General Information

Brand Name: CCA
Model Number: C10 PRO
Time to market: 2020

Specification:
Drivers: 1 dynamic driver & 4 balanced armature driver
Impedance: 24 Ohm
Frequency Response: 20~40 KHz
Sensitivity: 109+-3dB/mW, 1000Hz

Latest reviews

ngoshawk

Headphoneus Supremus
CCA C10 Pro: Does the Pro offer an upgrade?
Pros: Typical CCA sound (best of the three to me)
Typical CCA build & look
Better bass than the C10
Tamed (a bit) the treble of the C10
Cons: No case
Cable is OK
No case
Lack of accessories
No case
CCA C10 Pro ($46.99): Does the Pro offer an upgrade?

C10 Pro

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Intro: Denise from the CVJ store/IEM manufacturer contacted me about reviewing the CCA C10 Pro. As a fan of the CCA family, I accepted her gracious offer, since the C10 is one of my favorites at the “near-budget” level of IEM’s. I will also admit that I prefer the CCA “brand” to the KZ parent and TRN cousin. There is just something about that sound, which I appreciate more than the others. Maybe it is the mellower sound, or less in your face aspect to the sound. Either way, I do like CCA more. So, accepting her offer was an easy decision to me.

The review sample is mine to keep, but it is understood that the unit may be asked for in return or to be sent to another reviewer at any time. As such, it is mine to keep, and will not be sold for profit. That’s still a really uncool thing to do...All that was asked is an honest assessment of the item in hand. I would have it no other way.



Specs:

Model Number: CCA C10 Pro
Driver: 4BA+1DD
Impedance: 24ohm
Sensitivity: 109dB
Frequency Response: 20Hz-40kHz
Length:125cm
Plug Type: 3.5mm Plug



In the box:

CCA C10 Pro
OFC cable
4 sets of tips
QC card



Gear used/tested:

Kinera BD005 Pro ($49)
CCA C10

Shanling M0
HiBy R3 Pro Saber


Songlist:

Joey Alexander-Warna album and others
Mark Knopfler-Laughs And Jokes And Drinks And Smokes
Santana w/ Mana- Corazon Espinado
twenty one pilots album, Trench
Tedeschi Trucks Band
Big Head Todd & The Monsters-Beautiful World
Mark Knopfler-Down The Road Wherever
Elton John-yep, still good, still cool
Tidal MQA


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Unboxing:

In typical CCA/TRN/KZ fashion the box is small, white and printed with graphics. Inside you find the IEM, cable, tips and a QC card. No case. I’ve complained about that before, so I will just leave it at that. That’s it. Nothing else, but again it is all right.


Build/Fit:

Typically, CCA/KZ/TRN are made in an economical manner, using formed plastic material and fairly ubiquitous shell shapes. With a flat 304 stainless steel faceplate, the CCA has the traditional “z” mark adorned on it. The model I have is the purple shelled model, but a black shell with gold accents for the “z” looks absolutely killer. That would be my choice here, and purple is my favorite color, too. Made from three pieces, the silver faceplate and nozzle compliment the transparent purple shell nicely. Fit together is as expected, which is quite good. I will state that the construction tolerances of the KZ family is quite good and helped to raise the standards of ChiFi early on. For that I applaud.

The nozzle has a nice lip to hold tips in place and a vent hole on the inside of the shell aids in bass venting, too. I have no problem with the construction.

Fit into my average size ears is good, but when a smaller tip is used, I did “bottom out” with thee nozzle. Using the large tips included this happened, so you might want to change tips. But, isolation with the large tips is only average until the music starts playing. As always, tip roll to get the best fit and function. Lying flush, the IEM and cable over-ear work together to keep the C10P in place. While the ear guide is curved more than most, it is still supple and smaller diameter than most. It does tuck all the way behind my ear and down the length, which may hinder some who wear glasses. I do and it does not bother me much.

The cable reminds me of the standard Litz cables of CA fame, and they do have a certain shimmer to them. No microphonics at all, the cable sits nicely down my front. While it does keep its shape a bit, this aspect did not bother me since the suppleness allowed it to sit so nicely. With a near right-angle 2-pin connection at the IEM, this helped to keep the cable out of the way as well.

I would consider the build and fit to be better than average.

