General Information

CCA C04 | 1*DD & 1*BA

Brand Name: CCA
Model Number: C04
Time to market: 2018

Vocalism Principle: Hybrid
Sensitivity: 103±3dB
Frequency Response Range: 20-40000Hz
Resistance: 17Ω

Style: In-Ear
Connection: 2-Pin
Connectors: 3.5mm
Line Length: 1.2m
Active Noise-Cancellation: No

CCA-C04.jpg CCA C04 technical.jpg

Latest reviews


Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Fit
Cons: Bloated bass
No neck strap
Import from China or US
This has been supplied to me for review purposes. I ordered this with customs fee paid to the UK and expedited shipping and it still came in at under £20. That is less than I would previously have considered for an IEM purchase so the question is- is it worth spending so little?
Answering the question takes a little while, just over 15 minutes actually I have lovingly crafted (hashed together) a first impressions video for my YouTube channel.

I find this a good way to confront myself with on the spot observations. The end result is not quite as watered down as my written reviews often are. There is no time for reflection. This review is of course a week or so on from the first moments I spent with the C04, so therefore it can be described as a deluxe version

The shape of the CCA C04 is a snug fit to my ear contours. To the extent that my skills as a custom reseller are not required. There is simply no space left around my ear in which to put even a pinch of hydrothermal compound on to secure the earphones inside my earlobes. These are the first earphones I can think of where I have come across this. I therefore have near custom fit advantages, such as isolation, comfort, no constant micro adjustments as I lose the sweet spot when the driver tips become slightly lose, and i am able to play music at a slightly lower volume due to the reduction in background noise levels. Not to mention the fact that I have not had to interfere with the cosmetics of the design, and the consequent loss of warranty should the IEM stop working in its first year. When the C04 arrived and I unboxed it, I realised that, if nothing else, they looked very attractive. The cable was of a cheaper design than the C10. The terminations were plastic. On the C10 the terminations are metal. The cable itself looks the same. The shape of the termination on the C04 creates a tighter bend around the ear from the plastic tubing. This creates a better fit than the C10. There is much less cable flap when out running with the C04. Neither model has a chin strap to adjust this issue. With a little imagination and ingenuity, a chin strap could be added for those who wish to work out with them. For the cost involved it's a shame that this hadn't been considered. It could be a sales opportunity for those of us who don't want to take their more expensive earphones out to the gym or the beach or the track etc.


The signature of the C04 is slightly rolled off in the highs and mids and bass heavy. A few years ago I felt that many of the cheaper IEMs were anaemic sounding and bass light and quite shrill in the highs. This seems to be a thing of the past if the tuning of the last few cheapies is anything to go by. A serious listening session tells me that the bass is boomy and bloated and gets mixed into the mids. This results in a loss of resolution. Bass light sources therefore would be suitable for the C04. I have a Colorfly DAP, the cheap C10, that is a good example of something that needs a boost. Otherwise, for serious listening I'd recommend eqing some bass until it becomes a little more linear sounding. For noisy environments with lots of low frequency sounds, such as running in the streets or on a treadmill, the pounding of the feet create havoc with the bass and rhythm of a track. For commutes on the train or bus or the tube there is a similar but smaller need for accentuated bass. For those who prefer a warmer sound signature, an accentuated bass is not too much of a problem with Classical Music. It may even add to the enjoyment.
My evaluation on the video was done with both the C04 and C10 connected to the Chord Mojo at the same time. The difference between the two was instantaneous, and swapping between the 2 was about as quick as you could achieve. For more information about that you can have a look at my video.


Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Nice build - Comfortable and well isolating - Clean bass and decent sound stage
Cons: Unrefined treble and recessed mids - Tangle prone cable

Today we're checking out a new earphone from a new brand, the CCA C04.

