CCA CRA [HiFi In-ear Earphone]

Olina vs CRA

Two recent giants in their price category. CRA is new king of the budget v-shapes ($15), Olina is the interesting new entry in the $100 bright neutral category. They are in the very different price categories, but let see how they are compared one to another.

Tips

  1. Narrow bore S stock tips
  2. S stock tips

Build and look

  1. Olina is medium size and light, very beautiful with marble plate and shine, blue aluminum shell.
  2. CRA is small and very light, with nice see trough resin.

1 > 2
Olina wins it for me. Good build and I really like the look.

Comfort

  1. Good. Comfortable. Has some movement which needs readjustment.
  2. Perfect. Small, very light. Plug n’ play.

1 < 2
CRA wins it here, but it’s not that the Olina is uncomfortable. CRA is really small, light and achieve fantastic seal. Everything you expect from IEM.

Isolation

  1. Very bad. 2 vents per shell. Almost open back.
  2. Very good. Despite having a tiny vent on an inner side of the shell, it does a solid block of the oustide noises.

1 < 2
CRA wins it easily. It is in fact one of the best isolation on a vented design I’ve heard, yet.

Tonality

Bass

  1. Gradual fall from +6dB. Perfectly tuned. Warm, punchy, boomy bass.
  2. Gradual fall from +13dB. Big, fun sub bass tuning. Not impeding into mids. Impactful. controlled, but overly boosted.

1 >= 2
Olina is better in tuning and naturalness. Somewhat lacking in control. CRA would have impressive control, but that is mitigated by overly boosted sub bass. Olina is better by less exaggerated tuning and warm timbre. However, CRA bass is not far behind.

Test tracks:
Chameleon - Trentemoller
Sadness - Enigma
They Just Haven’t Seen It - San Holo

Mids

  1. Great. A little pronounced in upper midrange.
  2. Great. A little tamed in upper midrange.

1 >= 2
Both have greatly tuned mids. Olina wins on clarity, but not by much.

Test tracks:
Crazy - Daniela Andrade
My Work - JFDR

Treble

  1. Excellent. Nice extension. A little hot in the presence region.
  2. Problematic. Nice, uniform extension. Too sharp in the presence region, bound with big mid treble peak gives piercing sharp sound, especially with larger volumes.

1 > 2
Biggest CRA issue. Despite achieving great treble response, tuning issues make it sharp, sibilant and unnatural. Olina can get hot in treble, but never crossing into sharp, sibilant territory.

Test tracks:
Red Light Zone - Colonia

Overall

1 > 2
Olina has great tuning over all registers. CRA has exaggerated sub bass, but done in a tasteful manner. Real problem is treble which, while extended, is sibilant and unnatural.

Technicalities

Detail

  1. Very good.
  2. Good.

1 > 2
Olina is clearer and more detailed.

Test tracks:
Dire Straits - Love Over Gold

Imaging

  1. Solid.
  2. Very good.

1 > 2
Olina imaging is more precise and soundstage is much bigger.

Test tracks:
Nils Frahm - An Aborted Beginning

Dynamics

  1. Very good. Bass punch is excellent.
  2. Good.

1 > 2
Olina wins it with refinement and excellent bass punch. CRA is very good with authoritative bass hits.

Test tracks:
Dire Straits - The Man’s Too Strong
Chemical Brothers - Leave Home

Overall

Technicalities are clear on the Olina side, but CRA is very good in detail and dynamics.

Value

  1. redefines the price bracket
  2. worth the blind

1 < 2
CRA is the greatest value in HiFi currently. At it’s price it managed to make so much of that good, that nothing can be compared to it. Tuning, comfort, isolation, detachable cable, optional mic. Olina is great new contender in the $100 arena, it gets most of the stuff right and very little wrong.

Overall

Olina
Pros: really big soundstage, great punch n’ slam, comfortable build, great looks
Cons: abysmal isolation, which makes it unusable in the noisy environments, hot upper mids. Hot upper mids would be manageable on medium volume, but with low isolation this makes them unusable outside

CRA
Pros: comfort, fit, very good isolation, fun but clean, controlled and detailed bass, excellent mids, fantastic treble extension (rarity with single DD), very good dynamics (rarity at the price point), very detailed sound (unavailable previously at the price point), easy to drive, microphone (optional)
Cons: too sharp in the presence region, big mid treble peak, piercing sharp sound, sibilant, unnatural plasticky cymbals

Olina mostly wins easily in every category, which is to be expected at almost 7x the price, but it is surprising how much CRA gets right for so little money. If they managed to control treble a little more, it would easily be an end set for many.

14 Likes

Epic write-up
Thanks for taking the time :notes:

CRA is a beast. It totally outshines the Tanchjim OLA which is over 2x the cost of CRA.

5 Likes

Preamp: -6.0 dB
Filter 1: ON PK Fc 20 Hz Gain -2.3 dB Q 0.600
Filter 2: ON PK Fc 100 Hz Gain 0.4 dB Q 0.600
Filter 3: ON PK Fc 140 Hz Gain -3.2 dB Q 0.500
Filter 4: ON PK Fc 810 Hz Gain 1.6 dB Q 1.300
Filter 5: ON PK Fc 1500 Hz Gain -1.5 dB Q 2.000
Filter 6: ON PK Fc 3100 Hz Gain 3.4 dB Q 1.700
Filter 7: ON PK Fc 3500 Hz Gain 1.0 dB Q 2.000
Filter 8: ON PK Fc 6200 Hz Gain 4.3 dB Q 2.000
Filter 9: ON PK Fc 10000 Hz Gain 7.1 dB Q 2.000
Filter 10: ON PK Fc 11000 Hz Gain -6.2 dB Q 0.500

CLON CL03

Preamp: -6.0 dB
Filter 1: ON PK Fc 2200 Hz Gain 2.7 dB Q 2.000
Filter 2: ON PK Fc 3200 Hz Gain -1.0 dB Q 2.000
Filter 3: ON PK Fc 6200 Hz Gain -2.9 dB Q 0.500
Filter 4: ON PK Fc 7300 Hz Gain 4.2 dB Q 2.000
Filter 5: ON PK Fc 10000 Hz Gain 3.0 dB Q 1.400
Filter 6: ON PK Fc 14000 Hz Gain 6.3 dB Q 2.000
Filter 7: ON PK Fc 15000 Hz Gain -12.0 dB Q 0.500


DRIAMS

Loving the Squig.Link AutoEQ.

2 Likes

The CRA is such a beast it is get the plus treatment.

I’ve ended up liking CRA so much as my beater exercise set I had to buy a second set to do the Sony foam/500 filter mod to improve on the stock tuning.

3 Likes

I was listening to North Memphis earlier on my Blon03 as I was craving for bass for a week now.

I was craving for that bass energy and randomly pulled the trigger on CRA a few mins ago. Hopefully I get a fuller bass :slight_smile:

You get more sub bass and less midbass. The technicalities are great for the money, and that is where the CRA shines. It greatly benefits from EQ reducing or removing the peak near 5 KHz (and/or raising the pinna gain near 2 KHz). To my untrained ears, the CRA seems to handle EQ well enough. The Rikudou_Goku 500 Mesh + Sony General filter CRA mod is great to thicken up and soften the sound (IMO). Don’t expect the moon and hopefully you won’t be disappointed.

The CRA+ is a tamed down version of the CRA, but at double the price. The plus seems to loose the main appeal of the fun ‘V’ sound signature.

1 Like

Good to know, seems like I pulled the trigger on the right CRA for my liking. Curious with the filter mod. I should check that out as well once I get to find Sony eartips on my vicinity thanks for the tip :notes: