SHOZY Zero IEM

ryanjsoo

Reviewer for The Headphone List
ryanjsoo's Reviews
Pros: Bass extension and punch, Raw, detailed midrange, Airy, resolving treble, Spacious Soundstage
Cons: Driver flex, Slightly thick sounding for some, Rubbery cable, Long burn in absolutely required (read more in the review)
Intro –

I`ve always had a bit of a sweet spot for wooden iems. The JVC FX-800`s are one of my favourite sounding earphones of all time, and I regret selling them to this day. Shozy are no longer an obscure name in the audio landscape. Like Fiio and Dunu, they are a Chinese company that have proven time and again that every hit they create isn`t a fluke but a carefully designed piece of equipment. Following the hit Alien DAP and the very distinguished Cygnus earbud, the Zero is Shozy`s latest creation. It`s an in-ear earphone with a very modest RRP of $50 USD that claims game-changing performance. Do the Zero`s deliver? *Spoiler* They do!



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 Zero 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 –

Since these are a pre-production unit, all I received was a postal pouch containing the Zero`s and three pairs of tips. The retail units will have more finalized packaging of course, in addition to a semi-hard carry case like the Cygnus. Usually, I would ask for more ear tips, but much like the PFE232, the stock tips contribute greatly to the tonality of the earphones.

dsc04719.jpg


The stock tips looked flimsy at first sight, but they are well cut and fit snugly. Medium fit me perfectly and their grippy texture formed a strong sealed.

dsc04733.jpg


Coming back to the tip dependency issue, I did try using the Zero`s with JVC Spiral Dots but both fit and sound were compromised. The sound became darker and a little more congested. Since the Zero is already on the darker side, I decided to use the stock tips during this review.

dsc04741.jpg


Stock large – medium – small with medium Spinfits underneath

The accessory set with the Zero is totally adequate and well-considered. Shozy could include a shirt clip to reduce microphonics, but they are easily come by on the internet (a pack of 30 cost me about $7).



Design –

I feel that wooden products aren`t well captured in photos, especially something as well finished as the Zero. The unique grain, texture and finish of every piece are something that can only be experienced in the hand, or in this instance, the ear. From online pictures, the Shozy Zero`s looked suspiciously similar to the Marley Smile Jamaica, a popular earphone, but not one I found particularly standout in either sound or aesthetic design.

dsc04723.jpg


In person, the Zero`s are much nicer, and certainly leagues above the Marleys. Whilst they aren`t as visually striking as the sculpted and chromed JVC FX range, they have an understated and clean design that still presents confidently.

dsc04809.jpg


The charming cherry wood housings are well-mated to an aluminium front face and nozzle making for a lightweight yet solid construction. The wood is well finished with a nice, dense grain that looks fantastic and feels great in the ear. It`s a classy and elegant dark brown, well complimented by the gloss black aluminium face. Although I have a pre-production unit, my Zero looks great with none of the issues mentioned by other reviewers. Both earpieces are the same colour and the grain is similar, but runs in different directions. The y-split and plug are the same colour as well. If the finish is this good on a pre-production, I wouldn`t expect anything less than perfection from the retail units shipping later this month. It`s nice to note that Shozy utilizes less than a fifth of the wood chosen in the housings of retail units.

dsc04813.jpg


The earbuds themselves are average in size, I doubt many will have troubles getting a good fit. They can be hard to position at first, but stay comfortably in place afterwards. The strain-reliefs are positioned quite far back for deeper insertion. I would have preferred a slightly angled nozzle though. Speaking of the nozzle, there is a small cutout in the nozzle for acoustic design, Shozy stressed that this was not a manufacturing error but a purposeful design choice. Not sure what impact it has on the sound but it doesn`t affect seal or isolation.

dsc04814.jpg


The housings are smooth with no sharp edges. They are thus quite comfortable, even after a few hours, forming no hot spots in my use. On account of their fully sealed design and light cable, the earphones don`t budge at all even when walking, stair climbing, etc, but jogging will dislodge them eventually. Luckily, whilst wearing them about, there is barely any wind noise on account of their smoothly sculpted design, they also don`t stick out from the ears too much, though I wouldn`t sleep with them.

Isolation is good, the earphones are sealed and have a modest insertion depth. It isolates slightly less than the smaller RE400 and a lot less than monitor style earphones but it`s enough for public transport and much better than anything vented or shallow fitting.

dsc04817.jpg


The cable does look quite interesting with a smoke sheathing that reveals the tri-colour channel and ground wires snaking underneath. It is of the typical rubbery variety, a bit tacky, but also very soft and tangle resistant on account of the internal braid of sorts. It`s of adequate thickness and the lightweight makes for long-term comfort and stability.

dsc04726.jpg


The cable is well relieved at the earpieces and plug but not at the y-split. These are the main areas of stress and the earphones seem well built; cable longevity should not be too much of an issue. Despite the traditional, cable-down fitment, microphonics aren`t too distracting. The cable doesn`t contact the face too often on account of distanced strain-reliefs and when the cable does contact something, the volume isn`t bad at all. They can be easily run over the ear for reduced microphonics and more stability, the cable has plenty of length and is supple enough to conform without too much issue.

dsc04729.jpg


One design element that is particularly nice is the wooden y-split and plug. Both are low profile and engraved with “Shozy” and “Zero” for identification. They are similarly well built, the jack is gold-plated and although it is off the straight variety, it is small enough not to cause any strain during pocket-use. The Zero`s could do with a chin-slider and the plug could also be textured. It might ruin the clean look but I found the plug difficult to remove at times.

Upon insertion, I did notice very prevalent driver flex. This produced slight crackle at times and I do worry about driver longevity. A very small vent would help tone down bass a bit, decrease driver flex and improve soundstage though it will compromise the seal which is already difficult at times and the isolation which is just enough when outdoors.

The Zero`s demonstrate that sometimes simplicity is key. They are maturely styled and ergonomically designed. On account of their smooth housings, the Zero`s are comfortable, stable and not too microphonic for a cable-down earphone. They could do with a remote, a chin slider and a right-angle or textured plug, but overall they are versatile and well designed. Honestly an amazing attempt for Shozy`s first earphone.



Sound –

Shozy claims that the Zero`s “feature modern tech qualities while fusing the old analogue tuning into a simple and elegant design”. Regardless of some translation issues, I found this to be accurate for the most part; the Zero`s are quite analogue sounding, not distorted, not rolled off, but smooth, non-fatiguing and detailed, a very good combination. The Zero is a v-shaped earphone with a moderately boosted mid and upper bass responses that avoid excessive bloom or bloat. The midrange isn`t overly warmed as a result and the upper midrange actually sounds quite clean. They are on the darker side of neutral but maintain decent balance nonetheless. Highs are well accentuated, not too thin or harsh but still energetic with plenty of air and extension. While far from neutral, they are superbly sculpted and far more balanced than any consumer earphone. The upper bass response might be too much for some, but the more controlled sub-bass and moderate mid-bass prevent boom and midrange spill. The Zero`s offer a much stronger audio performance than the cheaper Xiaomi Piston 3`s, the similarly priced Klipsch S4`s and the more expensive Shure se215`s, all highly regarded models in their respective price classes. And while I doubt the Zero`s more sculpted signature will be met with universal praise, quality wise, the Zero`s are shockingly good.

A prime reason for the Zero`s proficiency is its focus on soundstage, which is pretty standout in this price range. Usually, earphones below $100 and plenty far above have a pretty intimate sound, but the Zero has impressive space, especially for a sealed in-ear. Although I don`t personally believe in burn-in, in this case, there was no denying that it made a difference. I was lucky enough to have access to both a burnt-in pre-production sample and a brand new set, giving me the chance to compare the changes in sound with burn-in. To be honest, I liked the Zero`s as soon as I got them, I listened for a decent dozen hours or so then ran orchestral and classical through my Nano for another 100 hours as requested by Shozy. Swapping between the burnt-in Zero and the brand new one, there was an immediate difference. The burnt-in set had a lotmore balance and clarity to the sound. In addition, the bass response was much tighter and far cleaner. The darkness had also cleared up a bit. In addition, the more level midrange resulted in less thickness to male vocals and female vocals lost that raspy, thin sound. The soundstage, however, was perhaps most improved. The new Zero`s had average width and good depth, quite a strange presentation but it avoided congestion. After 150 hours (probably didn`t need this much), the earphones underwent a metamorphosis. The soundstage width grew and depth improved too. The soundstage is now more rounded and quite large in scale. Instruments are well separated, not to the extent of vented iems like the Dunu Titan 1, but it`s one of the stronger presentations under $200, maybe even the broadest sealed in-ear in this price range. Instrument placement was a bit off, the Zero tended to push sounds to the side more than directly in front, but overall it`s a coherent and easy to listen to sound.

dsc048201.jpg


The Zero have a decent 94dB (at 1kHz) sensitivity sensitivity and a low impedance of 32 ohms. Despite this, they get quite loud from mostly any portable source and I didn`t notice any output impedance issues unlike most BA earphones I test. The Zero also doesn`t pick up hiss easily which is a big plus when using them with my HTC M8. They sounded dynamic and clean from my Nano and M8 but had a better sound-staging and detail retrieval from my Fiio e17K. Portable use is very practical with the Zero.

Bass –

The sub-bass extension is very good, better than the single armature Klipsch X10 and slightly superior to the RE-400 for instance, only slightly rolling off at the very lowest frequencies. The sub-bass response is actually slightly lifted from neutral, but still close to it. As such, it is tight and punchy, keeping up with the fastest of bass lines. The mid-bass hump is in between that of the W30 and X10, not overly done but granting the bass a nice full impression. The upper-bass is where most discerning listeners will have problems. The upper bass response has a bit too much emphasis and even bloom at times, but it is also what gives the Zero`s their analogue character. Even so, the Zero`s could do with a few dB less in this region, the Klipsch X10`s pursue a similar warm, analogue sound, but have a higher emphasis on mid-bass over upper-bass, producing a cleaner overall sound at the cost of bass bloat (which the Zero`s keep to a minimum).

So the bass response of the Zero`s is boosted for sure, granting them with a lot of slam, and given the quantity, remarkable punch and tightness to the sub-bass. The whole bass spectrum remains very textured, losing that last bit of detail only due to the upper bass bloom. With most genre`s of music, the bass response is very enjoyable, not boomy at all and avoiding too much midrange spillage.

Mids –

Although the larger upper bass hump does warm the mids, they generally sound quite clean and clear. In fact the bass doesn`t overpower the midrange unless the song is poorly mastered. The mids are recessed but quite even without peaks. Despite this, the mids aren`t the smoothest I`ve heard, but are lathered with detail and clarity instead, somewhat raw like the Westone W30`s and JVC FX800`s. They are slightly dark but retrieve plenty of micro-detail, far more than the Klipsch X10`s and similar, if less aggressively, to the Hifiman RE400`s. I feel that dark can be seen as a negative term, that is definitely not the case, it is purely tonality. Another way of describing the sound of the Zero`s is natural, organic and analogue.

There is still plenty of upper midrange presence and the sound has a lot of clarity. Vocals are on the thinner side, but can hardly be considered thin overall. They never sound raspy of tinny and are well represented when combined with the large sense of space. In fact I would say that the Zero`s are more revealing and clear over warm and dark. The midrange performance of the Zero is fantastic for the price.

