BUS RIDE IMPRESSION: Blur 魔王

Wow. This was all I could say upon trying Light’s Blur 魔王. This is one of those few custom earbuds that you can only get by contacting the maker for one, and this one doesn’t come cheap. I know, why in the world would one want to splurge around $300 for an earbud? The price alone can net you a really good amp, or even an excellent DAP, even a really good pair of cans so why indeed?

Once you get hold of the Blur 魔王, I assure you, you will understand; pretty much everything about it exalts why the earbud is priced as such. Heck, after trying it on, I will be gutsy to say that it should have been worth more than that.

At this point I have tried quite a lot of earbuds offered in the market and this by far has to be the best that I have tried, even better than the renowned MX985 by Sennheiser which used to be on the top of my list. Funny thing, the first few times I tried this I had the gall to say that this beauty isn’t exactly the best there is in the market (a couple of friends were astounded when I said it) but when I had a better environment to try it out, I immediately became a believer.

Before going anywhere else, I will have to thank Light for the loaner. It is indeed such a joy to have been given the chance to try the earbuds for a few weeks. I am sorry that I had to hold it for some time (juggling work, business and reviews for BRI is a feat I am not always successful in managing all the time — but to be honest, the separation anxiety kind of added to the delay of the return) but I will have to say that I immensely enjoyed it.

So, let’s go and take this beaut for a spin.

Build

It will be a joke to question the build of the Blur 魔王; fact of the matter is it is made of silver shells which means it has to have excellent build. And it does; apart from the fact that it seemingly looks like something I have to forcibly break to even put a dent on it is an understatement. It feels so hard, with some weight on it that gives the earbud some premium.

The shape of the shells are even more fanciful, with it being designed in a very sleek manner. It has this slim tail that leads to the cable but damn, it has that finesse that surely looks such an eye candy. For some, the gray color may look like a bit dull, but the way the Blur 魔王 is designed makes it look like it carries some pristine on it. I will have to say that it indeed looks elegant.blur_魔王_earpiece

The cable is something that I am a bit confused with. By the looks of it, you will think it is a combination of silver plated copper (SPC) and copper so naturally it would be a hybrid of both wires. However, based on a tip, it is not configured as hybrid so I am not really sure how that pans out. Anyway, it does look sleek to me so I really am not complaining about it.blur_魔王_wire

The splitter may seem a bit of a let down, seeing just a coil of copper wire to hold the Y-section of the cable. I, however, think that the splitter is a trademark for the Blur line as I noticed it to be in all of the Blur earbuds currently in the market.

blur_魔王_splitter

Great thing about having a Blur is that it is hand manufactured by the famed Wong Kuan Wae, which means you can pretty much ask for a bit of customization based on your needs. In the case of my review unit, Light had his unit terminated with a 2.5mm TRRS plug which should allow it to be used with balanced connection. I will say it is a great move, having been a fan of balanced connection for some time now, it did yield that immaculate sound that you would normally only get out of a balanced termination.

blur_魔王_plug2

Wong decides to include a hand made pouch to store the Blur 魔王 in. I would have opted for a sturdier case, but the case should be ample enough just to keep dust off the earbud.

Overall, with the build I will have to say that it is no less than incredible. The build alone should justify the price well, and we haven’t even reached the sound scrutiny yet.

On we go to the sound review.

Sound

I pretty much almost knocked my head when I said on my first attempt that it wasn’t exactly as good as I heard about it. Thing is, I was not in a very conducive environment when I did so, thus my remark on how it sounded. As much as I tried to get the sound of it, it just wasn’t so good for me. Then I was given the chance for the loaner and I was astounded that I didn’t immediately pick up how well tuned the Blur 魔王 is.

Overall it sounded pretty full sounding to me; I can feel that slight tinge of body on the lower frequencies to be sufficient – just right where it is supposed to be in. It has the warmth right how I wanted it, but it is not overdone to adversely affect the other frequencies. The mid-range is quite coherent and relative to the track; you know it is positioned right where it is expected yet offers that glowing forwardness that doesn’t exactly pushes it in your face. Highs is the best part, not because it is bright, but because it allows that supple clarity that allow you a crystalline feel whichever track you use it with.

To further dissect how the Blur 魔王 sounded, I should be using a capable source to have the earbud deliver its full capacity. Given that it is a bit hard to drive (clocks at 300 ohms), I will be using my Aune M1S paired with the Alo Audio MK3B+ to allow ample power to drive the Blur 魔王 and to also allow a balanced connection for the Blur 魔王. I know it is somewhat of a cheat, but I am presenting one of the best setups you can use with the Blur 魔王.

Through The Barricades (Spandau Ballet, Gold: The Best Of)

The Blur 魔王 has to really be this good to yield such immense beauty out of the guitars. String plucks sounded so crisp with the voice of Tom Hadley clearly discerned over the guitars. You can feel a certain airiness off the higher frequencies which allows some space to emanate off the track through the earbud. Sax sounded entirely solemn while the bass guitar sounded with such subtle hum that allows exquisite harmony off the instruments. Perhaps the strongest suit of the Blur 魔王 is with soundstage. The headroom is amazing! I have never heard any better soundstage off an earbud like the one from Blur 魔王. It is quite spacious, allows you the feel of being enveloped in and allows you to me immersed with sound with such great width, depth and height. I had a very good two tries with the track, one to analyze it for the review and one simply to marvel the beauty of the Blur 魔王.

Let The Rain (Sara Bareilles, Brave Enough: Live At the Variety Playhouse)

Since I enjoyed the soundstage so much, I kind of tried to tickle my imagination by using a live track off the Blur 魔王. Fair enough, I was even more mesmerized by how the track turned out: it was as if I am inundated in the crowd as everyone enjoys the concert. The guitars, the piano, the vocals were all spot on how I wanted it. I had to close my eyes and imagine myself in the crowd as Bareilles’ serenaded her fantastic lyrics. I felt the crowd clapping behind me, beside me, around me.

Be Mine (Lily And The Pearl, Snowglobe)

The melodic voice of Laura Brino enchanted me from the time she belted out with the lyrics of the track. Again the spacious feel of the sound as it is harmonized by the keyboards and the cello indeed lull me to nothingness as the music sounded so ethereal. What’s even more amazing is how the imperfections are excellently captured by the Blur, from the slight lip smacks to the tiny exhales – all are subtly but clearly captured by the earbud.

With all these three tracks, it was obvious that the primary strength really is with soundstage. I will have to expound on that as I was enchanted with all the tracks used.

Wrap-Up

So, is the Blur 魔王 worth investing in? I will say it is. As much as the price may look exorbitant for an earbud, I will say it is very much worth it. Fact is, it is even much more cheaper for how it performs. I will say that the sound and the build more than compensate for the premium you are paying for, and I will say that it is very well worth it. I would even say that if you are planning to get a Campfire Orion, I will strongly recommend to go for this. Sure, it isn’t an IEM, but for what it’s worth, you will be paying way less than the value of what you are getting.

 

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