Ah, those old vinyl days. It brings back memories of a dust-covered stylus and scratched records. There’s something about the ritual of playing a record that creates a feeling the digital counterpart cannot. Today, I’m reviewing the Shozy V33 Pro, an earphone that aims to capture and recreate the essence that classic analogue feeling.
The V33 Pro has jewel-grade polished stainless steel housings and a 10mm graphene dynamic driver. So, is the V33 Pro a romantic salute to its analogue heritage or just a gimmick to justify a low-fi sound? We shall endeavour to find out.
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.
Small and comfortable
Stainless steel shells
Very sparse accessories in a large, mostly empty box
Package and Accessories
The V33 comes in a large square-shaped box with an image of the earphones suspended over a record player. On the inside cover, there is some text outlining the design intent and some specifications.
As for the box contents, well you get the earphones and 3 pairs of silicone eartips. That’s not really generous for an earphone leaning towards the $100 mark. Besides the paltry contents of the box, I’m a bit confused as to why the packaging needs to be so big.
Build Quality and Design
The V33 Pro has cone-shaped stainless steel housings. The outer edge is black with concentric rings, mimicking the look of a vinyl record. A polished stainless steel surface makes up the rest of the body which tapers down to the nozzle.
The nozzles have a solid lip that does a good job of holding the eartips firmly in place. A metal mesh covers the nozzle opening to protect the internals from ear wax and debris. There is one small vent near the base of the nozzle.
Where the cable connects to the earpieces there’s a small plastic strain relief – red on the right side and black on the left. The cable is a silver-plated copper with a transparent TPU sheath. It handles well and has minimal microphonics. Due to the shape of the housings, the V33 Pro can be worn either with the cable up or down. Wearing it over the ears virtually eliminates all microphonics.
The Y-split appears to be made from the same material as the housings and has a matching chin slider. We see the same material used again for the straight 3.5mm termination. Overall this is a pretty nice cable, despite it being non-detachable.
Comfort and Noise Isolation
The V33 Pro is very comfortable to wear since it’s really only the eartips that make contact with your ears, plus the housings are smooth and lightweight. I found the noise isolation to be below average, however, once you have music playing they block out a fair amount of external noise.
Gear used for testing includes the iBasso DX120 and FiiO M6 DAPs. The V33 Pro is easy to drive and doesn’t require a powerful source. It does pair better with brighter, more transparent sources.
The V33 Pro has a warm and balanced presentation that focuses on tonality more than technicality. It has a very laid back style that is entertaining and easygoing. Of course, a big advantage of single dynamic driver earphones is the cohesiveness and the V33 Pro has that in spades.
V33 Pro’s bass is smooth with warm, rounded notes. It has some punch but it’s not heavily accented and plays nicely with the midrange and treble. Sub-bass is a thing the V33 Pro can do handily, giving you rumble without going overboard. MId-bass carries good weight and while the definition isn’t great, it’s not sloppy either.
Fire up “Mango Drive” by Rhythm & Sound and you’ll get a dose of its thick melodic bassline. The V33 Pro delivers it with weight but keeps in under control which is a good thing because this song can almost induce the ‘brown sound’ on some IEMs.
The midrange has the same smooth approach as the bass. It has a kind of nonchalant, romantic character. V33 Pro doesn’t grab you by the shirt collar to get your attention but woos you with its mellow nature.
Fortunately, it isn’t too murky sounding, just calm with underlying warmth. Midrange notes have body and girth but just an average amount of detail. Vocals are rich and emotional with moderate articulation.
The treble is kind of soft and diffuse with smooth, round notes. A bump in the lower treble adds some presence to vocals and instruments while another bump at 10kHz provides some extra clarity and a small lift in brightness.
After the lower treble bump, it falls off fairly rapidly, keeping the tonality warm and inviting. But the treble extension is really quite good and it gives the V33 Pro airiness and expands the soundstage. Harshness and sibilance are words the V33 Pro cannot comprehend so this would be a great set for the treble-sensitive folks out there.
The soundstage creates a rounded space with good depth and moderate width. The downside is less pinpoint imaging but the V33 Pro grants the sound room to breathe. Thanks to the diffuse, airy treble the slight forwardness of the stage doesn’t feel closed in but is comfortable and cosy.
Tin Hifi T3 ($59)
The Tin Hifi T3 (review here) is a dual driver hybrid (1DD+1BA) IEM with a clear, detailed sound. Sub-bass levels are about the same but it feels more substantial on the T3 because it has less mid-bass punch to contend with.
T3’s midrange has a lot more clarity and none of the veil that the V33 Pro has. A more elevated upper midrange gives the T3 more vocal and instrument presence and the rather large peak around 8-9kHz makes the T3’s mids snappy and clean in comparison.
T3’s treble is more upfront, more crisp and solid, making the overall tonality brighter and cleaner. Imaging, positional cues and instrument separation are much sharper and more accurate on the Tin Hifi T3.
TRI I4 ($69)
The TRI I4 (review here) is a dual hybrid earphone with 1 dynamic driver and 1 balanced armature driver. It has a better bass extension but the V33 matches it in haptic feedback. TRI I4’s midrange is a little more recessed with thinner notes and less warmth.
Vocals are more vivid and vibrant on the TRI I4 and listening to these earphones side by side, the V33 does sound a bit veiled and dull. However, I4’s large plateau in the upper midrange makes vocals sound insubstantial and hollow. Somewhere between the two IEMs would be the sweet spot IMO.
The TRI I4’s treble is more forward, clearer, brighter and more energetic. In comparison, V33 Pro’s treble plays in the background and lacks sparkle. The TRI I4’s imaging is more precise but the overall tonality doesn’t sound as natural. However, it does have much better detail retrieval and instrument separation.
The Shozy V33 Pro is all about music. It’s not boasting of technical prowess or trying to impress by revealing all the micro-details hidden in a recording. Instead, it delivers a lush, romanticized presentation that’s very emotional and true to its design intent.
For the treble-sensitive people out there, this IEM should definitely be on your watch list. This is also great for anyone who just wants a rich, warm sound with an analogue appeal.