- Good sound quality at both ends: bass and treble.
- Remarkable ergonomics.
- Very good cable.
- Solid construction, with a great matte finish, in the blue option.
- Remarkable price/performance ratio.
- The mids have a certain veil, their timbre is somewhat dark, lacking clarity and transparency. They can be felt at medium distance.
- The capsules are slightly heavy.
- The sound is soft and feels slightly lacking in resolution and sharper definition. Notes are thick, even in the bass.
- Bass is a little slow, which detracts from the ability to play some complex passages.
Link to the Store
If there is a brand that has been guilty of having created one of the best known hypes of recent years, it is BLON, or WGZBLON, rather. Founded in 2014, its catalogue includes the BL-03, a model that it has not yet been able to surpass. But, with that in mind, the brand is announcing new models. On this occasion, it has had the tuning help of the omni-present HBB, to create a new $40 model that stands out for its metal construction and good cable. The Z300s come in a choice of two colours: a gold and a dark matte blue. Both choices have the same dragon pattern on their outer face. Their body is made of zinc alloy, while inside, a 10mm dynamic driver with a silicon diaphragm has been chosen, which is designed to be rigid and flexible at the same time, with the intention of producing a sound with high precision and detail. In the following review we will see what these new IEMS created by WGZBLON, together with reviewer HawaiiBadBoy of «Bad Guy Good Audio Reviews», have to offer.
- Driver Type: 10mm dynamic driver with silicon diaphragm.
- Frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz.
- Sensitivity: 115dB
- Impedance: 28Ω
- Capsule: Gold-plated (18-carat gold plated). Matte blue (spray-painted).
- Jack connector: SE 3.5mm gold-plated.
- 3.5mm 4-core high purity copper cable (non microphone version)/3.5mm silver-plated cable (microphone version, with single button).
- Cable length: 1.2m.
- Capsule Connection Type: 2 Pin 0.78mm.
The WGZBLON x HBB Z300 comes in a small white box, size 103x75x34mm, whose main side is decorated with a dragon drawn in blue. The HBB logo is located on the top left. In the centre is the brand name. At the bottom, at the bottom, is the motto «Oppoty & Driams Pt.2», written without a hint of regret. Finally, in the bottom left-hand corner is the model name. On the back is the name of the brand, reminding us that it has been active since 2014. In the centre are the specifications, in Chinese and English. Underneath are the brand’s contact details, while a headquarters in Dongguan (China) and another in Leipzig (Germany) are highlighted.
After removing the sliding cover from the box, a transparent plastic lid protects the product. The capsules are housed inside a white foam base, lined with white cardboard. The letters R and L are written under the IEMS and, below, in the centre, is the name of the model, followed by the other slogans that have made the brand famous. Below this layer are the rest of the accessories. In a nutshell:
- The two Z300 capsules.
- The classic cloth bag.
- 3 pairs of black silicone tips, sizes SxMxL.
- 3 pairs of white silicone tips, sizes SxMxL.
- One 4-core high purity copper cable with 3.5mm SE plug (non microphone version).
- One instruction manual.
Without a doubt, the best feature is the cable, along with the build quality and design of the capsules. A zipped pouch is missing, but the classic fabric pouch with the Blon logo is added.
Construction and Design
Undoubtedly, if there is one thing that has characterised Blon, it has been its build quality. It is clear that its design has wanted to be distinctive, moving away from common shapes. But, on this occasion, the capsule does have a more classic and regular shape, and the difference lies in the golden dragon drawn on the outer face. There are two models, one golden, 18-carat gold-plated and the other dark blue matt, spray-painted. In my case, the model for this review is the dark matte blue one. The dragon is painted in gold ink. The outer face is shaped like an equilateral triangle with rounded corners, or that classic African continent shape. The size of the capsules is medium, with a very nice matte/rough finish, which keeps digital smudges away. They are not very thick. The brand name is inscribed on the rim, along with the lettering that identifies the channel. The 2Pin 0.78mm connection is surface mounted on a rigid, translucent plastic plate. The inner side has a first flat part, in the half furthest from the nozzles. There is a hole in it. After a slight rise is the second half, which is the base of the nozzles. On this rising face there is also another hole. The nozzles are located on a flat, inclined face, forming part of the same body. The nozzle starts with a smaller diameter cylinder of 4.55mm. The outer edge of the nozzle is larger at 5.5mm and is protected by a metal grid. The approximate length is about 4mm. It should be noted that the construction is quite good, as is the detailing, but the capsules are heavy in the hands.
If there is one thing that has also improved significantly, it is the cable. Made of 4 strands of high purity copper, it is notable for its inner braiding. The plug is gold-plated and 3.5mm SE. The sleeve is a mirror-finished metal cylinder, slightly depressed in the middle. The splitter piece is another cylinder, completely regular, in this case, with the brand name inscribed inside. The pin is a small ring with the same mirror finish. The cable has over-ear guides and the 2Pin 0.78mm connectors are internal and are inside a whitish plastic sleeve.
