As with past Shozy products the Alien build is solid.
Is it gold?, is it champagne gold? Whatever it is: it looks superb.
An approx 80 grams of machined aluminum, very light within ones hand or in a pocket.
The shape which looks unusual and quite weird when considering the modern penchant for black square digital music players makes absolute sense when one actually holds it in the palm of their hand, it fits there well, it nestles there like a little baby bird, perfectly constructed for comfort despite the incongruous hard edges.
It was recommended to me that I get 200 hours on to unleash its full potential. And so I did whilst listening along the way. Certainly from blocks of playing overnight to the next day different levels of enjoyment were definitely unlocked, once I was around the 100 hour mark the detail was refined and the lower end definitely tightened up.
By 200 hours it had a coherency and was nicely balanced across my audible sound spectrum.
IEMs. I used the ATH-CK10, Paiaudio MR3, Campfire Jupiter, and Advanced AcousticWerkes W300AR IEMs to test it, with the usual variety of tips.
Headphones. ATH-ESW11 Ltd.Ed.
I described it as organic and accurate.
Rudi0504 - (The Shozy Alien Gold out of the box) as being warmer and more analog than the Shozy black.
The Shozy Alien Gold
I have no experience of listening to the original Alien black version to compare any differences.
The Shozy Alien Gold is easy on the ears, fairly neutral, a light touch to the ears, it reproduces vocals and instruments accurately, it is smooth but not at the expense of losing any detail.
The bass is full and fast, it has a good depth and fullness to it. It seems to reach down into the sub bass region. There is no apparent flabbiness or looseness to it.
Vocals are accurate and very enjoyable.
Guitars are very detailed, and individual strings plucked can be easily discerned.
The separation of instruments when connected with beautifully rendered vocals is one of the appeal points of the Shozy Alien Gold.
It certainly has a vertical sense to the sound, a nice background of bass and drums, the mids in the middle keeping everything warm and highs that stretch out to a point of lusciousness without getting sibilant or peaky.
It has a width, or sound stage that when connected to the detailed accuracy is very pleasurable to listen to in an analytical way, yet it manages to do this without distracion or inciting fatigue as such.
Therein lies the mystery of the Shozy Alien Gold, it is clear, yet warm, detailed but without fatigue and sweet extended highs that don`t peak past the point of enjoyment.
I could not pick up on any hiss with the IEMs I was using, it appears to have a black background.
Listening at levels past my usual volume (which is fairly loud) I could not discern any distortion.
Shozy Alien Gold and Advanced AcousticWerkes W300U
I find it to be a strange beast in that it plays back music how I would expect to hear it, of course my ears are those of a mildly aged non technical nor trained hobbyist.
- For a first example the depth, detail, speed, crispness and warmth of the vocals and the width of the music of say The Chemical Brothers featuring Mazzy Star on the track `Asleep from the day` leaves me quite surprised and breathless.
-Bauhaus - `Bela Lugosi`s dead` does not disappoint, all those subtle details, quite a cacophony of sound is tight, deep and coherent.
-The Smiths - `Bigmouth` - is light, fast and the magnificence of Johnny Marrs guitar is easily appreciated, and of course Morrissey`s vocals are clean and realistic.
-Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi - `Black` - is rounded and smooth, vocals silky and creamy.
-Lana Del Rey - `Brooklyn Baby` - Vocals are luscious, and cover the range of her ability well.
-Cowboy Junkies - `Sweet Jane` - Great drums, perfect vocals, nice and soaring melody.
-Mazzy Star - `cry, cry` - Soft and easy guitars, vocals well balanced to the background music, great clarity.
-The Pixies - `digging for fire` -The instrument separation is fantastic, vocals are tight, wide and detailed soundstage. fast response.
-Nirvana - (MTV unplugged) - `Dumb` Lovely presented underlying melody, bass guitar is lush and warm, guitars clear and concise, the vocals retain the gruffness yet have a clarity.
-Norah Jones - `Come as you are` - A general popular test track does not disappoint.
-The Cardigans - `Erase and rewind` - A good track to test for bass response and here it does not disappoint me. Clean, tight and clear.
-Mazzy Star - `Fade into you` - Perfect, perfect.
-Gnarls Barkley - `Crazy` - Fun, fast and crazy.
-Nick cave and PJ Harvey - `Henry Lee` - Low, warm and beautifully reproduced vocals in the best duet ever.
-Dire Straits - `Sultans of swing` - Nice, clear, defined and accurate.
-Hole - `Violet` - Nice and nasty, but quite listenable as on some devices Hole sinks into a wall of sound or distortion by the Shozy Alien seems to handle it well.
-Hole - `Celebrity skin` - Once again, noisy distorted and fuzzy guitars reproduced wonderfully as nature intended, not a mess.
-Wind and the Wave - `Chandelier` - Lovely vocals, sweet, smooth and emotional. Great clear accurate guitars. Wonderful clear and wide sound stage.