Highs –

The highs are presented very well on the Zero`s, extended and slightly accentuated. They have good body and very impressive detail retrieval, light-years ahead of the Xiaomi Pistons 3`s, Klipsch S4`s and X10`s. There is sparkle and abundant air, cymbals sound textured, lively and realistic in tone. The RE400s have similar treble quality, but are more recessed so depending on preference you may prefer either. Like the VE Monk+ I recently reviewed, the slightly dark tone of the midrange gives the treble more isolation, sounding more separated and clear as a result. Whilst it isnt as infinitely resolving as my Sennheiser ie800`s, the treble performance is no doubt one of the strongest under $100.



Verdict –

Shozy released a somewhat joking post not too long ago stating how the Zero could rival earphones 10x it`s price. Whilst I didn`t find them to best my more expensive in-ears, I doubt anything around the same price will sound better, just tonally different. Less technical earphones such as the Klipsch X10`s are bested by Zero whilst the majority of earphones in the Zero`s price range are outclassed.

dsc048221.jpg


So whilst other reviewers stated that no part of these earphones are particularly standout, I would argue that no part is particularly lacking either, they are very well-rounded. All aspects of the sound are strong in quality, the build is nice, they are very visually pleasing and work well from any source. If you like a bassy, warm, analogue sound, then you`ll be challenged to find a better in-ear under $100.



Verdict – 9/10, I was very excited to receive the Zero and expected great things from the beginning. I tried not to read too many other reviews and go in fresh. The fact that they met and even exceeded my high expectations is quite a feat. Of course, the Zero’s don`t challenge earphones costing 10x their price but they do get shockingly close to plenty of $100-150 earphones.

*As an experiment I`m going to burn in the new set as well and report any changes, I`ll see if they change like my current Zero has. The differences are very pronounced.

*Update - Below are my results for the burn-in experiment:

[size=17.03px]Introduction – [/size]

As previously mentioned in my Shozy Zero review, the Zero`s respond strongly to burn-in. I`ve never personally been a large believer in burn-in. I assumed it was just a placebo cure to buyers remorse. One reviewer would state, initially these earphones didn`t have enough xx and I was disappointed, but after xxhrs burn-in they are amazing whilst others would state just the opposite; burn-in has been represented as this magical cure to any deficiency a piece of equipment might have.

And then there was Shozy, claiming that “the true zero would manifest after 50hrs burn-in”. A rep requested that I put my pre-production set through 150hrs of burn-in, 3x the advertised amount. Now don`t get me wrong, I`m not skeptical of the Zero`s audio performance, it`s a brilliant earphone from the beginning, I just didn`t think it would undergo metamorphic improvements over time. In all fairness, the Zero`s do use dynamic drivers and the housings are wood, both more subject to change than say, a plastic ba monitor, so I thought I`d give Shozy the benefit of the doubt. After all I had nothing to lose by burning them in.

Aim –

To determine how sound changes over fixed intervals of time.

Method –

To test the validity of burn-in, I compared two identical sets of pre-production Zero`s. I had access to a brand new “fresh” set, and also one that I received about a week earlier. The earlier model had about 150hrs of burn-in by the time I received the new set, so it shouldn`t be subject to much more change. The thing about progressive changes is that they are hard to quantify. Having two identical sets with different hours on the odometer allowed for easy and direct comparison. This presents the question, are the sound differences due to unit variation or is burn-in actually creating these large changes to the sound? I take a sceptic`s approach using a pseudo-report structure, to bring you the rather interesting results.

I played both sets through my iPod Nano 7g, a generally clean source and one that reached sufficient volume through the low impedance Zero`s. I played Mozart, Symphony No.25: Allegro Con Brio and Beethoven`s Symphony No. 3 in E Flat Major and Symphony No. 5 in C minor.

All comparisons are in relation to my other Zero that has >150hrs burn-in. I didn`t use this set to prevent further changes to the sound that would invalidate my results.

Results –

0 hours:

The new Zero has a lot more bass than the burnt-in Zero, quite a bit more mid and especially sub and upper bass. The bass has less control, tightness and a fair amount of detail loss due to bloat/bloom. The midrange sounds a bit hollow, male vocals are more truncated sounding whilst female vocals are slightly thin. It also gets overwhelmed by the bass, there is significant spill. The midrange sounds much more balanced on the burnt-in set by comparison. Treble was similar, a bit more accentuated on the new set but also slightly more brittle sounding.

25 hours:

No changes detected.

50 hours:

Now we`re getting somewhere, the fresh Zero is starting to mature. The bass still sounds just as excessive and the highs also sound the same as before, but the midrange is becoming more balanced for sure. Perhaps a result of the midrange changes, the soundstage is starting to sound a bit rounder, but this may be placebo at this stage.

75 hours:

Mids are now pretty close between the two units, but the newer set is still a little peakier and that last bit of clarity and detail is still masked by veil and bass. The bass is strangely still overbearing, I don`t remember my first set ever being this bassy, perhaps there is still room left to change…

100 hours:

So at this point, Im starting to question the changes produced by burn-in. The new set, even after 100 hours of burn-in are still a lot bassier and the midrange is partly engulfed by bass. The rest of the spectrum sounds very similar now including the soundstage. I`ll keep burning them in but I doubt they`ll sound like my first pair.

150 hours:

You`ll notice that I skipped an interval. I was hoping that with a larger time period, the differences would be more pronounced. Unfortunately there is still a big bass emphasis, but the mids are cleaner. Strangely the soundstage now seems larger on this set. The highs are pretty similar. So overall, after 150 hours the new Zero`s still have a much bassier tone, though the rest of the sound signature is very similar, quite a strange phenomena.

At this point I actually contacted Shozy who assured me that there was very little, if any, unit variation at all and recommended higher volume burn-in. Although the burn-in conditions were identical to the first set, I instead ran the second set through my e17K on high gain.

175 hours:

The biggest problem is definitely the bass response, other frequencies sound very similar. The sub-bass is definitely less emphasized than before but still grossly emphasized compared to my original set. I`ll see how things go in a few days since the other spectrums sound identical.

225 hours:

Okay, still not getting too far with burn-in, even after 225 hours at very high volumes. Since sub-bass produces the greatest movement of the driver, I`m going to switch my burn-in material to sub-bass tones and see if that speeds things up. It`s very possible that the earphone isn`t burning in because I haven`t been wearing it, I can only speculate that the pressure formed with the ear results in some kind of change, but we`ll see if anything manifests without.

300 hours:

The sub-bass heavy content seems to have made a slight difference, it definitely sounds like there is less bass than before. Bass no longer dominates the sound, but is very present. Shozy has requested I burn both Zero`s in further with tracks containing more highs for the bassier set and tracks with more bass for the more neutral set.

400 hours:

So I`m finishing the experiment here, it`s simply been too much time. Whilst the bassier Zero has definitely changed, they are still not identical, which is a shame since the neutral Zero sounds very nice. I`ve added some measurements below to validate my more subjective results, you can see that the FR is very similar, but there is a lot more sub-bass on set 2. As for the method of testing, I simply sealed the left earpiece from each set inside a PVC pipe connected to a microphone attached to the other side. The measurements are hardly representative of the earphone`s sound signature, but will suffice for comparison.

The program displays around a 6dB increase in sub-bass equating to approximately twice the perceived volume which seems on point. This is strange because Set 1 didn`t actually have a lot of sub-bass, it was quite neutral in quantity, less than my ie800`s for sure.

fr.gif


Discussion –

My original Zero did have a bassy signature on first listen, but that has subdued considerably with burn-in. They aren`t overly bassy but quite balanced on a whole. You can read my review to see how much I like them, they`re really great. The new Zero`s however, aren`t so balanced. They`re actually not bad sounding, in fact they`re almost as technically proficient as my first set, they just have a more imbalanced tonality. Now this is subjective, but closer to neutral is always preferred; the bassier signature sounds great at times but spoils certain songs whilst a more balanced sound signature will sound great with all genres.

Conclusion –

So now that I`ve finished my review of the Zero`s, I`ve had a look at a couple others to see how their impressions are in comparison to mine. I noticed that all of them have high ratings, reflecting how both zero`s are technically impressive, but some describe the sound as balanced whilst others deem it overly bassy. It is worrying that there is so much unit variation and this could explain the mixed descriptions, but the Zero`s remain a very impressive earphone no matter the variant you receive. Subjectively I prefer the balanced version more but the larger soundstage in addition to individual tastes may result in you preferring the bassier version. As to the outcomes of burn-in there was definitely a change, I can`t exactly quantify how much, but the end result was quite agreeable. The amount of time it took was horrendous, perhaps there is further room to improve, but it is simply inefficient. At 400 hours, Set 2 had almost 3x the burn-in time as Set 1.

As an added note, the most effective burn-in track I used was Nevermind by Infected Mushrooms, a very fast paced, sub-bass heavy track with Mozart`s Symphony No.25 coming in a close second. Shozy recommends Mahler`s Symphony No. 6, but I didn`t have the time to test it out in depth. So ultimately, the effects of burn-in are present here, but they are more like slight tonal changes rather than a completely transformative process, It`s thus best to pragmatically approach the Zero`s tonality; it will likely sound very tonally similar throughout it`s lifetime, but soundstage will achieve bigger changes.

This review was taken from my blog, please have a look for more reviews and guides, thanks for reading:

https://everydaylisteningblog.wordpress.com/2016/05/13/shozy-zero-review-all-natural-stunner/
puppyfi
puppyfi
Great review and very nice photography on the Zero.
Niyologist
Niyologist
Great review. I really enjoyed the comparison with the IE800.
misteral201103
misteral201103
A big thank you for the detailed burn-in report. Just picked up a couple of these as gifts for family, knowing they would need burn in. Your breakdown has given me the information (down to suggested tracks!) I need to do this - and all this on top of a great review! Tried them straight out of the box and I'm quite impressed - soundstage is very good for the price and size. Bass is a little unrefined (compared to AAW Qs) but overall, and especially for the price, these are pretty damn good. Might have to get a pair for myself!

kiler

100+ Head-Fier
Pros: Great Bass, amazing soundstage, wooden housings are really interesting
Cons: Could use some acessories, not for treble lovers
Introduction

Hello, today we have something really interesting coming from a relatively new brand from China, Shozy. You might have already heard of them from their amazing DAP the Alien Gold. For those of you that love wood, you will most certainly love the new Shozy Zero IEM. Alongside the gorgeous rosewood housings you also have a wood Y splitter, and a wooden jack. Already interested in these? You will have to read the rest to find out how they fare in what matters the most: sound quality!

 
0.jpg


Technical Data

The unit I have with me of the Shozy Zero is still a pre-production unit, so details might not be final. As for driver size we can count with … mm driver with …ohms of impedance. Their sensitivity is xxxdB/mW and a frequency response of xxHz-xxkHz. Their cable length is measured at xxm with a 3.5mm gold plated jack made out of rosewood! Their overall weight is xxg, making these a pleasure to use on the go.

  

Accessories

 



 

Since this is a pre-production unit I’ve skipped the packaging part of my review since they arrived with what you see above. We can count with the Shozy Zero itself, alongside 3 pairs of tips of small, medium and large size. The tips are fairly well finished, so there is not much to talk about in here.

Build Quality



Shozy is really interested in making sure that the Zero stand out in their price bracket (around 50$) so in order to give them something different, they decided to build the housings out of rosewood, alongside the splitter and jack. Looking up close on the housing we can see that the back part is made our of wood and the nozzle is made out of metal.



A closer look on the housing lets us see that on the back of the strain reliefs we have the indication of which side is which. Also the strain relief makes sure that the Shozy Zero will last a bit longer (even though I feel that it is a bit on the thinner side).



Speaking of the cable they used, we can find a rubbery cable that looks quite a lot like the one used in the KZ ATEs, for those of you that are familiar with them. We can also find the name zero on the backside of the wooden Y-Split.

