TruthEar Gate Review

The GATE is the latest in-ear monitor from TruthEar and comes at a miniature price of just $19.99. This one will surely be a popular seller given its tiny price tag, ideal tuning, and surprisingly good package. It even comes with an anime waifu cover art, if you're into that thing.

The TruthEar Gate was provided to me for review by Shenzhen Audio. This product can be purchased on their site with this direct link: 

TruthEar went with an simplistic shell design here that actually works quite well. They use a fairly generic shape made out of very lightweight and low-cost plastics. It does have a totally transparent faceplate which shows the very basic layout inside. To my naked eyes, it's basically a 2-pin connector wired directly into the single 10mm dynamic driver which sits right next to the nozzle hole. This would explain the extremely competitive pricing.

But, TruthEar, surprisingly, included a very decent 2-wire braided cable that works very well, and a polyurethane faux-leather pouch that is quite usable and attractive. This is really a nice accessory set for this ultra budget offering price (it's even on sale for $17 as I write this during China's Summer sale).

Sound Impressions

The Gate takes on a neutral-balanced presentation which surprisingly follows closely to my trade-secret, potentially patent-pending Antdroid V4 Target Curve. It has a slightly elevated low end, and a slightly bright treble. For the most part, I find the tuning quite neutral, albeit with a pesky bright spot somewhere that does make it sound slightly etched. It's almost ideal, but not quite there yet.

The treble brightness was quickly apparent for me on Maeta's Cool Cat track. Coming off of listening to the Subtonic Storm and Symphonium Titan, I did find that her vocals had a slight near-sibilance sound to it, where the trailing edges of higher notes had a little extra shine. This makes the overall sound a little thin at times, and a little bit grainy, in a sort of analog radio kind of way.

It's not nearly as bad as I probably wrote there, but I do feel that the basic driver configuration may limit it with quite a bit of dull and one-noted texturing in the low end as well as a more two-dimensional soundstage than something with a lot of depth and holographic imaging.

On GoGo Penguin's Kamaloka, I didn't ever experience the great bass slam and impact or its harmonic texturing as I do on some of my daily drivers, but the quantity of everything sounded just about right, but again, with a little extra treble splash, especially on the constant cymbal and hi-hat attacks of the drummer on many of their tracks.

I've come off with a bit of negativity, but let's talk about what really is good. This is a solidly tuned IEM at an incredibly low price. It's tuned with a multi-genre purpose, and for the most part it succeeds, and this will surely impressed someone new to the hobby or to wired in-ear monitors. It is the technical performance aspects of it that seem a little lacking, especially when compared to products in the similar price categories like the Salnotes Zero or name your budget Moondrop IEM.

Final Thoughts

I keep reiterating this from time to time, but it's an amazing time right now in the IEM world. While the high end of the market keeps rising in price, the low end is where all the cool trickle-down lessons learned and technology is going and it's bringing out cheaper and cheaper products with good tuning, nice accessories, and good fitting IEMs.

The TruthEar Gate seems like a wonderful culmination of this, but I continue to be surprised and impressed with the next best thing and the next market-setter. The budget area is getting quite crowded with a lot of impressive and cheap products now, so it is hard to set yourself apart. This one does it with a nice complete package, and if you're not sensitive to treble, it may be a great introduction for you, or just a nice spare IEM to keep around in your bag in-case you forget your daily driver at home.

View the product ratings on Antdroid's IEM Ranking List and/or Antdroid's Headphone Ranking List