-Leonard Cohen - `The Future` - Nice gruff vocals, nice wide sound with a coherent melody underneath faithfully reproduced.
-DJ Champion - `No heaven` - The Shozy Alien handles this track like a champ with all its variables.
-Radiohead - `Paranoid android` - Clarity, clear and detailed. Soaring.
-Rammstein - `Du hast` - Powerful without distortion, deep and fast, great width and separation.
Iggy and the stooges - `Search and destroy` - fantastic fast fun, its a dirty track, but the Shozy Alien rehabilitates its recording shortfalls, somehow.
-The Verve - `Sonnet` - A great track for checking for clean sound, faithfully reproduced here.
Shozy Alien Gold and ATH-CK10
The Alien comes tightly and securely packaged within a plastic casing which opens to reveal the Alien nestling safely within a die cut foam bed, the underneath of which lies a cable for charging.
No manual was including which sent me scurrying to the internet for more information.
The Alien itself has an on/off center button and volume and play/fast forward/back buttons.
These buttons when pressed for a longer length of time double up for such functions as shuffle etc.
To load files one needs an external reader and a micro SD card as there is no internal memory on the Shozy Alien Gold.
Shozy Alien Gold Specs:
- Headphone impedance range: 8-32Ohms
- Supports WAV & FLAC File ONLY
- Supports up to 24bit/44.1kHz Audio Playback
- No Screen & No internal Storage
- Signal to Noise Ratio > 98dB
- Output Power: 2*55mW (16Ohms)
- Battery capacity: 1220mA
- Battery lasting: about 8 hours
- Battery charging time: about 2 hours
- External power supply: 5V DC
Handy UI hints
The Shozy Alien Gold does not come with a users manual so I went in search of reviews of the earlier original Shozy Alien in search of answers.
There are many more reviews within Head-fi that talk about how to organize files etc that I recommend our readers to also look into.
The ones I have added below were useful to me initially as they concern the basic UI.
-I have read that each Folder can hold 99 songs, as to the layout of multi folders please see the reviews/guides on Head-fi.
*As I am lazy and think simple is best I opted for one folder of my favorite 99 songs. Easy peasy.
Middle: On/Off. Done. Up: Raises volume, when held pauses the song. Right: skips to next song, when held skips to the next folder. Left: Same as the Right, just backwards. Down: Now this is a big one, because for a while, everyone thought it just decreases volume. But it has a few more uses too; here we go: First long press: Album repeat mode (folder repeat) Second long press: Default mode Third long press: Shuffle mode Fourth long press: Default mode The general playback is straight, not shuffle, so this was a pretty big breakthrough.
Here’s my understanding of the light on the Alien and what it means (per color): Playing: blue/green Pause: blue Battery empty: green Charging while off: red Finished charging while off: no light
*Thank you both for letting Head Pie quote from your reviews.
At around US$200 it certainly is at the lower price range when it comes to todays market of DAPs that seem to getting more and more expensive every year. Some of this is due to the basic user interface where most modern DAPs have a touch screen etc.
The SHOZY Alien Gold as we have seen is minimalistic in its design, it evokes the first generation ipods and also the mythical Tera Player.
In this day and age is there any room for a player like the Shozy Alien Gold with its sharp edges, original look and basic interface?
I would say most certainly that the Shozy Alien Gold is not made for the casual consumer, these units will be well sold out before word even reaches the streets. No, for the user of the Shozy Alien Gold what matters most is the sound, not is it good, nor is great, but is it fantastic?
My opinion after many,
many hours is yes. It is brilliant at what it does.
I love it, the sound is wonderful. As I am using it as a shuffle player with only my most favorite tracks loaded on it makes it a joy to use.
For those who wish to use it for full albums and the like, the learning curve of how to operate the Shozy Alien Gold might be a bit longer, but not overly so I expect and would become quite automatic within a short space of time.
Build: It is a well crafted, solid piece of machined aluminum, certainly it lacks features such as a touchscreen etc which meant it couldn`t get a full five pies.
Sound: Whilst certainly not in the price range of many of todays DAPs, the lack of many features and simplified UI have pushed down the price to make this an affordable alternative, one with great sound.
Features: As noted on the features side it is quite barren, no visible menu, nor touchscreen etc but the features it does have perform well within the confines of the concept and design of this minimalistic player.
Value: It is a cheap alternative within this brave new world of pricey DAPs, and the bottom line is that is sounds wonderful.
Overall: See my above opening statements, count me as a fan. Admittedly I use it as a simple shuffle machine of my favorite songs. If one was to use it as a transport for albums your experience may differ to my own. Its light, does not require extra amplification to sound at its best, works well with most IEMs and headphones and looks smexy and mysterious.
Thank you to Shozy for an Alien Gold for this review - expatinjapan.
