In the past year, the 7Hz Salnotes Zero has been dominating the $20 IEM market because of its performance and tuning. Since its release in 2022, I still haven’t been able to find a worthy competitor for it.
Not until I stumbled upon the CCA LYRA. The CCA Lyra has a very identical tuning to the Zero. It also shares some features but there are things that set them apart.
Another thing to note is that the Lyra comes at the same price of around $20, which makes it more interesting to see how these two IEMs perform when compared with one another.
CCA Lyra vs. 7Hz Salnotes Zero: Sound Signature
The CCA Lyra has the ever-popular V-shaped sound signature which means that it features enhanced lows and highs with recessed mids.
It highlights the instruments of the mix over the vocals, which makes it excellent for those who prefer a fun and outgoing experience. Though it is a safe bet, it’s still a good one.
The CCA Lyra is for you if:
- You like a fun and outgoing sound.
- You like a signature that highlights the mix over the vocals.
- You like an IEM great for metal, rock, and hip-hop.
Meanwhile, 7Hz Salnotes Zero has a neutral sound signature. This means it has a natural sound that closely reproduces the recorded track.
Since there’s no elevation or reduction of frequency, the highs, lows, and mids are equally tuned and set the same.
The 7HZ Zero is for you if:
- You like an accurate sound that lets you listen with great detail and quality.
- You like a natural sound where all frequencies are of the same value.
- You like a balanced sound and an overall relaxing experience.
CCA Lyra vs. 7Hz Salnotes Zero: Sound Quality
One of the first things I immediately noticed about the CCA Lyra is its sound separation and imaging. The detail retention is also immaculate, proving that it’s a good deal for its price.
As an IEM with a V-Shaped sound signature, it’s common knowledge that it has enhanced highs and lows with scooped mids. However, compared to other IEMs with the same sound signature, the Lyra focuses on the mid-bass and not the sub-bass, causing less rumble.
The upper bass is also a lot more enhanced and present.
Nonetheless, although it has a V-shaped sound signature, the vocals didn’t get muddied up and overpowered by the instruments of the rock mix.
It maintains its clarity and is typically well-balanced. However, the IEM tends to suffer from mid-bass bleed as it’s mid-bass focused.
The mids are present and not overpowering, though they don’t sound as recessed as what you’d normally expect from an IEM with a V-shaped sound signature.
As for its treble, it’s an improvement compared to other CCA IEMs I’ve reviewed in the past. The Lyra retained its clarity despite being pushed to its limits and is still smooth and present in the mix.
The CCA Lyra is for you if:
- You like excellent sound imaging and separation, ensuring that each instrument doesn’t lose its individuality.
- You like a well-balanced and natural base that’s still present but with a little less oomph.
- You like a smooth and clear treble, even when pushed to the limits.
One of the best things about the 7Hz Salnotes Zero is its sound quality. For around $20, it has the right amount of bass and a generally balanced tuning. It isn’t too harsh and bright.
The sound imaging is also excellent, with the right amount of sound layering and separation better than most IEMs, even the CCA Lyra.
The bass is balanced and has a quick response. It has an adequate sub-bass extension that appears at the right moment. Though somewhat lacking in the bass area, its presence is still substantial and provides a natural sound.
The mids of the 7Hz Zero aren’t as apparent but there’s still some presence. It’s smooth and it helps add warmth to the overall mix.
Finally, the highs are one of the best things that make up the sound quality. It’s free from harsh and extremely bright frequencies that can get irritating.
Additionally, the treble blends properly with the rest of the mix and doesn’t overpower the other frequencies. It also has a sparkle and excellent sound extension.
The 7Hz Salnotes Zero is for you if:
- You like a natural-sounding yet clear treble.
- You like a smooth sound and organic mids.
- You like a sound with just the right amount of bass that blends well with the mids and highs.
CCA Lyra vs. 7Hz Salnotes Zero: Caveats
Even though it offers excellent value for its price, the CCA Lyra has limited treble extension compared to the 7Hz Salnotes zero. Its detail retrieval, while decent, isn’t also as good.
The mids aren’t as scooped out as most people would prefer considering that it claims to have a V-shaped sound signature. The bass also has less oomph, which some bass heads may not like.
Nonetheless, the Lyra shouldn’t be overlooked as it still performs well, and the overall listening experience boils down to preference.
The 7Hz Salnotes Zero was one of the most hyped-up IEMs during its release and is still one of the best IEMs I reviewed. It also remains to be my go-to pair.
However, its sub-bass extension is lacking. And from the perspective of someone who enjoys listening to bass-heavy tunes, this lack of a sub-bass extension and rumble can be unsatisfying.
Even with identical tunings and how they present music, the 7Hz Salnotes Zero still has a much-refined tonality compared to the Lyra.
The Salnotes Zero’s treble is more detailed and present than the Lyra with a bit smoothed-out treble. The presentation on the mids is identical, with the lowers on the CCA Lyra having a bit more depth and thump than the Salnotes Zero.
In my case, I gravitate towards the CCA Lyra because it has more emphasis on its low end compared to the 7Hz Salnotes Zero. Plus, the Lyra looks stunning.
However, this doesn’t mean that one has outperformed the other. It’s just that the Lyra appeals to me a lot more than the Salnotes Zero.
Ultimately, it all boils down to preference. Both are solid performers and great budget options for those who prefer a natural sound.
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 2023-12-03 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.