CCA is a Chinese IEM manufacturer with a history of good and affordable earphones. In this review, I’m looking at the new CCA CA24, priced at $228. The CA24is a multi-BA IEM with 12 balanced armature drivers on each side.
Disclaimer: This sample was provided for the purpose of an honest review. All observations and opinions here are my own based on my experience with the product.
- Nice looking shells
- A smooth, easygoing sound signature
- Huge driver count
- Large shells
- Disappointing accessories
- Rolled-off treble
Frequency Response Range: 10 – 40000Hz
Pin: 0.75mm 2 pin
Packaging & Accessories
The CCA CA24 comes in a standard CCA box i.e. small and white with CCA on the front and a sticker on the side showing an image of the earphones with a list of specifications. Inside the box is the usual minimal accessory set: the CA24 IEMs, a detachable cable and 4x pairs of silicone eartips.
CCA CA24’s shells are made from a smoky, transparent resin. Looking through the acrylic, you can see the multitude of BA drivers inside. The faceplate is a zinc alloy exterior with a matte black plastic centre. It’s quite a striking design with a clean modern aesthetic.
Once again, CCA has gone with a narrow aluminium nozzle. I would love to see this changed to a more standard width, especially considering the quality of the included eartips isn’t great.
In order to fit all those drivers inside the enclosure, the shells are quite wide and protrude out from my ears a bit. The inner part of the shells fills the concha of my ears. Despite their girth, the ergonomics are sound and the earphones feel comfortable.
Noise isolation is above average. The CA24 blocks out a good deal of external noise and just leaves you with the music; so this is a good IEM to use in noisy environments or if you want to minimize distractions.
It’s a little unfortunate that CCA has stuck with its standard cable for this flagship IEM. Although the quality of the SPC wire is good, the cable’s ergonomics leave a lot to be desired. The cable is thin above the Y-split and constantly gets tangled. It feels like every day I used this earphone I spent at least 10 minutes trying to untangle the wire.
Gear used for testing includes:
- Shanling UP5
- Cozoy TAKT C
- TOPPING DX3 Pro+
- Shanling M5s
CCA CA24’s sound signature is a light V-shape with a natural, warm tone. Each frequency band is presented fairly evenly with a subtle boost in the mid-bass and upper midrange. The overall clarity and resolution are good.
Considering the large driver count, the CA24 sounds cohesive and doesn’t have any glaring dips or blind spots. You don’t need any extra amplification for this earphone and it runs fine straight out of a phone or USB DAC.
The fullness of the bass might surprise you for an all-BA unit. Mid-bass notes, in particular, are punchy and full-bodied. Although you don’t get the same kind of air movement like you do with dynamic drivers, the mid-bass is satisfying and shows a good sense of rhythm.
When it comes to sub-bass, the CCA CA24 fares quite well for a multi-BA IEM in this price range. It can’t rattle your skull like a dynamic driver but it has a light, fast rumble and good low-end extension.
In “The Boy and the Snow” by Soup, the heavy kick drum and the bass guitar don’t detract from the other elements in the song. The vocals are a little recessed but the bass gives way to the guitars and crash cymbals later in the track. In the later parts of the song, the melodic bassline isn’t dominant in the least (which is what you’d probably expect after looking at the graph above).
One of the benefits of (well-tuned) multiple drivers is extra resolution. In the case of the CA24, the resolution is not class-leading but satisfying nonetheless. The warmth of the CA24’s signature means it’s not going to be the cleanest of midranges but at the same time, it doesn’t suffer from congestion or excessive bass bleed.
In Adele’s “Oh My God”, the vocals are at the forefront of the mix. They’re not hindered in any way by the bass which is quite subdued in comparison. The midrange tone is pleasing and warm but not muddy.
The treble tuning is what I consider to be pretty classic CCA style: it’s smooth with rounded, airy notes. It’s a treble that’s crafted for comfort over precision, so you won’t hear any harshness or sibilance with this IEM. And while the timbre sounds natural enough, I would like to hear a little more sparkle and liveliness.
One drawback of a softer treble is less detail retrieval. The CCA CA24 doesn’t pick out every micro detail but thanks to its good resolution, it still handles macro details fairly well. If you’re someone who doesn’t like a bright or sharp treble, you’ll feel at ease with the CCA CA24.
The soundstage has average dimensions with roughly even amounts of width and depth. The stage position is neither forward nor distant but somewhere in between or in other words, neutral. It’s not an especially precise stage due to the warmth of its presentation and smooth treble tuning. However, instrument separation is quite good and the stage feels reasonably open.
CCA CA16 ($59)
The CCA CA16 is a hybrid 8-driver IEM with 1 dynamic and 7 balanced armature drivers. It’s not an apples to apples comparison but I’m adding this one because I know a lot of CA16 owners are curious about the CA24.
Despite having a dynamic driver for the bass, the CA16’s bass level is a bit less than the CA24. In fact, CA24 has better sub-bass extension and more impact. CA16 has a cleaner midrange but the CA24 sounds more upfront and has greater note density.
CA16’s treble sounds cleaner and crisper, giving it more energy and clarity. Detail retrieval is about the same on both IEMs but the CA16 can pick up a little additional micro-details due to its more forward treble. The soundstage has roughly the same dimensions on both IEMs but the CA16’s positioning is a little more precise, again because of its treble tuning and rolled-off sub-bass.
The CCA CA24 is an interesting addition to CCA’s product lineup. Its shells are comfortable (albeit large) and the build quality is great. Having 12 drivers on each side is an exciting thing in itself and I imagine it would be very enticing for someone who doesn’t yet own a multi-driver IEM.
As far as the sound goes, the CA24 has an inviting, natural tonality that is smooth yet resolving. The audio quality is as you might expect for something in this price range. However, considering the underwhelming quality of the cable and included eartips, the perceived value of this IEM feels less and ultimately, I think there are better options available.