In this review, we check out the $ 26 BLON BL-Mini earphones. The BL-Mini has a single 6mm dynamic driver and zinc alloy shells.
Back in August 2019, I reviewed the BLON BL03 IEM. It far surpassed not only my expectations but the budget enthusiast crowd as a whole and has been a favourite of many fans until today. The BL-Mini aims to recreate the BLON magic but this time with a new driver and unique shell design. How does it compare? Let’s take a look.
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Disclaimer: This sample was provided for the purpose of an honest review. All observations and opinions here are my own based on my experience with the product.
- Ergonomics and comfort
- Unique shell design
- Bass texture
- Not for bass-shy people
- Occasional (rare) hints of sibilance
- Impedance: 16ohms (at 1 kHz)
- Frequency response: 20–20kHz
- Sensitivity: 115dB/mW
- Drivers Config: 6mm Dynamic Driver
- Cable: 1.2m
- Housing Material: Zinc Alloy
Packaging & Accessories
The BL-Mini comes in a tall narrow white box. On the front of the box is an illustration of an earpiece and on the back is a list of specifications. Inside the box, you get the earphones, a detachable 2-pin cable, a canvas storage pouch and 5 pairs of silicone eartips.
With its unusual new shell design, the BL-Mini certainly stands out from the crowd. The zinc alloy shells basically take on a bent pipe shape that resembles a piece of macaroni. Indeed, it has already been affectionately dubbed “The Macaroni” by fans.
The shell surface has an anodised and highly polished mirror finish. However, it is highly resistant to fingerprints which makes handling a breeze. As is the norm, the earphone nozzles have a lip for securing eartips in place and a protective mesh cover.
You are probably wondering how these would fit in your ears and whether they’re comfortable or not. I personally find the BL-Mini to be extremely comfortable and the way the shells fit into my ears feels very natural. I can wear them all day and hardly notice them at all. Noise isolation is surprisingly good too and with music playing, I can barely hear anything in my immediate surroundings.
One of the most common complaints about the BL03 was its cable. It was flimsy and prone to tangling. Thankfully, the BL-Mini has a completely different and much improved cable. It’s a silver-plated copper cable with 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.
Gear used for testing includes:
The BL-Mini is BLON’s take on a light v-shaped signature. It has a warm and energetic sound that is easy to appreciate from the first listen. The general tone is rich yet clear with its lifted bass and treble bands accompanying the neutral midrange. The result is a warm, dynamic sound with unmistakable BLON house sound traits, such as good resolution, detail retrieval, and bass texture.
The BLON BL-Mini has boosted bass with ample impact and slam. Moreover, it’s a good quality bass that’s textured and controlled. However, it is well north of neutral so the BL-Mini might not be the best choice for those who are bass-shy.
Sub-bass notes have good reach and a tight rumble. The transition to the mid-bass is fairly linear so it’s got some thumping power too. While I wouldn’t call this a basshead IEM, it’s clearly tuned for fun rather than precision.
If you like your bass thick but contoured the BL-Mini is sure to please. Whether it’s the complex bassline from Yes’ “Roundabout” or the melodic bump of Notorious B.I.G’s “Big Poppa”, the Mini delivers.
The Mini’s midrange has a fairly neutral tone with a good level of clarity. What surprised me was the resolution which is pretty solid for a budget earphone. It does deteriorate a bit as the bass ramps up but is still good overall. Despite the warmth and power of the bass, instruments and vocals are still easy to distinguish and separate.
Male and female vocals come through clearly and have a natural note weight. The upper-midrange lift helps the vocals in 3LAU’s “Star Crossed” to rise clearly above the warmth of the bass without sounding shouty or shrill.
The treble is crisp, well-defined, and has enough zest to create balance with the elevated bass. A slight dip in the lower treble improves separation with the upper mids. There’s a peak around 6kHz but the treble is fairly even for the most part. The lift in the core treble provides clarity and presence, with only the occasional hint of sibilance that never crosses the line into discomfort.
Cymbals and percussion are snappy and electric guitars have ample bite.
The soundstage is moderate in size and is deeper than it is wide. Instrument separation is good and holds up well even on bass-heavy music. Imaging is moderate but on par for a budget earphone.
The BLON BL03 was the IEM that skyrocketed BLON to fame. It has a single Carbon Nanotube dynamic driver. Although the Mini has a vastly different shell and a new driver, it’s clear that BLON was aiming at t a similar sound signature.
The BL03 has slightly less bass quantity but its bass is a tad looser than the Mini’s. In addition, the BL03 sub-bass has slightly more roll-off and added mid-bass emphasis. Still, the two IEMs have a fairly similar bass character.
In the midrange, the BL03 is slightly more forward compared to the Mini which is a little more recessed. Another key difference is the BL03’s upper midrange which is more elevated and peaks at 2kHz compared to the Mini’s 3kHz peak. Furthermore, the BL03 rises again at 5kHz while the Mini has a larger peak at 6-7kHz.
As a result, the BL03 has added vocal presence and extra bite while the Mini has more lower-treble energy and definition. Furthermore, the Mini has more upper treble presence, making the highs slightly brighter and thinner compared to the BL03.
I believe people who are fans of the BL03 sound will enjoy the BL-Mini too. I personally still have a slight preference for the BL03’s sound but my ear anatomy requires a cable with non-angled connectors in order to get a proper fit.
The BLON BL-Mini strengthens the brand’s stronghold in the budget IEM sector. The build quality and the ergonomics are nothing short of excellent. In terms of audio quality, the BL-Mini can hold its own against any other earphones in its price range, including the BLON BL03.
Because of ergonomic and fit issues, the BLON BL03 missed a spot on my best IEMs list. But the BLON BL-Mini definitely qualifies. If you’re looking for an affordable IEM with great comfort and sound, you should surely consider this one.