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Kozee Sound Solutions ** MAJOR CS ISSUES - NOT RECOMMENDED (info in first post) ** Custom IEMs &...

post #1 of 852
Thread Starter 

Read about the customer service issues before thinking about working with them.  I can't recommend them due to the multiple CS issues over an extended period of time.

 

Kozee Sound Solutions, a full service custom resheller and manufacturer - Custom IEMs & Reshell Appreciation Thread with Reviews

 

Customer Service NOTE: Kozee SS will deliver products, however expect a wait time around six to eight weeks with little to no communication via email.  If there is a problem that requires your item to be sent back it may take another six to eight   weeks.  The best way of contacting Adam is via phone.  

 

3/15/12 update: Complaints are increasing and Adam Palmquist is becoming less responsive.  For those that are not getting service and can call, I would advise speaking with Andy, Adam's dad and the owner of Lloyd hearing.  If you haven't ordered yet, Fisher Hearing and 1964 ears offer reshells as well as The Audio Hub and Stage 93, both in Singapore.

 

If you are thinking of going with Kozee, read this post.

 

Kozee is part of Lloyd hearing, and the Lloyd website has the phone number.

 

Quotes from posts:

"He sent me a broken product and has ignored me ever since. He has done NOTHING to earn any trust."

 

"same... Sent my first refit Feb, got it back late March, he did not do a thing to it... Sent it back early April, and when I call they always say they'll call me back but never do..."

 

"Today I've waited 9x weeks for defective customs I returned for repair to be sent back to me.  I've had no communication with Adam except when I called him on 13 April 2012 and again today.  When speaking with him he is always friendly, I'll give him that.  And if the product was good quality it would certainly be good value.  But it was only when I stubbornly advised I intended to submit a BBB complaint he advised he would guarantee I would receive fully functioning and tested customs back in my hands by Friday 18 May 2012.  If I get them back by then I'll certainly post to let others know; but even then it would be exactly 3 months turn around time."

 

"The artwork is even more poorly done than it was with my previous Kozee purchase. The fit is poor as well, I don't use it and probably never will. But I am certainly not going to send it in for a refit because I suppose that would take ages as well and I really want to spare myself the trouble of running after my order again."

 

"Been waiting for 15 weeks now since my impressions were rcvd.. Hopefully they'll come soon"

 

In this thread

Information on Kozee

- Kozee has their own line of customs

- Kozee can reshell existing customs

- Kozee can reshell BA universal IEMs

- Kozee can use either silicone or acrylic 

Self-impression information

Available Kozee products and pricing and links to X1 pictures/initial impressions

Ear plugs

 

Reviews can be found in the posts below

TF10 Reshell: My review of the reshelled TF10 including a comparison to a stock TF10

Infinity X1: |joker|'s review of the Infinity X1 pulled from his multi-review thread

                 Project86's Infinity X1 review

Infinity X3: My review of the Infinity X3, a 3 driver 2-way custom IEM

 

Adam made a silicone shell with a detachable cable (and a hard rear shell) - Adam is not making any more at this time as he is evaluating the time vs. results. - the one that was made has come apart.

 

NOTE: As of 7/16/11 Kozee has been taking around 6 to 8 weeks to fulfill orders and has spotty at best responses to emails.  If you are in the US, calling is the best way to get in touch with Kozee.

 

Kozee Sound Solutions, located in Rockford, Il, was first "found" on head-fi in December 2010.  Adam Palmquist is the president and seems like he wants Kozee to become a serious player in the market.  Kozee offers a full range of products and services including reshells of both universals and other customs in either silicone or acrylic shells in addition to his own Infinity series customs.  He is working to improve the services offered by Kozee such as detachable cables for silicone shells, acrylic shells with vinyl tips, and a few other things that are steps in the right direction for the head-fi crowd.

 

Kozee's reshell service is a bargain, and he also sends out an impression kit, which is included in the price if you choose to use it.  The kit includes a plunger, two boxes each containing 2 sets of impression silicone material, 3sets of cotton plugs, and instructions.  There is also a video on the Kozee website.  There is enough material to make 2 to 3 impressions, so you can have a practice run!  He will, of course, accept impressions from an audiologist.

