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TRUTHEAR x Crinacle Zero IEM Review

Rate this IEM

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 13 2.2%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 21 3.5%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 74 12.3%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 496 82.1%

  • Total voters
    604

markanini

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A tip that's not well fitting can be compressed when inserted to the ends that the midrange and treble is altered. It's not that weird, it happens.
 

Robbo99999

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Variation from person to person is one thing, I cannot speak about that, as I am only one person, :D, but as far as variation because of fitting on my self between headphones and IEM, their is no contest. Placement of headphone can somehow affect the sound I ear, a little and in no case make it like a different HP. For IEM, i get huge variations, like listening to a totally different device.
Even just opening my mouth, will make them like a totally different experience, moving my head up and down will change what I ear.
In my (short, a few month) experience with IEM, they require careful placement to sing, but when they do, they are hard to match with anything else, HP or speakers and worth any efforts to live with them.
I'm an IEM noob too, only owning the Crinacle Zero - but for me I didn't have this experience you mentioned. They sounded the same each time I wore them after I made sure they were inserted without any seal issues, I didn't get the variation in sound moving my head, etc. It sounds like your Crinacle Zero's are right on the brink of fitting properly to you - if head movements are making it sound different, I guess caused by the IEM moving position as you do so. But the point you make is valid - for you there is variability with this IEM. You can try the different included sized tips (but you've probably done so already), or order some different ones.
 

julian_hughes

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I've had the Truthear Zero for several months now (since mid September last year) and have been using them daily so thought I'd add some impressions that aren't first impressions. I made several posts in this thread, about the page 53 mark and onwards, when I received these. I had some concerns about the frequency response in the upper mids/vocal range and found them a bit shouty. Also these are *LARGE* IEMs and the nozzles have an unusually wide diameter so fit, and getting good aftermarket foam tips, were concerns. I was impressed but not convinced. And I thought the soundstage was not great and described it as left, right and a bit in the middle and not coherent.

3 or 4 months later: I'm convinced. Here is why:

Fit and comfort: these are not going to physically suit everyone but they definitely can be a good fit. I found sellers on aliexpress who offer foam tips with large diameter barrel and this has worked well for me. I prefer foams over silicones for comfort, and because foam tips tend to kill any cable "microphonics" (noise from touch). The Truthear Zero are large but they are also super lightweight and in regular use this means that if you can get a snug fit then they are as comfortable as can be. For wearing under a hat/helmet or lying on your side these are never going to be as "invisible" as Moondrop Quarks or similar, but on the other hand they are designed with human physiology in mind and I don't get any pressure point issues and can easily sleep with them in.

When you get a good fit with a good quality IEM then any soundstage issues disappear. In my experience if it doesn't sound coherent then the fit is not good or the IEM has a very uneven response.

The sound: I'm able to assess the Truthear Zero in comparison with some very well known headphones and IEMs that I own. Moondrop Kato, Moondrop Quarks, Sennheiser HD6xx, Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 (over ear, wired), JVC HA-FDX1, HIFIMAN HE4xx, Koss KSC-75 and quite a few others too!

Yes, without EQ the upper mids can be *a little* wearing. Sometimes. With some music. Over time. But you might not notice. I mean it's a really marginal call. It's being really, really picky - but we should be picky when we are spending our own money! I've ended up using the Autoeq settings as every device I own supports this so I get the same experience on PC, on home Hi-Fi, on phone and on dedicated player. I think it's pretty normal for most people to *not* be able to apply the exact same EQ across every system and device they own, and I was certainly in that situation until fairly recently. In that case I'd probably still prefer the Truthear Zero, although it would be a close run race with the Moondrop Kato and maybe JVC HA-FDX1. Over the last few days I have spent a lot of time comparing those three IEMs with my Sennheiser HD6xx and HIFIMAN HE4xx. I'm starting to think that the only good reason for using large open back headphones instead of IEMs is if you have a real aversion to putting stuff in your ears or you need to be somewhat aware of your environment. The HD6xx/HD650 are a well known reference, a genuine standard for comparison and evaluation. They are nice. Unobjectionable. More impressive the longer you use them. Deserving of their reputation. The Truthear Zero are far better. Yes, if I was a person who could not stand to wear an IEM I'd use the HD6xx. I do use them sometimes. Variety is the spice of life. But the Truthear Zero is in a different league.

