CCA C10 PRO

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

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A Curate's Egg
Pros: Tight, fast bass with good resolution
High level of detail
Clarity and precision
Cons: Very bright upper register
Aggressive fatiguing presentation
Poor soundstage
Technical rather than musical
Cold tonality and artificial timbre
Sharp edges to earpieces
Underwhelming accessories
CCA's original C10 was notable in that its profile differed from the traditional V shape, instead offering a more balanced and neutral response. Featuring a 10mm dynamic driver coupled with two 50060 midrange BAs and two 30095 treble units in a three-way arrangement, it sounded very different from the similarly equipped KZ ZS10 Pro.

The new C10 Pro has a 10mm dual magnet DD for the bass, and the BAs used are: one 50060 covering the midrange, a dual BA unit for the mid/high region and one 30095 (placed in the nozzle) for the high frequencies. A four-way crossover system is employed.

The C10 Pro comes presented in the new CCA packaging first seen in the CA16, being a small white rectangular box with a linen finish and a CCA logo in the centre. Inside you will find a slip case containing the documentation under which the IEMs are displayed in a card cut-out. Lifting this out reveals the cable and three spare Starline tips.

The earpieces have a clear smoked resin body through which the components can be seen. The metal faceplate is finished in matt black with gold chevron detailing and closely resembles the KZ ZS10 Pro. There are two pinhole vents on the inner surface. The IEMs are pre-fitted with a pair of medium large bore silicone tips.

The supplied cable is a silver plated type with QDC connectors and a white plastic angled 3.5mm plug. It is a big improvement on former offerings from CCA/KZ, but still lacks a chin slider and could have usefully been furnished with metal fittings.

A burn-in period of 100 hours was carried out with the supplied cable and tips. The seal was very good but there were some sharp edges on the faceplate which occasionally caused discomfort and the earpieces did feel a little bulky. An Xduoo X20 DAP was chosen for appraisal but I found the sound too bright so substituted this with a Sony NWZ-A15 which has a warmer tonality. There was some improvement but the basic high frequency output remained considerably north of neutral.

First Impressions
The C10 Pro displayed a very different profile from its predecessor, in fact, more resembling the C12 than being a follow-up to the original. It was also very different from the recent more neutrally tuned CA16. It had an assertive delivery with solid, clean and fast bass, forward mids and somewhat aggressive high frequencies with an emphasis on the upper mids and lower treble. The overall tonality was cooler than neutral. Unusually, the sound did not change very much during burn-in.

Bass
The bass was fast and accurate with quick decay and good transient attack. It was rather cool in timbre and its focus was between the sub and mid bass region. Detail and resolution were good. This resulted in a punchy and animated presentation.

Franz Waxman's "Dusk" is a moody piece from the film "Night unto Night". The orchestral bass drum is very prominent especially at 5:40 when it is played powerfully and the C10 Pro managed to reproduce the clean initial strike and ambient decay very well. There was plenty of weight in the bass and it conveyed the dramatic feeling admirably.

The introduction to "Flame Nebula" from Kevin Kendle's space music album "Light from Orion" features a prominent sub bass foundation supporting swirling synth figures and a slow lead melody. The C10 Pro produced adequate depth here with very good texture and detail coming through, but I would have liked a little more warmth.

Mids
The mids were very clean and detailed, with a cool timbre and were quite forward in balance. The transient performance was immediate and crisp.

"Theme from the Yellow Book" is a piece for cello and orchestra by Mike Batt from the album "Pieces". Performed by Julian Lloyd Webber and the LSO, it sounded particularly clear and precise. Indeed, midrange clarity was perhaps the best aspect of the C10 Pro and the "rosin" effect of the bowing was very noticeable. However, the accompanying strings sometimes displayed a "glassy" or thin tonality which was also shared by the woodwind and this detracted from the romantic nature of the piece.

