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CCA Trio Review

Last updated: 4 months ago
10 min read
Editor
rating
3.8
CCA Trio IEMs

CCA Trio surprise with quality design and wide sound that feels impactful thanks to 3 dynamic drivers in each IEM. While all that hardware makes them heavy and bulky, they’re an easy recommendation for audiophiles and casual users.

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  • List price (MSRP): $36.99
  • Manufacturer: KZ

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    4.5
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Related: Best in-ear monitorsBest earbuds under $50Best audiophile headphones

Our Conclusion

Chi-Fi brands occasionally surprise with incredibly well-crafted budget options that sell for ridiculously low prices. “KZ” CCA Trio are one such options.

These in-ear monitors have a big sound with a strong bass slam, natural midrange, broad soundstage, and accurate imaging. Moreover, you can boost specific frequency regions using the built-in tuning switches. More on that later.

CCA Trio side view
Side-view of me wearing KZ CCA Trio in-ear monitors.

Furthermore, they offer a detachable cable, an over-the-ear cable design for improved stability, and pretty decent comfort.

Of course, like with any headphones, there are a few cons, like some technical limitations or features that might not suit a specific group of users. Read the full review to find out.

Pros & Cons

  • Natural sound quality for the budget price
  • Wide soundstage & pretty accurate imaging
  • Made with quality materials & come with decent cable
  • Good passive noise isolation despite semi-open design
  • Adjustable tuning switches help personalize the response
  • Quite heavy due to metal plate & 3 dynamic drivers
  • Tuning switches press on earlobe, causing some discomfort
  • A bit too bassy for serious audio purists

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CONTENTS (show more)

    Our Analysis and Test Results

    Our frequency response tests show that the CCA Trio somewhat follow the Harman target curve with a bit of extra bass but a tad less treble.

    The IEMs are also pretty successful at passively reducing ambient noise, albeit less so than most competitors.

    Sound

    Star Rating
    4.5 Almost Perfect

    CCA Trio are slightly bass-boosted with a natural yet warm midrange and shimmery, textured treble. They don’t excel in detail and resolution, but they’re still engaging to listen, especially due to their wide soundstage.

    Key points:

    • Bass-boosted sound signature and bass bleed in the mids make the sound warm and occasionally muddy, especially for male vocalists.
    • Almost flat midrange sounds natural, with just a tad louder vocals.
    • Soundstage is noticeably wide, and paired with accurate imaging, CCA Trio achieves an immersive sound experience.
    • Keeping the tuning switches OFF offers the most balanced sound.

    Check our CCA Trio A/B sound test

    CCA Trio Sound Quality Test – HeadphonesAddict

    Learn how to listen and understand our sound comparisons.

    As the name suggests, the CCA Trio earphones feature three dynamic drivers in each IEM, each measuring 8mm in diameter. Each driver covers a specific frequency range (bass, midrange, treble), which, in theory, should better cover the full sound spectrum (more on performance later).

    Another unique feature is the customizable audio experience. Each earbud has a panel with 4 tiny switches that you turn OFF or ON using a pin from the SIM ejector tool. That way, you can add more bass or midrange/treble.

    The frequency graph below shows how switches change the sound tuning of the CCA Trio. For this review, we used the default tuning (all switches turned OFF).

    Bass: Big and slightly too full

    With three 8mm dynamic drivers, one solely playing lower frequencies, the Trio outputs some hefty deep bass.

    Even on the lowest settings, it’s boosted by at least 8dB over the neutral target and nicely extends into the sub-bass. You get to feel a good rumble and slam when a song asks for it while remaining fairly controlled in other areas.

    Technical performance is good, but the bass could be slightly more tactile and less warm, which would benefit music genres like metal or rock. But for $40, the sound quality is still amazing.

    One tiny problem is that the resonant bass bleeds slightly into the midrange, sometimes making everything sound overly full, even muddy.

    CCA Trio frequency response

    CCA Trio - All filter tunings measurements
    Learn a bit more about how to read and understand our frequency response graphs.

    For better understanding:

    • Blue line is without any tuning filters.
    • Red line is with switch 1 enabled.
    • Green line is with switches 1 and 2 enabled.
    • Pink line is with switches 1, 2, and 3 enabled.
    • Orange line is with all switches enabled.

    Midrange: Very natural and warm

    Apart from a small boost between 1kHz and 2kHz, which makes vocals a bit louder, the midrange sounds incredibly lush and natural. If there’s one problem about it, it’s definitely the bass bleed.

    The boost in lower frequencies surpasses 250Hz, adding too much fullness to the midrange. In most cases, it isn’t too distracting.

    However, when listening to male singers like Allan Taylor in “Colour To The Moon”, his voice becomes a bit muddy.

