Buying Guide

A Planar IEM for ₹4000! How's that even possible? 😯

Planar Magnetic IEMs have been well received amongst the audiophile community and started an industry-wide trend for brands to deliver high-quality and affordable Planar IEMs. Following this, CCA is not far behind to mark its territory with their all-new PLA13. Rediscover your music in all its glory with the CCA PLA 13 Planar Magnetic in-ear earphones.


So today we're going to be talking about Planar Magnetic IEMs. I think in the last couple of weeks and months some of the most exciting IEMs that are out there are all planar magnetic IEMs, literally mushrooming from every corner of the world and a new one seems to be releasing virtually every other week. Now Planar Magnetic IEMs certainly are a huge trend this year and we're going to be talking about one specific Planar Magnetic IEMs in today's video which is the CCA PLA 13. Why are we talking about this because quite possibly these are the cheapest Planar Magnetic IEMs available anywhere in the world and we have them with us right now. You can get these for just about 4000 rupees and therefore I thought that this was an IEM special enough to make a video for and explain to you what all the hype is and whether or not these IEMs do it justice.

Planar Magnetic Drivers

Why are Planar Magnetic IEMs so cool? Let me try and explain to you what a planar driver does! Now for those of you who want a real detailed explanation for what a Planar Driver does I made a video nearly six years ago that we linked to right here which will tell you all about it but here's the gist. Planar Drivers give you a very detailed, a very coherent sound and they do this by overcoming a lot of the challenges that regular Dynamic Drivers have. They're incredibly transparent detailed and they have powerful magnets that are able to create some phenomenal details in these headphones, which gives them the edge over a regular Dynamic Driver. The last few years we've seen this driver technology shrink down in size that it can now fit into a tiny little IEM a few inches away from your eardrum and produce the same high quality transparent detailed sound that we're used to on full sized headphones but in the form factor of something that fits in your pocket. Now how they have been able to take this technology and apply it to an IEM like the PLA 13 at a price point of less than 4000 Rupees is simply unbelievable. As a earphone you have to compare this to some of the other earphones which are available at a similar price point. From last year you're going to find that Planar Magnetic IEMs are becoming quite popular, you're seeing a lot of different IEMs release which are using the same technology but sound very very good but they're all at significantly higher price points. The most popular one I suppose is the 7Hz - Timeless that's for about 17 000 rupees, you have the LETSHUOER S12 PRO which is for about 15000 rupees, you have my favourite one which is 1Custom PM-01 which is for about 14000 rupees. The CCA PLA13, ladies and gentlemen is for 4000 rupees which is why we're going to be talking about this in quite a bit detail. 


So for those of you who don't know CCA as a brand and are not familiar with them, they are a sub brand from a manufacturer from China that's been around for a long time making some high quality IEMs and their more popular sister brand that all of you must almost certainly be familiar with is KZ. So these are for all practical purposes just identical in its look and its feel to a whole bunch of other KZ and CCA IEMs which are out there. It's really under the hood that things have gone very very very different for PLA13, which has now a single Planar Magnetic Drivers where we would typically be used to seeing several balanced armature and dynamic drivers. 

Comparison + Sound 

Now let's compare this to a bunch of IEMs that you may already be familiar with. 

For one you have the KZ ZSN Pro X. It's a hybrid driver IEM, presumably from the same Factory that makes these IEMs. It's got a single Dynamic driver for the low end and the mid and it's got one balanced armature driver for the highs. This is a fun sounding IEM, it's got a little bit of a V-Shaped sound, there's a great bass extension and there's a lot of sparkle in the treble. It's one of my favourite IEMs which are out there. There are several videos we've made talking about them. On the other school of thought you have a very very balanced neutral reference sounding IEM which cools down the bass a little bit and cools down the treble this is like the 7Hz - Salnotes Zero. Some people say it's one of the most well balanced, well-tuned IEMs at the 2000 rupee price point. The Moondrop Chu another very very popular option. Now the BLON BL-03 is a little bit in between both of them it's also well balanced but at the same time doesn't have quite the harshness or this forwardness I would say that some of the other IEMs have. The CCA PLA 13 isn't made for people who are looking for a reference balance sound, it's made for people who want to have some fun when they're listening to music but at the same time have an incredible amount of detail out there that these IEMs are capable of. So if you're someone who likes this KZ ZSN Pro X you're going to love these because this has a lot more oomph in the bass a lot more sparkle in the treble. 

This is a 13 mm driver that's a few inches away from your ear so it's going to be able to make a huge amount of air move and give you the thumping low end that most other smaller drivers simply cannot do. The other thing it does really well is give you super sparkly treble this is something that has a really really fast transient response, but you'll find that you can very easily give the illusion of sparkly trebles by putting a super high balanced armature driver out there, but that's going to start getting fatiguing and you know almost like pins in your ears after you listen to a few different songs. The PLA 13 doesn't sound like that at all it's got super sparkly highs because you're getting a crisp sharp transient response. So if you're somebody who likes a little bit more punch in the bass a little bit more sparkling the treble, you're gonna absolutely love the PLA 13. 

For an additional 2000 rupees you go from a ZSN Pro X which is already a fun V-Sounding IEM to what I think is a super fun V-Sounding IEM. But if you're someone who wants a reference balance sound and you're used to the sound signature of a 7Hz Salnotes Zero or a Moondrop Chu you're not going to like this. You're probably going to find this a little bit wild and in need of a little bit more taming. The other thing you're going to notice as soon as you plug these into your phone and hit play is that you're going to need to increase your volume quite a bit. These Planar Magnetic Drivers need power for them to sound full. These magnets are massive and they're going to need output power from your phone or your DAC to be able to work the way they should. So if you're someone who normally listens to music at 60-65 percent you're going to need to increase this to 80-85 at the minimum and if you're someone who's listening to music even louder than that what I highly recommend is that you get yourself a relatively inexpensive DAC and Amp, even if it's for about 3000 rupees or so you've got some great options out there. You've got the FiiO - KA1, the Shanling UA1s and the iBasso DC03 PRO all of which are very affordable portable DACs and Amps that works flawlessly along with your smartphone and give you a far more powerful output to plug the PLA 13 into. 


Planar Magnetic IEMs are all the rage it's great technology that's been around in headphones for a while but the problem is that you're seeing all of this action between the 15 and 20,000 rupee price range. This brings that action down to 4000 rupees and in my opinion makes it affordable for virtually everybody that's getting into this hobby to get their hands on a Planar Magnetic IEM. I think you're gonna find that this is one of the most fun sounding IEMs out there that if you're just looking to basically have a nice Punchy Bass, Great sparkly treble, but at the same time having a lot of detail resolution transparency that these IEMs are able to bring out in your music, then the PLA 13 is without doubt the best value for money you're going to get your hands on. 

You have to listen to these they're incredible they're fun and in my opinion they're an absolute upgrade to everybody out there who's used to listening to IEMs which sound good but may not be as much fun. 

All right so if you'd like to listen to these come over to a headphone connect event happening near you. We're doing 15 events this year all across India and we'd love to see you there, we'd love for you to listen to this, we'd love for you to listen to the rest of the stuff and show us some love and if you're in the neighborhood in Mumbai come by say Hi!