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  • ywheng89

CCA CRA+ Review - An upgrade or?




Intro

CCA is a brand that I believe most people are familiar with. They are a sub brand of KZ and pretty much every budget audiophile or seasoned audiophile should be familiar with these two brands. Today I have with me the CCA CRA+, which is an upgrade from the previous CRA model. CCA claimed that the CCA+ is improved in various aspects in sonic performance, and also an entirely new dynamic driver (I don’t do tear down so i will not be able to justify that claim on my end, shall leave that to the tear down guys like Jeff or Delta)



Packaging

The packaging of CRA+ is the usual KZ/CCA styled packaging. IEM itself and eartips and the cable. The cable is similar to the previous CRA’s. Pretty straight forward presentation and minimalistic packaging. Nothing to complain



Build/Comfort

The build quality itself is average, at least it doesn’t look cheap. Although it’ll be better to provide the buyer with colour choices rather than just one gold colour, although I am okay with that colour, it does look flashy and posh.


As for comfort, I don't have any discomfort wearing them for long hours, I have to trim the ear hook off the stock cable as it kinda meddles with the fit. Once the ear hook is off, it pretty much sits well in my ears. The stock cable itself is not stiff, so it’s fine without an ear hook, but that is just my preference, if it fits well for you, by all means just keep the ear hook.



Source (Stock cable and eartips)

Foobar2k -> Chord Mojo -> CCA CRA+

Foobar2k -> Questyle M15 -> CCA CRA+

Foobar2k -> Tempotec Sonata HD-V -> CCA CRA+

Foobar 2k -> Xduoo Link2Bal -> CCA CRA+

Cowon Plenue D2 -> CCA CRA+

iPod Touch 4G -> CCA CRA+



Sound

So, is CRA+ an upgrade from the OG CRA? I asked myself when I unboxed the CRA+. Upon listening to them, it’s safe to say it is definitely an upgrade over the OG CRA.

Take note that the impression below is based on stock eartips and stock cable,i will talk a bit on swapping to another cable

Let’s break it down below:


Bass

  • I find that the bass is a lot more refined compared to the OG CRA

  • Bass is tighter and it the extension is better overall

  • Listening to jazz track by Gregory Porter, the bass line hits and doesn’t overstay making it sound boomy, it is there when it is called for

  • The bass is also fast enough to not cause any muddiness

  • I do find that the bass performance although it's better than the OG, somehow it is still lacking a little texture and warmth

  • In Devin Townsend Project’s Sumeria, the mid bass performance is surprisingly pretty good as it is able to keep up with the double pedal

  • Sub bass rumble is there but doesn’t rumble hard, evident when listening to EDM track (Armin Van Buuren’s PIng Pong), i’m not a basshead, i only listen to EDM whenever i want to test the sub bass response of the IEM


Mids

  • Vocal doesn’t sound recessed, however, it does lack body

  • Female vocal sounded a little thin

  • Male vocal does have a little more body compared to female’s, at times it does sound a little brittle to me

  • The upper mids does have some emphasis there but not on the fatiguing level

  • Compared to the OG’s Mids, i like the + better than the OG’s


Treble

  • Treble is well extended, however the emphasis on certain range does cause some instruments to be highlighted too much, such as the hi hats and cymbals, it made them some a little artificial to my ears

  • Other than that, the treble is not fatiguing to listen to even at high volume

  • It has got a good amount of air and doesn’t sound dark at all

  • I do find that the brilliance is a little too much to my taste

  • Good detail retrieval capability



Soundstage/Imaging

  • Given the amount of air that I feel on the treble’s region, CRA+ does have a good soundstage

  • Good width and height, it does have the sense of 3D when you are listening to it

  • Imaging is good considering its price, instruments can be pinpointed easily even on busy track (Devin Townsend Project - Deconstruction)


Cable Swap

  • The above sound impressions are based on stock cable

  • The stock cable bundled does limit the performance of CRA+, whether you are a believer or not on cable changes sound, if you have a spare copper cable, try it out, and you will be surprised

  • I swapped to Xinhs’s 4 strands twisted copper cable, the difference is very noticeable, male vocal doesn’t sound brittle anymore, and timbre of hi hat and cymbal, somehow sounded more accurate to my ears

  • Although it does make the soundstage a little tighter, but i am okay with it

  • Bass somehow got a better texture

  • Male and Female vocal has got a bit more texture, and it is a lot more enjoyable now


Driveability

  • CRA+ is very easy to drive, no amping is required

  • It does benefit from better source of course, but any dongle dac will do just fine



Final Thoughts

Should you purchase the CRA+ if you already have the OG CRA? For me, I think of it as a more refined CRA, if you already have the CRA and would like more refinement on the soundstage, bass and treble, by all means go ahead and grab a pair.


While CRA+ is a good set, it does have some shortcomings as I mentioned above when paired with stock cable. Your experience of course might vary based on your setup and synergy of dac/amp pairing. What i have written here is solely based on my own listening experience of my own setup


*CRA+ is sent over by Ivy from Hifigo for the purpose of this review. I am in no way influenced by them to produce this review. All thoughts are of my own. A big thanks to Ivy!


If you are interested if purchasing a pair, head over to their store to grab one, at the time of writing, it is currently on sale at 27.88$ CCA CRA+






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