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8 Balanced Armature In-Ear-Monitor with 2-Pin Connection

CCA C16

Rating:
4.83333/5,
  • CCA C16 | 8*BA

    Brand Name: CCA
    Model Number: C16
    Time to market: 2019

    Vocalism Principle: Balanced Armature
    Sensitivity: 105±3dB
    Frequency Response Range: 20-40000Hz
    Resistance: 27Ω

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

    CCA C16 2.jpg CCA C16 1.jpg

Recent Reviews

  1. FastAndClean
    CCA C16 - Made for electronic music
    Written by FastAndClean
    Published Apr 25, 2019
    4.5/5,
    Pros - very big soundstage, solid build, the bass is fast and tight, clean midrange, good isolation, very good treble response (with very wide bore tips), high on details, respond very well to EQ, very fun to listen to
    Cons - small roll off in the sub bass and upper treble region, the imaging is not very precise and specific, treble still have room for improvement
    d5c30cb4.jpg

    source for the review - Sabaj DA3

    Songs used for the review
    Autechre - Nuane
    Amon Tobin - Chomp Samba
    Boards of Canada - Cold Earth
    Plug - me & mr. jones
    Squarepusher - Tundra 4
    Squarepusher - Plotinus
    Leon Switch - Orbit
    Macc & dgoHn - Mustard Greens
    Artificial Intelligence - Uprising VIP
    Blu Mar Ten - Grey Area
    The Future Sound of London - We Have Explosive
    Boards Of Canada - kid for today

    Jim Keltner - Improvisation
    Eric Clapton - My father's Eyes
    Nah Youn Sun - My Favorite Things
    Inception - Dream Collapsing
    Steve Strauss - Youngstown
    Stimulus Timbre - Expression
    Diana Krall – Let's Fall in Love
    Trevor Jones - Clear The Tracks!
    The DALI CD - Zhao Cong , Moonlight on Spring River
    Baba-Yaga, for orchestra, Op. 56
    Rebecca Pidgeon - Grandmother
    Sara K - Maritime
    Trevor Jones - Promentory
    Dave Brubeck - Take Five
    Marcin Przybylowicz - Go Back Whence You Came
    James Horner - Going After Newt
    Hans Zimmer - Dream Is Collapsing
    Hans Zimmer - Molossus
    Harry Gregson - Emergency Launch
    Shpongle - Shpongle Spores
    Dizzy Gillespie - Could it Be You
    Dominik Eulberg - Björn Borkenkäfer
    Trentemøller - The Forest
    Kryptic Minds And Leon Switch - Ocean Blue

    specs
    8 BA s per side (two woofers, two midrange, 4 treble)
    3 way crossover
    impedance - 27ohm s
    sensitivity - 105dB/mW
    Cable Length: 1.2m, 0.75mm two pin connector
    3 pairs of silicon eartips
    80ed7910.jpg

    I enjoy different kinds of music, searching for good all rounder was on my mind for a long time.
    Over the years i realized that all rounders can give you satisfaction for a limited amount of time.
    You can look at them in a different way - good with everything or not good enough for your favorite type of music at that time.
    One type of music is dominating my time lately after work, electronic music, old stuff, good stuff.
    What are the main qualities for a earphone to excel with that? Speed, soundstage size and clean tonality.
    I was reading the CCA thread and the user 1clearhead was very happy with them, so i decided to buy them from the recent Ali sale for around 85$.

    Build, fit and comfort
    The build is amazing, they are very solid with some heft to them, stock tips are not good for me, the cable is good but i use balanced cable that is better, the fit is great for me but the comfort is good only for the first 3 - 4 hours, after that i feel some pressure on my ear.

    isolation
    good not great, my other full BA sets have better isolation

    Overall sound signature.
    very clean overall with added kick in the mid bass and some extra energy in the upper mids and treble

    Bass
    I was very surprised how clean and tight was the bass on first listen, the bass is always tight, never bloated, however they have some roll off in the sub bass area and with mid bass hump, the mid bass is less boosted compared to Hisenior B5 but is there and the boost is noticeable.The mid bass boost can give some overall warmth but not much.

    Mids
    The mids sound very clean and present, they have boost in the upper mids somewhere, for vocal music they are very good favoring female vocals over the male. They have a dip in the lower mids.
    With male vocals some may find them not full enough in the lower mid range, they have some warmth from the mid bass but no thickness, i like that, it is refreshing to have something that is more clean and less warm.

    Treble
    The treble has some extra energy in the lower and middle part but they are not sibilant or harsh.
    The extension is about average, i expected better extension in the treble because they use 4 drivers per side for highs.They extend to around 12-13khz before dropping off after that.
    Treble is the weak point in my opinion, it has unrefined kind of tone, a little bit dry sounding, papery.
    If the cymbal hit is in the lower treble region it sounds good and realistic, but if it is in the middle and upper treble it sound unrefined.
    EDIT -
    I should point that when i wrote that review it was with different tips, with the new white ones (in the pic)
    the treble is improved a lot (you need to use very wide bore tips to add body to the cymbals and improve the tone of the treble).
    IMG_20190429_185726.jpg

    Soundstage and imaging.
    The soundstage is very big and wide, no question about it, you want that kind of soundstage size for your electronic music, it is fun and engaging.
    The imaging is good not great, the center imaging is very good and precise but when the sound goes wider they are a little bit confused, is not very specific like a earphone with very dark background.

    EQ settings
    Removing the mid bass bump and boosting the sub bass works great for my taste, the woofers can take that boost without any problems and the bass stays tight and clean but there is no roll off anymore.
    Extra energy in the upper treble improve the sense of air and space without harshness.
    Screenshot (266).png

    Conclusion
    They excel with electronic music, the speed, soundstage size and overall very clean tone makes them very good value for the money. For audiophile recordings with real instruments they sound very good in the bass and midrange, the treble quality have some room for improvement (see the edit under the treble section).

    Peace :floatsmile:
      DocHoliday and 1clearhead like this.
    1. DocHoliday

      Enjoyed your feedback on the C16.

      Also, wide-bores usually clean up mid-bass and assist in a cleaner and more airy presentation.
      DocHoliday, May 11, 2019
      FastAndClean likes this.
  2. DallaPo
    CCA C16 | 8*BA | Rating: 9.5
    Written by DallaPo
    Published Mar 19, 2019
    5.0/5,
    Pros - balanced signature, clear, detailed sound with outstanding separation and spatial feel, comfort
    Cons - bass is sometimes too subtle for me, protective mesh
    Intro
    CCA, the subsidiary of Knowledge Zenith, conquers the hearts of Chi-Fi fans with waving flags. In the meantime, they have three in-ears on the market, which are significantly below the expected price in relation to what they are offering. The three in-ears serve different needs. The C04 is an IEM for bass lovers, the C10 is the perfect balance between fun and audiophile demands and the C16 now offers everything the picky hi-fi heart desires.
    Please dive into a world of fantastic mythical creatures, majestic landscapes, epic battles and their immortal heroes ... or something like that ...

    20190319_125751.jpg
    20190319_125832_HDR.jpg

    Handling
    While the C10 still used the housing form of the KZ ZSN, this time it is the turn of the KZ AS10 or AS06. In comparison, the C16 looks a little more valuable in the workmanship, since metal is used as cover plate, with a corrugation, which reminds of some designs of FIDUE. On the other hand, the C16 is a lot heavier, which doesn't compromise the wearing comfort. As with the KZ AS10, this is extremely comfortable. Since I can call relatively large ears my own, I very rarely have problems with the wearing comfort of in-ears. They have to allow themselves some rough blunders when it comes to design, ergonomics or workmanship.

    The C16 comes in a simple package, just like its predecessors. Included are three different sizes of the Star-Tips from KZ, a very good cable with pre-reinforced ear hook, with the help of a heat shrink tube and the CCA C16, embedded in foam.
    On the pictures you can see the YINYOO 16 core cable, not the stock cable, which is highly recommended in combination with the C16.

    20190319_130126.jpg

    With frequent changes of the tips, the dirt grid says goodbye quickly, as it was already the case with the KZ AS06.
    The isolation is extraordinarily good, which of course also depends on the tip selection and the seat. I'm not a big fan of the Starline tips and so I went for my Complys, but also for the Spin-Fit, with which I also achieved a very satisfying result.
    If the protective grids have got lost and you can look inside the sound tube, you can see that the shell in which the 8 BA drivers are located is actually equipped with 3 sound openings, one of which was closed with a plug. Of course this doesn't matter as far as sound quality is concerned, as the C16 officially uses only 2 sound paths, but indicates that there might be more CCA models in the future, with more than 8 drivers per side.

