Review of the TruthEar X Crinacle Zero IEM
The TruthEar X Crinacle ZERO earbuds have been creating a ton of buzz in the world of music enthusiasts, and after giving them a go, it’s clear that they’re worth the attention. This review aims to break down what makes these earbuds special, from the way they’re tuned to the cool partnership between TruthEar and Crinacle+, and the clever tech that makes them punch above their price.
What’s cool about the TruthEar x Crinacle ZERO earbuds is how they’ve embraced something called the Harmon Target. We’ll get into that later.
At $49.99, these excellently tuned IEM's are a great way to experience correct tonality
10mm + 7.8mm Dual Dynamic Drivers
Harmon Target Tuning
Wired IEM - Fantastic Braided Cable
I was hyped when I received the email from iShop informing me that my parcel had arrived in Lusaka! As I opened the package I couldn’t shake the impression that the packaging felt like it belonged to a premium product far exceeding the price point of these earbuds.
With a waifu on the box, and the earbuds nestled in protective foam like expensive jewelry my emotions were running high, with my confidence in these rising with each item I unpacked from the little box. I love that they included a small faux leather carrying case, which feels very nice in hand. The amount of eartips is at least a $10.00 value, and the buds themselves have a beautiful multi-coloured sheen on their shells, shifting from a deep navy blue to a rich plum purple depending on the angle of the light.
Build Quality 9/10
These earbuds are solidly constructed from a semi-transparent resin resulting in a smooth and quality bud. They have a glossy finish all over keeping with the jewel-like appearance, and the cable is removable. This is the best audio cable I have owned so far! It is excellent, tangle resistant, non-microphonic, and feels like a cable from a far more expensive set of IEM’s. This is also my first set of IEM’s with a detachable cable, and so far the cable/IEM remain solidly connected with zero play at the little connector. I have been using these for about 6 months now so they get a thumbs-up from me, but I am knocking them a single point here cause I do feel these could be a point of failure going forward. However, considering the price point, we really shouldn’t complain.
The buds exude a sense of quality and premiumness far exceeding their price-point.
Fit & Comfort 7/10
I have smaller ears, and they are particularly sensitive to IEM’s. After trying out different tips I settled on the second-to-smallest oval shaped silicone eartips. I can wear them for about an hour before feeling a slight ear fatigue, which a small adjustment or 2min removal quickly fixes. These IEM’s should be comfortable for the vast majority of people, and with the earhooks lending itself to a firm fit for those who would want to use these on their commute.
These are very comfortable even after extended listening sessions.
Sound Quality 8/10
Before we can discuss sound quality we need to talk about the Harmon Target, or the Harmon Curve.
The Harmon Target
Imagine you’re cooking a recipe that you’ve never tried before. You have a list of ingredients, and you follow the instructions step by step. When the dish is done, it should taste just like the recipe intended, with all the flavours in balance. Now, think of music as a recipe too. When musicians create songs, they use different instruments and sounds to make everything come together. But just like cooking, getting the right balance is important. You don’t want one flavour to be too strong and overpower the others.
The Harmon Target is like a recipe for how music should sound when you’re listening to it. It’s based on a lot of research and testing to figure out what most people like when they’re listening to music. Just like a good recipe makes sure all the ingredients in your dish taste great together, the Harmon Target makes sure all the different parts of music – the high notes, the middle ones, and the deep ones – sound balanced and harmonious.
So, when earbuds or headphones are designed to follow the Harmon Target, they’re made to play music in a way that most people find really pleasing. It’s like making sure every instrument and voice in a song is heard clearly, and none of them is too loud or too quiet. This way, you can enjoy your music just the way the artists intended, with all the parts working together smoothly.
Back to Sound Quality
Central to the allure of the TruthEar x Crinacle ZERO earbuds is their steadfast adherence to the Harmon Target. Which is also the reason the audiophile community are gushing over these because it is very rare for IEM’s of this price to be able to achieve this level of tonal balance. Usually, you’d have to spend a lot more to get earbuds that sound this accurate. It’s like hearing each instrument and voice just as they were meant to be, without anything overpowering the rest. The balance they achieve is impressive, especially at this price.
