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Shozy Cygnus

Rating:
4.7/5,
Tags:
  • Open-ear Earbuds
    SPC Cable
    3.5 TRS Plug

Recent Reviews

  1. Zelda
    Brilliant Sound in a Super Comfortable Design
    Written by Zelda
    Published Sep 8, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Super comfortable; Cable; Lively sound with sweet vocals
    Cons - Plastic housings may look cheap; cable shows some (external) oxidation; lack of accessories
    cygnus2.jpg



    Website:
    www.shozy-hk.com/cygnus

    Price: U$D 90.

    Specifications are not available and won't be.

    For accessories, there's just a carrying case.

    cygnus1.jpg

    cygnus4.jpg

    Design & Build Quality:

    The Cygnus is a very nice looking earbud with its white and silver theme. The housings are made of plastic with a very smooth surface, although don't feel very sturdy, but are very compact and light. The shape is the same that was used on the famous Yuin PK series, and also Sunrise and old Crossroads. The cable is very good, braided and twisted 4 strand silver color. It starts to show some oxidation rather fast, but seems to be only on the external part. There's a proper cable slider too, but the y-split is just a short and thin plastic tube, which is also found on many IEM cables. It's terminated with Oyaide straight plug, which is a bit heavy compared to rest of the earphone.


    cygnus12.jpg

    cygnus14.jpg




    Fit & Comfort:

    These small and compact housings make the Cygnus one of the most comfortable earphones ever. Like the Yuin PK design, these earbuds weight nothing and are very ergonomic that practically disappear. The small design should work well for small and medium ears, although those with larger ears might find it tricky to get a proper fit for best sound results.


    cygnus17.jpg





    Sound:

    The overall sound of the Cygnus is very slightly forward and lively with very subtle added warmness at the central and upper mids. It shows a very good balance, speed and clarity with some extra priority to vocals. It is also a rather easy to drive earphone (though, sensitivity and impedance are unknown).

    Bass is tight, clean, accurate and well-textured. Not large in quantity but well present with enough impact when needed; the usual deal for an earbud, punchy and fairly linear. The VE Asura has a stronger bass response, while the Cyngus is still bigger than the Fiio EM3 or Monk.

    Midrange is rather neutral, slightly full and has a nice sweet and natural texture well matched for vocals. Very clean from any bass bleed with a natural sense of warmth, neither forward nor recessed in position and just a bit intimate. The mids remain smooth and liquid with a noticeable extra energy at the upper region for a crispy and sparkly presentation. The detail retrieval of the Cygnus is surprisingly good and very good in its price range. It works well with male vocals, but female ones can almost shine with the Cygnus, being more engaging and slightly sweeter and manage to remain free of sibilance.

    Treble is a tad prominent but well controlled and with good extension. The lower treble is a bit more forward, and it is also the reason for the stronger upper midrange emphasis. The Yuin PK1 is still smoother and similarly extended, but more source dependant, whereas the Cygnus has a stronger personal character regardless the source. The Cygnus manages to provide a high level of micro detail and resolution without sounding 'analytical'. It is a good all-rounder earbud, but personally I'd choose it for acoustic instruments over electronic genres.

    Soundstage is bit wider than average. Each element is well balanced, and maybe just a bit overly exciting. The earphone doesn’t require any kind of extra amplification. Hiss is not an issue either, but still not as quiet as the 150+ ohm competitors. The Cygnus pairs well with either a warm dap or amp, like the HM700 or FA HDB, which give the earbud a fuller lower end and better extension, or cleaner AMP-S, Cayin C5, X5 or PAW5000 for better details and accuracy.


    cygnus19.jpg
    (Cygnus and Asura 2.0)


    cygnus20.jpg

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    Final thoughts:

    There're still a few things that could be improved on the Cygnus, like some extra accessories, a better finished cable that doesn't oxidize so fast with a nicer y-split too, and the earpieces could be more sturdy than simple plastic. But, in terms of comfort, the first Shozy earbud is a winner, and the design is really very nice if you like a white/silver theme. Most importantly, its sound signature and presentation is what makes the Cygnus a great contender and one of my favorite earphones.
      peter123, silverak and natto like this.
    1. jant71
      Nice review as usual! Just a bit more bass and I would have shelled out for a Cygnus.
      jant71, Sep 8, 2016
    2. gprs007
      Nice review Zelda 
      gprs007, Sep 12, 2016
  2. ryanjsoo
    Shozy Cygnus Review – Why Must All Good Things Come to an End?
    Written by ryanjsoo
    Published Jun 10, 2016
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Charming tonality, class leading detail retrieval and treble performance, Quite balanced, Cable is perfection until it oxidizes, Quality Japanese plug
    Cons - Slightly muffled lower midrange, Slightly Bassy, Green cable issue, Thin stems can form hotspots

    Introduction – 

    They might be earbuds and they might be white, but make no mistake, these are no Apple Earpods, not even close. From the silver 3.5mm plug imported from Japan to the quad braid OCC cable to the mysterious NOS drivers, the Cygnus represent a testament to the bygone analogue era; offering a classic look and design combined with an organic sound that seemingly erupts with detail.

