CCZ Plume Hybrid IEM Review: Golden Bling, Marvellous Sound!!
CCZ is a new brand that debuted in the international market with two high-resolution IEMs, the hybrid Plume and the single Dynamic Coffee Bean. Plume is a five-driver hybrid set of in-ear monitors supporting a powerful dynamic and four customized BA units on each side. The pair is super blingy with shiny golden full-metallic ear shells. It retails at 239$(Currently available at 199$ with HiFiGo at the time of this write-up).
Liking the look of it, the driver configuration also looked interesting to me, I ended up buying a pair for myself. I have been spending quite a good time with the pair over the past two-three weeks, Now it’s time to share my impressions for the same. So before wasting any more time, let’s begin.
CCZ Plume here is bought with my own money. HiFiGo gave me a discount coupon in return for this review for their customer reviews section. All impressions/opinions in this review are completely my own based on my own experience with the pair. You can purchase the Plume from their store from the link below.
I ditched on the retail packaging in order to attract less custom charges at my country. I got the pair with its included accessories in a simple plain box. So, I will be dropping down on the packaging part and will start with the design and build of the pair.
Accessories that I received:-
>Pair of CCZ Plume earphones.
>Balanced 2.5mm terminated cable.
>Earphone carry case.
>Three pairs of silicone ear tips(S, M, L).
Design & Build Quality:-
CCZ Plume has extremely blingy earpieces. They look super good with a shiny gold finish on the ear shells. The cavities are well-finished, they are made using a high-precision CNC machining process(as per the brand). They are slightly on the larger side when compared to other IEMs in the market such as KBEar Believe, Kinera Skuld, and more, but no issues in fit due to larger size. The cavities have two air vents on the inner portion. On the face panel, we have the CCZ brand logo and a grill-type design. This at a far look might give an idea of a semi-open back cavity but the cavity here is completely sealed, this grill is here just for a design factor. The pair uses standard 0.78mm two-pin connectors that are located at the top of the earpieces.
BUT, yes there’s a but here, even though the cavities look beautiful and well-built they are fingerprint magnets. Your fingers get instantly printed on it even on the slightest of touch.
Now coming to another great aspect in the package, the cable. According to the information on CCZ Plume’s product page, it has a high-purity copper cable. The good thing here is, it has a premium feel to it with cloth shielding like those on premium after-market upgrade cables. It has ear hooks near the connectors for a comfortable over-the-ear fit. The connectors are enclosed in a black protective casing like those on QDC connectors, they cover the connector portion on the earphones completely too. The connectors have R and L denoted on them on the outer side.
Fit & Noise Isolation:-
Even though the earphones have a full metallic build, they are light in weight. The shells are slightly bigger than normal but they have an ergonomic shape to them. They fit perfectly to my medium-sized ears and covers the entire ear canal. I found them cutting down on the environmental sounds too providing above-average noise isolation for me. I used stock medium-sized ear tips.
Feeding the CCZ Plume(Driving the pair):-
You must have got an idea with an included balanced cable that the pair shines with better power sources. It can be driven loud enough straight out of smartphone’s 3.5mm jack though miss out on some details and staging part. But once you feed it with a dedicated music device such as Shanling M3X or xDuoo XD05 Bal the result is different.
With Samsung S6 Lite Tablet:-
Sounds decent, loud enough at around 80% volume. There is no noticeable muddiness or grain in the output but the staging, layering of instruments, air on the stage are average in this combination.
Shanling M3X makes the pair come to life with its improved amplification. The output has better staging, a better sense of air on the stage and in between the instruments. Layering of instruments is also improved.
xDuoo XD05 Bal(Via Bluetooth through my smartphone/Shanling M3X line-out to XD05 Bal):-
This is the best combination for CCZ Plume. The synergy between the xDuoo XD05 Bal and CCZ Plume is simply brilliant. The bass reaches deep, the higher-end extensions also improved, the stage and airiness is similar to that with the solo M3X pairing.(The pair has a wide soundstage).
I ended up using my portable stack(M3X+xD05 Bal) as my main pairing for CCZ Plume. Even though the pair has low impedance and high sensitivity, I found it to be scaling well with powerful sources. In my opinion, It can be driven loud enough with smartphones, but for the best experience and performance I would suggest give it some power and it will reward you well.
The Golden Sound(Sound Impressions):-
CCZ Plume, the golden beauty has a fun V-shaped sound signature with impactful slams in the lower end and smooth, energetic treble. The pair has a warm tonality that makes the output soothing and easy to listen to for hours without any fatigue. I didn’t notice any kind of sibilance or shoutiness with any of my sources. The pair to my surprise is quite revealing in terms of micro details. Though with such revealing nature, it is not good for bad recordings as it brings out the flaws instantly. Dynamics such as layering, instrument separation, staging have a beautiful presentation with the pair.
It’s Punchy Lower End:-
Plumes here instantly hooks me to them with its impactful lower-end response. The dynamic driver here does its magic really well. This is like a powerful sub-woofer in my ear producing punchy slams and thunderous sub-bass response complementing the music well. Sub-Bass depths can be felt in “Something Just Like This” by Cold Play where the sub-bass marks its presence almost throughout the track. Mid-bass slams are punchy and deep. The overall presentation of the lower-end here is well-textured and refined though there is a slight bit of bass bleed into the lower mids portion. But that doesn’t introduce any noticeable muddiness in the output.
Recessed Yet Lovely Mids:-
The mid-frequencies take a step back and have a mildly recessed presentation. The pair maintains good clarity and rich natural tonality with vocals and different instruments here. CCZ Plume produces a well-layered presentation in the mids section. Even complex tracks such as “Tears Don’t Fall” by BFMV show a well-detailed presentation. Instruments also have a good amount of tonal weight to them that makes them sound rich.
Smooth, Well-Detailed Treble:-
I am quite sensitive to the treble portion. I can’t listen to harsh/piercing treble even for 30 mins. CCZ Plume here produces a smooth, non-fatiguing treble presentation while producing good details in my music. Complex tracks are presented well, for example, in Billie Jean by MJ, one can hear every single beat separately.
Plume produces a wide soundstage presentation, though it has average depth and height. Imaging and instrument separation here is quite good. The pair complements live recordings with its spacious soundstage.
CCZ Plume Vs KBEAR Believe:-
KBEar Believe is now out of the market. I heard KBEar is working on a new upgrade for this gem. But I have a unit with me. When it was available. It was priced around 180$, similar to the CCZ Plume here. So why not compare these two together.
>CCZ Plume has better aesthetics and provides a better fit and isolation to me.
>CCZ Plume is more engaging and natural while the Believe here has a thicker and warmer tone.
>Sub-bass presentation is better with CCZ.
>Believe does show some sibilance in a few tracks while the CCZ performs flawlessly.
>Even though CCZ shines with power, It is easier to drive than Believe.
>CCZ Packs the Plume with a better cable with balanced termination.
A Few More Words:-
CCZ Plume is a beauty. Yeah kind of super blingy in looks, but man it has a beautiful, fun sound signature. It sounds natural, it produces an engaging, immersive sound, TBH I liked it a lot and this is surely gonna be my daily driver for some time now. If I am to mention the cons with Plume, the only thing that comes to my mind is its transparent, revealing nature that might bring the flaws out of bad recordings right into our face, but hey this is also a good thing right.