Looking at the jack now, we find the Shozy brand name engraved into it, alongside a tiny stress relief made out of rubber.

Overall I really enjoy the vintage feel provided by these wooded IEM, and the fact that all the wooden parts are covered with some kind of lacquer in order protect them from wear. Even then, I’d recommend a carrying case to make sure they last a while.

One thing is for sure, they will stand out and look cool, so I think Shozy really nailed the look they were striving for.

 

Comfort/Isolation

One of the most interesting points about using IEM’s, and after my venture with earbuds (VE Monks, FiiO EM3, for example) is how much I prefer the snug fit of a tiny IEM inside my ear canal. Well, the relatively small size of the Shozy Zero make these a great fit, I just needed to find the perfect size tip of those included (which ended up being a medium), and then you pop it in with absolutely no effort. I don’t know if it was second nature, but I found out that using these over the ear was my preferred method of using them, reducing the microphonics of what would be a microphonic cable. Using them this way also allows for the cable to be out of the way, even though they stay secure while using them cable down. Due to the tight fit, one might also feel a tiny bit of suction while putting them on, but this just means a tighter seal, making these sweet low frequencies stand out like they should (what I mean by this is that a bad seal usually makes out for drowned out lower frequencies).

As for the isolation these have a pretty nice isolation, probably due to the nice seal, so you can easily block out outside sounds (like conversations) just by putting them on, and heavier environment noises by putting on some music at your listening volume.

Like referred above, microphonics could be an issue while wearing them straight down, but using them over ear reduces the problem by a lot.

 

Sound

Source – HifimeDIY Sabre Dac amped with Objective 2 DIY, Mlais M52 Red Note

Files Used –  256 to 320 kbps and FLAC

As always, before using starting to review these, I let them play a variety of music for about 50 hours (having tried them when they first arrived). I found out that they got relatively more tamed than when I first used them (first time listening to these I thought the bass was kinda boomy).

We should start by describing their overall sound signature. If I could describe the Shozy Zero in a word it would be : “thick”, in a good way, obviously.



 

Starting off with the low end, you can clearly notice that, with the stock tips, there is a bias for bass. And it is not exactly bad, since it is a good articulate bass with a deep extension that also decays fast enough. One thing is for sure, these make Deep Trance, Trap and Rap sound absolutely delightful, while being still amazing for other less bass heavy genres. Basslines sound tight and visceral, so you can probably imagine how good Gorillaz and Queen sound on these.

Due to a large soundstage, mids don’t feel congested at all even with the accentuated bass. You can listen really well to detailed vocals, they just feel a tad behind the instrumental. They are still good choices for live versions of songs due to the nice soundstage and imaging. Pianos and guitars also sound quite good with a correct timbre to them.

The highs is the place where they might feel a bit rolled off, but this isn’t a bad thing at all because the lesser emphasis on these higher frequencies make these easier to use during long sessions of music, making them really non fatiguing. The treble is still there, is just feels like it takes a backseat (even more so than mids). What you can hear of it still is detailed, and I’m sure it makes the Shozy Zero much more forgiving of bad quality audio.

Now, onto the soundstage, that I have been mentioning over and over again in this review, because it is simply amazing, how one could make small IEM’s with a soundstage this big, even more so when they seal so well as the Zero do. And it isn’t just the soundstage that is amazing, it is the positional accuracy of the sounds as well. I would compare it to the Xiaomi Piston 3, perhaps a tad bit wider, it really is that good.

As for some songs that the Shozy Zero do really well I’ll leave two below:

 

Taylor Swift – I know Places – Her voice just blends in the amazing instrumental, like I said above these are really interesting for pop music.

Gorillaz – On Melancholy Hill – The bass line goes along really well, alongside the vocals that just sound great on these EM3 (but the song is great already on its own).

 As for a quick comparison with the Monk, the Monk is more spacious (the soundstage is absolutely fabulous) and tuned towards a more musical sound, as the EM3 sound more comercial and tuned for the general crowd.

Conclusion

Build Quality: 4/5

Comfort: 4/5

Isolation: 4/5

Sound Quality (bang for buck): 4.5/5

The Shozy Zero is Shozy first venture into IEM territory and I think they did it really well! They managed to offer an IEM with a premium feel to it (I really enjoyed the rosewood housings) and that will surely punch above its MSRP (50$). The sound these produce is really musical and with an amazing soundstage for IEM’s, which make these one of the best picks you could possibly get under 100$.

In what regards to build quality, they might feel a little bit fragile due to their small form factor, but provided you store them in adequate conditions (so a carrying case in the final product could be a nice accessory ).

As said above, you will need to able to enjoy a thicker sound, with a bit pronounced bass, but if you are looking for IEM’s with that kind of sound signature, you can’t really go wrong with the Zero and they will probably become my main IEM.

 

References

Price: RRP (50$) 

The review will be updated soon with pictures

vapman
vapman
I am a little confused because your title is "A bass lovers delight", pros has "great bass", but cons has "not for bass lovers"? I am a bit unclear on how you view the Zero's bass.
kiler
kiler
Nicely pointed out, it was a mistake, I meant treble lovers :) 
Pros: Easy enjoyable smooth and lush signature, great looks and excellent value
Cons: No chin slider, low on accessories, occasionally a bit too much mid-bass
The SHOZY Zero was sent to me from SHOZY directly in exchange for my honest review of them. The price at the time of this review was $59 on the Penon Audio website:
 
http://penonaudio.com/SHOZY-Zero%20?search=shozy
 
I’m not in any way affiliated with Penon Audio.
 
About me:
I’m a 43 year old music and sound lover that changed my focus from speakers to headphones and IEM’s about five years ago. At that time I realized that it wasn’t realistic for me to have all the different setups that I wanted and still house a family of four children and a wife so my interest turned first to full sized headphones and later also IEM’s.
 
My preferences are towards full sized open headphones and I believe that also says something about what kind of sound signature I prefer (large soundstage in all directions, balanced and organic sound).
 
My music preferences are pretty much all over the place (only excluding classical music, jazz and really heavy metal). My all-time favorite band is Depeche Mode although I also listen to a lot of grunge/indie, singer/songwriter/acoustical stuff as well as the typical top 40 music.
 
I do not use EQ, ever.
 
I’m a sucker for value for money on most things in life Head-Fi related stuff is no exception.
 
Built and accessories:
The SHOZY Zero is a single dynamic IEM featuring a driver of unknown size. They’re available in one flavor only as far as I’m aware, Rosewood without a microphone.
 
The cable is made of rubber and although it feels a bit cheap it doesn’t seem to tangle much and does what it should. There’s no chin slider, which is a must for me, so I made my own one (se picture below).  The 3.5 mm connector is straight which I personally don’t like so I’d have preferred an angled one. That being said the connector seem sturdy so I see no need to worry about it. Strain reliefs are in place in the right places and the Y-split is nice being made from rosewood just like the housing and the 3.5mm connector.
 
IMG_3645.jpg

Home made chin slider in place
 
The build in general seem solid. The housings are made of rosewood and metal (aluminum as far as I can tell) and they both look and feel premium.
 
The L/R marking is black on black and I’d have preferred the marking to have another color to be easier to see.
 
As my Zero is a review sample it arrived in a small zip-lock plastic bag without any retail package
 
The accessories pack is pretty standard and I’ve seen both less and more stuff included at this price point. This is what’s included:
3 pair of silicone tip (S/M/L)
1 zippered storage pouch
 
The SHOZY Zero is a bit harder to drive than your average IEM but still worked very well with all the sources I’ve tried it with including cellphones.
 
 
IMG_3644.jpg
 
IMG_3646.jpg
 
IMG_3647.jpg
 
IMG_3648.jpg
 
IMG_3649.jpg
 
 
The specs:
Housing
Rosewood
Driver Unit
Unknown
Frequenzy range
20Hz-18KHz
Sensitivity
94dB
Impedance
32 Ohms
Weight
5 g
Cable lenght
1,2 m
 
Fit and ergonomics:
I find the SHOZY Zero to be very comfortable and got no problem wearing them for several hours. They can be worn both over the ears as well as straight down. I’m using them over the ear since this is my preferred style and it also helps reducing microphonics.
 
The Zero, being straight barrel, is very easy to fit. They’re quite small and light so I don’t get any “hot-spots” when wearing them for longer time.
 
The included tips seem to be a very good fit for the sound of the Zero’s so although there’s only one kind they’re definitely usable. I had no problem finding several tips in my collection that keep the mid bass under controlled and also are comfortable. The JVC Spiral tips, Havi Foam tips and the silicone tips from my Fidelio S2’s are tips that works very well for me in addition to the stock ones.
 
Isolation is about average and above using foam tips.
 
Sound:
I’ve used them in my rotation for the last couple of weeks and they’ve played for well over 100 hours. I’ve used them both around the house and when out and about and I haven’t really found any significant weaknesses in the way they’re designed.
 
I’ve mainly used them with my LG G3 phone as well as the CEntrance DACport Slim and my FiiO X3/Cayin C5 combo and they’ve worked well with all sources I’ve tried them with.
 
For this review I’ve been using them with the Fidelio S2 tips.
 
Demo list:
Mark Knopfler – Sailing to Philadelphia
Røyksopp (Feat.Susanne Sundfør) – Save Me
Ane Brun – These Days
Michael Jackson – Dirty Diana
Metallica – Die Die My Darling
The Peter Malick Group – Immigrant
Eva Cassidy – Songbird
Thomas Dybdahl – A Lovestory
Norah Jones – Don’t Know Why
Celldweller – Unshakeable
Jack Johnson – Better Together
Seinabo Sey – Younger (Kygo remix)
Dire Straits- So Far Away
Tracy Chapman – Baby can I hold you
Lupe Fiasco - Deliver
Morrissey – Earth Is the Loneliest Planet
Adele - Hello
 
The overall sound signature on the SHOZY Zero is fairly well balanced with a full, smooth, warm and lush presentation and great bass presence.
 
The sub-bass don’t reach as deep as some of the best performers in that area but the presence is good enough to be enjoyable with all kind of music in my opinion. Mid-bass presence is even better and although there’s a lot of it the Zero’s manage to stay on the right side of boomy most of the time but with some recordings it does go a bit overboard. The bass isn’t the tightest I’ve heard but it’s very musical and enjoyable in a way that makes me think of the bass quality of the Aurisonics ASG-1PLUS (although the 1PLUS digs considerable deeper and has less mid bass).
 
The midrange is well in line with the rest of the frequencies and only on rare occasions being intruded by the upper bass. The midrange is lush and liquid in its character and I don’t find any part of it noticeable sticking out.  Male vocals sounds full and natural wile female vocals are smooth and soft, both are very enjoyable without being extraordinary. If I could wish for anything it would be a slight emphasis in the upper midrange to add a bit of sparkle and excitement to the presentation
 
The treble on the Zero’s is nothing that really stands out but it is full, smooth and has enough extension to be enjoyable but never bothersome.
 
Clarity and micro details are well above average for an IEM with this lush and warm signature and I think this is one of the main reasons for the Zero being so enjoyable. The combination of this amount of clarity and lush presentation is not something that’s not very common, especially not at this price point. The Zero’s doesn’t have a very wide soundstage but rather a more intimate presentation with great depth and excellent 3D feeling and timbre to the notes.
 
When I think of it the Zero doesn’t really excel in any area (bass, mids or treble) but still offers an overall presentation that’s very enjoyable. The great 3D imaging combined with the lush and yet clear presentation does make for a very fatigue free listening experience that’s easy to like.  
 
Comparison:
Please note that the comments in the comparison section are not in absolute terms but in comparison between subject A and B. This means (as an example) that if subject A is found to be brighter than subject B it does not necessarily mean that subject A is bright sounding in absolute terms. I hope this makes sense.
 
