Review - Kiwi Ears Allegro

Review - Blon x Z Jojo

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TLDR version on YouTube: TDLR - Blon x Z Jojo

The Blon x Z Jojo have been sent to me by Linsoul in exchange for the publication of my thoughts and opinions in this review. Linsoul have made no requests and, as always, I will be best to be as unbiased and honest as humanly possible in my review.

You can find the Jojo via Linsoul here: https://www.linsoul.com/products/blon-x-z-reviews-jojo

As always, this is a non affiliate link.

To avoid being repetetive in my reviews, you can find all the info about how I create the reviews, equipment used, how I receive the products and how to interpret my reviews by visiting: About my reviews


Intro…

I am going to start by absolutely clear as I always say I am going to be as honest as unbiased as humanly possible and that is still the case. However, it is possible that these IEMs already start off on a difficult note with me personally. I will try to not let that influence my review but it is possible that some of that preconceived bias makes it into this review, even if subconsciously.

What am I talking about? Well, the Jojo are based on the Blon BL05s, a set of IEMs that I reviewed way back in 2020 (you can find that review here) and still remain the set of IEMs by Blon that I most enjoyed spending time with during the review. People raved about the BL03 but personally I much preferred the BL05s. So, imagine that you have a song that you loved but haven’t heard for a very long time and then decades later (yes, 3 years in IEM terms are the equivalent of decades in the music world), somebody takes that song and makes a cover version of it… that cover version had better be damn good for you to not hate it! You are already going to be skeptical before you even hear it and preconceived biases are always difficult to get over.

I hadn’t taken the BL05s out of the closet for a very long time (years) but I remember that I found them to be less prominent in the bass area than the BL03, something I prefer, but lacking in the upper ranges, needing a little more extension and air up there. My other complaint was that the nozzle was too short (although they did fit me ok), the tips were crappy and the colour was far from something I would choose. But in short, those are my memories of the BL05s.

So, I grabbed the BL05s from their dusty case and gave them a listen. They are not as good as I remember but I have listened to a lot of IEMs since then which have given me a lot more experience as well as the quality of IEMs getting much much better since I reviewed them. While I was listening to them, I read my review of them and, while I don’t think the BL05s are as good as I remember them (memories are like that), I still pretty much agree with my findings back then.

Ok, so Zeos (who I think is a great guy and had a lot of fun with in Munich, but don’t really agree with a lot of his headphone tastes) took those BL05s and, in collaboration with Blon, came up with his “improved” version.

I am going to go into my usual review process in just a second but as a TLDR here is what I feel that has changed from my opinions of the BL05s to the Jojo:

The bass which I found more pleasurable on the BL05s than the BL03, due to being less exaggerated, is now exaggerated on the Jojo.

The upper mids which were maybe a little too present on the BL05s but tolerable, have now been reduced to a point that they are lacking.

The extension and air that was lacking on the BL05s is now lacking much more on the Jojo.

The colour that I wasn’t a fan of on the BL05s is now a different colour that I am still not a fan of.

The nozzles that could have been a little longer are still the same length and the tips that were crappy have been replaced with tips that are about the same.

I think you can all guess where this review is going, so let’s get it over with.


Presentation…

The box is more colourful than the original, that is for sure, and also looks a fair bit better. The packaging is simple and the design doesn’t scream quality but it’s sort of fun. To be honest, the packaging is something that I really don’t care about unless it is really amazing or really terrible, this is neither.

Inside we get the IEMs, the typical Blon sack for storage, the cable and 9 sets of tips (three sizes of three different types).

Nothing really special as far as packaging goes but nothing to really complain about either.


Build and aesthetics…

The build seems to be identical to that of the original BL05s, with maybe the paint being less thick. They have the same shape, the same length (short) nozzle and use the same connection style for the cable. I would have preferred it if they had opted for a normal 2 pin connection rather than the QDC style but the included cable is actually pretty decent, so you shouldn’t really need to think about swapping it.

The cable is well built, with what seems to be decent hardware (except for the plastic QDC connectors) and is a quadruple weave that uses pink/purple and silver wires, with a sparkle to them. I have no issues with the actual cable but I really can’t say I like the colour.

The aesthetics of the IEMs are basically the same as the original except in an even more “off the wall” colour. The finish is somewhere between pink and a light purple, with Jojo on the gold accents of the face plates and Blon in the center circle on one side, with the Z Reviews logo on the other. I’m afraid that, as with the cable, I can’t say I am a fan of the colour.

Comfort is exactly the same as on the original, which means that many people will suffer with the length of the nozzles, or rather the lack of it. Personally they fit me ok but I do find that I need to choose the largest tips and out of the three different types included, only the grey ones gave me a seal.


Sound…

All tracks mentioned are clickable links that allow you to open the reference track in the streaming service of your choice (YouTube, Tidal, Qobuz, Spotify, etc.)

