The Truthear Nova: or is a "no va?"
Hello there, and welcome back to The Neighborhood! We’ve got the brand-spanking-new Truthear Nova into the channel for review. Truthear claims that the Nova is a high performance hybrid IEM consisting of four balanced armatures and a dynamic driver. Let’s get inToit!
The Nova’s shell is similar to that of the Truthear Zero series, but it’s a bit thicker and the nozzle protrudes into the inner ear significantly more. The faceplate is a blue patterned and sparkled design that is stunning to look at. There’s also venting on the top of the IEM near the 2-pin connection. It’s still a comfortable fit, but it seems that Truthear really wants you to insert these rather deeply. They include two sets of dual flanged ear tips in the box in addition to one pair of foam tips and a small, medium, and large small-bored black silicon. The shrink wrap surrounding the ear hooks is also rather short, suggesting that one needs to turn and twist this IEM into the ear when wearing them, but more on this when we get to the sound. In any case, I really like this cable! It’s a woven cloth-covered cabled below the metal, Y-split and chin sinch, but a twisted cable after it. It wraps and unwraps rather easily, and was a joy to use. I just wish that it terminated in multiple terminations rather than only a single-ended 3.5mm straight jack. A nifty, large-zippered, canvas-leatherette, carrying case with a built-in metal carabiner. I think both the cable and this carrying case are rather innovative and I applaud Truthear for being on the cutting edge of design here. I get the feeling these things will be imitated by other brands in the future.
But is the sound as high performance as they claim? Well… kind of. I do really think that Truthear has another winner on their hand with these, but only for the right audiophile. You see the treble here is really lacking. The extension is almost nonexistent, and these are pretty severely rolled in the upper frequencies- coming across as very relaxed to the ear. From a positive stance, I can listen to any song with these, and there is never any harshness, sibilance, or aggressivity, but this is also to the detriment of realism. I had to use tips that allowed for maximum insertion to even hear anything that resembled a treble response. Perhaps this is why the ear hooks are shorter and Truthear decided to include dual flanged tips in the box with this set. With that said, the tips that I had the most success with were SpinFit CP155’s, but maybe you all can come up with some other tip options to try? Let me know in the comments below.
But outside of its treble deficiencies, I really do enjoy the Nova overall, it just gets a bit boring after some time due to having limited to no brilliance or sparkle up top. The mid-range, and in particular the lower mid-range, is also notably stepped back overall outside some observable energy around 3K or so. Global sonics still have decent representation, but is more of a V-shaped set- relying on its bass and upper mid-range to drive its sound. Vocals often appear mellowed and mildly smoothed over, but are still enjoyable. There’s also not much soundstage width to speak of, but it does image notably well within its space, layer decently well, and instrument distinction is better than other Truthear sets which came before it.
The bass is still really good though. It’s got outstanding texture, information, and rumble for its price, and moderate to above average slam. It also integrates rather well into the rest of the mix, and any bleed or spill is well controlled. I criticized the Zero for using a cheaper bass driver, and it seems that Truthear received that feedback, and made adjustments with the Nova, although Nova debuts at about three times the price of the Zeros too at $149.99. Timbre is still mildly warm, but less so than the Zeros before it, and resolution and clarity also appear to be both good for the price and improved overall too. I just wish, in the end, it could have been tuned a bit better in both its midrange and its treble. It has four balanced armatures, but I still feel that they could have added additional tweeters or super tweeters to its final design.
To summarize, this is a relaxed set for the treble and midrange forward adverse. Its pleasant, with good bass, but mellowed and lacking in both brilliance and sparkle. There’s never any risk of harshness, sibilance, or aggressivity, even on tracks where there is some of this naturally occurring in the recording. Still, it’s a pleasant listen that is moderately technical, and comes with an inventive accessory package. I do plan to use both the case and cable with other sets, even if I’m unlikely to listen to the IEM often myself. dk
Thanks to Shenzhen Audio for sending the Truthear Nova in for review. In some ways, this is a move in the right direction for Truthear, and I look forward to what they can put out in the future. I appreciate ShenzhenAudio for supporting this channel and the work that it does to provide an accurate description of the performance of its products for the audio community. If you’d like to support this channel, I’d appreciate it if you make sure that you’re subscribed with notifications turned on in order to get alerted when I upload future content. I’d also appreciate it if you can drop a like on this video if you enjoyed its content, and consider following the channel at all its other social media platforms; including X, Instagram, Discord, Patreon, and www.intoitreviews.com. I’ll look forward to seeing you there! And with that, I’m out… for now…
Thanks to ShenzhenAudio for sending in the Truthear Nova for review: https://shenzhenaudio.com/