Sound signature is typical for Shozy: very deep, very musical, vivid sound with lush mids and non-fatiguing highs.

Shozy Alien+

Average User Rating:
5/5,
  • Alien+ digital audio player by Shozy. Alien+ features ak4495SEQ, a flagship chipset introduced by Asahi Kasei Microdevices Corporation. To output the best quality with this chipset supposed to bemused on full size home gears, we build inside the Alien+ a desktop solution using a 24 Volt PSU also having the amping circuitry designed around the its IRD-based correction.

    Specification:
    • DAC chipset: AK4495SEQ
    • SNR: 121 dB
    • File format: WAVE, FLAC, MP3
    • Output: headphones 3,5mm and combo (line out/optical)
    • CNC Precise Metal Build
    alien1.png
mgunin, cleg, Layman1 and 3 others like this.

Recent User Reviews

  1. msiekkb
    5.0/5,
    "Shozy Alien+ big sounds from DAP"
    Pros - - detailed, holographic and big soundstage
    - layered
    - natural weight and size instruments
    Cons - - for some people maybe too technically sounds
    First of all, I’d like to thank Shozy for providing the Alien+ review unit.


    The news about new Shozy’s Alien-series pleased me much as both Alien Gold and Silver are among my favourite DAPs and I especially love the sound signature the Gold model.

    Is Alien+ better than Alien Gold? Does it offer better quality, holographics and sound signature? Let me explain it in this very review.



    Design
    Alien+ is a CNC precise-built from metal with a plastic volume knob. Craftsmanship quality is great. It’s the first Shozy DAP with the screen installed, which improves navigation and allows one to easily choose a track they need. When there’s much light, the screen is impossible to read.

    User Interface is based on plain text, which I like, because I don’t enjoy animations. There are 5 main categories in the main menu.

    Below the screen placed are 3 buttons that function as previous, next and accept/play/pause. Left flank is equipped with a navigation button and soft reset. The top side is packed with a Power on/off button (it also turns the screen on and off) and two outputs: a headphone out and a combo out (line out with optical out). When the Alien+ is powered on, the optical output diode is also active - it’s the only diode informing about the device’s power.

    On right side there’s a volume knob - it’s an analogue system, not a digital one. The bottom side is filled with a microUSB port, which is only used for charging (it doesn’t offer file transfer). In the future, Shozy promises adding a USB DAC function.






    Previous and next buttons work when the screen is off, which is very convenient.

    Alien+ is powered by AK4495SEQ DAC chip. This is a high-end DAC chipset found in full-size CD/SACD players and DACs. Alien+ also uses a 12V step-up power PSU, Panasonic film capacitors, Sanyo solid-state capacitors and the LTC®3559 charging chips.

    Battery life is around 5.5 hours when using high gain and listening to WAV and FLAC files.



    Sound
    I used Alien+ mainly with my reference IEMs - Etymotic ER-SR, but I also paired it with others earphones and headphones. Before testing the DAP, as suggested by Shozy, I’ve done a burn-in of over 100 hours.

    Sound signature is typical for Shozy: very deep, very musical, vivid sound with lush mids and non-fatiguing highs. In comparison, Alien Gold and Alien Silver offer more smooth and more velvet sound. Alien+ signature is hard, more detailed, with higher resolution, better soundstage and holographics. Comparing to previous models, there’s also no hiss. In general, Alien+ sound is organic and neutral.

    Bass is very saturated, plastic, deep, clear, dynamic, hard, with fast attack and decay.

    Mids are forward, multi-layer and well-balanced between being soft and sharp.

    The main focus lies on vocals, which are forward. When needed, they can be either soft or sharp. There are no problems with high female soprano, low male voices or digital voice of Miku Hatsune, a lot of voices and/or instruments acting simultaneously will be hard to stop listening to, because they are all resolute, detailed, with very good changes in speed or depth changes, and finished.

    Highs are clear, not sharp, without digital glare, detailed. You can hear all cymbals without any aggressive sounds.

    Holography is excellent, among the best I've heard not only in portable players, but also among full-size ones. Each instrument or voice is embedded on the stage, either up, down, in the centre, left or right in front of us or behind us and separated by air.

    The detail and resolution, as well as the holography, all resemble the quality seen in rather full-size than portable devices. All the sounds are clearly audible - one doesn’t have to focus in order to hear it.

    Alien+ offers 5 gain settings, which is a very convenient solution for pairing various earphones and headphones. The higher the gain, the more bold-contoured and less smooth the sound becomes.