    [​IMG]

    The Cygnus is custom made by Shozy and is being produced in limited quantities due to a finite supply of drivers. The earbuds feel every bit as special as this would suggest, but are also the most expensive earbud offered by Shozy. With an RRP of $90 USD shipped, they are $30 dearer than the already fantastic Zero. This puts them in the same league as venerable earbuds such as the VE Asura 2 and  MrZ Ting, and whilst the Cygnus takes a very different approach to audio excellence than either, the end result is no less impressive whilst being far more unique.

     

    Disclaimer –

    I would like to thank Shozy very much for sending me a review unit in exchange for my honest opinion. I am not in any way affiliated with Shozy and will be as objective about the Cygnus as possible.

     

    About Me – Some background, Gear of choice, Preferences and Biases

    I generally prefer a slight v-shape to my sound, but still closer to neutral. I like a lot of detail and clarity, but can appreciate a smooth, laid back sound such as that on the X10`s. I prefer a more neutral midrange within a relatively tight tolerance, but I`m probably more forgiving of brightness over darkness. I`m not particularly treble sensitive and can tolerate large amounts without fatigue, though too much ruins the enjoyment. If I use a different eartip/pad/cover during the review I will note that and describe the sound changes.

    Read More

     

    Accessories – 

    The Cygnus is marketed as exclusive, finite and as such, very desirable. Unfortunately, the un-boxing experience is in-congruent with this description; a small cardboard box flips open to reveal a white Shozy branded hard case which contains the Cygnus.

    [​IMG]

    Although the Cygnus is adequately packaged, the overall the unboxing feel is nothing special.

    [​IMG]

    The included carrying case presents nicely, but mine was a little scuffed from transit. It is also far too large for the cygnus alone, also fitting a small player with ease. I would no doubt have gotten more use from a smaller, more practical case.

    [​IMG]

    The Cygnus comes equipped with a set of donut foams but no more are provided. Obviously for $90 USD I would have like a bit more, even the $5 VE Monk comes with 4 sets of foams! The stock foams are a thin, more rubbery variety that fit very tightly over the housings and luckily, they`ve worn well over my past month of ownership.

    Overall, these complaints aren`t too major. Foam covers and hard cases are as cheap as it gets on Aliexpress but It would have been nice for Shozy to include more accessories. I can understand that, being custom made, the Cygnus is a little more expensive to produce, it just would have added so much more to the experience if the packaging and accessories were more convincing.

    [​IMG]

    On recommendation I did give the Cygnus a try with Hiegi foams and deciding between Hiegi and stock foams was a tough decision. I did notice that they produce a clearer, more excited sound, with a little more midrange detail and clarity in general. The mids are flatter and the bass quality is slightly improved too, with increased definition and tightness. Unfortunately, low and mid-bass becomes overbearing with the added seal provided by the Hiegi`s. The stock foams by comparison, produce the more typical analogue sound we`ve come to expect from Shozy. There is still plenty of detail but bass is far more balanced whilst the mids are just a hair darker. So it`s a tough call, but I use the stock foams in most scenarios, the Cygnus loses a bit of its analogue charm and the bass is overbearing with the Hiegi`s.

    Of note, the Hiegi foams can be purchased for $3.90 (for a dozen) at penonaudio and are somewhat of a Sony hybrid/Spinfit of the earbud world. They`re definitely worth a look if you`re searching for more clarity and bass extension from your earbuds, but I don`t think they are a good match for the already bassy Cygnus.

     

    Design – 

    The housings are far smaller than almost all other earbuds, the EM3 and Tomahawk included. They employ the Yuin style housings that I personally find very comfortable.

    [​IMG]

    Combined with the light cable, the Cygnus is actually one of the most comfortable earbuds I`ve used; I can wear it for hours without fatigue. If I had one complaint with comfort, it would be the stems.

    [​IMG]

    You can see that the stems are a little thin, they do dig into my ears a little over time. This is not something Shozy could have changed, but something that buyers should consider when looking into the Cygnus. If you have no issue with Yuin buds and equivalents then you won`t have any problems with the Cygnus. I also get hotspots from the stems on my Tomahawks, but the elevated stems of the Fiio EM3 and flatter VE Monk+ housing avoids this problem entirely though at the cost of a little stability. The Cygnus sits very steadily in my ears with a deeper than normal fit for an earbud and thus a very consistent seal.

    [​IMG]

    The finish of the housings is actually really nice. They`re a very unorthodox frosted white with a strong matte texture that feels tactile and pleasant in general. Like the Monk+, the Cygnus employs a typical design in an atypical fashion and the end result is very pleasing, perhaps even unique.

    [​IMG]




    I would not consider the Cygnus poorly designed, lazy or generic for a second, it`s quite the opposite; the Cygnus inspires awe and exhumes an air of quality. I didn`t notice any staining of the white housings during my testing nor have I heard reports of discoloration on Head-fi.

