Looking for a serious BLON BL-03 upgrade

I just completed my over ear desktop setup and now I’m looking to up my IEM game. My current go to is the BL-03 which needs no introduction. These were actually the reason I upgraded my over ears because I bought them for like $30 and after upgrading to foam Dakoni tips they easily bested my full size cans! (Sennheiser HD1 Wireless) I also owned the ZSX before and they sounded OK to me but I found the BLON signature to be much more to my taste. So now that I found that I really enjoy IEMs for on-the-go use I’m wondering what good money can buy in the IEM world. I’m ready to start saving for my upgrade. Below is a list of the ones I’ve been researching and considering. I’d love to get some impressions from people who have tried these. Bonus points if you’ve also tried the BL-03 and can draw comparisons.

-Tin P1
-Tin T4
-Shuoer Tape
-FiiO FH5
-FiiO FH7
-Fearless S6 Rui
-Fearless S8f / S8z
-Dunu DK3001 Pro
-iBasso IT04
-Ikko OH10
-Moondrop KXXS
-Sony XBA-N3AP
-Campfire Polaris
-Campfire IO

Right now for sources I have my Galaxy S9 and my desktop setup is a D10 / Liquid Spark combo. I’m also considering upgrading my mobile source and getting something like the BTR5 in the near future.

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I highly recommend the HA-FDX1. I personally own the HA-FD01 and installed the mod myself, but the extra $25 to have it properly seems like a better deal to me. I own Andromedas and just got the Atlas, and I still think the JVC is my favorite, especially when factoring in price. I think the sound is much closer to an over ear compared to the normal unnatural sound I usually get from iems. The dynamic driver will give you that natural sound, plus a cleaner version of the bass you get from the Blons. The tuning done removes the treble spike that you also usually get from dynamics.

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I was actually just reading up some more on these tonight and thinking the sound might be what I’m looking for. The fact that they are about half the price of some of the others on the list doesn’t hurt either.

I’ve never really been an iem guy, and the JVCs are what turned me around and decided to start looking at some others. I happened to catch the Atlas on sale, but I was planning on picking up the FH7s until then. I myself would avoid the <$1k Campfires, although I haven’t heard them all personally. They all just seem to be sacrificing something where the $1k+ models seem to be better all rounders. But yeah, at $225-$250, I can easily recommend the JVCs for that price and you can see if you want to spend more down the road.

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I would say stick to some lower priced to medium priced IEMs until you have updated your source/gear. That gives you some time to really figure out what you want and in the meantime you have a nice upgrade from the BLON BL-03.

I have the BLON BL-03 and my recommendation is always the Ikko OH-1. They have great bass, neck and neck close to the BLON. The mids are very slightly recessed, and the treble has some decent extension and sparkle, but not enough to fatigue (I can be treble sensitive at times, so this was important for me).

Besides that, the Ikko are some of the most comfortable IEMs I’ve ever worn. The stock silicone tips aren’t bad either, upgrading to the Ikko I-Planet Memory Foam tips made it more comfortable and kept the sound signature the same.

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Thanks for the input. So you rec the OH1 and not the OH10? I don’t think I’ve read anything talking about the differences between the two.

Definitely the OH-1. The OH-10 sounds very similar to the OH-1, but cost much more money. In my opinion, the difference in cost isn’t justified as they are so similar sounding.

Below is a frequency response graph that shows how similar…Ikko OH-1 is in green and OH-10 in red.

If you want to stick to a single dynamic driver pair then I would recommend the Meze Rai Solo. Hands down the best single dynamic pair I’ve listened to. Slight v shape signature with a more neutral presentation. If you like the natural tone of the blons then you will like the solos as I believe they sound even more natural. Not as much bass as the blon but more refined and controlled, definitely not bass lite by any means. A good deal more detailed and resolving then the blons, I would honestly say they are a upgrade in every way imo. They are my most comfortable pair as well, the build quality is second to none out of all the IEMs I’ve owned.

I will say that they do require quite a bit of burn in though, I saw significant improvement in bass response and overall detail retreveal after about 100hours of burn in time.

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Very interesting. These are ones I hadn’t considered yet. I honestly haven’t heard much about them. Are they fairly new? I don’t see them on Crinacle’s list, Z hasn’t reviewed them, and BGGAR doesn’t have anything on his channel about them yet.

Yeah they came out at the end of October, not to many people have reviewed yet. Small thread on headfi if you want more opinions.

FH7 and BTR5 are a great combo! I think it’ll definitely give you that step up that you’re looking for! Get ready for the magic! Going on 7 months and I haven’t been able to put them down!


IMO, after I bought the BLON 03 I realized that the whole CHIFI is like a roulette . you can put 300$ and in the other hand put a 30$ and you get the same result.

I am in the search like you, but, I will not pay more than 100$ on a chifi IEM. I ordered the Shozy 1.1, wait for them.
But now I am reading that the direct upgrade for the BLON is the KBEAR Diamond, they have everything better except the soundstage, I ordered them too.

In the bottom line, I think the only IEM who can dethroned the Blon 03 is BLON 05. that thing will take time. until then, I hope something will hold me from buying stupide overpriced chifi.

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For some reason IEMs seem more confusing to me than headphones. Not sure if that is everyone’s experience or just me. There is such a wide range of price points and so much of the decision making process seems to be based on preference. Especially since chi-fi became a thing. Diminishing returns also seems to be a bigger deal in IEMs. I believe people when they say that a $2,000 set is objectively the best, but how much better is it than a $200 or $300 set?
Here is my deep, dark fear: I’m afraid that the 03 is lightning in a bottle for me. I’m afraid that once I finally drop 10x more cash on an “upgrade” that I’ll put them in my ears, press play, and go “meh”. Hopefully that won’t be the case but since I haven’t tried higher end IEMs it’s all a bit of a mystery to me. That’s why I’m glad for communities like this that can help out!

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I’m exactly looking for the same thing you are, a serious upgrade to the Blons. I’ve been lurking in threads like these for a week and I feel no closer to a good answer.

Leading contender for me is OH-10 or wait for the new Blons.

The Campfire IO is not to everyones liking, on one thread there were a bunch of people roasting it, myself included, because of the spike between 1khz and 2khz. I would seriously recommend trying them before you think about them. I personally couldn’t listen to them for more than about five seconds.


You are correct @Felix. The 1 to 2 KHz spike is pretty rough and makes the IO sound very shouty in the vocals. The IO are the only Campfire Audio IEMs that have that spike, so trying to audition them 1st is the best advice you could give. :slightly_smiling_face:

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I was a big fan of some of their other offerings, the Polaris II being my favourite.

That is definitely my endgame IEM until I get customs, just need to save up now.

The OP mentioned the Polaris, @Mr_Makua, if your budget can stretch that far, it is a fantastic IEM. So, however, are other offerings such as the DK3001 Pro and the Fearless s8f and the Fiio FH7.

Personally, I would removed the Campfire IO because of the spike, and probably the FH5 as you are looking at the FH7. Perhaps also the Tin T4 as the upgrade isn’t that big compared to others on the list


My favorites were the Lyra II and I regret selling them. I still own the Orion CK. The Ikko OH-1 and the Orion are my 2 best iems at the moment and they are pretty damn great.

nice, some decent pairs there

It is, but be aware that it is a bass canon. You need to like bass or mainly use it OTG, as a deep bass is great outside in windy and noisy souroundings.

The Tin P1 is great if you have a portable amp for it; it needs power to shine. The ikko is an interesting choice and one I can rec; I find it clear and detailed and easy to listen to also for a long period of time.