KZ chinese audio company is became legendary among budget audio enthusiast and even if they lauch new model every month, the one that really stand appart became less frequent. KZ ZSN is a great example of a hit, and ZS10 a good example for a miss.
But, that wasnt enough for KZ to saturate the market with numerous multi drivers budget earphones, and they decide to create an affiliated brand call CCA. This most likely is a company department for more serious tuning, or at least, different sound signature than we are use too with KZ. I think its a place to experiment more balanced sound.
One of the numerous complaint KZ soundsignature have is about the upper mids harshness, and CCA C10 look like to be the very answer to this. It offer a smoother mid range without lacking its fowards approach, wich will please lot of budget audiophile including myself.
Still, this is an entry level earphones, so we cannot wish for miracle, especially from KZ company, this C10 use the very same drivers than ZS10, wich is one Dual magnetic Dynamic driver and 4 entry level BA. The BA’s in there aren’t particularly refined, wich will explain you can’t tuned to achieve life like rich timbre and ultra sparkly treble. Nonetheless, for a sub-50$ iem, the tuning is examplary in a lot of aspect. Let’s see why in this review.
You can find the CCA C10 for less than 30$ HERE.
DISCLAIMER : I wanna thanks Jim for selling me at very discounted price this earphone. As Jim know, I do not bit my tongue before sharing impressions and always stay objective in my subjectivity, so this is my real unbiased toughs. Deal with it.
1. Product Name: Original CCA C10 In-ear Earphone
2. Brand: CCA
3. Model: C10
4. Earphone type: In-ear
5. Impedance: 32Ω
6. Earphone sensitivity: 108dB/mW
7. Frequency range: 7-40000Hz
8. Interface: 3.5mm Gilded
9. Plug Type: L curved
10.Cable Length: 1.2m±3cm
11.Color: Black, Cyan, Purple
12.Whether with cable: Yes
13.Earphone interface: 2Pin connector
14.Whether with mic: Optional
15.Whether can replacement cable: Yes
16.Driver unit: 4BA+1DD hybrid driver unit
ACCESSORIES, CONSTRUCTION & DESIGN :
UNBOXING is nothing to wow about, and we cannot complaint at the price we pay for having the minimum wich is earphones, twisted cable of okay quality (better than stock KZ one) and 3 extra silicone eartips pairs.
CONSTRUCTION is quite impressive for this price, and I would same the same at 50$. Housing is half plastic half metal and the metal plate is beautifully design and have an elegant and pricier look than any KZ earphones I try with the exception of ZS6. For a hybrid multi drivers iem, the size is quite small, but its thick and nozzle is big, so I don’t suggest it for very small ears.
The cable is an upgraded version of stock 2pin KZ one, the connectors are made of metal and L jack is of better quality. For the type of wire, its the same as KZ, all copper OFC twisted cable. It have a non-memory ear hook, wich I find more adequate even if im not a fan of ear hook.
DESIGN is great and quite comfy. As i’m post trauma about how disastrous was the fit of gigantic KZ ZS10, I was afraid the C10 would be too big, but its not the case here. I guess its about same size than KZ ZSN, wich is neither too small or too big, just normal universal custom size. The nozzle angle help insertion and is well thinked. All in all, this is irreprochable design and construction from CCA.
ISOLATION is great, thanks to thick back metal plate and no venting hole in the back, sound leakage is minimal too and you will really need to crank the volume like crazy to became noisy.
OVERALL impressions is for once quite positive, because its hard to dislike this type of beefy, slightly darkand well layered sound presentation. As CCA is a KZ company, I was afraid about tuning cohesion of multi driver, that it either sound too unbalanced, artificial or harsh in upper mid rang or highs. So, when I put the C10 in my hear and discover an enjoyably warm U shape soundsignature with good mid presence and smooth upper treble, I was quite relieve. As well, I wasn’t feeling this is a multi driver hybrid in my ears but more of a big well tuned dynamic driver : this said it all, C10 instead of searching for agressive wow effect choose a more permissive and laid back approach, and solve ALL problems encounter with the KZ ZS10 that use very same drivers, wich is : out of phase bass, harsh upper mids, artificial sound and uncomfortable fit.
SOUNDSTAGE is rather average, it have intimate widness, but lack deepnest and an around your head feel. For a multi hybrid earphones, there no holographic spaciality due to a lack of air between intruments.
LOWER END is more emphased than mid bass and warm overall bass presentation. It’s a little dark and sloppy, but have great body and weight. Presentation is a little slow and timbre is very soft. We have good slap nonetheless and enough control to avoid a boomy presentation. Sub line are quite well defined and stay in the background with enough transparency to avoid messy rumble. It dig very low, I just wish decay was tigher and attack have better grip.
MID BASS have round, soft punch, again, its not very fast in attack and timbre is softened. Separation from mid range is great and kick keep its place in imaging, wich give extra much needed presence. Tough mid bass is a little mixed up with lower end it do not create a messy boomy presentation, more an organic one.
