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  1. 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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    4. P1010148.JPG
    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
      KipNix likes this.
  2. DallaPo
    CCA C16 | 8*BA | Rating: 9
    Written by DallaPo
    Published Mar 19, 2019
    4.5/5,
    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/cluspwMg
    ZuperDAC-S: https://www.zorloo.com/zuperdac-s

    ___________________________________________________________
    More reviews: https://david-hahn.wixsite.com/chi-fiear
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CHIFIEAR/
      gryn, KipNix, FastAndClean and 2 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. DallaPo
      Hi gryn :)
      The two points (blue/red) must both point in the same direction to get the correct polarity. It doesn't matter if both points point inwards or outwards. It is only not possible that they have different directions.
      DallaPo, Jun 12, 2019
    3. gryn
      Great, thank you!
      gryn, Jun 12, 2019
    4. Luiz Wong
      I bought CCA C16 & Yinyoo cable 16 core. The cable emphasizes the trebles, but muffled everything under 1k Hz. I believe that's why the Yinyoo cable felt "Less musical" to me. C16 was tuned such that 4 treble BAs gave detail but didn't overwhelm mid lows. I have A-B'd the crap out of the 2 cables today so many times that I fear I may break the 2 pin connectors soon. Audio quality wise, even the stock cable is better than the Yinyoo one.
      Luiz Wong, Jul 18, 2019
  3. B9Scrambler
    CCA C16: All In A Day's Work
    Written by B9Scrambler
    Published May 30, 2019
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Great ear piece build quality - Above average isolation - Balanced tuning
    Cons - CCA still doesn't have an identity that separates them from their parent company, KZ - Not as detailed as you'd expect from an 8BA earphone - Cable is tangle prone
    Greetings!

    Today we're checking out the least expensive earphone on the market with 8 balanced armatures (BA) per side, that I know of at least; the CCA C16.

    CCA is a newcomer to the market and competes directly with brands like Knowledge Zenith (KZ), TRN, TinHIFI, among others. Using parts from KZ, they have rapidly gotten a foothold in the budget market thanks to low prices and impressive specs. Some of their gear doesn't sound half bad either, like the C10.

    The C16 is CCA's first all-armature release and despite housing 8 Bas per side, manages to squeak in just under the 100 USD mark. Do they offer a compromised experience that is more about the number of drivers than the implementation, or are they a legitimately well-tuned budget-friendly offering?

    Let us find out.

    Disclaimer:

    Thanks to Lillian at Linsoul for arranging a sample of the C16 for the purposes of review. The thoughts within this review are my own subjective opinions based on time spent listening to the C16. They do not represent CCA, Linsoul, or any other entity. At the time of writing the C16 was retailing for around 99 USD. You can check it out on Linsoul.com or their AliExpress store, DD Audio.

    https://www.linsoul.com/product-page/CCA-C16-IEM

    https://www.aliexpress.com/item/329...06&spm=2114.12010615.8148356.1.28a42b18BfMaY1

    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, 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.

    Sources:

    @home: TEAC HA-501 with Shanling M0 or ZiShan DSD playing source duty.

    Mobile: Periodic Audio Nickel with Shanling M0, or, straight out of a ZiShan DSD

    Specifications:
    • Driver: 8 balanced armatures
    • Frequency Response: 20-40,000Hz
    • Impedance: 27ohms
    • Sensitivity: 105dB
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    Packaging and Accessories:

    The C16 arrives in some very KZ-esque packaging, just like the C10 before it. On the front of the exterior sheath covering a compact cardboard box is a color image of the C16's earpieces with the cable installed. It does a good job of showing off the beefy connectors and preformed ear guides. You also find the usual CCA branding and model info, as well as information that this earphone contains 16 drivers in total, and has removable cables. Flipping to the back of the sheath you find CCA's location and contact information as well as the earphone's specifications.

    Slipping off the sheath reveals the C16's earpieces under a plastic cover, tucked tightly into a cardboard and foam insert. Under the insert are the accessories and documentation. In all you get:
    • C10 earphones
    • 0.75mm 2-pin copper cable
    • “Starline” single flange ear tips (s/m/l)
    Overall this is a very basic accessory kit giving you only what you need to get listening; the earphones, a cable, and some ear tips. At this price I would like to see some additional accessories, like a case or carrying bag, even if you can pick those up separately for under a dollar.

