TRUTHEAR x Crinacle Zero: Red Review in 2023
The Truthear x Crinacle Zero: Red is a significant advancement in affordable listening experiences, priced at just $55 on Amazon. This collaboration addresses the need for balanced sound reproduction and enhances the product’s visual appeal. It exceeds expectations, delivering an impressive listening experience at an accessible price.
Truthear has experienced remarkable growth since its debut less than a year ago, thanks to the success of its Zero and Hexa IEMs. This refined version of the original Zero offers improved sound quality, updated aesthetics, and an affordable price. Let’s find out more with us.
I. Product Tech Specs
- 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)
II. Design of TRUTHEAR x Crinacle Zero: Red
The Red, formerly known as Project Red, updates the original design to align more closely with Crinacle’s intended tuning. The mid-range is smoother, the bass is slightly subdued, and the treble remains faithful to the original’s smooth and non-fatiguing nature. Upgraded drivers and reworked crossover enhance both tuning and technical performance. Total distortion has been significantly reduced, elevating the Red beyond being just a cosmetic variant.
The Red maintains the same shape and size as its predecessor, featuring 3D-printed resin shells produced by the same manufacturer as Moondrop. The shells are then polished to a glossy finish. While they are medium-sized, the wider nozzles might pose a fit challenge for individuals with smaller ears. The faceplates now sport a red color scheme to match the product name, embellished with a subtle feather pattern on the surface.
The included accessories remain unchanged, offering a silver-plated copper cable encased in black rubber, which although functional, lacks the premium feel found in more expensive IEMs. Additionally, a faux-leather soft carrying case with a button closure is provided, alongside a selection of six pairs of silicone tips (three small-bore and three large-bore), one pair of foam tips, and several replacement nozzle filters.
Comfortable & Fit
Comfort and fit remain consistent with the original Zero, as the Red shares identical shell dimensions. Due to the larger nozzles, users are advised to experiment with various tips to achieve an optimal fit, even opting for smaller sizes. Personally, using a standard combination of a medium tip in the right ear and a small tip in the left ear yielded a secure fit. The foam tips provided the most secure fit, although they caused discomfort over extended periods, necessitating their replacement for long-term use. While the earpieces are not particularly large, the slightly protruding nozzles may be noticeable for some users. However, these fit-related observations are subjective, and individual experiences may vary.
III. Performance of TRUTHEAR x Crinacle Zero: Red
In terms of technical performance, soundstage, and imaging, the Red delivers results similar to the Zero. Considering its price point, the technical performance is commendable, with decent detail retrieval and layering, partially owing to the more balanced sound signature. While it may not astound listeners with exceptional resolution, it surpasses expectations, punching above its weight class.
The soundstage leans towards the narrower side, with layers not exhibiting significant spacing. This affects imaging to a certain extent, yet it doesn’t give the impression of an artificially constrained soundstage. The overall experience remains enjoyable, despite lacking the awe-inspiring factor encountered in higher-priced IEMs.
For gaming purposes, the Truthear x Crinacle Zero: Red fulfills its intended role but benefits from the assistance of spatial software such as Dolby Atmos to optimize its performance. The relatively confined soundstage presents challenges in accurately determining the distance of enemies, even if their directional cues are discernible. Therefore, including spatial software is crucial and shouldn’t be overlooked when using this IEM for gaming.
Regarding sound quality, the Truthear x Crinacle Zero: Red reimagines the original Zero while maintaining its essence. The focus here appears to be on achieving a more balanced sound signature. The bass has been subtly toned down, improving the higher frequencies’ clarity. Conversely, an impedance adapter reverses this effect, accentuating the sub-bass frequencies and infusing more punch and warmth into the lower mids. While the Red performs adequately for gaming, it doesn’t appear exceptional.
The bass response on the Red is slightly attenuated compared to the original Zero, yet it remains prominent. As someone who appreciates the original Zero’s bass quantity, I initially felt slightly disappointed at its reduction. However, the change is not drastic, and tracks like “D.R.E.A.M.” by Jonnny Craig retain their fullness while exhibiting a more refined character. This adjustment results in decreased quantity but enhanced quality, simultaneously clarifying the midrange and delivering an overall clearer listening experience.
The impedance adapter alters the tuning by instantly introducing 3dB of sub-bass, effectively restoring the original Zero’s bass response while expanding upon it. However, this modification comes at the expense of enhanced midrange clarity. Nevertheless, I generally favor tuning with the adapter for my preferred genres of pop and rock music. It contributes to a more impactful sound signature in gaming scenarios, conducive to an action-oriented and cinematic experience.
The midrange on the Red is reminiscent of the original Zero, although improvements in instrument tonality are noteworthy due to driver updates. Instruments such as guitars and pianos exhibit a more natural and realistic attack and improved resonance. Vocals sound smooth and natural without the impedance adapter while assuming a slightly lush and warm quality with it. The midrange offers excellent clarity and openness, surpassing the performance of many IEMs within this price range, resulting in enhanced resolution.
Remarkably, the Red also excels in detail retrieval within its price bracket. While it may not compete with triple-digit IEMs regarding detail resolution, it pleasantly surprised me with its ability to reproduce minute nuances. The single dynamic driver achieves a cohesive and natural tone, unearthing intricate details that other IEMs in this range tend to overlook. These include the gritty layers of overdriven guitars, subtle oscillations within atmospheric effects, the attack of drummers on cymbals, and the nuances of finger movements on fretboards, among others.
The treble on the Red exhibits slight improvements compared to the Zero, appearing smoother to the ear. It remains free of any sibilance or harshness, albeit lacking a touch of sparkle that some listeners may appreciate. Nevertheless, the balanced-to-slightly-warm tonality aligns well with the treble tuning, ensuring extended listening sessions without fatigue.
IV. The Advantages and Disadvantages
- Warm and tunable sound signature
- Affordable pricing
- The enhanced functionality of the subwoofer crossover
- Appealing aesthetic without being overly flashy
- Mediocre cable quality
- Potential fit issues
In summary, the Truthear x Crinacle Zero: Red is an excellent pair of IEMs that offers a different yet equally enjoyable experience compared to its predecessor. While it has garnered significant attention, it shouldn’t be considered a groundbreaking innovation. However, the Zero: Red is an ideal choice if you are searching for earphones with a warm-balanced sound, impressive detail reproduction, and the option to enhance bass response using a convenient adapter. Crinacle’s expertise in creating crowd-pleasing tunings shines through in this model, solidifying its reputation as a reliable and valuable purchase at an affordable price of $55 via Amazon.