These comparisons were done listening through the FiiO X3/Cayin C5 combo.
 
PMV A-01 vs SHOZY Zero:
These two are really different with the PMV’s being very airy and fresh in its presentation while the Zero’s lush, intimate and almost like syrup. Compared to the Zero’s the PMV’s have slightly less sub-bass extension and impact. The Zero’s also got more impact in the mid- and upper bass but the PMV’s on the other hand has faster bass response and less bloom. They both have quite equal midrange presence but the bass interfere more on the Zero’s while there’s no bloom whatsoever on the PMV’s. The Zero has better weight and more natural sounding male voices while female vocals are significantly better on the PMV’s. The treble has better extension and more energy on the PMV’s but both are smooth.  The PMV’s have a much wider soundstage, better clarity and a lot more airy presentation while the Zero’s more liquid, have better bass depth and 3D imaging as well as a much more intimate presentation.
 
I find them both equally comfortable with maybe a slight advantage to the PMV.
 
Build in general is good on both but the wood housing on the Zero’s and better ergonomic design put them ahead.
 
The PMV’s easier to drive.
 
Isolation is better on the Zero’s.
 
Aurisonics Rockets vs SHOZY Zero:
These two are more similar that different with a smooth, lush and laid back overall sound. Sub-bass extension and impact is slightly better on the Zero’s and they also got quite a bit more mids- and upper bass presence. The Zero’s does also have better layering in the bass. The midrange on the two is actually quite similar in presence but the upper bass on the Zero’s does interfere a bit while that’s not an issue at all with the Rockets. The Rockets comes across as more mid-centric (maybe U-shaped) while the Zero’s is more L-shaped.  Male vocals sound more or less identical with maybe ever so slightly more weight to them on the Zero’s while female voices  sounds a touch more natural on the Rockets. The Rockets has slightly more energy and air in the upper mids and treble region and sibilance is a non-issue with both. The Rockets also pulls slightly ahead when it comes to clarity and micro details as well as overall resolution. The Rockets are more even across the frequencies and have a slightly better soundstage width as well as a more airy presentation while depth and 3D presentation is quite similar.  Overall the presentation of the Rockets is a bit more “out of your head” while the Zero’s even more intimate.
 
I find them to be equally comfortable.
 
Although overall build quality is good on both the Rockets are probably the best built IEM I own and pull ahead with their titanium housings and Kevlar cable.
 
The Rockets are harder to drive.
 
Isolation is great on both with the Rockets slightly ahead.
 
Havi B3 Pro1 vs SHOZY Zero
Sub-bass have quite similar extension but the Zero’s have much more impact and better layering. The Zero’s also has quite a bit more mid bass presence. The quality of the bass is also quite similar but the mid- and upper bass on the Zero’s can interfere with the midrange on some recordings while this never happens with the Havis’s giving them a cleaner presentation. The Havi’s have noticeable more focus on the midrange and I find the Havi to be more natural with both male and female vocals. The midrange on the Zero’s is thicker and more liquid while it has more air on the Havi’s.  3D imaging and timbre is actually quite similar while the B3’s have better soundstage width and separation. The Havi’s has better extension and details in the treble while it’s fuller and thicker on the Zero’s. Overall clarity and micro details is quite similar on both.
 
I find both of these very comfortable.
 
They both feel well built and quite sturdy so general build quality feels similar to me.
 
The Havi’s are harder to drive.
 
Isolation is better with the Zero.
 
Summary:
The SHOZY Zero is a very interesting first IEM from SHOZY. It’s spots a quite unique signature at its price point with a thick, war, liquid sound with great bass presence while still maintaining a strong midrange as well as good detail and clarity. Come to think of it I find it to be a midcentric signature with the (especially mid) bass tuned up quite a few notcheshat.
 
I’d personally have preferred that the mid bass was toned down a bit and that the Zero’s would have had a bit more energy in the upper midrange. This is not deal breakers for me I any way and neither is the lack of accessories and a chin slider but it’s enough to make me lose half a star on the overall rating.
 
Without really being great in any area the signature combined on the SHOZY Zero makes a very enjoyable listening experience with its lush and smooth presentation. In total, to me, the Zero’s competes with the Havi B3 Pro1 and the PMV A-01 as my favorite sub $100 IEM’s.
 
For anyone looking for a smooth, warm and lush sub $100 offering that also have great bass presence and a very non-fatiguing presentation I’d highly recommend the SHOZY Zero.
 
IMG_3650.jpg
peter123
peter123
@glassmonkey I guess we just hear them differently. To my ears the soundstage width is about average while they still have a good amount of air, especially for their warm and smooth presentation.
 
@waynes world Thank you Wayne!
Koolpep
Koolpep
The sales version from massdrop has a chin slider. Also my pre-production units are significantly smaller than the massdrop version - see thread....
Koolpep
Koolpep
@peter123  @mochill take a look at the size difference: post #1236 - I totally hear now why Peter describes them as smooth - and less balanced than what I heard. I was really doubting my ears. But this explains it to a certain extend

jant71

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Light and Comfy, Above average isolation, Mature and agreeable sound with ability, Value
Cons: No chin slider, rosewood housings can vibrate, Driver flex possible
Hi All,
 
I was given the chance to review the new Shozy Zero Rosewood earphones in exchange for just a small fee to cover the shipping. I received, as I'm sure some other reviewers did, an imperfect model with just tips but no packaging or case. The Zero can be found here...http://www.shozy-hk.com/zero-earphone/
 
Product Details:
Features:
  1. Milled CNC nozzles with special front venting
  2. Rosewood acoustic chambers
  3. High efficiency drivers
Specs:
  1. Sensitivity(at 1Khz) :94db
  2. Frequency response :20hz-18khz
  3. Input connector :3.5mm/1/8 inch gold-plated stereo TRS plug
 
The Zero is available at several e-tailers including Penon Audio Online store which is reputable...http://penonaudio.com/SHOZY-Zero
 
SHOZYZER0-700x700.jpg
(credit to Penon Audio) Shows the case which I am not able take a photo of.
 
 
900x900px-LL-8b345893_IMG_0176.jpg
 
My pair with my favorite tips on them. Note the small marks on them :)
 
 
Build Quality:
The Zero build quality is a combination of solid yet lightweight. Rosewood housings and capping for the Y join and plug. Rosewood is handsome and fairly lightweight but the finish may show signs of use or abuse after a while. The CNC nozzles are pretty much bulletproof. Sturdy rubber reliefs come out of the housings and plug. Fit and finish is perfect. Everything straight and clean with nothing out of alignment or ill fitting and no type of adhesive residue to be found. The cable is lightweight and has a slight plastic feeling sheathing. A bit bouncy is the cable but a nice blend of strong yet lighter weight. There is no chin slider which would help with microphonics and over the ear wearing style. A fairly simple design: straight barrel housings, straight plug, and a straight cylinder Y join.
 
Fit and Isolation:
I find the Zero to have a fairly easy and comfortable fit. The straight housings lend to both straight down and over the ear cable routing. The lighter cable can bounce off the ear at times so the a chin slider would have been nice for over the ear wearing.
 
Isolation is above average with the Zero. They are a sealed design with a special notch cut out of the nozzle lip. This can give better than average isolation but may introduce some driver flex with a deeper fit for those trying to get the absolute best seal. I have experienced it some on my right side. I find I can still get even slightly above average isolation with a medium depth insertion.
 
Sound:
The Zero has an overall well balanced sound with a slant towards bass and warmth. A decent bass amount but still far from basshead territory. Even with a tight seal I find them only a bit U shaped and not quite a V sound. Bass focused but the mids and treble are still right there. There is a good driver here combining with the sealed back wood housings for added richness and warmth. The added warmth of the wood and good driver dynamics give a enjoyable and smooth sound that doesn't become too thick or syrupy like many other wood earphones do. The driver is solid in it's performance being very coherent, quick, and accurate. Good extension on both ends that is above the price but short of the best. Dynamics are quite good with crisp lively treble and tight and fairly agile bass unless you seal them up too much where the drivers slow down a bit if they can't breathe as well. Detail is also good for a single dynamic and even presented throughout the range. Just don't expect mutli-armature detail. Clarity is quite good and close to some very good $100 offerings.
 
The Zero drivers sound quite accurate and the housings add in some wood richness. Vocals sound real. Most instruments sound realistic as well. Treble and cymbals are quite well done here. I hear nothing that comes off as artificial. A good portrayal with some nice transparency that gives a convincing experience. I find the Zero is also true to source as far as working well with most sources and not coloring the sound much and performing well. I may have a preference for using the Zero with less warm things but it still works well with those sources since the bass(sans unwanted vibration) is quite tight and composed. The Zero amps well but the extra juice can increase the vibration problem so the bass can muddle up/smear but if countered the bass seems to like added juice and should be quick and tight with more power provided the gear isn't adding significant warmth/bass.
 
The staging is quite good. Not very deep nor too forward though they are slightly on the forward side. Soundstage is large esp. with wide bore tips. Above average but falls short of huge. Smallish housing and a good seal won't present like a Titan 1 or other more open designs. Height, width, and depth are in nice proportion with each other. Maybe a bit taller than wide or deep but not enough to stick out and hurt the cohesion to any large degree.
 
*The caveat to the Zero sounding their best, IME, is keeping unwanted vibration in check. The wood housings seem to vibrate if not held place better with the right fit and/or tips. I noticed this on my pair early on when there was bass bloom combined with a surprising still clear upper mid/treble combination. Odd to hear that much difference and it was clear the front screens weren't to blame being quite fine and extra bass bloom that needs to burn off would effect the upper frequencies more and not leave them with that stark a difference in clarity. So, testing by holding the housing tightly and steady the bass cleaned up instantly and was much more clean and cohesive with the rest of the spectrum. YMMV on the issue with personal fit and tips used. A potential with wood which can resonate beautifully in an instrument but if not seated firmly causing low end smear/bass bloom. You don't know till you hear for yourself if or how much may be present. 
 
Select Comparisons:
I find the Zero compares quite well to two other earphones I have that cost about double the price...
 
Zero vs. ATH-E40(price paid - $89) - The Zero and E40 share a similar slight bass focus and smooth sound. E40 is a bit further back and spaced out not having the wood thickness in the sound. Only a bit more clarity and detail with the pricier Audio-technica monitor earphone which also works well with most of my gear. The Shozy is smaller and lighter and can be worn both ways while the E40 is over the ear due to having a memory wire portion. The E40 has twice the drivers in a dual phase configuration and can give a bit more bass quality and extension but not much difference comparing the overall SQ level of the two.
 
Zero vs. JVC HA-FXT200($100) - I did swap out the JVC's wool-like screens for a pair of metal mesh ones so they are not totally stock. I find the two phone at the same level of performance though a bit different in presentation. The JVC a more forward and immediate sound of similar thickness as the Zero. Again two drivers vs. one and at times or with certain sources the JVC shows a give in the cohesion of the two where the Zero won't. The Shozy has a bit more accurate/transparent treble. Both are very comfy and have lighter cables.
 
Conclusion:
Short and sweet, the Zero is a great little earphone. A good value. Easy to fit and can be worn both ways. Comfy. Sounds smooth and easy on the ears out of most gear but still quick and has some energy, transparency and good resolution and cohesiveness. No annoying flaws. Not the most accessories and could use a chin slider but you get one of the best performing earphones for $50. 
waveriderhawaii
waveriderhawaii
Thank you. Got mine today. Too bad my right ear is stuffed up, but they sound awesome out of the left.

vapman

Member of the Trade: bhobuds.com
Pros: Low price ($50). Easy to drive, no amp needed. Pleasant sound signature. Comfortable, isolates well, great aesthetics. Warm sound.
Cons: Won't appeal to people who amp, slight mid bass bloat, lack of sub bass
Shozy reached out to me and offered me a free set (just paid shipping+handling) in exchange for my review, and I gladly accepted. Many thanks to Shozy for this opportunity.
 
