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Cozoy Aegis Portable 24/192 DAC/Amp

Rating:
3.92857/5,
  1. ExpatinJapan
    COZOY Aegis is a great size with super sound
    Written by ExpatinJapan
    Published Sep 19, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Non fatiguing, clear, uncolored
    Cons - Volume control has a few jumps (This can be solved with the Relisten or kaisertone apps)

    Cozoy Aegis Review - Expatinjapan.

     Head Pie  11:14 AM  3 Comments
    Cozoy Aegis.

    The Cozoy Aegis is one of the many recent releases by Cozoy in the last few years.
    They seem to be making their way nicely in the audio world as a new company, releasing several products that have been greeted favorably by users on various forums.
     
    [​IMG]
     ​


    Lets get the basics out of the way before we move onto the part you are actually going to read properly - the sound.

    Packaging.

    There are many unboxing videos on youtube and whilst Head pie hasn`t joined their ranks...yet, it is one of the attractive parts of purchasing a new product and the Cozoy aegis doesn`t disappoint in this area.
    Although it does come in a small package, the box is an elegant container for what lies inside.

    The Cozoy Aegis is snuggled nicely within a black foam casing with the Aegis easily removed by way of a sliver of ribbon, which when removed reveals another layer wherein we discover three sets of cables (lightning, micro usb - micro usb, micro usb - usb) which enables us to use the Cozoy Aegis with idevices via lightning cable, Android and PC/Mac.

    All in all it is a beautiful solution without wasted space or excessive and unnecessary bloated packaging which has become the norm for some audio products.
     
    [​IMG]
     
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    Build.
    The build of the Cozoy Aegis is solid. Can you say seamless. Yes, it is! It is gorgeous to look at. Machined aluminum that is somehow fitted so one cannot  discover how it is spliced together.
    It`s also nice and light.
     
    [​IMG]


    Size.

    As the writers of various forums mention when talking of the  Cozoy Aegis they often say `size isn`t everything` and the Cozoy aegis certainly fits the bill within the ranks of other contenders for style and grace within a small package.
    No more stacking up your device with one, two.....levels. The plug and play of the Cozoy Aegis is easily done and doesn`t interfere or get in the way whilst on my daily commute.
    I did give feedback before receiving the device that I did think a shorter lightning cable would be better, but so far that thought hasn`t entered my head now I actually have the product.
     
    [​IMG]


    Sound.

    Maybe we`ll just skip this part to annoy the reader now you have been patiently waiting so long for this particular part.......but no, at Head pie we aren`t that sadistic. Pies for everyone!

    The Sound! The sound! The sound!

    The angels cymbals chime like heaven is close by and cherubs are softly whispering in ones ears.

    Oops, getting too overwrought, let`s back track to reviewer mode and not literary masterpiece mode.

    The Sound #2.

    The Cozoy Aegis whilst small in stature certainly punches above its weight. I have paired it with the ATH-CK10 on my daily train commute and find it to be non-fatiguing for lengths of time, which is one point I look for in additional portable DAC/Amp devices.
    I paired the Cozoy Aegis with an ipod Touch 6G 128GB which its self is no slouch in the sound department, Apple seemingly learning more with each release.

    For review and testing purposes I paired the ipod touch 6G headphone out, Centrance Hifi-M8,  ATH-ESW11, and DITA-The Truth.
    The apps I used were Relisten, Flacplayer and Kaisertone.

    The ipod touch 6G headphone is very clean and has a nice balance to it, certainly it is an improvement over its predecessors which I also owned. One factor the Cozoy Aegis has over the touch 6G is certainly the non fatiguing factor which can`t be dismissed as a minor point.
    Does it sound better than the ipod touch 6G headphone out? Yes, it does.
    For the size factor it certainly does a great job, it cleans up the signal and increases separation of instruments.

    Cozoy when pitted against the larger and more ferocious Centrance Hifi-M8 seems to hold its own quite surprisingly. Of course the Centrance Hifi-M8 comes out on top, but not by leaps and bounds (I look forward to trying the Centrance Hifi Skyn when it arrives - soon).
    Remembering to remind ourselves at this part of the game we dealing in incremental improvements, but improvements none the less!
    The Centrance Hifi-M8 Has a bit more low end, more separation - but not significantly so. The power and muscle of the device batters down most contenders anyway.
    But does the Cozoy perform well when pitted against the beast of the west? Yes, I expected to hear much more difference between the two. Whilst not surprisingly the Hifi-M8 comes out on top - the gap between them is not so large.

    Listening now with DITA-The Truth I am certainly struck by the beauty of this device. It does what the buyer pays for. It improves upon using just the source, irons out any irritating noise and is clear with an un-colored sound signature.

    Native 24/192 playback.

    Gitouttahere! Well yes. it does it seems.
    Apple seems to have allowed this feature to be unlocked on several devices i have tried recently.
     
    [​IMG]
     
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    [​IMG]


    Power and Caveats.


    The Cozoy Aegis also packs a lot of power, volume control has been an issue for some, finding that sweet spot as the volume is controlled by the source and not the Aegis (which has no buttons). I found using music apps useful in this regards. Either decreasing the gain (Flacplayer and Kaiser tone). Or using Relisten which has an incremental volume control with lots of room for adjustments.
    I did not find there to be a significant drain on the battery when in use, but of course it does use the sources battery so there is that. I do believe Brooko on head-fi tested the battery drain.

    Output impedance.

    0.4ohms as measured by ClieOS on head-fi.

    Summary.

    If one is looking for a device that is certainly portable and not transportable I do recommend the Cozoy Aegis. It does what it advertises - which is improves upon the sound from most sources. Does it make the rain come when there is a drought?,  well no - let`s keep it realistic here. If one has decent music files of a quality nature and also mid to high end IEMs, or headphones one will find this to be a satisfying purchase.

    Thanks to Cozoy for providing an Aegis for me to sample and review.

    -expatinjapan for Head Pie.

    *postscript note.
    [​IMG]

    1. Hi-Fi'er
      Does it work on Android 4.1.2 and JetAudio?
      Hi-Fi'er, Feb 3, 2017
  2. DJScope
    Cozoy Aegis - Stellar performance in a tiny package!
    Written by DJScope
    Published Oct 17, 2015
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Transparent with good clarity, multi platform compatibility, tiny footprint, great styling.
    Cons - Somewhat large current draw from source device, logarithmic volume can be problematic for sensitive IEMs, a little pricey, gets a little hot.

    Introduction

    The Aegis is the second device I've had the privilege to review from Cozoy, the first being the Astrapi. The Aegis inherits the same characteristics of the Astrapi and build on that foundation to create a truly step-up experience.
    I've had the Aegis for nearly 2 months now and I've got to say that these 2 months have been enjoyable ones. The Aegis came with me everywhere I went in my carry case; it accompanies me to work, home, outings and even got to join me on our anniversary cruise along the coast of Queensland Australia. The ease of use, "plug'nplay" experience is one of the best I've had with any portable DAC and amp. I don't feel like I'm compromising on sound fidelity when I take the Aegis along for the ride, and it's absolute convenience is one I appreciated on a daily basis.
     

    A little about the Cozoy Aegis

    More info at http://www.cozoyaudio.com/aegis/
     
    Recommended Headphone Impedance​
    16-100 Ohms
    Output​
    Output Power: 60mW at 16Ω;35mW at 32Ω
    Total Harmonic Distortion​
    ≤ 0.1% , 1KHz SNR: 109dB at 3.3V power supply
    Maximum Sampling Rate​
    24Bit/192KHz
    Current Draw​
    10mA~95mA max
    Compatibility​
    iOS/OSX/Android/Windows/Linux
    Weight​
    12 grams

    Packaging & Accesories

    The Cozoy Aegis comes with very nice "Appleseque" packaging which mirrors the Astrapi packaging. It's very good packaging, being very minimalistic and eye catching. I am sure that if you had this box in an Apple store, it will sell like hot cakes. 
    Inside the box you are greeted with the Aegis right off the bat tucked into a foam cut out with a lovely velvet top. It's very clever that they have made a pull ribbon to pull on to pop the Aegis out without having to struggle to claw it out of the foam cutout as it is in there very tight. You can also use the ribbon to pull out the foam bit to get to the goodies underneath. 
     
    Inside the box you get:
     
    1. Black warranty card with silver writing, which doubles as a spec sheet and quick start guide.
    2. Cozoy Aegis
    3. A 30cm (12") MicroUSB to MicroUSB
    4. A 30cm (12") iOS Lightning to MicroUSB cable
    5. A 30cm (12") USB to MicroUSB cable
     
     

    Design

    If looks could kill, then you should beware the Aegis. It is B-E-A-U-TIFUL! Sharp corners, brushed aluminium, black accents; like a Tanto blade. It looks like precision machining too. The body has been milled from a block of aluminium, and this precision is also been transferred across to the connectors because they are a little tighter than normal, making the connection of the MicroUSB cable and 3.5mm headphone jack very secure. This device was definitely made for portable use and that it does spectacularly.
     
     

    Compatibility

    As it stands, from what I've read on the forums the Aegis is compatible with iOS, OSX, Android, Windows and Linux. Personally I've only tried it on my Moto G XT1033, my PC at home which runs Windows 10, my PC at work which runs Windows 7, and my wife's tablet which also runs Windows 10. From what I can notice is that the Aegis preforms better with devices that have a higher current output, but saying this, it is no slouch running from a phone. 
    There is a common problem that I've read from a few users because of it's logarithmic volume steps. This is actually a bit of a quirky thing because I only get a problem with this on my work PC, where it feels like there is only 5-6 volume steps. On my home PC and the tablet this is more like 10 steps, but funny enough, on my Moto G is get the full range of volume steps which I've got set to 30 steps. This could be the fact that I am running a custom ROM and kernel. Either way, I don't find this to be problematic at all with any of my IEMs, which includes BA driver IEMs.
     

    Drivability

    I have driven everything I own from the Aegis with very good results. The Aegis works especially well with warmer headphones. I don't have any particularly hard to drive headphones so it's hard to comment on this subject. In fact I find it to be overpoweringly loud with almost everything when it is set to 100% volume.
     

    Sound

    This is the hardest aspect of all the gauge on DACs and other source devices as the whole point of them is to stay as close as possible to being transparent and true to source. The Aegis did this very well. 
    I would say that the Aegis is leaning on the colder more analytical side of the spectrum, but with a bit of a warm tint as well, which fills in vocals very nicely. When you get good synergy with a headphone you get a very "alive" performance, where vocals sound very real. There are only few DACs where I've actually felt this. When driving the Aegis a little louder then usual I've found it to be a bit bright and grainy in the mid to upper treble regions, this could somewhat sound digital, but works out well with music that has a lot of nuance, like pops and crackles, or filter noise. 
    It doesn't have the blackest background but noise is only heard when nothing is playing and only with sensitive BA driver IEMs. 
    Overall, I was more than satisfied with the sound performance of the Aegis.
     

