Review - CCZ Melody & CCZ Emerald (sub 50€)

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Also available on YouTube in Spanish: Acho Reviews YouTube

The CCZ Emerald and the CCZ Melody were sent to me free of charge by KeepHiFi in exchange for this review. They have not requested anything, therefore my review will be as honest and sincere as possible, as they always are, but it is always good to consider the fact that these IEMs have not cost me anything.

You can find the Emerald and the Melody through the KeepHiFi website here: Melody & Emerald 

And also via their AliExpress webstore: Friendly Audio Store

(enlaces no afiliados)

Intro…

This is the first time I have tried any CCZ IEMs and I decided to review them both together. My main reason for this is that they are so similar that if it wasn’t for the colour (and a few sound differences), I would not be able to tell them apart. Therefore, I will discuss both of these and also compare them against themselves as I go.

Before getting on with the usual parts of my review, I will mention the specs so you can see what I mean about being similar:

The Emerald uses a single 10mm DD together with a custom CCZ BA driver. It states an impedance of 16 Ohms and a sensibility of 110dB.

The Melody uses a single 10mm DD together with a custom CCZ BA driver. It states an impedance of 16 Ohms and a sensibility of 110dB.

No, I didn’t just copy and paste that paragraph, maybe you are starting to get my point.

They are even the same price, well, the Emerald is actually about 1€ more expensive, both coming in at under 20€.


Presentation…

It’s no surprise that both sets of IEMs come packaged in exactly the same way. A simple white box with an image of the product on the front, with a few specs on the back and features on the sides of the boxes. Apart from the difference in image on the front of the box, the only other difference I can find is that the Melody mentions “Lightweight design” as a feature whereas the Emerald states “Selected Dynamic Driver” in the same place on the box.

Also, on the front of the box of the Melody it states that the are “Stunning New Sound from Inside Out”, while the Emerald just says “DD and BA Hybrid In-Ear HIFI Earphones”.

Inside the box we again find everything is identical except for the actual IEMs. Both contain the exact same cable and two extra sets of silicone tips along with the ones that are installed.


Build and aesthetics…

First, as both are the same, the cable. The cable is a thin black cable that is reminiscent of those that were included with earlier KZ models. There is nothing really wrong with the cable, it is a basic cable that serves it’s purpose but won’t be winning any prizes.

Now the IEMs, which are actually different, well… sort of. The shapes are identical, the size is identical and the only difference (apart from colour) is a small slope on the faceplate of the Emerald, which you can probably see in the photo above.

There is lees than a gram difference in weight, so I would have thought that the lightweight design would have been a feature of the Emerald also but, I guess the selected Dynamic Driver was more appealing.

There seem to be no obvious build issues or flaws, at least at this price point, and I got the Melody in clear so I can actually see the inside. I am certainly not going to pick faults with it as it is a sub 20€ IEM, so as long as it has no obvious flaws, that is fine with me.

I will say that I prefer the look of the Emerald, in my case in blue but also available in green, as I think it looks a little better while hiding the internals (only on the top, the back is still transparent so you can see the driver capsule.

As far as comfort, I have to say that I experienced some issues with these IEMs (remember they are both identical. On the top part of the inside they have something that is kind of like a rubber lip. This actually puts pressure on the inside of my ear and became rather uncomfortable after an hour or so. I found that I couldn’t wear them for longer than that without discomfort, so my sessions have been intermittent. Comfort is obviously a very personal thing and I have no idea if this will affect other people also but I can only speak for myself.

One other thing I noticed was that the tips included have a kind of channel around them, near the tip. I have no idea what this was supposed to do, if anything, but I found the tips to provide a decent sound and comfort that wasn’t bad either, so my sound impressions are with the stock tips.

 

Sound…

So, onto the part where things are a little different, with the emphasis being on “little”.

First let me say that I started off with the Emerald and found that the sound signature was quite pleasant. I didn’t immediately pick up any specific flaws and found that I was quite happily listening to my music while working. If it hadn't been for that hot spot I mentioned in comfort, I would have easily listened to these IEMs all day.