    20190319_125856.jpg 20190319_130147.jpg

    Sound
    Of the BA drivers of the C10, only the BA 30095 remained and that in double version (4). But if you expect a high-frequency monster now, you've got it wrong, because there's no trace of the expected hardness and unpleasant sharpness, as we sometimes experience with KZ models that use the 30095 as a tweeter.

    The highs are comparatively soft, with an extreme extension, crystal clear and airy, without getting tiring, or highlighting the sibilants. In other words, the highs are really an experience in every respect and speak for themselves. With low power output, a slight compression is noticeable with music loaded with information, as is the case with the IKKO OH1, for example. With the ZuperDAC-S on my mobile phone, I didn't have this feeling anymore. The question I have is the number of drivers used. Does this really bring an advantage, or would it have done half as well, to get the same result? But this shouldn't bother any further, because for its price, the C16 has one of the most high-resolution and detailed highs I've been able to hear so far, in connection with the relaxed presentation. Maybe the TENHZ T4 Pro can add a MY here, but that's it.

    The mids are quite neutral and naturally tuned, with impressive separation and imaging. I'm always a bit torn here, because the mids are very tidy, linear in frequency response (except for the usual increase in the upper range) and above all the sound is crisp, with a pleasant warmth and playful ease. On the other hand, I sometimes don't feel them as lively and pushing as I prefer. Of course, this is very subjective, because technically it is difficult to blame the midrange of the C16 for anything. The stage is great cinema, in the truest sense of the word. Space feeling, image and transparency are on absolute top level! In addition, there is the excellent resolution, which gives us the smallest details and the natural voice reproduction of women and men.
    I find the Kanas Pro's midrange more emotional, but the C16's midrange has a finer blade.

    The bass blends in very well with the overall sound, as it is more oriented towards neutrality and no frequency band really comes to the fore with the C16. That means you can't expect the bass of an AS10 or AS06, let alone the bass of a dynamic ZS7 (DD). The bass is fast, as it should be with a BA driver, and also manages to penetrate into the lower ranges. It's neither bloated, nor does it push into the midrange. It is quite linear from high to low bass and textured and tight.
    Nevertheless it lacks some pressure and punch. Sure it's there, but too subtle for me. I like it more dynamic and powerful. Nevertheless, the bass is excellent as far as agility and technical implementation in the overall sound are concerned and must therefore not be judged too hard by me. The whole thing goes in the direction of an unmodified Tin Audio T2, with slight advantages in attack and structure for the C16.

    The C16 enjoys a bit more power under the butt and so I achieved the best results on the phone with the ZuperDAC-S, which has an ES9018 chip of its own, smoothes the overall sound a bit and slightly emphasizes the bass a bit more, in contrast to the SONATA HD, which is also an excellent, small phone DAC, but which prefers the treble a bit more.

    20190319_130009.jpg 20190319_130210.jpg

    Outro
    One should not be too much impressed by the indicated price, although also this would be already justified, since the C16 could be bought as good as permanently around 80-90 €.
    It's interesting to see how CCA has built up their product line, which I find much more transparent than KZ, because every model has something different to offer. The C16 appeals to audiophile people who are looking for neutrality. The C16 is certainly not a reference in-ear, but its well-balanced nature definitely makes it something special.
    Those who prefer powerful, pronounced bass and prefer fun should choose the C04. The C10 is the perfect all-rounder, where fun is not neglected. This can't always be said of the C16, as it has to pay some tribute to genres like rock (my taste). But most of the time it knows how to charm and enchant, where we are again at the intro and the mythical creatures!