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Technicals:

From the information page: Upgraded 4BA+1DD Hybrid Earphones & Magnetic Dynamic Unit. As an upgraded version of CCA C10, the Pro features self-customized balanced armatures which includes two 30095 drivers for high frequency, two 50060 drivers for mid frequency. With this configuration, the sound is transient, dynamic and bright in all respects. While maintaining the previous performance, the high frequency of this model is extended to beyond 40kHz. It also adopts the second-generation Tesla double magnetic dynamic unit.

Using four BA’s with two each for mids and highs, and a DD for the lows, CCA did not go crazy overboard, which is good. Of interest is there are single BA units for one each of the mid and high spectrum, while there is also a combined unit, which has one BA for mids, and the other for the highs. This does afford a more space-saving design and shrinks the size of the shell. There was a point in time where the driver war drove manufacturers to make larger and larger shells to accommodate the ever-increasing number of drivers. Thankfully that time is gone, and the shells contain a sane number of drivers.


Sound characteristics:

CCA of the past I have tried lay down a solid bassline, with a treble push, which while less than the parent KZ, still may be too hot for some. Not typically one for turning the volume up, the C10P bucks that KZ trend and tailors the treble characteristics to a more “western” taste of warmth and depth, without being pushy, or churlish. I like this treatment and found myself turning up Alex Fox’s songs a fair bit as a result. Not the brightest or most distinct, but pleasurable since it did not push any wrong notes through my tender ears. There were still distinctions to be had up top, and the higher note of guitar and high-noted percussion sounds came across as distinct and fairly easily heard. I would not state that the C10P is meant to be a detail monster, but rather not offend and provide a very well-balanced sound. Not balanced in the sense of all mechanisms working in harmony without bother, but rather no unpleasantness to be had.

This carries over into the mids, which are rich and warmer than CCA’s of the past to me. There isn’t the excellent detail of the past, but to me right now that does not mater, for the treatment is satisfying to me in the richness and vibrancy category (yes vibrant without being too detailed). Mind you there is plenty of detail present, but this is not one such as a Campfire Audio Ara. Maybe unfair in comparison, but it hopefully gets the point across. I do find the mids sit pretty much even with the lows and highs. Almost dead center. Alex Fox’s Guitar On Fire (Latin Disco) sounds like it should. Bass while good and deep here does not overshadow the treatment of the mids. Some may find this boring or tame, but I prefer allowing all to come forth and bear fruit, lest you have an overburdensome KZ. Clarity is still decent as a result of the way the mids are treated, but to me that is not the focus of the C10P, rather the overall. There is a bit of flatness to the mids, which while helping hold them in place without being too far forward, makes for a bit less 3D in shape but not squished or unnatural. On Smoot Sailin’, the song evens out, and the tonality comes back well, just not as vibrant as some.

Soundstage provides me with a nice width, on songs such as Magnolia Boulevard’s Lovin’ Me. Again, that evenness of character shows through here, without the height being overdramatic or depth either. While you can discern the layers and placement well, this would be a show of the overall orchestra, not the focus on discriminating separation. Together would be good descriptor.

If I had to nail down the signature, it would be one of thorough competence without being offensive like some at this price in the past. I am enjoying what comes out of these more so than the C10, or comparable KZ iteration due to the tuning. Again, it’s not boring or blah; but rather provides a somewhat more mature signature than some would expect based upon their past experiences with the brand.

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Comparison:

CCA C10 Pro ($46.99/47.99) v Kinera BD005 Pro ($49):

The Kinera has a somewhat odd and non-traditional shape for a non-custom. There is the large knob, which does help to hold the unit in place, but the included tips are the shallowest I have ever seen. While a good seal does come about, there is no room for the unit to breathe. Trying other tips though simply pushes the sound away from you like you are sitting near the last row in an outdoor venue. And its windy.

That said, the Kinera has its moments. The mids are pushed more forward than the C10P, which is somewhat a hallmark of the Kinera sound. A bit less bass push, but controlled from the Kinera is countered by a deeper reach that is a bit boomy from the CCA. Vocals on the BD005P present themselves with more emphasis and vibrancy while moving a bit forward as well. Guitar work has a certain subtlety to it that is decent as well. Maybe not as vibrant as the CCA’s maturity provides, but not thin or flat either. But compared to the CCA, the layering is a bit thinner. Treble while nicely done has a bit of a roll-off, which prevents it from coming across in full force or detail. I would even say this is a bit behind the CCA as well.

The C10P comes across as not only more mature, but vibrant as well. An odd combination but warranted and this allows the C10P to shine as a result.