    Ratings

    As Head-Fi doesn't properly show the ratings, this is how I've scored the Aegis:
     
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    Conclusion

    Another great device from Cozoy, and I can only expect more great things coming out of their workshop. Even though both the Aegis and Astrapi aren't perfect and have some minor quirks, they are absolutely brilliant little devices. The Aegis being one that has not left my side for 2 straight months, and hopefully for many more to come. For that, I'd like to give huge Kudos to Cozoy!
     
    Cheers!
     [​IMG]
     

     

      hakushondaimao and Light - Man like this.
    1. Light - Man
      Thanks Man for taking the time to do all your reviews, I find your opinion most helpful.
       
      Cheer to you also bro and not the type that you regret next day with a bad headache!
      Light - Man, Oct 17, 2015
    2. DJScope
      DJScope, Oct 17, 2015
    3. hakushondaimao
      I keep hearing good things about Aegis! Looking forward to receiving a unit from @nmatheis soon to try out.
      hakushondaimao, Oct 18, 2015
  3. twister6
    A tiny Powerhouse!
    Written by twister6
    Published Sep 16, 2015
    3.5/5,
    Pros - excellent build, tiny footprint, powerful high quality sound, compatibility with Android/iOS/PC/MAC.
    Cons - high current drain connected to mobile devices, too much power for sensitive or efficient headphones, PC driver needs some work to fix volume control.

    Before I start my review, I would like to Thank Cozoy for providing me with a review sample in exchange for my honest opinion.
     
    The product website: http://www.cozoyaudio.com/aegis/, and for those interested you can buy it from Penon, CTC Audio, and other Distributors listed on Cozoy website.
     
    Btw, despite my 3.5 star rating and a more critical than usual review/analysis, I still think it's a fantastic product that deserves an attention, thus a purpose of my review.

     
    Cozoy/Shozy (two sister companies) made a big splash in portable audio world with their popular releases of a unique Alien DAP and miniature Astrapi DAC/amp.  As a matter of fact, the big part of this splash was not only related to a sound quality but also to a fine crafted minimalistic design utilizing cutting-edge metal processing technology.  I’m telling you how it is, their products look and feel like a piece of Art.  Also, as part of their design philosophy, their minimalistic exterior is carried over to an optimized circuit board design/layout with a simplified clean signal path.  After all, the shortest uninterrupted distance between point A and B is a straight line, and that’s how they approach their design without gain switches, playback controls, or multiple in/out ports.  It’s a straight forward design with a fine partitioning of digital domain from the input source and analog domain driving headphones load.
     
    Though eye-candy design details are important, we all know they won’t be able to carry the weight of the product without sound quality behind it.  I don’t have Alien, but heard from a lot of trusted sources that it sounds quite amazing, despite lack of a display and supporting only wav and flac audio formats.  I have reviewed Astrapi in the past and found it to be a jack of all trades or as I called it: a Swiss army knife audio interface.  To be able to pair up with Android/iOS/PC/MAC and to use it as an external audio interface with your smartphone or laptop regardless of OS platform is very impressive in such a small package.  While using Astrapi, sound improvement was more noticeable with my laptop versus smartphone, and the output power was just modest to drive “average demand” headphones.  To take the performance of Astrapi to the next level, Cozoy released a new more powerful model - Aegis.
     
    My review sample arrived inside of a foam insert that suppose to go into the compact packaging box (white Apple style), exactly the same one that was used with Astrapi.  And just like Astrapi, it will arrive with accessories of micro-usb to micro-usb otg short cable for your Android smartphone, micro-usb to lightning short cable for your iPhone (no need for any intermittent connector kit), and micro-usb to full usb cable for your PC/MAC laptop or desktop.  I still remember my unboxing experience when I received Astrapi - it was quite shocking to find how tiny it was, even smaller than usb memory stick.  Though I received Aegis "as is" without official packaging box, the unboxing experience shouldn't be any different.
     
    Unboxing.
     
    cozoy_aegis-01_zpsvag2gni8.jpg   cozoy_aegis-02_zpsbomurzp1.jpg
    cozoy_aegis-03_zpssyi2kyrb.jpg
     
    Overall this new design has some similarities to Astrapi, but the shape of Aegis took on more of “Alien” lines and there is no more clip on the back.  The only available ports are micro-usb for digital data input and 3.5mm for analog output where you plug in your headphones.  There is also a small led pinhole to indicate the power.  The build is solid, bulletproof, lightweight, high-end scratch proof CNC milled aluminum.  It really felt great in your hand, but I do miss the clip from Astrapi.  The clip allowed different mounting options for this tiny device, like for example clipping it inside of your jeans pocket with 3.5mm jack sticking out for easy headphone access while a smartphone is somewhere in your pocket connected with usb-otg umbilical cord.  Another advantage of Astrapi was clipping it to the attached rubber band without rubber band going over the top of the DAC/amp, exposing bigger heat dissipation area.  At the same time, Aegis is small enough to leave in-line with your headphones cable, though micro-usb smartphone port gets loose after awhile and it will be easy to pull otg cable or accidentally disconnect it.  Bottom line, I miss that clip.
     
    Design details.
     
    cozoy_aegis-04_zpsz360a9z2.jpg   cozoy_aegis-05_zpsnq9ddam7.jpg
    cozoy_aegis-06_zpscmevg2jo.jpg   cozoy_aegis-07_zps9kypcwdj.jpg
    cozoy_aegis-08_zpsqsewnpsx.jpg   cozoy_aegis-09_zpsozky6j9e.jpg
     
    There is a good reason I mentioned about heat dissipation because due to its higher output power, I found Aegis to consume more current which puts a strain on your smartphone device.
     
    cozoy_aegis-13_zpsth05710q.jpg
     
    Just to put it in a better perspective, I found HRT dSp - 60 mA, Cozoy Astrapi - 40 mA, Geek Out 450 - 400 mA, Schiit FULLA - 140 mA, AQ DragonFly - 90 mA, and finally Aegis - 150 mA.  From this list, dSp, Astrapi, and Aegis are the only three with an official USB OTG support, where dSp and Astrapi draw a fraction in comparison to Aegis.  Such current drain even at a moderate volume level had a negative effect on my Note 4 battery when listening to music, which got even worse while watching a movie since a screen stays on (more current drain).
     
    I don’t want to go into exact numbers in hours since every smartphone will drain battery at its own specific rate depending on your model, battery capacity, and all the apps running in the background, but in general I noticed approximate 3x faster drain rate in comparison to my typical audio use.  In theory it’s not the end of the world since it could be on the same battery playback level as other android or non-android based DAPs, but when dealing with a smartphone on the go you have to realize this is not just a dedicated audio stack-up.  With Aegis connected to your smartphone when you're out, better keep an external battery handy to juice up your phone.
     
    Pair-up with a phone (Note 4 + Aegis + Linum cable + Oppo PM-3).
     
    cozoy_aegis-10_zpsalzpjj06.jpg   cozoy_aegis-11_zpsn7cgbrp6.jpg
     
    Of course battery drain it’s not as much of an issue when connected to your laptop or desktop, but you will have to deal with other problems.  In order for Aegis to be recognized, you need to install Cozoy provided drivers which you can find on their product page: http://www.cozoyaudio.com/aegis/.  Once installed, device is recognized without a problem, but you will get a very erratic volume control.  I really hope it’s a work in progress because my experience of using it paired up with my ThinkPad was not the most pleasant.
     
    As usb dac it works OK under Win7, but hardware volume control is very jerky with sudden jumps and poor resolution.  Even down to Vol 0 there was still a low level of audio leakage; USB2.0 performance was inconsistent where sometime even at low volume setting the actual volume all of a sudden jumped to the max giving me an unpleasant earful surprise.  Of course, the workaround of this problem is to find a suitable volume setting for your headphones and use the software volume slider within your audio playback program for a smoother adjustment, like from within Foobar or whatever is your favorite audio player.  I just hope this driver issue is going to be resolved.  Coincidentally, there are no volume issues connected to my Note 4 (Android), the control was smooth, but there was an issue with a power drain.
     
    Connected to Laptop (USB DAC + Audeze EL-8C).
     
    cozoy_aegis-14_zpsltiau0yq.jpg
     
    Well, it feels like I started my review on a high note talking about the product and the design, and went downhill from there talking about the pain of a pair up.  But things get better really fast once you get to a sound analysis.  All my testing was done using Note 4 connected as a source and Neutron MP as audio app.  Aegis quickly redeems itself with a signature of a warm smooth dynamic sound and a great staging expansion, tight low end control, and a decent retrieval of details.
     
    The combo of Note 4 + Aegis yielded following results with some of my headphones.
     
    w/MSR7 – an expanded sound, with a nice deep sub-bass extension, clear and detailed mids, and a smooth detailed airy treble without metallic harshness.
     
    w/R70x - transparent warm sound, drives these 470 ohm cans with authority, excellent sub-bass extension, smooth mids, and a surprisingly smooth sparkle in treble.
     
    w/EL-8C - among the best portable pair ups I heard w/EL8, full body sound with a great low end extension, smoother (in comparison to other sources) mids, and non-sibilant sparkly treble.  I typically like to drive EL-8C with external portable amp and turn bass boost on to add body to a sound – here it drove it like a champ without a need for a bass boost!
     
    w/PM-3 - smooth detailed dynamic sound with a good retrieval of details, also an excellent pair ups, even better than HA-2 which requires high-gain setting. It has a high level of transparency, and even slightly better dynamics in comparison to N6/PM-3 pair up.  Keep in mind, I was using Linum BaX litz cable which also makes a big difference in sound.
     
    w/ZEN - clear detailed natural transparent balanced sound with an excellent layering and separation, dynamics of the sound is even better than with N6/ZEN.  No issues driving these 300 ohm earbuds.
     
    Due to its high output power, pair up with my sensitive or just regular IEMs wasn't as good because I had to keep the volume down, leaving a rather narrow dynamic range for a volume adjustment, and even some background hissing (more like buzzing).
     
    The next comparison was next to my other portable USB DACs: Astrapi, HRT dSp, AQ DragonFly, Schiit FULLA, and GO450.
     
    cozoy_aegis-12_zps61twmevi.jpg
     
    Using Note 4 and ATH-MSR7, here is what I found in a relative comparison to Aegis:
     
    dSp - an average soundstage, a little flatter sound (not as dynamic).
     
    Astrapi - nice expanded soundstage (more width then depth), thinner sound.
     
