The TRUTHEAR x Crinacle ZERO are the first pair of in-ear monitors (IEMs) designed collaboratively by TRUTHEAR, a newcomer among Chi-Fi (Chinese High-Fidelity) manufacturers, and high-profile audiophile and IEM tuning expert Crinacle. They're designed to provide audiophile-quality sound at a more wallet-friendly price than in-ears from more established manufacturers. Their sound profile is tuned with the Harman 2019 IEM target curve in mind, aided by a design that makes the most of two dynamic drivers.
The TRUTHEAR x Crinacle ZERO are decent for neutral sound. They have an exciting sound profile, with over-emphasized bass and a clear and bright treble range. The dual-driver design has one driver dedicated just to bass, so this range has plenty of boom and slam - a great match for electronic, hip-hop, and beat-heavy music. Their excellent treble and mid accuracy ensures that female vocals, cymbals, and sibilants have plenty of presence. However, this comes at the expense of the low-mid, which sounds a little thinned out compared to the powerful bass response. Like most IEMs, their passive soundstage performance is lacking, and they struggle to create an immersive stereo image.
The TRUTHEAR ZERO are middling headphones for commuting and travel use. The passive isolation provided by their in-ear design does very little to block out low-frequency sounds like engine rumble. They come with a carrying pouch to help keep your cables tangle-free, but it won't protect the buds from substantive damage. On the upside, they have a comfortable fit and leak almost no audio, so people around you won't hear what you're listening to.
The TRUTHEAR x Crinacle ZERO are okay for sports and fitness use, although they're not designed with this in mind. They're comfortable, lightweight, and stable enough to stay in place during moderately intense head movements. However, they lack an IP rating for protection against water and dust, while their wired design means it's easy to get the cable snagged on something while in motion.
The TRUTHEAR x Crinacle ZERO are sub-par for office use. They're comfortable enough for long listening sessions and can isolate you from noise like office chatter and the hum of computer fans. However, they lack a mic, so you'll need to purchase a standalone mic or a replacement cable with an integrated mic if you want to use them for calls or virtual meetings.
The TRUTHEAR x Crinacle ZERO are wired IEMs; you can't use them wirelessly. That said, you can always pick up an adapter that will allow you to use them wirelessly separately. They don't come with a mic, so if you want to game with others, you'll need a standalone mic or a replacement cable with an integrated mic.
The TRUTHEAR x Crinacle ZERO IEM are mediocre gaming headphones. Their strong bass response adds realism to sounds like explosions, and their detailed mids and highs make dialogue and environmental audio sound natural. However, they don't have an integrated mic, so you'll need a standalone microphone to communicate with your teammates. Like most IEMs, they also have a poor passive soundstage performance. While you'll hear footsteps and other audio cues coming from the left or right, it can be tricky to locate them more precisely.
The TRUTHEAR x Crinacle ZERO are IEMs with no mic built into their design. If you want to use them for calls, you'll need to use a standalone mic or purchase an audio cable with an in-line mic. They also struggle to passively isolate you from low-frequency noise like the low rumble of car engines. They do a decent job of reducing sounds like background chatter, though, so they could be suitable for taking calls in a busy office environment.
The TRUTHEAR x Crinacle ZERO IEM come in one colorway: blue and black. There's also another pair of IEMs called the TRUTHEAR x Crinacle ZERO: RED, which come in a black and red colorway and have a slightly different sound profile. If you encounter another variant of these headphones, please let us know in the forums, and we'll update our review.
The TRUTHEAR ZERO are the first pair of IEMs produced by this manufacturer in collaboration with Crinacle. Their budget-conscious price and dynamic sound make them popular within the audiophile community. They pack a lot of punch and thump in the low end, but if you're looking for a pair of affordable IEMs with more balanced bass, it's worth trying the MOONDROP Aria. Their sound profile follows our Harman-adapted curve well. They also sport a sleek metal design. The collaboration between TRUTHEAR and Crinacle has also yielded another IEM: the TRUTHEAR x Crinacle ZERO:RED. This model has a similar wired, dual-driver design but with a more balanced sound and distinctive red finish. The RED also come with a 10-ohm impedance adapter that can boost the bass, a feature that the original ZERO lacks.
