CCA C10 Review – An All-Rounder

Thank you Mr. Sunny of Better Audio for letting us give our honest take towards the CCA C10. Given that the review unit is from them and is free of charge, it doesn’t affect the honesty and integrity of this review.

The Company

CCA surfaced last 2018, it is a sub brand from KZ, yes the one that releases IEMs monthly. Kidding aside, CCA boomed after they released the CCA C16, an 8 Armature driver per side IEM. It shooked the budget category since it is only priced at 5000 Php (100 USD). After that, just like KZ they have released plenty of IEMs in less than a year some are highly praised while some doesn’t have the same hype as the C16. In general, from packaging to shell, it is almost identical to KZ but after hearing the ZS10 PRO and C10 I can assure you that they tune their IEMs differently and they are building different house sound.

The CCA C10

The CCA C10 looks like the C16, it has a metal face plate and under that is a plastic that dictates the color option of the product, in my case I got the purple one. It has 5 drivers per side, 4 BAs and 1 DD, the packaging and inclusions looks like the new packaging of KZ. The shell feels like rigid enough and same goes to the 2 pin connection, I’m a bit disappointed that they are still using such connection that the recession is on the male 2 pin, it would be really great if they adapt the connection of BQEYZ where the female socket is the one that’s recessed. Build quality is average for me, it is behind the Tin Audio T3 and BQEYZ BQ3 but is definitely a step up from E1000.

Technical Specifications:

  • Impedance: 32 Ohms
  • Driver Configuration: 4 BA + 1 DD
  • Cable Length: 1.2 m
  • Connection Type: 0.75 mm 2pin and 3.5 mm
  • Sensitivity: 108 dB
  • Frequency Response Range: 7Hz-40000Hz

Packaging

Of course, like what I’ve said it has the same Comparisonwhite box as with KZ products. The photo of the C10 is printed above it. Underneath is a transparent plastic teasing you to open it and use it ASAP. You’ll get 3 pairs of silicone tips, a copper cable and some paperworks, I’m quite disappointed because there’s still no carrying pouch or case like the BQ3 but that’s fine, I’m not expecting it from KZ or CCA.

Fit and Comfort

Fit and Comfort is just like the other IEMs from KZ, they almost have the same mold thus giving the user good sound seal. The sound doesn’t bleed outside and the outside noise doesn’t barge in while you are listening unless you are in a very crowded and chaotic place. Using Final audio eartips, I was able to get a nice fit, it feels more comfortable than BQ3. It feels lighter too as compared to ZS10 Pro, T3 and BQ3 making it a good choice for long commuting.

Sound

I love IEMs and earbuds with mid-centric to flat sound signature as I really love listening to vocals rather than instruments. My genre ranges from heavy rock, alternative rock, pop rock, acoustic, pop, jazz and folk. Majority of my test tracks are in 16 bit – 44 khz and 24 bit – 48 khz FLAC file and here is the list of my common test tracks.

  1. Reese Lansangan – For the Fickle (background, female vocals and upper mids)
  2. Foo Fighters – Bridge Burning (Imaging, Layering, Coherence, Sub bass and Mid bass, Mids, Treble)
  3. Jensen and the Flips – Come Closer (Mid Bass, Mids)
  4. Ed Sheeran – Dive (Mid bass, Lower Mids)
  5. Norah Jones – Don’t Know Why (Upper Mids and Instruments)
  6. Paramore – Hard Times (Imaging, Layering, Coherence, Sub bass and Mid bass, Mids, Treble)
  7. Utada Hikaru ft. Skrillex – Face My Fears (Imaging Layering, Bass, Mids, Treble, Coherence, Quickness)
  8. Passenger – Coins in a Fountain (Mid bass, Layering, Imaging, Instruments, Lower mids, Treble)
  9. Tori Kelly – Hollow (Background, Upper mids)
  10. Ariana Grande – Raindrops (Background, Upper mids)

Bass

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I’d say that the depth is just moderate, it doesn’t go really deep but it doesn’t sound rolled off too. Quantity isn’t too much as well, it’s just enough to give good presence on riffs and rumbles, it’s quite smooth for my liking it’s not as refined and as detailed as the BQEYZ BQ3. There’s a very little elevation on the mid bass but it’s not overpowering or bleeding to the midrange. The attack and decay speed isn’t that fast but it slunds fine with complex tracks, bass notes lingers a bit but it doesn’t cause too much congestion. Resolution is just moderate while I’d say that separation of bass notes is quite great.

Midrange

There’s a hint of warmth, it doesn’t sound dry or hollow at all, it’s not as warm as the KZ AS06 but not as transparent as the Tin Audio T3, it is enough to give enough body and fullness to male vocals. Again the lower midrange is quite smooth and not for details addict out there, I’d say that the lower mid range doesn’t sound spectacular but will please most of listener out there since it is a bit recessed (most guys want U shaped – V shaped sound signature). Again the upper midrange is few steps behind the bass, personally I prefer forward upper midrange simply because I listen to female singers very often. The timbre is quite real, transparency and clarity is jusy moderate, there’s still warmth in it, it’s not tuned for Sara Bareilles kind of night but instead it is better for Foo fighters marathon.