Even though Shozy recommends at least 40 hours burn in before usage, I started listening right away just for a few minutes, to get a sense of the "fresh" sound signature.  After about 15 minutes of listening, I put it away to burn in and did not touch it until about 60 hours had passed. I can confidently say it has improved after the burn in period. I am usually a burn in skeptic but there is a notable difference. The bass and soundstage opens up a bit.
 
First off, if you are considering a $50-150 IEM but don't have an amp and don't intend to ever get one, considering ending your search here. These are a godsend for people who use their DAP/laptop/phone's headphone jack. They sound great with any source. Unfortunately, the other side of this is that when matched up with nice headphone amps, the sound signature isn't really improved. There is minimal difference, so I don't recommend these to people who amp.
 
I found myself comparing these to the $299 Aurisonics Kickers often while using these. They have a very similar sound signature, a similarly pleasant bass presence, and an overall smooth sound signature. The soundstage and imaging is about equal on both the Zero and Kicker from my experience. I remember remarking I was unimpressed with the Kickers when amped, and that they were just as good with an un-amped source. However since both the Zero and Kicker use a single small dynamic driver, this makes sense.
 
You can listen for hours easily. They're very comfortable, and despite their tiny size, isolate very well.
 
The Zero has a bass oriented sound and does a pretty decent job at mid bass impact for unamped headphones. My main problem was that it couldn't hit real sub bass notes and certain mid bass notes were a bit muddy, but again I must emphasize these are truly all-arounder headphones and have no real weak points, so if my worst complaint is that I wish there was more sub bass, that's not terrible. You'll have to keep in mind I'm a raving basshead though. Normal non-bassheads will think this IEM is Bass City USA. When I use over ear headphones, they rattle off my head.
 
Cgegeee.png
Click "like" if this much EQ makes you sick just looking at it.
 
The rosewood housings and cable are all very nice. The microphonics on the cable are quite low. I did not have any complaints. The mids are very pleasing and natural and the highs are very smooth and non-fatiguing. I did not experience any sibilance with these.
 
My review set came in a plain plastic baggie with a few sets of black IEM tips. I am using JVC spiral dots for my testing. For anyone on a budget, or who does not have an amp, I would gladly recommend these. I honestly think they are on par with several $300 single dynamic driver IEMs. The only reason these get a 3.5 and not 4 star rating from me is that they arguably sound worse with an amp (if you are not a fan of the "V" sound signature") so I only use them directly out of my laptop or DAP's headphone output.
 
I would love to hear what Shozy could pull off with a bigger dynamic driver. The Zero has faint hints of being able to handle sub bass, and I'm confident they could do it if they made an IEM with a bigger driver :wink:
 
In conclusion, if your budget is under $80, I would say these are what you should invest in. If the fact it doesn't really respond to amping concerns you, you could spend $70-80 on an IEM with a similar sound signature that will respond better to amping, but the Zero has a very sweet and alluring sound on its own. I keep mine in my travel bag for any occasions where I don't have an amp around.
 
----------------
Additional thoughts after a couple weeks of owning
I have owned these for about 2-3 weeks at this point. I rarely use them primarily because they aren't as bass capable as other IEMs I have, but also because they don't play nicely with amps. I always have and like to use amps, so I think these will appeal much more to people who don't own an amp and aren't interested in getting one. However, if I had to recommend any IEM under $100, I can't say I would recommend these to everybody, mainly because they can't scale with amping well and the cable is fairly microphonic. There is also a fair amount of mid bass bloat and the treble feels a bit sharp while stuffy at the same time. They are very sharply V shaped and I can only recommend them to people who don't and won't use a headphone amplifier. For that crowd, this is a fairly good value, but I think there are similar sounding IEMs in the $25-40 range which are as good as with low-power sources like smartphones or DAPs and are able to scale with amping better. It is still a good value at $50 and can compete with IEMs and isolates surprisingly well for its light & small form factor. They are good but I don't think they are $500 good or even $100 good to be honest. I will be giving my set away. I think the fit was great and strongly encourage Shozy to try and make a more bass oriented IEM with a larger driver. The rosewood is great but unfortunately it matters less than the sound when it's in your ears.
Ashwin HL
Ashwin HL
thanks for the honest review!
i believe the hifiman re400 , fiio ex1 and the dunu titan would outclass these .
please correct me if i am wrong.
Folly
Folly
"..there are similar sounding IEMs in the $25-40 range which are as good as with low-power sources like smartphones or DAPs and are able to scale with amping better..."
 
can you please name a few? thanks!

HiFiChris

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: value, bass control and speed, precision, comfort, rosewood design, good sound quality on a budget
Cons: lack of a chin-slider, on the bassier side of balanced (just a personal thing, no subtraction for the objective rating), delivery packaging (for now)
IMG_1437.jpg
 

 
 
 
Preamble:

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.
It was some time ago that I had been in touch with Shozy regarding a product review of their sleek looking Cygnus earbuds. They then also mentioned that they had a new cheap single dynamic driver in-ear in the pipeline, a model with rosewood body and a competitive pricing of $50 while it was said to perform up to 10 times the price. Well, I’ve heard that story multiple times (, especially by some users claiming a $10-30 product would smash the $1000 competition, and in about almost every single case it had turned out as utterly nonsense, especially once when the $10 Ivery IS-1 was claimed by many users in its dedicated Head-Fi thread that was later removed to sound neutral and be technically superior to the Sennheiser HD 800, which I didn’t believe at all but took a shot and bought it, just to find out that it was one of the most bass-bloated and control-lacking in-ears I had ever tried, nonetheless there are indeed some in-ears that are over-performing for their competitive price tag, but not by that much) and I honestly told him that I wasn’t much interested, but he replied to me that he’d just throw in a sample of those rosewood IEMs that later turned out to be named “Zero” (http://www.shozy-hk.com/zero-earphone/) and that it was about me to whether I’d write a review or not.
So here we go now, writing as unbiased as possible and entirely hype-free.


Technical Specifications:

Price: ~ $50
Sensitivity (at 1 kHz): 94 dB
Frequency Response: 20 Hz – 18 kHz


Delivery Content:

The final retail packaging wasn’t ready yet and instead of waiting, I agreed that Shozy would just send me the in-ears and dedicated silicone tips. So there is not much to say here this time.
 

IMG_1433.jpg IMG_1434.jpg

 
 

Looks, Feels, Build Quality:

Honestly speaking, judging by all pictures I had seen so far, I had expected an average quality rosewood, but it turned out to be really good. The pictures don’t do the product justice, mine do neither – one has to see the Zero in real life to appreciate its wood’s quality. Every Zero will surely look somewhat different due to the different grain of wood.
The in-ear bodies, y-split (that lacks a cable cinch, meh – but has nice “Zero” lettering engraved) and 3.5 mm plug (with engraved “Shozy” logo) are made of rosewood and look and feel really nice. Strain relief is good on the in-ears and connector and sufficient on the y-split’s lower section.
The side-markers are small letters on the strain relief and could be better distinguishable.
The cable: do you know Knowledge Zenith (KZ) in-ears? Zero’s is quite similar but the coat is darker. As also mentioned in my reviews of some of the KZ in-ears, the cable is pretty good, appears sturdy, is flexible, a bit rubbery and better than what a few other companies equip their more expensive models with.
 

IMG_1435.jpg IMG_1436.jpg
IMG_1437.jpg IMG_1438.jpg
IMG_1439.jpg IMG_1440.jpg
IMG_1441.jpg IMG_1442.jpg

 

 
Comfort, Isolation:

The in-ears are more on the smaller side of average and easy to insert. With my large conchas, comfort and fit are excellent. As with most in-ears of this kind, a wearing style with the cable over the ears is easily possible and also what I recommend and practise with about all in-ears. This also helps to drastically reduce microphonics, as they are very present with the usual “cable down” style because of the lack of a cable cinch.

I cannot see a real vent except for the gap on the nozzle collar that is however covered by the ear tips, nonetheless isolation is "only" somewhat better than average but not excellent yet. Definitely not UE200 or SE425 levels yet, two in-ears with closed (non-vented) bodies that isolate extremely well.


Sound:

Just in case and as requested by Shozy, the in-ears were burnt in with symphonic music (for 200 hours, D’oh!) before listening started, although I suspect a greater burn-in effect (if any at all) with headphones.
For listening, I used the LH Labs Geek Out IEM 100, Leckerton UHA-6S.MKII, iBasso DX90 and DX80 as well as the largest included silicone tips. As desired by Shozy, I also used my iPhone 4, laptop (that puts out a flat signal except for a minor roll-off in the subbass) and AGPTek C05 DAP.

Tonality:

How is the tonality? In my ears, it is smooth, somewhat bassy and warm-ish but with a v-shaped tendency.

Bass is full, but it extends deep, doesn’t have too much lower midrange spillage and is tight, without boominess or being bloated (more on that in the “Resolution” section). It is forward but doesn’t become overwhelming; sound is musical and enjoyable but quite a bit bassier than the ER-4S’s and also UERMs’ neutrality (especially in the upper bass).

Although measurements indicate a bass around +12 dB, doing sine sweeps and EQ adjustments, it is rather ~10 dB in my ears compared to the very flat (diffuse-field target) Etymotic ER-4S and around 7 dB north of neutral compared to my UERM. The bass is full, somewhat big, but not really overwhelming and does not yet reach basshead levels. For my preference, there is somewhat too much (especially upper) bass most of the time, but that’s mainly because upper bass/lower fundamental range is already quite present and strong, something I don’t necessarily like much – in my opinion, upper bass could show somewhat less presence, being less kicking.
Bass starts rising at 800 Hz in my ears, reaching its climax at around 90 Hz but already being full between 100 and 200 Hz, with some rumbling (however with very good control) – the bass has more of a humped shape than straight rising tendency, adding some fullness and warmth to the fundamental range as well as lower vocals.
Yes, voices are more on the sweet and warm, somewhat dark side but I wouldn’t consider them as being really coloured or unnatural yet.
Between about 1 and 3 kHz, I hear a slight recession when doing sine sweeps, followed by a rising level above 3 kHz that extends into a broad-banded, above-zero peak at 5 and 8 kHz, with (just slightly) a bit less level above and really good extension past 16 kHz.

Overall sound is natural, musical. The bass is compensated by the treble that however doesn’t stand in the foreground too much, adding just the right amount of sparkle and perceived air in the upper ranges. Nonetheless, the middle and upper treble are undeniably forward in my ears when doing sine sweeps or listening to music – something that isn’t really showing on the measurement plots (in the middle highs) but rather the opposite, but in my ears, level is in the foreground in these areas. There might be some resonance in my large ear canals with the Zero.
Naturalness is good though, as the peaks are, as mentioned, broad-banded and decay in the upper ranges is just right (neither too fast nor too slow). At low listening levels, the Zero fits nicely in due to its sound signature, then sounding more balanced (keyword: loudness).
 
