I’ll start out with the super-nice. Algiz’s sensitivity of 100dB and impedance of 100Ω, means that even the worst hissers among DAPs and amps, are not bother. It tames my favourite hissing DAP, the iPod shuffle 512MB, better than any other earphone I have. Yet, it gets loud enough from everything I’ve thrown at it: iPod, Clip, AK Jr, etc. 100/100 is a great combination.
Algiz is about bass. Not gobsmacking rattle-your-brain bass, but thick, swift fall-off, punchy, and all-surrounding bass. There’s no getting around it. The mids, which are clear in their own right, are steadied by it on all sides. Bass throbs from the centre out, capping, and anchoring everything you hear. It’s neither too hard-hitting, nor, near its extremities, does it pussy-foot out. It’s big, deep-rumbling, and omnipresent.
Trance fans: the good news is that it is fast enough to keep clear transitions to the mids and highs, but it’s so thick that you’ll swear ASOT was mixed for hip hop instead. Speaking of hip-hop, energetic early 90s hip hop may cause Algiz’s bass to top out and lose all definition. It won’t rattle or sizzle, but it loses some definition as that bass pops into the mids. Of course, that is almost par for the course for bassy earphones. All together, not a bad showing.
Another earphone whose bass sort of does that is the Campfire Audio Lyra. But Lyra is both more contrasty and detailed than Algiz. And, it is built way, way better.
It reminds me most of AudioFly’s AF78, in 2013 to which I gave ohmage. But where AF78’s bass is dry, Algiz’s errs this side of damp. It’s also not quite as earthily organic. It doesn’t suss out the smallest bass details. Rather, it puts them up in a powerful wall. It took me a bit of getting used to, but after I did, I really really liked it.
Also standing aloof to the AF78 is Algiz’s thick midrange, which just sort of melts its way out of the bass and into the highs rather than putting a truly defining foot forward. They have good sound pressure. Midrange sound stage is compact, pulling into and out of the lows so that female vocals rise up just enough and are smooth enough, while male vocals benefit from added depth and timbre. Like its bass, Algiz’s mid range is a wall of sound that perfectly handshakes from the highs and lows, but does little to underline your favourite femme fatale. Transitions are as smooth as can be and contrast between each frequency band is tidy. You’ll neither get headaches from too much bass, nor too much upper-mid tweak, that’s for sure.
Like mids, highs melt out of the midrange and bass. While they’re not that sparkly, they shimmer incredibly smoothly, are anything but sibilant, and extend well up there. It’s just that there’s not that much sound pressure behind them. Where mids and highs cross over, female vocals resonate prettily. And, because highs get a bit of space, trance has a chance. It’s just not a big one. If you’re Born in the USA (perhaps around Nebraska), you may just be Algiz’s target. Honestly, Algiz really sounds good fed The Boss.
Algiz isn’t a jack of all trades earphone, but it generally turns favourably into whatever music it is you listen. You’ll just have to keep in mind that its stage isn’t super wide, and Algiz poses a central anchor. That’s its bass.
If you like thick, soothing, and in-for-the-long-haul sound signatures, you should enjoy Algiz.
For podcasts (like this one), Algiz is nigh on perfect. Its naturally thick low end winnows out the scratchy, eeky voice of the vocally untalented. I mean, even my voice sounds halfway decent through Algiz. Radio-trained hosts turn into rich sex.
But if you’re not into rich sex, Algiz probably isn’t for you. It’s for someone younger or older than you. If you’re confused by Algiz, check out Grado’s GR10, which since debut, has hotly been argued. It’s too expensive say some. It’s just fine, say others. I’m in the latter camp. But the GR10, as parsimoniously clad as it is, really stands up to its asking price. Algiz does not.
I expected more. As a branch off from Fischer Audio, spiritually, Kennerton have been in the business for a long time. There’s nothing at all wrong with how Algiz sounds. It’s just that, for a 445$ earphone, it is built, and finished, way, way, way too haphazardly.
If you’re looking for Campfire Audio Lyra-style bass resonance and aren’t in for AudioFly’s AF78 organic presentation, Algiz may do it for you. But there have to be other, better engineered options out there for much less.
Kennerton: much of the problems with this earphone could be fixed by changing factories. Please consider it.