CCA C10 Pro ($46.99/47.99) v CCA C10:

There is no denying I prefer the CCA tuning to the others in the family, but here is where the child outperforms the parent. The Pro sounds more mature, with a bit less bite up top. Not that the C10 had too much, but it was from the time when bright was considered all well and good. I prefer the thicker smoothness of the C10P as a result. The C10P also has better bass depth than the C10 as well. Not that the C10 was bad, but the C10P is better at depth. Still a bit boomy over the C10, like the Kinera, I like this bass sound more, as it fits my tastes a bit better. Certainly not bloated as all, but a bit of bloom into the mids comes out from the C10P.

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Finale:

Often when the “pro” or “v2” of something comes out, there really isn’t much change except for looks. This would be a case where CCA promotes a maturity of sound where the original was a bit untamed. Not like the KZ or TRN family resemblance of untamedness, but some, nonetheless. Where the C10P matured is in a bit more bass (even if a bit boomy), and the smoothing up top. The C10 was not piercing at all, but to me the C10P rolled back the sound on the upper end. And to me this makes a pleasant enough signature that it is better than the original. This would indeed be a case where the offspring ends up in a better position than the elder. Mind you to me, the original was quite good as well so that is a very nice addition to move forward with.

I thank Denise and CVJ for the opportunity to review the CCA C10 Pro. I am a fan of the CCA moniker and the C10P provided me with a look forward into the tuning minds of the company. This tuning does fit my tastes and if you want a richness of sound, which is also mature, but not boring give it a listen.

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Takeanidea

Headphoneus Supremus
CCA C10 Pro $40 Multi Driver ChiFi Marvel
Pros: 5 Drivers - $40
Looks
Fit
Sound
Cable
Cons: Don't overlook the C10
No case/chin cinch/velcro strap
CCA C10 Pro – the $40 Chi Fi Multi Driver Marvel
Tested against the CCA C10 at $38


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5 Drivers $40 needs no amping
This area of the market is one of the most hotly contested, with every Chinese Company trying to find ways to outdo each other, to squeeze that last bit of value from their designs. This does mean that compromises have to be made. Something has to give. For a profit to be made, surely it can’t be perfect. Or can it?
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About the C10 Pro
The Pro version of the C10 has the same number of drivers. It’s not a 10 driver model; I think CCA are being a little bit naughty, they’re giving the impression that this is a 10 driver earphone, in fact , strictly speaking, it is a 5 driver earphone. Here we have 1 dynamic driver, for bass, and the remaining 4 are balanced armatures; 1 for lower mids, 2 for upper mids and 1, closest to the ear, for high frequency response. The hybrid design utilizes the ethos that dynamic driver (DD) tech makes for better low frequency efficiency and balanced armatures (BA) can then handle the rest of it. The frequency response may provide some interest to any bats we have put there. It’s 20-40000 Hz, not surprising when we look at how many drivers are crammed into those shells. The C10 model has a different DD, a 110 mm driver. This brings the low frequency response down to a crazy 7 Hz. My hearing is middle aged. Discerning, dear reader, of course. But also diminishing, as the angel’s share is taken from a maturing cask of malt whisky. The bottom line is that I am unable to hear any frequency above 16000 Hz. The sensitivity of the Pro’s, or how much power they need to start working, is high. This means they need very little power. The sensitivity rating is 24 Ohms. The C10 has a high sensitivity but is not as efficient as the Pro, weighing in at 32 dB. What does this all mean for you? Both earphones will not need any extra amping, and can work well from all known phones and DAPs.
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The appearance of the Pro Model compared to the original, is certainly an upgrade
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A bland looking silver shell has been replaced with a black and gold flaked appearance. The kink in the shape of the driver shell on the C10 can’t be spotted on the Pro
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The kink on the left which has been smoothed on the Pro
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The Pro above and C10 below
Having laid out my case on the cosmetics of the earphones, what then of the rest of it? The cable supplied oozes luxury, especially when compared to the thin cheap looking copper affair supplied with the C10.
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The cable is shinier, the weak points are all suitably strengthened, The bad points? No case, very few tips, all of which are silicone, a d no chin collar, or cinch, which would help the fit to become even better than it is.
Outside noise is filtered to barely audible. This is done without circuitry, simply a case of get the right driver shape, get the fit well into the entrance of the ear canal, lock them in with decent fitting tips and hook the whole lot round the ear with some decent plastic collars.
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Sound Quality
All very well and good so far, but has all the extra attention been put on the looks and has the CCA sound been overlooked?
I am pleased to say that the sound exceeded my expectations. Just as I raved about the C10 last year, I am happy to put the Subjective seal of approval on the Pro version. But… I don’t like the sound as much as the original. My preference is for a smooth sound an overall balance with no particular features shouting ” hey!Listen to me! I can do bass! I can do screaming guitar!” No. Be understated. Don’t throw it at me. There is an element of this in the Pro that is not there in the more refined C10. As with many things in life there are losses along with gains; the great balancing act. The C10 Pro has a wider sound stage,or a more open sound than the C10, and micro details are more evident on the Pro.
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My YouTube presentation