    [​IMG]

    Perhaps the biggest highlight of the Cygnus`s build is its cable. Most earphones get the cable so wrong, but Shozy have gotten it so right with the Cygnus. The cable is among the best I`ve used, impossibly supple with absolutely no memory, it`s almost perfect. The cable is braided for reduced crosstalk and increased shielding, it has a great texture and looks absolutely amazing. The weak seal and loose braid produce absolutely no microphonics which is a nice break coming from cable down in ears. You`ll notice I said almost perfect, this is because it`s pretty common for the cable to turn green over time due to oxidation. After just two weeks, mine started oxidizing which is disappointing, although it doesn`t affect the sound. I did notice that the oxidization is coming from both ends of the cable. Despite the Cygnus`s price, the cable is no worse than the Westone epic cable or Logitech UE900 cable, in fact it`s much softer than both. Other reviewers weren`t lying when they likened it to a CIEM cable.

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    The jack is also a focus for Shozy. It`s a Oyaide style plug imported from Japan with the Shozy insignia laser etched into its surface. It`s gold-plated, knurled for easy gripping and case friendly, no complaints here either, very classy. It has transparent heat shrink strain-relief similar to Effect Audio cables which seems effective and resilient. The lustre really adds some impact to the look complimenting the cable well.

    [​IMG]

    The Y-split is actually just heatshrink, not bad, not great. It`s low profile and actually stronger than conventional casings that terminate the wires and then split the channels. There`s a largish chin slider which is luckily quite light, avoiding intrusion.

    [​IMG]

    The build is well considered on a whole. The housings are ergonomic and the finish is brilliant but the greening cable is a worry.

     

    Sound – 

    Shozy has employed NOS drivers from the 1990`s to achieve a unique sound akin to an open flame, warm and dynamic with plenty of pop. Just for reference, “NOS” simply translates to “new old stock”, drivers that were never released for sale. It`s quite a romantic notion that Shozy stumbled upon such a Goldilocks stock driver, but a rep has stated that they are responsible for more than just transplanting the drivers, so Shozy might be doing some additional tuning to achieve their desired sound.

    Speaking of sound, the Cygnus do not disappoint. They more or less abide to Shozy`s house sound, slightly V-shaped but balanced on a whole with just a little more body to the low end and a little more sparkle up top. They`re more balanced than the Zero from my experience and the tonality is very charming overall with very realistic timbre. The Cygnus has a very neutral sub-bass response for an earbud paired with mildly boosted mid and upper bass responses that slightly warm the lower midrange. The added body of the lower mids is very nice, similar to Westone`s tuning, providing great vocal presence without sounding forwards. This is complimented by an upper midrange that has surprising clarity and presence. At first I thought  the Cygnus sounded a bit dark, but they`ve really opened up, they don`t sound dark even compared to the MrZ Tomahawk or my Sennheiser ie800`s. That`s not to say that they are a bright earphone, the Cygnus is rather slightly darker than neutral, but female vocals have great intelligibility and don`t sound dull for an instant.

    [​IMG]

    Like the Zero, I initially thought the soundstage was quite intimate, but as much as I hate to say it, after 200 hours of burn-in, the soundstage has plenty of space. It`s very similar to the VE Monk+, except with more width and a little more depth too. The sound does push instruments more to the side than to the centre and podcasts can sound a little diffuse, but music sounds very open with impeccable separation. Imaging is also pretty great, but I think the Tomahawk`s sound a little more coherent on a whole.

    Golov was kind enough to measure the impedance of the Cygnus which turned out to be 18 ohms, quite low but high enough to avoid excessive output impedance swing. The Earbuds sound great from any source, they`re a little darker and rolled off from my HTC M8 as opposed to my e17k, but remain almost equally detailed. They are very sensitive, perhaps the most sensitive earbud I own and user`s will have no problems achieving high volumes from conventional portable sources.

    Bass – 

    The bass response is decently linear but moderately boosted overall, a little less than the VE Monk+ but more than the Tomahawks. The bass is more linear than the Fiio EM3, VE Monk+ and Baldoor E100, only the Tomahawk offers similar balance throughout the spectrum. The linear nature of the boost results in no loss of definition and the bass sounds amazingly textured as a result, more so than even the MrZ Tomahawk and Baldoor E100. The Tomahawk does have a slightly faster response, but the mild-boost and increase texture of the Cygnus is often more enjoyable. The response is still very fast, the Tomahawk`s are just exception and bass notes are portrayed in a very punchy manner. Unlike the Tomahawk`s however, there is surprising impact as well, yet both have a little more sub-bass for a bit of added fun. This could be due to the Cygnus`s impressive extension for an earbud, a little better than even the Tomahawk but I did find the E100 rolls off a little less.

    As the boost is mild, there is very little flab and bloat to the bass, keeping up with complex bass lines with ease. This also results in negligible midrange spill, the bass remains impressively separated from the mids despite the boost. I never found the bass response to be excessive nor anemic, it`s well balanced with the rest of the sound and quite versatile. I think it holds up well to earphones well above it`s price range and outclasses any earbud priced below, the Cygnus performs more than well enough to justify it`s price and that`s before the sublime midrange coming up next.