 

KozeeImpressionKit.JPG

 

My self-impressions extended much deeper into my ear canal than my impressions previously done by audiologists.  I inserted the cotton as deeply as I felt comfortable with and there was no pain when I did my impressions (and I have done several).  I used a 1" piece of wood as a bite block.  I did them on my own and think the results are at least as good...but I will find out for certain soon...

EarImpressions.JPG IMG_2812.JPG

 

Keys to making the best self impressions (my thoughts/experiences)

If you are doing the impression yourself, or having someone else do it, one of the most important things is how deep the cotton with string (otoblock) is placed.  I made my own and inserted the otoblock as deep as I felt comfortable pushing, which was deeper than the professional audiologists that did my impressions.  It must go beyond the second bend of the ear canal, and IMO, the deeper, the better (within reason).  Now, I don't want people to push too far and damage their ears, so this is going to be the biggest issue with the self impression IMO, and if you are uncomfortable doing so, go to an audiologist.  With the kit provided by Kozee, you have two tries to get it right.  How did I get the otoblock in deeply when I did my impressions?  I used a cotton swab and slowly kept pushing it further and further in.  This is where a partner is a good idea; have the other person check to see if they can see the otoblock.  If they can't, it should be deep enough.

 

If the otoblock is not deep enough, then when the impression material is injected into your ear canal several things can go wrong.  If the otoblock is not deep enough, the impression material might not stretch the cartilage within the seal area resulting in a loose fit and improper seal.  I now believe this is somewhat of an issue with my EM3 Pro, as it takes much more work to get a good seal, and often requires me to use saliva to get the best seal possible.  The tip also looks smaller than my Kozee customs at the tip of the canal.  Second, the otoblock can move to the side allowing impression material to go around the otoblock and go in deeper, and if the otoblock separates the front from the back, then you might have some of the impression material remaining in your ear.  I actually had this happen once, but the otoblock just went to the side and ended up leaving a void in the material but everything came out fine.  It was a result of the otoblock not being inserted deep enough.

 

Check out the ehow article on how to make an ear mold impression, which has 16 steps.  Another article, Impression-Taking Techniques That Result in Fewer Remakes is a detailed article that can add some level of confidence to doing your own impressions.  The second article talks about open vs.closed mouth impressions, suggesting that open mouth is preferred.  Also, if your ear canals are soft and easy to compress, a softer silicone is preferred for the impression material.  

 

Check out the video from Kozee below.

 

You have to decide if you want to make your own impression.  Here are some things to consider before you try:

- You have healthy ears and no wax buildup

- Have you had impressions taken before, you should know what to expect

- Can you insert the otoblock deep enough

- Are your ear canals firm enough

- If you don't get it right, how difficult will a refit be (and new impressions?)?

 

Kozee is a branch of a company that has been selling hearing aids since the 1960's, so they have a wealth of knowledge and experience.  They have been sending impression kits to people for quite some time and are comfortable with the results.  

 

 

Current products & services from the Kozee website:

Infinity X1, single driver custom IEM - $139.95 - initial thought by |joker|initial thoughts by project86pictures by |joker|

Infinity X2, 2 driver 2-way custom IEM - $299.95

Infinity X3, 3 driver 2-way custom IEM - $569.95 - my review

+ $50 to above pricing for executive option uses an upgraded driver, acrylic shell, detachable cable and adds a cleaning tool and hard case

Custom IEM Reshell (acrylic of silicone options) - $89.95

Universal IEM Reshell (acrylic or silicone options) - $89.95

+ $25 for custom artwork

 

DCP_0172.JPG DCP_0174.JPG

 

Ear Plugs

Kozee also makes ear plugs.  Why not get something to protect you hearing for loud environments such as concerts, auto racing, motocross, or any loud environment.  Once you lose your hearing, it is gone for good, so protection is important.  Basic silicone ear plugs are $74.95 and plugs with filters are $129.95.  I got the standard silicone which isolate better than foam/wax ear plugs I have previously bought.  The ear plugs have little notch cut out of the back for removal as shown in the 2nd picture below.