    GO450 - better dynamics (similar to Aegis, just a touch better), wide/deep soundstage, and a bit more sparkle/airiness in the sound.
     
    FULLA - great dynamics (similar to Aegis, just a touch flatter in comparison), and also a touch less detailed (that one was a surprise).
     
    DragonFly - good dynamics (but not as good as Aegis), a little less detailed, sound is smoother/warmer.
     
     
    Conclusion.
     
    Fortunately, or unfortunately, I found Aegis to be at its best when driving demanding headphones, while efficient headphones or sensitive IEMs or just average IEMs were not a good pair up because of too much power.  I was very impressed how well I was able to drive my planar magnetic headphones and other high impedance headphones and earbuds.  Also, I absolutely love the build, the shape, and the portability which makes it perfect for a mobile use.  But on the other hand, its high power works against it when paired up with a smartphone, causing accelerated battery drain.  My feeling about Aegis is really on a fence, constantly flip-flopping.   Cozoy developed an excellent product, and to be able to stuff it inside of such small package is phenomenal.  But this product is not very practical for a mobile use, its main intention, because of an excessive battery drain.  This would have been an easier pill to swallow if priced on a level of Astrapi, but at $300 it's rather high in comparison to competition.  For someone who is a diehard audio enthusiast and appreciates and collects fine and rare audio gadgets, this little gem would be a rare find.  But I wouldn’t recommend it for a beginner or an average consumer since you can find other cheaper solutions, though not at the same performance level in such a tiny package. 
     
    In my post-conclusion, I want to mention to Cozoy/Shozy that you proved to us with Alien and Aegis that you know a great deal about sound quality and design details, now it’s time to show how you can apply this knowledge to make a killer DAP!
      Baycode, Currawong, Brooko and 4 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. jnorris
      Nice review.  Tell me how you get these manufacturers to lend you this equipment for review?  I would love to be able to audition things before dropping coin for the product, shipping and possibly reverse shipping.
      jnorris, Sep 17, 2015
    3. RedJohn456
      Great review Alex, thanks for the honest review :)  I am looking forward to the DAP that they will be eventually putting out 
      RedJohn456, Sep 17, 2015
    4. glassmonkey
      I'd be interested to try this out and compare it to the Geek Out V2. I just got the Geek Out V2, which has switchable output (100mW and 1000mW), and takes basically all comers when it comes to formats. It it freakin' rockin my HD600s right now. The Geek Out V2 is also $299 and I think it works with Android 5 and up (I still need to upgrade from 4.2.3 to 4.4).
       
      Thanks for putting this out there. You got my favourite portable planars in there and my best bang for buck planars, EL-8C and PM-3, respectively. Nice review!
      glassmonkey, Sep 18, 2015
  4. Brooko
    Cozoy Aegis – Stunning sonics, but with some caveats
    Written by Brooko
    Published Sep 10, 2015
    3.5/5,
    Pros - Sound quality, build, form factor, ease of use, output power, cables included (versatility with sources)
    Cons - Power draw, volume issues (with iOS and Windows)
    aegis11.jpg
    For larger views of any of the photos (1200 x 800) - please click on the individual images​

    INTRODUCTION

    I’d seen many of the thumb drive type micro DAC/amps being featured on Head-Fi over the past year, but to be honest hadn’t really paid them a lot of thought – especially as most of my portable listening is done with dedicated DAPs.
     
    Then recently I was approached by a representative from Cozoy, and asked if I’d like to take their latest release (the Aegis) for a spin. Of course being the curious person I am, it was a chance not to turn down – so for the last three weeks I’ve been putting the tiny Aegis through its paces.
     
    ABOUT COZOY
     
    After asking a few questions, and also perusing their website and facebook pages, I’ve managed to glean a little information about Cozoy the company. Cozoy was formed in 2014, and consists of a group of hobbyists, engineers and financial backers. They have their own in-house designers for metal work, circuitry, and tuning.  They also use outside designers where needed. I get the feeling that this group is very focussed on bringing the best in both industrial design and sonic signature. It has also been confirmed that Cozoy and Shozy are indeed sister companies, and both display the same cutting edge clean and simply metal designs.
     
    I really liked Cozoy’s product design philosophy – and this is a direct quote from their website:
    “Cozoy's product design philosophy is to create fine metallic builds, with leading innovations on circuitry and implementations of cutting-edge metal processing techs.
    Clean circuitry design with minimal features that affect sonic quality, strong shielding on cable, sockets and the build itself are all implemented to perfect sound reproduction and durability of our offerings.
    In Cozoy we employ finest materials and designs, to ensure utmost fidelity and usability. Our team consists of specialists majored in industrial designs, acoustics design and various fields, together we hope to bring to the crowd audio excellence and long lasting designs.”
     
    DISCLAIMER
    I was provided the Cozoy Aegis as a review sample.  I will offer it to other New Zealanders to try after I have finished reviewing it. This is not a requirement from Cozoy – but rather because I’d like to give other people the chance to sample this unit.  There is no financial incentive from Cozoy in writing this review.  I am in no way affiliated with Cozoy - and this review is my honest opinion of the Aegis.  I would like to thank Cozoy for making this opportunity available. As with my other review samples – I have made it clear to Cozoy that I still regard the Aegis as their property – but on extended loan for review purposes.
     
    PREAMBLE - 'ABOUT ME'.
    (This is to give any readers a baseline for interpreting the review).
     
    I'm a 48 year old music lover.  I don't say audiophile – I just love my music.  Over the last couple of years, I have slowly changed from cheaper listening set-ups to my current set-up.  I vary my listening from portables (Fiio X5ii, X3ii, LP5 and iPhone 5S) to my desk-top's set-up (PC > USB > iFi iDSD).  I also use a portable set-up at work – either X5ii/X3ii > HP, or PC > E17K > HP.  My main full sized headphones at the time of writing are the Beyer T1, Sennheiser HD600, and AKG K553.  Most of my portable listening is done with IEMs - and at the moment it has mainly been with the Dunu DN-2000J, Trinity Delta, and Dunu Titan. A full list of the gear I have owned (past and present is listed in my Head-Fi profile).
     
    I have very eclectic music tastes listening to a variety from classical/opera and jazz, to grunge and general rock.   I listen to a lot of blues, jazz, folk music, classic rock, indie and alternative rock.  I am particularly fond of female vocals.  I generally tend toward cans that are relatively neutral/balanced, but I do have a fondness for clarity, and suspect I might have slight ‘treble-head’ preferences.  I am not treble sensitive (at all), and in the past have really enjoyed headphones like the K701, SR325i, and of course the T1 and DT880.
     
    I have extensively tested myself (abx) and I find aac256 or higher to be completely transparent.  I do use exclusively redbook 16/44.1 if space is not an issue.  All of my music is legally purchased (mostly CD – the rest FLAC purchased on-line).
     
    I tend to be sceptical about audiophile ‘claims’, don’t generally believe in burn-in, have never heard a difference with different cables, and would rather test myself blind on perceived differences.  I am not a ‘golden eared listener’.  I suffer from mild tinnitus, and at 48, my hearing is less than perfect.
     
    For the purposes of this review - I used the Cozoy Aegis in as many different scenarios as possible to test its versatility (even if some of those scenarios might seem ridiculous – T1). But primarily I was looking mainly at two main uses – an on-the-go higher quality DAC/amp combined with my iPhone, and a DAC/amp substitute for laptop use.
     
    WHAT I LOOK FOR IN A PORTABLE DAC/AMP
     
    I thought I’d list (before I start with the review) what I really look for in a portable DAC/amp. This took a little thinking, as normally I’ve not been one to use this sort of device.  So in listing these points below, I tried to think what the device would need to do/have in order to convert me.
    1. Be genuinely portable = great build and small size
    2. Be reasonable in either battery life or drain on the host
    3. Be an improvement sonically over the original source
    4. Clean, neutral signature
    5. Easy to use
    6. Able to drive both low impedance and (within reason) higher impedance cans
    7. Value for money
     
    Did I get all of this with the Aegis?  Well not all, but quite a bit.  I’ll refer to this list during the review, and report my findings as I go.
     
    This is a purely subjective review - my gear, my ears, and my experience.  Please take it all with a grain of salt - especially if it does not match your own experience.
     

    THE REVIEW

    PACKAGING AND ACCESSORIES
     
    The Aegis arrived in a beautifully simple white box and lid measuring approx. 120 x 62 x 36mm. The box is elegantly printed with the name of the product.  On the underside is a picture of the Aegis, a list of the contents, and also the specifications.
     
    aegis01.jpg aegis02.jpg aegis03.jpg
    Cozoy Aegis biox
    Top of lid
    Base of box

     
    Removing the lid reveals the Aegis nicely nestled in a black foam cut-out top “bed”.  The silver on black is really quite striking.
     
    aegis04.jpg aegis05.jpg aegis06.jpg
    The Aegis in it's form fitting "bed"
    The lower tray
    Accessory cables

     
    Lifting the supplied cloth tab, pops the Aegis neatly out, and allows you to access the hidden tray underneath which contains a black printed manual / specification card, and three cables.  The cables are:
    1. i-device with lightning connector to micro USB
    2. micro USB to micro USB (Android connector)
    3. full USB to micro USB (computer connection cable)

     
    aegis07..jpg aegis09.jpg aegis10.jpg
    Android, PC, iDevice cables and instruction card
    Computer / USB cable
    IDevice cable


     
    The entire package is practical, covering everything you initially need for the Aegis.  Materials are all very good quality.
     
    TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS
     
    The table below lists most of the relevant specifications. I have asked a couple of additional questions and if I get the answers, I'll update the review accordingly
     
    Output Impedance H/O
    Unknown
    Headphone Impedance Range
    16-100 ohms
    Output Power @ 16 ohm
    60 mW
    Output Power @ 32 ohm
    35 mW
    SNR
    109 dB @ 3.3V
    THD
    <0.1%, 1 kHz
    Resolution (max)24 bit / 192 kHz
    System Current Usage
    10 mA – 95 mA max
    Dimensions
    58 x 20 x 6mm
    Outer Material
    Brushed Aluminium
    Headphone Out
    3.5 mm
    Weight
    13g

     
    BUILD
     
    The Aegis’ build is (in a couple of words) detailed and immaculate. It is essentially seamless, so I think it is milled out of a single aluminium block. The detailing on the body is very fine, and the laser/CNC work is nothing short of amazing. The design itself is very reminiscent of the sister company’s (Shozy) Alien – but on a much smaller scale. On my particular unit, I would go so far as to say the outer casing is essentially flawless.
     
    aegis12.jpg aegis13.jpg
    Front face of the Aegis
    Rear of the Aegis


     
    The micro USB socket is reassuringly tight with all 3 cables, and the 3.5mm headphone out is also reasonably snug.
     