Resolution:


The Zero is not the super duper multi-driver killer. It is also not the best single dynamic in-ear. Nonetheless, it is a really nice offer for ~ $50 and stands well among other great dynamic driver budget offerings like the TE-02, B3 Pro I, A65 and M3 (direct comparisons further below). In fact, it even does some things better than those other budget offerings that could cost more, judged by pure sound quality.
Are most higher-priced dynamic in-ears overpriced or are all budget offerings (including the Zero) that are said to stand well against higher-priced stuff just sold at much lower prices than they could? Or is it probably a bit of both? It is up to you to decide. Taking manufacturing and buying prices into account, dynamic drivers, even the better ones, are usually much cheaper than BA drivers, and marketing, development and research costs are also things that play a role. So, good dynamic driver in-ears can naturally be sold at low prices if the company isn’t making huge profits from a single sold item and if engineering/research/marketing/design costs are kept rather low.
But enough introductory blah-blah, back to the Shozy Zero: it really does a good job. Could it compete with some other single dynamic driver models below/around $200? Yes. Is it technically better than most multi-driver BA in-ears? Not at all on the objective side, but you could still find it better on the subjective side if it really suits your tonal preference.

Bass quality is really really good for a dynamic driver in-ear. Punchy, quick, nicely controlled, without uncontrolled rumble. Quick music with fast bass lines? No problem at all for the Zero. Though, if we’re talking big boys, there could be a smidgen more bass details. Not a complaint at all for the price. If it was $500, I would desire a somewhat better detail retrieval in the lows, but not for $200 and especially not for $50, as the Zero is very easily worth that.
Midrange details are nicely presented. Not as liquid as with the LEAR LHF-AE1d, but with good minute details and good however not great speech intelligibility (no BA-levels).
Treble sounds natural and well separated, with good naturalness and air. If I was nitpicky, I could say that the violins’ overtones have some tendency to sharpness and if you don’t like a somewhat forward upper treble you might have problems at higher listening levels, but then again, no in-ear is 100% perfect (my UERM and even my beloved ER-4S aren’t) and decay appears neither too fast nor too slow in the upper range, is just spot-on.
For $50, you already get a lot of sound with the Zero, but that’s also true for some other budget offerings. Except for probably coherence, you will definitely get an improvement with good multi-driver BA-only in-ears between $200 and 500, but if you are more into the character of dynamic drivers, you will probably still prefer the Zero.

Soundstage:

Airy. Airy and well positioned. Do I need to say more? Probably not, but I know you want to read more.
Expansion to the sides is somewhat more distinctive than average, but not by much. It completely lacks congestion though. Spatial depth is nicely presented and layering as well as instrument separation are good. Size and airiness aren’t as present as with in-ears like the Havi B3 Pro I or DUNU Titan 1, but spatial precision and separation are really good. Not better BA-level but really good for a dynamic driver in-ear.

---------

In Comparison with other dynamic driver In-Ears:
So let’s see how the Zero stands up against other excellent budget offerings and some higher priced models.

Fostex TE-02:
Believe it or not, the TE-02 already is an excellent budget offering. Ignore its price tag, it doesn’t say anything about its sound. If I didn’t accidentally stumble across a German thread, I would have totally ignored the Fostex. It is one of the super budget (< $30) offerings, if not the only one, where I would personally easily see a price tag past $100.
The Fostex is the clearly more neutral in-ear, sporting a pretty flat bass, no real warm tilt in the lows and (in my ears) a somewhat darker, less present treble.
Overall, I just see a small advantage of the Zero in terms of midrange and treble details (especially as the upper treble decay sounds more natural), with both being on-par when it is about bass speed and control.
The soundstage of both in-ears is similarly wide but the Zero has somewhat more depth with comparable spatial precision.

Havi B3 Pro I:
The Havi B3 Pro I is an excellent in-ear - my only grief with it is that it doesn’t sound 100% coherent to me – besides that, it is a highly recommendable entry-level model. The Zero sports the better coherency with its single driver – but how about the rest? The Havi sounds more balanced, with less bass and fundamental warmth although it has some boost in the middle root range. The Zero has more middle treble whereas the B3 has little more upper highs with the stock black silicone tips I am using with the Havi.
Once again, I wouldn’t be able to say one is clearly better than the other. Both have comparable bass speed and control, resolution is very comparable as well.
The Havi’s soundstage is larger in both directions, with the somewhat better instrument separation.

Fidue A65:
The A65 – a really nice in-ear with titanium-coated diaphragms and built like a tank. Smooth, natural, very enjoyable and with really good bass quality and imaging (not really in terms of soundstage size but separation).
The Shozy sounds bassier and somewhat thicker, with more presence in the sub- and midbass. Treble is comparable though the A65 has somewhat less level in the upper and upper middle highs in my ears.
Talking resolution: the Zero has the very slightly quicker bass decay but the A65’s sounds more tactile, with the better body while maintaining the same if not even having slightly better control. The Fidue sounds somewhat more detailed in the bass. In the mids, both are comparable though I would give the very slight edge towards the Shozy. In the treble, I would say the Zero is slightly more natural as its decay isn’t as fast as the A65’s, but detail retrieval in the highs is nothing where I could make out a winner. It’s a tie.
Talking soundstage: the Zero’s is somewhat larger in both dimensions, but both are equally precise when it is about instrument separation and placement.

Brainwavz M3:
The M3 – a very nice in-ear, overall quite balanced, with just gentle “fun”. Great spatial depth. Average cable.
The Brainwavz has less bass and warmth. M3’s middle treble is more in the background but the peak in the upper highs is steeper, making it sound brighter there.
Bass speed is better on the Zero’s side. Control as well. When it is about midrange details and speech intelligibility, the Brainwavz is somewhat better. The Zero’s treble appears to be somewhat better resolving and little more natural.
Soundstage: the M3 has less width, more depth. M3’s depth is somewhat magical. In comparison, the sides feel somewhat congested on the M3 (imho). The Shozy sports the somewhat better spatial precision, sounds less blurry.

RHA T20 (“reference” filters):
The T20 is a well-built dynamic in-ear. It works well for Classic Rock. Midrange and treble details are quite good though the highs could be somewhat more even (there is some very minor sizzle). Over time, I realised what I personally don’t completely like about the T20 – its bass (not necessarily the quantity as I am rather flexible regarding that but the amount of upper bass and general quality). It is quick but somewhat rumbling. Not rumbling in a good way, but rumbling as in lacking control a bit. Yes, bass is better “distinguishable” therefore but that appears somewhat forced. Directly comparing the T20 to really good budget offerings, I realise that it is actually a bit overpriced for its bass performance alone.
Both in-ears have a similar upper bass level, however as the Zero is quicker and better controlled here, so it sounds a bit less forward – it sounds less bassy than the T20. It’s also because the Zero extends lower without roll-off. Upper treble is more forward on the Zero’s side.
Bass speed and especially control are better with the Zero. Much better distinguishable notes and lines, less rumble, quicker attack and decay. At first listen, it seemed like the Zero was more detailed in the mids and highs, but that was just because of its boost in the upper treble. Listening more closely in the next two hours, the T20 is somewhat better resolving in the mids and treble, but it is gentler and has more muted upper highs wherefore it doesn’t appear as airy at first glance. The T20 shows slightly more midrange details with minute singers’ variations – but it is just a little better and the Zero lacks the slight sizzle the T20 has at times. Bass quality goes quite clearly to the Zero. Treble and midrange quality are things where the RHA is slightly better. Is that alone worth the much higher price? It is not, as I would say because the Zero has the quite better bass quality, it is overall slightly better, especially if you value price-performance ratio where the T20 is, now directly compared to some really good budget in-ears, rather on the average side. But it sports the obviously superior build quality, more flexible cable, nicer packaging and the user experience is on a whole other level. And its soundstage is actually quite nice – a bit more width and depth than the Zero, the somewhat more precise imaging, better forward projection, but with bassier tracks it collapses a little in the upper bass, compared to the Shozy.
If you are willing to pay the upcharge for superior build quality, design, somewhat better soundstage and midrange details, the RHA T20 is still a quite solid dynamic driver offering – but rather expensive for its (especially lower note) performance compared to some budget offerings like the Zero that sounds more controlled, more rounded and just slightly less detailed in the mids.

LEAR LHF-AE1d (upgrade nozzles):
Here we go with one of my favourite dynamic driver in-ears of all time. Why? Good build & cable, variable bass, really natural sound with excellent midrange plus treble and excellent authenticity.
Bass quantity depends on where the LEAR’s screw is at. It can reach from sub-neutral to basshead levels with just a turn of the potentiometer. With the upgrade nozzles, the AE1d’s midrange is flatter, brighter than the Zero’s. The LEAR has got a more even and smoother midrange and treble, with a relaxed-dip around 5 kHz. As it is now, I have tuned the AE1d for a pretty neutral bass response.
The only category where the Zero is somewhat ahead is bass quality with better speed and control as soon as fast music is being played – as the LEAR’s bodies are vented twice, the bass is more on the softer side. Bass details are about comparable although the AE1d sounds less blunt. Midrange and treble resolution? It’s no competition, the LEAR is ahead, especially with its liquid, detailed mids and natural, well-resolving treble. Naturalness as well as authenticity are also things where the AE1d is extremely strong, hence making it one of my favourite dynamic driver in-ears.
Imaging/soundstage: the LEAR has comparable width but more spatial depth; the soundstage seems somewhat more natural. Instrument separation is about comparable.

Sennheiser IE 800:
It’s no fair comparison, I know. The IE 800 is a hell of a single dynamic driver in-ear. Its frequency response is tuned for fun. Bass is super quick and controlled. Separation is excellent. Though, its treble sounds somewhat artificial (cymbal crashes sound somewhat sizzling instead of crashing) and well, the cable is honestly some sort of bad joke at this price point (“What did those people think?! Creating a superbly sounding dynamic driver in-ear and using such a *cough cough average* cable?!”).
The IE 800 is more of a classical v-shaped nature, sporting present sub-bass and upper treble. The Zero doesn’t have less sub-bass at all but less perceived impact and pressure down there. Upper bass is about similarly impactful/present but as the IE 800 is more sub-bassy, it is perceived as somewhat less obtrusive. IE 800’s bass keeps out of the lower mids better. The Senn’s treble is of the typical v-shaped nature: somewhat recessed middle highs, elevated upper highs. IE 800’s upper highs appear more forward.
The IE 800 is overall ahead, but it better should at the price point: obviously better minute detail retrieval, even more control and bass firmness. The IE 800 feels more responsive, quicker, with better transients. Vocal, bass and treble details are better with the Sennheiser. Switching to the Zero, it feels like there is some sort of veil. The IE 800 is more refined, also in the treble where it however sounds somewhat artificial with cymbal crashes. Is the IE 800 12-14 times better than the Zero? It is clearly not. We’re talking about audio where we have a distinct law of diminishing returns with exponential price increase for differences here and there as well as a somewhat better performance.
Now all that’s left is a soundstage comparison. IE 800’s stage expands wide. Not super wide out-of-your-head style but wide. And it is precise. Separation and lateral placement are really good. Soundstage isn’t that super wide actually (no Westone 4R levels yet) but instruments are very finely displayed and it is easy to pick them out. Zero’s soundstage is not as precise and also not as wide but has some more depth and appears more round, circular.