 

IMG_2808.JPG IMG_2810.JPG


Edited by average_joe - 7/9/12 at 6:36am
post #2 of 852
Thread Starter 

My review of the reshelled TF10 including a comparison to a stock TF10

 

IMG_2608.JPG IMG_2606.JPG DCP_0196.JPG IMG_2605.JPG

 

Initial unboxing of the Kozee reshelled TF10 - the workmanship is great as you can see from the pictures.  The biggest issue is the plugs as the right plug sticks out slightly further than the left plug, but it really makes no difference when a cable is attached.  The second two pictures are with the stock TF10 cable, which is in place for comparison with a universal TF10.

 

My comparison notes are as follows so far: the reshell is SO MUCH MORE COMFORTABLE than the stock TF10!  I wore the stock TF10 for a few hours today and my ears were hurting.  Fit seems very good with the reshell and I don't lose the seal when chewing or moving my mouth.  Although I will need to wear them for a long period of time to make sure they have long term comfort.  The reshell lacks the treble sparkle of the universal, along with much more forward mids.  I tried to take matters into my own hands by pushing the filter back further, which did increase the treble, but I also pushed one of the middle parts of the filter out of the metal ring, requiring the shell to be redone.  Back to Kozee.

 


 

There back!  My initial A/Bing tells me they are very close, so good to go!  The filters look a little deeper than before, but not by all that much and I am going by the pictures/memory.  And I wanted to say thank you Adam for working with me on this even though I cause more work as he redid the right shell.  I did send the universal TF10 I have on loan for comparison, so I want to say thank you to the owner for your patience.

 

IMG_2672.JPG IMG_2673.JPG

If you can see from the twp pictures above compared with the 4 pictures above the line break, the filters in both sound tubes have been moved back. And yes, it seems the new graphics are orange instead of red.

 

Test

I used the stock cable on the universal and reshell, even though the reshell uses a Westone style connector.  I used my modded iPods -> Pico Slim, HUD-MX1, and iPhone for sources. The tips used for the universal were UE bi-flange and MC triple flange. The bi-flange seemed to have slightly less offensive treble, but a slightly more recessed midrange in addition to lacking some deep bass impact compared. The triple flange tips seem to have a lower treble/upper mid bump that is somewhat offensive to my ears at louder volumes; I guess I can't get it perfect with the universal version.

 

Fit/Comfort

Comfort for me reigns supreme with the reshell, and it isn't even close.  I just put the reshell in and everything is fine. With the universal TF10 I have to insert and then fiddle for a while, so it takes 3-4 times as long to insert the universal.  

 

Sound

Let me start with the treble.  My biggest complaint of the first reshell I received was that the treble sparkle was gone, but the second one is pretty spot on!  I wouldn't expect them to be identical because there could be many subtle differences between how the universal and custom fit in my ear such as insertion depth, insertion angle, exit port size/shape, etc., but close as close can be IMO.  It also might be slightly different from the perspective of the sound signature is slightly different as you will find out if you keep reading.  Everything is pretty much the same, except I think the reshell is slightly less offensive to my ears at loud volumes due to the less pronunciation of S's.  Detail seems to be about the same.

 

The mids of the reshell are a little more filled in than the universal for me, although not by much.  The first reshell was much more mid forward, and I would say the mids on the second reshell are recessed, as are the universal, but to different degrees.  Adam did get it right however, and for those that love the TF10 sound signature, I can't imagine the difference being a bad thing.  Since the mids are more forward by a bit, I can make out a little more mid detail, but not a significant change.

 

Bass response of the second reshell is pretty similar now, although the deep bass is more prominent than on the universal.  The first reshell seemed to have a good deal more warmth/deep bass compared with the universal (and 2nd reshell).  When there isn't deep bass the universal can seem to have more bass because of the more recessed mids.  Of course, I prefer deep bass to mid-bass (although the mid bass is still there) and the custom's slight advantage is nice.

 

The TF10 is touted as having a spacious presentation, however all of my current IEMs (SM3 and customs) have more space than the universal TF10.  The reshell does push the space out further side to side.  For example, comparing the TF10s to the SM3, the SM3 was more spacious than the universal TF10, but less spacious than the reshelled TF10.  The reshelled TF10 keeps the soundstage shape and doesn't add much detail/separation to the presentation, although there is some.

