We’re in the age of content creator collaborations for IEMs, and we’re all-in for it. Today, we’re looking at the Truthear x Crinacle Zero, a $50 dual dynamic driver set with a dedicated sub-woofer. Tuned by community celeb, Crinacle, this set aims to redefine the level of audio quality you can expect for such an affordable price. It’s the perfect set to throw in a bag and take as a daily driver, so how does it hold up for music and games? Join us as we find out.
Thank you to Shenzen Audio for providing the sample for this review.
- Current Price: $49.99 (Amazon)
- Configuration: 10mm+7.8mm Dynamic Driver
- Diaphragm material: PU + LCP composite diaphragm
- THD: THD@1KHz≤1%
- Sensitivity: 117.5dB/Vrms (@1KHz)
- Impedance: 10Ω±15% (@1kHz)
- Frequency Responce: 20Hz-39500Hz (IEC61094?Free Field)
- Cable: Oxygen-free silver-plated
TRUTHEAR x Crinacle Zero - First Impressions and Key Features
Truthear is a brand new company and has partnered with Crinacle to deliver an affordable IEM with a unique design. The Truthear x Crinacle Zero retails for $49.99 from Shenzen Audio (also available on Amazon) and features a unique design. In his YouTube video introducing the product, Crinacle goes so far as to say that he believes it will be the next wave of IEM design. So, what does it do that makes it so special?
While the IEM industry seemed obsessed with single dynamic drivers over the last year, the Zero doubles up. It uses a dual dynamic driver design, combining a large 10mm driver for the low-end with a smaller 7.8mm for the rest of the frequency range. The larger driver is a genuine sub-woofer, only triggering on frequencies below 200Hz. In essence, it brings the cohesive sound of a single dynamic driver IEM with the improved bass performance only a subwoofer can provide.
It’s a surprising combination at only $50, but the value proposition doesn’t end there. The shells are 3D printed with glassy resin and have rich blue faceplates. They’re not overstated but are quite pretty. They are also small enough to nestle into the ears fairly easy without sticking out too much. Oh the benefits of limited driver counts!
Also included in the package is a leather travel case and an assortment of silicone and foam tips. There are six pairs of silicone tips, S/M/L in both narrow and wide bore (narrow = slightly increased bass). There’s also a single pair of foam ear tips if you’d rather have more of a custom fit. The tips are nothing to write home about; very generic and get the job done, but aren’t the most comfortable or secure.
The case is a similar story. The case is faux leather, but is completely soft backed. It’s easy to slide in a bag or pocket, and looks fine, but isn’t as durable as hardback case.
Also included with the set is a glossy black cable. It features a fairly thin, four-core braid that breaks into a single coil past the y-split. It’s soft and doesn’t transmit rubbing sounds when it brushes against your clothing. It gets the job done and matches the earphones well, but if you’d rather have something more bespoke, it’s also detachable with a standard 2-pin connection.
For $50, it’s not a bad package. If Crin and Truthear scaled back accessories to provide a better listening experience, that’s a fair and welcome tradeoff. You get everything you need here to find a comfortable fit and that’s really what matters most outside of sound quality.
TRUTHEAR x Crinacle Zero - Fit and Comfort
The Truthear x Crinacle Zero fit fairly easily in my ears, but it is especially important to try the different tips with this set. The nozzles are on the larger side, which could cause issues for users with smaller ears. In my case, I had to use a medium in my right ear and a small in my left, which is normal for me, but did experience minor irritation after an hour of use. Swapping out to a different set of tips solved this issue for me, so that may be a personal issue related to the material in my case.
TRUTHEAR x Crinacle Zero - Listening Impressions
Image Credit: Crinacle
The Truthear x Crinacle Zero is the only collaboration of Crinacle’s which targets the Harman curve. This tuning, developing by Harman International, is based on a series of blind listening tests to determine the most popular sound signature for modern headphones. It’s a common tuning because of its reliable popularity, emphasizing the bass and upper-middle registers, making it a good fit for mainstream music genres and listening tastes.
Bass: Bass is one of the best qualities of this earphone. There is a definite bass boost with this set, and the frequency response graph makes it clear where the larger sub-woofer takes over (the big bump at 200Hz). The placement of this bump makes low frequency sounds come across big and full. It extends deep into the sub-bass, which makes bass almost rumble in your ear. This makes it a great fit for gaming and movies, as well as music.
Jonny Craig’s D.R.E.A.M. is a great example of the rumble the Zero is able to produce. Many IEMs leave it out entirely or only scratch the surface of the bass, which is the tangible body of the song. For gaming, it’s excellent for big action moments where spells are exploding on enemies. The sub-woofer design really does the Zero a lot of favors!
Mids: Mids pretty good. Vocals and instruments sound natural, though can tend toward shrillness with certain vocalists, like Beyonce. These cases are fairly limited and are tempered by a lowering listening volume. Singers pop forward just enough in the mix so they don’t sound intimate but are clear and well-textured. Coheed and Cambria’s A Disappearing Act pushes Claudio ahead well enough that you can hear the light auto-tune effect applied to his voice even when it’s not overt, so it’s safe to say that you’ll be able to make out everything you would expect with these earphones.
Treble: Treble on this is good but fairly unremarkable. It’s not sharp or sibilant, but doesn’t provide noticeable air or sparkle to the sound either. Cymbals seem to have a slightly faster decay but have a nice initial pop and sizzle. In games, sounds like breaking glass or the overtones that make things like gunshots and falling bullet casings sound natural and “shiny” are present and accounted for. So good, but not amazing.
Technical Performance, Soundstage, and Imaging: As a $50 IEM, the technical performance matches about what you would expect for its price point. It’s fine, but obviously, this isn’t a detail showcase like you might find with a more expensive IEM like the Thieaudio Elixir or Moondrop Kato. Instead, detail retrieval is good but not outstanding; it’s a cut above the average $50 set you’ll find in Best Buy but lacks texture in the bass and mids. Transients are slightly blunted and small details, like the oscillating effects on guitars, often kind of mesh together. It still performs well and is an enjoyable listen for its price, but it’s not breaking new ground here for its cost of entry.
The soundstage is surprisingly wide. Sounds do seem to come from outside the head, so Truthear and Crinacle deserve kudos for leveraging an improved sense of space and breathability. Imaging falls closer to detail retrieval. Layering and separation are average and directionality lives mostly in a stereo, left, right, and center field.
For gaming, the Zero will work fine, but won’t replace a dedicated gaming headset. Enabling Dolby Atmos definitely helps and makes these earphones usable for gaming without feeling like you’re at a disadvantage. I wouldn’t have any problem pulling these out of a backpack for gaming between classes, but would suggest a normal headset or open-back headphone at home with the PC or console.
Overall Impressions and Final Thoughts
At only $49.99, the Truthear x Crinacle Zero is really something special. Unlike other earphones that blend dynamic drivers with balanced armatures or other drivers, pairing a single DD with a genuine subwoofer lends this set a unique sound profile. Its technical performance isn’t the best but competes well for its affordable price point. This set has bass for days and headroom for even more if you’d like to EQ it in. As a early product from Truthear, it’s makes for an impressive first impression that’s all about value per dollar.
The product described in this article was provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes. Articles may include affiliate links from which we may earn a small commission to help support the site. Authors do not earn affiliate revenue or commissions.