    20190319_130313.jpg

    CCA C16: MissAudio Store
    YINYOO 16 CORE: http://s.click.aliexpress.com/e/GCE6Si4
    ZuperDAC-S: https://www.zorloo.com/zuperdac-s

    ___________________________________________________________
    More reviews: https://david-hahn.wixsite.com/chi-fiear-eng
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CHIFIEAR/
    1. View previous replies...
    2. DallaPo
      This is reasonable, because the C16 is not a big upgrade to the C10. You get more details, resolution and separation, but they're not 3 times as good, which justifies the price difference.
      Besides, I also see the C10 slightly in front of the ZS7 and also in front of the AS10, which is a bit too dark/warm for me. There the BA10 is more refreshing.
      DallaPo, Mar 20, 2019
      Julzz likes this.
    3. DallaPo
      But I assume that the AS16 does not differ much from the C16. I could imagine that the V-signature will be more pronounced at KZ, which will lead to more bass (like the AS10) and a small treble boost. I hope, however, that this won't make them too sharp again.
      DallaPo, Mar 20, 2019
      Julzz likes this.
    4. Julzz
      As10 is good, but yes a little too warm for me too, and also has a little soundstage compare to the C10. ZS7 is overall good but too bassy on some tracks, that's why I prefer the C10.
      Julzz, Mar 22, 2019
  3. Nimweth
    Astounding clarity and resolution
    Written by Nimweth
    Published Feb 13, 2019
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Clarity, Resolution, bass quality, treble extension, detail retrieval
    Cons - Cable prone to tangling. Same accessories as C10 at four times the price
    The CCA C16 is the third and latest IEM from Clear Concept Audio, a sister company of KZ (Knowledge Zenith). It follows on from the CCA C04 (1DD+1BA) and the C10 (1 DD+4BA). It is an all-BA design, featuring eight balanced armatures per side, hence the name C16 (16 drivers in total).

    It employs two 22955 bass drivers, two 29689 midrange balanced armatures and four 30095 treble units in each earpiece, which are 3D printed and made from a durable blue material with a contoured zinc alloy faceplate bearing the CCA logo and the words “8 balanced armature”. The design of the earpiece is similar in shape to that of the KZ AS10. On the side of the earpiece is written “Professional Configuration” along with the channel identification in a freestyle script. The nozzles have three small protruberances which serve as anchors for the eartips. The earpieces have no rear venting.

    The C16 has a detachable 2-pin (0.75mm) cable which is identical to that supplied with the C10, being a copper-coloured braided type with knurled aluminium 2-pin plugs and a right-angled 3.5mm plug. The packaging and accessories are also similar to the earlier model and include the cable, a set of three Starline-type tips and documentation, all presented in a neat small white box with an illustration of the IEMs on the front and the specifications printed on the back. Considering that the C16 retails for around four times the price of the C10, this was a little disappointing. I feel an upgraded cable, a better selection of tips and perhaps a protective case could have been included at this price.

    I found the pre-installed Starline tips did not give me a good fit and so I replaced them with the medium silicone tips from the TRN V80, which I have also used successfully on other IEMs. These gave a perfect seal and fit and provided perhaps the best isolation I have experienced on an IEM so far. The supplied cable is very long from the Y-split to the 2-pin plugs and is prone to tangling, so I also replaced this with a high quality silver-plated cable.

    The earphones were left burning in for 100 hours before testing and included tracks of white and pink noise, glide tones and other audio conditioning tracks. After this I used a Hifi Walker H2 DAP with a Fiio A5 amplifier for evaluation. I found that the C16s responded best with a robust signal, with the amplifier set to high gain and volume at around 33%.

    The immediate impression was of a wealth of detail. This was unexpected and startling, and even with familiar music, I was presented with things I had never noticed before. In addition to this, the stereo image was exceptionally clear with movement and positioning very noticeable. In more detail:

    Bass

    The bass on these was superb, and hands down the best I have heard, being deep and powerful with an amazing tightness and transient attack. Extension was excellent and overall was very linear with no mid-bass lift. A good example of this was in “Nuvole a Colori” by Rondo Veneziano. This features a series of synthesized string chord progressions overlaid by pseudo-baroque violin arpeggios. The bass had real impact and texture, creating a perfect foundation for the music. The ability of the C16 to go really low was evidenced in Messaien’s “Desseins Eternels”, a modern organ piece, meditative in feeling with unusual harmonies bordering on the atonal. A version by Louis Thiry has some of the deepest organ notes committed to disc, the pedal notes of the 32’ pipes reaching subterranean levels, all clearly reproduced by the C16. This is the first time I had heard BA bass, and I must say I was very impressed.

