BLON BL-A8 REVIEW: More Refined in construction than in sound

Pros: Impressive mind-buzzing construction-design, sometime nice female vocal, impactful bass, weighty dynamic, big soundstage, excellent 2pin SPC cable

Cons: Tonality, Technicalities, poor bass quality and control, poor imaging, average resolution, grainy timbre, hollow mids when sub-bass occur, recessed kick drum and male vocal, fatiguing dynamic etc

TONALITY: 7/10
TECHNICALITIES: 6.5/10
CONSTRUCTION-DESIGN: 9/10
SOUND VALUE: 6.5/10

INTRO

BLON has a ”Driam” and they achieve this ”Oppoty” with their BL-03 best seller.
BL-03 was an IEM that ”Let music burn” like no other in its price range. It was a well-balanced energic W shape signature done right, with impressive technicalities only find above 50$ before its thunderous appearance in Chi-Fi market overflooded with badly tuned hybrid IEM. Sometimes I wonder if this ”Driam” come true too soon for BLON and that since then they just ”chase the dragon”.
Why? Because I did test the BL-05, BL-05S and BL-Mini and they all fail to deliver a sound as cohesive and natural as BL-03.
Will the Prometheus finally surpass the BL-03 benchmark and become, as it’s name suggest, the God of Oppoty ??
Let’s see in this review.

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PACKAGING is minimalist BLON way and accessories are minimal as well.

BUT, you have an extremely nice-looking and sounding High purity OFC Silver-plated cable.
This cable alone might worth at least 25$, even if it doesn’t look to be very sturdy, the silver-plated cores braiding is of high quality and deliver a clean and dynamic transmission. In fact, I test this cable with different IEM and they all sound more open and clean, without being cold or too lean in tonality modification. THATS a big step up compared to all other BLON earphones which include cheap basic cables.

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CONSTRUCTION sure is a big talk-about of the BL-A8….i mean, look at this piece of alien contemporary art…there nothing like this and I was afraid it will not be as impressive in hands. Well, this is the opposite, it’s even more mind-puzzling to have this type of sci-fi’sh metal sculpture in hands. BLON surely use a special 3D printer to achieve this type of spider-web metal housing, and it feels very sturdy as a whole. In fact, the real IEM is hidden into a decorative structure, the driver being in its how spherical all-metal housing. On both spherical inner housing, you have wording (wgz blon and bl-a8), which is another impressive detail caring.

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Another big plus for BLON is that the BL-A8 is very comfortable and offers the best fit of all their IEM line up. It have an organic shape and the metal is smooth. It slides naturally in ear canal and has a secure fit whatever eartips used. Isolation is good enough and sound leakage very minimal.

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To note that it’s quite evident these earphones design doesn’t get unnoticed and act more like in-ear jewelry that appeals to the eyes of people. Indeed, I can confirm BL-A8 are real lookers because the first time I go out with them I feel observed by bystanders and even get complimented by the grocery store employee who says nothing less than: ”It’s the coolest earphones I’ve ever seen in my life”.

So, be ready to become a Fancy boi wearing the BL-A8

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SOUND
(using Ibasso DX90, Audirect Beam2 and Tempotec HD PRO)

TONALITY is an energic, forward and pumped-up in mid-bass brightish W shape, where the bass is warmest, weightiest and more present part of the spectrum.

BASS is all about weighty slam, and it’s in a hurry to please the headbanger, so much so that sometimes the bass take the front stage and hollow the resolution. This is more problematic for a sub-heavy track, like trap rap and electronic, because you have a wall of bass that crumple the mids and treble. High bass lower treble is overly tamed, so the kick tone isn’t right neither very present and well defined in the attack. While sub-mid-bass is boosted in impact, it isn’t in extension, so acoustic bass will sound muffled, cello bit disincarnate, pure sub tone will lack articulation and transparency. Control isn’t very good, due to overly shouty presence. Still, with the right music, it can be a fun lively bass if you don’t care about accuracy, tonality, clarity or separation. It’s evident that the BL-A8 bass approach is more about quantity than quality.