Conclusion

The C10 is a lovely looking well made hybrid earphone. The price is a bargain. The cable looks great and works extremely well. The chin collar is missing, thee is no velcro strap to coil the cable up, and there is no case, and the danger is that these earphones will not be treated as carefully as they deserve. Corners have been cut, but I’ve seen worse ommisions in products costing a lot more.
The Pro sound will appeal to those who crave an exciting, “live” sound. A live sound is how I’d describe an earphone with what appears to be a boosted sound, almost as if more than one frequency band has been artificially raised beyond what sounds natural. Provided this is done with some discretion, a successful result can be achieved. I prefer, on balance, the slightly cleaner and smoother sound of the C10. Either earphone, depending on your flavour, are an absolute snip for the price. Gentlemen, start your wallets….

baskingshark

Headphoneus Supremus
CCA C10 Pro Review – KZ/CCA Pokemon, Better Not Catch Them All!
Pros: Light and comfortable. Good build.
Above average technical performance for the price.
Above average isolation.
Easily drivable.
2 pin connector – better lifespan than MMCX in general.
Cons: Not for treble sensitive folks, can be fatiguing and harsh in the treble.
Sibilance fest.
Average soundstage.
Very forgettable in the pantheon of KZ/CCA sidegrades/beta releases.
Poor instrumental timbre.
DISCLAIMER

I received this review unit from a storefront from Aliexpress.

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

KZ (and by extension sister company, CCA) are back to their circa 2018 – early 2019 habits of churning out almost weekly sidegrades/marginal upgrades. The CCA C10 Pro is one of these said sidegrades, and in the big scheme of things, the CCA C10 Pro is pretty forgettable in the pantheon of pokemon KZ/CCAs.

The CCA C10 Pro features a V shaped sound signature, with an overly boosted upper mids/treble. It has above average technicalities, but this is offset by a harsh and fatiguing treble, sibilance and an artificial timbre. I find it doesn’t give much value add compared to some existing KZ/CCA iterations (eg the KZ ZS10 Pro), so this is one pokemon that you should think twice about catching.



SPECIFICATIONS
  • Driver type: 4 BA + 1DD (10 mm)
  • Impedance: 24Ω
  • Earphone sensitivity: 109dB/mW
  • Frequency range: 20 – 40000Hz
  • Cable type: 2 pin 0.75 mm
  • Tested at $40 USD

ACCESSORIES

In addition to the IEM, the package comes with:

1) Silicone tips (S/M/L).

2) Stock cable – silver plated. It is servicable, for cable skeptics, please go on to the next section! For cable believers, I feel a pure copper one would have synergized better with the CCA C10 Pro as it is already bright and harsh in the treble, and would have benefitted from a copper cable to tame the highs and give a bit of warmth.


BUILD/COMFORT

The CCA C10 Pro has a beautiful metal faceplate, with a unique design emblazzoning it. Kinda like some illuminati code LOL. The CCA C10 Pro is very comfortable and light and I had no issues with using it for longer sessions in terms of fit (sound wise however, I couldn’t use it too long due to the harsh treble, but that will be discussed below).

I did not detect any driver flex.

I liked that the CCA C10 Pro came in a 2 pin connector, that has generally better lifespan than MMCX connectors in my experience.


ISOLATION

The CCA C10 Pro’s isolation is just above average, but won’t beat some unvented multi BA types in this area.


DRIVABILITY

The CCA C10 Pro is pretty drivable from lower powered sources, with not much scaling in sound noted when amped. It does hiss with PCs and phones but this can be mitigated by using a DAC/AMP, inline volume controller or impedance mismatch device.

As the CCA C10 Pro is on the brighter and leaner side tuning wise, I preferred pairing it with warmer sources to offset the treble/upper mids glare.


SOUND & TECHNICALITIES

The CCA C10 Pro sports a bright V shaped tuning, with boosted upper mids and treble. This is a treblehead set, no doubt about it, with above average technicalities at this price point.

