The Shozy Elsa has great resolution and detail retrieval. It has great cohesiveness as well, all thanks to its nice mid-bass and full mid-range, together with an energetic but controlled treble. The sound stage however is not the best and that might be its only weakness overall. The stage width is not too impressive, whilst the depth is fairly good. If you need huge sounding IEMs, this is not the best option.
This is due to some changes with different cables, and I liked it the best when it was paired with a Softears stock cable (from the RSV). The presentation became a bit more relaxed and roomy with a smoother top-end. So this IEM definitely deserves a better cable, instead of that Aliexpress one and I mean it. The separation however is excellent with good sharpness. Apart from that, the instruments have great texture and realism.
The background performance is very clean, and it also has a good layering performance. So overall stereo imaging is toe to toe with the best IEMs under the 1000$ mark. Overall Elsa performs very well when it comes to technicalities and the best part about it is separation, resolution and transparency. Coherency, PRaT and tonality are also impressive.
The Fusion has much better packaging, and its fit is a low-profile one when compared to the Shozy offering. itsfit creates great designs too, so it’s a tie there. The Elsa doesn’t have anything to excite you in its box though.
And yet, the Elsa performs better in every category in terms of sound performance, except for the sound-stage width and spaciousness. The Fusion has the edge there but the Elsa performs much better with better coherency throughout the spectrum. It has better and more textured bass, cleaner mids with better timbre, and a more definitive treble. It costs less too, so what’s not to like here?
Guess what, I’m still using this SH-3 from Switzerland simply because it sounds extremely well-balanced and cohesive with just 3 BA drivers. This is the first time that I thought something will sound at a similar level around this price range.
The PEARS SH3 has fantastic packaging, and since this brand is an expert one when it comes to custom monitors, it’s not even close. Well, at this point every brand can do better here, so no surprise.
Sound-wise, Elsa’s performance shocked me when compared to the SH-3. They’re much closer than I expected, and the SH-3 edges out with its sound-stage performance. And when you think about that the Elsa goes considerably cheaper, it actually becomes a bargain. Of course, the sound stage is another part of the story but for presentation alone, Elsa deserves some praise here.
It performs better in the bass, similar in the mids, and more energetic in the treble with a bit more extension. The SH-3 is a bit smoother in that particular area. The one thing the SH-3 does better is the stereo imaging and 3D feeling. It has a better stage without a doubt and a more spacious presentation.
Same story as the SH-3 when it comes to packaging content and overall experience; the SH-2 is miles better with its dedicated carrying case, a better stock cable, and better customer experience. The fit of PEARS is more flush so it has more isolation too, but the Elsa is more comfortable.
Sound-wise the SH-2 is darker and warmer with a fuller approach in bass and mids. Its treble is not as detailed or defined as the Elsa, and the overall resolution is not on the same level as well as transparency. They have similar staging and imaging but the Elsa is sharper and more focused in that regard, having better separation. So the Elsa edges out here.
I pretty much liked the new Shozy Elsa and it especially impressed me with its coherency and consistent tonality. In today’s market, you have full of hybrids and tribrids everywhere, whilst Shozy came up with a conventional C/IEM which may sound boring at first. But they certainly nailed the tuning with those 5 BA drivers, and Elsa sounds just like how a serious audiophile monitor should do.
I don’t know if this performance has something to do with the unit being a custom variant, but I’m sure the universal one sounds very capable too. So Shozy has one more thing to do here. Make it sound wider and more spacious, and make the packaging worthy of an upper mid-fi C/IEM so that it doesn’t have the same packaging as their $100 IEMs.
As a result of this review, I’m removing both PEARS SH-2 and itsfit Lab Fusion from our Custom IEM Recommendations list and adding the Shozy Elsa there. The guys from Hong Kong deserved it with this very cohesive audiophile tuning.