Shozy & AAW POLA - Reviews
Pros: Fantastic spectrum wide Detail, huge stage size, plenty of air between instruments, very good cable, fantastic treble extension.
Cons: Some notes can have slightly better body.
INTRO:-

There are only a few brands in the market who maintains products in every price bracket, Shozy is one of them. Based in Hong Kong and Shenzhen, they have some of the most versatile products, starting from the new V33, their entry level iem priced at $60 to their upcoming Pola 39 at $1099, they have products for everyone.

Their Pola is made with collaboration from AAW and is priced at $800 for universal and $900 for custom version, is one of the most versatile earphones in the market for its retail price. It houses one 13mm grapheme dynamic driver and two electrostatic drivers with a 2 way crossover with vented design for better dynamism.

In their words Pola is:-

‘‘A design that truly brings out the ES driver’s qualities’’

Powered by the cutting-edging miniature electrostatic tweeter technology, It employs a six micro gram, gold plated membrane held against a plate charged up to 400 volts. The electrical signal voltage is amplified up to 100 times via a built-in miniature transformer. The electrostatic attraction and repulsion effects induced by music signal triggers the membrane to produce acoustic pressure. Simply plug into your player and high fidelity music is ready to go.

I am reviewing the universal version of the Pola, which faces competition from the likes of Andromeda, Shure SE846, W50 and many others at this price. I will compare the Pola with Eternal Melody EM-5H, Hyla TE-5B and Nocturnal Eden.

For a short period of time, the Pola was one of my favourite earphones, read on to find out why.

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ACCESSORIES & PACKAGING:-

The Pola box has all the accessories packed in a good looking carry case. It contains 6 pairs of tips, 3 pairs of foam tips, 3 pairs of rubber tips in S/M/L sizes. There is a 6.5mm and airplane adapter below the cable box. No cable clip in the box. There is a cleaning cloth and the warranty card rounds up the list of accessories.


BUILD QUALITY:-

Build quality of the Pola is average at best. Other brands in this price range use more premium materials like metal or resins for the shell, but the Pola is made out of plastic material for the shell and the nozzle is aluminium, giving the nozzle a very strong feel, with “AAW” engraved on it.

The back plate has a nice textured look to it and is nicely fused into the Shell. The layer of resin on it gives it a stronger feel. There is a small vent on the body near the dynamic driver which give the large 13mm driver some breathing space.

The recessed 2pin socket is slightly tricky and it would have been nice if the socket was at level of the body.

There are two bores, one for the dynamic driver and one for the Electrostatic drivers.

If you opt for custom version, you can choose back plates and of your choice.

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CABLE:-

The Symphonym Tiburon UPOCC copper cable is of very good quality and I was not expecting anything of lower quality from an earphone of this calibre. Most of the Brands in this price range give cables which cost $70-100 on their own, adding more value to the IEM.

The 4 core pure copper cable lets the Pola churn out better quality when compared to lower quality $20-30 cables.

The build quality of the cable is very good. All the 4 cores are thicker than most $100 cables and feel very strong. The cable is neither bouncy nor rubbery. There is little to no microphonics on the cable.

The cable feels very supple and very little memory, there is no problem in winding the cable to our own preference.

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COMFORT, ERGONOMICS AND SEAL:-

The Pola is quite comfortable, it doesn’t have excess weight either and doesn’t fall out of ear easily. It is not the most comfortable in this price range but unless you have very small ears the Pola will not fall off. The little wing on the body gives it good grip inside the ear and feels secure. The nozzle is deep enough and gives an aptly deep fit, it isn’t extra wide and one can use most of the 3.5mm to 5mm tips on it.

Seal of the Pola is above average with silicone tips and slightly better with foam, it can’t stop very loud outer noise but will do for the average commute. If seal is your priority then go for the custom version.

CAUTION:- don’t use earphones where you have to be aware of your surroundings like driving and walking on the road, stay home and enjoy your music or at gym.

SOUND QUALITY:-

The lifting is done by the dynamic driver and two Estat drivers and the quality is outstanding, as good as to get its place in Headfonia’s recommended earphone for $800.

The signature is slightly W shaped but that doesn’t take anything away from the mix of things, the full bodied bass and well extended treble mixed with the huge stage makes the experience a delight for any audiophile. The tonality is very neutral with fantastic precision with the notes sharpness.

Burned for more than 150hrs, I am using the Plenue R and D for this review, the Pola need good amount of power and will not be easily out of mobile devices, thanks to the lower crosstalk values of mobile devices.