 

Overall the changes between the second reshell and the universal are minimal in sound, but the changes that are there all seem to favor the reshell.  Just a thought for those that like the TF10 for the most part, but want more mids/bass it might be possible for Adam to tune the treble like the second reshell and the mids/bass like the first reshell.  

 

Compared

What difference does the $35 Kozee cable make? First, the cable is much more ergonomic and tangle free. My comparison methods consisted of both comparing the universal TF10 with the custom TF10 with the Kozee cable and swapping the cable. One thing that seemed to stand out the most was the treble seemed to have slightly better detail and there was better clarity/a little less thickness along with a little bit more openness. These differences are subtle but IMO you might as well go for the Kozee cable.

 

I compared the reshelled TF10 vs. SM3 with universal tips (triple flange) and wow, what a shock going from one to the other.  The TF10 is V shaped and the SM3 has laid back treble with forward mids, leading to a big difference.  So, without talking more about the sound signature differences, how do they compare from a technical perspective?  To me, with acoustic there is no contest that the SM3 presents the music in a more realistic way as the TF10 soundstage is compressed front to back in comparison (and top to bottom) while the TF10 sounds more distant.  Yes - It Can Happen is a good example of this.  Transparency, coherency and imaging are better on the SM3, especially with R&B.  The bass of the SM3 edges the TF10 in note sustainment for R&B by a bit.  In the midrange I found that in Nelly Frutado - All Good Things I did not hear a subtle midrange sound in the beginning of the song with the TF10 when I switched to the SM3, and switching back confirmed this.  The treble of the TF10 is a tough one for me as certain parts of the TF10 treble sound as smooth and liquid as the SM3, but then other times the S's are too pronounced and the tone sounds a little off. 

 

I also compared the universal TF10 with the Kozee X3 which is much higher in price ($630 vs. $250), so they aren't competitors, but they do have somewhat similar sound signatures. The X3 is much more exciting and dynamic than the custom TF10, with better bass impact, a more forward midrange, more treble energy, better space, and overall more detail. When comparing the two I did want to take the TF10 out and put the X3 in!

 

Conclusion

The reshell has a decided advantage over the universal TF10 in comfort, isolation, and cable ergonomics (with the Kozee cable).  From a sound perspective, the reshell has minimal improvements in deep bass, mids, and soundstage. The Kozee cable arguably improves upon the sound, but also adds to the ease of use. The technical improvements are small with the custom and for me the comfort and isolation are two great reasons to do the reshell. But there are sonic improvements.

 

What should you expect from a Kozee reshelled universal?  Very good workmanship at a reasonable price that is at least as comfortable as the universal but with better isolation in most cases.  From a sound perspective, depending on the final tuning, you will probably have a slightly more spacious sound and better deep bass impact.  You can choose silicone or acrylic, and silicone will give more isolation and great comfort while acrylic will allow you to have a detachable cable. 


Edited by average_joe - 4/15/11 at 12:56pm
post #3 of 852
Thread Starter 

Kozee Infinity X3 Review (3 BA driver, 2-way custom IEM) – Bringing enhanced bass and exciting sound to the world of customs!

 

IMG_2636.JPG Additional pictures at the bottom of the review

 

 

The info on Kozee Solutions is in the post above; the Infinity X3 is the top custom IEM offering that has 3 balanced armature drivers and a single crossover point for a 2-way system.  I chose the executive option, which has an acrylic shell, detachable cables, and upgraded drivers.  All drivers are upgraded, and the bass drivers are vented.  The standard option is made with a silicone shell and does not have vented drivers or a detachable cable for $50 less.  Each X3 (standard and executive) version is tuned individually for their respective drivers, and the vented drivers create a more spacious presentation according to Adam of Kozee.  Click here to see my custom IEM review, information thread, and manufacturer list thread.

