As a relatively new Chinese audio brand, Truthear announces a series of budget-friendly audio gears, most of which get highly praised, including ZERO, HOLA, SHIO, and HEXA.
The newly launched NOVA happens to be the most expensive Truthear release to date and goes for a similar design strategy with a matching cable to further complete the aesthetics. This is a hybrid set using dynamic and balanced armature drivers aiming to give you a great reproduction of the Harman target for a reasonable price.
NOVA is a 1DD+4BA in-ear headphone with a 3-way crossover composite structure. Compared with the previous 1DD+4BA model HEXA, the original design intention is to further improve the high-frequency performance while maintaining a reasonable and efficient configuration, and also strive to bring users a mature earphone with a hybrid 3-way crossover structure at a reasonable price.
NOVA uses a 10mm specialized dynamic driver to take charge of the bass. Thanks to the new production and processing technology, this dynamic driver has extremely low distortion, offering NOVA a better bass performance.
NOVA has a composite full-frequency dual-balanced armature driver with a larger size, which is responsible for mids and part of trebles, which can be accurately matched with the frequency band of the specialized dynamic driver, and the high-frequency band can also highly conform to the design goal.
NOVA combines with a custom composite double-balanced armature driver, which is similar to the SWFK series. It is responsible for the trebles, which further improves the bandwidth while matching the sensitivity of the mid-high frequency composite balanced armature, lowering the Q value of the bad high-frequency resonance peak as much as possible, resulting in a better high-frequency performance.
The acoustic waveguide structure with filtering function realized by the high-precision DLP-3D printed technology and the RC frequency division achieved by accurate calculated, which makes the five drivers perform well under different corresponding acoustic waveguides, therefore, the objective index of NOVA closer to the design goal based on the HEXA.
NOVA has the same phase in the full frequency band, and no common connection issue occurs in the ordinary multi-driver earphone, to realize a natural sound with the phase distortion eliminated.
What’s in the box
Apart from the classic thin-diameter ear-tips, NOVA also comes with short double-flange ear-tips, long double-flange ear-tips, and foam ear-tips with multiple limiters. The foam ear-tips with multiple limiters can meet the different needs of players for insertion depth, and help to further improve the usability based on comfortable wearing and excellent sealing.
I would like to thank Shenzhenaudio for providing me with the review sample of Truthear NOVA.
The Truthear NOVA is easy enough to drive, thanks to its average 14.8Ω impedance and a sensitivity rating of 123 dB @1kHz. The earphone can be powered by most devices without the need for an external amplifier.
However, the earphones can benefit from a good source that can provide a clean and powerful sound signal.
Tuning-wise, Truthear NOVA is fairly neutral with a sub-bass boost. It’s got clear mids and an inoffensive treble tuning. To put it succinctly, NOVA is focused on clarity of vocal presence and, of course, the sub-bass.
NOVA’s bass presents a mixed experience for me. On one hand, it offers a satisfying rumble and thump, but on the other hand, it possesses a persistent thickness that’s difficult to articulate. It’s as if the upper bass lacks some definition as if a portion of its impact is missing.
For instance, when listening to kick drums, you encounter a brief, light slam followed by a prolonged decay that feels weightier than the initial impact. Here, by decay, I don’t refer to the speed of the bass, but rather the tonal balance between the sub and mid-bass.
Despite this aspect, the bass quality itself is commendable. It maintains speed and remains free from distortion. There isn’t any noticeable bleeding into the mids, although the upper bass occasionally gets overshadowed by the dominant undertones. Nevertheless, considering the price range of these IEMs, the bass is generally of high quality.
The NOVA excels in the midrange, delivering clear and vibrant tones. Vocals, in particular, receive special attention, exhibiting vividness and naturalness. The spacing and tone are well-executed, resulting in a smooth yet articulate sound.
Despite being less forward than the rest of the frequency response range, all aspects of the mid-range have an excellent level of resolution and detail retrieval.
Instruments that sound faint in the background easily catch your attention because of the sheer detail and depth of their playback.
Even compared to other more neutral IEMs, the detail retrieval of the NOVA is easily superior. This contributes to the unique combination of implementing a fun-sounding sound signature without sacrificing any detail or resolution whatsoever.
The midrange notes have a neutral body size, offering good definition and crisp transients. However, some individuals might desire a touch more bite on vocals and electric guitars. Fortunately, there is no shoutiness or uncomfortable resonance in the upper mids. Female vocals are accentuated vividly, while male vocals possess a less chesty quality.
Moving to the treble, it boasts a safe tuning that should not trouble even those sensitive to high frequencies.
While it maintains a fairly natural timbre, it lacks the airiness and sparkle that would earn it accolades. Nevertheless, the treble provides a respectable level of detail retrieval and a reasonably pleasing tone.
The treble of the NOVA is crisp and airy, with a good extension and sparkle. The treble is well-articulated and detailed, without any peachiness or fatigue.
It may sound repetitive at this point, but the NOVA’s ability to maintain a pleasing, energetic sound signature without sacrificing detail retrieval is once again a standout.
The soundstage is reasonably wide but has limited depth. The instrument separation and overall resolution are quite good but imaging is somewhat indistinct. Detail retrieval is also pretty solid.
The imaging of the NOVA is precise and coherent, with good separation and layering. The staging performance is quite average, doing so with the width that is expected with a pair of IEMs.
The NOVA can place instruments with pinpoint accuracy, sometimes making certain instruments sound like they’re coming up close behind my ear.
The Truthear NOVA seems like a jack-of-all-trades IEM that can execute an exciting, energetic sound signature while maintaining an impressive level of detail retrieval and imaging.
Combining stellar design, very good performance, and good accessories, the Truthear NOVA is surprisingly competitive and well worth the asking price.