    When the Aegis is connected and mated to a source, a center green LED is lit. It is reasonably bright, but so far I haven’t been bothered by it.
     
    aegis14.jpg aegis15.jpg
    Micro USB port
    3.5 mm headphone socket

     

    Some of the other things I’ve noticed is how immaculately the top and bottom plates fit, and little details like the very slight bevelling / champfering to take away any sharp corners. Their overall design and craftsmanship on the Aegis is pretty amazing.
     
    aegis16.jpg aegis17.jpg
    Top of the PCB board
    Bottom of the PCB board


     
    On the inside – the PCB sits reassuring snugly inside the casing, and is a really clean design. The feeling I get is that these guys do take great care of their design and finish.  It’s quite reassuring.  I wish I could tell you a little more about the internals, but I can’t find any identifying marks.  I have asked some questions about the DAC chip and OP amps being used, but so far haven’t had a reply.  If they do get back to me, I’ll update the review.
     
    HEAT AND POWER USAGE
     
    Most of the time using the Aegis portably with my iPhone and IEMs, it rarely gets above room temperature, maybe slightly lukewarm to the touch. Using a digital thermometer, and plugging the 320 ohm VE Zens, after about 10 minutes the Aegis is running at a pretty consistent 36.4-36.7 deg C (this was plugged into the PC as DAC). Using the 600 ohm T1 last night, and after about half an hour, the Aegis got to 38.1 deg C.  Using the same load (Zens) – but this time with the iPhone 5S, the temperature was back down to room temperature (in the house today that equates to around 20 deg C).
     
    So the Aegis can get warm when powered from a higher voltage output source, and used with high impedance earphones/headphones – but it’s not going to burn you or get uncomfortably hot.
     
    As far as power use goes – my fellow reviewer Alex (Twister6) measured these a couple of weeks ago, and the Aegis was drawing 150 mA. Of course when it’s powered from a source like my PC or netbook, I’m not really noticing the power draw.  But from the iPhone 5S it’s a slightly different story.  Running relatively easy to drive IEMs, and from the iPhone fully charged – using the Kaisertone app – the Aegis was chewing through the battery at a rate of almost four times the iPhone by itself.  In a one hour real-world test, the Aegis consumed 18% of the iP5S battery.  Running exactly same set-up with the iP5S alone consumed around 4% of the battery life.
     
    So using these figures – continuous play with the Aegis might get me five and a half hours play time before totally draining the iPhone. This was not streaming or using Bluetooth either – so that probably needs to be taken into account. With the iPhone 5S alone – I’d get 20-25 hours battery life on the same charge.
     
    CONNECTIVITY, USEABILITY AND COMPARISONS
     
    iPHONE 5S
    For this section I’m pairing the iP5S with my DUNU DN2KJ – 8 ohm, 102 dB sensitivity.
     
    Connectivity couldn’t be simpler.  Plug, play – it’s that simple. The Aegis is recognised pretty near instantly, and output simply switches to the Aegis no matter which app you are in. Interestingly (or perhaps ‘quirkily’) plugging something into the iP5S 3.5mm socket immediately pauses the player and also switches the output.  But then unplugging automatically switches back to the Aegis again.  It’s pretty nice integration actually.
     
    Volume control is another matter – and one of the issues with the Aegis and my iPhone.  The iPhone doesn’t have the best volume controls anyway – with each volume control push raising or lowering the volume by ~ 4 dB (measured with the DN2KJ, SPL meter, and set 1 kHz tone. There are 16 steps to the iP5S volume control – so gives me a dynamic range of 60 – 70dB (between about 30db and 100 dB give or take). From mute on the iPhone with the tone I’m using, it takes 8 steps (or halfway) to reach 80 dB.
     
    Switching to the Aegis – using the same set-up – and it skips steps. From mute 1st push gets me to 75 dB. Second clicks me straight to 80. 3rd does nothing.  4th gets me to 86 dB. 5th does nothing. 6th gets me to 92 dB.  7th does nothing, 8th gets me to 92 dB. 9th and 10th do nothing. 11th gets me to 102 dB.  All up there are 7 usable steps, and each one raises the volume by at least 6dB.  In short – things get very loud very quickly, and with no fine tuning.  It becomes pretty much unusable with sensitive IEMs.
     
    aegis18.jpg aegis19.jpg
    Aegis and iPhone 5S
    Kaisertone app with gain knob


     
    The solution is to use a third party app like Kaisertone – which employs a really good gain control – and then you can fine-tune. This works fine with music already on your phone.  Not so good with streaming where once again you are limited to whether or not the streaming app has finer volume control. I noticed a small issue with streaming where I got a tiny bit of errant noise. It’s not major, and occurs seldom and sporadically – but it was there with the 5S. At this stage I'm unsure if this was actually EMI, or maybe more likely just a poor connection with Spotify. Something to note anyway for those who stream a lot and use iOS. I'd be interested to hear if anyone else has issues.
     
    Anyway – back to Kaisertone, my own music on the iP5S and directly comparing the iP5 and the Aegis output.  This bit is pretty subjective as I was doing the switching, and it wasn’t instant – time lapse of about 4-5 seconds.  I did volume match both though to try and eliminate as much bias as possible.
     
    I like the sound of my iPhone – as a portable player it has a wonderful GUI, and sounds pretty good. But after an hour of back and forth, my subjective opinion is that the Aegis sounds better.  It’s somehow cleaner, and more dynamic – where the iP5S is a little flatter.  Both sound really good – but the Aegis has the slight edge. To me it’s not a night and day improvement though – more a subtle one. As far as features standing out – the slightly cleaner sound could be construed as change in sound stage – but closer listening shows (to me anyway) there is no change to stage size, width, height etc – it’s more in the separation and space around instruments. The one thing I think I am hearing though is that with the Aegis, things seem a little more vivid / etched.
     
    NETBOOK – DEBIAN LINUX (STABLE – MX-14)
    Once again, using the DN2000J, but this time as a source, I switched to an older EEE Netbook 1015 PED with 2 Gb of onboard RAM.  Plugging the Aegis was recognised immediately, and with MX-14 was just a matter of selecting the Aegis as default sound card.  After that was a simple matter of starting Clementine, and playing music – so a perfect driverless system.
     
    Volume management was a lot easier from the netbook. I could use sound mixer to control the basic volume, and then fine-tune the volume through Clementine’s own volume control.
     
    Comparing the Netbook’s onboard sound with the Aegis was difficult, as my Linux install didn’t like the constant swapping of soundcard interfaces – so I next switched to a Windows 7 install on the same hardware where I could switch more rapidly.
     
    NETBOOK – WIN 7 STARTER
    This time, the Aegis wasn’t recognised (as I knew it wouldn’t), so I had to download and install the drivers from Cozoy’s site.  This went without a hitch (easy install), so it was just a matter of plugging the Aegis in, starting Foobar200 and selecting the output device.
     
    The first thing to notice with the Aegis is when using the Windows master volume control, I was getting the same big volume jumps, and there were definitely 7 distinct steps once again.  So the issues with volume seem to be once again within the Aegis itself. The good news was that again with the third party player (Foobar) I had much finer volume control (via Foobar’s inbuilt volume control).
     
    I should probably add here that compared to the Netbooks default volume, the Aegis is very loud with the DN2KJ – so loud in fact that ½ way on the windows master volume needed about -30 dB on the Foobar volume control.  The Aegis is indeed powerful.
     
    Switching between the Aegis and onboard sound showed differences which were far more obvious this time. The Aegis was richer and fuller sounding, while comparatively the Netbook was thinner and a little flat. It would be fair to say I really enjoyed the DN2KJ on this set-up, and one of the things I suspected was the possibility of impedance playing a part. As the output impedance isn’t known, I decided to play it safe and switch to my AKG K553.
     
    The first thing I noticed with the AKG’s was that there was an absence of noise with the Aegis compared to onboard.  The onboard can tend to be a bit brittle, and definitely isn’t the best noise free source.  It’s not terrible – but it is noticeable when directly comparing. The Aegis again shows its refinement and detail.  The only thing that I do find with the Aegis is that on brighter headphones there is sometimes a hint of a bit of upper end glare. Again we’re talking small increments – but the Aegis does remind me very much of my old Studio V3 AE DAP – mostly neutral, just maybe slightly on the bright side? Anyway – it is clear there is an improvement, and that is the main thing.
     
    OUTPUT POWER – WHAT CAN IT DRIVE?
     
    This was the bit where I threw caution to the wind and decided to try as many different headphones as I could.  We already know it drives most IEM’s pretty well (sensitivity aside), and the AKG K553 had no issues at all. I stuck with the netbook, and tried in order, the 300 ohm Sennheiser HD600, 320 ohm VE Zen earbuds, and finally my 600 ohm T1.
     
    aegis20.jpg aegis21.jpg
    Aegis and VE Zen - real synergy with these
    Aegis and HD600 - I'd also love to try the HD650 


     
    The HD600 had plenty of usable volume, and sounded very clean and dynamic – again a little on the bright side through the top end. The Aegis was clearly having no issues driving them though. Switching next to the VE Zen, and once again the Aegis had no issues with available power. For me, the Zen had natural synergy with the Aegis, with the smooth and full (slightly warm) signature melding well with the detail and slightly bright signature of the Aegis. Finally – I plugged in the T1.  This time I needed a lot more volume, but there was still plenty of headroom left.  The T1’s sounded really good – especially in the bass and vocal range – but again some of that top end glare was there. For my tastes (and I usually like a bright and detailed top-end), the Aegis has the tendency to accentuate a little of the lower treble just a bit too much.
     
    But Cozoy have definitely given us a power house with the Aegis.  Despite their published output specs, this little unit is able to drive even high impedance headphones reasonably well.
     
    FORMATS TESTED
     
    I tested the Aegis with aac256, redbook (16/44.1), 24/96 and 24/192 high res FLAC files.  To do this I used my main PC with the Aegis as DAC/amp.  In all cases, the Aegis was able to successfully decode the files without issue.
     

    VALUE & CONCLUSION

    I’ve really enjoyed my last 3 weeks with the tiny Cozoy Aegis. I can’t really fault the aesthetic design, form factor and build.  And the attention to detail in the styling is very good.  This is a really well made little DAC and amp.
     
    Sonically it is a very clean and clear sounding device – with a relatively neutral overall signature, but perhaps a little tendency to accentuate lower treble brightness. Or at least that is how it seems to me. When paired with slightly warmer sounding headphones (like the Zen) it has wonderful synergy, and I’d really love to try these eventually with an HD650.  I think the combo might sound pretty spectacular.
     
