This is a review of the CCA Lyra, which KZ Official Store (through Tyvan Lam) have provided me to review.
DISCLAIMER: I WAS PROVIDED THE UNIT IN EXCHANGE FOR A NO-FRILLS, UNBIASED REVIEW. I AM NEITHER PAID NOR COMMISSIONED TO PROVIDE A SKEWED REVIEW.
The CCA Lyra claims to be CCA/KZ’s first outing in a so-called “constellation series”, which further details have yet to be revealed. Nonetheless, this IEM continues along the path of KZ’s sister company’s vision of creating a sound that is different from the parent company’s. It indeed fulfills that vision, but feels half-hearted due to its tendencies of not going fully into mature and fresh tuning decisions.
𝗗𝗿𝗶𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘀 𝘂𝘀𝗲𝗱: 1 Dynamic Driver
𝗣𝗶𝗻 𝗧𝘆𝗽𝗲: 0.75mm (C-Pin)
𝗣𝗹𝘂𝗴 𝗧𝘆𝗽𝗲: 3.5mm unbalanced
𝗙𝗿𝗲𝗾𝘂𝗲𝗻𝗰𝘆 𝗥𝗮𝗻𝗴𝗲: 20-40000Hz
𝗦𝗲𝗻𝘀𝗶𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗶𝘁𝘆: 113.18 ± 3db/mw
This section will be shortened due to the fact that its the same KZ/CCA packaging that we have seen millions of times. Same exact slip-on style covering, acrylic flap that protects the inner part of the box, etc. Even the dimensions are the same. The only differentiating factor is a short background/lore for the Lyra naming, which explains the decisions on the shape of the IEM and its Chinese mythology roots. Considering the price range that the Lyra comes at (>$20), I wouldn’t complain that much about how this one is packaged.
We are presented by a new type of faceplate design that KZ/CCA have cooked up: a diamond-like molding/sculpting that refracts light in a stellar (pun intended) way. This is achieved through three-dimensional hexagonal shapes that run throughout the plastic “window” present in the Lyra’s faceplate. This “window” is available in both translucent and a blueish color, which features the same diamond-like presentation. The rest of the faceplate is made out of an alloy metal material, with CCA’s logo printed (not etched) into it. The rest of the IEM’s back is made out of the resin material that KZ/CCA has been regularly using in their recent releases. It has the fin-like protrusion that may or may not be suited to your liking.
As usual with budget IEMs, we get the mere basics: cable, eartips, and a little manual. Both cable and tips are, again, what we’ve seen all the time from KZ/CCA’s releases from the past year or so. Cable is the white 0.75mm C-pin type, and tips are KZ’s Starline. More on their build quality later.
𝘽𝙪𝙞𝙡𝙙 𝙌𝙪𝙖𝙡𝙞𝙩𝙮 & 𝘾𝙤𝙢𝙛𝙤𝙧𝙩
The build quality of the Lyra is par in course with most of KZ/CCA’s releases for the past years. A metal faceplate + a resin body. This is not a criticism though, as its MILES better than what we have gotten back in the early years of Chi-Fi, which was almost all plastic. The main stat of the build is evidently the diamond-like design in the “window” of the faceplate, which was marketed heavily by KZ/CCA prior to its market release. The whole design contraption seems to be well protected and won’t crack up in just a few taps. Same goes to the alloy metal faceplate, it has a bare matte finish as opposed to a glossy painted one. That ensures that it won’t have any paint chipping issues. My praises about the build suddenly stops when it comes to the cable and tips that it comes with, as both are just flimsy. The cable is what we usually get from newer KZ/CCA releases which was impressive at first, but now seems to be mediocre at best. They oxidize quickly, and generate a level of “jankiness” as time goes on. The tips are just unimpressive, to say the least. Their quality isn’t good and they really hold back the innate sound capabilities of any IEM it latches itself at. But yet again, I have to soften the blow because of the price it comes at. But if you have the option and/or have the money to replace the cable and the tips, do it.
Comfort is superb for me in terms of KZ/CCA’s fin-like protrusion, but the problem with this that it isn’t universally acclaimed. I have seen people try out my IEMs that are shaped like this and immediately dislike it because of said fins. I have bigger conchas than the average person of my ethnicity, so smaller ears will definitely have problems with this. Ear insertion seems to be of average depth, so it won’t be either a shallow nor a deeper fit. This is a huge plus for me as I prefer that type of ear insertion than the aforementioned two.