    Mids – 

    The midrange is the most unique part of the Cygnus, slightly warm, full-bodied with abundant detail and clarity. Shozy have done a great job tuning the NOS drivers in the Cygnus, the midrange is so smooth yet detailed, it`s a very nice presentation. Whilst the considerably brighter MrZ Tomahawks do have more midrange clarity, I wouldn`t hesitate to say that the Cygnus is more detailed. Whilst most high-end iems will offer more detail due to a better seal and isolation, the Cygnus are the most detailed earbuds I`ve listened to, my Westone W30`s aren`t that far ahead. The full-bodied lower midrange grants male vocals a very nice tone but speech can sound just a tad muffled when watching movies. In music, this subtle boost is very satisfying, making for an engaging listen however.

    In addition, the upper midrange is quite neutral with plenty of presence and a lot of clarity. I don`t miss those small intricacies that other earbuds skip over with the Cygnus, it picks up nuances that even the Tomahawk skips over. The upper midrange is conversely very slightly thin, but vocals don`t sound raspy. If I had one caveat with the Zero, it was that the midrange was ever so slightly dark and a little thick sounding, the Cygnus by comparison has none of those problems.

    So the midrange is actually surprisingly linear, like the bass, more so than the Zero and almost inverse to the Tomahawks, with a little more lower midrange instead of brightness. They aren`t as forward as the Tomahawk`s however, and for my preferences, the midrange actually sounds more inline with the bass and treble. You`ll need no time to adjust to the sound of the Cygnus unless you frequent bright earphones. It works with pretty much any genre, smooth enough for jazz and hip-hop but also raw enough for rock and electronic.

    Treble – 

    The Cygnus`s treble performs very well. For starters, It`s very extended, perhaps the most extension I`ve heard from an earbud. Again, it`s very slightly sculpted with a little more sparkle up top. There is plenty of body and texture to the treble with cymbals sounding like cymbals and high-hats avoiding woodsticks phenomena.

    I didn`t detect any roll-off in the highs and detail retrieval is as equally impressive as the midrange. The treble response is better than that of the Tomahawk`s in every way; smoother, more extended and a lot more detailed. It`s a genuinely convincing treble response with plenty of sparkle and air when needed. This is aided by the impressive soundstage width that well compliments the airy response. It`s the treble in particular that sets the Cygnus apart from the Zero, I found the treble response so much more extended and textured, it`s almost as good as my Westone W30`s which cost over 4 times as much, so that`s quite a statement.

     

    Verdict – 

    The Cygnus builds upon the strengths of the Zero, taking your audio listening experience to the next level. Whilst the price is a little less inviting and the earbud form factor is less versatile, the Cygnus rewards buyers with exemplary audio performance and a genuinely charming tonality. The Cygnus just provides that extra layer of separation and airiness to the sound, something that prevented the Zero from being Top Tier, creating a much more satisfying presentation. It also holds many advantages over other earbuds.

    [​IMG]

    The main comparison I touched upon was the MrZ Tomahawk, an earbud that I liked immensely (and also one that`s about half the price), but the Cygnus is undeniably superior. It`s a little more balanced, more textured and far more detailed.

    Accessories – 3/10, Not great, the unboxing experience is comme ci comme ca, comes with enough to get you started but that`s it. I would recommend promptly purchasing a smaller carry case and a bulk pack of foams.

    Design – 9.5/10, The build is a standout feature for sure. With that wonderful quad braid cable and silver plug complimenting the impossibly comfortable housings, the Cygnus is ergonomically brilliant. If not for the greening cable issue, the Cygnus would easily get a perfect score.

     

    Bass – 7.5/10, Obviously not as extended as the Zero or most iems for that matter, but the bass response is incredibly textured and very punchy. Linear and without flab or bloat, bass notes hit with great precision.

    Mids – 8/10, The midrange has such a pleasing tonality, much like the W30`s, neutral but just sculpted enough to present uniquely. With plenty of detail and clarity, the Cygnus achieves unmatched midrange quality for an earbud, besting many iems as well.

    Treble – 8.75/10, The treble response is fantastic, easily the most detailed, extended treble response I`ve heard from an earbud. Texturing and body are also represented avoiding fatigue and sibilance.

    Soundstage, Imaging and Separation – 9/10, Separation might just be the best I`ve heard from any earbud as the sound is less forward than the Tomahawks, though space is not class-leading. The Tomahawks have more precise imaging and placement, though the Cygnus impresses with great soundstage width and good depth.

    Value – 8/10, Although the Cygnus is very expensive for an earbud and also more expensive than the Zero, it performs as well as the price differences would suggest; I don`t get any sense of diminishing returns here. I also compared the Cygnus to my Westone W30`s, an earphone that costs $400, over 4 times that of the Cygnus and found that their midrange and in particular treble performances were not all that different. In that sense the Cygnus can be considered to be great, but not outstanding value.