Vangelis's "Spanish Harbour" from "Oceanic" features a lead synth emulating a Spanish guitar playing rapid sequences of notes and the C10 managed to reproduce each note separately and clearly whilst retaining the essential rhythmic quality. Backed by punchy drums and sparkling percussion, it sounded very exciting but a little "in your face" and did become slightly intense.

Treble
The C10 Pro's treble was very detailed but also very bright with emphasis in the lower region and smaller peaks higher up. This was exciting, but also fatiguing from time to time. I would consider the placing of the 30095 BA in the nozzle was principally the reason for this.

The sparkling metallic tones of the rhythm guitar in Richard Vimal's beautiful and haunting "Les Yeux Cadanasses" received a wonderfully clear rendition from the C10 Pro. Overlaid by a lovely minor key lead synth melody, every detail was crisp and well-defined. Although not entirely natural, the extra treble brightness really enhanced the performance.

Eric Whitacre's "October" in an arrangement for string orchestra once again demonstrated the clarity and detail on offer from the C10 Pro. The violas at the beginning of the piece displayed good projection and the full orchestral climaxes were impressively dramatic. The timbre, however was somewhat brighter than I would have liked and there was an edgy quality on the higher notes. The extreme clarity did diminish the sense of musicality making the presentation more "technical".

Soundstage
The C10 Pro's soundstage was average in size. Instruments spread out to around the edge of the head but not beyond. The forward nature of the upper mids was most likely the cause. Depth also was rather lacking with orchestral recordings lacking a sense of distance and resulting in a somewhat flat perspective. The height was around average.

Conclusion
The C10 Pro was a "Curate's Egg" with some impressive qualities, such as transient attack, detail retrieval and clarity, but it also suffered from too much brightness, an aggressive upper region and a rather condensed soundstage. It sounded exciting with some genres, electronic music especially, but classical music did not fare so well and long-term listening did result in some fatigue. The presentation took on a more technical rather than musical aspect.

If an exciting, enthusiastic sound profile is to your taste the KZ ZS10 Pro will serve you better. It has a similar entertaining sound profile but a warmer, more musical and more "fun" presentation and more expansive staging.

This review sample was provided by Sunny of Better Audio US via Amazon.com.
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Not perfect but I love Em!
Pros: Great bass performance with impact, sparkling highs decent Mids , enjoyable and fun signature.
Cons: Minimal accessories, aggressive tuning may not be for some people
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Box is that simple CCA/KZ box with the cable and tips we all know this time in silver in my opinion looks better. Build is good resin back with metal front I've come to expect, the paint job is elegant to a point and I like that, even if the back plate is straight off the ZS10 pro. This is not unexpected as this sounds like a slightly refined ZS10. The unit also shares the shape of the C12 and is comfortable as either IEMs and fit in my ears well.

Bass:
Very good quantity an quality to the Bass here, I think its tighter than the ZS10 and has better control. The Mid Bass is speedy and with a fair amount of punch there is great texture and details here in the low end.

Mids are have a little more emphasis than the C12 and ZS10 but this is not going to win any contests here due to the Vshape sound.
Treble:
The highs have a great amount of details and extend to the limits and maybe beyond at times but is manageable and most of the time a compliment to the Bass.
Soundstage is fairly wide with a slightly unique shape to it , imaging is good with live music sounding properly placed, separation is good too. Some recordings sound un-natural but not enough to be a problem..

Overall:
The CCA Z10 pro, is not a upgrade to the C10 as it is a evolution of a CCA product merging attributes of the C12 WITH ZS10 to create something unique. I find this to be a very enjoyable budged IEM with a fun Sounding V-Shaped signature , good comfort and a cool looking paint job.

Attachments

Beyond the goal
Pros: punchy, firm, dynamic bass
variety of details
fancy design
exciting listening experience
Cons: sibilants
drivers reach their technical limits
no uprade to the C10, unless you love artificial high frequencies
metallic
Rating: 7.8
Sound: 7.7

Intro
It has recently become a popular game in the circle of KZ & CCA to re-release older products as Pro versions. Sometimes we even get an added value, like with the ZS10 (PRO), but rarely this justifies a completely new product.