    Mids

    The midrange on these was very articulate, with very good separation and was not recessed at all. Reproduction of harmonics was excellent, giving instruments their correct colour and timbre and endowing the sound with a very natural and open quality. The mids were in perfect balance with the bass and treble and though generally having a neutral feel, there was plenty of impact and life in the music. “Castilla” from the Suite Espanola by Albeniz, rattled along in entertaining style with bass drum, percussion and brass delighting in equal measure. This orchestral arrangement by Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos in a beautiful vintage Decca recording was a perfect demonstration of the C16’s ability to portray an orchestra in a realistic ambience and natural setting. Vocal performance was impressive, too. In “Talk to me of Mendocino” from Linda Ronstadt’s album “Closer”, Ms Ronstadt’s voice soared above the accompaniment in wonderful style, each word beautifully clear and articulated and full of power and emotion.

    Treble

    The treble was very extended with the finest details coming over clearly and with a crisp precision, but without being cold or harsh. There was an attractive crystalline quality to the upper register giving an airy and open feeling. Mark Dwane is a master of the MIDI guitar and has produced a series of albums based on mystical themes. “Paragons of Light” from the album “Variants” begins with multi-tracked jangly guitar sounds moving across the soundstage. Each string was beautifully articulated with an authentic metallic quality giving the music great impact. In Dave Brubeck’s classic “Take Five”, Joe Morello’s superb drum solo displayed the clarity and detail of the C16’s treble. Cymbals, snares and rim shots placed me right there in the studio with the musicians. Holst’s “Moorside Suite” for strings features attractive rhythmic arrangements of folksong melodies. The third movement is fast-paced and uplifting. The strings of the Northern Sinfonia conducted by David Lloyd-Jones gave a spirited performance which the C16s revelled in, with clean crisp string sonorities and an airy, believable acoustic.

    Soundstage

    The C16s produced a soundstage which was wide and deep with an unusually good impression of height, giving a wonderful sense of space. Along with the excellent stereo imaging and instrumental positioning, they gave a very natural and open picture of the recording which was both technically and artistically satisfying. Detail retrieval was exceptional, with complex arrangements being clearly laid out with every strand easy to follow. “Words of a Mountain” is a unique album. It is a new-age fusion electronic album by a black musician, Wally Badarou. In “The Feet of Fouta”, the powerful percussion beats and infectious rhythms combined beautifully with the keyboard melody lines to great effect, producing an entertaining and foot-tapping result. “Antarctic Echoes” from Vangelis’s score to the Kurosawa film features the main theme in a slow and concentrated variation set in a highly reverberant soundstage. The C16s produced a cavernous acoustic with impressive fine detail and decay.


    Conclusion

    In the past year or so, I have been fortunate to have tried out a number of excellent IEMs, including, most recently, the V2 single DD, the CCA C10, and the DT6 triple hybrid, all of which provided incremental advances in fidelity. However, in this case there was a significant increase in quality, which, given the higher price, one might have expected, but nonetheless was impressive. With its excellent detail retrieval, superb resolution, wide frequency range and open, expressive sound, the C16 now takes premier position in my ever-growing collection of IEMs. If you value a neutral, well-balanced sound, it really is an essential purchase. Do bear in mind, however, due to its revealing nature, that it will give of its best with a high quality source and recordings (320k mp3 as a minimum) so a dedicated DAP, and preferably also an amplifier, would be most appropriate.

    Note: I would like to thank Sunny from Better Audio US at Amazon.com for a promotional discount of 50% on the purchase of this item.

    Purchase link:

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07MM8Y5MX/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00__o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    images

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    1. View previous replies...
    2. Nimweth
      D Gilpatrick: The C16 is not as bulky as the ZS10, I have that as well. With the right tips they are very comfortable and do not stick out as much as the ZS10.
      Nimweth, Mar 3, 2019
    3. MilTech
      I have the Zs10 as well, it has excellent bass impact and extension, is the C16 superior to it?
      MilTech, Mar 30, 2019
    4. Nimweth
      Miltech, the ZS10 with its V shape signature has a more pronounced bass than the C16 but everywhere else the C16 is superior. The ZS10 treble is coarse by comparison and the mids are recessed with some bass bleed.
      Nimweth, Mar 30, 2019

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