Some people have reported lack of bass response. This is because they haven't got a good fit. These things, without ever being muddy or bloated, have a bass with real weight. It can grip your guts. That dual driver set up is really well done. It never sounds bloated but it can rumble.

In conclusion, these are worth a try. I think only issue is size and fit. If you can't get comfortable you'll never like them. If you can get comfortable and get the fit right then prepared to be impressed. Very, very impressed. Over time, not just with a quick impression. I'm sitting here with thousands of £ of headphones and IEMs and what I choose every day tends to be the Truthear Zero. It's all about the music!
 
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Docmoggy

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I've had the Truthear Zero for several months now (since mid September last year) and have been using them daily so thought I'd add some impressions that aren't first impressions. I made several posts in this thread, about the page 53 mark and onwards, when I received these. I had some concerns about the frequency response in the upper mids/vocal range and found them a bit shouty. Also these are *LARGE* IEMs and the nozzles have an unusually wide diameter so fit, and getting good aftermarket foam tips, were concerns. I was impressed but not convinced. And I thought the soundstage was not great and described it as left, right and a bit in the middle and not coherent.

3 or 4 months later: I'm convinced. Here is why:

Fit and comfort: these are not going to physically suit everyone but they definitely can be a good fit. I found sellers on aliexpress who offer foam tips with large diameter barrel and this has worked well for me. I prefer foams over silicones for comfort, and because foam tips tend to kill any cable "microphonics" (noise from touch). The Truthear Zero are large but they are also super lightweight and in regular use this means that if you can get a snug fit then they are as comfortable as can be. For wearing under a hat/helmet or lying on your side these are never going to be as "invisible" as Moondrop Quarks or similar, but on the other hand they are designed with human physiology in mind and I don't get any pressure point issues and can easily sleep with them in.

When you get a good fit with a good quality IEM then any soundstage issues disappear. In my experience if it doesn't sound coherent then the fit is not good or the IEM has a very uneven response.

The sound: I'm able to assess the Truthear Zero in comparison with some very well known headphones and IEMs that I own. Moondrop Kato, Moondrop Quarks, Sennheiser HD6xx, Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 (over ear, wired), JVC HA-FDX1, HIFIMAN HE4xx, Koss KSC-75 and quite a few others too!

Yes, without EQ the upper mids can be *a little* wearing. Sometimes. With some music. Over time. But you might not notice. I mean it's a really marginal call. It's being really, really picky - but we should be picky when we are spending our own money! I've ended up using the Autoeq settings as every device I own supports this so I get the same experience on PC, on home Hi-Fi, on phone and on dedicated player. I think it's pretty normal for most people to *not* be able to apply the exact same EQ across every system and device they own, and I was certainly in that situation until fairly recently. In that case I'd probably still prefer the Truthear Zero, although it would be a close run race with the Moondrop Kato and maybe JVC HA-FDX1. Over the last few days I have spent a lot of time comparing those three IEMs with my Sennheiser HD6xx and HIFIMAN HE4xx. I'm starting to think that the only good reason for using large open back headphones instead of IEMs is if you have a real aversion to putting stuff in your ears or you need to be somewhat aware of your environment. The HD6xx/HD650 arhttps://audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/truthear-hexa-iem.39793/post-1441045e a well known reference, a genuine standard for comparison and evaluation. They are nice. Unobjectionable. More impressive the longer you use them. Deserving of their reputation. The Truthear Zero are far better. Yes, if I was a person who could not stand to wear an IEM I'd use the HD6xx. I do use them sometimes. Variety is the spice of life. But the Truthear Zero is in a different league.

Some people have reported lack of bass response. This is because they haven't got a good fit. These things, without ever being muddy or bloated, have a bass with real weight. It can grip your guts. That dual driver set up is really well done. It never sounds bloated but it can rumble.