MIDS are quite clear when the bass doesn’t hollow their harmonic, they are similar to BL-Mini, just a hint bright and quite forwards in presence, especially female vocal that can jump at you (again, without the sub-bass presence, because listening to IAMDDB is sometimes very frustrating due to sub-bass sitting on the singer). I didn’t hear invasive sibilance with the BL-A8 but I would not say it’s smooth sounding at all, dynamic being too aggressive for that.
In terms of attack, mids lack edge and bite and can go slightly shouty, though clear, they aren’t highly resolved or clean and the more you have complex and fast music, the more it’s transient limitation will show. Timbre is a bit dry, cold and thin, this is where it’s extremely similar to BL-Mini. If you search for lush musical inviting mids, this isn’t, it’s more like harassing excited mids.

TREBLE is another mixed bag, it’s a bit more brilliant and extended than BL-03, but thinner and shoutier too. While macro-resolution seems good, the accuracy isn’t. Sometimes you try to find some percussions that you feel are left out. BL-A8 is one of these unpredictable IEM that can transform my music into something unrecognizable. The tonal balance is a bit berzerk in articulation and my guess is that the small spherical housing used for 10mm DD creates an invasion of unwanted resonance. The BL-A8 highs aren’t airy because their no silence to be found. Their a lack of snap and crispness to percussion, clapping etc. Not well-controlled highs in general.

TECHNICALITIES are very average. Imaging isn’t able to achieve precise instrument positioning and always feel saturated as soon as you got more than 2 instrument register. Attack lead, edge, speed and control aren’t impressive. Bass is a boomy mess. Micro-definition is poor too. Natural decay doesn’t exist.

PERSONAL APPRECIATION:
I’m very critical and grumpy when something feels wrong in the tonality of an IEM, and if you add average technicalities to this…
Well, you get a headbanging yuck face.
Cause yep, the God Prometheus can make a spell on you if you arent immunizes to ”Wow effect trick”.
But to be honnest, I just can’t handle the BL-A8 for more than an hour because it’s too shouty, boomy and unpredictable in behavior.
Sometimes when i go dumb mode I can shake the head and even tap my feet…but i’m not sure to follow the real rhythm of music, due to this thumping but non-articulated bass.
I did have enjoy some female vocals even if it wasn’t a smooth relaxing experience…
the thing is as soon as I’m curious to dig in the BL-A8 sound, i’m stuck in a dead-end due to lack of well define resolution.

Sidenotes: BL-A8 is easy to drive and doesn’t benefit from amping, in fact, too much amping might create distortion (this is to be confirm). Ear tips have minimal change on sound behavior, especially bass ”separation”. With KZ Starlines it becomes a bit more V shape but clearer in imaging. With wide bore if push the mids more fowards but bass too so the overall sound is thicker. With stock tips it brighter and more forwards in the treble, making the bass just a hint more distant.

COMPARISONS

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VS BLON BL-03 (30$-Carbon diaphragm DD):
(both using same cable and tested with Audirect Beam2)

What hit first is how more natural and cohesive BL-03 tonality is.

After it’s how better articulate the bass is. It’s way less boomy and sloppy, more balanced and not as distracting as the BL-A8, as well, it’s more textured and extended and softer in impact even if better well rounded.

BL-03 have more lower mids too, so vocals are fuller-bodied as well as piano, cello or saxophone. The mids are thicker and fuller sounding, with a wider presence and better transparency as well as texture. Tonality is realistic compared to more artificial BL-A8. BL-03 has more upper mids presence so violin and electric guitar are more snappy in attack but more aggressive too.

TREBLE is fuller with BL-03, crunchier but a bit less airy sparkly on top than BL-A8.