 

Build Quality: The X3 shell has a great build quality free from bubbles with the exception of two bubbles by the right jack.  The Jacks are flush vs. recessed, but can be recessed upon request.   The cable is a twisted cable that is slightly thinner than your typical cable, but not by much and does not appear like it will affect durability.  It is very flexible and tangle resistant resulting in a great user experience.  The memory wire is a little on the long side as the tube is 3.375 inches long with the actual wire at about 2.5 inches.  This does make the memory wire more cumbersome to put on, and I think if it was between 1 to 2 inches total, it would be fine.  Overall build quality is very good.

 

Fit: I was very interested to see how the fit was going to be since I did my own impressions for the X3 (and TF10).  The fit on the left channel is fantastic and I thought the fit on the right was great, but after about 2 hours of use, the deepest part of the canal portion starts to become uncomfortable.  I have contacted Adam who wanted to resolve the issue and was fine proceeding the way I preferred (he has provided exceptional customer service so far).  Since it is a minor issue, I told him I was going to wait until my review was done and then send it in for adjustment. 

 

Sound Signature: The overall presentation is forward with enhanced bass and treble that has a bit of a sparkle resulting in a non-reference presentation.  The enhancement to the bass is both in the ultra low bass and in the mid-bass.   The mids and treble have a slight analytical edge to them with an ever so slight grain on some tracks.  The overall balance across the spectrum in well done and reproduces the music as you would imagine they would be in front of you.  All this is contained in a fairly well sized soundstage that while having very good width doesn’t quite keep up front-to-back and top-to-bottom.

 

Sound Presentation: The enhanced bass/mid-bass has good texture and detail, is tight and hits really deep giving a warm and hard hitting presentation.  The deep bass seems to be even more enhanced than the mid-bass as it is an experience with something like Massive Attack – Angel while the drums in Hotel California live have very good texture.  In comparison to the EP-10 Plus which uses a dynamic bass driver, the X3 bass seems to have more ultra low impact while there is much less mid bass, even though the mid bass of the X3 is also enhanced.  The X3 bass is tighter and they both have their own bass flavor, but due to the frequency response (without EQ), the X3 sounds technically better. 

 

Mids have all the detail any universal can bolster and then some, being on par with the Fabs, but with select few vocal tracks such as Jheena Lodwick, the X3  adds slight grain.  There is also a slight analytical side to the presentation compared with the liquid EM3 Pro, SM3, and to a lesser extent, the Fabs.  Instruments are well articulated and placed within the space, even if they aren’t perfectly proportioned.

 

Treble continues like an extension of the mids (same driver?) and is presented in line with the mids.  While it is very present and seems to have a lower treble bump, it never leaves me cringing or wanting more.  The X3 treble is more present than that of the more expensive EM3 Pro, and placement is also different, with the X3 treble being more up front.   The Fabs treble seems to be presented about the same, however the rest of the spectrum is very different, so these two complement each other vs. compete with each other.

 

Presented space of the X3 seems on par with that of the Fabs, but when compared with the EM3 Pro, things were different.  For today’s popular music and electronic of just about any type the X3 had a larger presentation than the EM3 Pro, but for some music such as the Balmorhea, the EM3 Pro became very 3 dimensional and portrayed an atmosphere I have not heard with anything other than the SM3 to a lesser extent.

 

Comparing the X3 to the SM3 with custom sleeves, the presentation of the X3 is more forward across the spectrum, however the X3 is more spacious overall with more treble presence and sparkle along with more thunderous deep bass.  In addition, the X3 has more micro-detail than the SM3 along with a more exciting overall presentation.  I specifically compared the two with the Jheena Lodwick track from above and the SM3 is smoother at the expense of some detail, but also makes the voice sound a little deeper than it is.  The X3 will display some recording flaws the SM3 can hide.  To my ears, the X3 is a step up technically from the SM3, as it should be for the price, although the presentation is slightly different.  I would want to say it is more forward like the UM3X, but the UM3X seemed boring to me, and the X3 is anything but boring.  I would say the X3 is similar to the SE530, but the 530 seemed to have too much focus on the mids and too little deep bass and treble extension.  So the X3 IMO isn’t a direct step up from any universal I have heard.

 

Source Synergy: The X3 does great with lean/neutral sources such as my iPod and HUD-MX1, but doesn’t have good synergy to my ears with the 801.  The X3 does OK out of my laptop, however the lower quality DAC can easily be heard as the slight edge is increased to an edge! 