TECHNICALITY AND MATCHABILITY:-

The Pola with its 101db sensitivity and 12ohm impedance is not very easy to drive out of any mobile device, driving it out of a dap is okay but If you dap is not powerful enough you will miss the best of the Pola. Power is what makes the Pola tick.

It matches pretty well with all type of devices, it is not much choosy.

BASS:-

Being Drenched with BA drivers, trying the Pola makes my feet tap. The full bodied bass with its dynamism is a delight for even someone who demands bass thump from their IEM. The 13mm grapheme driver does very good with clarity. It doesn’t do anything over the head like the Hyla TE-5B and doesn’t fly under the radar like some BA based earphone.

I agree that the bass quantity or the amount of air wont absolutely please a bass head but it wont leave them asking for much more either. In other words, the Pola moves very good amount of air with a full bodied slam. The extension of sub-bass is deeper than most of the BA based earphones but is slightly less than the TE-5B, where TE-5B fails badly is with bass decay, that’s where the Pola pulls ahead with better clarity and details. The notes have very good sharpness to them, they don’t feel loose and the texture too is outstanding.

The Pola has slightly more mid bass body than the sub-bass, giving bass the required amount of fullness making it meatier and impactful. The slam, the air and the rumble makes the Pola's bass very enjoyable and sets is apart from the likes of Andro and other BA based earphone. The upper bass is nicely done with good amount of control.

The thing which sets the Pola apart from the Andro and the TE-5B is something which both the earphones failed to deliver. The andro takes the leaner approach with very good details but sounds dry, where the 5B takes other extreme with crap loads of bass losing the details and precision. The Pola middles that with near perfection, it has very good amount of slam and air, the level of details too is 2nd to none.

When you consider details, slam, air, body and tonality, nothing really strikes a better balance than the Pola for at around $1000.

MID RANGE :-

The mid range is delightful, the dynamic driver handles the mid range too and it does a fantastic job, the transition from upper bass to lower mid range is nicely done, there is little to no loss of energy in that region and has good amount of clarity. Yes it is not as flawless as the AF1120 or the Nocturnal Eden but its better than the TE-5B.

The mid range is nicely paced without being dull like the Fibae 3 and is not overly aggressive like the EM-5H. Instrumental distribution and density is as good as the Andro but the Andro has more forward mid range hence delivering slightly better transparency.

The Mid range is nicely balanced with the bass region without being much forward. There is plenty of detail and the huge stage size helps a lot. The stage is one of the biggest, bigger than the TE-5B and Andro. The notes have very good body. They have the required amount of thickness to them and are not sharp at top, keeping any type of sibilance at bay.

Vocals on the Pola are very accurate with notes depth and details, it might sound slightly dry because of lack of notes body, they have awesome decay but a bit slower decay and thicker note body would have sounded more natural. The vocals have very good bite, when I switch from pola to the TE-5B vocals sound dull and muddier. Both male and female vocals sound equally impressive, both have fantastic details and accuracy. Male vocals retain good amount of throaty feel to them and female vocals maintain good amount of depth and sharpness with them.

Instruments have fantastic amount of transparency and details to them, they have very good and precise amount of sharpness to them. Upper mid range is slightly lacking energy when compared with the vocals and rest of the mid range. It still has very good weight to notes. There is no sibilance to worry about.

HIGHS:-

The treble region of the Pola is handled by two micro tweeters and the result is outstanding, the extension feels endless and the amount of energy too is fantastic. There is plenty of spark to it.

The transition from upper mid to lower treble is very good but not flawless, there is a small dip but has very good amount of energy and details to it. There is the Pola delivers one of the most delightful treble presentation with plenty of details and accuracy. The huge stage size helps a lot with instrument placements and density. There is plenty of air between instruments and the layering an d separation is fantastic.

Let it be pianos, trumpets or cymbals, they have fantastic amount of sharpness and the finishing of the note along with the presentation is very good. Let it be the resolution transparency or imaging the Pola delivers like a champion. There is little to no complain about the treble.

The treble doesn’t shine out of proportion and does it work delightfully, the extension and stage size is good enough to bring smile on any ones face.

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COMPARISONS:-

VS EM-5H:-

Working around 5BA drivers, one for bass, two for mids and highs, the 5H delivers one of the most detailed music in the price range of around $700.

The EM-5H has smaller bass size and the extension too is slightly less than the Pola. It doesn’t have a W shaped signature, the flat signature of the 5H is loaded with details and notes are sharper and drier hence sounding unnatural. Level of details is similar, but the 5H can be sibilant at times.