𝗠𝗨𝗦𝗜𝗖 𝗨𝗦𝗘𝗗: (𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘧𝘪𝘭𝘦𝘴 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘰𝘯 𝘢 𝘍𝘓𝘈𝘊 𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘮𝘢𝘵, 𝘦𝘪𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳 24𝘣𝘪𝘵/48𝘬𝘏𝘻 𝘰𝘳 24𝘣𝘪𝘵/96𝘬𝘏𝘻)
𝘋𝘢𝘧𝘵 𝘗𝘶𝘯𝘬 – 𝘙𝘢𝘯𝘥𝘰𝘮 𝘈𝘤𝘤𝘦𝘴𝘴 𝘔𝘦𝘮𝘰𝘳𝘪𝘦𝘴 (𝘢𝘭𝘣𝘶𝘮)
𝘋𝘶𝘢 𝘓𝘪𝘱𝘢 -𝘍𝘶𝘵𝘶𝘳𝘦 𝘕𝘰𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘭𝘨𝘪𝘢 (𝘢𝘭𝘣𝘶𝘮)
𝘛𝘸𝘪𝘤𝘦 – 𝘔𝘰𝘳𝘦 & 𝘔𝘰𝘳𝘦 (𝘢𝘭𝘣𝘶𝘮)
𝘛𝘸𝘪𝘤𝘦 – 𝘌𝘺𝘦𝘴 𝘞𝘪𝘥𝘦 𝘖𝘱𝘦𝘯 (𝘢𝘭𝘣𝘶𝘮)
𝘔𝘪𝘤𝘩𝘢𝘦𝘭 𝘑𝘢𝘤𝘬𝘴𝘰𝘯 – 𝘋𝘢𝘯𝘨𝘦𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘴 (𝘢𝘭𝘣𝘶𝘮)
𝘗𝘰𝘳𝘤𝘶𝘱𝘪𝘯𝘦 𝘛𝘳𝘦𝘦 – 𝘐𝘯 𝘈𝘣𝘴𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘪𝘢 (𝘢𝘭𝘣𝘶𝘮)
𝘗𝘰𝘳𝘤𝘶𝘱𝘪𝘯𝘦 𝘛𝘳𝘦𝘦 – 𝘍𝘦𝘢𝘳 𝘰𝘧 𝘢 𝘉𝘭𝘢𝘯𝘬 𝘗𝘭𝘢𝘯𝘦𝘵 (𝘢𝘭𝘣𝘶𝘮)
𝘚𝘭𝘦𝘦𝘱 – 𝘏𝘰𝘭𝘺 𝘔𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘵𝘢𝘪𝘯 (𝘢𝘭𝘣𝘶𝘮)
𝘚𝘭𝘦𝘦𝘱 – 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘚𝘤𝘪𝘦𝘯𝘤𝘦𝘴 (𝘢𝘭𝘣𝘶𝘮)
𝘖𝘮 – 𝘈𝘥𝘷𝘢𝘪𝘵𝘪𝘤 𝘚𝘰𝘯𝘨𝘴 (𝘢𝘭𝘣𝘶𝘮)
𝘊𝘢𝘯𝘥𝘭𝘦𝘮𝘢𝘴𝘴 – 𝘌𝘱𝘪𝘤𝘶𝘴 𝘋𝘰𝘰𝘮𝘪𝘤𝘶𝘴 𝘔𝘦𝘵𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘪𝘤𝘶𝘴 (𝘢𝘭𝘣𝘶𝘮)
𝘉𝘦𝘭𝘭 𝘞𝘪𝘵𝘤𝘩 – 𝘔𝘪𝘳𝘳𝘰𝘳 𝘙𝘦𝘢𝘱𝘦𝘳 (𝘢𝘭𝘣𝘶𝘮)
𝘗𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘣𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘦𝘳 – 𝘏𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘭𝘦𝘴𝘴 (𝘢𝘭𝘣𝘶𝘮)
𝘋𝘦𝘢𝘧𝘩𝘦𝘢𝘷𝘦𝘯 – 𝘚𝘶𝘯𝘣𝘢𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳 (𝘢𝘭𝘣𝘶𝘮)
𝘋𝘦𝘢𝘧𝘩𝘦𝘢𝘷𝘦𝘯 – 𝘖𝘳𝘥𝘪𝘯𝘢𝘳𝘺 𝘊𝘰𝘳𝘳𝘶𝘱𝘵 𝘏𝘶𝘮𝘢𝘯 𝘓𝘰𝘷𝘦 (𝘢𝘭𝘣𝘶𝘮)
𝘒𝘰𝘳𝘯 – 𝘒𝘰𝘳𝘯 (𝘢𝘭𝘣𝘶𝘮)
𝘒𝘰𝘳𝘯 – 𝘓𝘪𝘧𝘦 𝘐𝘴 𝘗𝘦𝘢𝘤𝘩𝘺 (𝘢𝘭𝘣𝘶𝘮)
𝘉𝘭𝘢𝘤𝘬 𝘛𝘰𝘯𝘨𝘶𝘦 – 𝘕𝘢𝘥𝘪𝘳 (𝘢𝘭𝘣𝘶𝘮)
𝘋𝘦𝘢𝘵𝘩 – 𝘏𝘶𝘮𝘢𝘯 (𝘢𝘭𝘣𝘶𝘮)
𝘋𝘦𝘢𝘵𝘩 – 𝘚𝘺𝘮𝘣𝘰𝘭𝘪𝘤 (𝘢𝘭𝘣𝘶𝘮)
𝘋𝘦𝘢𝘵𝘩 – 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘚𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘥 𝘰𝘧 𝘗𝘦𝘳𝘴𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘦 (𝘢𝘭𝘣𝘶𝘮)
𝘕𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵𝘸𝘪𝘴𝘩 – 𝘖𝘯𝘤𝘦 [𝘙𝘦𝘮𝘢𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘦𝘥] (𝘢𝘭𝘣𝘶𝘮)
𝘕𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵𝘸𝘪𝘴𝘩 – 𝘋𝘢𝘳𝘬 𝘗𝘢𝘴𝘴𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘗𝘭𝘢𝘺 (𝘢𝘭𝘣𝘶𝘮)
𝘉𝘦𝘩𝘦𝘮𝘰𝘵𝘩 – 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘚𝘢𝘵𝘢𝘯𝘪𝘴𝘵 (𝘢𝘭𝘣𝘶𝘮)
𝘔𝘦𝘵𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘪𝘤𝘢 – …𝘈𝘯𝘥 𝘑𝘶𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘤𝘦 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘈𝘭𝘭 (𝘢𝘭𝘣𝘶𝘮)
𝘔𝘦𝘵𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘪𝘤𝘢 – 𝘔𝘦𝘵𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘪𝘤𝘢 (𝘢𝘭𝘣𝘶𝘮)
𝘚𝘦𝘱𝘵𝘪𝘤𝘧𝘭𝘦𝘴𝘩 – 𝘛𝘪𝘵𝘢𝘯
𝘚𝘦𝘱𝘵𝘪𝘤𝘧𝘭𝘦𝘴𝘩 – 𝘊𝘰𝘥𝘦𝘹 𝘖𝘮𝘦𝘨𝘢
𝗦𝗢𝗨𝗥𝗖𝗘𝗦 𝗨𝗦𝗘𝗗: 𝘚𝘢𝘮𝘴𝘶𝘯𝘨 𝘎𝘢𝘭𝘢𝘹𝘺 𝘚8+; 𝘍𝘪𝘪𝘰 𝘟3 𝘔𝘢𝘳𝘬 𝘐𝘐𝘐
The CCA Lyra was a surprise for me at first listen as it sounded more mature and well thought out than your average KZ product. The Lyra is indeed more balanced, which really entices my musical-sounding preference. It sounds smooth and well-resolving for most of the songs, but its flaws show up the longer you listen to it at a more critical angle. It still retains its parent company’s tendencies for peaky treble and sense of artificiality to the sound, which really drags down the potential it has. However, it is a genuinely good IEM for an audiophile on budget that looks to have both balance AND fun in their next purchase.