    Where the Aegis has issues is in its overall power consumption (with portable sources), and it’s volume control – which I find is the biggest drawback.  This of course can be attenuated (no pun intended) by the use of third party apps with finer volume control.
     
    Going back to my original list – I can say it has ticked my boxes for portability, ease of use, driving power, and improvement of sonics on the devices I tested.  Unfortunately it falls short on its power usage, and usability with default apps. So that really leaves the question of value. At the suggested retail of ~ 299 USD, the Aegis is not a cheap option. If Cozoy can manage to fix the issues with volume control, and overall power draw, I’d consider their asking price to be very fair, and would definitely recommend it to others.  Unfortunately with its current “issues”, it loses a little of its appeal to me.  A good offering, and well deserving of a positive 3.5 stars.
     
    RECOMMENDATIONS TO COZOY
     
    First up – find a way of fixing the current volume issues, and then drop the current output (hopefully this will mean less of a power drain). Nobody is going to be really driving very high impedance headphones portably anyway – so sacrificing some power output for better portable integration with the source makes a lot of sense to me.  Keep the form factor, aesthetics and everything else – the Aegis is wonderfully put together.
     
    FINAL THANKS
     
    My heartfelt thanks to Cozoy for allowing me to be part of the global review team. I’m really looking forward to seeing what you do in the future. I will be offering to send this unit to other Head-Fiers around NZ – as I’d like to generate more exposure to your brand in my part of the world.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. landroni
      landroni, Sep 10, 2015
    3. goodyfresh
      Neat review Brooko!  Very well-written as usual.  In this case, it lets me know that I definitely do not want to buy the product in-question, haha :p
      goodyfresh, Sep 10, 2015
    4. RockStar2005
      Great review! Thanks Brooko! 
      RockStar2005, Sep 23, 2015
  5. Hawaiibadboy
    Amazing little device to help turn your phone into your main rig.
    Written by Hawaiibadboy
    Published Sep 7, 2015
    3.0/5,
    Pros - Crystal clear clarity, wide stage, un-colored sound
    Cons - Not enough power for hungry over ears and an audiophile like bass presentation (not a con for many)

    COZOY Aegis​

     
    [​IMG]
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    un-boxing​

    [​IMG] ​
      Baycode, B-Dawk20, ZMan2k2 and 10 others like this.
  6. Baycode
    Cozoy Aegis, a DAC/AMP proves the saying : Size doesn't matter, functionality is important!
    Written by Baycode
    Published Sep 3, 2015
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Great sound quality from a tiny size, high driving power (even drives 250ohm headphone with ease),no EMI, very robust body, good-minimalistic design
    Cons - Overpowered and some hissing for high sensitivity hp/iem’s, power drain, some heat production, driver downlaod/setup needed for computer use
    _BAY4613.jpg
     
     
     
     
     
    What is Cozoy Aegis?:
    Did you remember Cozoy Astrapi DAC/AMP? Well this is the brother of it [​IMG]
     
    _BAY4639.jpg
    Aegis (right)
     
    AegisvsAstrapi.jpg
    Aegis (left) and Astrapi (right)
     
    Cozoy Aegis is a DAC/AMP built inside a small and tiny aluminum shell. The team behind the Cozoy Aegis is the same team as the famous Shozy Alien DAP. Aegis decodes natively up to 24-bit/192kHz on IOS/Android devices along with an advanced digital volume control algorithm.
     
    About Cozoy Company*: Cozoy was incorporated in 2014 with a simple vision - to strive for ultimate sonic reproduction and functionality. Our designs are crafted with selected metals of highest quality, fusing with leading designs. Design philosophy: Cozoy's product design philosophy is to create fine metallic builds, with leading innovations on circuitry and implementations of cutting-edge metal processing techs. Clean circuitry design with minimal features that affect sonic quality, strong shielding on cable, sockets and the build itself are all implemented to perfect sound reproduction and durability of our offerings. In Cozoy we employ finest materials and designs, to ensure utmost fidelity and usability. Our team consists of specialists majored in industrial designs, acoustics design and various fields, together we hope to bring to the crowd audio excellence and long lasting designs (*Information from the Cozoy official web page).
     
    About Shozy Company**: Consist of an experienced engineering and designing team Shozy offer exquisite products of exceptional design, build and sound quality. For years, the team has been developing audio equipment and providing oem solutions for various audio and tech companies, striving for engineering excellence and accuracy in sound reproduction. In 2012, the team decided to apply its expertise to portable equipment (**Information from the Shozy official web page).
     
    _BAY4565.jpg
     
    Features of Aegis*:
    High output with refined volume steps, suitable for iem/ ciem users.
    Isolating decoding and analogue stage from main system.
    Scratch-proof military grade CNC chassis for enhanced shielding.
    Maximized board area for circuitry, no functions which introduce disturbance to the layout.
    Cross platform micro usb input support.
    Decodes natively up to 24/192 on IOS/Android.
    Real-time digital correction with no audible delay.
    Advanced digital volume control algorithm.
    (*Information from the Cozoy official web page).
     
    A little about me:
    My age is 42 (as of this writing). I have 24 years of background in listening to music with quality headphones (I don't count the crappy equipment non-serious period) and I am a member of head-fi since 2004. I prefer neutral, natural (organic) and detailed sound with a huge sound-stage and good imaging. I am not bass or treble head. I can never tolerate sibilance and/or fatiguing highs. From new age to classicals, hard rock to pop, instrumental to electronic I enjoy diverse kinds of music types. For further, please check my profile.
     
    Availability:
    You need to check your local/regional dealers first because Cozoy (<--click the link in blue) will not sell directly from its web site if you have a dealer in your Region/Country. Unless you don't have a dealer you can purchase the Aegis directly from their web page: http://www.cozoyaudio.com/aegis/  
    The pricing should be around 300USD... 
    Please ask Cozoy customer service first in order to get the latest pricing because this device is very new.
    (EDIT: Penon Audio now sells Aegis: http://penonaudio.com/COZOY-Aegis?search=aegis  )
     
    For the Astrapi and Lancea I can highlight a seller which ships from China: Penon Audio. They have great customer service and very reliable feedback in our community.
    I also buy most of my hifi goodies from Penon but currently it seems that they stock only Shozy Lancea and Cozoy Astrapi.
     
    Equipments Used as a "Source" for This Review:
    I have obtained my Aegis directly from Cozoy.
    I am in no way affiliated with Cozoy/Shozy and this review is my honest opinion of their new DAC/AMP.
    For this Aegis review I have used 3 different sources and deeply tested the Aegis with my:
    LG G3 (D855) Mobile Phone, Samsung Galaxy TabS 8.4" Tablet and PC running on Windows 7.
     
    HP/IEMs Used with Aegis:
    Havi B3P1, Sony MH1C, Meelectronics AI-M6, KZ ACME, Koss PortaPro (75ohm resistor and Kramer modded, Canare recabled), Beyerdynamic DT150 (Brainwavz Pleather Angled Earpads), Philips Fidelio X2 (Stock Cable), AKG K7XX (Audio Minor Pure Silver cable).
     
    Aegis Package and Included Accessories:
    Aegis have a small, minimalist box design and includes the below accessories with a guarantee statement/technical specs card.
     
    20150818_102115_HDR.jpg
     
     
    _BAY4500.jpg
    Accessories are: USB to MicroUSB Cable, IOS lightning connector and Micro USB to Micro USB short cable
     
    Compatibility with Jack Types:
    Aegis headphone out (HO) is compatible with standard 3.5mm stereo jacks and you can even get sound through the balanced 3.5mm jacks (4 pole connector, tested with KZ ACME). Also Microphone bearing iem jacks are compatible (again 4 pole connector, tested with Sony MH1C). But you won’t be able to communicate through the Microphone of the headset. Aegis HO out is not designed to give a real balanced sound.
     
    _BAY4548.jpg
     
    Mobile Phone and Tablet Tests:
    I have compared headphone out (HO) of the LG G3 (D855, 32GB + 128GB MicroSD Card, Android Lollipop 5.0 - 3.4.0) with the Aegis headphone out.
     
    For tablet and phone tests I have tried: USB Audio Player Pro, Noozy Player, Poweramp (Paid version) and Hiby Music Player, Spotify Applications.
     
    Before the tests I always volume match my equipments by the help of a calibrated and scientific grade SPL meter and use 1khz test tone. I adjust the volume to 72dB.
     
     
    OK, here we go, compared to the LG G3 headphone out, Aegis has: Better clarity, more holographic soundstage, slightly wider soundstage, slightly more dynamic sound, better separation and layering, better defined (and slightly more) and tighter bass. I certainly prefer the Aegis sound over the LG G3 headphone out which really surprised me (because Astrapi and LG G3 sound were close). So I have decided to try something different (because this little fella whispered to my ear and tell me to connect it to a desktop rig :wink:  -Check the below photo- [​IMG]
     
    _BAY4545.jpg
    With this combo I was blown away by the sound! Unbelievable... I don't need anything more [​IMG]   (...at least for now :wink: 
    Superb quality sound that should only available through a desktop DAC or from a hi-rez DAP!
    Cozoy put some kind of "MAGIC" in this tiny device! Wow! Just wow!  Sounding so holographic with tight bass, linearity and details, separation and layering of instruments, imaging, everything were so beautiful that I couldn't resist listening the setup all night -in my bed [​IMG]
     
    Details for the above photo: LG G3 + Noozxoide EIZO-rewire™ PRO App (some tweaks for sound) + Noozy Player App + Cozoy Aegis + Audio Minor Triple Cryoed Pure Copper Interconnect + Darkvoice TH336SE (FitzMod + vintage Zaerix 6AS7G and Philips 6SN7 tubes) + Beyer DT150 + Brainwavz Pleather Angled Memoryfoam Earpads = Shivers Down The Spine [​IMG]
     
    I have to mention that there is a "con" for the Aegis which may "seem" to limit its use with amps (which is in reality not a con, read and learn why...).
     
    Aegis doesn't support a true Line-out functionality*** (***This is information is officially approved). Somehow I manage to get great details when I first audition it... So I thought that it have a lineout capability like Astrapi.... May be the songs didn't have enough bass department to make the sound distort at first trials... Or may be the pairing didn't cause that... But Aegis certainly distorts -the sound- when I try LG G3 and PC connections when I "max" the volume. So it is safer to use the volume lower than 70% if you intended to use the Aegis with an amp. If you're not going to use an AMP connected to it you won't be passing more than 20-30% volume because it is really powerful, even for an 250ohm full sized headphone!
     
    It is interesting that even without a true line-out functionality Aegis sounded better to my ears compared to the Line-out function activated Lancea (by pushing the volume max, which basically bypasses the amp section of Lancea).
     
