Truthear Gate: Reviews and Impressions

Discussion in 'IEMs and Portable Gear' started by shotgunshane, Jun 23, 2024.

  1. shotgunshane

    shotgunshane Floridian Falcon

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    Truthear Gate
    MSRP: $18.99

    The unit reviewed here was provided by Shenzhen Audio
    https://shenzhenaudio.com/products/truthear-gate-dynamic-driver-in-ear-headphone


    Truthear is known for their bang for buck sound quality, and the Gate is their newest and most budget oriented set, replacing the discontinued Hola.

    IMG_1492.jpeg

    Where the Hola was an 11mm dynamic with LCP diaphragm, the Gate is a 10mm dynamic with carbon LCP diaphragm. Impedance and sensitivity are nearly the same between the two drivers. That being said, I do find the Gate to play slightly louder than the Hola at the same volume level on the same device.

    The shells between the old and new model are the exact same shape and size but the build has significantly changed: The Hola used the more expensive DLP 3D resin printing from HeyGears but the Gate has switched to a cheaper PC + ABS composite injection. The Gate glossy plastic shells do look and feel cheaper but not necessarily less robust when it comes to durability.

    IMG_1494.jpeg

    Where the Hola only came in black, the Gate comes in either black or white. The white version not only changes the black plastic to white on the shells, but the cable is all white too. You may notice that the lager of the two vents on the back of the housings open up straight into the inner cavity where the driver is located. This is the same as with the Hola but the Hola’s opaque faceplates makes this much less noticeable. Speaking of the Hola’s opaque faceplates, the Gate’s faceplates are completely clear, showcasing the driver, 2 pin connector and wires inside. The Gate logo on the clear faceplates can easily be mistaken for ‘Gato’ and it is indeed affectionately called Gato on a couple of Discord servers.

    While the Gate cable comes in black or white, it is the exact same cable as the all back Hola. This cable has long been a favorite on some of the same Discord servers. It’s decently soft and pliable with fairly minimal memory. It has small small Y-split and right angle plug and functional chin slider as well. The over-molded 2 pin connectors are a bit of a throwback to old BTG cables I used to be fond of many years ago. These 2 pin connecters work well with both flush and recessed housing connectors.

    The Gate also comes with the exact same tips as the Hola and I’m a fan of the stock wide bore tips; they’re very good. Although, where the relaxed nature of the Hola tuning really required wide bore tip usage, the Gate’s more lively tuning benefits from narrow bore tips, at least for my ears. I don’t find the stock narrow bore tips to be as good a quality as the wide bore stock tips, so I opted for Final E tips for best sound quality.

    While the cable and tips are quite good, as with the Hola the Gate does not come with a typical IEM case; rather it comes with a pleather styled pouch, which I left in the box and didn’t bother using. I guess you have to make concessions somewhere for an IEM under $20.


    Tuning and Hola Comparison

    graph.png


    Where the Hola was a warm and smooth, mid-centric signature, the Gato is more neutral and lively sounding. Aligning their measurements at 500Hz shows just a hair less bass, throughout the range, on the Gate. The much bigger difference is in the upper midrange (2-4k) and lower treble (4-8k), where the Gate is moderately boosted over the Hola. I’m sure this change will be polarizing to some listeners that prefer warmer, bassier, darker tunings. Where the Hola is kind of a ‘do-no-wrong’, ‘easy-to-enjoy' tuning, it does gloss over some details and is a bit pillowy in bass textures. The Gate has tighter, punchier bass and rock guitars have more bite and attack. Low level details are pulled out a bit more clearly and overall it just sounds cleaner and more transparent. That being said, the Gate can be just a touch hot in the upper midrange and transitions to lower treble for me, and this is where I found the Final E tips to really help. I have read about some using some mesh stick on filters from AliExpress to dampen this area but narrow bore tips really seem to do the trick on the Gate for me.

    [On most other IEMs, I find narrow bore tips to accentuate treble unevenness, even if the peaks are overall lower, and this regard, I find wide bore tips to normally be superior on most IEMs but the Gate is an exception to this.]

    For me, it’s really no contest, the Gate is the better tuned IEM. It’s more realistic sounding, more resolving and more accurate. While the Hola is easily pleasing with its warmer and darker tilt, it’s producing background music, not pulling you into the recording.


    7Hz Salnotes x Crinacle Zero:2
    MSRP: $24.99

    Gate-Zero2.png

    The Zero:2 sounds richer, more natural. Notes are weightier, thicker. Bass has more slam and rumble. Bass texturing is more nuanced, resolving. While the Gate sounds a little clearer and brighter, the Zero:2 has a bit better treble sparkle with more lifelike decay. Switching back and forth can make the Gate seem midcentric compared to the Zero:2, or the Zero:2 slightly more U shaped, whichever your perception happens to lean to at the moment. For my ears and gears, the Zero:2 is the best budget tuned IEM I’ve heard. This doesn’t take away from the really good tuning of the Gate, but for me, Zero:2 is next level, particularly with Divinus Velvet tips.

    My preferences aside, the Truthear Gate is a great budget option. You get a great cable and some very good tips to add to your tip arsenal. Frankly it’s amazing to me what you get sub $20 now-a-days. I’m adding the Truthear Gate to my recommendation list.
     
  2. dBel84

    dBel84 Friend

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    Being a geneticist, I love the GATG.