In conclusion, these are worth a try. I think only issue is size and fit. If you can't get comfortable you'll never like them. If you can get comfortable and get the fit right then prepared to be impressed. Very, very impressed. Over time, not just with a quick impression. I'm sitting here with thousands of £ of headphones and IEMs and what I choose every day tends to be the Truthear Zero. It's all about the music!
I couldn't agree more. I bought the Truthear Hexa and did a quick comparison (as opposed to your extended survey) with the TCZ using Topping G5 DAC/amp. ( see https://audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/truthear-hexa-iem.39793/post-1441045 if interested ). My view is that there isn't really anything in it between the two. I can't wait for the review of the even cheaper Hola iems. Of course, the performance of all these devices with the Truthear Shio DAC/AMP (that appears to be very close in specification to the Moondrop Moonriver 2) that at $70 could be equally a good bargain as their IEMs IMO. Hope Amir carries out some reviews soon of these new offerings from Truthear.
 

julian_hughes

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I couldn't agree more. I bought the Truthear Hexa and did a quick comparison (as opposed to your extended survey) with the TCZ using Topping G5 DAC/amp. ( see https://audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/truthear-hexa-iem.39793/post-1441045 if interested ). My view is that there isn't really anything in it between the two. I can't wait for the review of the even cheaper Hola iems. Of course, the performance of all these devices with the Truthear Shio DAC/AMP (that appears to be very close in specification to the Moondrop Moonriver 2) that at $70 could be equally a good bargain as their IEMs IMO. Hope Amir carries out some reviews soon of these new offerings from Truthear.
It seems that several manufacturers, aside from Samsung/AKG who kind of own it, are now trying to tune their headphones and IEMs to the Harman target. The more the better imo. Even if that target is not a buyer's preference it is still a good place to start from. Just thinking back 10 years there were some targets out there but nothing widely accepted. Just like today only a handful of reviewers made reliable, repeatable measurements and then those were usually interpreted according to the particular reviewer's preference. It really helps to have, these days, some targets liked by manufacturers, consumers and reviewers alike. It doesn't have to mean everything conforms. Some people want XTRAAAA! BASS! and some want, especially in IEMs and monitor headphones, a much less bassy response than that suggested by the Harman curve. For me, as a consumer, a listener, what I'd like to see is a range of IEMs and headphones which broadly conform to the Harman targets such that I can assume approximately reasonable sound reproduction and make my choices based mostly on form factor, comfort, electrical compatibility, intended use, environment etc. I think the Truthear Zero are amazing. They aimed for a target and maybe it's not dead on bullseye but it's damn close. Most IEMs don't even begin to approach that level. And then I think of my Sennheiser HD6xx (HD650). In terms of open back headphones they pretty much nailed that target curve before any consumer had heard of target curves. They are beautiful, and I was probably a little too dismissive of them in my earlier post. But anyway, my point is that wouldn't it be nice (omg I just quoted The Beach Boys) if we could simply *assume* reasonable sound quality and then make our choices based on comfort, fashion victim status, bling factor, form factor etc?
 

Docmoggy

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It seems that several manufacturers, aside from Samsung/AKG who kind of own it, are now trying to tune their headphones and IEMs to the Harman target. The more the better imo. Even if that target is not a buyer's preference it is still a good place to start from. Just thinking back 10 years there were some targets out there but nothing widely accepted. Just like today only a handful of reviewers made reliable, repeatable measurements and then those were usually interpreted according to the particular reviewer's preference. It really helps to have, these days, some targets liked by manufacturers, consumers and reviewers alike. It doesn't have to mean everything conforms. Some people want XTRAAAA! BASS! and some want, especially in IEMs and monitor headphones, a much less bassy response than that suggested by the Harman curve. For me, as a consumer, a listener, what I'd like to see is a range of IEMs and headphones which broadly conform to the Harman targets such that I can assume approximately reasonable sound reproduction and make my choices based mostly on form factor, comfort, electrical compatibility, intended use, environment etc. I think the Truthear Zero are amazing. They aimed for a target and maybe it's not dead on bullseye but it's damn close. Most IEMs don't even begin to approach that level. And then I think of my Sennheiser HD6xx (HD650). In terms of open back headphones they pretty much nailed that target curve before any consumer had heard of target curves. They are beautiful, and I was probably a little too dismissive of them in my earlier post. But anyway, my point is that wouldn't it be nice (omg I just quoted The Beach Boys) if we could simply *assume* reasonable sound quality and then make our choices based on comfort, fashion victim status, bling factor, form factor etc?
I agree with you that a datum or standard from which comparisons can be made is probably a good idea. However and I don't know if there is a lot of R&D on this, but I'd really like to know what the Harman curve data would look like as a function of a person's age age, for example (I wouldn't be surprised if hearing has dependencies on ethnicity, environment etc.. too).

