Current testing methodology is v1.2
January 6, 2023
4.06 x 3.98 x 1.14 in
I’ll be honest – when I ordered the Truthear HOLA, I already had a couple of more expensive IEMs that I use more frequently.
So when I received them, they just lay on my desk, waiting for the day I’d give them a go.
I wasn’t expecting to be pleasantly surprised with them because of my previous experience with some of the best budget IEMs out there such as the Moondrop CHU, Tangzu Wan’er, and the CCA CRA.
However, I wasn’t prepared for what I got to hear when I first put these on. It’s safe to say that the old benchmark of the Moondrop CHU has been left behind in the dust.
An excellent all-rounder for $20.
The Truthear HOLA is a neutral-tuned $20 IEM with a bit of a bass boost.
The bass is punchy and powerful but the HOLA is no slouch in the mids either. The treble, on the other hand, could use a bit more extension.
The build is made of 3D-printed plastic, which feels extremely light but also feels a bit cheap. The faceplate is painted metal, so at least they’ll never look cheap in your ears.
The fit is excellent as they’re small but if your ear canal is sensitive, it may hurt a bit if inserted too deep. As usual, the accessories from Truthear are excellent, and you’ll get your money’s worth.
The Truthear HOLA makes for a very comfortable listening experience with a bit of a darker treble and powerful bass which is great for lengthy and fatigue-free listening sessions. I could give them a blind recommendation for most people.
- 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)
- Plug Type: 3.5 mm
- Connector: 0.78mm 2 pin
What’s in the Box?
- Truthear HOLA earphones
- Anti-tangle oxygen-free copper cable
- 3 x pairs of ear tips (S, M, L) (Wide Bore)
- 3 x pairs of ear tips (S, M, L) (Narrow Bore)
- 1 pair of foam ear tips (M)
- Soft leather magnetic pouch
- User guide
- Warranty card
Stuff I like
- Crisp and clear sound for the mids
- Powerful and punchy bass
- Non-fatiguing treble
- Very easy to drive
- Good accessories
- Excellent price-to-performance ratio
Stuff I like less
- The build feels a bit cheap
- Can hurt ears if inserted incorrectly
- Treble could use a bit more extension
- Detail retrieval is weak
- Imaging and soundstage could be improved
A Bit of Background
Launched in 2022, Truthear is still a relatively new company and it’s surprising to see them with successful consecutive releases.
Last year they released the $70 Truthear Hexa and the $50 Truthear X Crinacle Zero – both of which were received exceptionally well by audio enthusiasts.
The Truthear HOLA proves itself to be no exception to this rule and has become one of the most popular options in the $20 budget range.
Equipped with a single 11mm Dynamic driver, you’d have to do something exceptional to stand out from the crowd, and the Truthear HOLA rises up to the challenge.
First of all, yes, the packaging box of the Truthear HOLA follows the generic anime waifu marketing that so many IEMs are using these days.
Luckily or unluckily (depending on who you ask), we don’t get the full waifu on the cover, so there’s that.
Upon opening the box, I was greeted with an assortment of accessories. There’s a nice little leather pouch that’s a bit too tight for its own good but makes for a good pouch regardless.
You’ll also receive the standard Truthear earbud plaque adorned with six pairs of rubber tips in small, medium, and large sizes. There’s also a medium-sized pair of foam tips.
Needless to say, this definitely feels like it belongs inside the packaging of a more expensive set.
My first listen was fairly pleasant, but the thing that stood out to me was how much punchier the bass sounded compared to my Truthear Zero. That was a complaint I had with the bass impact, and the Truthear HOLA really left me impressed in that department.
I listened to various tracks from different genres for a while, going from glitch pop to prog rock to EDM, trying to find a genre where these IEMs would fail.
To my surprise, that never really happened.
The Truthear HOLA proved itself to be a powerful all-rounder for the majority of music genres. This makes it one of the best cheap IEMs to recommend for casual listeners.
The build quality of the Truthear HOLA is excellent if I’m just talking about the wires.
The jack is a standard right-angle 3.5mm pin connected to a twisted black vinyl cable that feels durable. This is probably the best cable at this price bracket.
However, the IEM shell, as I stated earlier, is made with 3D printing technology that gives the finish a bit of a layered and unclean look. The material is also pretty light, so it gives off an almost cheap plastic-ey feeling.
Luckily, the faceplate helps make up for this lackluster appearance.
The metal-painted faceplate features a pretty hexagonal design with a snowflake in the middle, giving it the overall appearance of a web from afar. Needless to say, they look good when plugged into your ears.
