The Popular Little Brother

Pros: Good vocals
Non-sibilant Highs
Solid bass performance
Great accessories
Great cable for the price

Cons: Cheap feel and design
Flat sounding soundstage

HOLA 2.jpg


Hola. Hello. Hello? Hi TRUTHEAR, it’s me, and I can’t believe you made a cheaper version of the TRUTHEAR HEXA (HEXA.) The HOLA (HALO? look at the box, it says HALO in some spots…) has composite liquid crystal dome diaphragms and dual-cavity internal magnetic circuit Dynamic Drivers. The shell is 3D printed and it comes with an oxygen-free copper cable. Oh, and it’s $19. That makes it the cheapest IEM in the under $30 shootout, along with the Moondrop Chu (Chu), the KZ x HBB DQ6S (DQ6S), and the 7Hz Salnotes Zero (Zero). The HOLA even beats the Moondrop Chu in price – that’s impressive considering how much better the included accessories are with the HOLA, not to mention the sound. If you don’t feel like reading the whole review, just know that the HOLA sounds great for this price and seriously calls into question more expensive IEMs.

HOLA Box.jpg

Build Quality / Comfort:

Something’s gotta give. That’s what I keep telling myself with the HOLA. At $19, they had to cut some corners somewhere. And yet, the only place where I really feel like they cut corners is the material quality of the IEMs. The quality definitely comes in under the Zero and the DQ6S, which have really nice shells and metal faceplates. The Chu even has slightly nicer quality compared to the HOLA’s matte black shells and Sticker faceplate. The design on the faceplate is cool, if a bit random, but it feels like it is there to give it a bit more character than the all-black HEXAs. The HOLA does feel sturdy enough, so I’m not worried about them breaking easily, but yeah, they feel a little cheap – because they are! They are .65% the cost of the DQ6S, and 76% the cost of the Zero, oh, and 4x cheaper than their big brother the HEXA.

Got it, they’re cheap, move on. OK, then let’s talk accessories. Both the DQ6S and the Zero came with detachable cables, one silver-plated allegedly, and one not, but of higher quality, some OK ear tips, and no case. The Chu came with an attached cable of questionable quality and no case but OK ear tips. The HOLA, which is cheaper than all of the above, comes with a pretty nice detachable 2-pin cable, a nice selection of different types of ear tips, and a soft CASE – for less than the rest of the IEMs. The HEXA still comes with nicer accessories (more ear tips, nice cable, etc.), but that’s expected for the price increase. So, the cheapest IEM comes with the best accessories overall – and that explains the cheaper build quality. If TRUTHEAR hadn’t been trying to beat the Chu on price, I think a nice smooth shell with a decent faceplate like the Zero would have put the HOLA in the same league as the Zero for under $25.

The HOLA is comfortable and the ear tips cover a broad range of sizes and feels. They seal quite well and don’t need an amazing seal to sound good. The size I what I would call medium vs the Chu’s small, and is on par with the Zero and DQ6S size. The cable has good hooks, the IEM, and the cable are lightweight and there are no issues with comfort.

HOLA Accessories.jpg

Sound / Source / Comparisons:

Looking at the frequency response graph, the HOLA is very similar to the HEXA and Zero (and the Thieaudio Monarch Mk2) tuning. The Hola has a bit more sub-bass and mid-bass than the HEXA and Zero, but the mids are almost identical with the Zero adding more focus to the high-mids and low-highs than the HOLA. Each of these IEMs has a dip from 4-6k Hz and a hump at 7k Hz. Unsurprisingly, they all sound pretty similar since they’re all shooting for essentially the same tuning (that made the MMk2 so famous.) I am powering these off my Shanling M3 Ultra (M3U) through Tidal Hi-Fi. I am using the stock 3.5mm cable for this test but will use a 4.4mm balanced Kinnera Leyding for the actual shootout to remove cable inconsistencies or advantages. The HOLA runs at a comfortable volume level at 40/100 unbalanced on the M3U.

HOLA HEXA Zero.png

As usual, I don’t like to break down headphones solely by frequency range since every song has bass, mids, and highs (and I can’t tell the difference between vocals at 1900 Hz and 2100 Hz.) So, I will start with bass-heavy songs, then move to mids-focused and lastly highs-focused songs, then break down each song by how all the pieces are presented. You can find my Tidal test tracks playlist in my signature if you want to compare them to your headphones. My First test track I’ll be using is David Guetta’s “I’m Good (Blue.)” The intro bass drums come in pretty good, with good impact, but they feel a bit flat. The hi-hats can be heard clearly and the mid-synth is clear if a little muddy and a little tinny. The sub-bass at 0:38 has some decent rumble to it. The high synth comes across as a bit sharp as well – if these were $1,000 IEMs, I would return them immediately. For $19 IEMs, they’re literally some of the best of their class under $50. The HEXA sounds better across the entire spectrum, but it still costs 4x as much. They’re better than the Chu and the DQ6S has better bass, but a similar quantity. The Zero is really what they’re competing with and the zero has less sub-bass, but a better overall presentation/quality across the board for vocals, synths, bass soundstage, separation, clarity, and overall sound quality on this song.

For mids, I am testing with Ravenscode’s “Be the Same.” The HOLA does well with this sound considering their price, but they do sound flat and 2d compared to the Zero’s 3d soundstage. The bass is pretty good if a little muted while the vocals and guitars are farther back and a bit distorted. It’s not great, but for the price, it’s still really good. The vocals on the Zero are really good in this song and so are the guitars. Distorted guitars introduce some issues and mess with the balance of the song and introduce some harshness with the Zero, but the HOLA has the same issue. The Zero is easily the better IEM here.

Panic! At The Disco’s “High Hopes” opens with some really strong horn performance from the HOLA. It’s one of the best sounds I’ve heard come from these. The vocals sound good, even though it still feels pretty flat. There is NO sibilant “S” sounds here just like the Zero and that’s fantastic. There are significantly more expensive IEMs that can’t pull that off. In fact, the HOLA does better than the Zero here with the Zero having consistent painful sharp “S” sounds. Ooof. The rest of the song does sound better on the Zero, but those highs are rough. Even Michelle McLaughlin’s “Across the Burren” doesn’t offend on the HOLA, it won’t blow your mind like the Mezzo, but it’s still a good mellow version of a song that does not appreciate harsh tuning.

HOLA 1.jpg


The HOLA is something of an enigma. It’s the cheapest IEM in the Under $30 Shootout, beats the Chu above it, with a much better accessory package, and has better highs and more bass than the Zero. It doesn’t have the bass of the DQ6S, but it has better highs and Mids than the much more expensive IEM. That makes the HOLA a real contender for cheap IEMs. Once again though, if you can afford the $80 HEXA, just get that – it’s better in every way. If not, the Zero and the HOLA are neck and neck in terms of performance – do you prefer more bass, and less sharp highs or do you prefer a better soundstage and better mids with less bass? The choice is yours.

Headphone Scoring – Each category can be split into quarter points:
Build Quality0.5​
Ear Pads / Tips1​

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