So is there any point in me saying any more about the latest offering from Better Audio US? In fact, this area of the market is one of the most hotly contested, with every Chinese Company trying to find ways to outdo each other, to squeeze that last bit of value from their designs. This does mean that compromises have to be made. Something has to give. For a profit to be made, surely it can’t be perfect. Or can it?
About the C10 Pro
The Pro version of the C10 has the same number of drivers. It’s not a 10 driver model; I think CCA are being a little bit naughty, they’re giving the impression that this is a 10 driver earphone, in fact , strictly speaking, it is a 5 driver earphone. Here we have 1 dynamic driver, for bass, and the remaining 4 are balanced armatures; 1 for lower mids, 2 for upper mids and 1, closest to the ear, for high frequency response. The hybrid design utilizes the ethos that dynamic driver (DD) tech makes for better low frequency efficiency and balanced armatures (BA) can then handle the rest of it. The frequency response may provide some interest to any bats we have put there. It’s 20-40000 Hz, not surprising when we look at how many drivers are crammed into those shells. The C10 model has a different DD, a 110 mm driver. This brings the low frequency response down to a crazy 7 Hz. My hearing is middle aged. Discerning, dear reader, of course. But also diminishing, as the angel’s share is taken from a maturing cask of malt whisky. The bottom line is that I am unable to hear any frequency above 16000 Hz. The sensitivity of the Pro’s, or how much power they need to start working, is high. This means they need very little power. The sensitivity rating is 24 Ohms. The C10 has a high sensitivity but is not as efficient as the Pro, weighing in at 32 dB. What does this all mean for you? Both earphones will not need any extra amping, and can work well from all known phones and DAPs.
The appearance of the Pro Model compared to the original, is certainly an upgrade
A bland looking silver shell has been replaced with a black and gold flaked appearance. The kink in the shape of the driver shell on the C10 can’t be spotted on the Pro
Having laid out my case on the cosmetics of the earphones, what then of the rest of it? The cable supplied oozes luxury, especially when compared to the thin cheap looking copper affair supplied with the C10.
The cable is shinier, the weak points are all suitably strengthened, The bad points? No case, very few tips, all of which are silicone, a d no chin collar, or cinch, which would help the fit to become even better than it is.
Outside noise is filtered to barely audible. This is done without circuitry, simply a case of get the right driver shape, get the fit well into the entrance of the ear canal, lock them in with decent fitting tips and hook the whole lot round the ear with some decent plastic collars.
All very well and good so far, but has all the extra attention been put on the looks and has the CCA sound been overlooked?
I am pleased to say that the sound exceeded my expectations. Just as I raved about the C10 last year, I am happy to put the Subjective seal of approval on the Pro version. But… I don’t like the sound as much as the original. My preference is for a smooth sound an overall balance with no particular features shouting ” hey!Listen to me! I can do bass! I can do screaming guitar!” No. Be understated. Don’t throw it at me. There is an element of this in the Pro that is not there in the more refined C10. As with many things in life there are losses along with gains; the great balancing act. The C10 Pro has a wider sound stage,or a more open sound than the C10, and micro details are more evident on the Pro.
The C10 is a lovely looking well made hybrid earphone. The price is a bargain. The cable looks great and works extremely well. The chin collar is missing, thee is no velcro strap to coil the cable up, and there is no case, and the danger is that these earphones will not be treated as carefully as they deserve. Corners have been cut, but I’ve seen worse ommisions in products costing a lot more.
The Pro sound will appeal to those who crave an exciting, “live” sound. A live sound is how I’d describe an earphone with what appears to be a boosted sound, almost as if more than one frequency band has been artificially raised beyond what sounds natural. Provided this is done with some discretion, a successful result can be achieved. I prefer, on balance, the slightly cleaner and smoother sound of the C10. Either earphone, depending on your flavour, are an absolute snip for the price. Gentlemen, start your wallets….