Pros: Good value for price, portable, simple, light, small
Cons: Limited user interface
Shozy Alien review -
The Shozy Alien, contrary to how the name sounds is pretty simple to use. The user interface is primitive - on/off, volume up/down and next/back buttons. The design is slick and can easily slip into your jeans pocket along with a phone/wallet.
Now for the price of 200 USD, this DAP may sound costly but it also packs a punch when it comes to sound quality. As a source, the Alien is extremely sterile and energetic. It captures and presents the songs to be both detailed and exciting and resolution is comparable or possibly better than most of the DAPs from the 300-500 USD price range. I recommend this player for users that prefer a more reference sound and an extremely portable setup.
Bass is tight, controlled and fast. I like how it pairs with EDM and pop music but it might not make the best of the rock/metal genre.
Mids are crystal clean and presentation is mids/vocal forward. It's performance truly shines on ballads and acoustic genre music, where both the vocals and instruments are reproduced accurately and intimately.
Highs on the Alien might not be it's strongest suit, it has occasional sibilance (song dependent) but the details are presented with both precision and energy that brings abit of that sparkle to each song.
Overall, I think it's musical performance surprises it's price point and what I would like to see is a leap in its UI towards touchscreen, playlist and folder functions. With a more complex UI, the Alien could possibly be a killer choice for its price.
Some drawbacks for this player mostly stem from its UI. It only accepts microSD cards formatted in fat32, and it is unable to randomize your playlist. To some this might be a deal breaker, but its sound quality and portability definitely makes it a good buy.
Mainly I use this player casually for jogging and burn in. This lightweight is an ideal no hassle player to carry around when exercising and is almost no extra weight to bring along. It's sterile sound signature is great for burning in details and makes the end product more resolving.
Is the Shozy Alien a must buy? I'd say not, but if you need a simple DAP for exercise or travel it is definitely an ideal partner.
Cons: No screen, spotty FLAC support, no gapless playback, short battery life.
A screenless DAP. It makes you question just what is necessary on a media player, and what you want from it. I am currently listening to Derek Gripper’s “One Night on Earth”. I think that’s the album’s name. I don’t know for sure, and I can’t recall the year it was released. I also have an image in my head of the cover art…I am a little clueless, not because my tagging on my library is lacking, but because I am listening on the Shozy Alien DAP.
I have the gold edition, and like its successors, it has no screen. It’s a remarkably simple affair. An oddly shaped, block of aluminium in what looks like a rose-gold finish in my office’s lighting. It has odd little angular protrusions, and a simple navigation wheel of sorts that allows volume up, volume down, power on and off and next or previous track.
What’s more, I am listening to my albums as 16/44.1 WAV single files. The Alien supports FLAC, but it’s a little hit and miss at times, and despite not usually noticing these things, WAV appears to sound better on the Alien to me than FLAC. That’s right...I am converting all of my FLAC albums from multi-track affairs to single tracks, in 16/44.1 WAV as I load them onto the SD card. Why single track? Because the Alien doesn’t support gapless playback, and makes a teeny, tiny noise (like the drop of a needle on a vinyl record) between each track. I developed my own special way of filing them on my SD card in alphabetical folders (one for each letter of the alphabet) so I could manage a larger collection on the player. I could use .cue files I suppose, but I am a “full album” kind of guy, so I don’t bother. I discovered the Alien recognizes .cue files by accident.
I charge the Alien every night while I remove the micro-SD card, plug it into an adapter, and plug that into my PC to update/add/remove files. Yes, the Alien is not USB enabled, and so the micro-SD will not be seen if I plug he alien into the PC with the card in it. Yes, the Alien only gets 8 hours of battery life on a single charge.
Why am I still listening despite the lack of information and the extra steps I have to take to use this device? I have never quite heard this album like this. The detail is exquisite. Soundstage is wide and in no way disjointed or unnaturally flat. The tone is inviting, pleasing, neither sterile and painful to endure, or dark and stuffy. Its rich and organic. Yes, I am using organic. Its been thrown around a few times, but what the hell, I am out of synonyms. All of the albums I have been listening to on the Alien are getting a new lease on life.
I have spent several weeks with the Alien, off and on, and keep coming back to it. Despite its quirkiness, I love the sound of it. It’s a compact, powerful relatively simple device that makes listening to my music at my office a pleasure. I bought it with a pair of Shozy’s new earbud, the Cygnus, and the two work together exceptionally well. The Cygnus will get a separate review. I have also been using the new Shozy Zero IEM with the player. Those were thrown in as a special gift when I ordered the Alien. They too pair exceptionally well with the player.
The only player I have tried that exceeds the Shozy is the Aune M2 (which runs Class A amplification). I’ve been reading a little Zen literature lately, so I am going to leave this review right here. The Alien is simple, yet complex. It is extremely focused in its task, to the point of excluding any and all extra niceties such as a screen, USB recognition and an operating system beyond the amoebically simple one in place. It achieves its focused goal (beautiful playback, an exceptional listening experience) with great success, and I will likely keep using it for a long time because of this.