It is clear that the cable and its shiny copper colour have raised the quality of the set, and the more common capsule design also helps, both in terms of ergonomics and attractiveness.
Sometimes you don’t have to invent the wheel to offer quality and a nice, attractive design. I believe that Blon has taken wise and sound advice.
Adjustment and Ergonomics
With a more classic and common capsule shape, ergonomics are less critical. In fact, the design of the inner side in two planes is noticeable as it favours the coupling in the pinna. The insertion in my ears is immediate, there is hardly any friction. The curves fit well, avoiding rotation. The inclination of the nozzles is correct and the only drawback is that they are a bit short. Their diameter is not large, with the top diameter being 5.5mm. With a length of 4mm, the insertion is simply shallow, very suitable for my large foam-filled tips. The level of isolation I get is high, with a fairly durable fit. The downside is the weight, although the fit is very good, the weight of the capsules could have a negative influence on the weight of the capsules, if you are doing active sports activities. For walking, though, there would be no problem. The over-ear cable guides are effective and hardly annoying, which guarantees a long-lasting use without any problems.
In my opinion, the BLON x HBB Z300s have a warm tuning, with a good lift in the sub-bass area, while the mid-highs are sustained and the treble has a good balance between presence, extension and energy level, but without breaking the equilibrium and maintaining a certain level of smoothness.
The bass colour has a tendency towards darkness, which adds to the warmth of the sound. However, there is also a touch of fuzziness in its execution. The definition is not very high, but the tone is realistic. Certainly, in the pure tone test, one feels that the bass is more sensory and is executed with naturalness and realism. In this sense, its reproduction becomes very pleasant and uncoloured.
Texturally, it has a good to remarkable amount of it. It is not a very rough or descriptive bass, but it is not soft or smooth either, which adds a rougher and more enjoyable point, very much in keeping with that dark colour. Although the punch is consistent and relatively restrained, it lacks a bit of viscerality, but it enjoys good dryness and recovery, but not quite a remarkable one. There is a little bit of savoury aftertaste that lingers just long enough to add a hint of fun and juice. But, in the end, technically speaking, the level of definition and resolution is not outstanding, but it holds up quite well. Perhaps, the sense of darkness penalises a more skilful and descriptive rendering. The generation of layers and the reproduction of complex lines tends to shy away from a simplistic presentation, trying to offer more planes and an effort when executing complicated basses. However, the end result remains «good».
The warmth and darkness is transferred to the midrange and is coupled with a somewhat diffuse feeling in the sound. This is not a transparent or luminous representation, but is accompanied by some haze, which limits the technical capabilities of the ensemble. Edges and details do not feel defined, but rather soft, by no means sharp. This perception helps to generate a musical and relaxed impression of the mids, with a more marked sense of density, body and physicality, but without edges, or delicacy of detail. The note weight is thicker, rounded, without sharpness. In this way, the nuances are more noticeable on a macro level. With a darker sound and a more diffuse representation, the background is less discernible and the uniqueness of the details is more complex to notice. Even so, there is a certain quality to trying to express and tease out some of the hidden mid-frequency detail that is eloquent and noteworthy. That’s right, despite the thick weight of the notes and that dark, fuzzy feel, the Z300s do have a few tricks up their sleeve, in the form of incipient, though not obvious, detail.
The presence of the voices is average, while the sense of body allows the male voices to possess a more powerful base, though without standing out in closeness or projection. The female voices, devoid of marked brightness, feel closer, thanks to the sustained tuning of the mid-highs. But even so, they are controlled, even soft. That feeling carries over to the sibilance, completely at bay, though with some grace, not to say sparkle. Overall, the second half of the mids possesses a certain excitement, though perhaps more controlled than necessary, something that calms the sound, but also limits the clarity, the light, the sense of transparency and separation.
Again, my surprise is in the treble. I like the extension ratio up to the air zone and the level of energy it possesses. This combination gives a realistic feel, a natural and fuller sparkle. I like to think that the inexpensive dynamic drivers are not only winning in the low end, but they also offer good performance in the treble, adding a more appropriate, accurate and balanced timbre to the sound. It’s not a nuanced or filed down sound, but the treble has its own life and representation, not just serving the rest of the band. Realistically, though, no one is looking for bold flare, crisp treble or sharp, thin notes. The finesse of the notes is at that familiar, pleasing point, with a soft and gentle tendency, but with a little bit of sparkle to border on the non-boring neutrality of the high end. The limit is in the air zone, a point where almost all end up perishing in the same way.
