You would be mistaken for dismissing this review of the Shozy Form 1.1 as yet another Chinese IEM startup coming out of nowhere with a new set of earphones. No, Shozy has been around for a few years now and have gained a solid reputation for producing good sounding yet affordable audio equipment. While I definitely didn’t rate (and still do not rate) the companies interfaceless DAP I can at least admit it sounded pretty damn good. The budget earphone market is remarkably cramped right now, but these are worth a look, and if you read the rest of this review, I will attempt to explain why.
Packaging and Accessories
The packaging is a very slight step up over the usual sleeve style KZ boxes we see at this price point. It does show that Shozy has thought a little bit more about the presentation of the Form 1.1 earphones. I like the bright graphics and actual picture of the earphones on the outside as opposed to the usual graphics and renders. There is a lot of useful information about the construction and materials in the form of a small blurb. What is most surprising is that it is devoid of hyperbole or spelling mistakes like we see on other earphones in this range.
The accessories are nothing special, but the bases are covered. You get a Shozy branded carry case that is going to be a decent place to store them when you’re on the go and not using them. It is an off the shelf design. The case is not proprietary, yet it’s well made and a good size for earphones and accessories.
The tips are probably not worth hanging on to. Yes, they will get the job done, but I highly recommend using them with some Final Audio E Series tips or some Spinfits (The former slightly enhance the low end). There are three types included in the box, and they will all work fine and seal with your inner ear, but they don’t have the premium feel of the products I mention above.
Build Quality and Design
The build quality is excellent. We get a lot of these Asian earphone brands coming through now, and many of them all have similar design language. The resin shell in the in ear monitor style used to be the preserve of the CIEM (Custom In Ear Monitor) world or even exclusive brands in the universal form. Now however you can find these shells on the market from $20 and up.
Despite this, there are vast differences in quality for this design, and I think Shozy has nailed the balance of budget price and high build. The Form 1.1 feel like a premium product in hand, and the finish is top-notch.
There are no seams protruding or sharp edges. Everything is smooth and very well finished. The point where the metal tips integrate with the resin shell is seamless and blended perfectly. The use of metal at this crucial juncture is a welcome one and will help with the longevity of the earphones. I also really like the use of the metal mesh as the filter guard, which will keep them dust and wax-free.
The only drawback to the design lies slightly towards personal bias. I am sick of 2 pin connectors and personally prefer the simplicity of the MMCX cables. Still, the two-pin is reliable and most of all cheap and in this case it looks like the savings have been passed on to the consumer. That said I am kind of frustrated that the two pin socket is not recessed into the housing to protect them from moisture.
The cable I thought I would hate when I saw it was made of cord, but the performance surprised us. It’s a straight 3.5mm jack. The jacks and the splitters are a metal and carbon fiber (probably fake) weave pattern that looks good and adds to that premium feel that the Form 1.1 carry. You also have a transparent plastic slider to pick up and excess slack.
Aesthetically I think these are a stunning looking set of earphones for the money. The black shell and the subtle glitter faceplates look amazing in real life and its very hard to do justice with them it the pictures for this review. The black part is so well finished and nicely polished that I do also wish they had a solid back option for those that aren’t fans of sparkly things.
Comfort and isolation
The comfort and the isolation performance of the Shozy Form 1.1 were found to be above average for the price point. The housing is relatively small but has a very comfortable ergonomic design. Its smooth finish does not irritate, and the medium depth insertion length keeps them firmly in place.
That insertion depth and a set of Final E series tips make for a good tight seal in the canal and when you combine that with the large diameter body of the earphone they isolate well. I would have no problem using this as a set of travel or commuting earphones.
The Shozy Form 1.1 sounds excellent for the price. I should put it into context as I was 100% certain that these would retail north of $100. Possibly even as far north as $150. I evaluated them as such, and then I was informed that they would, in fact, be costing well under $100.
The tuning is slightly warm, good mids and a slight emphasis to the low end. They aren’t basshead earphones, but they sound slanted that way with lots of energy and a punchy composed presentation.
The Highs - The highs are clear and ever so slightly pushed forward, giving good energy when matched up in modern EDM with an emphasized low end. I like a bit of treble energy, and these have them, but it is certainly not the dominant area of the earphones sound. The good thing is that they don’t tread into sibilant waters.
The Mids - The midrange notes with acoustic strings and vocals was excellent. It’s not the most detail-rich midrange, but it pulls good clarity and speed and has a warm leaning sound that makes performances sound intimate and engaging yet spacious and focussed enough in leaner tracks.
The Low - By far the best sounding part of the earphone is the bass. It is tight, it’s composed, and it has a really good impact on it as I said above its not basshead level and that’s a good thing because the bass while strong it doesn’t bleed out the other frequencies. It’s fun and punchy with good sub-bass response yet no matter the track I didn’t even detect it getting sloppy and degrading.
The soundstage is average. The Final Audio E3000 certainly is the killer at this regard. The Shozy displays decent width but lacks a little in-depth. Imaging is solid, and clarity is also strong. Detail retrieval is very good for the price but perhaps a touch behind when we get over the $100 mark for comparisons.
As I said at the start of this SHozy Form 1.1 Review, the sub $100 IEM market is now extremely cramped. That seems to be a good thing as better and better earphones keep appearing. The Form is one of them. I think they are an outstanding value from a pure sound basis but when you factor in comfort, build quality and styling its almost impossible to go wrong with a set of these for anything under 100.
The Shozy Form 1.1 will be available to buy soon from Amazon, Linsoul and a special introductory offer of Drop.