Ladies and gentlemen, it’s BLON time! In this review, I’m looking at the BLON BL-Max IEM. The BL-Max has dual dynamic drivers (10mm+6mm) and retails for $36.
Disclaimer: This sample was provided by HiFiGo for the purpose of an honest review. All observations and opinions here are my own based on my experience with the product.
Good noise isolation
Engaging, musical signature
Large and heavy earpieces
Aesthetic won’t suit everyone
Warm sound won’t suit treble heads
Frequency Response Range: 20Hz-20kHz
Standard 0.78mm Connectors
3.5mm Termination Plug
Packaging & Accessories
The BL-Max comes in a tall white box. On the front of the box, there’s an illustration of the IEM and on the back is a list of specifications. Inside the box, you’ll find the BLON BL-Max, a detachable 2-pin cable, a fabric carrying pouch and 5 pairs of silicone eartips.
It’s big. Let’s just address that elephant in the room; the faceplates are huge and the IEMs look like a large piece of silver jewellery (BL-Max also comes in 3 colours). Some may find issues with that but personally, I think this is pretty cool. At the end of the day, I care more about the sonic quality anyway. But at the same time, I respect a manufacturer who dares to do something a bit different.
So, you get these large rectangular earpieces with rounded edges. They look a little awkward but they actually fit in my ears pretty well. Once again, we see some rather short nozzles that make tip-rolling and getting a secure fit more difficult than it needs to be.
The build quality is surprising for this price range and the BL-Max feels like a really nicely-made product. Noise isolation is well above average for a universal IEM and while listening quietly to some music, I didn’t even hear my colleagues phone ringing.
The BL-Max has the same cable that comes with the BL-Mini which is a silver-plated copper cable with a clear PU sheath.ⓘ
The cable has plastic connector housings plus matching polished aluminium Y-split and straight plug. In terms of handling, this cable does very well. It’s smooth, supple and does not suffer from microphonics.
The sound signature of the BLON BL-Max is a slight variation on the much-loved BL-03 sound. It closely resembles the Harman target response which is partly why the BL-03 was such a hit. The BL-Max has an elevated bass, a light upper midrange boost and a smooth treble. Where the BL-Max’s strength lies is in its tonality. It has a natural, organic and engaging sound and doesn’t have any glaring issues.
Driveability is not something you need to be concerned about. The BL-Max is quite efficient and doesn’t require a lot of power But don’t hesitate to give it some extra juice if you’ve got it on tap; this IEM responds well to a robust source.
The bass is elevated but it doesn’t dominate the presentation. It lends warmth to the overall tone and gives the Max a rhythmic quality. Unlike the BL-03, the BL-Max doesn’t have rolled-off sub-bass. Instead, the sub-bass transition into the mid-bass is fairly linear, bringing authority and power to the lows.
In Lars Danielson’s “I Tima”, the double bass resonates with richness but doesn’t mask the trumpet or violin. Yes, there’s more body than strings and it’s not the most textured bass but it’s not bad for something in this price range.
Like the BL-03, vocals on the BL-Max aren’t silvery but rather smooth and mellifluous. There’s an inviting warmth in the midrange giving them a musical character. It’s not the clearest or most detailed presentation but it doesn’t sound cloudy either.
In The Gentle Storm’s “The Storm”, the female vocals are slightly recessed but silky smooth and emotive. The overall clarity is average with slightly thicker than average notes. However, the instrument separation is still quite good and the general tone is pleasing.
If you’re treble-sensitive, you will feel at ease with the BL-Max’s highs. The treble is smooth and inoffensive and doesn’t suffer from sibilance or stridency. It’s not an especially detailed treble but it has enough presence to keep the sound from being dark. A little extra lift at 3-4kHz could improve the clarity though, which is one area where I think BLON IEMs, in general, could use some improvement.
The soundstage is fairly narrow but has decent forward depth. It’s actually slightly improved compared to the BL-03’s stage due to the little bit of extra treble but a bit more sparkle here could really spruce things up. Imaging is average but there’s no holographic sensation and overall the technicalities are pretty ordinary. But BL-Max’s saving grace is its tone, even if other aspects of the sound are underwhelming.
The BLON BL-03 has a similar sound to the Max. It has a slight sub-bass roll-off and less pronounced treble compared to the Max. As a result, the mids sound more forward than they do on the Max, making vocals especially more intimate and emotive.
The bass extension is more impressive on the Max but the BL-03 bass sounds a bit tidier in comparison. BL-03 has less treble energy, resulting in a narrower soundstage than the BL-Max but the forward positioning of the stage and resulting immersion makes up for it to some degree.
The BLON BL-Max is a slightly different take on the BLON house sound. It brings better sub-bass extension and a little extra lower-treble energy but maintains a buttery smooth presentation. However, the shell design may be a deterrent for those who prefer something smaller and more discreet. If you’re okay with the aesthetic and have a reasonably potent source, the Max can be a great musical companion for music lovers on a budget.