The extension doesn’t feel as endless as the Pola. And the biggest difference is the stage size, the 5H is considerably smaller here, mind you, the Pola has one of the biggest stage.

VS FIBAE 3:-

Based on 3BA drivers the Fibae 3 has one for bass, one fullrange driver and one treble driver for the lifting.

The Fibae 3 lacks the bass body, the extension is slightly better, the notes are smoother, doesn’t have the attack of the pola. The mids are less forward and lack a bit of energy against the Pola, decay across the spectrum is slightly slower. The Fibae 3 is slightly less transparent and the lack of details is evident.

The stage size of the Pola is considerably bigger with width and height where the 3 has similar depth. It has similar treble extension as the Pola.

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VS HYLA TE-5B and NOC EDEN:-




CONCLUSION:-

When you consider details, transparency, technicality and tonality, nothing really comes close to the performance level of the Pola for around $800, it is fantastic.

The signature as I said is W shaped, the dips at the transition points are very marginal, if you can live with that, you have a champion at hand.

If you are in the market looking to upgrade from your $500 IEM or want more bass or better details or better treble extension from your $500-600 iem, Pola should be on the top of your list.

Thanks for reading, cheers!!

Attachments

Pros: Comfortable, balanced sound
-Premium cable and accessories
Cons: May sound too calm for some
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Shozy x AAW Pola: Classic meets modern

Shozy is a Hong Kong-based portable audio brand that produces various gears, starting from earbuds and IEMs to amps and DAPs. As they've been building up a good reputation and skills on their own, they recently started to join hands with AAW by creating collaboration projects. The first product was the Shozy x AAW Hibiki, marking the below $100 IEMs. It featured great sound and impressive aesthetics for an affordable price. Their second project was to create a great flagship IEM for a reasonable price, which in result came down to the Pola. Let's take a look at its features, sound signature, and worthiness.





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Packaging

Pola comes in with a simple paper packaging, though with quality accessories. Other than the earpieces, there are 3 sets of silicone tips, 3 sets of foam tips, AV adapter, flight adapter, leather case, MMCX stock cable, and a cleaning cloth.





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Earpieces

Pola houses a large 13mm graphene dynamic driver and two Sonion electrostatic drivers per unit. The trend for the portable audio market has now shifted to electrostatic drivers and both Shozy and AAW have joined this trend but with a better price. It's a 2-Way dual bore design, made with resin shells and metal nozzles.

The faceplates are finished with fascinating redwoods, which is another reason for putting myself into this IEM other than the ES drivers. Of course, custom designs are also available for CIEM options but in my opinion, this is the best looking Pola design. It has a recessed CIEM 2pin (0.78mm) termination, making it convenient to switch up cables.





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Cable / Eartip matchings

These guys seem like they've put much attention on the cable as well, including a quality copper cable made by Null Audio. Not only these achieve the proper performance from Pola, but it also matches well in terms of sound signature. Along with that, Pola is quite sensitive to cable variations and shows distinctive goods and bads in cable matching, so there's going to be a good chance for Pola's stock cable to work better than more expensive cables. Silver type cables may cause the lower end to sound a bit hollow, so I'd rather recommend copper types - unless you know a silver cable that achieves decent bass.

Pola shows a pretty distinctive difference depending on different cables and eartips. I found various types of eartips to work out well, though wide bore eartips (JVC Spiral Dots, AZLA Sedna Earfit, etc.) felt to be making the sound too mellow, so I prefer Acoustune AET08 or Spinfits.





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Sound Impression - Overall sound signature, lows

Pola's sound signature reminds me of a loudspeaker system. The overall sound seems to be distant to the ears but forms a comfortable, large headroom. Pola keeps the overall sound rather flat and calm, however without sacrificing the quantity and body from the sound.

The bass feels smooth and has a gentle punch to it. The quantity is pretty plentiful, however, Pola definitely aims for the opposite characteristics compared to Campfire Audio Atlas or IMR R1 which are known to have an aggressive bass. I'd say the bass from Pola has been ironed out to feel rather flatter and wider, eliminating the bloated surface from the lower frequencies. This makes it possible for keeping the bass neat yet thick in existence. It also increases the headroom size as well. The bass dives deep with good resolution on the ultra lows, but with controlled quantity to respects the overall balance.





