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Review: BLON B20 Planar Magnetic Headphones

29 December 2019

Here are my thoughts and experience with the BLON B20 open-back planar magnetic headphones. I’ll start with the conclusion and get that out of the way now: they’re great, love them.

Looking at the physical quality of the build, they’re done very well. They even shipped with the larger and better pads than what MassDrop showed. The larger or rather thicker pads allow for slightly better sound-stage and stereo imaging than the less thick pads. Plus they’re also more comfortable to wear.

They’re heavier, significantly heavier than my Sennheiser HD650’s and Beyerdynamic DT880’s. But they’re using more metal and have wood caps where the others are all plastic. But the added weight isn’t noticeable after a minute of wearing them because the over-the-ear pads are comfortable as is the headband. Though, even with these I need to adjust the position of the headband as I do with all headphones I wear. That’s because I don’t have very much hair left on top of my head to provide that much more cushion.

I like how the cables are detachable so I can use my own cables if I want. I’ve been switching between the included single-ended cables and my custom balanced XLR cables to test out different amps and balanced versus single-ended performance.

You can also twist the cans horizontally to lay them flat down on the pads if you want. A nice feature some people enjoy. It’s not one I regularly use since I have stands that hold them for me when not in use.

As for performance, they sound amazing in almost every area. The only fault I find that is very noticeable is that on certain tracks the treble is far too bright and even ear-piercing at times and I have to reduce the volume. I now have a solution for that in that I just picked up the Schiit Loki tone control component. With that it place I played the tracks that hurt again and adjusted the highs down to where it was comfortable to listen to and helped it sound better.

Sound-stage is rather good and there are a few tracks that really help put that on display for me. Instruments can appear to come from behind, out in front and off and up to either side and they’re all distinct enough that I can easily pick them out. If you like a lot of detail emerging from your music, you’ll get all the detail you want with these headphones.

Stereo imaging is also very good, and having the thicker pads helps with this as well. You get a broad and tight image from some tracks that are engineered well.

These BLON B20’s are also a little warm in the mid ranges but not too bad. It’s more of a personal preference in how warm or cool one likes their music. The warmth was especially noticeable on R&B tracks I listened to. Again, it’s personal preference there and I didn’t mind the extra warmth.

Bass response is very good and even at the lowest end too. I think they strike a nice balance in this area by giving the listener a decent amount of bass where needed, but not coloring it too much to make them bass heavy like some headphones can be, or are designed to be. It’s also punchy and responsive and less boomy as well which is nice.

I tested these with Schiit audio equipment. I used these with the balanced XLR cables on the Jotunheim and at 32 ohms, the Jotunheim can push a full 5 watts of power to each driver on high gain. If you want to make your ears bleed with power and great sound at the same time, you can do it. I generally used them on the low gain setting.

The other amp I used was the Magni 3 with the single-ended cable which pushed, 2.4 watts per side. There was still a huge amount of headroom on the dial, like 75% more to go. At just 25% of the dial they were still fairly loud and if you were in the room with me, you could sing along with the tracks.

The DAC was the same for both amps and that was the Schiit Modi Multibit. I have it as an expansion card in the Jotunheim, and a separate component paired with the Magni 3. All of my tracks are encoded with FLAC ensuring the best possible source I can achieve.

Overall these are amazing cans and I can certainly recommend them to anyone looking for a high-end set of headphones that won’t break the bank.

Download the pdf version with pictures here.