    While listening to Mercan Dede "800" and The Neighbourhood "Alleyways" with Fidelio X2 Lancea delivered excessive energy to the bass section where Astrapi were slightly bright for my tastes. I found the sweet-spot with Aegis.

     
    While listening to Lana Del Rey "Born to Die" detail and soundstage were great with the Cozoy/Shozy trio but female vocals were best pronounced with Aegis and Lancea. Again, for my tastes Aegis took the lead. When I plug my B3P1, this time Lancea took the lead because it has given the B3P1 the fullness of the bass section that it craved from AMP's.
     
    The volume adjustments are easy on an Android device. There are more steps compared to most of the IOS player apps. On the below photo left hand side is the LG G3 headphone out volume where I prefer to use with B3P1 (direct LG G3 HP out). On the right you see the Hiby music player volume (sound matched) while using the Aegis in the chain. Yes, Aegis is no joke, un-necessarily powerful! I couldn't raise the volume beyond that with an B3P1!
     
    Screenshot_2015-08-24-19-49-25.jpg Screenshot_2015-08-24-19-50-22.jpg
     
     
    On the below photo you see the volume adjustments of the Astrapi (left) and Aegis (right). These are the levels of the volume when they were matched.
    This time I am showing you the Spotify app interface.
     
    Screenshot_2015-09-02-14-24-04.jpg Screenshot_2015-09-02-14-21-50.jpg
     
    The good part with Android is you have more volume steps to fine tune. Even if you don't have very fine steps there are great APP's like WheelVolume on the Google Play Store which you can download for free! WheelVolume adds a manual looking volume knob (touch interface) on the left hand side of your phone. Also most Android phones have interchangeable battery options and microSD card slots which iPhone doesn't have. OK, before the "stones" start to hit me from the IOS users I am stopping here [​IMG]
     
    _BAY4601-Edit.jpg  
     
    PC/Laptop Sound Tests and Comparisons With Some Other Portable DAC's:
    I have compared Cozoy Aegis with GO720 (headphone out used), Shozy Lancea and Cozoy Astrapi.
    I have used Foobar 2000 and Spotify as players.
    Throughout the comparison phase I have found the Aegis to suit best for my needs/preferences. Each DAC/AMP has its own strengths and weaknesses.
    Lets start with the Astrapi which sounds crisper to the others. Seems like the mid-treble region is slightly shifted on the Atrapi. Bass department has slightly more body on Lancea compared to the other Cozoy products. Also on Lancea high region were slightly smoother than all the others. Overall I feel that Lancea has more refined sound where Astrapi is more energetic and nervous. Aegis sits in between those characters which has the best parts of these two Cozoy/Shozy DAC's. Aegis and GO720 are equally capable devices to my ears. I feel that Aegis is slightly better for overall SQ where I found the GO720 to be slightly more dynamic (a hair more) and more powerful.
     
    While comparing Lancea, Astrapi and Aegis it would be easier for me if I tell you that Lancea sounds like a CKR10, where Astrapi is like CKR9 and Aegis is in between (best of both worlds) like the CKR9LTD!
    _BAY4588.jpg
    Top to bottom: Aegis, Lancea and Astrapi
     
    I have compared the trio directly connected to my Fidelio X2, Koss PortaPro, DT150 and B3P1. Astrapi delivered slightly more high region energy compared to both of the others. I have used Zaz “Les Passants” track for this comparison section (mainly, others are mentioned in the paragraph). For the smoothest high region Lancea took the lead where Aegis had a balance between the two. For detail retrieval Aegis took the lead (delivering better micro details). But Lancea was also very good in this aspect. For the mids department to my ears it was a tie between the three. Aegis delievered much more depth and dynamic range to the mids and general sound; where Lancea delivered the smoothest and most grain free mids and highs –especially for female vocals- (eg. London Grammar). For the bass section it was a tie between the Aegis and Lancea. Both have tight and good pronounced bass. Lancea certainly have the most bass out of the three Cozoy/Shozy models. Astrapi bass was not far behind for its quality but to my ears Aegis have the tightest bass followed by Lancea and Astrapi. I love the bass detail and texture of both Aegis and Lancea where the depth of the soundstage and layering capabilities brought the Aegis bass to a very great listening experience.
     
    For general sound quality I can say that a non-trained ear/brain can easily tell that these three devices sounds similar rather than different and belong to the same company. But I prefer Aegis because of the evaluations in the above paragraph. Aegis have some shortcomings which you have to face while using it. It doesn’t provide a line-out function and start to distort on very high volume (depending on where you connect it to, volume above 80% and especially with tracks that have complex passages and bass, you’ll start to notice it). Also Aegis produces more heat compared to Astrapi and Lancea. Also Aegis eats more battery which makes it less preferable device with the Phone/Tablet.
     
    _BAY4590.jpg
    MicroUSB port side of Astrapi, Lancea and Aegis (left to right)
     
    _BAY4594.jpg
    3.5mm stereo plug side of Astrapi, Lancea and Aegis (left to right)
     
    _BAY4596.jpg
    Side view of the trio: Astrapi, Lancea and Aegis (notice the clip design makes the Astrapi fatter,
    I really don't prefer the clip design and love the new approach of Shozy/Cozoy)
     
    _BAY4615.jpg
    Comparision for size: GO720, Aegis, Lancea and Astrapi ....and my cup of "Lavazza" French Press (love to drink coffee while enjoying the review writing process and it takes really too long for me to write down/shoot all those... So I'd better be with some coffee :wink:
     
    Between all these devices I love the form and design of the Aegis followed by the Lancea. The size, excessive heating and absolute need of an external battery makes the GO720 less preferable. Also I couldn't use the GO720 through my phone without the USB Audio Player Pro Application. The others worked great with every APP I have tried. Since I don't have an DSD music archive carrying a GO720 is out of question for me! I will take Aegis in every situation.
     
    OK, lets wrap the things up:
     
    General Sound Quality:
    Aegis GO720 Lancea > Astrapi
    ( A small explanation needed here: Well it was really a tie between Aegis and GO720. Also, Lancea and Astrapi were not far behind. These four devices are really capable of pushing that digital data in to analogue sound in a beautiful way)
     
    Soundstage:
    Aegis GO720 = Astrapi = Lancea
     
    Warmness (warmer sounding DAC takes the lead):
    Lancea ≥ Aegis = GO720 Astrapi
     
    Portability (size, weight; lighter, smaller is better):
     
    Astrapi = Lancea < Aegis < GO720
     
    Battery/Power Needs (Consuming battery of the source-Phone/Tablet):
    GO720 > Aegis > Lancea = Astrapi
     
    Heat Production (Less heat production is better; temperature of the devices measured under controlled room conditions at 25oC; values are "mean"):
    Astrapi (28oC) < Lancea (28-29oC) < Aegis (35-37 oC) < GO720 (42 oC)
     
    EMI interference:
    Aegis=Lancea=GO720=Astrapi
     
    Accessories:
    Aegis=Lancea=Astrapi>GO720
     
    Decoding Capability:
    GO720 (up to 384 kHz / 32 bit, DSD and DSD2 (DSD64/128)) > Aegis (up to 24/192) > Astrapi (up to 16/44.1) = Lancea (up to 16/44.1)
     
    Price:
    Astrapi<Lancea<GO720<Aegis
     
    **** Aegis = 300USD, GO720 = 240USD, Lancea = 179.90USD, Astrapi = 129.90USD
    **** Prices are not exact, may differ from seller to seller.
     
    _BAY4623.jpg
     
    _BAY4624.jpg
     
    _BAY4629.jpg
    Cozoy/Shozy Triology!
     
    Break Down and Evaluation of Some Factors:
     
    Value for Money:
    Hard to tell… If you want the best sound and don’t care to pay some extra USD then definitely Aegis is the winner. But if you care about the heating and battery consumption then Lancea takes the lead. I wouldn’t say one device is substantially better then the other (sound-wise). But each of them have some better strengths compared to the other. But if you need a great sounding device and don’t care battery consumption and heat production and if you like to decode DSD files then you are left alone with the GO720. If you need airier sound with some high region then Astrapi is great for the price.
     
    Love Factor:
    This term is new in head-fi (I prefer to use it). "Love factor" is very "personal taste" dependent and one should take care of this factor as a grain of salt (but if you ask me it's the most important factor). This factor summarizes my liking of sound quality, comfort/ergonomics, durability, features, aesthetics, etc. Love factor levels are: Poor, Moderate, High.
     
    So "love factor" for the Aegis is high for me! It is so high that I have ordered an Xiaomi 5000mah Slim Powerbank to attach the combo on the back of a hybrid LG G3 case (using UHU Patafix Gum stickers).
     

     
    I have also ordered a flat aluminum case for this purposes. If I want to switch to the Audiophile personality I will simply swap the phone cases! Thats all! 
     
    BTW: I am planning to make my own Y split cable. A shorter and tidier one will eliminate all that mess [​IMG]
     
    _BAY4641.jpg
     
    Do you know?: LG G3 is said to support up to 2TB microSD cards in the future. Why do I need anything more than my phone, music archive and Aegis?
    Add a slim external battery backup and an AMP with a fine volume adjusting knob, I am ready to escape from the city!
    If I want to go minimalist without that mess I can always use only the Aegis.
    I have many options to choose from [​IMG]
     
     
    _BAY4642.jpg
     
    Burn-In (brain/device):
    From my past experiences I believe (or noticed) both burn-in types. But it is hard to tell Aegis benefit from burn-in. If it benefits it is very minimal and hard to notice. Generally I advise 10-15h of burn-in for any DAC/AMP before making your conclusions. Mine have above 30h of use. PS: You don't believe in burn-in, then skip this section :wink:
     
    EMI (Electromagnetic Interference):
    I didn't notice any electromagnetic interference (EMI) during the review period when I used the Aegis connected with my LG G3. IMO, EMI shielding is excellent for this DAC/AMP! Anyone who is getting EMI from Aegis should have a very high SAR value phone or using a not so well shielded microUSB cable.
     
    Heating:
    I have measured the temperature with a calibrated IR temperature meter tool.
    Room temperature were measured from an aluminum object which doesn't produce heating and it was measured as 25oC .
    Generally the heating of the Aegis were on the acceptable levels. It didn't pass 37oC  during my tests and generally stayed at 35-36oC. But buyers should be aware that the device is producing some heat.
     
    Battery Consumption of Home Device:
    Since Aegis doesn't have its own battery it is expected that the device should drain your Tablet/Phone battery. I have to say it drains the battery fast. During my tablet tests with Samsung Galaxy TabS 8.4" this little fella sucked 10% of the Tablet battery every 30 minutes. So expect to get 5h of use with your tablet. I did the tests under these conditions: Wi-Fi: off, Bluetooth: off, No any other App use and screen were turned off. Is the battery consumption more than a GO720?: No. Is the battery consumption more than Lancea and Astrapi?: Yes.
     