This is because the whole process of either, digital or analogue sound recordings and their reproduction is based on the laws of physics. The fundamental theory is fairly straight forward and not that difficult to understand. It would seem that DACs offer opportunities to reproduce the original (record in 24 bit or more would be the ideal, but re-recording in 16 bit at 44,1KHz is good enough) without adding noise and distortion (described as - SINAD) into the audible range. Therefore, the outstanding variable is now, with the equipment we have available, the amplified output source. Amir has shown that "electrical interference" is often just "noise" or "snake oil" in the sound amplification equation. The correlation between actual individual human hearing and "speaker" or source output v a datum such as the Harman curve might be useful and might help to customise the listening experience since we are all individuals. I suppose EQ might help to achieve this, but maybe we all need an algorithm that will tune the music to your hearing range. I'll dig into the available research into hearing as I've suddenly just got interested! Thanks for your succinct and insightful comment.
 

Berwhale

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I agree with you that a datum or standard from which comparisons can be made is probably a good idea. However and I don't know if there is a lot of R&D on this, but I'd really like to know what the Harman curve data would look like as a function of a person's age age, for example (I wouldn't be surprised if hearing has dependencies on ethnicity, environment etc.. too).

My understanding is that the Harman listening tests controlled for age, gender, training, etc. I've seen posts on ASR showing the data, you might be able to find them using the search feature.

*edit* You can watch and listen to Sean Olive explain this himself here:


Note: the YT link skips to the bit about age, gender, etc. You may wish to watch the presentation from the start.
 
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FrantzM

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Hi
fanboi warning...

The TCZ and similar (waiting for ASR's CFO to test more of these inexpensive <$50 IEM), are a revolution in the hobby. I hope that people realize what is happening and enjoy it right now.
Those who have been in this hobby for more than 20 years can relate to that. We have been groomed to accept that State Of The Art, SOTA for short, had to be expensive, as in, out of reach. We, the audiophiles with normal, even substantial financials means, were told to step aside and watch the golden-eared, price-be-damned fellows, the big boys, enjoy their expensive things. Let your ears and wallets be the judge was the condescending rule.

Well, now there are items that will blow most of the expensive stuff out there for, really, peanuts.
This is one of them. For $50,oo, one gets reference sound, Yes! Reference Sound.
If an audiophile is bent on using some EQ (I don't), you get for less than $200.oo, SOTA . Yes.
To me that is a revolution.

I used to think that the hobby was dying. Became at some point (2000?) extremely annoyed by the upward spirals of price in the hobby for no clear or audible gains, then came ASR (2016) and a new universe came into view, that of affordable, high performance audio components and systems.

I would repeat; The TCZ is not perfect. With EQ... It is damn close.
...
... I don't use it with EQ.

Peace.
 
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FrantzM

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I agree with you that a datum or standard from which comparisons can be made is probably a good idea. However and I don't know if there is a lot of R&D on this, but I'd really like to know what the Harman curve data would look like as a function of a person's age age, for example (I wouldn't be surprised if hearing has dependencies on ethnicity, environment etc.. too).