SOUNDSTAGE is slightly wider and notably deeper with BL-03 and strangely taller with BL-A8.

IMAGING is way better with BL-03, both in layers amount and instrument placement accuracy.

TIMBRE is denser, richer and more textured and natural with BL-03, while more organic and polished with BL-A8.

End words: BL-A8 create more of a sudden WOW effect than BL-03, its more aggressive in its W shape tonality as well as colored, so more bass thump, more specific instrument presence boost, more upper treble forwards micro-details…all this in an overly excited way that can overshadow other musical nuance that the BL-03 will deliver humbly.
To my ears, BL-03 have a more neutral and refined tuning and sure offer higher sound value at 3 times cheaper price than BL-A8. Some will be tricked and that’s OK, because indeed, BL-A8 is superior in one thing: FUN FACTOR.

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VS MOONDROP ARIA (80$-Liquid Crystal diaphragm DD)
(both using stock cable and tested with Ibasso DX90)

BL-A8 has a more aggressive and bright W shape with notably more boosted mid-bass. It’s brighter with a weightier dynamic. Aria’s balance is smoother and more cohesive, with a cleaner airier presentation.

SOUNDSTAGE is a bit wider with A8, while taller and deeper with Aria.

IMAGING is less accurate and resolved, separation less spacious, layering less articulate and transparent.

BASS has a more boomy slam, sub-bass can hollow mids by taking a front seat while it’s better balanced-controlled with Aria. While the thumping can be funnier, it is less clean and transparent with poorer resolution and slower attack than Aria.

MIDS are a bit more fowards and shouty, resolution is inferior as well as transparency and layering, tonality is less realistic and upper mids are more emphasized and prompt to slight sibilance, unlike Aria lean gentle mids.

TREBLE is more aggressive and less well defined, cymbals are splashier and micro-details inferior to crisper, airier, snappier highs of Aria.

TECHNICALITIES like attack speed and control, micro-dynamic, natural extension and decay is far superior with Aria. BL-A8 is brutally dynamic and thumpy, it screams at you like a punk-rocker while Aria sign at you like a full choral.

TONALITY is leaner and more neutral and natural with Aria which doesn’t suffer from wack tone presentation like the BL-A8 does (especially in the mid-bass and mids department).

End words: The ARIA is a way more refined and maturely tuned IEM with superior clarity, accuracy, tonal balance, and bass-treble extension than BLON BL-A8. I guess we can say for the defense of BL-A8 that it can be funnier-livelier for those that aren’t sensible to weak accuracy and poor bass control. As well, it must be noted that BL-A8 cable is far superior to Aria in term of performance and might perhaps be the very best cable in that regards I ever test under 100$.

CONCLUSION

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If you read my review fully or even partially, I think there a shred of evidence that proves I don’t like the BL-A8, especially when I look through ”sound value glass”….but it doesn’t mean that’s horrifious sounding earphones at all, just that I’m sensible to this type of uncontrolled bass boost and overall artificial tonality to my ears. In fact, faster transient response, better dynamic control and articulation and 4db less bass and the BL-A8 might be very good sounding. If you do enjoy the BLON MINI alot and search for an upgrade, the BL-A8 is EXACTLY that. But if you didn’t enjoy the Mini in the first place like me, stay away from BL-A8 and go for BL-05S or a second pair of BL-03.
BLON seem to have given more effort into their housing design and construction than proper tuning and acoustic engineering and I must admit I’m stock between admiration for craftsmanship and sincere deception for sound ”evolution”.
Well….all of this BLON potential might just be a ”Driam” afterall.

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ps: Big thanks to Hifigo for the review sample as well as for accepting my sometimes not so eulogistic freedom of thoughs. This is a proof that this audio distributor is honest and truly passionate about audio communities and I respect that.
You can buy the BLON BL-A8 Prometheus at best price here:

https://hifigo.com/products/blon-a8?_pos=2&_sid=8dbc1c4fb&_ss=r

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