Shozy is an audio company that has been around for a few years and makes in-ear monitors and DAPs. In this review, I’m taking a look at the Shozy Form 1.1, a hybrid dual-driver in-ear monitor with 1 beryllium-coated dynamic driver and 1 balanced armature driver. Let’s jump in and find out what form (pun intended) it takes.
The process of delving into the black abyss is to me the keenest form of fascination.
This sample was provided for the purpose of an honest review. All observations and opinions here are my own based on my experience with the product.
Shozy Form 1.1 Review
Simple, attractive design
Lightweight and comfortable
High quality components
Value for money
Sensible tuning may not excite some listeners
Package and Accessories
The Shozy Form 1.1 arrives in a typical IEM style box with a clear image of an earpiece on the front. Inside is the same clam-shell zipper case that came with the Shozy Zero back in the day. I was happy to see the same case included as it’s slightly larger than the average Chi-Fi budget case and is perfect for storing IEMs. The rest of the accessories are in the case, so let’s break it down and look at what you get in total.
Shozy Form 1.1 earphones
Detachable fabric braided 2-pin copper cable
Clam-shell zipper carrying case
3 pairs of foam eartips
3 pairs of silicone eartips
3 pairs of double-flange silicone eartips
Build Quality and Design
Internally, Form 1.1 uses one 9.2mm beryllium coated dynamic driver and one balanced armature driver plus a 2-way crossover. The dynamic driver reproduces the lows and lower midrange while the BA driver covers the upper midrange and the treble.
Form 1.1 has 3D-printed, hand-polished resin shells, as is becoming the norm in the current earphone market. However, Shozy has done it in a way that looks and feels more premium than the price might suggest. The teardrop-shaped housings are smooth and lightweight with a glossy piano black finish.
A gold-coloured Shozy logo adorns the cosmic themed faceplates which have a multi-coloured glittery finish that resembles a starry night sky. On the top edge of the shells, there is a metallic vent which feeds air to the beryllium-coated dynamic driver.
The durable metal nozzles are covered with a protective mesh and have a solid lip that aids in holding eartips securely in place. Overall, the build quality is impressive and should ensure a long lifetime for the earphones.
Comfort and Noise Isolation
For my ears, these are super comfortable and I can use them for long listening sessions. The lightweight shells have a smooth finish all over and are devoid of any rigid lines and sharp angles. Noise isolation is slightly above average making these perfect for commuting and noisy environments.
I normally dislike braided cloth cables but this one is done especially well. The bottom section is twisted yet still supple and it handles and drapes well. At the top are polished aluminium 2-pin connectors followed by some soft pre-formed ear guides.
The Y-split is small and cylindrical with a band of carbon fibre pattern around the middle. There is a clear plastic chin slider too which some people will surely appreciate. The cable terminates in a straight 3.5mm plug with the same carbon fibre styling seen on the Y-split.
Gear used for testing includes the FiiO M6 and Shanling M0 as portable sources. On the desktop, I plugged into the Audinst HUD-MX2. Form 1.1 is not a power-hungry IEM but a somewhat lower sensitivity means that you might need to turn the volume up a bit more to reach your normal listening level.
The general presentation of Form 1.1 is U-shaped with a slightly accentuated bass and to a lesser extent, treble. It is still fairly balanced overall with some added warmth and a little extra energy up top.
Form 1.1’s bass is only slightly emphasized yet hits with unwavering authority. Mid-bass sits just ahead of the sub-bass but the extension is good and there’s plenty of rumble on tap when needed. It punches hard and fast without clouding into the midrange frequencies. The beryllium driver maintains excellent control, delivering with gusto plus a nice clean and speedy decay that never sounds sloppy or bloated.
This really is an impressive bass and makes songs like Tool’s “Pneuma” a real treat. The bass slams with weight and enthusiasm and not a hint of unwanted resonance. It’s the kind of bass performance you expect from more expensive IEMs and is the star of the show in my opinion.
Midrange notes are laced with texture and a touch of warmth which makes them emotional and intimate. Electric guitars have a palpable crunch and string instruments resonate with depth and clarity.
Vocals are rendered smoothly with a richness that draws you in and articulation that keeps you engaged. Vocal notes have good size and are positioned centre stage with a tangible density. In Sade’s “King Of Sorrow“, her sultry voice is enchanting and the acoustic guitars sound textured and detailed.
In order to lighten the mix and avoid becoming too dark in tonality, Form 1.1 needed the right kind of treble. It needed a treble that’s clear with a bit of sparkle and something to add spice and energy in contrast to the solidity of its bass. Luckily for our ears, that’s exactly what it got. The best part? It does all that without any signs of stridency or harshness.
There is a slight peak at around 7-8kHz which adds some sparkle and extra details. While I’m usually sensitive to this area, I didn’t have any problems with it here and find the treble to be generally smooth. If I had to criticize something, it would be the upper treble extension. There is a reasonably rapid roll-off after around 12kHz and I feel an extra little bump in the upper treble could have brought out more airiness. But to be fair, I’m not going to judge too harshly on a budget model.
Form 1.1’s stage dimensions are fairly modest but not cramped. Width and depth are moderate but while they’re not particularly expansive, the stage doesn’t feel crowded either. Instrument separation is above average which goes some way in making up for the mediocre layering performance. Stage position is neutral with vocals in the centre and instruments spread out on either side.
GuideRay GR-i ($49)
I thought this would be a particularly good comparison since the GR-i (review here) was the FOLW (flavour of last week) – yeah, things move fast in Chi-Fi and their prices aren’t that far apart.
The GuideRay GR-i is a hybrid dual driver with a similar configuration to the Shozy. It has a similar amount of bass but isn’t as well controlled or detailed as the Shozy’s. The GR-i’s midrange is more recessed and less resolving and the dip around 1kHz makes vocals feel pushed back and the upper bass lacks punch.
In the lower treble, the GR-i has a large peak that causes dissonance and some shrillness. Cymbals on the GuideRay sound thinner and have less timbral accuracy. The GR-i is still a good buy but in my opinion, the Shozy is technically more proficient and has a better tonal balance.
KZ ZSX ($45)
The KZ ZSX Terminator (review here) has 1 dynamic driver and 5 balanced armature drivers per side. If sound quality depended purely on driver count the ZSX would win hands down. The ZSX is more upfront and aggressive across the spectrum.
It has more weight and depth in both sub-bass and mid-bass. The ZSX’s bass has better defined leading edge because of the peak in the 2-4kHz range but it has a slower decay that sounds a bit boomy in comparison.
The Terminator has a boosted upper midrange that gives it more clarity but Form 1.1 has better midrange resolution and instrument separation. Additionally, the ZSX has a more forward treble and better treble extension, which makes its overall tonality brighter but thinner and less detailed.
The ZSX has a wow factor that’s upfront and in your face which makes it fun and exciting but for critical listening, the Shozy has a more natural and accurate tone.
With its exceptional build quality and skilful tuning, the Shozy Form 1.1 positions itself as one of the better performing earphones in the sub $100 segment. If you can get it at the preorder pricing, it’s a total no-brainer but even at the regular MSRP, I’d still put my recommendation on this one.