    And being near blind it is gate which makes much more sense
     
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    Last edited: Jun 23, 2024
  3. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    Dang, this is really amazing. It's nice to see DD IEMs with good frequency response. I am interested in the Zero:2. Curious how these budget IEM compare against most expensive DD IEMs.

    The sad thing is hardly anybody I know wants these. They all want AirPod Pros.
     
  4. YMO

    YMO Chief Fun Officer

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    AirPods Pros Second Gen is really good for what it is IMO. It's what I use mot of the time for IEM usage if I have to be honest. Second Gen really blows the first gen out of the water.
     
  5. JK47

    JK47 Friend

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    Interestingly enough my 1st gen self destructed. Hadn't been used in 6 months and went to use them... wicked whistling and crackling in right channel. Tried updating firmware to no avail. I like Apple products, but I'm convinced they are designed to fail, iPhone batteries etc.
     
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  6. haywood

    haywood Friend

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    They had a repair extension program, that’s probably over but can’t hurt to check.

    https://support.apple.com/airpods-pro-service-program-sound-issues
     
  7. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    The thread title made me think there was another audio scandal
     
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  8. Lyander

    Lyander Official SBAF Equitable Empathizer

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    Had the Zero 2s for a bit before giving them to family. They definitely needed burn-in cuz they were painful to listen to out of the box, headache-inducing. It sounded a bit like the whole soundscape had a bit of that crumpled paper Instagram filter overlaid, but that did clear up with time. Doesn't feel like it ever fully went away but I'll have to borrow them to make sure.

    Overall it's wtf good for the price, and I do think that the value proposition of more expensive single-DD designs from years past may be worth re-examining, though my only point of comparison right now is the ER2XR and I have to concede that that somehow still does some things better, namely in terms of having a cohesive sound, less strange timbre, and non-fatiguing voicing (with very deep insertion). The price difference and the fact that the Etymotics use a weird keyed MMCX connector are big points against them though.

    From what I can tell, @shotgunshane, the consensus then appears to be "get the Zero:2 if it's in budget, but this is fine if not"?
     
  9. joch

    joch Friend

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    I concur that the Zero 2 is a good buy. It’s my bedside IEM that I don’t mind crushing if I fall asleep. They’re also comfortable enough for falling asleep in. The only thing I can complain about are the cables, which can be a little uncomfortable if not worn just right.

    I’m wondering if upgraded cables would improve the sound…I’ll see if I can find some spares. I can’t believe these cost less than third party IEM cables.


    Edited: dang auto corrections
     
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    Last edited: Jun 24, 2024
  10. 9suns

    9suns [insert unearned title here]

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    I own the Truthear Hola since over a year ago, and it is excellent. Smooth, no treble nastiness, bass a bit boosted but the mids not overly blurred. I use them from the 3.5mm jack of my android phone, so nothing fancy, just practical and in line with the 20 eur price of the IEM.

    I was surprised at first because they were....listenable and normal sounding, which is quite a rare sight. Couldn't care less about technicalities and detail if it comes with all sorts of tonal and frequency response aberrations. For reference, I prefer my old JBL LSR305 studio monitors over most headphone setups because of the textural smoothness of the soft dome tweeter. Despite the missing plankton and detail, it just sounds much more natural and correct to me than, let's say your average planar headphone. The Hola doesn't reach that level of effortlessness and smoothness but that's impossible because of surface area alone, so can't ask it to do that.

    Overall, I'm very pleased with them. They are a bargain at 20 bucks IMO.

    PS: as always, terrible pictures or it didn't happen \/

    IMG20240624205408.jpg IMG20240624205517.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2024
  11. killthrash

    killthrash New

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    Got the Gate a few days ago. Very impressed for something under $20. I've been out of the IEM game since 2006, wanted to try something in the budget range. Nice grab-and-go set I don't have to worry about.
     
  12. zerodeefex

    zerodeefex SBAF's Imelda Marcos

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    As someone who bought the zero:2 on your rec @shotgunshane and have been loving it, I’m picking this up, too. Thank you!
     
  13. AdvanTech

    AdvanTech Friend

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    If you have an iPhone IEMs really have to bring Jesus Christ back to even be considered vs the complete package of AirPods Pro 2, IMO. Noise canceling vs transparency mode, being able to take calls, no wires, no DAC nor amp needed, much improved SQ vs gen 1, not 4-figures, etc.

    I don't think it's sad at all because AirPods cleared the way for me to be able to focus on 2-ch. If it enables others in similar ways (assuming they are in a living situation where it's possible to focus on a speaker rig) then I think that's a win.
     
  14. Priidik

    Priidik MOT: Estelon

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    Wireless done well is great for utility. Sound wise it is very competent and on surface tends to outperform wired as full system for the money.

    STILL, I miss something even cheapo wired do.
    Still have the original Sansa Clip with RE-00s.
    There is some immediacy lost in wireless - hard to describe, since there is no analogy.
    Somthing like going from Tidal to real music files on hdd - but this one only rears its head in hi end system.

    Makes me consider the only solid phone with headphone plug for next phone.

    @shotgunshane a thread for great value amp/dac dongles would be great - unless I have missed it.
    What is your favorite today, say sub 200 $?
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2024 at 3:40 AM
  15. Jinxy245

    Jinxy245 Vegan Puss

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  16. shotgunshane

    shotgunshane Floridian Falcon

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    My personal favorite is the Bluetooth Qudelix 5k for its fantastic PEQ implementation. Otherwise I tend to stick with the Apple dongle for simplicity and lightweight convenience.
     

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