Disclaimer: All listening was done through Topping NX7 on negative gain using a 4.4mm Xinhs Cable.
If you scroll above, you can see a post I did about how shocked I was about S12 kocking my socks off right at the begining of the year, which was only 2 weeks after I got mentally destroyed by Timeless (R.I.P.) resolving power.
All was good and golden and then, 4 days later, I got CRA thanks to @igor0203 and @Tfaduh (I luv u guys) that wanted to troll me but, oh boy, they were wrong.
Obligatory context pause:
- Below 100$, I had two default recs: Tripowin x HBB Mele and HZSound Heart Mirror.
- A giant-killer is a unicorn – In my opinion giant killers are giants that fit your library better.
- Just like regular people, there’s giant of different sizes. So how big is the giant they wanna shoot at?
First take on CRA was the usual, during work, sounded fine, maybe slight hot around 5k, nice bass texture and presence, not that bloated and more balanced than it graphs. Techs seemed ok, but given I had no way to A/B other stuff and only had over 600usd sets with me at that time, I shook it off and went back to my trusted sets, while deciding to conduct an A/B later with Mele and HM.
Life happened, CRA stood on my desk until yesterday night since I also received MiM Dark Magician and we all know how that is going for me…
While throwing everything I could to EJ07 and DM, I saw @Rikudou_Goku’s CRA review and decided to grab it and to put it between the two from time to time. I was a bit shocked, because I know by now how something sounds for it’s price, but CRA wasn’t a first day fluke like I thought it was.
After being done with the Champion’s League, I decided to grab Mele and HM – I had to know it:
CRA ate them. I’m not talking “it depends on your preference” kind of thing. It’s just better than both. And this is where the downwards spiral started, where I disagree with Riku but where I can also see where he is coming from.
Another obligatory context pause:
First, everyone has a different opinion and is entitled to that and I’m not calling him out at all, it’s probably one of the first times we actually agree on an IEM. Second, I trully believe that is in disagreements that new ideas rise. Third, as I’ve told him, I agree with half of his statements (ence “How big is the giant?”), as CRA it’s an insane price to performance IEM but not a giant killer. Fourth and last, different people look for different qualities on an IEM.
“But daddy, how does it sound?”
U-Shaped to my ears with very present bass and loads of upper treble action/air (I love it). But you know me and yes, mids/vocals are still somewhat forward. Bass texture is great and upper mids/lower treble can get somewhat hot in the 5k zone, but not enough to kill me like its KZ brother DQ6.
Technically speaking, stage is good, imaging is not the best but fine, you can still point with some blureness, detail is average and timbre is good.
Now re-read the above two paragraphs I’ve wrote while thinking this costs around 15usd, because to me, this is where my brain went wonga-bonga error. I spend the same at a normal day at lunch where I work :’)
“But daddy, a KZ?”
Yes. And no mods, no PEQ, no nothing.
“But daddy, how about test tracks?”
- Nina Simone – Sinnerman
- Agnes Obel – Curse
- Fleetwood Mac – Landslide
- Adele – Easy on Me
- Jay Cosmic – The tunnel
- Lykke Li – Silent my song
- Queen – Crazy thing called love
- Frank Sinatra – My way
- Beyoncé – Deja vu
- Hania Rani – Glass
- Larnel Lewis – Change your mind
- System 7 – Alpha wave
- KH – Only human
- Kindness – House
- AC/DC – Let there be rock
… and others that I’m too lazy to copy pasta.
“So, how big is the giant?”
First wall is Etymotic ER2XR, even tho the fit is what it is, it’s simple a better IEM overall but stage. Past that, LETSHUOER S12 just eats alive in exchange of planar timbre. Given that, I’d say CRA is a solid pick below 100usd. Of course there’s some stuff I’d pick it over 100usd range like FH3, as an example. I’m waiting on a Dunu Titan S sample, and I’ll make sure to compare them on its review as well.
I’m shoked by how good this sounds for price. KZ/CCA hitted the nail, right on the spot. It isn’t without sadness that I took down 2 sets and CCA are now my default under 100usd rec to most people. Again, it’s not perfect, it’s not a giant-killer, but it costs what it costs. I think you should get it if you can and make your own mind, because this time it won’t cost you a limb.
Tea cult approved. 5/5 value
If this is how January looks like, I can’t wait for December’s releases…
Thanks for reading!
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