Current testing methodology is v1.2
December 15, 2021
The CCA CRA is an ultra-budget IEM that changed how the market perceives budget IEMs.
Released around the same time as the 7Hz Salnotes Zero, the CRA caused a lot of buzz in the audiophile community for the level of performance it offers for an affordable price.
Since then, the curiosity of people in the community got bigger, which led to reviewers getting their hands on the CCA CRA. Sure enough, it has been met with mostly positive reviews.
Now that I got these IEMs, we’ll take an in-depth look at how well they perform.
An affordable entry-level bass head IEM.
The CCA CRA is a single dynamic driver IEM.
Even though it has been around for almost a year now, I was impressed with how they perform even compared to more recent IEM releases. It’s a great entry-level option that’s suitable for bass heads.
Priced at around $15 or $20, depending on where you shop, I think the CCA CRA is worth it and I’m glad I bought it.
- Driver: 10mm Single Dynamic Driver
- Cable: 3.5mm plug / 0.75mm 2-pin
- Frequency: 20-40,000Hz
- Impedance: 25Ω
- Sensitivity: 105db
- Weight: 61.6g+5g (earphones+cable)
What’s in the Box?
- CCA CRA earphones
- Detachable cable
- 3 x pairs of silicone ear tips
- Instruction Manual
Stuff I like
- Punchy bass
- Smooth treble presentation
- Excellent price-to-performance ratio
Stuff I like less
- Small soundstage
Comparable products to consider
A collaboration between QKZ and Hawaiian Bad Boy of Good Guy Bad Audio Reviews, the QKZ x HBB IEM is one heavy hitter of an IEM for its price.
The 7Hz Salnotes Zero is regarded as one of the best budget IEMs released in 2022. Although some may find it dull and flat, it features a great tuning that’s worth the try.
The CCA CRA came in a standard white carton box with graphics on the front and product information printed on the back.
As a budget product, there’s nothing remarkable about the unboxing experience. That’s because manufacturers tend to cheap out on the packaging and focus on the quality of the product.
The CCA CRA is presented in a way that reminds me of how KZ packages its products – which isn’t surprising since CCA is a sub-brand of KZ.
Out of the box, you get the IEMs that come in a familiar design and shape. It also comes with basic inclusions as with most budget products.
The CCA CRA features a resin shell with an aluminum faceplate covering half of the earphones. The resin shell is transparent so you can see the drivers and wirings inside the IEM.
Regarding its design, the CRA is an eye-catching piece. It has killer looks with the combination of a transparent shell and an aluminum faceplate.
Overall, the design is well executed.
Since the CCA CRA is built with the same materials used for pricier IEMs, you won’t have to worry about its build quality – it feels sturdy and durable.
The accessories that came with it, such as the ear tips and the cable, are average. They’re good enough and you have the option to replace them with better-quality accessories if you want to.
Fit and Comfort
The fit and comfort of the CCA CRA are excellent.
Its standard shape means that they fit my ears well and I haven’t experienced discomfort even during long listening sessions.
I’ve no complaints about the set of ear tips included as they were comfortable enough. They also provided a good seal so no sound leak occurred when I was testing them.
The pre-installed ear tips fit just fine so I didn’t have to swap them out.
The pre-molded ear hooks on the cable were also comfortable, providing a snug fit without being too tight, thus ensuring that the IEMs wouldn’t fall off my ears while I was using them.
Apart from the usual cable noise issues when scratching against fabrics or objects, the CCA CRA provided great fit and comfort.
When I went into testing the CCA CRA, I immediately noticed how present the bass is.
The bass sounded more elevated than other frequencies, making the tracks sound punchier and boomier.
I like how the CRA has a smoothed-out treble but stills retain the detail and clarity that some IEMs primarily lack, especially at this price point.
Even though the bass is tight and punch, the CCA CRA showed no midrange bleed.
Having a good extension, the sub-bass notes produce a visceral but clean rumble. The bass frequencies have a heavy note weight, which explains why the bass is very present on this IEM.
If the bass response from the CRA sounds lacking, then you should try using different ear tips and cables since proper fit and seal are essential for getting the best bass response.
The midrange on the CCA CRA is natural in tonality and very well-balanced. It presents clear vocals and has good detail retrieval.
It’s warm enough to sound natural without coloration while remaining on the neutral side of the spectrum.
Both male and female vocals are distinct and clear, neither sounding better than the other. Vocals have an apparent, accurate sound density that helps stabilize the center image.
The CCA CRA surprised me with how it presented the treble frequencies – the treble extension is excellent, has good details, and shows no signs of distortion.
The vocals in the upper region tend to sound tinny at times, especially when listening to tracks with female vocals. But when it comes to the lower treble range, the timbre retains and keeps them expressive.
The upper mid-range has enough airiness and openness to sound spacious with a hint of sibilance, whereas the lower treble is fun-sounding and forward in a mix.
I’ve tested the CCA CRA on different genres of music to get a proper understanding of how they sound. Here are my findings:
- Metal / Rock – The elevated bass on the CCA CRA didn’t work well on busier tracks. The tracks were nauseating to listen to. The guitars sounded thin on tracks like Bleed and Ignorance. The same can’t be said with Polyphia’s Playing God, as the guitars had a good amount of detail and clarity and sounded lush in the mix. Tracks used: Bleed (Meshuggah), Playing God (Polyphia), Ignorance (Paramore)
- Pop – There was a noticeable metallic timbre on the treble areas of the tracks. In some cases, the treble showed good smoothness, which I liked, especially when listening to tracks like Kill Bill. However, the vocals didn’t sound forward because of how the bass was tuned. The CCA CRA had a very entertaining way of presenting the tracks, providing them with a colored low end. Tracks used: Kill Bill (SZA), Closer (The Chainsmokers, Halsey), Everybody Wants to Rule the World (Tears for Fears)
- Hip-Hop – This genre is where the CCA CRA shined the most. The bass-heavy sound signature added colors to the tracks in this genre. The elevated bass pushed the low end on the tracks making it punchier and more energetic. Tracks used: LOVE. (Kendrick Lamar, Zacari), Cash In Cash Out (Pharell Williams ft 21 Savage & Tyler the Creator)
- R&B / Soul – Like hip-hop, the tracks I’ve chosen for this genre had a lot of action, especially on the low end, which the CCA CRA greatly accentuated. The vocals and the instruments worked well together and were nicely presented. Tracks used: Be So Cruel (ASTN), Get You (Daniel Ceasar), Moonlight (Kali Uchis)
The CCA CRA is a great entry-level or starter IEM option for bass heads on a budget.
The design is well-executed and the build quality is good.
It has excellent detail retrieval with a decent soundstage but the bass is the highlight, which makes it great for bass lovers.
The CCA CRA is priced competitively and its performance speaks volumes about its quality.
A man of many interests, Querho is passionate about discovering new things that stimulate the mind. When he is not writing about the things he is passionate about, Querho can be found making music at his home studio.
This post was last updated on 2023-12-02 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.