This is because the whole process of either, digital or analogue sound recordings and their reproduction is based on the laws of physics. The fundamental theory is fairly straight forward and not that difficult to understand. It would seem that DACs offer opportunities to reproduce the original (record in 24 bit or more would be the ideal, but re-recording in 16 bit at 44,1KHz is good enough) without adding noise and distortion (described as - SINAD) into the audible range. Therefore, the outstanding variable is now, with the equipment we have available, the amplified output source. Amir has shown that "electrical interference" is often just "noise" or "snake oil" in the sound amplification equation. The correlation between actual individual human hearing and "speaker" or source output v a datum such as the Harman curve might be useful and might help to customise the listening experience since we are all individuals. I suppose EQ might help to achieve this, but maybe we all need an algorithm that will tune the music to your hearing range. I'll dig into the available research into hearing as I've suddenly just got interested! Thanks for your succinct and insightful comment.
I am citing from memory but there was a Harman study from Olive and others that showed that people tended to show the same preferences across, gender , ethnicity and even age... Can't recall the exact study.

Peace.
 

FrantzM

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I'm an IEM noob too, only owning the Crinacle Zero - but for me I didn't have this experience you mentioned. They sounded the same each time I wore them after I made sure they were inserted without any seal issues, I didn't get the variation in sound moving my head, etc. It sounds like your Crinacle Zero's are right on the brink of fitting properly to you - if head movements are making it sound different, I guess caused by the IEM moving position as you do so. But the point you make is valid - for you there is variability with this IEM. You can try the different included sized tips (but you've probably done so already), or order some different ones.
+1
 

Docmoggy

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I am citing from memory but there was a Harman study from Olive and others that showed that people tended to show the same preferences across, gender , ethnicity and even age... Can't recall the exact study.

Peace.
Thanks I’ll start casually investigating this topic. I would imagine the Harmsn plot would be better represented by a 3D surface plot with age being in one axis probably the Y axis.
 

Berwhale

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Thanks I’ll start casually investigating this topic. I would imagine the Harmsn plot would be better represented by a 3D surface plot with age being in one axis probably the Y axis.

I already linked to the talk by Dr. Sean Olive that explains there are no significant age effects on preference. BTW, Amir attended the talk in the video. There is some discussion, including responses from Dr. Olive here...

 

Docmoggy

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I already linked to the talk by Dr. Sean Olive that explains there are no significant age effects on preference. BTW, Amir attended the talk in the video. There is some discussion, including responses from Dr. Olive here...

I’ll watch it. Always looking for greater insight. I’m using the Hexa at the mo. But the TCZ, I agree with you, is a marvelous development. It is a wonderful secret!
 

ehabheikal

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OMG what bass. Tonality is great but due to asr I room correct my speakers and eq headphones via wavelet, so my stuff is tuned but this is better. And the lowish distortion on bass yum.

Given the above i am waiting for asr to discovera hidden gem that has this FR but vanishingly low distortion cheapish.
 
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khensu

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I got a pair of these yesterday, so haven't had enough time to do thorough listening yet, but from what I’ve heard so far, these are easily worth $50. I do find the upper midrange can sound a bit accentuated. I don’t notice all the time, though. There are plenty of tunes I’ve listened to that sound fantastic with no EQ. In some cases, I’ve applied the settings posted early in this thread by @Maiky76. Those settings did the trick for me. I’m not fond of wearing buds/iems for too long, but these will absolutely fill the void in the cases where they are the best option. Win!
 

IAtaman

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I got a pair delivered yesterday as well and I really like them. Bass is tasteful and impactful. Vocals both male and female sound correct to me and at the intended layer if that makes sense. I get a great sense of detail and texture, a fairly wide sound stage and good imaging. I think these are great. I hear people say Aria's are better - I disagree. I have a pair of Aria and a pair of Starfield - these are better than both in my view in terms of "immersion into the music"
 

OnLyTNT

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Well I also got these a few days ago :). For me a bit bassy but overall best sounding IEM out of the box so far. I'm not sure if any future purchase will beat this for me.
 

raif71

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Just got mine via online order but from local audio shop. Great pair of iems. I like its tonality. I can put my everyday use of 7Hz Timeless to rest a bit. Will regularly use this instead. From what I heard, I can say that on some songs...the zero is less shouty on the treble compared to the Timeless. Bang for the buck, I say.
 

Chuck S

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Had to get a pair. A real value for $50, but I really prefer a little more treble and a lot more detail. Still, that Crinacle knows what he’s doing.
 
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