The Z300s excel in depth, with bass that is capable of delivering good volume, flooding the scene on a physical level and expanding the sound a little beyond the average. Thus, although the performance is predominantly front-firing, there is a good lateral range that does not exceed 180 degrees, although there is a good level of presence on both sides. Headroom is good and there is a subtle volatile point despite the mixed sense of density, darkness, haze and warmth. It is never flat, bland or lacking in dynamics. Clearly, with such a background, the sense of transparency is not very evident, the notes don’t feel far apart, but there is no sense of congestion or oppressive density. Without being particularly technical, the Z300s manage to come out quite well in these technical matters, even though, at first, it might seem quite the opposite. In short, a sum of slightly negative features does not limit a level of detail, scene and separation that is more than acceptable for their price and technical abilities. With such an approach, I have seen worse.
The TinHiFi C3 is one of TinHiFi’s C-series IEMS based on a similar curve within the latest IEMS the brand has released. Specifically, the C3s have the most sub-bass-emphasised curve of the set, something that enhances their fun factor. In terms of price, the C3s retail for $49, while the Z300s are priced at $39. The C3s are constructed of smooth, polished resin, weigh very little and have very high ergonomics, superior to the Z300s, which are slightly less well integrated and heavier. A quick switch between the two reveals how much more comfortable the C3s are than the Z300s. As for the cable, it’s good on both, silver on the C3s, with fatter connectors, made up of 4 strands as well. Whereas on the Z300s, the cable is a striking copper. I could say that the cable on the C3s, although I’m not a big fan of silver plating, is softer and more manageable. And, on a personal note, I would add copper to the C3s and silver to the Z300s.
In terms of sound, the C3s are subtly more sensitive, a higher volume is achieved with the same energy.
The profile of the two is not the same, with much more light, transparency and clarity in the C3s. While the Z300s are characterised by a clear veil and a feeling of darkness. Comparing the two graphics, the differences are clear. While the low end has similarities, the C3’s bass is cleaner, slightly more visceral and better executed, with more resolution, definition, a cleaner and clearer punch, as well as a more discernible texture. It is clear that the difference in light is also noticeable in the bass. You even feel that the bass is faster and more concise in the C3s.
But it is in the mids where the difference between the two is most apparent. The graph reveals this. While the Z300s are warm and dense, the C3s are clearer, more transparent and energetic. Their sound is brighter and cleaner, details are more perceptible. Male vocals feel less lively on the Z300s, slightly more recessed. The liveliness of the C3s is more forward, revealing a greater amount of nuance, giving a more natural and accurate timbre, although it is also thinner and more delicate. The harmonic quality is more remarkable in the TinHiFi. And this is also noticeable in the female voices. They, on the Z300s, are not able to stand out with the level of presence, clarity and transparency that they do on the C3s.
If you look at the graph, you might think that the trebles have a similar tuning. But, in practice, the Z300’s treble is softer, while the C3’s has more energy, more crunch, more presence, but also more danger, because it is sharper and punchier. The Z300s are softer and I could say that, for many, they are sufficient. If you want more presence in the upper zone, the C3s have it.
The increased sense of dynamics, brightness, transparency and clarity bring more separation and a more ethereal feel to the C3 scene. There is better detail and a more discernible dark background gives you a more perceptible level of separation, as well as more precise and concise positioning.
Are the WGZBLON x HBB Z300 the warm and dark version of the TinHiFi C3? They could be, but they are also less detailed and soft, veiled, even nuanced. Only in their weight and build level could they be superior. But to each his own. You might also think that the C3s can be a bit excessive and tiring in some cases.
WGZBLON resists being a «One-Hit Wonder» brand. This time, it has chosen the famous reviewer HawaiiBadBoy of «Bad Guy Good Audio Reviews», to achieve a new success.
This time, the Z300s have improved in design and ergonomics. It’s a more traditional shape with a finish in two options, a matte blue and a shiny, polished gold finish. The capsules are slightly heavy, but the ergonomic improvement is evident and the design moves away from previous risks. The cable is also an improvement, while the packaging remains traditional. In terms of sound, the BLON x HBB Z300s have a warm, slightly dark, subtly veiled midrange profile, with soft, but well-represented and extended treble. The low end is the most energetic range, while the mids feed on density, darkness and warmth to deliver a somewhat fuzzy, mid-distance presentation that lacks some brightness, clarity and transparency. Fortunately, the treble avoids sinking into the sound, helping to maintain balance and homogeneity throughout the sound range. The result is a subtly L-shaped sound, where the mids don’t quite stand out, nor do the technical qualities. However, there is an incipient level of detail, a relatively wide and deep soundstage, as well as fun, effective and harmonious aspects, which make for long, even pleasurable, listening.
Sources Used During the Analysis
- Aune X8 XVIII Magic DAC + EarMen ST-Amp.
- Aune Flamingo.
- Hidizs AP80 PRO-X Red Copper LE.
- TempoTec Variations V6.
- Xduoo Link2 BAL.
- Burson Audio Playmate.