BLON is one of those Chi-Fi companies that goes the way of prioritizing value for money, with the company's BL-03 in-ear monitors especially getting rave feedback for what it offers at ~$30. But did you know that BLON stands for Belief, Letmusicburn, Oppoty, Nevergiveup? Sigh... we are definitely in for something here as we let the music burn with our first review of the BLON brand. Thanks to Linsoul for sending TechPowerUp a review sample!
I may not know what Oppoty is, but I do know that we are looking at BLON's most expensive IEMs to date. Aptly named Prometheus in the initial stages before "BL-A8" had been added to the official name, this is one of the weirdest-looking earphones ever made. There is certainly enough inspiration taken from alien ships and foreign objects in space for many to already be turned off, yet there are many others, including myself, who are keen to figure out if it is all about looks or whether there is more underneath that is in line with the BLON brand history of function over form. Let's find out for ourselves as we begin the review with a look at the product specifications below.
|BLON BL-A8 Prometheus In-Ear Monitors|
|Shell:||3D-printed openwork metal shell in gunmetal or steel color|
|Driver Units:||Single 10 mm diaphragm dynamic driver|
|Frequency Response:||20 Hz–20 kHz|
|Cable Connectors:||3.5 mm TRS plug to source + two 0.78 mm 2-pin plugs to earbuds|
|Cable Length:||4 ft/1.2 m|
Packaging and Accessories
Packaging for the BLON BL-A8 is fairly simple, with a rectangular box that has a plastic seal over it. Remove it and you have a predominantly white box with "WGZBLON" on the top instead of just "BLON." It got me wondering what "WGZ" stands for, but that thought quickly disappeared when I saw the dumb tagline right underneath. Hold on to your seats, there's a lot more of this coming up. The BL-A8 name appears at the bottom-right corner, but the attention grabber is no doubt the 1:1 render of one of the IEMs. On the back, we see more renders along with tech specs, where the Mandarin version interestingly rates the impedance at 32 Ω, while the English translation cites 16 Ω, which is presumably per channel. We also find out that there are four versions of the BL-A8, including in two colors and a mic-bundled version. The Prometheus of the name was originally just it during the concept and prototyping phase, but has been relegated past the BL-A8. The four other sides are bare except for the cutout in the middle that shows BLON is using a two-piece packaging.
The top simply lifts off to reveal the contents inside, beginning with a wax paper film that has the same WGZ BLON lettering, along with another confirmation that the brand has been around for seven years now. I do like the blue and white color scheme, which continues with the accessory box underneath that clarifies the use of a lightweight diaphragm driver.
This white cardboard box opens up to reveal a good set of accessories, which begins with a short user manual I read mostly for the marketing fluff and story. Look, I get that BLON appreciates the Chinese culture and takes inspiration from it, but there is nothing cultural or historical about the BL-A8 Prometheus, so this is just pandering for the sake of it. I do agree that earphones are not like vases, though, which is a hilarious translation of a proverb that makes way more sense in Mandarin. Moving past this, we find two plastic zip-lock bags with more useful content inside.
BLON includes two sets of silicone ear tips in different sizes, with one bag containing the more typical design in sizes S/M/L and the other having less round and more aggressively cored size L tips that remind me of the final Type-E tips we saw before. I imagine the same type of tips in size M come pre-installed on the ear buds, but we will find out soon enough. There is also a white carry bag with a rougher finish than those the company included in previous batches of its other earphones, with the same WGZ BLON Since 2014 badge on it in blue. This is a drawstring bag with the same finish on the inside, so it is adequate for storage, albeit not the best place to store IEMs you want to protect. The stitch job is mediocre at best, so this is clearly a place where the budget hit hard.
The final piece of the unboxing puzzle is a very thick foam piece that has cutouts to accommodate the two ear buds, which indeed come with the other size M tips installed. It is at this point that we get our first good look at the BL-A8, but let's hold off until we have taken a look at the cable on the next page, which incidentally also ships inside that accessory box from earlier.
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