The last time I checked out anything from CCA it was the CRA+ which I thought was good for its price. I’ve been curious about other IEMs from this brand, and now the Duo has reached me. This is another budget IEM that only sets you back forty dollars. There have been a lot of good-sounding IEMs that are like this, so what makes the Duo stand out?
What You Get
- Duo earphones
- 2-pin 3.5mm cable
- 3 sets of ear tips
- User guide
Look & Feel
In terms of appearance, the Duo isn’t unlike a lot of similarly priced IEMs. It reminds me of designs from Ikko, KZ, and Tripowin. The Duo fits in that camp well enough but still has originality in its construction. There’s a nice gloss to its front plate, and the transparent ear cavity always looks nice no matter what earphone you’re looking at. I used mostly foam ear tips with the Duo since those were the ones already on the IEMs when you take them out of the box. They were serviceable and gave me a nice seal, but I still preferred the silicone tips for maximum comfort quality.
The Duo is a dual-dynamic IEM with two 7mm dynamic drivers. They are both independently designed and have designated roles. It consists of a front and rear cavity, which doubles magnetic flux. You can run the Duo with any 3.5mm headphone output.
For the most part, the soundstage is pretty closed-in on the Duo. You can hear the left and right channels putting in the work, but there isn’t much of a wingspan to speak of here. Some elements are well localized though, and have very identifiable positions. The imaging does a good job articulating things in a small space, and the performances appear larger as a result. You get some nice tallness out of the instruments too, with vocals protruding forward.
If there’s any reason to go for the Duo, it’s the bass. There’s a ton of body to the tone, and it dives deeper than you think. Its surface has a good consistency to it, providing smooth grooves of texture. You even get a hefty helping of sub-bass vibration. It really feels like the bass is alive, and it can crawl down to your core. Overall it establishes a great foundation for the sound signature, and will certainly engage bass lovers.
While the midrange frequencies don’t give some tracks a ton of room to work with, the response is still fairly clean. Nothing ever feels too centered, as the Duo organized the sound elements well. There isn’t as much drive to its tone as the bass, but nothing is too recessed either. The instruments are clear enough, and it keeps the sound as articulate as t can be. Vocal performances cut through very well, never feeling like they’re too far in the background.
This is the only frequency range where things might get a little too chaotic. There are points where the Duo shows some expressive detail here, but other times the highs distort a bit. It’s like there’s a hard ceiling on how far the Duo can go in the highs, but it’s rare that you’ll hear any disturbances like this. At their best, the highs can have a nice ring to them that doesn’t result in brightness or pricing texture.
The CCA Duo does more than I thought in terms of sound quality, but there’s also more competition in this range than you may think. It makes it hard for an IEM like this to stand out, but I think the Duo makes a good case for itself. Its soundstage might not be anything special, but the bass and some of the imaging are very pleasant. It’s hard not to recommend it for just forty bucks.
The CCA Duo is available from their website here.