    Verdict – 9.5/10, The Cygnus is a fantastic piece of audio equipment. I fully acknowledge that earbuds might not be for everyone, but give the Cygnus a try and I have a hard time believing you won`t at least want to give them a go. The looks of the earbud can`t be faulted nor can the build. Ultimately the Cygnus strikes with precision and poise, inciting exhilaration through it`s punchy bass performance, organic midrange and etheral treble. The tonality is brilliant, but the quality of the sound is also up there with the best. Get it whilst you can because the Cygnus is sure to run out fast!

     

    Thanks for Reading! This review was taken from my blog, please have a look there for guides, general articles, experiments and more reviews like this:

    https://everydaylisteningblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/10/shozy-cygnus-review-why-must-all-good-things-come-to-an-end/

     

      bhima and silverak like this.
  3. fleasbaby
    Dirty Princess...
    Written by fleasbaby
    Published May 19, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Detailed, non-fatiguing, pleasing sound signature, easy to drive.
    Cons - White, white, white. Limited availability
    This might be a lackluster review from me. This happens sometimes. I get overwhelmed with new products, and as a result, they all become a hodgepodge of different objects that do the same thing for me…it becomes harder to see the standouts in the crowd.
     
    Bear with me, though. Lately, earbuds have become kind of a thing. The only downside is, a lot of them are coming out of the Far East, and are only available on TaoBao or AliExpress. A lot are also limited runs, by small businesses, run by random gentlemen with an exquisite ear that they can only share with the world for a very brief time (who knows where they came from, who knows where they go…its quite depressing when your favorite maker disappears though).
     
    Thankfully, a few more established makers are emerging, and they look set to stay for the most part. Yuin still exists, as does Blox. Venture Electronics has appeared, thoroughly trounced everyone else on the market, and will not be going away anytime soon with the juggernaut that is the Monk. Shozy has come on the scene as well. These folks are more reliable, are easy to buy from and are definitely not fly-by-night.
     
    Shozy is a small company that makes portable amps and DACs. They have also recently released an IEM, and an earbud: the Cygnus. The Cygnus has made it high up on Clios’ earbuds roundup list, and deservedly so.
     
    I listened to the Cygnus using the Alien Gold Edition, by Shozy, the FiiO X5 (gen 1) and my Pono Player. Files were mostly FLAC at 16/44.1 or WAV at 16/44.1. I purchased my pair for personal use and will definitely be keeping them. They make for a nice easy-drive alternative I’ll pull out when I am in the mood. One thing folks might be annoyed by is tha fact that the Cygnus is white, both the cable and the body, and therefore a dirt magnet. The cable also oxidises and takes on a slightly green hue. It also comes with a thoroughly impractical, large white carrying case and white donut foams.
     
    It has a detailed, non-fatiguing, pleasing sound signature that, like the rest of the new breed of earbuds, is able to convincingly portray bass almost as well as (if not better than some) full-sized headphones. The downside is that it is supposedly made with an NoS (new-old-stock) driver. This means that its life will likely be short-lived….as long as supplies exist for the driver, we’re all fine…but heaven help you if you get too attached and resources become scarce or dry up.
     
    In the current field of earbuds, the Cygnus stands out as one of the better ones out there, but because of that NoS driver, it might just go the way of the Blox TM7 and the Sennheiser MX985…an earbud some get to enjoy, that grows a reputation based as much on legend as on actual listening time, but that slips out of the rest of the market’s grasp all too soon.
     
    We’re seeing the early days of a market. Hopefully in a few years we’ll see it stabilize, with some great manufacturers with persistent lines and offerings, ones that endure. We’re seeing the beginnings of this in a few of the current vendors. Long may it last. 
      vapman, Tympan, golov17 and 1 other person like this.
    1. Tympan
      Good points, refreshing mini review! (love everything about my Cygnus, including for the chameleon cable)
      Tympan, May 19, 2016
    2. fairx
      Hi, the NoS issue you mention pique my interest, since it's documented that the driver IS imported from Japan, are you hinting that there might be cease of production soon? I hope Shozy just testing the waters here and soon they'll have capability to design in house soon.
      fairx, May 20, 2016
  4. HiFiChris
    Beautiful Build and good Sound from... Earbuds?!
    Written by HiFiChris
    Published May 8, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - superb cable w/ chin-slider, great sound for err... "just earbuds"?!, overall package
    Cons - lack of accessories at the price point, still some general earbud limitations (little less clarity vs. similarly priced IEMs, bass extension vs. IEMs)
    IMG_1426.jpg

     
     
     
    Preamble:

    I’d like to take the time to thank Shozy for sending me the Cygnus earbuds free of charge in exchange for an honest, unbiased opinion.

    A group of engineers and designers has worked as OEM developers and producers for audio products, acting in the background, until 2012, when they decided to found a company for audio products for hi-fi enthusiasts under their own name. And that’s how Shozy, a registered trademark of Cozoy International, was born.
    Besides electronics, Shozy also offers headphones, including the Cygnus earbuds. The vast majority of earbuds on this planet are (by a very high chance) the models that come with many inexpensive digital audio players or smartphones – the Cygnus earbuds definitely don’t belong to that category, as they are a premium product that is clearly aiming at the market of ambitious audio-oriented customers, which isn’t only obvious by the design but also the price tag although the Cygnus rather falls into the range of the mid-priced earbuds.