The TRUTHEAR x Crinacle ZERO and the MOONDROP Aria are both wired audiophile IEMs that are good for neutral sound. The MOONDROP feature a single-driver design and have a more balanced bass than the dual-driver TRUTHEAR, with their dedicated sub-bass driver. However, the MOONDROP's treble performance is recessed and lacking in detail compared to the TRUTHEAR. Both feature sleek designs with a detachable audio cable, but depending on personal preference, you might opt for the metal construction on the MOONDROP over the TRUTHEAR's plastic resin design.
The MOONDROP Blessing 3 are better in-ears for neutral listening than the TRUTHEAR x Crinacle ZERO. These premium IEMs feature a hybrid driver design with two 10mm dynamic and four balanced armature drivers. As a result, they have an extremely balanced sound across the board. They also have a better build quality, better noise isolation, and a high-quality case, so they're more suitable as an on-the-go option. That said, fans of a bass-heavy sound will likely prefer the TRUTHEAR's over-emphasized bass response.
The 7HZ Timeless and the TRUTHEAR x Crinacle ZERO are both IEMs designed with neutral sound in mind. Depending on your preferences, you might opt for one over the other. The 7HZ feature a single planar driver that delivers extremely accurate bass and mids with a veiled treble response. By contrast, the TRUTHEAR feature a dual-driver design with an over-emphasized bass and prominent treble. The TRUTHEAR are the slightly more comfortable of the two, though, so they're a better choice for longer listening sessions.
The TRUTHEAR x Crinacle ZERO and the Razer Moray are wired, dual-driver IEMs designed for different uses, and their features reflect this. The Razer are geared towards streamers and content creators that need all-day comfort, and as such, they have a more comfortable fit than the TRUTHEAR. They also reproduce sound differently, using an armature driver to ensure that speech and dialogue reproduce in detail. Their sound profile boosts the high-mids and treble range for the same reason, but this adds a harsh, hollow quality to mixes. As a result, the TRUTHEAR are a better choice for neutral sound.
The TRUTHEAR ZERO have a smooth, teardrop-shaped design made from 3D-printed resin. They have a black base and a deep blue, iridescent exterior. They feature a detachable, braided audio cable, meaning you can swap them out based on your preferences. These buds also have a dual dynamic driver design, with one 10mm driver that reproduces bass frequencies and another 7.8mm driver that handles the mid and treble ranges. This combination ensures that mixes have ample boom in sub-bass frequencies while maintaining mid-range clarity and treble-range sparkle.
The TRUTHEAR ZERO have a comfortable fit. They come with a wide range of silicone and foam tips of different sizes. They're lightweight, and the cable wraps around your ears to provide a stable fit. While the shape is ergonomic and can give the impression of being molded to your ear, it's worth checking out the Razer Moray if you're looking for a more natural fit that will suit a variety of ear sizes.
These buds are extremely portable. They won't take up much space in your bag or pocket and come with a carrying pouch to store them when they're not in use.
The included pouch is of decent quality. It's made from faux leather with a velvety, multi-fiber material lining the interior. It doesn't offer much protection against drops or bumps but helps keep the buds from getting lost and prevents the cable from getting tangled. The pouch is secured via two clasps that don't feel as secure as a zipper design.
Their build quality is good. The plastic body and braided cable are of good quality and feel durable. However, the foam tips don't feel as high quality as the silicone ones. They also started to tear and fall apart after minimal use. If you prefer foam tips and have a pair you've used in the past, it could be worth switching out the default foam tips and using your own instead. The pins that attach the cable to the buds themselves are also prone to breaking if they're not properly taken care of. However, it's easy to swap out the cable for any other one with two-pin 0.78mm connectors.
These buds have a very stable fit. When using the right size tips for your ears, they won't move around too much during moderate head movements. The wrap-around cable design also helps keep them secured around your ear. It's possible to snag the cable on something while doing more intense movements, like headbanging, but the two-pin connector will detach before the buds get yanked out of your ears.