    Nevertheless, that would only be a problem if you listen to specific deep male vocalists. For the most part, female singers sound natural and without sibilance.

    Treble: Textured but not well-extended

    High frequencies are quite airy, with cymbals having a good texture and sizzle. Cymbal crashes aren’t in your face and rarely become harsh (only when you switch the tuning to boost the mids and treble).

    However, the cymbals lack clarity due to the lack of extension into the upper treble (around 16kHz). If you can boost the upper treble region with a third-party EQ, you won’t regret it.

    CCA Trio in hands
    For such an affordable price, these IEMs pack a seriously good audio quality.

    Soundstage and imaging

    Soundstage (or how big is the “room” around your head where the music plays) is surprisingly expansive. 

    Especially at the left and right channels, you hear sounds further away, which adds another layer to listening immersion. In contrast, the depth isn’t as pronounced as the width.

    Imaging is another area where the Trio impresses, especially when combined with a wider-than-usual soundstage. Sound positioning is accurate, which is great for listening to multi-instrumental songs.

    Sound-changing filter switches

    As mentioned above, switches boost either the bass or the midrange/treble. Here’s what each switch does:

    • Switches 1 and 2 control bass response:
      • Switch 1: Boosts sub-bass by 2dB.
      • Switch 2: Reduces the 150Hz-300Hz region by -2dB and boosts the bass below 80Hz by +5dB.
    • Switches 3 and 4 control midrange and treble response:
      • Switch 3: Boosts everything above 300Hz by +3dB.
      • Switch 4: Boosts everything above 300Hz by another +3dB.

    Note that even if you only turn ON, for example, “switch 2”, it will boost the response as described under “switch 1”. To get the full bass boost, you must turn ON switch 1 and 2.

    CCA Trio filter switches
    These tiny filter switches require a special tool to turn them off and on (they are too small to use your fingernails).

    Do CCA Trio need an amplifier?

    I listened to them using Samsung’s USB-C audio dongle and AudioQuest DragonFly Red amp/DAC headphone amplifier, and they sounded identical on both.

    They’re very efficient to power at 15-20 ohms of impedance and 101-103dB of sensitivity, even from a smartphone. They’re even more efficient than TRUTHEAR x Crinacle Zero:Red.

    The manufacturer also doesn’t officially claim that you should burn in the CCA Trio to get a better sound.

    Sound comparison

    My Conclusion

    CCA Trio are splendid in-ear monitors that, at $40, completely outperform their competitors. However, they may lack the resolution and finer details of the more expensive headphones.

    If you’re looking for quality sound, you won’t regret purchasing them. Especially if you don’t mind making small EQ tweaks to make them even better.

    Also check:

    Comfort & Fit

    Star Rating
    4.0 Great

    CCA Trio are pretty comfortable and shouldn’t fall off your head thanks to their over-the-ear cable design. However, they’re bulky and heavy, so your mileage with comfort and stability might vary.

    CCA Trio are quite bulky (even for IEM standards) since they accommodate 3 dynamic drivers, a crossover, and filter switches. They’re bigger and fatter than TRUTHEAR x Crinacle Zero:Red or RAPTGO x HBB HOOK-X.

    CCA Trio view from up
    CCA Trio aren’t your best choice for comfortable sleeping.

    Still, CCA managed to make them pretty comfy, albeit barely. During a few listening sessions, they felt fine. However, during one listening session, they were pressing against my earlobe, which resulted in slight pain.

    Consequently, to wear them comfortably, you should carefully adjust them in your ears and ensure they don’t poke into your earlobes.

    Moving to stability, they use an ear hook or over-the-ear cable, which ensures they should never fall off your head. It also distributes the weight of the earbuds more evenly, so they don’t feel as heavy (each IEM weighs around 0.35 ounces (10 grams)).

    On the other hand, while ear hooks dampen the weight, they can’t prevent IEMs from sliding out of your ears. That happens just after a few headshakes.

    CCA Trio comparison
    While personal preference, I prefer the Zero:Red’s design (right) over the Trio (left) and LYRA (middle).

    That said, CCA Trio are meant for casual home listening or maybe commuting, but not exercising, so failing a head-shaking test shouldn’t be a dealbreaker.

    Comfort and fit during activities

    • Commuting: Perfectly sturdy fit and satisfying comfort thanks to the over-the-ear cable design.
    • Exercising: Not the most stable for exercising, especially if it involves rapid body movements and jumping.
    • Running: Not suitable as they would quickly slide out of your ear canals, and you would feel their weight after every step.