    Technical Specifications:

    http://www.shozy-hk.com/cygnus/
    Price: ~ $90


    Delivery Content:

    The earbuds arrive in a white cardboard box  that shows “Cygnus”, “high fidelity earbuds”, the Shozy logo as well as their website URL on the lid. The right hand side shows a Shozy logo, on the left is a barcode with integrated Cygnus logo – sweet! The back side shows what’s included, a picture of the earbuds as well as the features.
    Breaking the seal, one will find a spacious white zipped carrying case with Shozy logo. It is black on the inside, has a mesh pocket and contains the Cygnus with pre-installed donut foam covers.

    Except for the installed pair of foam covers, one won’t find a replacement pair – at this price point, at least two or three pairs would have been more adequate.
     

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    Looks, Feels, Build Quality:

    The white earbuds feature Shozy logos and side markers on each body. The earbuds are made of silky matte plastic and feel nice, not cheap. The outer-facing side has two large vents, another vent canal that is typical for earbuds is in the stem which is by the way ergonomically shaped and can be therefore nicely grabbed.
    The 3.5 mm connector is said to be imported from Japan, features a Shozy logo, is made of silver CNC-milled aluminium and looks plus feels just super good and excellent. Strain relief is transparent and visually unobtrusive.
    The highlight is of course the silver coloured quad-litz braided/twisted cable. It is not just a regular cable but of CIEM quality (not much different to my UERMs’ cable by the way), extremely flexible and features a clear, visually unobtrusive y-split as well as a chin-slider that I am very happy to see.
     

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    Comfort, Isolation:

    Comfort with Earbuds always depends on one’s ears’ shape. With applied donut foam covers, the earbuds sit nicely and securely in my ears. Without covers they still sit and fit nicely but don’t feel as secure anymore.
    There are some microphonics but they are very gentle and much less present than with most in-ears that are worn cable-down. And if you are a freak, you can still insert the earbuds regularly, then guide the cables around the ears and finally use the chin-slider to completely eliminate microphonics.

    These are earbuds, so why should I talk about isolation? Without the donut foam covers, there is about no isolation at all. Applying them, there is indeed something that I would consider as very slight noise isolation.


    Sound:

    Just in case and as requested by Shozy, the in-ears were burnt in with symphonic music before listening started, although I suspect a greater burn-in effect with headphones.
    For listening, I used the LH Labs Geek Out IEM 100, Leckerton UHA-6S.MKII, iBasso DX90 and DX80.

    Tonality:
     

    IMG_1423.jpg   IMG_1427.jpg


    With Donut Foam Covers:
    Donut foam covers have a huge advantage over regular foam tips: they create a good seal but because of the hole in the centre, frequencies are blocked out much less, wherefore sound quality is purer.

    The Cygnus’ sound is what I’d describe as full, gentle, smooth and dark.

    Let’s talk sine generator: the lows’ emphasis starts around 650 Hz, going down to 110 Hz where the climax is being reached. It is kept upright down to 90 Hz and then starts rolling off; there is not too much going on below 60 Hz and although there is still something audible around 35 Hz, the lowest registers are clearly in the background and covered by the midbass and upper bass when listening to music instead of sine sweeps. The sound is quite mature, seems more like out of an in-ear instead of earbuds; lower fundamental range and upper bass (kick-bass) between 100 and 200 Hz are on the fuller side, however without much spillage into the lower mids which are somewhat lifted but not coloured or unnaturally warm. Compared to a strictly flat in-ear like the Etymotic ER-4S, the bass is around 9 dB more present than neutral. It is not overwhelming but gives a good, impactful kick and compensates for low frequency masking when used outside (compared to the UERM, it would be around 6 dB north of neutral).
    Vocals are bit more on the darker and smoother side but not really coloured – I would clearly say that they are still very balanced and natural.
    Level past 1 kHz is in the background, giving the ‘buds that dark character, and is coming a bit back around 5 kHz but still stays below ground-line. After that, it is more in the background and evenly rolling off above 12 kHz.

    Overall tonality is natural, non-obtrusive, smooth and even. No annoying peaks, no steep dips. There is a good weight, warmth and body to low notes, treble is never in the foreground and guarantees for good fatigue-free listening.

    Without Covers:
    The bass becomes less present (~ 6.5 dB north of neutral compared to the ER-4S, ~ 3.5 compared to the UERM), the treble gains presence, is less in the background, overall still very even, still smoothly in the background but almost flat, with two broad-banded peaks around 6 and 10 kHz in my ears that are however just very slightly above zero. The mids are less dark, more neutral but still unobtrusive and smooth (in a good way).

    Personally, I prefer the sound without the donut foam covers – sound is still nicely gentle and smooth but treble gains some more sparkle, the mids are less dark and the bass is less forward. For outdoor use however, I slightly prefer the sound with donut foam covers because of the low frequency masking (so I don’t have to increase the volume to compensate for the reduced/masked lows).

