CCA CA24 In-Ear Monitors Review - 24 Drivers in Total! 8

CCA CA24 In-Ear Monitors Review - 24 Drivers in Total!

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Introduction

CCA Logo

CCA stands for Clear Concept Audio, but no one calls it that! Indeed, CCA is a sister brand of Knowledge Zenith that again just goes by KZ everywhere. If you are new to the world of in-ear monitors and earphones in general, chances are you may have googled "Best budget audiophile IEMs/earphones" and found plenty of recommendations for KZ and CCA products. Let's just say that the two brands cooperate heavily, and that is even before GK, the third sister brand, enters the picture. Think sub-$30 more often than not for a picture of product releases since the launch in 2018. Lately, however, CCA has been used more upstream in an effort to be more competitive at a higher price bracket, but also as an experimental brand to test the limits of "more is better" when it comes to IEM drivers.


So what better way to introduce the CCA brand to TechPowerUp than by the most obnoxious such entry? The CCA CA24 is named such because there are a total of 24 drivers, and the marketing is sly enough not to indicate clearly that there is a total of 12 as opposed to 24 drivers per side. This set only employs balanced armatures. In terms of numbers alone, something like this could cost four digits easily. Breaking the $100 barrier itself was big for CCA, so you now know that the CCA CA24 costs somewhere between $100–999. There's plenty more to examine in this review, including whether the CCA CA24 still follows the CCA mantra of providing good value for money. Let's begin with a look at the product specifications in the table below. Thanks go to HiFiGo for providing TechPowerUp a review sample!

Specifications

CCA CA24 In-Ear Monitors
Shell:Zinc alloy faceplate in black/silver finish + translucent resin shells
Cable:200 cores silver-plated copper
Driver Units:12 Black Gold King Kong series balanced armature drivers per side
Sensitivity:103 dB/mW
Frequency Response:10 Hz–40 kHz
Impedance:30 Ω
Cable Connectors:3.5 mm TRS from source to two QDC (covered 0.75 mm 2-pin) connectors for IEMs
Cable Length:4 ft/1.2 m
Warranty:One year

Packaging and Accessories


This may be my first CCA product review, and indeed the first from the entire KZ family, but I am staring at multiple different KZ/CCA IEMs here and can tell you the packaging is quite similar across the board. The box is quite small even for IEMs and comes sealed in plastic. HiFiGo has placed a sticker to confirm this indeed came from them, and removing the seal reveals a predominantly white cardboard box with a matte texture. It's functional, but calling it anything more would be a stretch. The front is taken up by the CCA logo and the back by company contact information, so this is a generic box design CCA uses for pretty much all its branded IEMs. It is a sticker on the side that provides more product-specific information, which is in some ways more complete than on online shop pages.


A look at the back confirms CCA is using a two-piece packaging with the top simply sliding off the bottom as seen above. A cardboard compartment houses relevant paperwork in both English and Mandarin, including a user guide, warranty policy, and safety note. The English is dubious but better than most Chinese brands have demonstrated since I started doing audio reviews more earnestly last year. Underneath this are the IEMs and another cardboard box that no doubt houses the other accessories.


The IEMs are snugly packaged into cutouts in a cardboard layer, making this box 100% cardboard, so it's recyclable. Noticeable right away is that these are on the chunkier side and come with ear tips pre-installed. If you were expecting to find a case or even bag, get ready for disappointment as CCA includes nothing of the sort. This is an issue for me since I am of the mind that IEMs need to come with basic minimum protection for transportation, and even a drawstring fabric pouch such as what TinHiFi provided with the $50 T2 Evo would have sufficed, let alone a more substantial carry case like the one Tripowin throws in with the $50 TC-01. Instead, all you get are two plastic bags that contain the IEM cable and a set of ear tips. CCA is aiming to save as much as possible on the CA24 packaging, which is not the way to go for a brand moving up the pricing ladder. That having been said, I don't mind the QC sticker being replaced by a badge on the bottom of the box since it does the job just as well and tells us this particular set was made in August last year.


The cost-cutting continues with the ear tips, with CCA going with one type of silicone tip in three sizes, four if you count the pre-installed set. These are white, single-flanged with a relatively soft flange, and effectively cover typical ear sizes as much as you can realistically hope for. I would have liked more ear-tip options, even if again silicone in other form factors and flange rigidity, though memory foam tips would have been equally nice, of course.
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May 17th, 2022 16:50 EDT change timezone

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