    Compared to other similar models

    As mentioned, CCA Trio are bigger than most IEMs we’ve tested, from TRUTHEAR x Crinacle Zero:Red, RAPTGO x HBB HOOK-X, and especially 1MORE Triple and Quad Drivers.

    They’re also bigger than CCA LYRA but also comfier due to a simpler design. The only IEMs that are even bulkier are KZ AS16 Pro.

    Durability

    Star Rating
    3.5 Almost Great

    CCA Trio feel substantial and robust, with a metal plate providing an even greater sense of sturdiness. However, these are still semi-open IEMs with filter switches exposed to sweat or rain.

    The CCA Trio’s build quality is excellent overall. Their housing is made of resin and metal alloy (CCA doesn’t say what it is), and internal hardware looks tightly attached to the housing.

    How do they feel in my hands?

    The mix of resin and metal, accompanied by the weight, makes them feel incredibly sturdy. However, their weight and complex internal design could also present a problem if they fall on the floor.

    Hopefully, the 3D printed part that holds the 3 dynamic drivers, and glued and screwed components, would prevent anything from dislodging if IEMs ever fall down.

    CCA Trio internals
    Internal components are screwed and glued together so they don’t dislodge even during more aggressive use.

    While cool to look at, the metal plate could get easily scratched.

    I already made a tiny scratch when I tried turning on one of the small filter switches.

    The next issue is the absence of water resistance. While most IEMs lack an IP rating, the Trio feel slightly more exposed to outer elements due to the filter switches.

    Again, that isn’t an issue for home use. But if you enjoy listening to music during a walk, be careful not to sweat over them.

    Cable quality

    The included cable is detachable and of basic quality. It is identical to the one for KZ AS16 Pro but softer than the one for CCA LYRA.

    It uses 2-pin connectors to connect to the IEMs and a 3.5mm audio plug to connect to audio playback devices (no balanced connection option). The 2-pin connectors are designed so that sweat or rain doesn’t fall directly on the contacts.

    CCA Trio in ears
    As you can see, the switches are facing upwards and touching the earlobe, so they’re exposed to sweat and can cause discomfort.

    Are they suitable for…

    • Wearing in the rain: Not suitable due to exposed filter switches, even if you get caught in a light rain.
    • Running & exercising outside: Somewhat suitable if you don’t sweat too much and don’t mind constantly readjusting the IEMs due to inadequate stability.
    • Sweating: Not suitable, especially if you sweat heavily.
    • Dipping underwater: Not suitable, as that would probably damage them.
    Wearing in light rainNot suitable
    Wearing in heavy rainNot suitable
    ExercisingSomewhat
    suitable
    SweatingNot suitable
    Dipping underwaterNot suitable

    Durability comparison

    Overall, CCA Trio are similarly durable as most other IEMs. Despite having a metal plate and detachable cable, their filter switches expose the internals to outer elements like sweat and dust.

    Features

    Star Rating
    3.0 Good

    CCA Trio feature a unique tuning solution, replaceable cable with an ear hook design, and a possibility to buy a cable with an inline microphone.

    Most in-ear monitors are light on features, with an inline microphone and an over-the-ear cable at best. CCA Trio are more exciting than that.

    Their most notable feature is the tuning switches on the upper side of the housing. As mentioned in the Sound section, you must use a SIM ejector tool to turn the switches on and off.

    CCA Trio changing tuning
    A SIM-ejector-like tool is needed to adjust the switches on top of each IEM.

    CCA’s approach with switches is unique as most IEMs that offer different tunings come with screw-on tuning filters that you attach to the nozzle.

    Another feature available when buying these IEMs is a cable with a built-in microphone. Unfortunately, our unit doesn’t have an inline mic, so we couldn’t test the call quality.

    Features rating comparison

    Noise Isolation

    Star Rating
    3.0 Good

    CCA Trio passively blocks a good chunk of the upper midrange, which audibly reduces ambient noises when you use the earbuds outdoors. However, due to their semi-open design, they leak more sound than normal IEMs.

    Measured average noise isolation16,43 dBA

    IEMs start reducing noise from the very sub-bass and up, although the reduction at those frequency regions is too low to be audible to humans (based on the dBA scale).

    TOZO T10 (Upgraded 2024) Passive isolation measurement

    On the other hand, while somewhat similar to the noise isolation performance of the 1MORE Triple Driver, the Trio better reduce the midrange.

    That helps to mute speech and many environmental sounds, making them suitable for outdoor use and commuting on public transport.