Conclusion:

Sound is a total matter of preference – if a sound signature suits one’s tastes, chances are very high that the headphone will also be enjoyed, even when the objective sound quality doesn’t reach much better models. In the end, it is always a matter of personal taste and preference whether an in-ear will be enjoyed by folks or not.
If you like the character of dynamic driver in-ears with good musicality, some fullness and upper treble air, you get a lot with the Zero. It sounds very natural with most types of music and has a really good bass response. It fares well against other excellent budget offerings, even being somewhat better in some places, and even trumps models like the RHA T20 in some categories. In the bass, it is also somewhat better than my all-time favourite single dynamic in-ear, the LEAR LHF-AE1d, which on the other hand sounds even more natural and is audibly better resolving overall, but that should be expected at four times the price, just as that the Sennheiser IE 800 also trumps the Zero in everything except for upper treble naturalness where I always found the Sennheiser to be slightly artificially splashy sounding.
Is the Zero a really good budget offering? It is, although it is not noticeably better than other great budget offerings when compared face-to-face. Can it objectively compete with better multi-BA in-ears? No, not at all, but if you prefer the character of dynamic in-ears, it probably might for you.
It is no killer but a really good budget offering with natural, vivid sound. Good value? What does the question mark do here, Chris, it does have really good value, just as some of my other favourite budget dynamic driver in-ears I used for comparison. Is it a very enjoyable in-ear? Oh yes, it really is. For my preference though, upper bass could be somewhat less present – but that is a subjective thing.


With my usual 70% sound/price/value (97/100) to 30% build/fit/accessories (89/100 (might change if I get to see a real retail packaging)) weighting, the Zero gets 4.73 out of 5 possible stars.
Mediahound
Mediahound
Mine came with a chin slider piece (also wood). 
HiFiChris
HiFiChris
@Mediahound
 
Yeah, I think Shozy mentioned in the Zero thread a while back that they updated the in-ear with a chin-slider (any additional changes? I'm not sure).
Badelhas
Badelhas
Great mini review! Anyone knows how they compare with the Xiaomi Piston 3?
 
Cheers

Decommo

500+ Head-Fier
Pros: Sound quality, wooden visual appeal, fun dynamic sound, Incredible Value
Cons: L/R markings very hard to see, Y split lacks strain reliefs and easy tangling cable
Shozy_0_1.jpg
 
[size=24.57px]INTRODUCTION[/size][size=24.57px]
clip_image002.png
[/size]

This is my 2nd product from Shozy. I purchased Shozy Alien Gold Edition and loved the product so much so that I put my sincere appreciation of releasing such a great DAP to Shozy and they appreciated my feedback and asked me if I will be interested in reviewing their new IEM, ZERO.  And I was more than happy to try out and review their new IEM, and I am now reviewing this IEM today.

DISCLAIMER

Shozy Zero that I’m reviewing today was provided to me gratis as a review sample and this is not retail version but sample version so the final version may slightly different to the one that I have. I do not make any financial gain from this review – it is has been written simply as my way of sharing my impression both to the Head-Fi and also Shozy themselves.

'ABOUT ME'

My preference in IEM is clear, transparent sound with wide soundstage. I am no basshead and I HATE muddy sounded earphone with over emphasized bass. I’ve used the ZERO from a variety of sources, but for main body of this review, I’ve used it primarily with my Shozy Alien Gold and Fiio X1.

This is a purely subjective review. Please note that I am not an Audiophile and I am actually a newbie who started audio enthusiast road beginning of this year.  And this is my 1st review on any audio gear. Please take these all with a grain of salt - especially if it does not match your own experience. J

THE REVIEW

PACKAGING AND ACCESSORIES
Review unit arrived in bubble bag. It had earphone unit and 3 pairs of tips (S, M, L). That is it. I was told that Retail version would come with a Zippered clamshell case, too.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS
(From Penon)

 
Sensitivity(at 1Khz) :94db

Frequency response :20hz-18khz

Line Length:1.2m

Resistance:32Ω

Input connector :3.5mm/1/8 inch gold-plated stereo TRS plug

 

BUILD QUALITY / DESIGN

The unit itself is made of real rosewood and front tip part in black is made of aluminum (not 100% sure what kind of metal but it is very light and feel like aluminum). I really like this wooden cylinder chamber. It looks gorgeous and I was amazed how it could be made out of real wood in this small size in this finishing quality and also be able to feed all of speaker units inside without causing cracks on the wooden chamber.

I could not see any pot or vent and found isolation is good.

Shozy_0_4.jpg

The L/R marking is on cable strain relief rubber part but it is very hard to see. I wish that it had different color of rubber on each side or has some sort of more visible marks on it so it can be easily distinguishable. 
 
Shozy_0_7.jpg
 
The cable has strain relief and look quite durable. However, the cable Y split part does not have any strain relief and looks quite fragile and not sure how long it will withstand daily abuse. I really wish that it had strain relief around Y-Split part so it could be more durable. The Y-split is also wooden cylinder shape cover on it with ZERO word engraved and look nice though.
 

Shozy_0_2.jpg
The cable is also easy to get tangled comparing with other IEM such as Yamaha EPH-100, which I will compare shortly.
clip_image004.png


The jack is also made of wood and Shozy wording engraved on it. It is straight, 3.5mm, gold plated, and has good strain relief.  The jack itself is quite narrow so it should be smart phone case friendly. I tested with my one and it was fine.

Shozy_0_3.jpg

FIT / COMFORT

I tried all 3 silicone ear tips and found L size tips fits me perfect and seal very well. The ear tip is quite shallow in depth so it does not go into ear canal deep. I found that it is very comfy and could not feel the weight much at all. At once time, I listened 4 hours straight and did not have any fatigue wearing at all. I found that ZERO is one of the most comfortable IEMs that I have experienced so far.

POWER REQUIREMENTS

This IEM has only 32 ohm impedance and easy to drive. I tested with Shozy Alien, Fiio X1 and HTC M8 and did not have any trouble driving this IEM.

SOUND QUALITY

The following is what I hear from the ZERO. YMMV – and probably will – as my tastes are likely different to yours. For my testing I used mainly Shozy Alien and Fiio X1 and all of my music file format are FLAC.

Shozy_0_5.jpg

Shozy_0_6.jpg
 
I don’t own many IEMs and only have handful number of IEMs. (You can check my profile to see what IEMs I do own). After 200 hours of burn in and listening, I personally found that ZERO is very similar sound signature with Yamaha EPH-100 that I also own. It has fun and dynamic sound and it goes really well any types of music that I choose to listen.

Shozy_0_8.jpg

Comparing with Yam EPH-100, ZERO is slightly darker and has definitely wider soundstage and a bit more bass. It is not bass heavy IEM but when music demands, it surprisingly delivers plenty of bass & sub-bass. Since it is a bit darker, it sounds more organic and less fatiguing. If Yam EPH-100 sounds a bit metallic or brassy, ZERO sounds a bit more analog and tad softer. 
 
Overall Detail / Clarity / Timbre
Tracks used: String Quintet No.3 in G minor, K.516:1. Allegro by Mozart

I am very impressed how ZERO goes well with Classical music especially string instruments. The violin and cello sounds clear and I could definitely feel the timbre and hear all the details clearly. It sounds really natural and very pleasing. Comparing with EPH-100, ZERO sounds definitely better on string instrument oriented  Classical music.

Sound-stage & Imaging
Tracks used: Mad Max: Fury Road – Brothers in Arms

I again very impressed when I listen Mad Max soundtrack with ZERO. This soundtrack is consist of a lot of different instruments such as drum, violins, cellos, percussions and many other digital instruments and ZERO delivers great separation among instruments with BIG sound stage and imaging. I could separate all of instruments playing while listening. Only minor complaint is that I hear slight distortion on bass when there are many drums all playing at the same time but I would not notice this if I did not listen critically.

Bass Quality and Quantity
Tracks used: Fearless – Matt Nash, Carta

I continue being impressed. This track has plenty of bass and I could hear great mid-bass thump and this is more than enough bass quantity for me. If you are not serious basshead, I am quite confident that you will be satisfied with the amount of bass & sub-bass this IEM delivers.

Female Vocals
Tracks used : Nebraska by Lucy Rose, Fields of Gold by Eva Cassidy, Don’t know Why by Norah Jones,.

ZERO goes well with so many genres and Female vocal is not an exception. My personal favorite genre of music is female vocal and I spend great deal of time listening them. Some of bright sounded IEMs give harsh treble when listening high pitch female vocal and ZERO does not. Its slight darkish tone helps listening female vocal without harshness while maintaining great clarity. I really like sound signature ZERO offers.

Male Vocals
Track used: Riptide by Vance Joy, Ophelia by The Lumineers, Budapest by George Ezra

Again –Zero delivers. Folk music with men’s voice goes very well with Zero. I found that the slight dark tone makes the song slightly dark but it brings good bass & timbre to the forefront, whilst retaining richness and fullness through the vocals.

 

[size=24.57px]SHOZY ZERO[/size][size=24.57px] [/size][size=24.57px]– SUMMARY[/size]

First up I want to take the chance to thank (again) Shozy for giving me the chance to listen to Shozy’s new IEM.

I believe that this IEM is a fabulous choice if someone looks for all rounder IEM under $100. It is made of gorgeous real rosewood that is pleasing to Eyes and Ears. It is surprisingly light and offers good isolation.

It has fun & dynamic sound with slight darkish tone. It has good bass quantity without sacrificing clarity on mid & high and it has impressive soundstage.

It is also easy to drive and does not need separate amp.  This IEM makes me wonder why I need Yamaha EPH-100 after all when I have this one now.

My only gripe is hard to see L/R marking, durability of Y-Split area and tangling cable. Other than that, I could not find any major fault. I could not think any IEM that matches sound quality with ZERO at this price and I highly recommend this IEM.

Brilliant sound, brilliant value, and  – 4.5 stars.


Decommo
Decommo
@piotrus-g Yes, I fully agree. Price to Performance ratio is exceptional. :)
Decommo
Decommo
@s4tch Thank you for your kind words. I just did a quick comparison by listening "My Curse by Killswitch Engage". EPH-100 sounds brighter, mid & upper bass focused and guitar sounds more crunchy because brighter sound signature. ZERO on the other hand, darker, and goes deeper in terms of bass & sub-bass and could hear the rumble on base & drum. If you prefer brighter sound, EPH-100 is the one. If bass & sub-bass quantity is more important, then ZERO is the one. I personally prefer ZERO because listening Metal is quite ear fatiguing and I can listen with Zero much longer. Just my 2 cents. :) 
s4tch
s4tch
@Decommo thanks for the super quick and helpful reply! zero it is, then. cheers!

mechgamer123

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: A great warm/smooth sound signature, never gets piercing or strident
Cons: Highs are a bit rolled off, lack a bit of refinement versus higher priced sets
Before I begin, I'd like to thank the representative from Shozy for sending me a set free of charge in exchange for my review. I will try and be as honest and truthful as I can in my review regardless. To be honest, when he approached me I had pretty low expectations for these since he was a bit vague on providing any specifics, he just told me he was sending me a "really good sounding IEM" and that I should burn it in before evaluation with at least 100 hours of orchestral music. 
 
My set came in a bubble wrapped bag with a set of eartips and that is it, no case or other accessories, just three sets of tips for small/medium/large ears. It looks like the final ones come with a case and perhaps some other accessories, but since mine didn't come with any of that I won't make a comment on the fit and finish of anything other than the IEMs themselves.
 
The wood housing used for the IEMs, Y split, and connector seems like it's good quality; it's not highly lacquered and then polished for days, and it doesn't look like some exotic endangered species of wood but the color and finish are both really nice, it certainly stands out a bit from the plastic fantastic crowd of IEMs at this price point. The cable is a nice feeling rubber material that's semi transparent and allows some of the strands of copper to show through, giving the cable a really sleek look when you really start looking at it. Microphonics on the cable are still certainly present, even when being worn over the ear, but they aren't too loud I'm guessing a slider would have alleviated this problem but my set did not come with one. The cable seems to have a small amount of memory to it, so trying to straighten the cable out all the way after wrapping them up for a while might be a challenge, but this shouldn't be a problem for most.
 