The TRUTHEAR ZERO are designed to follow the Harman 2019 target curve for IEMs, so it also follows our Harman-based target curve well. Their exciting sound excels at reproducing rumbly low-bass and long, boomy kicks. It's likely due to the ZERO's dual driver design, with a larger dynamic driver responsible for the lows and a smaller dynamic driver reproducing mid and high frequencies. The entire treble range is also slightly over-emphasized, meaning the low-mids often sound slightly hollow compared to the exaggerated bass and treble.
These IEMs have outstanding frequency response consistency. Once you find a good fit with the right ear tips, you'll get consistent audio delivery across different listening sessions.
These in-ears have decent bass accuracy. The response is overemphasized across the entire bass range but features a particularly prominent peak in the mid-bass that adds boom and slam to bass-range instruments. There's also a slight roll-off in the high-bass, likely due to the crossover from the sub-bass driver to the mid-high driver. As a result, lower frequency sounds, like the kicks and bass synth in songs like Kaytranada's 10%, sound more punchy than boomy.
They have excellent mid accuracy, and the response is fairly neutral across the entire range. However, the lower part of this frequency range is slightly thinned out compared to the overemphasized bass range, meaning there's a minor loss of definition in guitar and piano chords. There's also a slightly boosted response in the high-mid that ensures vocals and lead instruments are intense and clear. In songs like Sunset by Caroline Polachek, the lead vocal is present and detailed, while the nylon guitar strums sound slightly hollow and muted in comparison.
The treble accuracy is amazing. The entire range is slightly overemphasized, and the additional treble adds a nice presence and sparkle to vocals. There's a small peak in the mid-treble that adds a pleasant sizzle to percussive accents like open hi-hats. However, this can also cause sibilants and cymbals to sound a bit piercing sometimes. Overall, the treble range sounds bright and detailed without being fatiguing.
These in-ears have very good peaks and dips performance, so they follow their own sound profile quite well. The largest peak occurs in the mid-bass, which adds boominess to kicks and the lower octaves of instruments. There's also a slight dip in the low-mids, likely when the 7.8mm driver is activated, and this causes snares to lose some punch. Finally, there's some general unevenness in the highs and high-mid that causes cymbals and sibilants to sound a little piercing, especially in busy mixes.
These IEMs' imaging performance is excellent. Our unit's L/R drivers are well-matched in group delay, phase response, amplitude, and frequency. There's a slight bump in the phase mismatch in the mid-mid that causes vocals and instruments to sound wider and more expansive on the right side, but this is difficult to notice using regular, real-life content. Imaging performance varies between units, but this is a promising sign that TRUTHEAR, as a relatively young manufacturer, may produce headphones with quality control and ergonomics in mind in the future.
These buds have a very bad passive soundstage performance, but this is normal, given their in-ear design. A hallmark of good soundstage is the ability to create an immersive stereo image that sounds like it's coming from around you rather than in your head. For this to happen, sound waves must resonate with your outer ear, which is impossible with a design that only engages your ear canal. As a result, these IEMs have a sound that's closed-off and unnatural. If you use these earbuds for gaming, you'll hear environmental sounds, like footsteps, to the right or left but won't locate them any more precisely than this.
The weighted harmonic distortion performance is great. The response falls within good levels, even at higher listening volumes, and the resulting audio is clean and pure.
These are the settings used to test these headphones. Our results are only valid when used in this configuration.
The TRUTHEAR ZERO's noise isolation performance is acceptable. These IEMs don't have an ANC feature, and their in-ear design means that any isolation is provided passively through the seal they create in your ear canal. They block almost no low-frequency noise, like engine rumbles if you're on the go, but they do a better job of cutting out higher-frequency sounds like office chatter and fridge hum.
The leakage performance is superb. Most leakage is concentrated in the bass range, meaning audio bleed is full-bodied. That said, the amount of escaping audio is very low, and others won't hear what you're listening to, even if you listen at very high volumes.
These buds come with a detachable braided audio cable. There's no integrated mic, but you can purchase a cable with a mic separately.
These IEMs are compatible with PCs via their AUX cable. There's no mic, though.
These buds only support audio when plugged into your PlayStation controller's AUX port via the included audio cable.
These headphones only support audio when connecting their 1/8" TRS cable to your Xbox console's controller. If you want to send audio in addition to receiving it, you'll have to use an external microphone.