    Alien+, similarly to iBasso DX100 and DX200, offers naturally weighted and sized instruments.



    Selected pairings
    Etymotic ER-4SR are known for very balanced sound and are a great mastering tool as they easily show flaws of poorly-mastered materials. ER-4SR offer great details and layering. The bass offers perfectly-balanced rumble and subbass and midbass have full punch and kicks. Mids can be described as natural-bodied, organic and detailed. Vocals are detailed, hi-res, full-bodied and fantastically layered. Treble show great definition, sparkle and airiness.

    Etymotic ER-4XR, when compared with ER-4SR, have powerful punch and kick and more body in subbass, more extended bass. Mids and vocals are not as forward as in 4SR with smaller amount of details and worse layering.

    Custom Art FIBAE 2 is a balanced IEM with a brighter treble, but treble are airy, detailed, but never metallic and harsh. Bass has a little less body, which is strange, because when pairing FIBAE 2 with others DAPs and smartphones, it has more bass than ER-4SR. FIBAE 2 sound is detailed and well-layered, but ER-4SR offer yet higher quality. Mids are sweet and detailed, while the soundstage is wider and deeper. FIBAE 2 and Alien+ is one of the best pairs for everybody - such a combo is very musical, with plenty of details, nice layering and a vast soundstage. What is more, the sound quality doesn’t depend on song’s mastering.

    Custom Art FIBAE 1 performs well with vocal music, poetry set to music and songs with focus on mids and treble. Mids and highs are similar to those found in FIBAE 2, but FIBAE 1 offer less bass, which is not as full-bodied, but is faster and has stronger kick.

    Meze 99 Classic are headphones for bass lovers and for easy-listening, but with a good amount of details. Bass is well articulated and controlled. Mids are smoothed and sweet. Treble are nice, but not very sparky.

    Audeze LCD-X is a very nice pair of cans. It provides deep and full-body bass with fast kick and punch in addition to smoothed and forward mids and sparky treble. When paired with Alien+, LCD-X retain their original signature of bass and treble, but mids get more body and become more forward. The sound is very detailed, multi-layer and the resolution is high.

    With Audeze LCD-XC bass and mids get too much body and sweetness. When connected to Alien+, LCD-XC lose their texturing and bass control. All in all, this is not a recommended pairing.



    Comparions
    Alien+ vs iBasso DX200 - in both cases instruments size and weight seems natural. DX200 has bass no hardness of Alien+, but is very smooth. Layering and details on bass are on par. Mids in DX200 are very smooth and relaxing with no crisping and no attack. When listening to iBasso’s DAP, I don't feel emotion from violin, piano and vocals - these instruments and vocals are very boring. In case of Alien+, treble are more sparky. Shozy’s DAP is analytical, offers lifelike sound with better holographics, while DX200 has smoother sound, which is not as vivid.

    Alien+ vs iBasso DX100 - DX100 has lighter and transparent signature, not organic like Alien+. In case of both DAPs, instruments’ weight and size are natural. iBasso’s lows are softer. Quality-wise, both DAPs offer the same level, while regarding quantity, Alien+ has more bass, mids, treble and better holographics.

    Alien+ vs Fiio X5-III - Alien+ is organical, more revealing, more resolving, more detailed. Its bass is harder and Alien+ also offers better layering, holographic, dynamics and separation. In case of X5-III, instruments don’t seem to have natural size and weight and treble are metallic.

    Alien+ vs Cayin N5 - N5 is flat, less revealing, less detailed, with worse layering, holographics and dynamics. In Cayin’s DAP, instruments are of no big size and weight.

    Alien+ vs Sony ZX2 - Sony ZX2 is the opposite of Alien+. Its sound signature is very soft, not only on the edges, but also in the fill - the sound is more dense. ZX2’s midrange is bewitching, while Alien+ brings out every nuance, every sound with a proper texture. In comparison to Alien+, the highs are dimmed.

    Alien+ vs Opus #1 - Opus #1 is smoother and more warm, less detailed, offers lower resolution and not as good layering and holographics. The size and weight of instruments is also small.



    Conclusion
    Alien+ is a very good DAP for those who seek sound that is detailed, with great layering, full body and organic sound with amazing holographics and instruments of natural weight. Alien+ also doesn’t offer streaming, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections meta-tagging and other fancy features. It’s a great device for people who simply love music-listening.
    noknok23, NLNH, mehdikh423 and 3 others like this.

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