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Sound Impression - Mids

The mids stand near the bass. It's seamlessly fused with the bass while keeping the vocals cleanly presented. Many IEMs nowadays make the mids bulged out from other frequencies, though that ain't the case here. Again, Pola keeps the surface level evenly as possible - an "emo flat" sound signature I'd say. Slightly meaty mids make the vocals rich yet balanced, making it ideal for both male and female vocals. There is barely any turbulence throughout the mid-frequency with fantastically controlled sibilance. Textures from the mids feel very smooth, and the thin strands of sparkles coming from the ES driver add a bit of sparkle and crispiness, avoiding the vocals to sound too plain. Mids on Pola have a natural, fatigue-free characteristic with a touch of fun that comes from the ES drivers.





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Sound Impression - Highs, etc.

Electrostatic drivers take charge of the treble frequency, just as a tweeter does from a speaker system. One of the most vivid characteristics from electrostatic drivers would be its extremely refined texture. The treble here feels like multiple strands of thin silk have been layered on top of each other, achieving clear resolution and refinement. As mentioned before, Pola aims for this "emo flat" sound signature and keeps its distance from getting overpowering than other frequencies. Though it takes a slight step forward from the mids, providing the silky, high-resolution pleasures. Electrostatic drivers also show strong merits when it comes to separation and imaging. It's precise, distinctive, and natural.





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Verdicts

As electrostatic (ES) drivers start to kick into the IEM market and manufacturers join the trend, Shozy Pola suggests another path of tuning electrostatic IEMs. I've tried the Jomo Trinity which goes for a very rich and vibrant sound signature, definitely leaving me impressed and meeting the current trend of sound. Shozy Pola, on the other hand, decides to pursue the classic style of sound signature. The characteristics remind me of the Custom Arts Harmony 8.2, though Pola uses electrostatic drivers as a touch of savor and prevents the sound from getting too old-school. Not only Pola is a hybrid of two different drivers, but it also nailed on making a hybrid of two different style of sound - the classical and the modern. If you're a prior/current speaker user or simply into this type of signature, Pola should be a great choice.



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Shozy x AAW Pola has been purchased by myself.
I am not affiliated with Shozy/AAW and none of my words were modded or asked to be changed.
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Tragic
Tragic
Excellent review. I own these and like them very much. Mine sounded pretty crummy at first, very muddy so I'd advise patience and burn in. Thanks for the review.
Pros: design, build quality, stock cable, bass, treble, stage
Cons: not universal signature (should be corrected by silver cable), size
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Last year, when Sonion announced their self-biased electrostatic driver, it was just a matter of time, until many IEM makers will employ it in their products. Аs it often happened, Shozy was the first company released such model. The first version of hybrid dynamic/electrostatic IEMs named Pola had rounded metal case, it was shown on few exhibitions, and after that, Shozy took a time-out and reworked that model using more traditional casing, and now I can tell about my impressions with this pretty unique earphones.
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Disclaimer: I got this IEMs with a discount in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion.

Pola's price is about $800, and you can purchase them from the official site: [http://www.shozy-hk.com/pola-1/]

Technical specifications
  • 2-band crossover, vented design for optimized dynamic driver performance
  • Frequency response: 10Hz – 100000Hz
  • Total Harmonic Distortion: <0.5%
  • Impedance: 12Ω
  • Sensitivity: 101 dB
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The package is pretty traditional but good: black cardboard box with Shozy & AAW logo, inside, you'll get nice leatherette case, in it, carefully protected by foam insert, Pola and accessories are waiting for their new owner. Besides IEMs you'll get:
  • 3 pairs of single flange silicone tips
  • 3 pairs of foam tips
  • cleaning cloth
  • 6.3 mm adapter and "airplane" adapter
  • cable
Stock cable probably deserves few additional words, and it's not just beautiful (one of the classiest cables I've ever seen), it's also super comfortable and has no microphonic. Shozy used regular 2 pin connector with recessed sockets, and I was once again convinced that it's the most reliable option. Shozy representative told me that pure silver cable improves sound drastically, but I don't have one currently. I suppose I'll update my review in the future when I get it.
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Pola is pretty "common" regarding design. I think you can get full impression simply looking at photos: nice wooden faceplates, semi-transparent dark grey shells, everything is already familiar. Only note: they are pretty thick. Big 13 mm driver and "energizer" for electrostatic super-twitter require much free space inside shells, and that causes increased thickness. After finding proper tips, I got no problems with fit, only esthetic "suffering" because of IEMs sticking out of my ears, but like any good audiophile I've been used to this for a long time. Earphones have pretty good metal spouts, providing nice insertion and above average sound isolation.
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Of course, all ears are different, and maybe people with other outer ears' shape will have some problem with fit, but for them, AAWozy offers a custom version.