    So if you intended to listen 30 min - 2 h of music with this device (daily) it is probable that you won't need an external battery backup. But if you intended to use the Aegis longer, you'll need external power and a Y splitter USB-OTG-Power cable to continuously run this device from your Phone/Tablet.
     
    Durability:
    Military grade CNC machining & advanced surface treatments are easily noticed and appreciated…
    I believe it can live for a long time (but only time will tell the truth). I also like the top and bottom parts because unlike Astrapi, Cozoy used aluminum plates there too (was metal painted plastic on Astrapi).
     
    Design:
    When I first opened the box hold the Aegis I tell to myself, oh my, this is a very good looking and robust feeling DAC/AMP! [​IMG]
     
    20150818_102224.jpg
     
    When I inspected it closer, I have started to see that every detail was beautifully crafted. General design directly reminded me of Shozy Alien. The groove(d) parts on the sides made it really easy to grab. The corners may seem sharp at first look, but when inspected closer it is easy to see that Cozoy treated evey side and corner very carefully to filed (or rubbed). So no sharp edges here… I love the fact that Cozoy didn’t include a clip on the back side. On Astrapi there was a clip and it doesn’t have much use for me... I like (prefer) the slim, flat body design. I really like the single green led on the front face which shows me whether the Aegis is recognized by the attached device or not (or whether if its operating or not). In general Aegis continues the minimalist approach of Cozoy.
     
    _BAY4566.jpg
     
    _BAY4567.jpg
     
    _BAY4574.jpg
    3.5mm stereo plug side
     
    _BAY4577.jpg
    MicroUSB port (notice the corners, finely trimmed)
     
    _BAY4581.jpg
    Back side
     
    Compatibility:
    Aegis is compatible with Android, many IOS devices and computers. It is recognized by my PC, Tablet and Phone faster than Lancea, Astrapi. Near no lag which I really appreciate! With the Lancea and Astrapi you need to wait for 5-20 seconds in order to get them recognized by the Phone/Tablet. There is a single con on this section: For computer use, you need to download and install the Aegis driver from the Cozoy Aegis web page. I wish it was plug and play for computers -like Astrapi and Lancea.
     
    USB Support:
    I could only get Aegis to work with my computers USB 2.0 port. No support for USB 3.0 port in my experience.
    EDIT: After the current Driver installation it supports USB 3.0 !
     
    Hissing:
    This part mostly depends on your system. When I try Aegis from my Android devices it was quiet. Can’t say dead quiet but hissing was not bothering me. But when I plug it to my Asus notebook hissing became a problem especially with high sensitivity hp/iem’s. So anyone with high sensitivity hp/iem should think twice before jumping on this great sounding device, only bevause of the hiss. The hissing levels are near equal to my ears between Aegis, Lancea nad Astrapi. So its better for guys on to work for this issue. But when I use Havi B3P1 iem, Koss Porta Pro, AKG K7XX, Beyerdynamic DT150 or even Philips Fidelio X2 hissing was not audible (unless you raise the main volume over excessively for some of the mentioned hp/iem's).
    KZ ACME and Mee AI-M6 iems made me aware of the hissing of Aegis...
     
    Remote Control and/or Microphone/Incoming-Outgoing Call Support:
    NO! Aegis does not support these functions directly.
     
    Guarantee:
    Cozoy provides 1 year warranty for the Aegis. Big applause to Cozoy for this! [​IMG]
     
    Specs (from the product page):
    Headphone impedance range: 16-100 Ohms
    Output Power: 60mW at 16Ω;35mW at 32Ω
    THD:≤ 0.1% , 1KHz SNR: 109dB at 3.3V power supply
    Resolution: 24Bit/192KHz sampling
    System power current :10mA~95mA max
     
    Aegis Size and Weight Measurements:
     
    _BAY4617.jpg
    Length: 5.8cm
     
    _BAY4618.jpg
    Thickness: 0.7cm
     
    _BAY4619.jpg
    Height: 1.9-2.0cm
     
    20150902_141443.jpg
    Weight: 13 g
     
    Final Thoughts:
    It was one of the "rare" moments that I got really excited from an audio device while auditioning the Aegis! I was getting great details, separation of instruments, holographic soundstage, very linear sound response, smooth highs, finely textured and tight bass, natural tones, overall a great pleasure to listen! Somehow the guys at Cozoy managed to put some MAGIC inside this little fella. And this is the first time that I feel a device to not only equal but slightly surpass the sound quality of my trusty GO720. I am really impressed. What I am now wishing from Cozoy is a high/low gain switch, less battery consumption and more black background device to work better with high sensitivity iem/hp's. If they manage to produce such a device that would threaten not only the portable DAC market but also the DAP market!
     
    Last shot!
     
    _BAY4582.jpg
     
                                                THANKS for READING/WATCHING !     
     
     
    Notes:
    1- Most of the terminology used in this review is depending on this excellent write-up by multiple headfiers: http://www.head-fi.org/a/describing-sound-a-glossary
     
    2- Specifications and/or color of the equipment covered by my review may change in the future by the manufacturer (without my knowledge) and these changes may not be reflected inside the review in the future (although I prefer to update).
     
    Subscribe : Baycode's Upcoming and Completed Reviews News-feed Page 
      Ritvik, Brooko, fnkcow and 3 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. landroni
      Thanks for the reference!
       
      I think Cozoy/Shozy are sometimes a bit slow to disseminate accurate info about their products. When Shozy Alien went live, different sites/sellers put it at 16/44.1, 24/96 and 24/192; of course it only supported 44.1kHz sampling rates, and that bit was added only later on to the product's main website: "File support : 16 & 24bit wav and flac files at 44.1khz".
       
      The Astrapi website says this:
      "Built in Digital Sound Processing filter at 16/44.1 [..]"
      "Bit rate: DSP engine sampling at 16/44.1, all formats playable with software support " 
      "***all files above 16/44.1 will be replayed non-natively"
       
      And their unit comes with no docs to talk of, so I guess the above is the official specs.
       
      As for Lancea, there isn't an official page for the product (is there one?), which looks like a strange omission. Of course I can't prove that it's a typo, but how many 20bit files have you ever encountered in real-life? :) 
       
      landroni, Sep 6, 2015
    3. Baycode
      @landroni , well it sounds odd to me as well when I first read it on the back of the Lancea box and inside the specs sheet. That's why I check the internet as well (Penon Audio product page).
      As I said in the previous post I will edit my specs section if it is a typo caused by the manufacturer (I have just sent an email to them). And for the Astrapi , there were no specs about the sampling rate on the box and I have used the values from the Penon page as well. Thanks for your notifications! :)
      Baycode, Sep 6, 2015
    4. voldemortnbk
      I'm interested in the Aegis very much because of its size. But my Fidue A83 only 11 ohm impedance, and the Aegis is like 4 ohm, so i can't find any small DAC/Amp with usb-size to pair with my IEM. :frowning2:
      voldemortnbk, Dec 30, 2015
  7. nmatheis
    Cozoy Aegis: Great Sound, Flawed Volume Control
    Written by nmatheis
    Published Sep 3, 2015
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Great sound. Battery-free. Small size. Solid build. No CCK required. Attractive.
    Cons - Limited volume steps. Lowest volume step is loud with IEM. Battery hog. No clip.
    CozoyAegis.jpg
     
    Photo courtesy of Cozoy
     
    INTRODUCTION
    I recently tested out a couple battery-powered DAC/Amp (Cayin C5DAC and Shanling H3) solutions and the battery-free Calyx PaT DAC/Amp with the goal of getting better audio out of my iPhone.  When I ran across @DJScope's post about the upcoming Cozoy Aegis, my curiosity was piqued to say the least! While I hadn't yet heard the Cozoy Astrapi, I'd read about it and the Shozy Alien and the reviews were impressive. A bit of back and forth with the Cozoy team fed my curiosity with promises of great sound that would challenge, if not surpass, many Amps, DAC/Amps, and DAPs. In short, Cozoy was confident that the Aegis would be a very competitive product.  Read on to find out if I agree with Cozoy's bravado...
     
    DISCLAIMER
    Cozoy loaned me a review unit. I am in no way affiliated with Cozoy, and this is my honest opinion of the Aegis. I would like to thank Cozoy for giving me the chance to test drive the Aegis, and I hope my thoughts prove useful for fellow Head-Fi members as well as for Cozoy.
     
     
    ABOUT ME
    I'm a 43 year old music lover who listens to a wide variety of genres and artists (but mostly electronic, metal, and modern composition these days). As with a lot of people my age, I've got some hearing issues - some upper frequency loss and mild tinnitus. 
     
    My portable music journey started with the venerable Sony Cassette Walkman and then progressed to portable CD players, minidisc recorders, and finally on to DAPs like the Rio Karma, iRiver IHP-120, iPod, iPhone, and the newer crop of DAPs from Fiio and iBasso. 
     
    My headphone journey started with Sony MDR e888 and Eggos back in my minidisc days. I moved on to full-size Beyerdynamic and Ultrasone cans and Shure E2 and E3 IEM. Those all served me well for quite some time. Then I rediscovered Head-Fi, and my poor wallet...
     
     
    SPECIFICATIONS
    Here's some information about the Cozoy Aegis from their website:
    FullSizeRender.jpg
    FullSizeRender-1.jpg
     
    Ok, so those are the specs and some of Cozoy's thoughts on what makes the Aegis special.  Let's see if I agree with them with the iPhone as the transport.
     
     
    PACKAGING & ACCESSORIES
    The Cozoy Aegis comes in very Apple-esque packaging.
    IMG_0001.jpg
     
     
    Open the lid, and you find the Aegis nestled in velvety goodness with a ribbon to remove the Aegis and also to lift the velvety holder.
    IMG_0007.jpg
     
     
     
    Here's the Aegis and accessories: micro USB to Lightning, micro USB OTG, and Micro USB to USB cables.
    IMG_0008.jpg
     
    So in all, you get the Aegis and some nice short cables for connecting to Android and iOS devices, as well as computers. And that micro USB to Lightning cable means no Camera Connection Kit. That's right, kids - no CCK! Can I get an Amen? 
     
    That's it, folks. But really, what more do you need? My usual gripe about the DAC/Amp manufacturer not applying a case isn't warranted here, since Aegis is a small, rugged dongle.
     
