Truthear Gate Review – Great

Truthear Gate review featured

In this article, I’m reviewing the Truthear Gate IEM. Gate has a 10mm carbon LCP dynamic driver and clear acrylic faceplates. It’s priced at $19.

The Truthear Gate is currently on pre-sale and will be available from June 15.

Disclaimer: This sample was provided by Shenzhen Audio for an honest review. All observations and opinions here are my own, based on my experience with the product.

Truthear Gate Review – Great
Verdict
The Truthear Gate is another great budget IEM.
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Pros
Mature, refined tuning
Inoffensive highs
Sub-bass depth
Clarity and detail retrieval
Cons
Dry, raspy treble
Lower mids are a bit thin
4.5
Our Score

Truthear Gate

Specifications

Driver: 10mm Dynamic Driver
Diaphragm Material: Carbon LCP Dome Composite Ultra-thin PU Diaphragm
Impedance: 28Ω±15%@1kHz
Sensitivity: 122dB/Nrms@1KHz
Total Harmonic Distortion: THD≤1%@1kHz (94dB)
Frequency Response Range: 10-45kHz (IEC61094, Free Field)
Effective Frequency Response Range: 20-20KHz (IEC60318-4, -3dB)

In the Box
  • Truthear Gate IEMs
  • Detachable 0.78mm 2-pin OFC cable
  • 6* pairs of silicone eartips
  • Vinyl carrying pouch
Truthear Gate IEMs with box

Design

You can see the Truthear Gate’s design roots when you look at its predecessor, the Truthear Hola. Although the external shell shape remains largely the same, Gate features a reduced weight and enhancements to the acoustic chamber. And, of course, the other major difference is the new clear faceplates that give you an unobscured view of the internal components and wiring.

Gate stock cable

I was also happy to note that Gate’s cable is the same one that came with the Hola. It’s a twisted cable with a glossy black sheath that is both supple and tangle-resistant. It’s still one of the best stock cables you’ll find with an ultra-budget IEM.

Sound

Gear used for testing includes the FX Audio DR07, the Shanling UP4 2022 and the HiBy R3 II. Gate is an efficient IEM and doesn’t require a powerful source.

When it comes to the sound signature, Gate has a light V-shaped sound signature. It’s reasonably neutral across the board but with some added pinna gain and a sub-bass boost. The result is a mature tuning that’s cohesive and easy on the ears. It’s a serious IEM – almost reference in its demeanour but the little colourations in the tuning add a touch of character and warmth.

Bass

The enhanced sub-bass gives Gate a hint of playfulness in its otherwise disciplined nature. This bass packs a punch and brings a touch of fun, but even with the pronounced mid-bass, the stage stays surprisingly open. This openness is partly a result of the driver’s agility and rapid decay, along with the added pinna gain that adds clarity and definition.

Midrange

The midrange is neutral in note size, with a hint of body added from the bass. It sounds clean and spacious, with a touch of added brightness from the upper-midrange lift, yet it remains smooth. Vocal presentation is emphasized, with vocals rising upwards out of the mix with clarity and articulation. However, it’s not all about the upper mids, as male vocals are also sufficiently rich and dense, even if not the most powerful.

Inner side of Gate's shells
Treble

Much like the midrange, Gate’s treble leans toward a neutral presentation. This is both a gift and a curse; on one hand, the treble is smooth and free of harshness, but on the other, it sounds a bit dry and lacks radiance.

Clarity and detail are impressive without edging into brightness. The treble could benefit from a touch more sparkle to add excitement to the overall sound signature. However, considering the price, this is a minor quibble rather than a serious criticism.

Soundstage & Technicalities

Despite having a somewhat laid-back treble, Gate creates an impressively wide soundstage. It’s not the most 3D-holographic experience in terms of imaging but at this price, I’m not complaining. The overall resolution is good for a budget IEM but doesn’t match higher-priced models.

Comparisons

7Hz Salnotes Zero

The 7Hz Salnotes Zero (review here) has less bass emphasis but otherwise closely follows the Gate’s frequency response. This results in a leaner tone for the Zero while simultaneously bringing the midrange and treble more forward.

Zero boasts an even more spacious and resolving midrange, pushing vocals forward in the mix. However, this clarity comes at a cost: male vocals may sound thinner compared to the Gate’s fuller presentation.

Zero’s treble brings a boost in energy compared to the Gate. It delivers a brighter soundscape with a touch of sparkle and brilliance, whereas the Gate’s treble can sound dry and even a bit scratchy. The 7Hz has a slightly narrower stage but more precise imaging.

ZiiGaat Nuo

The ZiiGaat Nuo (review here) and Gate are (perhaps unsurprisingly) extremely similar in their frequency response. The main difference is in their upper treble tuning where the Nuo peaks earlier around 9kHz-10kHz compared to above 12kHz on the Gate.

Nuo hits a bit harder in the bass, carrying slightly more weight and authority. It also has a tad extra fullness in the lower midrange compared to the Gate, giving male vocals more power and string instruments a richer tone.

The Nuo’s treble has more density and airiness compared to the Gate. It’s like looking at a plain doughnut compared to a glazed one; much like how the glazed doughnut catches the eye with its enticing gleam and specular highlights, the Nuo’s treble stands out with its added depth and sparkle.

Verdict

So, is the Truthear Gate a good IEM and a worthy successor to the Hola? I’d say yes on both accounts. Moreover, I’d say it joins the (quickly growing) current list of top ultra-budget IEMs. Having said that, it’s easy to see why the Gate deserves our recommended award.

Recommended award

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