Dark or Light

Truthear x Crinacle Zero: Red Review: Bass on a Budget

A New Collaboration Approaches...

Christopher Coke Updated: Posted:
Hardware Reviews 0

It’s hard to believe that Truthear debuted less than a year ago. It has already made a splash with its Zero and Hexa IEMs. It’s now back with its latest release, this time in partnership with Crinacle, one of the biggest audio influencers and most successful IEM collaborators working today. Together, they’ve developed the Truthear x Crinacle Zero: Red, a $55 rework of the original Zero that balances out the sound, updates the looks, and overall impresses for its low cost of entry. If you’re looking for an affordable way to upgrade your listening experience, this is definitely worth considering.  

We would like to thank Shenzen Audio for supplying the sample for this review. 


  • Current Price: $54.99 (Amazon, Shenzhen Audio
  • Driver: 10mm+7.8mm Dynamic Driver
  • Diaphragm: Polyurethan Suspension LCP Liquid Crystal Composite 
  • Impedance: 17.5 ohms, +/- 15% @1kHz
  • Sensitivity: 117.5dB/Vrms @1kHz
  • THD: <1% @1kHz
  • Frequency Response Range: 20-40.5kHz (IEC61094, Free Field)
  • Effective Frequency Response Range: 20-20kHz (IEC60318-4, -3dB)

Truthear x Crinacle Zero: Red - First Impressions and Key Features 

The Truthear x Crinacle Zero: Red isn’t a completely new product. It’s built on the foundation of the original Zero and carries through many of its key design features, while still making meaningful updates to the listening experience. The original Zero made waves as one of the first double dynamic driver (DD) IEMs (one 10mm and one 7.8mm)  where one acted as a dedicated subwoofer.

Sound crazy to have a subwoofer in an IEM? Think again. The Zero worked very well thanks to its dedicated electronic crossover. This small component segments the frequencies between drivers. Here, as in the original Zero, the larger driver only produces frequencies 200Hz and lower. It only does sub-bass, and it does it well. The bulk of what you’re hearing comes from the smaller 7.8mm driver while the biggun’ adds the meat, rumble, and punch to the ultra low-end.

That dynamic (if you’ll forgive the pun) gives the Zero a pretty unique footing in the IEM space. Others split the frequencies more evenly or even add other driver types to the mix. Here, you get the cohesion of a single-DD and the bold presentation of a sub behind it. For lack of a better word, it’s fun.

The Red, previously known as Project Red, updates the original design to bring it more in line with Crinacle’s intended tuning. It’s smoother in the mid-range and a bit tamer with the bass, while the treble remains fairly close to the original, and is just as smooth and non-fatiguing. The drivers have been updated with new voice coils and the crossover has been reworked, too. It brings both tuning and technical improvements, lowering total distortion fairly dramatically when measured, so it’s more than just a red-toned reskin.

The shells are the same shape and size as the original. They’re 3D printed with resin (by the same manufacturer as Moondrop, as a matter of fact) and then polished to a shine. They’re medium sized but have wider nozzles that could potentially cause a fit issue for smaller listeners. The faceplates are now red to match its name with a sightly feather pattern on their surface. 

The other accessories are identical. Also included in the box is a silver-plated copper cable wrapped in back rubber. It gets the job done but it retains some memory and doesn’t feel as nice as those you’ll find on more expensive IEMs. You also get a faux-leather soft carrying case with a button closure and a selection of six pairs of silicone tips (3x small bore and 3x large), one pair of foam tips, and several replacement nozzle filters. 

Truthear x Crinacle Zero: Red - Fit and Comfort

Since the shells of the Red are identical to the original Zero, the fit is also the same. Like last time, the nozzles are on the larger side, so you’ll want to try each tip to find the right fit, even if it’s smaller than you’re usually used to. In my case, my standard “medium in the right, small in the left” worked well and I was able to find a secure fit. The most secure came from using the foam tips, though they bother my ears and need to be replaced long-term, so I didn’t stick with them for long. The ear pieces themselves are not especially large, but with the wider nozzle, I found that they stuck out of my ears a touch. Nothing too bad, and as always with fit, your mileage will vary.

Truthear x Crinacle Zero: Red - Listening Impressions 

The Truthear x Crinacle Zero: Red is a reimagining of the original Zero, but it’s not a reinvention. The overall impression is that Crinacle was going for a bit more balance with the sound signature here. The bass is dialed back a touch which increases clarity in the higher registers. The impedance adapter goes in the opposite direction and increases the sub-bass to add more punch and warmth in the lower mids. It’s an alright set for gaming but not outstanding.

Bass: The bass on this set is slightly dialed back from the original Zero but still very prominent. As a big fan of the Zero’s bass quantity, I was initially a bit disappointed to hear that it had been tamped down a touch, but the change isn’t drastic., D.R.E.A.M. by Jonnny Craig, my original test track, remains full but a bit less boomy. The slight reduction here decreases the quantity but increases the quality. The shift also clarifies the mids a bit, which makes the Red sound like an all-around clearer set. 

This tuning turns on its head with the use of the impedance adapter. Plugging in the 10 ohm adapter instantly adds 3dB of sub-bass to the mix, restoring the Zero’s original bass and adding to it. It trades that enhanced mid-range clarity, though I generally prefer the tuning with the adapter for my mix of pop and rock music. For gaming, it also leads to a more impactful sound signature that is more action-oriented and cinematic. 

Mids: The midrange is similar to the original Zero, but the changes to the drivers have made some improvements to instrument tonality that are worth remarking on. In particular, guitars and pianos have a more natural and realistic attack (transients) and resonance. Vocal sound smooth and natural without the impedance adapter, and a bit lush and warm without. The midrange is clear and open, moreso than many of the IEMs that occupy this price range, giving an impression of improved resolution. 

There’s a good amount of detail retrieval in this range, as well. At $55, you can’t expect it to compete with triple-digit set, but I was pleasantly surprised at the detail it was able to pull. The tone I was able to hear is very natural and cohesive, as you would expect from a single dynamic driver doing most of the heavy lifting. It clarifies a lot of the little nuances that IEMs in this range tend to gloss over: like the grit and layers of overdriven guitars, oscillations occurring within atmospheric effects, the way drummers attack cymbals, “fingers on fretboards” and so on. 

For gaming, detail retrieval is perfectly sufficient, though there’s not enough ear gain to open up the soundstage to add depth to the listening experience. Positionality is fine, but determining how far away enemies are at times can be challenging.

Treble: The treble is slightly improved from the Zero, sounding a bit smoother to my ear. There is certainly nothing sibilant or grating to the treble tuning, but it lacks a bit of sparkle that I otherwise enjoy. This isn’t a personal preference and the overall balanced-to-slightly-warm tonality is a good match for the treble tuning. This is a set that won’t fatigue you, even over long listening sessions. 

Technical Performance, Soundstage, and Imaging: The technical performance of the Red is largely the same as the Zero. For the price point, I find it to be rather good with decent detail retrieval and layering, largely thanks to the more balanced sound signature. It’s not going to blow you away with its incredible resolution, but what’s here is perfectly sufficient and does punch above its price point a bit. 

The soundstage is on the narrow side, and the layers don’t feel very spaced out. This impacts imaging, but it doesn’t sound artificially constrained. It’s good but doesn’t have the wow factor you encounter at higher price points. It creates an enjoyable listening experience. 

Gaming: The Truthear x Crinacle Zero: Red gets the job done for gaming but needs the help of Dolby Atmos to come up to par. The more constrained soundstage makes it harder to determine how far away enemies are, even if you can tell what direction they're coming from. Spatial software is important and shouldn’t be left out when gaming with this set. 

Overall Impressions and Final Thoughts

The Truthear x Crinacle Zero: Red is a very good pair of IEMs. I really liked the original Zero, and the Red is simply a different flavor. Even though it was hyped to high heaven, I don’t think it’s a giant-killer any more than the original Zero was. Instead, choose this IEM if you want a pair of earphones that have a warm-balanced sound signature with good details and the ability to top up the bass with a quick adapter. Crinacle clearly knows how to develop a crowd-pleasing tuning, and the Zero: Red is no exception. It’s a safe buy and a good value at only $55. 

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.

7.5 Good
  • Warm, tunable sound
  • Affordable pricing
  • Subwoofer crossover with improved functionality
  • Appealing but not overstated aesthetic
  • Cable isn't great
  • Fit could be an issue


Christopher Coke

Chris cut his teeth on MMOs in the late 90s with text-based MUDs. He’s written about video games for many different sites but has made MMORPG his home since 2013. Today, he acts as Hardware and Technology Editor, lead tech reviewer, and continues to love and write about games every chance he gets. Follow him on Twitter: @GameByNight