    Resolution:

    With Donut Foam Covers:
    I’m quite positively surprised: I don’t really feel like I’m listening to earbuds but rather nicely open sounding in-ears. Very well done, Shozy.
    Bass attack is quite quick with also quite quick decay (for earbud levels), isn’t really soft, has got quite good control and still maintains a quite enjoyable body (that is however rather gently present) – bass quality for earbuds is pretty darn nice.
    Midrange and treble resolution are nice, too, although vocals could sound somewhat more intimate and the treble better separated and airier – it sounds a little diffuse. Overall sound is really nice but nothing special yet but hey, these are earbuds and we haven’t tried the sound without foam covers, have we? Let’s move on.

    Without Covers:
    Bass quality remains about identical, overall clarity and treble separation improve audibly. Now it’s there, that special feeling. Resolution seems improved, single notes and fine details are better distinguishable, everything sounds better separated, clearer. Resolution is slightly below good in-ears in the sub-$100 range but very nice for earbud levels and I don’t really miss much at all.

    Soundstage:

    With Donut Foam Covers:
    Soundstage is airy, with good depth and somewhat better than average width. Instrument placement is good for earbud levels. Instruments aren’t super sharply separated from each other but aren’t too blurry sounding either. Perception of space and depth is good, I don’t notice any congestion.

    Without Covers:
    Soundstage widens somewhat up and gets more room to breathe. Instruments are somewhat better separated and the whole appearance is airier, more spacious.

    ---------

    In Comparison with other Earphones:
    I have to admit that I don’t really have many adequate earbuds to compare, just the DUNU Alpha 1. Models like the Apple EarPods (that I really love for sports) or other lower-tier earbuds in my inventory like the SoundMAGIC EP10, FiiO EM3 or BlackBerry WS-430 just don’t reach Cygnus’ sound quality, refinement and naturalness. So I decided just to compare it with the Alpha 1 and one in-ear.
    The comparisons were made without foam covers.

    DUNU Alpha 1 (“Balance/Musical” rings):
    The Alpha 1 is actually a really nice and special earbud as it follows a hybrid driver layout with large 16 mm dynamic woofer and one BA driver for the mids and highs. Fit is really crucial for good sound – if fit and seal are not sufficient, the treble is quite peaky and not harmonious. Mids are quite forward unless one is using the foam covers.
    Out of the two earbuds, the Alpha 1 sounds much more neutral (or thin if you want to say so and don’t like a neutral bass response) and also rather telephonic because of its forward midrange. The Alpha 1 is quite a “love it or hate it” earbud. I really like it but see problems to make it generally recommendable (size, possible fit problems, forward mids). For public use, the Alpha 1 does not have enough bass even in very quiet environment (it’s different with the foam covers but I don’t like the DUNU’s sound with foam covers at all). I used it once outside and then never ever again – it’s an indoor earbud for me.
    The Cygnus is much better suited for the masses (well, not really the masses as I highly doubt the average consumer would spend ~ $90 on earbuds) – easy fit, average/small size, no forward midrange, strong and impactful but not overwhelming bass, smooth and non-obtrusive treble and mids.
    The Cygnus has the somewhat superior treble extension. Out of the two, the Cygnus also sounds more natural, more harmonious.
    When it is about bass speed and control, both are about on-par but the Alpha 1’s fabulous 16 mm driver sounds more detailed and generates a really nice, realistic and tactile body although the lows aren’t forward. Alpha 1’s clarity and minute detail retrieval are somewhat better. Though, Cygnus’ mids sound more realistic and authentic to me. Overall they are not far apart but just different here and there.
    Soundstage is slightly wider on the Cygnus’ side, with more spatial width as well. Lateral instrument separation is somewhat cleaner and more precise with the DUNU that sounds less blurry and has more air. Though, in terms of layering, the Cygnus is a bit better.
    The Cygnus is the more versatile in-ear out of the two.

    Brainwavz M3:
    Yeah, I know, earbuds vs. in-ears, “booh!”, “unfair!”. But for the lack of any better earbuds and because I don’t want to bring worse lower-tier ‘buds into the game, I decided to take the M3 as another comparison. It might also be interesting for the people who are interested in how an earbud compares to a more or less similarly priced in-ear.
    The M3 has the flatter, less present bass that extends deeper with less roll-off. Mids are about similar with the Cygnus’ sounding a little fuller. Lower treble levels are about similar as well. In the middle highs, the M3 is more relaxed and shows more presence in the upper treble. Except for the Cygnus’ somewhat more present bass, both are tonally actually not far apart.
    In terms of resolution, both are actually quite close as well. Bass control is slightly better on the Brainwavz’ side, but by surprisingly just a bit. Both have comparable bass speed (bass details are slightly better on the M3’s side) and midrange as well as treble details are quite comparable, too (the M3 is just slightly more refined in the lower plus upper treble). That should show how good the Cygnus really is. Although the M3 is overall slightly cleaner, the difference is fairly small.
    It’s probably in the nature of the earbud that the Cygnus sounds somewhat more open and spacious. Spatial depth is about comparable. Separation and layering are a bit more precise with the M3.
    In the end, to my surprise, it is almost a tie. The M3 is just slightly more refined and precise overall. The Cygnus is definitely no average earbud – it is very mature and detailed. The comparison to the M3 (that I find pretty good in the sub $100 range, especially for its balanced fun sounding and spatial depth) has shown that the Cygnus is not joking.
     