To achieve this feat TruthEar partnered with Crinacle, a renowned IEM tester with over 1000 IEM’s and their frequency responses listed on his online database, which is the largest in the world. Together they tuned these IEM’s to be faithful to the Harmon Target to ensure a tonally balanced listening experience.
Now, let’s talk about a cool feature these earbuds have – they’ve got not one, but two drivers inside. One of them does a bass boost, like the deep rumble in your favorite bass-heavy tunes. But the really neat thing is that it doesn’t mess up the other sounds. Sometimes, heavy bass can drown out everything else. Not with these earbuds. The bigger driver takes care of the bass, making sure it’s strong but doesn’t take over. Crinacle and TruthEar were able to tune these earbuds so the bigger driver can focus on providing a nice sub-bass presence, while the smaller driver fills out most of the mid-range and high frequencies. This party trick is not unknown in the IEM market, but its not something that is done at this price-point. Reeling in the bass and sticking to the Harmon Target is why reviewers love these earbuds.
But but bass…bass is good you say. Well, Crinacle has a great analogy that I will borrow here. Salt is good for cooking, right? Well, too much bass is like too much salt, it ruins all other flavours in food so that all you taste is just salt.
Some of the music I listened to for the review
I listened to some music I love and know intimately as well as some pieces that I recently discovered. However, I selected some pieces primarily due to their ability to test a pair of headphones. First among these are Wandering by Yosi Horikawa. This track has incredible and vast soundscapes which challenge a headphone/earbuds’ ability to recreate the sound in such a way that you feel you are there with sounds coming from different directions. This is called soundstage. Compared to my over-ear headphones, a pair of Cooler Master MH751’s which are driven via my FX-Audio DAC X6, the TruthEars lack in soundstage. Its pretty much a given since these are much smaller drivers and also a cheaper set.
Memory by Joseph William Morgan is another favourite of mine and I loved how the TruthEars are slightly warmer than my Cooler Masters with a very pleasant tone. The vocals and spacious recording in this song sound amazing on the TruthEars. Moving to some new songs I added to my playlist, Seven Nation Army by Skáld has some nice low down bass which highlight the smooth nature of the TruthEars. Lorde’s Royals is another track that highlighted both the bass performance as well as Lorde’s contralto voice, simply sublime!
Young And Beautiful by Lana Del Rey is a perfect example of my type of music, and the TruthEars smoothly reproduce the rich mid-range frequencies while also highlighting Lana’s excellent vocals. Imagine Dragon’s Believer is another must listen track for me when I test earphones due to its rapid yet subtle background percussion on the drums. The TruthEars are very capable of rerproducing low end without any bleed into the middle frequencies, a true budget audiophile product! Why So Serious from The Dark Knight by Hans Zimmer is another multifaceted track that tests the enture audio spectrum, but what stands out to me is the sub-bass that starts at 3:27. I was really impressed with how well the TruthEars were able to dip down that far, easily outperforming my over-ear Cooler Master headphones. Bohemiam Rhapsody allows the TruthEars to shine, a true audiophile track that should be on everyone’s list of test tracks.
This little gem of an IEM is a true performer people, giving us a taste of audiophile tonality at a really low enty price. Its sound quality cannot be faulted at this price-point!
For $49.99 the TruthEar X Crinacle Zero are a steal. Yes, these aren’t your beats or other low end earphones that push tons of bass into your ears, but what they do give you is really nice tonal balance allowing you to hear things you cannot with those cheap bass head phones. If you love music, and want to experience music without the middle frequencies being mdddied out with an overdose of bass, get yourself a pair! The overall value proposition of these is amazing, carrying case, nice selection of quality silicone eartips, exceptional detachable cable, and a crazy set of audiophile buds for a mere $49.99.
Disclaimer: I shared my personal take on a piece of audio equipment I purchased in order to help others who might want to know more before buying these themselves. I do not do audio reviews for a living, but I do feel with each additional audio equipment in my possesion my opinion and thoughts on audio equipment is growing will help you on your quest to better gear.
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