Some impressions of the Algiz. Tidal → GO450 → UHA-6S MkII with low or high gain was my primary chain. The only other serious IEM I’ve heard is my Shure SE535. The Algiz is more difficult to drive than I would’ve thought. No hiss through the Leck with high gain implemented and the GO450 feeding. Hiss is audible on my SE535 even with low gain when the GO450 is feeding the Leck. If the Leck’s DAC is used, however, there is no hiss with low gain. Although I can use the Leck’s high gain with the Algiz, my preference is low gain. With high gain, the Algiz sounds aggressive. Take that with a grain of salt. Most things sound too aggressive to me if I listen longer than 30 minutes. My preference is for a very smooth signature.
Ergonomics is a deal breaker in my case. I’m unable to insert the Algiz to a degree where it holds securely in my ear canals without, at the same time, the housing pressing on and scratching the outer parts of my ears. The housing’s exterior has (what appears to be) sharp-edged rifling. The result is that the Algiz gradually pushes itself out of my ears. It will stay put if I use the largest eartips, but these aren’t the right size for my ears. I opted not to try the foam tips since this is a loaner unit.
I’m unable to tell acoustically (or visually, for that matter) the difference between the two sets of filters*, so I won’t say anything about that feature of the Algiz. I said it was aggressive for my tastes. That means (at least) too much high midrange and treble attack. That said, it’s less aggressive than the Magister. On the other hand, the Algiz is a bit tinny, whereas the Magister isn’t. Compared to the SE535, the bass is loose. Voicing is off. Male and female vocalists sound like they are singing through a paper towel tube. I’m exaggerating, but only to give some content to how the voicing sounded off. Also some sibilance in the highs; not piercing, but definitely unpleasant and quickly fatiguing The SE535 seems to image better and appears to have a more expansive soundstage.
I strongly prefer the SE535’s ergonomics. I also strongly prefer its signature. I can understand why others wouldn’t like the SE535. At the same time, I think I can understand why others might enjoy the Algiz, despite some of the issues I've addressed here. Its sound simply isn’t for me.
* - Although the difference should be audible given the measurements. Both filters look black to me.