Treble

Unlike most of KZs (sister company of CCA) the treble is quite smooth and airy, it doesn’t show any signs of sibilance or harshness. Playing “Hard times” by Paramore, the treble came out smooth it decays fast and is quite recessed. It’s a bit spread out giving a very good sense of width. Extension is moderate and same goes to the amount of sparkle, it’s far from being treble cannon/bright and that’s very suprising for KZ’s sister company. The BAs are tuned well to not sound aggressive but I’d say that treble lovers won’t like it.

Sound stage and Resolution

The sound stage and resolution are above decent, they aren’t bad and they aren’t spectacular too. I would say that the staging seems to be a medium hall, the width, depth and height are all moderate, not too large nor small. Separation is good but not as stellar as the KZ ZS10 Pro or the BQEYZ BQ3 but still it is good for the price, same goes to imaging. Resolution is good, it is quite detailed but not on the level of Tin Audio T2 Pro and KZ ZS10, midrange is the least resolving amongst the three but as I said it isn’t disappointing.

Sound Signature and Synergy

The CCA C10 sounds U shaped to me, maybe because I’m prone to neutral-mid centirc IEMs, buds and cans. The bass is kinda forward but not bloated while the midrange sits behind the treble and bass, despite the treble being slightly forward, it doesn’t sound piercing nor aggressive just enough to resolve moderate details and remain smooth and relaxing. I would love the pair this with neutral sources because they are already U shaped and it is really hard to find a mid centirc source.

Shanling M3s

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Shanling M3s ranges from warm to neutral with fantastic mids that has good balance between lushness and transparency. The whole review was written using the Shanling M3s as a source. The bass is kinda forward with moderate extension and texture. Midrange is neither thick nor dry, just enough but still I felt that the midrange lacks details and transparency. Treble is quite smooth and airy which made the overall sound to be relaxing and non fatiguing. Sound stage and dynamics isn’t praise worthy but they are fine.

Smartphone (Huawei Mate 10)

The Huawei Mate 10 is kinda neutral to bright for my ears but still it isn’t enough to give the treble of the Be a little spark. As expected, the dynamics, resolution and sound stage took a reduction compared to M3s. The bass and midrange became slightly thinner. Treble seems to be less smooth and a bit brighter.

Comparison

KZ ZS10 Pro

The ZS10 Pro sounds cleaner but a but more fatiguing. The bass seems to be equally good, the C10 has more edge in terms of weight and depth while the ZS10 Pro has more texture and is quicker. The midrange goes to ZS10 Pro with better transparency and clarity, the C10 sounds warmer and fuller but it has more natural timbre than the ZS10 Pro. Treble goes to ZS10 for me, it is more detailed and refined, it also extends better. On the other hand the C10 never showed harshness, it is quite airy too so it’s just a matter of preference. Separation and details goes to ZS10 PRO while the Sound stage goes to the C10.

Tin Audio T3

I can say that they almost have the same bass impact and depth, The tightness and texture goes to the T3 since the C10 sounds smooth for me. The midrange goes to T3, it has more organic sound and is more transparent in comparison to lush presentation of C10, the T3’s midrange is a bit more forward than the C10 too, while the C10 has an edge on upper midrange to treble because even with badly recorded and mastered tracks, the C10 never showed sibilance. Details goes to the T3 while sound stage goes to the C10 because it is slighty wider and has more depth in it.

Final Audio E1000

Despite the lower price tag and a single DD configuration, the E1000 did a good job against the C10. The bass of C10 goes a bit deeper but has less impact, it is faster than the E1000 too but I love the impact of the E1000 it sounds full and warm and some people might love it better than the C10. The midrange of C10 is generally more recessed than the E1000, both are presented in a smooth manner but the E1000 sounds a bit more warm and velvety which I really like since both of them have the same level of transparency, I’ll give the midrange to E1000. For the treble, the C10 excels more interms of texture and extension on the other hand the E1000 sounds more airy and soft, It may be a bad tuning for treble heads out there so It’s a win for C10. Resolution goes to the C10, but I’d say that the E1000 sounds more natural in terms of tonality and timbre, it is more spacious too.

Conclusion

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The C10 is a very good all rounder IEM, it has good amount of details matched with smooth sound that is very forgiving with any tracks you play using it. It doesn’t have anything “special”, it can do anything good but nothing excellent or stellar even after replacing the cable with Satin Audio Kraken, I tried amping it too but it is what it is, the C10 is an all rounder which can be used by several people with different preferences. It has a U shaped sound signature, the bass has good impact and speed with above decent depth and texture. Midrange sounds more natural than KZ ZS10 but a little bit recessed and lacks transparency. Treble has good amount of sparkle without being harsh at all. I think the C10 is the best bet for those who play a lot of genre and doesn’t really have a specific sound preference because it is neither clinical nor too fun sounding.

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