Review - Aune Flamingo

Review - CCZ Warrior

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Also available on YouTube in Spanish: Acho Reviews YouTube 

The CCZ Warrior have been sent to me by KeepHiFi in exchange for the publication of this review. They have not made any specific requests and I will aim to be as unbiased and sincere as always, although you should always consider the fact that these IEMs were sent to me free of charge.

You can find the CCZ Warrior via KeepHifi here: https://keephifi.com/products/ccz-warrior

As usual, this is a non affiliate link.


Intro…

Last year I reviewed two sets of IEMs by a brand called CCZ, the Emerald and the Melody. Both sets featured a 10mm dynamic driver with a custom knowles BA driver and both came in at less than 20€. They both sounded very similar with the Emerald just being slightly more enjoyable for me personally.

A year later, KeepHiFi has kindly sent me the new model from the company, this time named the Warrior. A simple glance shows that these are very similar to the previous models, using the same shell, however, this time the driver count has been increased to feature a 10mm dynamic driver this time paired with 3x balanced armature driver.

The price has also increased slightly, with the Warrior coming in at slightly less than 35€. This still places them well inside the sub 50€ limit that I set as an extreme budget, but is a 75% price increase over the previous models. 

So let’s see what advances have been made from their previous offerings.


Presentation…

The packaging has not changed and the presentation is exactly the same as it was with the Emerald and Melody. A simple white box that reveals the IEMs sitting in a card and foam cut out, with the accessories underneath.

The accessories are 3 sets of silicone tips (one installed and the other two in the typical white bag) and the cable, which just so happens to be the same as the cable included with the other two models.

I am not one to complain about accessories or packaging in this budget range but as I have noted with other brands that still use similar presentations, there are models out there that are doing much better in this regard.

Again, no complaints, the accessories are enough to pull out the IEMs and get straight into using them.


Build and aesthetics…

This is something that has also remained the same. CCZ have stayed true to their shell shape with their patented “Earfins” which is to provide a more “comfortable, light and stable” experience. The only issue with this is that I had issues with the Earfins on the previous models and the Warrior creates the same issues for me. The Earfin rests in just the wrong place for me and causes me pain after a short while. This means that I can’t wear them for extended periods and my listening sessions are limited to brief 10 to 15 minute stints before I need to take a break.

Obviously comfort is a very personal thing and I am sure that others will not have this problem with discomfort but in my case it limits the use of the IEMs.

The build is lightweight and doesn’t have any specific flaws to highlight. They use a semi transparent shell, allowing you to see the inside and count the drivers, which is surrounded by a gold coloured trim on the face plate. Not my favourite combination as far as aethetics but I have seen much worse.


Sound…

All tracks mentioned are clickable links that allow you to open the reference track in the streaming service of your choice (YouTube, Tidal, Spotify, etc.)

Not a whole lot has changed in the sound department either. There have been a few tweaks as far as tuning but nothing dramatic.

Here is a graph that shows the Warrior in comparison to the previous two CCZ models I reviewed, along with my usual preference curve for reference:

Starting off with the subbass, this is very similar to the subbass on the other two. I am not sure if the same dynamic driver is being used but it certainly sounds very similar. There is plenty of rumble in the lowest notes of my usual “Chameleon” test, although it is not the cleanest of performances.

No Sanctuary Here” also has plenty going on in the low end, with the midbass being above my preferences in this regard. I have said many times that if a set has an elevated bass range but is clean and detailed, I usually enjoy it. Unfortunately the midbass range is not that clean or detailed on the Warrior. I can’t say it produces fatigue as the discomfort from the shell kicks in before this point, but it is not something that I consider that clean in these ranges.

There is also some bleed from the lower notes into the low mids which is not terrible but doesn’t help with the sensation of the low end being rather bloated and out of control. This is highlighted on many tracks, such as “Crazy”, where the low end of the guitar has body to it but is just a little too boomy, giving the impression of exaggerated room reverb in the upper bass and lower mids.

In the center of the mids there is a which is not as exaggerated as on the older models, however, as the upper mids don’t have as much presence as said models, the Warrior doesn’t really bring vocals back enough for them to counteract that boominess in the low end. I find that this is the case with both male and female vocals.

There is also quite a bit of roll off in the higher areas that wasn’t as apparent on the Melody for example. This creates a high end that is lacking air and comes across as a little claustrophobic at times. This does avoid sibilance however, with “Code Cool” coming across quite subdued in the sibilance ranges, even the intro to “Hope Is A Dangerous Thing” shows a lot less sibilance than on so many other sets.

Details are also affected by the overall presentation of the sound signature. Here CCZ haven’t used the high range peak trick that many other brands use to give a false sense of detail. Unfortunately, this leaves the Warrior without much sense of detail at all.

Soundstage is below average, again affected by that darker treble and lack of detail, which works against image placement and gives the sensation of an overly blunted response.

Finally, isolation is also below average until we make it up to the higher mids, where it does improve. 


Conclusion…

There is some fierce competition in the 20€ range, with many sets offering a lot of performance for very little money. While the Melody and the Emerald weren’t ground breaking, I would have said that they were still pretty competent in that 20€ bracket.

I am sorry to say that the Warrior takes the base of the Emerald, removes performance and increases the price. Yes, there are 2 more BA’s in the Warrior than either of the previous models, but the result is not a positive experience, at least for me.

Things are very tough at the moment in the extreme budget section and CCZ will need to do more than this in order to stand out and make themselves a space.


All FR measurements of IEMs can be viewed and compared on achoreviews.squig.link
 
All isolation measurements of IEMs can be found on achoreviews.squig.link/isolation

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