The Melody was also a pleasant enough listen but I found it to lack a bit of body and fullness in comparison to the Emerald. I will mention a little more as I go through the usual frequency groups.

Starting with the subbass, the Emerald has a nice extension with good presence but without being overpowering in any way. Low notes are clear and articulate but do not give the impression of being overly boosted. For example, a song like “Royals” by Lorde proves to have enough in the subbass regions to appreciate what is going on down there but when passing over to something more acoustical, the Emerald don’t suddenly add weight at the low end that shouldn’t be there.

In comparison, the Melody is quite a bit thinner on the low end. There is still a presence of subbass, enough to appreciate the tracks, but it is not as full as the Emerald in this regard. I suppose one could argue that it is cleaner but to be honest, the Emerald is not exactly dirty in its subbass reproduction.

Honestly, I could live with the subbass on either of these two sets but my guess would be that the majority of people would opt for the subbass on the Emerald over the Melody.

Moving into the mid and higher bass territory, the situation is repeated. The Melody is very clean and is by no means overly boosted. It presents bass lines with nice articulation, making it easy to appreciate all kinds of bass lines, from Led Zeppelin's “Whole Lotta Love” through to “All Eyez on Me” by 2Pac.

However, moving back to the Emerald, the clean and articulated sound of the bass lines is still just as present, with just a little more presence. I mean, there is not a huge dB difference between the bass on the Melody and the Emerald, but it is noticeable and in my opinion, the Emerald makes it seem a little fuller, with more body. Again, as my preferences usually move towards the neutral side of things in the bass regions, one would think that the Melody would have the upper hand, but again I find that both are good, just that the extra body of the Emerald makes music seem a little more lively.

Moving into the mids, these are also quite pleasurable. There is no real recess in the mids, however, as the Emerald does have that little extra in bass, the mids can seem slightly further back. The difference is not huge and this is only really noticeable on tracks with a lot of bass, such as “Chameleon” or “Sun Is Shining” etc. I think I would again choose the Emerald for the mids as I like that little extra roundness of the low end with the majority of my music. Maybe on occasions where bass is very present in a track, again, such as “Chameleon”, then maybe I would opt for the mids from the Melody but the majority of the music I listen to is not overly boosted in the low end.

Vocals come across very nicely on both sets, with enough presence and clarity to make the majority of my music very enjoyable. There is a nice balance throughout the vocal ranges of both male and female singers, with tracks like “Billie Jean” by The Civil Wars being well balanced between both voices and without either becoming overly harsh. In the case of vocals, I think both sets are very similar, except for a little extra weight in the lowest ranges of very deep male vocals. There were a few brief occasions where I noticed a little harshness in some of the higher mids of specific voices but it was a very rare occurrence and very much dependent on a specific note in a specific recording.

Up in the higher ranges, both sets offer a decent amount of air and extension, without being overly sibilant. There is a slight touch of sibilance on my usual “Code Cool” test track, not enough to be painful but certainly a little bit more that I would choose. The Emerald seems to be slightly better in this regard but not by a huge amount. The extension is also very similar on both with the Melody perhaps seeming to be more airy due to that slight touch more presence in these frequency ranges.

As far as stage and image placement, I must say that I was pleasantly surprised by these IEMs. Listening to “Strange Fruit” by Dominique Fils-Aimé, the multiple vocals are nicely spaced and the layers are easily identified. Of course these are still IEMs but they are above the averageness I have come to expect from the majority. I think that the Melody gives a sensation of being slightly wider, however the Emerald makes the layers sound a little smoother and more “locked in” with each other, although the differences are minimal.


Conclusion…


I have been pleasantly surprised by these offerings from CCZ for their price bracket. They are very coherent and enjoyable IEMs. It is a shame that the comfort doesn’t work for me, meaning that I can listen to them for extended periods of time. By the end of the tests and comparisons, my ears really did feel painful.

As far as the actual sound signatures, I think I would choose the Emerald over the melody. I know this sounds strange, me choosing the bassier set of the two, but I feel that it just ties everything in together a little better, giving an overall roundness to the presentation.

To be totally honest, I think that either of these sets is a good buy for the 20€ asking price, but the Emerald is just slightly more refined and a better deal.

SenyorC