The housings are fairly tiny and fit very well into my ears. Then again, I have big ears and my go-to IEM for the last two years has been the Sony XBA-H3, which is much bigger, so I might not be the best person to judge fit from. 
redface.gif
 Isolation seems pretty good for a dynamic IEM but without aftermarket tips that go deeper in the ear canal they certainly shouldn't replace your earplugs or earmuffs in any high volume environments. I am unsure if these are ported or not but given how good the isolation is I'm going to guess they aren't. If they were it would probably be the single best isolating vented IEM I've ever heard with single flanged eartips.
 
Before giving my sound impressions, I just wanted to say that originally the rep didn't give me any pricing info for these until I asked, but I genuinely thought the asking price for these was going to be somewhere in the $100-200 range. When he told me they would be $50 I was pretty flabbergasted.
 
Now onto the sound. Going from bottom to top, the bass on the Shozy Zeros has good punch and great extension; it never felt like it was overpowering any other parts of the sound spectrum but it is definitely very present. I would say the bass has more of a rumble than a punch, which I believe suggests it's a bit more focused in the sub bass than mid-bass area. The extension is really good too, going at least as deep as my budget subwoofers in my car and home theater setups. Either way I was really impressed with the bass and it was probably my favorite part of the sound. 
 
The mids always seem the hardest for me to gauge on IEMs, but here they seem to be well balanced; they aren't heavily recessed or anything and I was able to hear a good amount of information in the range, but they also weren't crystal clear either. I would say some vocals and instruments sounded clearer on my H3s than the Zeros for example, but only by a bit. That may be related more to the treble than anything though. In summary, there's definitely nothing weird going on in the midrange, everything is pretty much where it should be.
 
The treble sounds pretty great too. This is where I feel like a lot of IEMs fail for me: they're either way too treble happy and end up giving me a headache after as little as a few minutes or too soft and dull sounding for fear of sounding like the former, or perhaps to mask treble peaks that they didn't bother fixing. Either way I am happy to say that the Zeros don't have any of these issues and the treble is pretty well balanced. While it does lie on the softer side, there is still a good amount of presence and it sounds more refined than a lot of other cheaper sets of IEMs I have laying around. The Zeros check that very rare mark for me since they don't sound too bright and painful nor too soft. Very few sets I've heard under $150 achieve this as well as the Zeros.
 
So perhaps it's because my sound preferences just align with the Shozy Zero's sound signature, but I really think these are a winner. To me, these IEMs sound like they are worth twice to three times the asking price to me.
 
Equipment used:
Nexus 6P 
Project H: Some Chinese CS4398 DAC combined with an Objective 2 amplifier.
 
For an idea of the kinds of music I listen to, you can look at my last.fm page but in summary I listen to a lot of Japanese music: EDM, anisong, pop, etc along with some American classic rock and miscellaneous other tracks from classical to rap.
 
Again, thanks to the rep and please let me know if anyone has any questions about my review. 
smily_headphones1.gif
 
Nec3
Nec3
He told you 100? This guy told me 200!
*Grumbling muffled by snake oil veil*
No but seriously, burn in does help the IEM's and I think these are well worth $50. Good review.
mochill
mochill
I was told as minimum of 200hrs☺
mechgamer123
mechgamer123
Haha thanks guys! And yeah he told me 100. Regardless I kept it plugged in and on nearly a week straight so I think they're plenty burned in now. XD

Kaisendon

New Head-Fier
Pros: Wide soundstage, Strong and punchy bass, Well-designed wooden body
Cons: Slightly recessed mids and highs
SHOZY Zero Review
I will be giving my impressions on the pre-production wooden in-ear monitors Zero in this review.
In this review I will cover the various areas – build quality, sound quality and price value. The Zero is currently going at 50USD so do check it out.
Build Quality
The SHOZY Zero is made of rosewood with a wooden splitter and jack (uses 3.5mm single ended). The Zero has been quoted in lacquer so it is slightly more scratch and water resistant as compared to raw wood. The cable is sealed in a semi-dark translucent plastic/rubber and under warm lighting looks slightly brown which complements the colour of the Earpiece.
Personally, I like how the Zero gives off a classy and rustic appeal that comes from using wood as the base material for the shell, jack and splitter – although I think the cable might be slightly long for me (2-3 inches shorter might be easier for keeping) and tangles pretty easily due to the material and length.
Sound Quality
The Zero may only use a single driver, but I think it’s not about the driver count because it packs a punch and some surprises after listening to it over the past week. For my review, my accompanying player used is the Onkyo DPX1 and primarily I have only tested the Zero with its stock eartips and spinfit tips.
Before burning in – the first thing that struck me was that the Zero required more power and is harder to drive than most general IEMs. In the beginning, the Zero did not sound so impressive – slightly muddy bass, very recessed mids, recessed highs and wide soundstage. Despite the initial cons, the performance in terms of soundstage, resolution and instruments reproduction were good and the bass was thick and punchy which made the Zero even more energetic and fun.
After burn in, the Zero starts to perform on a whole different level. I had burnt in the Zero with orchestra music on my DPX1 as recommended.
Lows
The previously muddy and rough bass, is now much smoother after burn in. It maintains its thick and punchy bass similar to that of speakers and now possesses more resolution. The Zero produces fantastic instruments in the lower range, running both deep with a fairly wide soundstage. Instruments like drums can be heard and experienced with more impact. However, the bass still remains heavy, occasionally bleeds into the mids and overpowers the highs. Personally, I listen to main pop-ballad songs and I find the bass too heavy and makes the Zero quite fatiguing to listen to for long periods of time.
Mids
As mentioned before, the mids on the Zero are fairly recessed, especially before burn in.
After burn in the mids on the Zero become more forward, however still overcast by the bass. The vocals on the Zero are fairly sweet and intimate. Especially on acoustic songs when the vocals present itself to be warm, intimate and smooth.
Occasionally, you can hear the Zero struggle to play the higher mids on vocals (especially female vocals), but this may be due to how it is slightly harder to drive compared to general iems. When paired with an amp, the mids no longer seem as recessed nor does the Zero struggle on higher mids frequencies.
Highs
Same issue with the mids, the placement of highs on the Zero is quite behind the bass and mids. So if you're looking for something with more forward mids and highs, this might not be the best choice for you.
Despite its backward placement, the Zero produces accurate details on the highs and the "sparkles"on the treble can be heard vividly. Highs from the Zero are well controlled and don't sound too airy or sibilant.
Price Value
Overall, the Zero is a fun iem, which I would recommend for pop and instrumental genre music. The wide soundstage paired with its reproduction of instruments is really quite amazing and can't be found even on some 200-400+ USD iems on the market like the Shure 535 or Westone W40. If you're into mids/vocals you might find it harder to enjoy depending on song to song, or abit fatiguing at times from the heavy bass. The Zero is a steal going at 50USD. It's performance goes way beyond its point on price.
Having said all that, I'm quite looking forward to how the Zero sells in the market as my unit is a pre production unit. I think that with a good branding and packaging of the unit the Zero can be marketed as a classy entry level iem. Personally if the Zero was presented in a wooden box, it would go well with the physical appeal while making the Zero look like a fairly expensive and luxurious gift. I also hope that the Zero could come in different wood colours like maple wood (just my colour preference), though I understand that it would alter the sound.
Conclusion
Build - 8/10
Sound quality - 8/10
Pricing - 10/10
Be it if you're an audiophile or just someone looking for a casual upgrade from earpods, the Zero is great value for money and you should set aside money to buy and try it because at the price there's nothing much to lose, only to gain.

vtkc

100+ Head-Fier
Pros: Very Cheap, Very good clarity, Very wide and layered sound stage, Very musical
Cons: May not be suitable for people who don't like too much bass, Need really long burn in.
Here is my short review on the Shozy Zero Pre-production unit. I was informed that it should be burnt in using instrumental songs for at least 100 hours and I did it for more than 200 hours by looping Mahler Symphony 2 and 5 using my Shozy Alien Gold Edition. This review is done using my Shozy Alien Gold Modded by Cypherus Audio X.
 
Out of the box using medium stock eartips, it is smooth sounding with light bass, very musical and natural. However, when changed to JVC Spiral Dots, the bass is tighter and controlled with more emphasis on the mid, making it very addictive with vocals. I was reminded that it will be even better after burn in, and so my burn in journey begins. :)
 
100 hours into burn in, the bass is much heavier now and more prominent when using the stock tips. Things still sounds very natural and musical, especially instrumental symphonies. But I feel that the bass is too heavy for my liking and is also quite loose in my opinion. That's when I swap to JVC Spiral Dots eartips and BOOM! The bass is now very much tighter with more focus on the vocals. Now Enya sounds so immersive and love songs sounds very very musical and emotional. The mids is lush and relatively thick, making both male and female vocals very addictive. Now after 100 hours of burning in, the sound stage did open up bigger and the layering is quite good too. Onward to more burning in...
 
200 hours of burning in milestone reached and time for the real deal. Again, starting with the stock tips, things now sounds too bassy and the bass is too loose. Maybe this will appeal to bass heads. Bass apart, the mids and the treble are relatively flat sounding. Separation is very good with a decently wide and layered sound stage. The focus with the stock tip, imo, is on instrumentals and not so much on vocals. Do not get me wrong, vocals is still nice on these but the instruments stands out more with the stock tips. Instruments and voices sound very natural and smooth. And now going on to the JVC Spiral Dots, the bass have been tamed downed a little and also very much tighter now. The mids are also now more prominent. Separation is still very good as usual but the sound stage sounds a little smaller than the stock tips. Vocals now sounded much sweeter and lovely. 
 
 
Comparison:
 
Against the Westone UM Pro 10 UIEM ($149 USD): Hands down that the Zero wins. The Pro 10 does not have the separation and sound stage. It also does not have the details that the Zero has. The Pro 10 sounded very much thinner than the Zero and is also not musical. When listening to the same song on the same player, same perceived volume, the Pro 10 sounded like listening to MP3 and the Zero is like listening to FLAC. The difference is too great.
 
Against the Eartech Duals CIEM (Starting from $299 USD): The Duals is still currently in the burning in process. The Duals and the Zero have very different sound signature. The Duals sounded more reference-like when compared to the Zero. The Zero have a nice good deep bass while the Duals have a very tight bass. The mids is quite thin on the Duals but it still sound musical and detailed. The Duals is more focused on the accuracy while the Zero is more focused on musicality. They are both very good IEMs but with very different sound signature.
 
Against the 64audio U12 UIEM ($1599 USD): There is no competition for this. The U12 just outperform the Zero. The U12 have a very good separation and sound stage that makes the Zero sound so small. The details are also very much clearer on the U12. But how does the $50 USD UIEM fare against the $1599 USD monster? Well, if U12 is 10, I will rate it 7. Both of them have a similar sound signature and Zero is like the baby brother of the U12. 
 
 
Conclusion:
Is the Shozy Zero worth the $50 USD? HELL YES!!! It is able to go against IEMs way above it's price range, may not be at the $500 level but for that price, it outperform in its own class. Most important thing after getting the Shozy Zero is to burn it in for at least 100 hours using only instrumental symphonies like the Mahler, best if you can hit the 200 hours mark. I will be recommending this Zero to all my friends who are looking for an IEM under the $200 price range.
 
 
 
PS: I listen to mostly slow love songs in both Mandarin and English and also instrumental songs. One example of an English song that I like to listen is "I Knew I Loved You" by Savage Garden. Some example of a Mandarin song that I like to listen is 谢谢你的爱 by Andy Lau and 他不爱我 by Karen Mok.
 
And just for fun:
Grandma-Meme-1.png
 
  • Like
Reactions: lee730 and silverak
Top