CCA came out of nowhere with a number of products that have raised some eyebrows; the C04, C10, and C16. The C10 features a 4+1 hybrid setup with four balanced armatures (BA) and one dynamic driver per side, while the C16 has a whopping 8 balanced armatures per side. Besides the number of drivers being crammed into their products drawing attention, it also seems that CCA is spin off from Knowledge Zenith, masters of the budget realm. This is evident in the accessories, ear piece shells, and more obviously from the application of KZ branded armatures viable through the plastics.

The C04 we're checking out today makes due with a humble 1+1 hybrid setup with one dynamic, one balanced armature per side. Let's take a closer look.



The thoughts within this review are my own subjective opinions based on a couple months with the C04. They do not represent CCA or any other entity. At the time of writing it was retailing for 19.99 USD on Amazon.


The C04 is plenty easy to drive so it spent most of it's time connected to the Shanling M0 and HiFiMAN MegaMini. I prefer pairing it with warmer devices since it can be a bit harsh in the upper mids and treble.

Personal Preferences:

I listen primarily to various EDM sub-genres (liquid drum and bass, breakbeat, drumstep, etc.), hip hop, and classic rock. My preferences for earphone tuning are quite relaxed and as such their is no one signature I look for. The HiFiMAN RE800 Silver, Brainwavz B400, and Massdrop x MeeAudio Planamic are examples of earphones with wildly varied signatures that are enjoyable for different reasons. I generally listen at very low volumes, so keep this in mind when perusing my thoughts on how an earphone sounds.

  • Driver: 1 BA + 1 DD
  • Frequency Response: 20-40,000Hz
  • Impedance: 17ohms
  • Sensitivity: 103dB/mW
  • Weight: 21g
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Packaging and Accessories:

The C04 has very TRN like packaging thank to the reasonably sized, cream white box. On the front you find an image of the C04's ear pieces done in a wire frame style. You also find CCA branding in the top left, and the C04 model into tacked onto the bottom via a sticker spanning the width of the package. On the sides you find CCA branding while the back contains specifications and contact/location info for CCA.

Lifting off the lid you find the interior split into two sections. One has the C04's ear pieces set tightly within a foam insert while the other hides the accessories and documentation. In all you get:
  • C04 earphones
  • 0.75mm 2-pin copper cable
  • Single flange silicone tips (s/m/l)
Overall a very minimal accessory kit. Some may lament the lack of any sort of carrying case or baggy, especially given the packaging is large enough to accommodate it. Interesting to note is that the included tips may be familiar to KZ fans since they're the same as their community named “Starline” series.

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Build, Comfort, and Isolation:

The C04 has a pretty cool shell with a semi-custom style shape that comes across as a stubby KZ ZSR. Behind the clear face plate is a metallic plate engraved with CCA and either Left or Right depending on the side. Out the top are keyed 2-pin inputs. One end is rounded to help ensure cables are installed correctly. The nozzles are quite long and have a prominent lip around a standard nozzle width allowing you to try a wide variety of tip styles. Overall the build is pretty solid. The quality of the plastics is nice and they feel durable. The fit and finish is quite good with the face plate lining up well with the rest of the body, and the 2-pin receptors fit tightly and in a uniform manner across both ear pieces.

The braided copper cable is good and will be familiar to anyone that has bought a recent KZ since it's the same, minus new hardware. This also means it takes on the same qualities. It is flexible and doesn't transmit much noise, but the y-split is set too low making it easy to tangle unless you store it carefully. The memory wire KZ often uses has thankfully been replaced with well-shaped preformed ear guides. They do a great job keeping the cable in place around the ear, so no complaints there. The y-split is also quite nice with some pretty extreme strain relief where the cable enters from the bottom, and splits leading to each ear piece. The latter is where relief is often omitted, so props to CCA for including it. The cable stumbles slightly when we get to the 90 degree angled jack. The good is that the strain relief here is also fantastic. The bad is that there is no extension for the 3.5mm plug to accommodate cell phone or DAP cases, and since the plug is somewhat chunky you're likely to find they interact in a way that is not desirable. My LG G6 has a very simple, thin clear rubber case over it with a fairly spacious hole around the headphone jack. The C04's plug sits flush with the body of the phone but rubs against the case so really any movement causes it to dislodge slightly. So yeah, if you're planning to use the C04 with a device that has a case, you're probably going to need to swap to a different cable or forgo the case.

