BLON BL-MINI Review: Small size, Big sound

PROS: Wide deep airy soundstage, Good imaging, Great macro-resolution, fast attack, upper treble snap, V shape yet clear mostly well balanced sounding, clean mids, good transparency, great fit and sturdy unique construction, Price

CONS: A bit recessed mids with less dynamic impact, a bit shouty treble, overly boosted mid-bass with uncontrolled sub resonance, dry timbre that lack density and natural warmth, a bit artificial sounding.

TONALITY: 7/10
TECHNICALITIES: 8/10
CONTRUCTION&DESIGN: 8.5/10
SOUND VALUE: 7.5/10

I’ve been listening to those for enough time to conclude they are more than decent for the little price asked, but suffer from unbalanced U to V shape tuning that will be hit or miss depending music you listen too. These are strange IEM that might please both opposite camps: basshead and treblehead.

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CONSTRUCTION:

The metal macaroni-like design is very interesting if not particularly esthetical, it act like a screw in your ears so the fit is great! Well, if it wasn’t for the super thigh ear hook cable that unscrews the macaroni! Anyway, you can get rid of this ear hook but be cautious cause I discovered the cable is quite fragile and broke it trying to pull the plastic cover of the ear hook. This is the first time it ever happen to me, my nail can easily cut the cable if I want too, so while the cable is an upgrade to other BLON IEM, it’s still a low-quality one. Packaging is minimal and I was heartbroken to see they change Music and driams lettering on the box for correct spelling DREAMS.

SOUND:

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TONALITY is slightly excited V to U shape with boosted boomy mid-bass, airy sub-bass made of resonance and boosted lower-mid treble presence. This can sound like typical chifi tuning but overall clarity is quite good as well as transparency and attack speed-thanks to the capable 6mm micro dynamic driver used. Its neither too warm or too bright, but its agressive in its approach and timbre being dry and lacking a bit of pitch contour, will attack is fast it can become a bit shouty with music like fast rock due to lack of attack snap and edge.

SOUNDSTAGE is wide and open with good deepness. Imaging is above average for a single DD in this price range but not in a realistic way, more like an artificial medium-hall-like spatiality where the highs seem always in front stage. Resonance of bass or lack of wide space between instrument can hollow imaging too.

BASS (LOWS) hit very hard but doesn’t have tactile well-rounded weight to it, so yeah a bit boomy as well as lacking in texture and sub-kick separation (sub line can swallow the kick drum) but quite clean and transparent, not muddy, so it doesn’t really bleed on mids unless its a sub bass-heavy track. The bass is there to wow you, but fail to offer a natural extension, so it’s fast food for bass head. To my ears, the bass is the worst part of the audio spectrum. For example, a duo of acoustic bass and world singer (TARA FUKI-V Dymu) is just unlistenable due to the bass drowning her vocal, literally sitting on her presence, hip hop too can be…well, basshead wet dream? Dunno, i don’t dream about Cranked BOOMBOX.

MIDS (VOCALS) are quite clear, but thin and a bit recessed compared to mid-treble and bass. Lack of warmth and body stole some musical lushness, piano note are clear but lack impact feel as well as any instrument needing good amount of density. Sens of transparency is great for the price as well as how well centered the mids are in spatiality. Vocal can sound a bit honky or breathy for females and thin and dry for males, but they aren’t harsh or sibilant being to shy in attack heft for that.

HIGHS (DETAILS) are better in macro-resolution rendering than micro-details delivering, this is perhaps due to some uneven section of boosted treble being overly tamed and a lack of air-sparkle-snap. Its fowards and can go a bit hot-shouty but not to the point of being splashy, trebly or plain horrific. We have an average amount of details even if percussions are crisp. Its really hit or miss in definition and a bit rough in timbre.

Side-note: The MINI sound better with warm yet well resolved audio source, I prefer pairing it with ES9280C or BEAM2 than Jcally JM20 (single CS43131 dac) or Ibasso DX90 (dual ES9018dac). Eartips choice will greatly inflict on soundstage size as well as bass behavior. Using good copper cable might thicken timbre a bit too.

COMPARISONS:


VS BLON BL-03:

The OPPOTY is better balanced, fuller sounding, less V shape and more W shape with more extended treble, denser more textured timbre, richer details retrieval, slightly less wide-deep soundstage and more saturated imaging that is more nuanced in layers. Bass is faster, thicker and more textured and controlled, extension is leaner and less resonant-rumbly but more realist and articulated in tonality. Vocal are a bit fuller-brighter, though more present and full. Treble is more snappy, informative and realistic BL03 is way harder to drive and the fit is way less secure and comfortable. To my ears, BL03 is from another league both in tonal balance and technical prowess.

VS DQSM HERMIT:
These two use 6mm micro dynamic driver and i wonder if its the very same one due to similar timbre. Still, its not the same tuning and again MINI is more V and berserk in boosted bass department, so it doesnt sound as delicate and airy as Hermit which have its bass better balanced with rest of spectrum. Mids are more open but a bit colder-leaner than MINI even if very similar in timbre, layering seems cleaner denser. Treble is a bit harsher, more vivid and detailed. MINI is more fun while Hermit is more neutral-analytical, both having their quirks.

CONCLUSION:

Though far from perfect, the BLON MINI is another refreshing offering from the only Chifi company that know how to ”let music burn”. If you were finding your BL-03 missing the OPPOTY to achieve your basshead ”driams”, the MINI might be the crisp boomy V shape macaroni-like IEM you were waiting for! Unlike warm V shape IEM that struggle to swim out of bass bleed and compensate it by sibilant upper mids and splashy or too dark treble, the MINI stand apart in term of vivid, bassy fun yet technically competent sound that deliver an open, concert-like musical presentation with great macro-resolution and fast attack speed.


PS: thanks to Keephifi for the review sample as well as accepting my honest unbiased audio impressions.

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