CCA (Concept Clear Audio) brand based out of China is a sister brand of KZ but acts like a brother where CCA always rectifies the mistakes of KZ by implementing some mature sound and releasing it to the market. Their previous models like the CST, NRA are the ultra budget ones and gave a biggest hit in the market and to add to that list the CRA has been released and in this review let’s check out how it fares against this competition.
This unit has been provided to me by HiFiGo as a part of a review circle. The whole views are based on my observations with this product and based on my pairings with it hence it might differ from person to person.
Driver: Upgraded 3.8μ Ultra-thin Diaphragm Composite
Impedance: 34 ohm
Frequency range: 20hz-40kHz
Pin: 0.75mm 2 Pin
Cable: OFC cable
DESIGN AND FIT:
The CRA is pretty usual in terms of design with some changes in the faceplate. Now the faceplate got a new look where they possess that nice robotic and modern look with half transparent design. The CAA does come with its usual QDC type connector area which is kind of proprietary but it’s better than MMCX though ☺. The nozzle is angled to attain a good fit and the included eartips does provide that nice snug fit.
The given cable is now pretty much improved over the last generation where now it got more premium in hand and doesn’t tangle that much due to that outer sheath. The cable has good heft in the hands also the stock cable included here is OFC instead of SPC and that does make some changes sonically. No case is included and not even like a sackcloth but hey! See the price please!
The sound profile of the CRA leans over the slight V shaped sound with excellent sub bass focus and treble clarity one can find in this price range. The sound being a v shaped doesn’t mean that mid range is recessed rather they are nicely presented well forward with excellent airiness and separation in the tracks. Will dissect the audio in detail and let’s see why this earphone got the term Kingslayer!
The bass in the CRA is very good in terms of sub bass response more than the mid bass. The sub bass focus is done sweetly here. Most of the IEM’s in this price range would have that bloated mid bass region whereas this is the only exception i have seen in this price range. The mid bass is cleanly portrayed out with enough fullness and body while the sub bass takes the center stage thus giving that rumbling experience.
SUB BASS: The star show here! The reach is very good with more than enough rumble in the low end and enough to give you goosebumps every time you listen to your favourite tracks. The control is very nice where the sub bass never interferes with the mid bass region giving a clear separation over the two regions.
MID BASS: The mid bass is neatly done with minimal distortion and bloat. The mid bass quality is pretty nice. The quantity is more than adequate and that’s the sweet aspect of this earphone by not providing that bloomy centered out mid bass. The fullness is very good and the body it provides is carried along by that nice mid range which we will discuss in the next section.
Overall the bass is excellent with nice sub bass focus, clean mid bass region without any sort of bloat, controlled, well textured, faster and tighter bass. Literally i can’t find any major con in the bass region.
- Boom – Tiesto& Sevenn
- The Batman – Michael Giacchino
Mid range is pretty neatly done considering its a V shaped tuning but instead of not going in the traditional route the midrange recession is not that drastically done. Even in the graph they are not that recessed and mostly for me they appear balanced. This might appear v shaped only because of that nice and essential sub bass and treble boost.
Both the male and the female vocals are presented well with nice richness and fullness. The male vocals might sound a little bit distant due to that less lower mid range emphasis but that’s not a big deal at all. The notes don’t sound thinner and not very fuller too whereas they are at a very sweet spot of attaining that musical tonality.
Talking about the tonality they are beautifully portrayed out with natural richness along with that added warmth and brightness. The timbre of the instruments are very good too where the piano notes and the kick drums do have that natural strike and tone. It also possesses some good amount of air moving around the stage thus the separation in the tracks are pretty much appreciable.
The layering is good but not that impressive in terms of precise instrument placements. The upper mid range is slightly emphasised hence the female vocals do sound slightly sharper in some specific tracks but never reaches the stage of too much hotness and unbearable. Overall the midrange is pretty impressive with that natural tonality and timbre accompanied with that added brightness gives added bit of clarity and openness to the sound.
- Easy On Me – Adele
- Jungle – Tash Sultana
The treble in the CRA is pretty good with that above average extension and detail retrieval. In the initial listen itself one can easily spot that treble extension in the top end and that minute detail retrieval that no earphone in this price range has.
First the air presence, it’s humongous for the price and with that added brightness the whole presentation feels very clean, open and vivid. The extension does help in giving that energetic splash and brilliance in the top end. The shimmer it possesses is very good and has that lively and energetic sound.
The electric guitar strings and the cymbals strikes have that splash to it giving a nice presence on the stage. The cymbal crashes however has that overly bright nature hence they might sound more sharper and they don’t appear that clean. The guitar strings have that nice pluck and the strings sound very lively. The attack and decay of the percussion instruments are more likely precise.
The sibilance is kept under control and occasional harshness can be felt in some specific tracks and that’s not a huge deal breaker considering the qualities it possesses. Overall I’m pretty impressed with the treble section of the CRA providing some nice energetic, lively sound with above average extension and clarity in the upper end. The brilliance and shimmer in the top end is just unique for this earphone considering the price its quoted.
- Jack Of Speed – Steely Dan
- Dreams – Fleetwood Mac
STAGING: The staging is fine and it’s not the greatest aspect of the CRA. It’s well rounded with adequate width and height. It’s not too intimate, rather they are adequate on stage. The depth can be felt very nicely due to that nice sub bass presence. Overall the presentation feels grand and wide even though this doesn’t have the widest stage is due to that presence of brightness and air in the top end.
IMAGING, LAYERING: They are good in the CRA but definitely not the best. The staging being not that great, the imaging and layering are average too but for the price nothing to complain about. The instrument’s placements are still quite precise and they can be spotted out easily but they are true until any complex tracks come to play. In those tracks they struggle a bit to cope up with those instruments which is pretty much an expected result.
The detail retrieval and track separation are above average and even one of the best in this price segment. The extension, brightness and the air it possess helped in achieving this nice technical aspect.
PROS AND CONS:
- Sub bass Focussed
- Lively and Energetic Sound Profile
- Detail Retrieval
- Open sound
- Upper Midrange (Occasional Hotness)
CRA, the latest and the ultra budget offering from the house of CCA (Concept Clear Audio) just destroyed the competitors in this price range or if not even above its price range. CCA being a well matured company always provides some nice value for money earphones and it has been proved by their recent launches like the CST, NRA etc.. Personally I like the CCA tuning over the KZ since the CCA always has that mature sound.
The CRA is no exception here where the sound of this little gem is outstanding. An earphone which has that full sub bass focus with that clean shimmer, brilliance in the treble section with natural tonality delivering lively vocals and clean instrumentals under 20USD is a long term objective which was not delivered in the past times until the CRA came into existence! The technical aspects like the detail retrieval and track separation it possesses are very rare to find in this price and even above it.
They sound beautiful, look beautiful and most importantly they are priced insane! Nice alloy build, QDC connector ( 2 pin could have been even better ), great fit, much improved cable and what not! They just possess some serious value for money!
Overall the CRA is a blind buy and it’s a must buy for every audiophile out there. This IEM should be in everyone’s collection since this is the pair to be beaten by the competitors. A true KINGSLAYER in this ChiFi budget world!
This Review is Written By KATHIRAVAN.C
I’m Kathiravan from Tamilnadu. A budding audiophile here with high love towards music and audio equipment. My first experience of enjoying the hifi audio came when I started to use budget chi-fi gears and now it came all along the way of reviewing the gears with high end stuffs. I love reviewing audio products.