Truthear Hola Review
INTRODUCTION AND DISCLAIMER:
The Truthear Hola is an in-ear monitor (IEM) featuring detachable cables and one 11mm dynamic driver per housing. The Hola retails for $18.99 at ShenzhenAudio. ShenzhenAudio sent me a unit in exchange for my impressions.
I have used the Truthear Hola with the following sources:
- Qudelix 5K
- Hidizs S9
- Truthear Shio
- Apple Dongle
I tested these headphones with local FLAC and Spotify Premium. Visit my last.fm page to get an idea of what I listen to:
XenosBroodLord’s Library | Last.fm
PACKAGING AND ACCESSORIES:
The Hola comes in a small grey cardboard package with a white slipcover. The slipcover features the anime mascot “Shiroi” on the front face and details the Hola’s technical specifications on the rear face. The rear face of the slipcover also features the Hola’s frequency response graph. The text on the packaging is inconsistent as to whether this set of headphones is named “Hola” or “Halo.” In addition to the IEMs, the Hola includes an Truthear-branded pleather carry pouch with a magnetic closure and a Truthear-branded plastic mounting tray for the included eartip selection. The Hola includes three pairs of generic black silicone eartips (XS, S, M) and four pairs of squat, wide-bore black silicone eartips (XS, S, M, L). In terms of documentation, the Shio comes with a warranty card and an owner’s manual written in Chinese, English, and Japanese. The Shio also includes an illustrated postcard providing key biographical details about Shiroi.
BUILD QUALITY AND DESIGN:
The Truthear Hola features 3D-printed black resin shells with a pseudo-custom fit paired with CNC aluminum faceplates. The faceplates feature a geometric pattern printed in white. Directional indicators are engraved into the shell just below the slightly recessed 2-pin ports. The shells are unmarked otherwise. There is a small circular vent at the base of each nozzle and a larger bean-shaped vent towards the edge of the inner housing body. The nozzles have mesh covers and raised lips with which to secure eartips.
The Hola uses a different cable than the one included with the Truthear Zero and Truthear Hexa. This plain two-strand cable features a double-helix pattern below the Y-split. The wires are wrapped in a shiny black plastic sheath. The 3.5mm jack uses stout rubber hardware in an L-shaped form factor, whereas the Y-split and chin-adjustment choker hardware are made from black anodized aluminum. The Y-split hardware features the text “Truthear Co.” There is substantial strain relief above the 3.5mm jack but none at the Y-split. The cable has pre-formed heat-shrink earguides. The 2-pin connectors are embossed with “L” and “R” indicators. The cable is virtually silent in terms of microphonics, especially when the chin-adjustment choker is used.
COMFORT, FIT, AND ISOLATION:
The Truthear Hola is intended to be worn cable-up. The earpieces have a shallow insertion depth. The Hola is comfortable but required the use of the largest size of included wide-bore eartips to maintain a secure fit. Isolation is above average. I did not experience driver flex with the Hola.
My measurements of the Truthear Hola can be found on my expanding squig.link database:
Truthear Hola — Squiglink by Bedrock Reviews
The Truthear Hola has an overall warm tuning with a neutral midrange and a relaxed treble response. The Hola has a nearly identical tuning to the Moondrop Aria below 1 kHz, with the most noticeable differences between the two appearing in the upper midrange.
The Hola scores well in terms of both sub-bass rumble and mid-bass slam. The Hola’s bass response is also highly textured. Bass resolution and articulation are very good for the price but I do not agree with other reviewers who place the Hola in the same league as the Aria in terms of technical performance. There is still a gulf in technical performance between the Hola and the best IEMs in the $80–100 price bracket, especially with the arrival of the Truthear Hexa to the market.
There is a touch of bloom from the mid-bass into the lower midrange, but not enough that I would consider the Hola to suffer from mid-bass bleed. The effect is mostly positive, in that the Hola has a little extra warmth in the lower midrange. However, I can think of other IEMs around this price, such as the Moondrop Chu, which have greater midrange clarity. Switching back and forth between the two IEMs, I get a distinct feeling that the Hola is over-dampened.
The Hola centers its pinna gain region at 4 kHz, whereas the Aria centers its pinna gain region at roughly 2.5 kHz. I prefer the pinna gain region to be centered right at 3 kHz, so neither approach is ideal for me. With the Hola, male vocals are pressed too far forward for my tastes. On the other hand, I really enjoy the presentation of female vocals on the Hola. Vocal intelligibility is very good for both male and female vocals, though female vocals are slightly clearer. Timbre is very natural.
The Hola has a safe and relaxed treble response with limited sparkle and moderate air. While it may be unreasonable to expect more from a sub-$20 IEM, the subdued treble response hurts the overall listening experience for me. The Hola’s overall resolution is very good for the price point but is edged out in this respect by the Moondrop Chu. Instrument separation and soundstage are both better than what I would expect from an IEM at this price point, but again, I feel the Chu is slightly superior in both respects.
AMPLIFICATION REQUIREMENTS AND SOURCE PAIRING:
While it is possible to power the Truthear Hola with the Apple dongle, doing so required the volume level on Android devices to be nearly maxed out, at least with Spotify volume normalization set to “Normal.” Depending on your typical listening volume, I would recommend using a different source without the Apple dongle’s limitations if you regularly use an Android device. I did not notice hiss with any of my devices.
The Truthear Hola is a solid contender at the sub-$20 price point. I do think there are real gaps between the Hola, the Moondrop Chu, and the 7Hz Zero with respect to various aspects of technical performance. With that said, while these gaps are concrete, they are small enough that your primary decision point should be based on the subtle differences in tuning between the three. The Hola is the warmest of the three, the Zero the closest to textbook neutrality, and the Chu the brightest. In addition, each present what is ostensibly a Harman-ish midrange in slightly different ways. For those just entering the IEM space, my recommendation would be to purchase all three to better inform your more expensive purchases down the road.
The Truthear Hola can be purchased below:
Truthear HOLA Earphone 11mm High-Performance Dynamic Driver In-ear Mo (shenzhenaudio.com)