Fit and Comfort
If you’re used to larger IEMs, you’ll be surprised by how neatly the Truthear HOLA slot into your ears because of their small shape and non-intrusive nozzle.
The fit is excellent and provides a decent amount of isolation.
The comfort could use a bit more improvement in my opinion. For an IEM designed around lengthy listening sessions, they require a bit of fiddling to figure out a comfortable angle for extended usage.
Slotting them in too tightly, I learned that after some 20-30 minutes, it would start hurting my ears. That might be an issue with my own ear shape, but if you’re someone with small or sensitive ears, you’ll have to adjust them a bit.
As usual, I’ll review the sound quality while disregarding the price to give my honest impression.
You can check out my Last.FM here to get an idea of the kind of music I listen to.
As I mentioned before, the bass has a kick to it that makes music sound a lot more lively.
There’s a good extension and emphasis on the bass, although not to the point of feeling bloated or unbalanced.
The bass notes have good depth to them, and while not very wide, they offer decent dynamics and a fun rumble. I’d like the bass to have a bit more texture to it and be produced at a faster pace, similar to the Truthear Zero.
Overall, despite my complaints, the performance is quite good if you want a fun bass that’s sufficient for all genres.
Just note that this approach to bass is more quality-oriented than quantity-oriented so bass heads may be disappointed.
The midrange on the Truthear HOLA feels a bit warm for the most part, especially on the lower end.
This gives a lot more feeling to acoustic instruments. It’s probably the only part of the tuning that has coloring to it.
With all the emphasis on bass, you’d imagine it would bleed into the mids and muddy up the clarity but that’s not the case. Besides the lower mids being a tinge recessed, they’re transparent and clear throughout, making for a very natural listening experience with natural timbre.
Due to the warm tuning, the overall separation and layering can be a bit blurred sometimes, but this can often benefit music with intimate vocals. There appears to be a bit of a gap between the high midrange and lower treble, making the transitions feel a bit muted.
If I described the mids as slightly warm, I’d describe the treble as darker.
The Truthear HOLA opts for a treble that’s geared towards avoiding peakiness and providing a non-fatiguing experience.
The highs aren’t muted, but they’re much more controlled than other IEMs with sparkly treble, such as the Moondrop CHU. This can result in some instruments and female vocals sounding less energetic.
The lack of treble extension also results in less detail retrieval, and you may still experience some peaks on very specific frequencies. However, for the most part, it produces most of the sound the average listener needs to care for without putting you through painful peaks.
If you’re someone who’s treble-sensitive and despises sibilance, then the Truthear HOLA is right up your alley but those who love treble may be disappointed.
General Sound Comments
Overall, I’d say that the Truthear HOLA has a neutral tuning with a slight V-shape and a darker treble. This sort of tuning, while not very bold or ambitious, makes it perfect for most genres of music.
The tuning isn’t trying to do anything new. The Truthear HOLA simply aims to provide an overall well-balanced experience on a budget, which it has achieved.
The soundstage is just a small box around your head (which is standard for this price), and the imaging isn’t too impressive. However, the dynamics from the bass can still make the listening experience quite fun.
The sound isolation is pretty decent, and leakage isn’t really an issue, even at the highest volumes.
The Truthear HOLA is very easy to drive but if you want to explore everything it has to offer, then I’d suggest using an amplifier to experience what its bass and soundstage can really do.
However, I don’t generally recommend amps for budget gears because that’s counterintuitive to what you’re looking for. Amplifying the volume too much will muddy up the upper range, so I’d really suggest keeping them at a medium volume for the most clarity in your music.
The point of a budget IEM is to be easy to use for casual listeners, and that’s exactly what the Truthear HOLA provides.
The modern IEM market is full of new options, especially for entry-level products. However, a lot of them tend to lean in one direction or the other.
The Truthear Hola is a jack of all trades satisfying a specific niche.
The main quality I’d like to emphasize is its versatility and consistency, providing a pleasant performance for every genre. If you’re looking for a cheap set for lengthy listening sessions or a nice gift to get someone, then I can’t recommend the Truthear HOLA enough.
The Truthear HOLA’s all-rounder performance should be considered the new benchmark for $20 IEMs, and it’s safe for me to say that it has surpassed the Moondrop CHU.
An audio lover currently enrolled in university and writing about my hobbies in my free time.
You're guaranteed to find me testing out a new piece of audio equipment while going about my everyday life.
This post was last updated on 2023-12-02 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.