Before we proceed to sound, two side notes:
  • They require about 80+ hours of burn-in to reach their full potential
  • They require careful selection of tips. I've got the best results with SpinFits and foam-filled silicones from VSonic GR01 accessories set (probably, Mandarines will be OK too)
  • They require powerful source with decent amp, capable outputting enough current. I've got the best results with QLS361 in high current mode
As for sound… Well, it's a Shozy. They will never make "mainstream" sound. Ok, never said never, so, correct version: they never did "mainstream sound" and most probably they won't. Pola is a unique, but not a universal model, it plays some genres perfectly, and some genres it doesn't play at all. With vocals (especially female ones), with properly recorded jazz, with classical music, they sound like the heavens for me. I like well-recorded pop and electronic music with them. Classical rock, blues, and blues-rock is also a total "win." At the same time, brutal genres of metal and poorly recorded modern pop is a total "no go" for them. So, there will be those who love Pola and those who hate.
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As I've mentioned above, Pola is a hybrid, utilizing 13 mm graphene diaphragm dynamic driver and electrostatic driver with 2-band crossover, so, it reminds schema, often used in speakers world: dynamic driver+"super-tweeter." So, how does this driver work? A quote from AAW's site:

Powered by the cutting-edging miniature electrostatic tweeter technology, It employs a six microgram, gold plated membrane held against a plate charged up to 400 volts. The electrical signal voltage is amplified up to 100 times via a built-in miniature transformer. The electrostatic attraction and repulsion effects induced by music signal triggers the membrane to produce acoustic pressure.
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Well, enough that dull theory, how do they sound?

Lows are a bit accented, but without crossing the border between "oh, that's a nice punch base" and "oh, my eardrums, they're bleeding!". The bass here is big, but it's fast enough to provide good resolution and nice texture representation. It's not a stable armature base, of course, but it's a base of a pretty good dynamic driver. Depth is also good, as well as control, so, despite accent, lows are managed to stay in their place and do their job. If I need to describe lows here in three words, it would be punch, body, and mass. As an example, I can mention Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats — Trying So Hard to Know. This track features real "tasty" big drum, and Pola manages to represent it in its full glory, you can close your eyes and got a total sense of presence.
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Mid frequencies should be defined into 3 parts. Lower mids sounds like an excellent dynamic mids: weighty, a bit warm and life-like. They aren't super-fast, but the resolution is, and emotion representation will satisfy you. The highest part of mids is also lovely: crisp, resolving and detailed, I'd suggest that it's a twitter's impact. For example, female vocal sounds impressive, with lots of micro details and realism. So "middle mids" is the part, that will cause the most controversy. This part of the sonic spectrum is a bit "smoothed," and because of that, Pola doesn't sound aggressive, and this makes them not the best choice for brutal styles of music. Also, Shozy decided not to do "typical" 2 kHz spike, so at first, they sound as not resolving enough, but after some usage, I understood that resolution is OK, it's just my brain lacking familiar "spike." The imaginary stage is above average in width, and a bit above average in depth, layering, and instruments separation is also good. Example track will be Postmodern Jukebox — Smell Like Teen Spirit, a really, really great reinterpretation of cult classic done in orchestral 60's style. Pola shines here effectively balancing between Alisan Porter's vocal and acoustic bass line.

I'm really waiting to test Pola with silver cable, as it should make speed even better and add a bit of necessary aggression, so I will update my review with impressions when I'll get that cable.

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Treble area of this IEMs is well-extended and offers an impressive level of detalisation, natural attacks and decays as well as good extension and perfect layering. For treble-sensitive person Pola can be a bit "too much," but I subjectively find an amount of high frequencies balanced. All said above means a great sense of realism for timbre-reach instruments and lots of airness in music. At first listening, I was overwhelmed with the number of overtones I've got with Pola, but after little usage I've found that enjoyable, and I miss this sense with other IEMs. As an example here I'll use Arena — Pins and Needles, nice prog-rock act with lots of trebles, impressively played by Pola.

I won't make any comparisons here, because Pola is pretty unique sounding IEMs, and I don't see much sense in comparisons like "well, it's different."

To summarize, Pola is a unique IEMs. I want to say: "Ok, everyone, go and get them, quickly," but it won't be honest. Pola isn't "one-size-fits-all" mode. However, I recommend you to listen to it if you have an opportunity, they are stellar in some cases, and it's likely you'll love them. Or you won't. However, it's a common situation for Shozy models, and that's the reason I like this company so much.

And a video version of review for those who like eastern-european accents :)

volly
volly
Love your reviews and appreciate the work you do, these look handsome AF! Will grab a pair very soon!
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