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Truthear Gate Review: Hola, New Hola
June 25, 2024 Andrew Cheng

It’s been a minute since we heard from acclaimed ChiFi brand Truthear. Its last offering we reviewed was the Truthear x Crinacle Zero Red, which we were quite fond of. Now, the brand is finally back again with a product that is…not completely new.

Enter the Truthear Gate, a budget IEM that retails from a modest $18.99 (about RM90) on Shenzhen Audio. In fact, it costs the same as the Hola, which is no coincidence as the Gate is meant to replace the Hola as Truthear’s entry-level IEM.

Right out of the gate (pun intended), the Gate shares the same shape and cable as its predecessor. But there are certainly some differences that give the new IEM its own identity, for better or worse.

What It Is

As mentioned above, the Truthear Gate is a replacement to the Hola, and several changes have been implemented to the new IEM. Just like the Hola, the Gate features a single dynamic driver, though it now a 10mm unit (instead of 11mm) that utilises a carbon LCP high-rigidity diaphragm.

Another change is to the build material of the Gate. Instead of the Hola’s more costly 3D-printed resin housing, the Gate features a shell made from decidedly more cost-efficient PC and ABS composite material. The faceplate has also been replaced with a transparent one that gives the IEM a simpler, more unique aesthetic.

Aside from that, the Gate’s 0.78mm 2-pin cable remains the same, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The cable feels nice and is quite resistant to tangles and microphonics.

In terms of packaging, the Gate comes in a minimalist box with Truthear’s anime “waifu” Shiroi printed on the front donning a pretty nice samurai outfit. Inside, you’ll find two sets of ear tips of wide and normal variety, the 2-pin oxygen-free copper cable, and the IEM. Oh, there’s also a pretty sweet faux-leather carrying pouch for you to take the Gate out the gates – okay, I promise this is the last pun.

Anyway, the Gate has a rather standard shape, with a nozzle that isn’t extra long or thick. Paired with the lightweight (albeit maybe too plasticky) construction, the IEM fits comfortably in my ears and is able to provide a good seal.

Now, as the Gate has a different dynamic driver than the Hola, it undoubtedly has a different sound signature; a change that may or may not be welcomed by fans of the latter IEM. I’ll elaborate in the next section.

How Does It Sound?

The Truthear Gate has a neutral-bright sound signature with slight sub-bass boost. There is good resolution and detail retrieval that exceeds an IEM of this price point, though this is not exactly surprising for a ChiFi anymore. Soundstage is also natural and open-sounding, with better width than depth.

While I have not personally tried out the Hola, there are plenty of reviews and impressions online that can give a good enough understanding of how the IEM sounds like. With that in mind, I can say with certainty that the Gate sounds noticeably brighter than the Hola. It’s also not as warm-sounding, which may be a dealbreaker to some folks as that was a trait of the Hola that many adored.

Bass

Despite its brighter disposition, the Gate’s low-end is still surprisingly textured and controlled. The sub-bass is also unexpectedly impactful with good enough rumble for general pop and R&B tracks, though I imagine bassheads will still be left wanting more.

Mids

As there is a slight recession in the mids of the Gate, it is not a particularly resolving IEM. There is slight warmth in male vocals, but note weight still errs on the thinner side. However, thanks to the energetic upper mids, female vocals sound great and crisp.

Highs

In this frequency range, the Gate has raised lower treble that might sound a bit hot on busier tracks, though it doesn’t get sibilant or too sharp, thankfully enough. I still wish the highs were smoother though, and the Gate’s extension is only decent.

Personally, I prefer a warmer sound signature with a bit more weight to the vocals. That being said, I’m surprised that the brighter, more detailed sound of the Gate proved to a rather pleasant listen to my ears, and it is a welcome change in my books.

Is It Worth It?

For an IEM that starts at only $18.99, the Truthear Gate is really not a bad buy, especially if you like brighter-sounding IEMs. With its affordable price tag, it can be a great daily driver or “beater” IEM. You can even add a microphone to the IEM for only $1 more. Value for money is the name of the game here, as it has always been for a ChiFi product.

It has to be said that the Gate isn’t so much a follow-up to the Hola as it is a spiritual successor. With a different driver and sound signature, the Gate is very much its own IEM, and if you’re keen to pick it up, you can do so over at Shenzhen Audio; the kind folks provided this review unit of the Gate.

Li Jin Soh contributed to this review.

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