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Review: Truthears Nova

Driveability

The NOVA’s impedance is rated at 14.8Ω±15% (@1kHz), with a total sensitivity of 123dB/Vrms (@1kHz). In practice, the NOVA is a fairly easygoing IEM as far as power requirements go. Little driving power is necessary for the NOVA to reach comfortable listening volumes with ample headroom to boot.

Having said that, the NOVA’s oversized 10mm LCP driver responds well when paired with strong amplification, followed by a low output impedance, achieving a substantive damping factor. What this does is exert strong control over the diaphragms’ movements, eliminating flutter and audible distortion by tightening the low end. This has a trickle-up effect on the upper-frequency bands, with less muddiness across the spectrum.

Comparison

Truthears HEXA

Introduction

The HEXA has been mentioned to death in this review, so I’ll cut this introduction short! The HEXA is Truthears’ darling IEM that precedes the NOVA by a year, being bestowed the moniker by many adoring fans as the baby “Blessing 2”. That is high praise for an IEM that’s a third of the Blessing 2’s price at the time of writing this review. Priced at USD 79.99, the NOVA is nearly double the price of the HEXA.

Comparison

Realistically, there are more similarities than they are dissimilar. Unsurprisingly, their DNA is beyond skin-deep, with their fundamental signatures sharing the same target response: the “Harman”. However, there has been a fundamental evolution in how the Harman target response curve is presented technically.

Firstly, the first generation LCP dynamic driver on the HEXA is more sub-bass forward that’s fairly deft and agile, with a slightly “ill-defined” mid-bass response. It’s a clean approach to bass, but there is a noticeable lack of spontaneity and detail, with noticeable haziness and a lack of depth. The NOVA corrects this lack of mid-bass macrodynamic punch and clarity. There’s an uptick in definition amongst baritone instrumentation. The bass response remains fairly linear with a slight elevation.

The NOVA’s midrange and presence regions experience the most drastic improvements. The calculated decision to add an additional balanced armature to an already large driver array spices things up with increased levels of detail retrieval, resolution and resolving capabilities. The conservative lower treble on HEXA lacks snappiness and body, which highlights the phenomenon of ringiness and thinness; a common trope in IEMs struggling to extend upwards. The NOVA addresses this well, with a stronger lower-treble floor and an accelerated PRAT.

Holistically, these modest alterations make noteworthy and commendable improvements to overall clarity, resolution and timbral balance between the bands. Having said that, the tonal quirks that bore or irked the anti-Harman response curve crowd remain.

Conclusive Remarks

The NOVA is not a watershed reinvention of the wheel, but rather an improvement of the Harman wheel which continues to turn without stopping. Why fix what isn’t broken (to the laudation of the pro-Harman fans)? The NOVA indexes brilliantly for all the qualities that made the HEXA such an attractive proposition in an increasingly crowded marketplace.

Is the price increase commensurate with the improvements gained in sonics and build quality? From a long-term perspective, the NOVA is a worthy successor that is well deserving of its high praise.

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ABOUT AUTHOR

Picture of Kevin Goh

Kevin Goh

Raised in Southeast Asia’s largest portable-audio market, Kevin’s interest in high-end audio has grown alongside it as the industry flourishes. His pursuit of “perfect sound” began in the heydays of Jaben in Singapore at the age of just 10 years old. Kevin believes that we live in a golden age of readily accessible, quality audio.

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