CTM or Clear Tune Monitors from Orlando, Florida, specialise in professional in-ears and they offer both ready-made products and customised solutions. We took a closer look at the CE320 model, which comes with three balanced armature drivers per side for a list price of 349 Euro.
The CE320 marks CTM’s entry into the in-ear monitor arena. With three BA drivers, the specification is remarkable and, according to the manufacturer, draws on the know-how of the same development team that designed the large Da-Vinci models IX and X, which use nine and ten drivers respectively and are in the four-digit price range. You can’t blame us for being curious.
Equipment and practicalities
There is not much to report, because the system is designed for professional use with no frills. Therefore, they dispense with any functions familiar from the consumer sector. These headphones are connected by cable to the playback device (or wireless receiver).
The design is convincingly practical: The angled 3.5 mm connector is gold-plated, the cable is robustly braided and conveniently protected against tangling. An adapter for the 6.3 mm format is also included. The earpieces are made of strong, transparent plastic and are attached to the cable via IEM connector. Three pairs of silicone and three pairs of memory foam adapters ensure a good fit. Wearing comfort is consistently high, and the earpieces always fit securely in the ear – even during stage activities and sports use – thanks to an over-the-ear headband.
Since the cable and earpieces can be separated, the components can be replaced if necessary. CTM even have a selection of distinctly high-quality connection cables in its range.
The design doesn’t include any buttons, microphones or telephone functions as these are purely compact monitors. Nevertheless, in future, it will be possible to optionally extend the system with a Bluetooth 5.0 receiver, which can be exchanged for the cable and will turn the CE320 into a wireless headset with an integrated microphone and a standard three-button remote control.
Admittedly, one should not expect the performance of the premium Da Vinci X model. Nevertheless, it is really refreshing and positively enlightening to hear a wired, professional 3-way system after several tests of Bluetooth devices. The passive noise reduction is good, although less effective than with customised adaptors.
The sound of the CE320 was convincing all around and they boast astonishing detail. The test device has considerable level reserves but sounds good even at low volumes. In the bass range, these headphones reach deep down and also reproduce low bass without any humming. At the same time, they have an amazing level of stability in this range. The basses in general are always contoured and wonderfully powerful. The mention of “Extra Bass” on the package is therefore slightly irritating. Compared to conventional consumer products, the CE320 act rather neutrally in the bass range and even feel a bit “slim” due to their high tonality. This impression is also in line with the manufacturer’s online assessment, which suggests a neutral frequency image.
In the mids, the reproduction was always clear, allowing a transparent insight into the mix with clean speech intelligibility. However, rock sounds wonderfully full-bodied and classical instruments are also provided with the necessary warmth of tone.
In the higher frequencies, the CE320 sound open, quite elegant and refined. Here, the test device produced a richness of detail and responsiveness. Snare drums bang with a lot of bite in a good way. The limit to harshness is clearly marked, but in the technical sense, it is not exceeded by the output device.
The wide panning with stable positioning is also noteworthy. Movements in the mix are easy to follow and multi-layered. A comprehensible spatiality is also delivered, this is especially true for artificial and real reverberation rooms. These headphones are only behind compared to loudspeakers in their staggering of bass.
Finally, I can praise the dynamics, which are easily reproduced, making orchestral works and acoustic jazz recordings a joy to listen to. It seems remarkable to me how recognisable the fine dynamics are, even within detailed mixes – a great compliment!
With the CE320, CTM offers an in-ear system designed for professional applications at an attractive price that is currently significantly reduced in the market. The sound quality, suitable for all genres, is impressively balanced, precise and fresh. With these characteristics, these headphones are equally recommended for music lovers who want to use headphones for pure music enjoyment, on the move, or for sports.
- Ear couplingIn-ear
- Transducer principle3 way balanced armature driver
- Frequency response (headphones)20 - 16.000 Hz
- Impedance20 ohms
- Sound pressure level (SPL)119 dB
- Weight without cable10 g
- Cable length120 cm
What's in the box
- Three pairs of silicone and memory foam adapters
- Detachable cable with 3.5 mm angled jack plug
- 6.35mm stereo jack
- Carrying case