The CCA C10 was the door opener of the daughter company of KZ and was even rated "Okay" by very critical and "opinion-forming" reviewers, which is something to be proud of. Not surprisingly, this model deserves a pro version. However, the C10 PRO has rather become a descendant of the C12 than to optimize the already quite mature C10, or let's rather say, it has been overshot a bit.

Handling
The C10 PRO is very light due to its light metal faceplate, but it also looks somehow cheaper, because you would expect more weight due to the choice of material, as for example with the KZ ZS10 PRO and therefore subjectively associate more quality. So it has more toy character than suggesting value. Optically, however, this is obsolete and the low weight definitely contributes to the wearing comfort.

As with the KZ ZSN PRO X we get a silver plated cable as an accessory and I assume that CCA/KZ will change completely to this in the future. Foamtips (3 pairs of the same size) are also supplied separately, but this is probably to be understood as an action. Here I would be happy if these would be included as standard accessories. Otherwise the scope of delivery is rather poor, because there are no more than 3 sizes of silicone tips.

Isolation and wearing comfort is good, to very good, as with almost all models of the company, depending on the space in the ear, which should not be too small.

Sound
The C10 PRO is more comparable in sound to the C12 than to the original C10.

The bass has authority and mixes a good texture with firmness and direct response. A high quality bass that can compete with its predecessor. It is a bit more detailed and tighter for my taste, but not quite as organic. Still the highlight of the C10 PRO.

The mids have to fight a bit, because the highs steal the show. Due to the emphasis the signature slips more into the "V". I find the mids a bit too hard due to the emphasis on the upper frequencies and I miss something natural, warm and mature. Vocals could be a bit smoother and build up more emotions. The C10 does that better, even if it lacks a little stability and assertiveness. Here they simply wanted to trick a bit too much and create more details, stage extension and separation by frequency boosting, where the driver doesn't offer the potential, though. But the C10 PRO is not the only driver in the KZ/CCA family and I don't want to make the good mids worse than they are. Especially electric guitars have a driving and crisp component due to their tuning.

Oh man, I could write a long essay about the minimal differences in high frequencies of various CCA/KZ models. But I will come to a result (with very few exceptions, which are more likely to be found in CCA). The high frequencies usually sound a bit artificial and have a sometimes more, sometimes less strong sibilant emphasis. The used 30095, which was "developed" by KZ, is simply not the right one if you are looking for a natural and homogeneous high tone. With the C10 it was at least possible to get this BA driver under control, as well as with the C12, which was a bit more borderline, but also provides more details. The C10 PRO goes one step further and lets the BA 30095 off the leash again, which provides more micro details but also enhances the metallic timbre. However, if you bring a certain tolerance and stand on more prominent high frequencies, you might be happy here. Even if the tweeter can sometimes even excite me, it is too inconsistent for me and you notice the technical limitation of the driver. In this case less is more!

Even if a bit artificial, the music is quite exciting with the generated stage and the very good separation. A lot of information is processed in a large room, so there is a lot to discover, but I have the feeling that sometimes there is also distortion.

Outro
The C10 PRO has become a very lively IEM, which offers a really good bass performance and with its graded high frequency, can be quite exciting. It plays a bit with fire, but for me this is just about tolerable. But the sibilants and the metallic timbre in the high tone are disturbing in the long run. On the other hand, the C10 PRO can convince with an appealing 3D image where the separation is to be emphasized and even if it doesn't always have much to do with authentic listening, the C10 PRO can still be very entertaining.
For me it is not an upgrade to the C10, or C12, but rather an alternative to the CA16, for those who find it a bit too dark or imprecise and prefer a more direct and brighter sound.

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