CCZ is a company dedicated to making portable audio products. It was started in October 2020 and according to them, they have team members from all aspects of the Chinese headphone industry with over two decades of technical experience in acoustics. So far they have released 4 IEMs; the Plume, the Coffee Bean, the Emerald, and the Melody. The Melody is equipped with a classic budget configuration which is a dual driver hybrid, and currently retails for 22 USD. The Melody was provided to me for free by CCZ in exchange for this review.
【Unboxing and Accessories】
The Melody comes in a small, white sleeved box that is identical to the Coffee Bean. Upon removing the sleeve you will find the Melody inserted in a soft, foamlike material. Below it is a smaller box that contains the spare eartips with CCZ's "patented" design, the cable, and an instruction manual.
The shells are made of plastic with a glossy and shiny surface. Unlike the Coffee Bean which has a curved faceplate and has a large vent, the Melody has a flat faceplate and has no vent. On the side near the female 2 pin connectors there is the CCZ logo. At the other side of the shell there is that rubber fin that CCZ introduced which helps improve the overall fit, and below it are two small vents. The nozzles are made of metal, equipped with a mesh filter and a lip to hold eartips in place.
*The lows are strong and vivacious. There is a considerable amount of boost in the subbass, both in the impact and the decay. Depth is good as well. Subbass is also a bit forward but it is superseded by the midbass. The midbass is boomy, sounds thicker than average and bleeds into the mids quite often.
*Overall, the lows of the Melody reminds me of the Coffee Bean. Possibly because CCZ used the exact same dynamic driver in both of them, and just like the Coffee Bean, the Melody is also plagued by the midbass bleed.
*The mids are presented in a marginally relaxed manner. Vocals have an elevated thickness. Male vocals are slightly more forward than female ones, with the latter lacking a bit in terms of liveliness. Vocals, as well as the instruments also has some tendency to sound boxy at times.
*Overall, the mids can sometimes sound blurry due to the interference of the midbass. Female vocals are hindered the most so the use of eartips with a wider bore is recommended.
*The highs are sparkly and well-extended. Overtones are sufficiently defined but can get drowned out sometimes. Treble reach and the accompanying decay is slightly above average, providing a tiny bit more air in between instruments. Despite the sparkly nature of the highs, sibilance nor aggressiveness was never perceived.
*Overall, even though the lows still have the bigger presence, the highs of the Melody is still able to showcase itself decently, and in a way that it does not induce fatigue even in long listening sessions.
【Soundstage and Imaging:】
The Melody has a below average size of soundstage. The expansion is bigger in the width than the depth. Imaging has good accuracy and clarity, but the layering and separation of the instruments suffers quite a bit due to the bloated midbass, and naturally because of this, there is a fair amount of congestion in each track.
I was not surprised that when I listened to both of them side by side, the lows sound exactly the same. It could be because they are using the same dual magnetic dynamic driver. Transitioning to the mids, this is where they start to show differences. The Melody still has recessed mids, but slightly more upfront when compared to the mids of the Coffee Bean. The Melody also has better transparency in the vocals and has a more natural tonality. As for the highs, it is expected that the Melody will perform better due to the additional balanced armature driver. The Melody has more reach in the treble and has a longer decay. In terms of the soundstage, the Melody has more width, while the height are just the same. Imaging is also slightly clearer in the Melody. All other technicalities such as the instrument separation and layering are just identical.
The Coffee Bean was a decent IEM in its price point at the time of its release, and now with the Melody, CCZ managed to make some improvements in the sound, specifically in the technicalities, without increasing the price that much. The Coffee Bean is still a good choice for someone who wants a warm and smooth signature, and the Melody does not stray too far from that but considering the improvements, the Melody is the better option.
Writen by Adrian Yambao.