    IMG_1418.jpg   IMG_1429.jpg



    Conclusion:

    The Cygnus sounds mature, more like an in-ear than earbuds. It is well tuned and technically good. What do you want more? Sure, for “just earbuds”, the price tag is not small, but the sound and build totally justify it.

    The Cygnus doesn’t fully make me an earbud nut as I’d still rather grab similarly priced in-ears in the case of doubt although I like the open, easy-going character of earbuds, and this one is a really really nice sounding model with stunning build, cable and good, airy, plus precise sound. There is nothing really to complain about except for probably just one included pair of donut tips (of these I bet many people will prefer over the cover-less sound).

    The Shozy Cygnus is definitely not joking at all. It is a serious earbud that can compete quite well with similarly priced in-ears.


    With my usual 70% sound/price (85/100) to 30% build/fit/accessories (99/100) weighting, the Cygnus scores 4.46 out of 5 possible stars.
      Tympan, peter123, ryanjsoo and 7 others like this.
    1. Tympan
      Nice review man and awesome pictures, classy!
      Tympan, May 10, 2016
  5. genuine0077
    SHOZY CYGNUS, A ‘CYGN’ of a new era for Open-end Earphones
    Written by genuine0077
    Published Mar 16, 2016
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Warm, Airy, Amazing mids, Comfortable non-irritating sound
    Cons - Lacks a bit of Clarity
    Hi there! it's my first time submitting a review on head-fi.org. I am a head-fi reviewer based in South Korea. Started out around 2 and a half years ago on my private blog (obviously in Korean^^:wink: and now I got recruited to write articles for Headphone Premium Guide Magazine, Korea. Very excited to start my English reviews, on head-fi.org alongside with my English blog. As a disclaimer, my review will always be short, blunt, no beating around the bush, no exaggeration, truthful, and most importantly, easily comprehendible. And I will never be bribed to forcefully write positive reviews!! Ok, then let’s go straight to the point!

    Package is simple, with its basic necessities for an earphone. The unit itself, a pair of earphone sponge and a case (pictures below).

    I’ve used quite a lot of open-end earphones. Starting from Sony e-888, Audio-Technica CM-7, Sennheiser MX985, Yuin PK1, B&O A8 and so on. The only one I possess at the moment is the B&O A8, and I absolutely love it! It is one of my daily drivers, paired with my iPhone 6S, especially in one of those days you don’t want to carry a bulky DAP, I just grab my A8 in my pocket and I stroll around. A8 has a unique clarity to the sound. The sound is very clear, light and delicate. Now to the point. What’s so special about Cygnus?

    First of all, even though the unit itself is made of plastic, it actually looks pretty nice. Doesn’t look cheap, strongly built, nothing much to complain about. One of the things that I love about Cygnus is the customised cable. It’s made out of SPC (Silver Plated Copper) and adds a little ‘oomph’ to the sound. The 3.5mm gold plated plug is (assumed) to be one of the original Oyaide component.

    Taking a direct sound comparison with B&O A8, Cygnus sounds more neutral, in terms of having a more warm sound signature. The best part about Cygnus are the mids. Very clear, attacks you straight into your ear drums, almost sounds like an earphone for vocal monitoring purpose. Doesn’t mean that the bass and the highs are not there, oh yes it is there. Bass is tight, the highs are not high pitched but it definitely has a presence. In a proportion of 100, I would say, 30:45:25 (Bass-Mid-High).

    I personally dig warm, airy sound signatures, and Shozy Cygnus has it all. My A8 is now being threatened of it’s daily driver position. If you are nostalgic of an old school open-end earphone, Shozy Cygnus is a good place to resolve the nostalgia. But remember, audio/head-fi is all about personal preference. I like it, but you may not. So don’t trust every word I say. Just use my review as a reference, try it out yourself, then decide!

    If you want any further info or interested in purchasing products from Shozy, visit Shozy’s Official Website for more. Have great day guys! :)

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      golov17 and silverak like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. genuine0077
      @Decommo Thanks! But sorry, I haven't had a listen to those earbuds you mentioned!
      genuine0077, Apr 14, 2016
    3. Decommo
      @genuine0077 Thank you for your response. It would been much helpful to understand (at least to me) if it was compared more popular earbuds than A8 since most of head-fiers in Earbuds threads own VE Monk and Zen etc (especially Monk). :) When you have a chance to listen to any of VE earbuds, please share your impression. Again, thank you for the great review. 
      Decommo, Apr 15, 2016
    4. Tympan
      I loved my old B&O A8. They were really nice earphones straight out of an iphone. Classy too.
      Tympan, May 3, 2016

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