While a little on the bulky side, the C04's shells are actually quite comfortable thanks to the light weight and custom-like design. It fits into the outer ear quite naturally with the protrusions slotting into the various cavities of the outer ear, locking it in place. Someone with really small ears or an odd shape will still have issues though. In my mind, it basically addresses everything wrong with the shell KZ used for the ZSR by making it shorter and swapping out the unusually broad, 6mm wide nozzle, for something slightly smaller and more traditional.

Isolation is slightly above average thanks to the form fitting shape and single pinhole vent on the inside of the housing. I had no issues using these outside in noisy areas like the local coffee shop and grocery store. When I wanted some quite while working, they made for a decent ear plug, dulling the tapping of my keyboard and various noises from the roadway outside my window.

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Back when KZ first released the ZST, hybrids in that price range were unheard of, and certainly not good ones. Fast forward to today and the ZST holds up well enough but lacks the refinement of more modern earphones like the ZSN and Bbooll BOT1. The C04's signature and performance strongly resembles the ZST and falls just short of the competition in terms of overall refinement.

Treble is where this is most noticeable with it displaying a significant amount of grain and general roughness. Not as much as the ZST, but more than I'd like. On the plus side, it offers good extension with a little bit of extra upper treble emphasis that gives it some shimmer the ZST is missing. Detail and clarity is fine, but not amazing and is overshadowed by something like the Somic V4, an aging dual dynamic that still thwomps lots of today's releases with it's balanced, capable signature. Decay is quick though, so the C04 can keep up with some busy tracks without fumbling and blurring everything together. Not my favorite treble presentation, but passable.

While recessed, vocals are fairly smooth and well textured, though you still get some grain which is unfortunate. Compared to the C04's bigger brother the C10, a very full and warm earphone, the C04's mids are quite lean and on the cool side. Normally I find this style of presentation more engaging with male vocals than female, but that wasn't the case with the c04. Running through Gorillaz's “Empire Ants feat. Little Dragon” and Big Grams' “Run For Your Life” I found myself drawn more to Yukimi and Sarah's vocal sections when compared to Damon and Big Boi. Timbre is off with everything coming across lighter and more dry than it should, and some sibilance is present. Again, not a great mid-range but passable.

Bass is where the C04 picks itself off and dusts off the cobwebs. The dynamic driver is well tuned and in a sharp contrast to the the armature is very smooth in the way it presents itself, yet is still provides plenty of texture for crunchy bass lines like that on The Prodigy's “Thunder” (RIP Keith Flint). Mid-bass is quick and punchy and sub-bass extension quite good letting the C04 rumble nicely on Kavinski's “Solli”. Despite not being particularly mid-bassy, due to the mid-range presentation there is some bleed into the lower mids. Regardless, I quite like this low end presentation and think it is just as good as the ZSN in this area.

Sound stage is another area the C04 excels. It sets the music a reasonable distance from your head at default and thanks to the fairly lean presentation comes across quite open and airy. The ZSN in comparison feels more confined and personal. Imaging is solid with sound transferring from channel to channel cleanly, though it's not quite as precise as the ZSN. Layering and separation are also quite decent. I experienced no issues with congestion, though the graininess of the treble occasionally got in the way.

Final Thoughts:

Overall I like the basic signature of the C04 and find both the bass quality and sound stage quite nice. The rawness and lack of refinement in the armature is noticeable though and with anything but electronic-heavy music can get distracting. If the C04 were more expensive I'd be less pleased, but given you can routinely find this thing for well under 20 USD if you snoop around, the performance is plenty acceptable. And once you pull the rest of the experience back in, namely the comfortable, well isolating shell and good build quality, as well as the usefulness of a replaceable cable, it's not a bad value at all.