    Here’s a table of how effective is CCA Trio’s passive noise isolation at blocking specific frequencies:

    FrequencyNoise reduction
    dB SPL
    Noise reduction
    dBA (A-weighted)
    100 Hz1,3 dB-17,8 dBA
    200 Hz3,5 dB-7,3 dBA
    400 Hz5,6 dB0,8 dBA
    600 Hz5,7 dB3,5 dBA
    1 kHz5 dB5 dBA
    2 kHz23,2 dB24,4 dBA
    4 kHz38,5 dB39,5 dBA
    6 kHz34,1 dB34,2 dBA
    10 kHz32,9 dB30,4 dBA
    15 kHz32,5 dB26,5 dBA
    Average16,43 dBA
    A-weighted values from the International standard IEC 61672:2003

    How severe is cable noise?

    It is noticeable but not as much as in other IEMs, like RAPTGO x HBB HOOK-X. This means the cable noise (or microphonics) shouldn’t bother you even if you take them on a walk.

    Is there any sound leakage?

    Due to the semi-open design, there is some sound leakage. Others might hear your music even at moderate listening loudness, especially if you listen to music someplace quiet.

    CCA Trio semi-open
    You can see a bit of light coming from the mesh that makes these IEMs semi-open. That also contributes to some extra sound leakage.

    Noise isolation rating comparison with other models

    Should You Get CCA Trio?

    Star Rating
    5.0 Perfect

    CCA Trio are one of those chi-fi IEMs that far exceed their price-to-performance ratio. What a time to be a budget audiophile when you have options like that costing less than $50.

    Pros & Cons

    • Natural sound quality for the budget price
    • Wide soundstage & pretty accurate imaging
    • Made with quality materials & come with decent cable
    • Good passive noise isolation despite semi-open design
    • Adjustable tuning switches help personalize the response
    • Quite heavy due to metal plate & 3 dynamic drivers
    • Tuning switches press on earlobe, causing some discomfort
    • A bit too bassy for serious audio purists

    Who are these best for:

    • Budget audiophiles who seek the best bang for the buck will appreciate Trio’s natural and full-bodied sound.
    • Gamers or movie-watchers who prefer IEMs over over-ear headphones due to Trio’s surprisingly wide soundstage.
    • Anyone who wants to experience natural sound but also likes to have a bit more bass in their music.

    Who should avoid them:

    • Sportspeople and gym-goers since these IEMs aren’t sweat or water-resistant and don’t offer the grippiest stability.
    • Users who dislike overly warm sound (prefer a more neutral bass response).
    CCA Trio IEM
    Using quality building materials, the CCA Trio looks like they mean business.

    How do CCA Trio compare to the competition?

    • Trio’s sound bigger and wider than most competition around $50.
    • They can permanently change their sound using filter switches while you’re stuck with the default sound with competitive options.
    • Like others, CCA Trio also have a removable cable.
    • They’re one of the rare budget IEMs that have semi-metal housing.
    • Due to their size and weight, they’re slightly less comfortable and stable than competitors.

    Here’s their value rating compared to similar alternatives:

    Are they worth the price?

    At $40, CCA Trio are more than worth their price. While numerous IEMs around $50 claim to be the best, I can vouch that you won’t regret buying these.

    CCA Trio alternatives

    TRUTHEAR x Crinacle Zero:Red

    TRUTHEAR x Crinacle Zero Red IEMs

    For $15 more, the Zero:Red IEMs offer a slightly more neutral sound signature with a slightly more refined treble response. Although, they don’t sound as wide as the Trio.

    Zero:Reds are also lighter and more comfortable for longer listening sessions. If that also matters to you, they have a better-looking design than the Trio.

    TRUTHEAR x Crinacle Zero:Red review

    KZ AS16 Pro

    KZ AS16 Pro on a stone

    A 16-BA driver beast is definitely more controlled (especially in the bass) and detailed, but since the Trio uses dynamic instead of BA drivers, their bass slam feels more realistic.

    Both IEMs are bulky and similarly comfortable. However, the AS16 Pro don’t offer any tuning options like the Trio.

    KZ AS16 Pro review

    What’s in the Box?

    CCA Trio accessories
    • CCA Trio in-ear monitors
    • 2-pin to 3.5mm detachable cable
    • 4 pair of ear tips (3 pairs of silicone tips (S, M, L) and a pair of foam tips)
    • Manual to understand the tuning filters
    • A tool to switch the tuning switches

    Specifications

    Type: In-ear monitor
    Connection: Wired – 3.5mm
    Back design: Semi-open
    Drivers: 3-times 8mm dynamic driver
    Frequency range: 20-40.000Hz
    Impedance: 15-20 ohms
    Weight: 0.35 ounces (10 grams) per IEM
    Mic & Controls: Optional
    Water resistance: None
    Battery life: n/a
    Charging time: n/a
    Active noise cancelling: No
    Bluetooth codecs: n/a
    Wireless range: n/a
    Microphone: Optional

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