Timbre is unfortunately, artificial for acoustic instruments, much like some circa 2018 KZ fare. The CCA C10 Pro is definitely not one for folks that listen to genres that comprise primarily acoustic instruments. I think the CCA C10 Pro will do pretty well with genres that have more synthetic instrumentation eg electronic. Note weight is leaner and tonality is overall on the colder side.

Soundstage on the CCA C10 Pro is pretty average in all 3 dimensions, it is slightly wider than deep, nothing to write home about. Imaging, instrument separation and details are above average but not class leading for a multi BA/hybrid budget set.


Bass:
Bass on the CCA C10 Pro is midbass focused over subbass, and the subbass extension is not the deepest. Generally the subbass manages to hit notes when called for and is not anemic. The bass quantity is north of neutral but not as basshead levels. Bass speed is on the faster side for a DD with above average texturing.


Mids:
Upper mids are boosted on the CCA C10 Pro compared to the lower mids, and the upper mids can on occasions be shouty, especially at higher volumes (Fletcher Munson Curve). Female vocals are hence more forward than male vocals.


Treble:
This is a bright set with the dreaded S word: sibilance. The CCA C10 Pro has detail and clarity to suit trebleheads, but may be fatiguing for longer sessions at the lower treble region, especially with female vocals/horns/trumpets. Cymbals and high hats occasionally sound splashy. I would grade the treble of the CCA C10 Pro as the weakest part of the frequency spectrum.


COMPARISONS

I had a bigger collection of KZ pokemons in the past, but have sold all my KZs away except the KZ ZS10 Pro, so apologies if I can’t do A/B comparisons with the other KZs.


KZ ZS10 Pro (4BA + 1DD)

The KZ ZS10 Pro is also V shaped in tuning, but the KZ ZS10 Pro has less treble than the CCA C10 Pro. CCA C10 Pro is hence brighter, and due to the ears taking the entire frequency spectrum as a whole, it also feels as though the CCA C10 Pro is lighter in bass quantity. The CCA C10 Pro has more sibilance, and is much more fatiguing for longer sessions than the KZ ZS10 Pro.

In terms of timbre, I thought the KZ ZS10 Pro wasn’t the best, but the CCA C10 Pro is even worse in timbre. KZ ZS10 has better soundstage and imaging. CCA C10 Pro has a tighter bass with less midbass bleed. KZ ZS10 Pro is more “fun” sounding and more versatile in terms of tuning, with the CCA C10 Pro sounding more cold in tonality.

Even though the KZ ZS10 Pro came out more than a year ago, I think there is no value add for the CCA C10 Pro for existing owners of the KZ ZS10 Pro.


TRN V90S (5BA + 1DD)

The TRN V90S is also another V shaped set, but it has less boosted upper mids/lower treble than the CCA C10 Pro, with the latter being more fatiguing and harsh and sibilant. The TRN V90S has better soundstage and imaging/instrument separation/details than the CCA C10 Pro, though the CCA C10 Pro has better clarity due to the boosted higher frequencies. TRN V90S has a more textured bass too, though it has a bit more recessed mids than the CCA C10 Pro.

Both sets have poor instrumental timbre, and ain’t the best option for music genres that incorporate a lot of acoustic instruments.

Overall, both are going at about $50 USD, and I think TRN V90S is the better set in terms of tonality and technicalities.


CONCLUSIONS

The CCA C10 Pro features a V shaped sound signature, with an overly boosted upper mids/treble. It has above average technicalities, but this is offset by a harsh and fatiguing treble, sibilance and an artificial timbre. I find it doesn’t give much value add compared to some existing KZ/CCA iterations (eg the KZ ZS10 Pro), so this is one KZ/CCA pokemon that you should think twice about catching.

In all likelihood, a pro version of this CCA C10 Pro will probably be coming our way in a few weeks’ time, since it appears KZ (and by extension sister company CCA) are back to their circa 2018 – early 2019 habits of churning out almost weekly sidegrades/marginal upgrades. Perhaps trebleheads will like this set, but even so, it doesn’t have the best technicalities also, and there’s better options to be gotten out there at the same price range.

The CCA C10 Pro is really pretty forgettable in the $50ish USD cut throat CHIFI market, and unfortunately being average in that price segment is not good enough nowadays. Perhaps two to three years back, when CHIFI were still relatively uncommon in the wild, the CCA C10 Pro would have been lapped up, but this does not apply for the past year and a half or so, when CHIFI sound quality has really scaled up tremendously.

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