Audio, IEM, Review

BLON Fat Girl Review: Who Said Big Girls Don’t Cry?

BLON is a name you would have likely heard of if you’re already neck-deep into the rabbit hole that is ChiFi. The brand took the budget IEM world by storm back in 2019 with the release of the BLON BL-03 single dynamic driver earphones.

Those earphones – like a few other ChiFi IEMs – were dubbed the “budget king” of its time. Since then, BLON has released the BL-05 and BL-07, but lightning has never really struck twice since the venerable BL-03.

It’s now 2022, with single dynamic driver IEMs releasing what seems like every week or so. BLON stepped back onto the stage, hoping to stand among the likes of Moondrop and CCA with a controversial name that’s sure to raise some pitchforks: the BLON Fat Girl.

And I have only one thing to say to that name – and a whole lot more about the earphones themselves in this review – why BLON?

What It Is

You can’t really fault the Fat Girl for looking pedestrian, given that these earphones are sold for just $9.99 on Linsoul. Surprisingly enough, you can even go for the model with a microphone…for no extra charge whatsoever.

Now, just because these earphones have a modest price tag, doesn’t mean they sound modest, right? In the case of the Fat Girl, I’m setting modesty aside for honesty – it sounds just like how a pair of $10 earphones would sound like. Actually, maybe even less than that.

How Does It Sound?

Wrong. The Fat Girl just sounds…wrong. Yes, both in terms of the naming and tuning. It’s just baffling how this is the same company that released the esteemed BL-03. Perhaps the lukewarm reception of everything else that came after that was a foreshadowing of what was to come.

Perhaps the individual who was in charge of tuning the BL-03 had left for greener pastures after he or she struck gold. While I’ll never know the outcome of this hypothetical situation of mine, I do know that the Fat Girl’s tuning took several steps in the wrong direction.

Bass

There’s an obvious bass elevation with the Fat Girl, but it adds more bloat than punch. If it’s any consolation, at least that means the bass doesn’t bleed its way into the mids, but I almost wish it did. The bass hits without much energy or enthusiasm.

In fact, I wouldn’t call it a “hit” at all – it’s more of a weak thump. The lifted low-end is something you will hear and be aware of, but you won’t actually feel it. Suffice to say it literally doesn’t resonate with me, and I reckon you’ll share my sentiment when you hear the Fat Girl for yourself.

Here’s a metaphor to better describe these earphones’ bass response: it’s as though a thin piece of hide was stretched over a large drum, a drum far too large for that piece of leather to handle. Upon impact, you’d expect the drum to rumble and resonate with its expansive breadth.

But the hide, bursting at its seams, produces only…disappointment.

This disappointment presents itself as dominoes toppling over from the bass, the mids, the highs, and basically, across the entire frequency range. Anyway, let’s proceed to the mids now, or what should have been the mids.

Mids

As I mentioned before, I almost wish the Fat Girl’s bass would bleed into the mids, and that’s purely because of how thin and anemic the mids sound. Male vocals lack weight, definition, and presence. There’s an unnatural, almost robotic quality to it.

Female vocals do present themselves a bit more clearly with a lift in the upper mids, though the thinness remains, making high notes borderline sibilant. Even with the aforementioned elevation in the upper mids, there still seems to be a lack of air and breathiness.

Highs

The next domino to fall is the treble: the Fat Girl’s highs sound like there are peaks and valleys along this area of the frequency range. There is a mishmash of farting trumpets and sibilant cymbals in tracks like Millennium Parade’s U. Snares also lack crisp and sparkle, making otherwise fun-sounding instrumentals devoid of any sort of liveliness.

Soundstage

On lighter flavours of music, the Fat Girl actually offers a bit of vertical depth within the soundstage. It’s only when instruments actually come into play that separation falls apart and the space is congested. It’s also during these busier tracks where you can hear the earphones struggling and fumbling to juggle everything, everywhere, all at once.

Is It Worth It?

What makes ChiFi so exciting is just how often these budget IEMs punch high above their weight class. Despite being flawed in several aspects, ChiFi IEMs, at the very least, almost always present great value for money. The BLON Fat Girl, on the other hand, absolutely do not.

Sure, the Fat Girl is “only” $10, but that money could’ve been spent on something like the Moondrop Chu or the CCA CRA+. Yes, these IEMs are more than twice the price of the Fat Girl at around $20, but you’ll also get more than twice the value for money.

Really, even similarly priced offerings from KZ would have been a better option than the Fat Girl. With a dingy design and terrible tuning, it’s just really hard to recommend this IEM from BLON. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: how is this IEM from the same company that released the BL-03?

They say it’s not over till the fat lady sings. But the Fat Girl doesn’t sing at all, so it’s back to the drawing board for BLON.

Li Jin Soh contributed to this review.

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