    Build, Comfort, and Isolation:

    The C16 is a nicely constructed product. The base shell is shared with the KZ AS10 and AS06 but modelled in a bright blue this time around. A single pinhole vent is present on the inner face relieving pressure that is common with fully sealed, all-BA earphones. The nozzle design is the same as the aforementioned KZ's with three small protrusions replacing a traditional nozzle lip. They work well enough. At the tip of the nozzle is a fine plastic mesh protecting the drivers within from damage due to dust, dirt, earwax, and other particulates that could find their way inside. The face plate is made from zinc alloy giving the C16 some heft and a higher quality feel than other, all-plastic products. Printed neatly on each face plate is 'CCA 8 Balanced Armature', along with left and right indicators. Out the top of each ear piece you find 0.75mm 2-pin ports shared with past products from KZ. While I prefer the new ports KZ uses, some prefer the older version used here. If you're in the latter camp, the C16 should work well with all those unused KZ upgrade cables you've got kicking around.

    Speaking of cables, if you've used a CCA or recent KZ before, there's nothing new going on here. The C16 is equipped with the ever familiar braided copper cable we've seen elsewhere. The y-split is still set way too low making the portion above the y-split subject to tangling. The left side is also about an inch longer than the right, which doesn't really affect anything, I just find it annoying. On the plus side, the cable is flexible and not particularly noisy in terms of microphonics. The preformed ear guides feel good around the ear and keep the cable secure, so thumbs up there. The 90 degree angles jack is smooth and well rounded, but very broad and doesn't have an extension to permit use with cell phone and DAP cases. They will get in the way and cause intermittent disconnects. The y-split is extremely well relieved above and below. Lastly, the 2-pin plugs are metal and knurled allowing a good grip, as well as coloured coded thanks to a slim band of paint on each side. Red for right, left for blue, as per the industry standard. Overall a good cable, but that y-split needs to be raised or a chin cinch added to help deal with the tangle-prone nature.

    The C16's shell is more or less the same as the AS10, AS06, and AS16 from KZ and as a result comfort is pretty good. The C16 is heavier than your average plastic bodied iem, but it doesn't do anything to hinder fit. Neither do all the smooth curves and rounded edges. All this combined with the nicely formed ear guides leads to something I can wear for quite a while without experiencing discomfort.

    Isolation is pretty good, and reminiscent of the experience provided by the AS06. Right now we have a butt ton of construction going on as they are resurfacing a number of parking lots. The C16 effectively dulls the constant rumbling going on outside, even without any music playing. These should be fine for those planning to take them on the bus or subway.

    DSC_0678.JPG DSC_0679.JPG DSC_0682.JPG

    Sound:

    Tips: Wide. Bore. Find them and use them. Wow do they ever make the C16 sound way more exciting that with the stock 'Starline' set. The low end has so much more presence, and it doesn't lead to additional mid or treble peaks that hinder those frequencies.

    The C16 is a surprisingly balanced earphone. Treble is well extended and only slightly emphasized. Cymbals, chimes, etc. display some shimmer and sparkle thanks to a fair upper treble spike, but not enough to be overly aggressive as noticed on Skindred's “Get It Now”. Low treble could see a mild boost to help improve clarity, something I feel isn't a strength of the C16. Micro details are routinely smoothed over and lost in favour of a inoffensive sound. The presentation is in general fairly spacious and clean.

    The mid-range is reasonably well forward keeping vocals, guitars, etc. from blending into the mix. I find the tune especially flattering to deeper female vocalists (ex. Cher), and higher male vocalists (ex. Matthew Bellamy) due to the weight and presence they carry. Acoustic guitars sound excellent as heard on Porcupine Tree's “Baby Dream in Cellophane”, as do the chugging electric guitar riffs on Havok's “Covering Fire”. The problem is a lack of micro detail letting what should be defined notes meld slightly. It ends up dulling what should be exciting passages.

    The C16's low end is it's strongest aspect to my ears, but still lacks in some areas. Mid-bass is quick and punchy with some solid slam, but as you dig into sub-bass regions the roll-off is noticeable and not unlike what you experience with single, full-range armatures. As a result, bass reliant tracks like Kavinski's “Solli” lack character, while more mid-bassy tracks like Jidenna's “Long Live The Chief” fare just fine. Texturing is better here than through the mids and treble, thankfully. Now, I must remind that I listen as very low volumes. As I've noticed on a few earphones using KZ's 22955 low range armature, it tends to “wake up” at higher volumes. That is no different here. If you listen at louder volumes, you'll have a better experience than I did.

    The C16 sets listeners fairly close to the performance but does a good job tossing sounds off into the distance when needed. It's still fairly intimate though, so I wouldn't put it much beyond average. That said, imaging is tight and well controlled with clean channel transitions and no vague areas or dead zones. Layering and separation are good too which combined with the width and depth available keeps the C16 from becoming congested during busy tracks.