MID RANGE is quite fowards and well rounded, without any harsh peak to it, timbre is on the dry side but have good attack, decay isn’t very present tough and imaging is just average. Even if overall mid range is quite rich and detailed, it do not sound particularly natural and have an opaque smoothness to it that tend to make congested overcrowned music, in the sens that all this instrument can’t fit properly in this rather small spaciality. This is why I prefer listening to jazz trio, classical quartet or simple electronic or pop with the C10. Vocal are very clean and do not feel recessed, but if there too much instruments playing with it in mid range, it will not stand out and loose presence.
TREBLE is well extended with an overall tamed approach in texture and some extra upper range brilliance that never sound aggressive. Lower and mid treble isn’t emphased, but still quite linear and around 10khz we have a peak that extract some micro details and give more presence to percussion, again, its not particularly sparkly, but have some brilliance to it. Transient response between driver is quite good but I find the cymbals quite splashy and dry, especially when it mix with other percussions, drums and electric guitar.
AMPING is not needed even at 32ohm, i don’t heard any improvment using portable amp and in fact it can make the sound more messy due to extra lower bass push.
SUB : 7/10
MID BASS : 7.5/10
MID RANGE : 8.5/10
TREBLE : 8/10
VS TRN V80 (30$) :
SOUNDSTAGE of C10 is wider and taller and have a more holographic imaging to it, while, sometime, V80 can sound deeper but in artificial and quite bizarre manner, due to a lack of mids presence.
BASS of C10 is more controled and richer with more extension in both end, but have less fowards midbass than dryier more agressive V80 slam. V80 having less sub bass, it can feel better controled wich is just an illusion due to dryier presentation that still mix up a little like the C10. It lack body and have a sens of forced rumble to it where the C10 have a juicier body and smooter timbre.
MID RANGE of C10 is more covered fully from 1khz to 6khz, while the V80 is recessed in lower mid and have peak in upper mids that can create sibilance and give an artificial presentation to vocal. Mids feel thin and dry compared to C10, wich make them more recessed.
TREBLE is brighter with the V80 and have more unbalanced peaks, some in upper mids and other in upper highs, this make razor sharp highs, giving some extra micro details to the cost of making sounding splasky cymbals and giving a dark hint to mid frequencies. C10 have more finesse in timbre and softer and more transparent treble with better transient response between drivers.
CONSTRUCTION of both iem are nicely done, V80 being smaller but less comfortable due to hard shape with longer nozzle.
VS Vsonic VS3 (55$) :
Soundstage is deeper and more around your head with the VS3, while the C10 is wider and more intimate. VS3 give a hall like soundstage that have a hint of darkness due to impressions of being distant of music source.
BASS of C10 have thicker timbre and more slam, there more sub extension and presence, and overall presentation is more lively than dryier bass of VS3, in another hand, this lighter presentation benifit control and tend to give better control as C10 bass can be sometime sloppy and muffle mid bass.
MID range of C10 is again thicker and richer but have less airy presentation than VS3, even if C10 is more bassy, VS3 sound more V shape due to more recessed mids. VS3 have brighter presentation with more grain but instrument separation feel better and more agile than C10.
TREBLE is more extended with VS3 and give more sparkle and decay to highs, attack as well gain more grip than C10 wich feel smoother with upper treble roll off. Level of details is better on whole range for C10 with the exception of upper highs, where VS3 have extra emphasis that can extract more micro details but to the cost of an unbalanced frequencies response.
The construction of C10 fell of better quality, as its half hard plastic and metal, as well its smaller and more comfortable than VS3, wich I struggle to wear for long time due to big housing.
All in all, C10 is more W shape and smoother-richer sounding while the VS3 is lightly U shape with hall like soundstage and brigther treble.
VS SHOZY 33 (55$) :
SOUNDSTAGE is taller, deeper and more airy than C10, with about same wide. Shozy sound more around your head.
BASS have more sub presence with the C10, making them more bassy, but less controled and sloppy compared to tigher lower end of Shozy that move less air on mid bass and permit better clarity and weightier rounder punchy mid bass. Shozy tend to warm lower mid range more than C10 too.
MID RANGE is brighter and more fowards with C10 where it feel a little more recessed with the Shozy, timbre is more detailed with C10, but dryier compared to thicker vocal of Shozy.
TREBLE is more extended with C10 and extract more details and texture, highs are crisper but Shozy have more decay due to an airier imaging with smoother upper treble that give a more natural sound and make sound C10 a little cold.
CONSTRUCTION is good with both, but I find the C10 more comfortable even if bigger, due to some fit issue with small nozzle lengh of Shozy.
Having try so much chi-fi iem sounding the same as well as having some type of bass or treble issue, I really respect the fact that C10 tuning go for a more balanced and smoother approach than most of its competitors in sub-50$ range.
The fact that there no mid range harshness and that the bassy soundsignature do not make this smooth mid range recessed is something to applause here.
Even if timbre and treble lack some refinement and lower bass can go out of control, its really hard to judge severly this 30$ multi drivers earphones because all in all it sound enough balanced and well tuned to offer an exciting and lively musicality that will not create ear fatigue if your not sensible about sub energy.
All in all, tough i’m not as excited as the hype hysteria around C10 would suggest, I consider this CCA second attempt very impressive for the price and a keeper unlike lot of KZ earphones I own and don’t like.