CCZ Plume Review: Never Cease to Bloom

  • Wide set of accessories
  • Looks very elegant
  • Excellent technical performance
  • Spacious soundstage

  • Shells are smudge magnet
  • Big shells that can become uncomfortable after a while of usage

CCZ is a company dedicated to making portable audio products. It 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 3 IEMs; the Plume, the Coffee Bean (which I reviewed previously), and the Melody. The Plume, as of writing this review, is currently their most expensive model that retails for 239 USD. Luckily, I won the recent giveaway for the Plume held by Keephifi.

Driver units: 1 10 mm dynamic, dual magnetic + 4 balanced armature (2 for mid-high, 2 for high frequencies)
Impedance: 16 ± 2 ohms
Sensitivity: 110 ± 2 dB
Frequency response range: 20 Hz - 20 kHz

Poco X3 paired with iBasso DC03 and Shanling UA1

Test tracks:
Africano - Earth Wind and Fire
Dark Necessities - Red Hot Chili Peppers
Gurenge - Lisa
The Chain - Fleetwood Mac
Monsters - All Time Low
Ours - Taylor Swift
Stay - Mayday Parade
Snuff - Slipknot
Yesterday Once More - Carpenters
So Slow - Freestyle
Aurora Sunrise - Franco
Attention - Pentatonix
Blue Bird - Ikimono-gakari
You're Still The One - Shania Twain
Anyone Who Knows What Love Is(Will Understand) - Irma Thomas
Salamin - Slapshock
AOV - Slipknot
Hey Jude - The Beatles
The Way You Make Me Feel - Michael Jackson
...and a lot more.

Unboxing and Accessories:
The Plume comes in a relatively huge and a bit heavy yellow sleeve box. At the front there is a Chinese character that translates to "Plume". Removing the yellow sleeve reveals a dark gray box that is filled with glitters which simply adds a more premium feel to the unboxing. To the right side is a magnetic flap, and upon lifting it up, you will see the Plume nested in foams, and below it are 5 pairs of KBEar 07 eartips. After removing the foams, you will see the accessories which include a magnetic pleather case, microfiber cloth, cleaning tool, 3 pairs of standard CCZ eartips, 2.5mm female to 4.4mm male adapter, 2.5mm female to 3.5mm male adapter, the cable, and an instruction manual.
The shell is made of aluminum alloy with gold finish. The faceplate sports the CCZ logo, and it also has this unique design that kinda looks like pixels upon closer look. On the rear side of the shell there are 2 small vents. The nozzle and the mesh filter are also made of metal. Surprisingly, the shells, albeit being bigger than usual, are lighter than what I expected.
The cable is a thick 2-core 6N single crystal copper. It has a nylon sleeve that feels really smooth to the touch. The cable is also light and very pliable. The angled 2 pin connectors are made of plastic as well as the chin slider, while the splitter and the 2.5mm gold plated plug are metal.
Now let's get to the sound.

The lows are clean and have great texture. Subbass is neutrally placed, reaches very deep, with a slightly raised amount of rumble. It has good presence when the track calls for it, and takes a step back when not needed. The midbass on the other hand, has forward presentation. It has an above average weight, and can seldom bleed into the mids, especially in bass heavy tracks.

Overall, the lows of the Plume give a solid blow in its attack that may be sufficient for some of the bassheads out there, but the midbass needs to be a little more controlled so as to give the mids better radiance.

The mids are just ever so slightly recessed. Even so, the degree of articulation is above average. Weight of the vocals is at just the right spot; it is neither thick nor thin. The transparency of the mids is slightly affected by its recession and by the forwardness of the midbass. But still, it sounds natural with an adequate level of liveliness. 

Overall, the mids surprised me here. Sometimes, when the bass has some elevation, it can result to the thickening of the mids. But that's not the case with the Plume. Despite having some minor flaws, the Plume can still manage to output very enjoyable mids.

The highs are simply rich. It is placed forward; the same position as the midbass, and adds an excellent amount of airyness to the music. It is also engaging, very energetic, and very revealing of the flaws in each track. Treble reach is above average that goes along with a lengthy decay. There is a slight hint or harshness in the upper treble region, but it is very rare.

Overall, I consider the highs to be the best part of the Plume's sound. You will notice a substantial quantity of details that normally get lost in the background. Thankfully, the boost in the treble does not include the sibilance region, so fatigue caused by the treble is at the minimal.

Soundstage and Imaging:
The stage is expansive for an IEM. It has that holographic feel to it. It seems that the large cavity of the shell contributed a lot in the expansion of the soundstage, so there is a bit of a trade-off here; wider soundstage in exchange of reduced comfortability which, personally, is worth it. Depth is above average, as well as the width but the width has more focus. Imaging has superb accuracy, layering is above average as well. Instrument separation is very satisfactory, and congestion is miniscule.

CCZ did a great job for the Plume. It's built like a tank and uniquely designed, although not everyone can accomodate the size of its shell. But if you're one of the lucky ones to have ears big enough to handle it, you'll be rewarded by the amount of details and the immersive soundstage it can provide. I'm excited to see what CCZ can do more in the future.

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