Shozy Rouge: my new EDC.
Updated: Oct 19, 2020
Welcome back to the Neighborhood. It's Your Friendly Neighborhood Reviewer with InToit Reviews.
Today we’re taking a look at the Shozy Rouge thanks to Linsoul. And boy, this little IEM is a beauty! It’s a hand-painted in, what I’m going to call, a "unicorn-barf" colorway. But seriously, all joking aside, I really do like the look of these! When I first saw these, on Shozy’s Instagram, I was like:
At the time, I really didn’t care what these sounded like. But if the Shozy Form 1.1 (which I reviewed previously on the blog [video to come in the future]) was any indication of what was possible, then I was all in! And let me tell you, I’m glad I took a leap of faith, and reached out to Linsoul to send it in for review, because sonically it is like a really, really, great Swiss Army Knife.
Disclaimer: Per usual, Linsoul has provided the product to me, but they have not tried to influence my review otherwise, and all views, comments, and opinions are my own. So let's get InToit!
Shozy Rouge: https://www.linsoul.com/products/shozy-rouge-1
Per Shozy, each hand-painted shell is unique. I have seen a number of sets of these in pictures, and they do all look different. So, regarding the color scheme, it is a bit of a gamble. Some focus more on pinks, reds and whites, while others highlight some others colors such as the purple, blues, or gold fleck. I tend to prefer the later. My particular set isn’t the best colorway that I’ve seen, but it better than some of the other ones I have seen as well. So, if you decide to go with a Rouge, I will wish you some luck in the colorway lottery. Nevertheless, the Rouge is extremely comfortable in the ear due its is small size, and, with the right size tip, it nestles perfectly within my concha.
The Rouge has a slightly recessed 2-pin-connector, but I had no problems attaching alternative cables. And let me tell you, an alternative cable is necessary. My biggest gripe with the Rouge is that Shozy should be ashamed of themselves for the accessory package. The included 3.5mm cable is a straight, grey, plastic-sheathed atrocity. It reminds me of the nightmare that is the DT177X GO cable. Like that cable, it is springing, snakes-up, and won’t straighten out fully. It is basically unusable, even if it does aesthetically match the earphone and sound fine. My favorite cable to use with this set was the Linsoul HC-08, 0.78mm 2pin cable, terminating in a 2.5mm balanced connection.
The included tips are also terrible. Again, they look nice, and fit comfortably, but darken the sound and hold the Rouge back from greatness when they are used. You also only get 3 sets of tips total, and there is only one variant included in the package. While I ultimately like the simplistic packaging that Shozy provides, from my perspective, if you’re only going to include one set of tips, make sure it’s one that at least sounds good with the IEM! Tips that I think match this set much better include: JVC Spiral Dots, AZLA SednaEarfit Xelastec, and Final Audio Type. Regarding the Xelastec tips, I had to go to a small to get the fit I liked, as I usually take a medium tip, but these run small, and even the MS variety was too big for me with the Rouge.
When you receive the Rouge, it’s just a thin, simple, black, cardboard box with an IEM case inside. Inside of the case are two additional sets of tips, the crummy cable, and the IEMs themselves. I was initially excited to get the “new” Shozy case, with the protective coating. But after inspecting it, I would have rather received the grey-cloth covered case instead, as that case is smaller, and appears to be less prone to indentations, which was a problem with the 1.1 case I received and the Rouge case as well.
But despite the lackluster accessories, I still think the Rouge is worth a purchase, just for the sound. This IEM is a great all-rounder. Its presentation is smooth, without ever coming across as fatiguing, and it’s got great resolution and clarity for its price. It has a soft, but impactful, linear bass response, that never seems to be lacking, a present mid-range, and the perfect amount of treble to provide a decent amount of air to the sonics without ever sounding harsh. I could listen to these every day, for hours on-end, and always be satisfied.
Uniquely, these also possess a certain amount of expansiveness to their auditory character, which is a rare quality that I always look for in an IEM. While it might be as expansive as something like an Andromeda or Final Audio B3, it is leaning in that direction, away from the rest of the crowd.
The sound stage has good width, excellent depth, and beyond average height to it. Separation is sufficient, imaging is outstanding, and instruments are both distinct and accurately placed in space within the sound field. Vocals are somewhat forward, but not overly so, and they often have an ethereal quality to them, which is pleasant, alluring, and inviting. Timbre is slightly dryer and brighter on the top end, and warmer and lusher as you move down the frequency response towards the bass. But overall, I would say that this is an appropriately warm earphone, and compared to the Shozy Form 1.1, it is much closer to neutral.
These sound like what I was expecting to get from the Moondrop Starfield, and offer a better more sophisticated, balanced presentation than the EN700 Pro even. Instead of a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none scenario, the Shozy Rouge has more of a master-of-many, “Renaissance” earphone kind of vibe going on. Having said that, the Rouge does lack some musicality, here or there, presents as somewhat, overly smoothed-over at times, and is noticeably devoid of a defining, “X-factor” characteristic. In other words, it seems to be missing the immediate, mind-bending “wow-factor,” which some my other favorite, higher-priced IEMs do possess. But, for the $180 dollar price-tag that these little gems cost, it is an extremely reliable and solid performer for everyday use. I’m ultimately not sure what else I could reasonably ask for from Shozy here- aside from a better accessory package?
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