by a rubber silicone gasket that surrounds the outer edge of the ear bud, and it's glued into place. So you have to remove this piece and then the driver falls out really easily. It's not attached by clips or anything, so putting it back together required some cyanoacrylate glue (i.e. superglue).

Comfort:

These are very comfortable for me. They are similarly sized to the VE Monk Lite and Yincrow X6 - probably right smack in the middle of fit between the two, which is perfect in fit for me. I wore them for hours yesterday without any discomfort. Since they are extremely light, they didn't bother me at all.

Sound:

Overall sound quality is pretty good, especially for $10. While the advertising states "sweet bass", I don't find it bass-heavy like mainstream popular sound signatures provide. It's actually quite neutral and balanced. There's a tinge of warmth but it's subtle. I am using these with the stock foams but I haven't had a chance to try donuts with them yet. I don't think I have to. I've heard people complain that these are muddy but I have yet to hear that issue.

They are pretty detailed and have some good extension on both ends, but does roll off slightly in the upper treble. I do notice that these ear buds can be a little "shouty" if turned up. This typically is due to some peakiness in the region near 1Khz. I haven't played too much with eq but I imagine this would help this. It's not overly distracting though. I found it very distracting in my (much more) expensive UM ME.1 IEMs.

When songs get a bit busy, they do seem a little messy and compressed, but overall the stage is intimate but imaging is pretty good for this price.

As far as EQ goes, I'm using these without EQ and I am enjoying it mostly. Again, reducing 1Khz may help if you listen to it loudly.

Comparisons:

Other buds in this price range that I have at my disposal are: Yincrow X6, VE Monk +, VE Monk Lite 120, VE Monk Lite 60, **** PT15

Yincrow X6 are more v-shaped. They have more bass impact and a lot more FUN sounding. The 328R is more neutral and balanced.

VE Monk+ are more mid-focused. Better for vocal heavy pop music. Sounds more congested than 328R. I prefer the 328R for my tastes.

VE Monk Lite have similar balance but after switching back and forth between these and the 120Ohms, I found the 328R much more resolving and energetic. The Monk Lite sound very veiled and unnatural after listening to these.

**** PT15 are a very bright ear bud and lacking bass. It definitely shows. The PT15 is slightly more detailed but very thin sounding compared to these, and all others in this review.

Overall:

My two favorite budget earbuds are now the X6 and these 328R. I have more to listen to, but of the ones I've owned or have currently, these are my favorite.

Build quality sucks though. :)
 
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