 

Volume Performance: The X3, probably due to the sound signature, does quite well at lower volumes as the weakness of the EM3 Pro and Fabs is the bass drivers don’t seem to be pumping out their full amount of bass at very low volumes.  The X3 performs better from quiet volumes to loud volumes than any other IEM I have used!

 

Summary:  The Kozee Infinity X3 has a lush, rich spacious, forward presentation that I find very enjoyable for casual listening as well as using while working or working out.  The bass hits hard and deep with good texture, speed, and sustained note decay while the mids are presented in a slightly forward way.  The treble fits well with the rest of the spectrum rounding out the sound signature well.  There is a slight grain on some vocal tracks compared with my other customs and an edge to the presentation gets more apparent with lower quality sources.   I found the presentation great for pop and electronic music and is great for letting my music inspire me when I am focused on something else such as work or working out.   If you like bass heavy presentations and want the benefits that customs provide, the Infinity X3 is worth consideration.

 

 IMG_2627.JPG IMG_2631.JPG IMG_2634.JPG IMG_2640.JPG

 

Picture notes: The in the second picture the jack on the right looks odd, but it is due to the picture.  There is an air bubble in there, causing the look in the picture.  It is not an issue and I would not have really noticed it except for the specific camera angle.  The last picture is there to show the vents in the BA drivers.

 

Overall I think the build quality is very nice.  Sonic performance to come...

 


Edited by average_joe - 8/2/11 at 2:03pm
post #4 of 852
Thread Starter 

My review of my reshelled JH16 - the JH16 sent in for reshell was somehow lost.  Adam has taken care of the situation admirably.


Edited by average_joe - 6/21/11 at 12:02pm
post #5 of 852

...what a teaser thread :p

post #6 of 852

Are you kidding me? 

 

You shouldn't be allowed to post an appreciation and review thread unless you've provided a review. 

post #7 of 852
Thread Starter 

@ rawrster, I should at least have pictures in 2 days ;)

 

@ roy_jones, it does say upcoming in the title.  And there is one owner that seems to appreciate his X1 so far wink_face.gif

post #8 of 852

Subscribed.

post #9 of 852

Looking forward to your impressions =)

post #10 of 852

popcorn.gif

post #11 of 852

dude, hurry up! I'm anxious for impressions!

 

Edit: wups, thought today was the 9th. man, this is going to be torture for me..


Edited by aleki - 3/8/11 at 5:03pm
post #12 of 852
Thread Starter 

Can't rush the FedEx:

 

Mar 8, 2011 3:48 PM                        Arrived at FedEx location                BLOOMINGTON, CA

 

 

Mar 4, 2011 7:36 AM
Departed FedEx location
CHAMPAIGN, IL

 

 

 

I guess it was on a slow truck. 

 

 

 

 

 

post #13 of 852
Quote:
Originally Posted by average_joe View Post

Can't rush the FedEx:

 

Mar 8, 2011 3:48 PM                        Arrived at FedEx location                BLOOMINGTON, CA

 

 

Mar 4, 2011 7:36 AM
Departed FedEx location
CHAMPAIGN, IL

 

 

 

I guess it was on a slow truck. 

 

 

 

 

 



Or many red lights :-)

 

post #14 of 852

Look forward to your impressions. Pretty cool that there are so many affordable customs available now.

 

 

I don't really like this idea of an Executive option, it creates 2 versions of the same product confusing consumers more. The Executive option includes an upgraded driver? Do they upgrade all the drivers or just one of them? They also don't say anything about what "upgrading" the driver does; how does it affect the sound signature and frequency response? Why are they using inferior drivers in their main design, will this affect the crossover implementation? During development did they tune the IEM using the upgraded drivers or the inferior drivers? My understanding is that it's not just as simple as just a plug-and-play swapping out drivers like that.

post #15 of 852

I'm betting the upgraded one have vented drivers.  You can only do that in a hollow acrylic shell and not a solid silicone one.  Supposedly the vented drivers sound better, but I haven't seen/heard/read too much independent conformation of that.

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