There are a number of products I'd recommend over it in this price range though, such as the Bbooll BOT1 and KZ ZSN. Or just spend a little more and get the vastly superior C10. As it is, the C04 is pretty average and I can't complain much given the price. Heck, you can spend more and get something that's not nearly as impressive, such as the Colarad C2 or BGVP MRY6. What I'm saying is that the C04 is okay. I wouldn't tell you to go out and buy one now, nor would I steer you away from it if you were dead set on picking up a pair. It's an earphone. It plays music. It does what it's supposed to do, better than some and worse than others.

Thanks for reading!

- B9Scrambler

***** ***** ***** ***** *****

Some Test Tunes:

Aesop Rock - Skelethon (Album)
Daft Punk - Random Access Memories (Album)
Elton John - Yellow Golden Brick Road (Album)
King Crimson - Lark's Tongues in Aspic (Album)
King Crimson - Starless and Bible Black (Track)
Supertramp - Crime of the Century (Album)
Infected Mushroom - Converting Vegetarians (Album)
Infected Mushroom - Legend of the Black Shawarma (Album)
Gorillaz - Plastic Beach (Album)
Massive Attack - Mezzanine (Album)
Fleetwood Mac - Rumors (Album)
Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels (Album)
The Prodigy - The Day is My Enemy (Album)
Tobacco - screw*d Up Friends (Album)
Felt - Felt 2 (A Tribute to Lisa Bone) (Album)
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New Head-Fier
Pros: very potent bass
funny sound
very inexpensive
Cons: middle bass bleeding
too much bass in some cases
at times somewhat unnatural sound
With the C10 I was already allowed to review a branch of KZ's subsidiary and was positively surprised. They had a lot to offer and could also satisfy audiophile demands. The C04, on the other hand, has probably the most common hybrid configuration in the budget range (1*DD & 1*BA), but in the tuning, it relies on the fun factor, which is reflected in a potent bass and clear V-signature.

The housing has an independent design and is not copied from KZ this time. It's a bit bulky, because it's very round and big, which doesn't give me any problems in wearing comfort, but could be problematic with smaller ears.

It is made of plastic with a metal plate inside. You could say that the size is a bit exaggerated because the two drivers are located very far in front and there is just too much space, which wouldn't have been necessary because it shouldn't play a big role in the sound.
The isolation is very good in both directions. You hear practically nothing.

The supplied cable is the same as for the C10 and therefore very solid (4 cores, reinforced earhook, good microphone). In addition, there are the classic KZ-Star-Tips in three sizes and that's it.

As already mentioned, the C04 should rather find its fans in the bass lover scene.

This one is really potent, clear and with a lot of pressure. This means that you don't get a bulging bass, which makes a lot of noise, but doesn't have any texture, or puts everything else in the shade, but in spite of the big bass part, a bass that goes deep, sometimes becomes a bit muddy, but basically remains very clean and a lot of fun.

Of course, this also influences the mids. These are reduced and already get to feel some of the bass. The warmth makes them more pleasant to hear, but they don't always seem natural, especially with female voices. If the songs aren't very bass intensive, be it acoustics or a lot of singer-songwriter songs, you notice that the mids are very clear and detailed, only the bass doesn't leave enough space for them. Despite the signature, voices still come forward very well and don't seem distant at all.

The trebles are a bit lifted again, but without challenging us. Sibilants are very limited, and they have a great three-dimensionality. This is a tuning like you get it in many other KZ models and typical for the 30095-BA driver of the KZ. This means that you should have a certain affinity for high frequencies, but will be rewarded with airiness, good details, and good expansion without being too exhausting.

While the C10 was still rather balanced in its sound, the C04 focuses on the bass. However, this is very well done and is simply fun. It interprets its role very generously so that sometimes there is too much bass where there shouldn't be, or not to this level. Electro, hip-hop, but also rock is perfectly covered with the C04. Everything else also works, but you should also like a lot of bass.


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