Zeos had a set of these with him in Munich and I got to listen to them. Shortly after handing them to me, he wandered off and by the time he came back, I had passed them on to someone else, so I didn’t get asked for my opinion. At the time I thought they were overly bassy and too dark, so it was nice to avoid giving a negative answer.

When they arrived on my desk from Linsoul, I was obviously not going to avoid spending time with them but, as you will have guessed from the intro, my opinions haven’t changed that much. Now, I am not going to hate on them, that is certainly not my style as I feel that people have very different tastes, so, just because I don’t like something, it doesn’t mean it is bad, it just means I don’t like it. My aim is to explain why, so you can decide for yourself if you will like it or not (within the possibilities of judging without hearing of course).

So, before continuing, here is the graph of the Jojo with my personal preference target for reference:


And so you can see what I was referring to in regards to the original BL05s, here are the two compared:

Ok, so on with the usual procedure and starting with the subbass, it is not bad but it is not great either. There is plenty of rumble, although some other bass head sets do offer more, but I find “Chameleon” to be a little loose and not quite under control in those lower notes. Another example is “Royals” where that grit or dirt in the subbass is not quite defined on the Jojo. There is (more than) enough subbass but it just doesn't have the clarity that I would like.

The midbass is elevated and is also not the cleanest here either, although I do feel it is better defined than the subbass. Listening to “Crazy” for my usual fatigue test, it is not terribly fatiguing, I can listened to the track without needing to take a break but I find that I would prefer it to be cleaner, especially during the chorus parts of the song, where the guitar is too boomy for my tastes.

For bass guitars in classic rock, it gives them a nice body (such as in “Whole Lotta Love”) but it does make itself a little too present, moving the focus towards those ranges.

Throughout the midrange, vocals and instruments are not bad as far as timbre goes, yet the upper mids don't have quite enough presence to them to counter those lower mids and mid bass, making things lack clarity and seemingly missing presence. The original BL05s were a little too hot in this region and while I appreciate the reduction, I feel that it has been taken a little too far.

In addition to that lack of presence in the high mids, the upper frequencies are also quite subdued and roll of rather rather quickly, making the overall presentation rather dark and warm. This does work well to avoid any sign of sibilance in my usual “Code Cool” test but also makes the track seem a little lifeless and lacking clarity.

Details are masked by the general tuning and while they are not bad, the presentation does not favour the sensation of detail, with things sounding rather smoothed over. This is something that also has a bit of a negative effect on image placement. While the placement of said images is not terrible, the soundstage is sort of below average and the smoothed over presentation makes it difficult to pinpoint things, especially when a track is busy.


Vs Blon x HBB Z300…

I don’t usually do comparisons in my reviews but the Jojo are a set of IEMs that actually remind me more of the recent Z300, which is an HBB collab, than the original BL05s (at least as far as tuning goes).

Here is a graph of the Jojo vs the Z300:

As you can see, the tuning is very similar, yet listening to them side by side, there are noticeable differences.

First off, I find the Z300 to be more detailed in general. Don’t get me wrong, it is not a set that focuses on detail and to some extent suffers from the same issue as the Jojo, where the overall smoothed and warm tuning has a negative impact on the presentation of detail, or at least the appreciation of them.

The Z300 is also lacking in air and extension in the upper ranges (for my taste), yet this is even more noticeable on the Jojo, making it even more apparent. This affects image placement more on the Jojo also.

Finally there is the shape and build of the Z300, which, in my opinion, is much more mainstream than the Jojo and will be comfortable for more people. I am not a fan of gold personally either but the artwork on the shells of the Z300 is definitely more complex than the Jojo, with them also being available in Blue (which I think look good).

In general, the things about the sound of the Z300 that I wasn’t overly fond of are exaggerated on the Jojo, along with the addition of a shell that is more difficult to fit and an aesthetic that is more difficult to like (for me at least). 

To be brutally honest, at a price that is $15 cheaper than the Jojo, I think the Z300 offers a better overall package.


Conclusion…

I said I wasn’t going to hate on the Jojo and I think I have managed to refrain from doing so, but I didn’t say my review would be positive. I am sure that the Jojo will fit the tastes of many out there but I see it as a difficult sale for two main reasons.

For those who loved the original BL05s, the Jojo is completely different as far as sound goes. Out of all the tweaks that I would have suggested making to the original, the only one that has been made in the right direction is the one just above 2kHz, and that has been tweaked a little too much.

For those who do like the sound signature that the Jojo presents, the Z300 already exists, which does it better and for less money. They are both by Blon and they are both sold in the same places, so the only real reason to pick the Jojo over the Z300, in my opinion, would be to support Zeos instead of HBB, which is something I am not going to comment on as that is irrelevant to my evaluation of the IEMs.

This is the first collaboration by Zeos that I have heard and, although we don’t coincide on many of our opinions about sound, I would have loved to have liked it. 

Unfortunately I don’t.



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All isolation measurements of IEMs can be found on achoreviews.squig.link/isolation

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