Truthear HOLA Review

Truthear HOLA review featured

In today’s article, I’m reviewing a budget IEM, the Truthear HOLA. The HOLA features 11mm composite liquid crystal diaphragm dynamic drivers and resin shells. It’s priced at $19.

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 HOLA Review
Verdict
While not a game-changer, the Truthear HOLA can be added to the list of great-value IEMs.
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Pros
Build quality and fit
High-quality detachable cable
Non-fatiguing sound signature
Cons
Lacks dynamics and contrast
Softened treble response
Soundstage lacks depth
4
Our Score

Truthear HOLA

Specifications
  • Driver: 11mm Dynamic Driver
  • Diaphragm: PU Suspension+LCP Dome Composite Diaphragm
  • Impedance: 28Ω±15%@1kHz
  • Sensitivity 120dB/Vrms @1kHz
  • THD: THD≤0.1% @1kHz(94dB)
  • Frequency response: 8-46kHz (IEC61094, Free Field)
  • Effective Frequency Response: 20-20kHz (IEC60318-4, -3dB)
  • Price: $19

Design

The Truthear HOLA has matte black acrylic shells with a smooth finish. They’re lightweight but feel robust in the hand. A geometric pattern of dotted lines adorns the faceplates. The 2-pin sockets are recessed into the surface.

The stock cable is one of the best I’ve seen in this price range. It’s slightly thick but supple and doesn’t get tangled.

HOLA stock cable

Sound

Gear used for testing includes the xDuoo Link2 Bal, Topping E70/L70 stack and Shanling M0 Pro.

After sampling the Truthear HOLA IEMs, I was taken aback by their sound quality, especially when considering their modest price tag. It’s worth noting that HOLA performs best with an adequately powerful source; Yes, you can use these straight out of a smartphone, but you’ll get the best results with a good dongle DAC, or even better, a dedicated DAP or amplifier.

What the HOLA does, it does well. But it’s important to keep in mind the price – I’m a lot more forgiving on ultra-budget IEMs than I am on entry to high-tier products. So, while HOLA performs well for a $19 earphone, it does have several shortcomings, namely, a lack of dynamics, a lacklustre bass response and a rolled-off treble.

Truthear HOLA frequency response
Bass

The HOLA’s bass response is noteworthy, with a taut and speedy delivery that prioritizes depth and resonance over excessive quantity. Bass-heavy instruments like electric drums, bass guitars, and synthesizers all benefit from attention to detail, which contributes to an immersive and unified listening experience. However, the bass lacks overall impact and texture.

Midrange

Shifting to the midrange, the HOLA showcases a mild U-shaped sound signature, with a subtle dip that facilitates texture and transparency. Female vocals are enchanting and sugary, while male vocals are weighted enough and have nuance.

Percussive components like tom drums are melancholic and rich, while the snare drums are snappy and impactful. The HOLA’s single dynamic driver captures the piano’s timbre yet presents it with a mellow tonality.

Truthear HOLA with Shanling UP4
Treble

In terms of treble response, the HOLA takes a cautious approach with a well-balanced and polished tuning that avoids any piercing or sibilant notes. While it might lack the soaring brightness and sparkle of higher-end models, the HOLA’s treble still provides adequate resolution, making instruments such as cymbals and percussive elements stand out.

The lack of sibilance and harshness make the HOLA an excellent option for those who are treble-sensitive. Nevertheless, those who prefer a more vivacious and dynamic treble response may find the HOLA’s tonality too understated.

Soundstage and Technical Performance

The soundstage is fairly large but it lacks depth. It sounds rather 2-dimensional which makes imaging vague and indistinct. Instrument separation is good but a lack of dynamics makes the HOLA sound a bit flat.

Comparison

Salnotes Zero with box
7Hz Zero
HOLA  vs Zero
Truthear HOLA (red) vs 7Hz Zero (black).

The 7Hz Zero (review here) is more neutral than the HOLA. It has less bass quantity but its bass notes have better definition and speed. Zero’s midrange is leaner and more etched compared to the HOLA’s smoothed and softened midrange notes.

Zero has crisper transients and better spacing, in addition to having better detail retrieval and imaging. Although its stage isn’t as wide as the HOLA, the 7Hz has a more stable centre image and precise treble.

To my ears, the 7Hz Zero is more engaging and exciting compared to the soft, overly-safe tuning of the HOLA. I find both IEMs comfortable but the Zero has slightly better passive noise isolation. Both have good stock cables and build quality.

Truthear HOLA faceplate

Verdict

In conclusion, the Truthear HOLA IEMs are a good value proposition that delivers tidy and tight bass, transparent midrange, and a sleek and well-balanced treble response.

The single dynamic driver performs well across various music genres and instrument types, providing a gratifying listening experience that belies its budget price. While it may not be the most intricate or nuanced IEM on the market, the HOLA’s price more than makes up for its few shortcomings, making it an excellent option for budget-conscious audiophiles.


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GoneToPlaid
GoneToPlaid
11 months ago

The Hola replaces the discontinued Mele as my favorite “chill pill” IEM to listen to when I am tired or when I have begun to experience some listening fatigue with my other IEMs.

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