The bass is well-bodied and punchy throughout the bass spectrum. I can say with utmost confidence that this is definitely not a truly balanced approach to bass frequencies, as thumps real hard with any song you throw at it. I am quite fond of how the Lyra does its bass, as the bass has a meaning and reason to be there. Some balanced IEMs out there just does bass just for the sake of having it, without having any authority nor reason for being there. Bass frequencies are meant to give authority to any song, and the Lyra fulfills that. An definite criticism I can throw at it is that it has the slightest tendency to bleed into the midrange, but not so much that it can offend the listener. Bassheads can get their kick out of the Lyra with some slight EQing, which is really a testament of how good Lyra is at its bass performance.
The midrange is the shocker of the Lyra. It is smooth and musical when a song calls for it. It renders instruments at great resolution, which really helps them to pop out in every song you throw at it. However, the musicality is there yet it lacks the body to really bring it to the next level. Both male and female vocals are rendered excellently, yes, but they lack the “oomph” in their performances that really brings out the impact. One example I can bring out is Anette Olzon’s performance in Nightwish’s song, Amaranth. She has INCREDIBLE vocal layering on the track, which really made me a huge fan of her work in the band. In the Lyra, those layers lose their magnificent impact, resulting in a resolving yet hollow experience. The same can be said for every vocal line and instrument thrown at the Lyra: very musical and resolving, yet hollow.
The treble is Lyra’s definite weakness. Yes, it has good body and shine to every cymbal hit and performance nuance, but overdoes it. This is always my criticism of how KZ tunes their in-house sets, as it results in a certain feel of artificiality that plagues their IEMs. Lyra is a slightly toned down version of it, but the sonic “smell” still lingers and haunts its otherwise balanced approach. Yes, this might sound good for newcomers and/or veterans of KZ’s sound. But as a result of that, every song loses their natural feel. I can coin this in a single phrase: “faux resolution”. This “faux resolution” results in peaks that are sometimes unbearable to listen to for longer amounts of time, resulting in a fatiguing listen to a sensitive ear.
My impressions of the Lyra’s soundstage remain to be the same in my first impressions: it is still quite average. Yes, it has good width that makes for a “spacy” feel, but lacks headroom to give songs some height. This does not come wasted though, as this width gives way for excellent imaging. Even with the Lyra’s thumping bass response, instruments are still presented at great accuracy without them overlapping each other.
Build Quality & Comfort: