August 26, 2019
4.06 x 2.87 x 1.3 in
A great starter IEM under $50 with six drivers on each ear.
The CCA C12 offers professional-grade hybrid earphone technology at a pocket-friendly price point. Its tight packaging and steel exterior finish beguile a more premium feel to the earphones.
CCA C12 is a 12 driver hybrid IEM featuring 1 Dynamic Driver (DD) and 5 Balanced Armature (BA) Drivers inside each casing.
While not new in 2022, it’s still a favorite in the budget IEM range.
We also liked the CCA CKX which are worth a look.
CCA C12 in-ear monitors
Budget HiFi In-Ear Monitor with great all round performance
Not a new IEM but a new review for 2022 to see how it stacks up.
CCA has maintained its balanced sound signature, but the frequency response of the CC12 is definitely tighter than its previous offering the C10. Improving upon the C10’s double magnetic DD, which now sounds more punchy and has enough heft in the bass region for a balanced IEM. There are two sets of BA combination drivers mostly taking care of the mids, but also some high-frequency regions like the human voice. Finally, there is one dedicated high-frequency BA driver for the maximum treble extension.
But there are of course compromises made in any budget IEM and the CCA C12 is not different. Most people compare this unit with the KZ ZSX, which is also a 12 driver hybrid IEM. Although the two share a lot of similarities we feel they are quite different in their tunning and very different sounding.
While the ZEXs have very detailed highs, the C12s are tuned to be more relaxed and their treble roll-off is quite exaggerated. The C12s also lack a bit of warmth in the mid-range compared to the ZEXs, but their bass performance is equally good if not slightly better.
All in all, there is decent instrument separation, good reproduction of vocals, and a nice rounded bottom end. All this makes the CCA C12 an all-rounder under $50, well suited for most genres. The tight packaging of the drivers gives it a comfortable fit and it can be worn for long periods of time. The linear tuning of the highs also allows longer listening sessions without too much ear fatigue.
- Driver Type: 1DD+5BA
- Impedance: 24Ω
- Sensitivity: 112dB/MW
- Frequency Response: 7-40000Hz
- Pin Type: 0.75mm 2 C-PIN
- Connectivity: Wired 3.5mm Plug
- Microphone: Optional
- Button: Optional
- Compatibility: Universal
- Cable Length: 1.25±0.05m
What’s in the Box?
- CCA C12 Earphones
- 3 X Pairs Of Earbud Tips(S/M/L)
- 1 X 2pin Detachable Cable
Stuff I like
- Build quality is absolutely solid with excellent design and finish.
- Comfortable fit for most ear shapes.
- Decent separation between the Treble, Mid and Bass.
- Great Passive Isolation due to the snug fit. Over 30Db in noise reduction.
- Good, punchy sub bass perfromance with roll-off evident only around 40Hz.
- Good Soundstage and balanced audio performance of the six drivers.
- Excellent value for money IEM under $50.
Stuff I like less
- Normal balanced IEM, nothing groundbreaking there.
- Considering there is a dedicated 30095 high-frequency BA driver, the treble lacks a bit of sparkle.
- The Mids feel a bit recessed as well, and there are some mid-bass bleed that muddies the mix.
- Overall, the BA drivers feel a bit dry and misses out on their characteristic warmth.
Comparable products to consider
The KZ Zax sits in a similar price range with 8 drivers per ear. It is also a Hybrid with 1DD and 7BA drivers per ear. Great design and comfortable.
The TinHiFi T5 is a big step up in price and offer a single DD so this is a bit left field. For some on a real journey of discovery it might be work a look. Not our favourite though.
Packaging & Harware
The packaging is standard CCA. Since the company belongs under the KZ Acoustics umbrella, they don’t spend a lot on their packaging anyways. The C12 comes in a simple black box and includes the bare essentials inside the box.
The hardware on the other hand looks and feels premium right from the get-go. The metallic exterior with the CCA logo looks quality and its finish is very attractive. Even the tight packaging of the drivers and electronics is sleek giving the IEM a low profile on the ear.
However, the threaded 3.5 mm AUX cable leaves a lot to be desired. The microphone will work just fine but the overall quality feels cheap. Replacing that with a good quality wire, which is silver or copper plated will definitely improve the overall performance and longevity of the IEM.
Build Quality & Fit
For an under $50 IEM, the build quality of the CCA C12 is excellent.
The exterior is made out of solid zinc alloy and the lower cavity out of a skin-friendly resin casing. The internals are packaged tightly. All the gaps are sealed properly and the finish looks exceptional. CCA has also paid attention to not let any glue spots or exposed wires be visible through the transparent casing.
The IEM feels very comfortable to wear and the mold is designed to fit most ear shapes. Despite having six drivers the IEM doesn’t weigh much or cause strain on the auricle from long listening sessions.
Bass: Although the overall tuning of the CCA C12 is balanced in nature, the 10 mm rigid diaphragm allows for layered low-mids and low-frequency performance. The sub-bass performance is good and it can deliver a real mid-bass thump when driven properly with a DAC. But even without, the bass performance is solid. Neither is it too slow or muddy nor does it have a big boom to it, it is nicely presented and there is enough detail there to enjoy even the bass-heavy genres.
Mid: Mids are taken care of by the two sets of medium and high-frequency BA combination drivers. Still, they feel dry in their presentation and lack a bit of warmth. The lower mids are boosted and thus provide good instrument separation. The vocal performance of the BA drivers are quite good as well. But overall, the mids feel a bit recessed in the mix, which is expected at this price point.
High: The inclusion of a personalized 30095 high-frequency BA driver enables these earphones to produce detailed highs that are not too harsh for long listening. They are tuned to be very relaxed, but the exaggerated roll-off gets rid of the full extension. This makes the highs lack a bit of the simmer that is expected from a dedicated driver setup.
Soundstage: The combination of the dual magnetic DD along with the five BA drivers helps the CCA C12 achieve a wide soundstage. The positioning of the drivers inside the resin casing also helps in this regard.
The CCA C12 is an excellent find for a hybrid IEM under $50. The build quality is solid and the IEMs fit is great. The sound signature is balanced and all the drivers have a fast transient response. The highs are detailed, the bass is good and the mids are serviceable, all this makes the CCA C12 a great allrounder!
Although a lot of people compare these IEMs to the KZ ZSX, these are no KZ clones.
Questions? Comments? Fire away in the comments below.
This post was last updated on 2022-09-29 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.