     
    BUILD & ERGONOMICS
    Here are the front and back of the Aegis. The small dot you see in the middle of the top face is an LED that lights up green when the Aegis is connected and ready for use. 
    IMG_0005.jpg IMG_0006.jpg
     
     
    Bottom edge of Aegis has 3.5mm headphone jack. Top edge has micro USB input.
    IMG_0003.jpg IMG_0004.jpg
     
     
    Here's the size in comparison with my iPhone 5s.
    IMG_0002.jpg
     
    What did I like? I really like the size and aesthetics of the Aegis. Some have likened it to a coffin. I'm a sci-fi geek and think it looks like some sort of awesome alien gadget. The HP jack is nice and smooth, but there's no worry about it pulling out accidentally. The micro USB jack is solid. In fact, I've never used one that clicks in so solidly as this. It's certainly not coming out accidentally!
     
    What could be better? In my opinion, the Aegis is just begging for a nice, solid metal clip on the back like the Astrapi has. You could always find some way to affix Aegis to your smartphone, but a clip would let you just clip it to your pocket or bag strap - easy-peasy. I know from interactions that Cozoy didn't want to include transport controls for technical reasons, but boy would they be nice so you could use Aegis as a simple, yet functional remote control for your smartphone. And call me nitpicky, but I'm not digging' the green LED and think a nice blue or white LED would've fit Aegis's aesthetics better, but who am I to judge...
     
     
    SOUND
    I used my iPhone 5S + Aegis as my audio player for several days, pairing it with a handful of HP (HiFiMan HE-400 + Philips Fidelio L1) and IEM (RockMaster IE + VE Duke). I threw in the VE Zen, as well, to test out driving capabilities at 300Ω, and it drove them without breaking a sweat! As usual, I listened to mostly electronic and metal. Below, I'll give my overarching impressions followed by some listening notes.
     
    As with my recent PaT review, I'm not going to go crazy with volume-matched comparisons in this review. Aegis provides a very clear and noticeable improvement over the iPhone's already good (but not great) stock sound without coloring the sound like some other DAC/Amps I've tried. It's a very neutral, natural sound with quick, well-textured bass, clear mids, and a vivd upper end that provides a lot of detail if your HP / IEM are up to the task. Soundstage is very natural, not too intimate and not that overly large, forced sounding soundstage we sometimes encounter. Separation is also very nice. That all sounds pretty good, right? Well, the best thing is the whole package sounds great - so natural and cohesive. Moving back and forth between Astrapi, PaT and Aegis, there was absolutely no contest which was best. Aegis won hands down with whatever I threw at it.
     
    So, you can probably tell that I'm pretty keen on Aegis's sound quality. Well, I just listened to the Aegis alongside my Fiio X5 and iBasso DX90 last night, and the fact that it kept up with (if not surpassed) them just floored me. I don't know what kind of voodoo those guys at Cozoy pulled with Aegis, but this tiny thing sounds amazing!
     
    Here are some rough listening notes I took when comparing the Aegis with Astrapi and PaT.
     
    VE Duke + Crystalline by Björk
    1. Astrapi has v-shaped, sub and mid bass emphasis, no mid bleed, harsh upper mids and treble, soundstage and instrument separation sounds forced / unnatural, volume steps are pretty loud (listening on 1-3), easy to connect, plug slides in very smoothly.
    2. PaT has slightly less bass presence, more mid presence, less abrasive upper mids, smaller soundstage, more cohesive sound, much more manageable volume steps, iOS transport controls, connection is a hassle (requires CCK), plug clicks in firmly.
    3. Aegis has slightly less bass, more mid presence, vivid upper end, very natural soundstage, cohesive sound, volume steps are pretty loud (listening on 1-3), easy to connect, plug slides in smoothly with gentle click at end.
    4. Aegis > PaT > Astrapi

    RockMaster IE with Brave New World by Iron Maiden

    1. Astrapi has even more enhanced bass, recessed mids, some sibilance. Surprising as RM IE are typically only slightly bass enhanced, slightly mid forward, and smooth up top. 
    2. PaT has slightly enhanced bass (much less than Astrapi here) but otherwise has similar performance as with Duke.
    3. Aegis is as above, bass is quick n punchy, mids are clear, highs are crisp, sound separation is good, again the preferred sound for an engaging session.
    4. Aegis > PaT >> Astrapi

    Philips Fidelio L1 with Well of Souls by Candlemass

    1. Astrapi again boosts the bass more than the others, making L1's bass sound a bit bloated. It's better for this style of music, though. Upper mids and treble edgy / harsh. Volume 1 is already getting loud, 2 is loud, 3 is definitely getting to be too much. 
    2. PaT has smaller soundstage but more controlled bass and smoother upper end. 
    3. Aegis has much more controlled bass, more detailed, vivid upper end without being harsh, great soundstage, feels less compressed than the others, just wish it had better volume control. 
    4. Aegis > PaT > Astrapi

    HE-400 with Plonked Spectral by Richard Devine

    1. Astrapi's bass sounds good here but mids sound muffled and highs are abrasive, better use of volume - listened on 3 clicks instead of 1 click, not pleasant
    2. PaT sounded better than I remember and definitely better than Astrapi due to normal mid presence, volume needs to be around 2/3 to match Astrapi at 3
    3. Aegis again takes the prize with more balanced, controlled, spacious sound, volume is just shy of 1/2 to match 3 clicks with Astrapi
    4. Aegis > PaT >> Astrapi
    5. Aegis competes very well against DX90 and X5 with HE400. I've always preferred DX90 over X5 with HE400. I think Aegis might've just taken over the top spot. 
     
     
    VOLUME CONTROL
    As you can probably tell from the listening notes, my biggest issue with the Aegis was volume control. It only has 7 volume steps, so unless you have separate volume control at the system and app levels it's very hard to get fine-grained volume control with Aegis. Couple this with the fact that the lowest volume step is already medium volume with easy to drive HP & IEM, and this is turning into a pretty major limitation.
     
    How does this impact your user experience? Imagine you plug in some typical IEM into iPhone + Aegis and get ready to jam. You'd better make sure you've got the volume turned down all the way. No, really - please turn it down all... the... way!!! Ok, I hope I have your attention now. So now that you've got you iPhone muted, click the volume up one step to 1/16. Now you're at a med-soft volume. Click it up again to 2/16 and you're at a solid med volume. Click it up again to 3/16 and it's exactly the same volume as 2/16. Click it up again to 4/16 and it's getting pretty loud. Click it up again to 5/16, and it's exactly the same volume as 4/16. Getting the picture? The volume just gets too loud too fast for my comfort. Pray you don't accidentally click up the volume button a few times while you're listening, or your eardrums may implode!
     
    This was a real bummer for me, and it will be for a lot of iDevice users out there, as well. There is a work around I'll describe below, but it's for music stored on your iDevice. I didn't find any solutions for this limitation with streaming services, which would be one of my biggest use case scenarios for the Aegis. If it wasn't for this, I'd easily give the Aegis 4.5 stars.
     
    So how do you overcome this? Well, the guys at Cozoy suggested I try out an iPhone app called KaiserTone, which is primarily a hi-res music player. At first I was reluctant, but I finally gave in and boy was it a game changer for my Aegis experience. Why? Well, KaiserTone has two, that's right two volume control buttons - Volume + Gain. I found the most effective way to utilize these controls was to set Volume to max and use Gain to control the volume. This completely avoids the large, discrete volume steps imposed by the Aegis, allowing very fine-grained volume control. But again, this is only with music stored on your iDevice and isn't a solution for streaming services.
     
    KaiserTone
    IMG_0009.jpg
     
    KaiserTone's Volume + Gain controls
    IMG_0010.jpg

    Oh yeah... By the way, UP THE IRONS!!!
     
     
    BATTERY DRAIN + HEAT
    I found it chewed through my iPhone's battery at the rate of ~20% per hour, so listen for a while and then charge. I can't see dinging the Aegis for this, as it is a battery-free device. It's got to get power from somewhere, and that somewhere is your iPhone. So, I keep an Anker battery pack in my bag just in case I go crazy and really drain my iPhone's battery. But on the plus side, you only have to charge one device!
     
    The aluminum case is a great conductor, keeping the internal temperature regulated for optimal performance. What does that mean for you? It means the Aegis will get pretty warm. It didn't get hot in my opinion, but you will notice that it heats up as you use it.
     
     
    COMPUTER USAGE
    I'm not going to focus on this in this review. As mentioned in the introduction, my intent was to evaluate the Aegis with my iPhone to improve my streaming experience and evaluate it's usefulness as a DAP alternative. What I will say is that the Aegis connected seamlessly to my MacBook Pro but suffered the same volume control issues, so I again had to control volume by setting a "static" system volume setting and controlling the volume with the media app I was using. This wasn't so bad though, as all the media apps I use have their own independent volume control which allowed smooth, fine-grained volume control. However, I was floored by how good it sounded. I think it actually made more of a difference with my MacBook Pro than it did with my iPhone! 
     
     
    HI-RES
    Yup, it works just as advertised. Other than that, I'm not going to comment on this since it can lead to endless argument over any perceived benefits of hi-res files...
     
     
    SUMMARY
    The Cozoy Aegis is an impressive little audio gadget. I love the sound and am floored by how such a tiny device can keep up with larger battery-powered Amps, DAC/Amps, and DAPs. I also love the fact that it doesn't require the dreaded CCK. The cool, sci-fi aesthetics are just icing on the cake (for me, anyway). I'd love to give it top marks, but the volume control limitations (despite workarounds) are just too glaring. There's also the fairly aggressive battery drain, although not listening for hours on end and keeping a charger handy will help. 
     
    Suggestions for improvement for the next iteration are giving us fine-grained volume control, which would solve what I see is a major issue with the Aegis. I'd also love to see a clip just like on the Astrapi. And if it can be implemented without compromising sound quality, I'd love to see transport controls like on the PaT. Give me those and a 256GB (or more iPhone), and it's bye-bye DAPs!
     
    Again, I'd like to thank Cozoy for providing an Aegis for testing.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. peter123
      Great review, I really enjoyed reading it!
      peter123, Sep 3, 2015
    3. Dany1
      Can you compare cozoy aegis to ibasso D14 please ? :)
      Dany1, Sep 3, 2015
    4. nmatheis
      @landroni: Yes, a gain slider would be nice but isn't strictly necessary. If Aegis started at a lower volume and had 16 volume steps to correspond with iDevice volume button presses, it would have been very workable for me.
       
      @Dany1: Sorry, but I'd already sent the D14 back to its owner, along with the Aegis. I'll suggest they compare the two and comment on it in their review of the Aegis. If I had to guess... Aegis sounded competitive with DX90, but DX14 sounded quite a bit better than DX90. So I think if I were to compare Aegis and D14, I'd probably determine D14 had better sound. But, and this is a big but, D14 is huge compared to Aegis and Aegis won't work as an Amp for DAPs (no Line In). 
      nmatheis, Sep 7, 2015