    Overall I find the C16 a solid listen, though not without some qualms. I don't find them particularly detailed which wouldn't be an issue if they were very smooth and organic, but they're not. At least not in the treble. It's not harsh, but it's not smooth either. Regardless, I like what CCA has done here. They clearly had a vision in mind when tuning the C16 and the resulting product is coherent and competent making it a good all-rounder across a wide variety of genres.

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    Select Comparisons:

    FiiO FA1 (99.00 USD): The C16 has a slightly darker, more mid-bassy sound. Treble on the FA1 is slightly more emphasized and doesn't extend as well but is tighter and more controlled. There is more air between notes as well giving it an evenly broad and deep sound stage. The FA1's mid-range is more forward and articulate with cleaner but leaner vocals. Timbre is slightly more realistic as well. The C16 has the low end advantage with more mid-bass impact and grunt. Sub-bass extension is alright on both, but still nothing to write home about. I find the FA1 more detailed through the mids and treble with the C16 providing more texture and information in the low end.

    The FA1 is the best built 3D printed earphone I have yet come across. That said, while I think it is significantly more attractive than the C16 thanks to it's more tasteful design and subtle use of the colour blue, it is no better built. Both have outstanding fit and finish and are constructed without any notable flaws. Cables are another story and the FiiO's is the better tale. It is winder versus the C16's braid, but feels more durable and is much less prone to tangling above the y-split. Both use preformed ear guides though I prefer what CCA uses as it is softer and more flexible while holding the cable just as secure around the ear. Fit easily goes to the FA1 thanks to it's more ergonomic shape, lighter weight, and smaller size. It isolates better too thanks to a fully sealed shell.

    Overall both are good performers but the FA1's single balanced armature sounds more natural and coherent, not to mention more detailed in the mids and treble when compared to the C16 and it's plethora of drivers. The only area the C16 has a clear advantage is in the low end, and even that isn't by a wide margin.

    KZ AS16 (125.00 USD): Both earphones house 8 drivers per side and come from the same company so I would expect performance to be similar, and it is. C16 is the better tuned product to my ears thanks to a more balanced tune that is quite easy on the ears. While the C16's bass is similarly underwhelming, treble dialed down to be more in line with the rest of signature so no particular aspect stands out. The AS16 is more clear, a fair bit more detailed, and has a better sound stage, but the aggressive treble counters this in a way that is negative and not flattering.

    When it comes to build the two are very similar, though the AS16 is the better of the two. First, the AS16 simply looks more premium with it's transparent shells, metal nozzles, and Fidue A85 Firgo inspired face plates versus the C16's bright blue plastics. Both give the impression of more expensive products when held thanks to their weight and impression of density. Cable quality is the same with what is considered better coming down to which 2-pin connector you prefer. Personally, I like the AS16's more. Looks better and is compatible with a wider variety of 3rd party cables, even if they'll fit awkwardly.

    When it comes down to it, the C16 has a more well-rounded tunes with the AS16 looks and feels better. Tune trumps look though, so the C16 gets my vote, even if by only a small margin.

    Final Thoughts:

    While the C16 isn't the best product in it's price range, I would consider it a competitive product and a somewhat technical achievement. An eight armature earphone for under 100 USD that doesn't sound like an incoherent piece of excrement, doesn't sacrifice on build quality, and arguably sounds better than it's flagship cousin from Knowledge Zenith? Yeah, I'd definitely consider than an achievement. It sounds good, if not a little lacking in the detail department, is comfortable, and isolates well enough to be used in noisy areas. I would like to see CCA differentiate themselves from their parent company a bit more since the KZ influence is strong in all aspects, but as is, the spinoff brand has the better flagship.

    Thanks for reading!

    - B9Scrambler

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

    Some Test Tunes:

    Aesop Rock – The Impossible Kid (Album)
    Hail Mary Mallon – Are You Going to Eat That? (Album)
    King Crimson – Lark’s Tongues in Aspic (Album)
    King Crimson – Starless and Bible Black (Track)
    Supertramp – Crime of the Century (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 – F****d Up Friends (Album)
    Felt – Felt 2 (A Tribute to Lisa Bonet) (Album)
    Michael Jackson – Thriller (Album)
    The Crystal Method – Grace (feat. LeAnn Rimes) (Track)
    Jidenna – Long Live the Chief (Track)
    Skrillex – Ragga Bomb (Track)
    Big Grams – Run for Your Life (Track)
    Funkadelic – Maggot Brain (Track)
    Aesop Rock – Fishtales (Track)
      Assimilator702 and perfecious like this.
  4. 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.