Coblogger Kazi forwarded this pair of 7Hz Timeless to me for assessment and I spent some time listening and playing with them. As many already know 7Hz Timeless are based on a single quite sizeable (14.2mm) planar driver, which of course already sets the expectations in a sense. They come with a not totally insignificant retail price tag ($219,99), and can be purchased here for a bit less than that.
Table of contents
|Engaging U-shaped presentation.||Artificial nuances in the timbre.|
|Good sub-bass.||Untextured, undetailed midbass.|
|Nicely wide soundstage.||Unrefined, moderately shouty and fatiguing trebles.|
|Lightweight and comfortable.||Dramatic lack of stage depth.|
|Nice stock cable.||Scarce midrodynamics and detail retrieval.|
|Unsatisfactory instrument separation.|
Full Device Card
|Tonality||General presentation is a quite evident U-shape with important bass and trebles but still unrecessed mids and vocals. Midbass although authoritative doesnt succeed in adequately balancing the tonality which can be defined as moderately bright. The timbre is quite evidently planar-lean, with some unwelcome artificial tint especially on the high-mid and high registers.|
|Sub-Bass||7Hz Timeless offer a quite elevate, fast sub bass with good rumble and nice precision.|
|Mid Bass||Midbass is as quite elevated in quantity, as much disappointing it is in quality. While overall speedy as one normally expects from a planar driver, midbass notes feature somewhat “frayed” transients resulting in quite messy resolution, and severe lack of texture.|
|Mids||Mids are unrecessed and quite enjoyable, although more on the high end then on the lower end where they do lack some body and warmth|
|Male Vocals||7Hz Timeless render male vocals reasonably well. Occasionally, some more body would be welcome, and some more warmth too.|
|Female Vocals||Better than male, female vocals are clear, detailed and quite bodied. Only very rarely they inherit some of the trebles’s timbre artificiality.|
|Highs||7Hz Timeless treble is quite airy, vivid and reasonably detailed. On the down side, treble is mostly responsible for the quite evident “artificial” timbre tint often emerging. Furthermore a definite tendence to shoutyness is there, and carefully selecting the source pair doesn’t seem to cure that, resulting in generally unrefined notes delivery, and a certain degreee of fatigueness.|
|Soundstage||7Hz Timeless draws a reasonably wide and quite high stage, with almost absolute lack of depth.|
|Imaging||7Hz Timeless imaging (macro-dynamics) is above average, or I should say even “good”. Too bad that due to the lack of depth instruments are all basically cast on the same line.|
|Details||Microdetails are virtually inexistent on the low end, and below average on the highmids and trebles where they get lost in the general lack of refinement|
|Instrument separation||Within the limits of very limited microdynamics and detail retrieval, instrument separation is good on 7Hz Timeless on non-crowded passaged, whereas it goes down the drain on crowded situations where bass’s lack of texture, treble’s lack of refinement and 2D imaging all negatively contribute to deliver an unclean result.|
|Driveability||While not demanding in terms of current as much as many other planar drivers on the market, 7Hz Timeless do require a bit of pairing attention to try and limitate some of its shortcomings. A source with outstanding bass control is first of all strongly recommended. A warm source is also welcome due to Timeless’ relative dryness in that sense.|
|Build||I did not witness any of the QC issues that I’ve read reported by other users. The housings appear solid and well assembled. MMCX connectors are of apparent good quality and stock cable connectors plug in with a convincing click.|
|Fit||Tip selection is very critical. Either foams, or soft silicon tips strongly recommended to help with midbass definition.|
|Comfort||On my ears 7Hz Timeless are quite easy to fit and stay firm, once the right tip size is selected.|
|Isolation||In spite of their shape and quite important outer size 7Hz Timeless don’t offer particularly outstanding passive isolation, which I would call just above average actually|
|Cable||7Hz Timeless’ 2-core stock cable is well built, soft and apparently solid. Kudos to the company for offering users the chance to easily order the IEMs equipped with a 3.5, 2.5 or 4.4-terminated cable at purchase time.|
|Housing||CNC aviation-grade aluminum shells + hard oxidation treatment|
|Driver(s)||14.2 mm planar driver|
|Cable||1.2m single crystal copper + single crystal copper silver plating wires + outer silver foil wire, balanced 4.4mm termination|
|Package& accessories||N/A (assessed a pre-unboxed unit)|
|MSRP at this post time||$ 219,00|
Vs Tin P1 ($169,00)
P1’s uber-neutral tonality sounds obviously sterile compared to Timeless, which at first impact come accross more engaging and vivid, especially due to the ostensibly more elevated bass line. That said, P1 are significantly better in terms of resolving power, midbass texturing (quite terrible on Timeless), instrument separation and organic timbre.
Both are quite underwhelming in regards to stage drawing, with Timeless a bit better in terms of width, and P1 easily better in terms of depth (easy win there). Both are tip-capricious, P1 more of the two. P1 require higher amping power.
Vs Ikko OH10 ($199,00)
This comparison seems particularly meaningful to me due to very close pricing, and very similar presentation tuning on the two products, based on totally different technologies: single planar for Timeless vs hybrid DD+BA for OH10.
OH10’s sub bass is more extended, more elevated, while still very clean. OH10’s midbass is waaaay better in terms of resolution and texturing, so much so as to not sound offensive let alone invasive in spite of its even higher elevation. OH10’s mids are more recessed – V shape for OH10, U shape for Timeless – yet male vocals in particular sound roughly on par vis-a-vis Timeless’ (relatively) leaner note body there.
OH10’s high-mids and presence trebles are fuller, sparklier, more organic and most of all way more refined than those coming out of the Timeless. Unlike Timeless’, OH10’s timbre never scants into artificial. In spite of their hybrid driver structure OH10 do not loose points in terms of horizontal coherence vs Timeless – if something it’s actually the other way around, due to Timeless midbass’ lack of refinement facing their often shouty, somewhat artificial timbred trebles.
OH10 are no soundstage size monsters, yet they still draw a bit bigger space than Timeless, definitely deeper, while they excel hands down in terms of imaging and most of all instrument separation. Neither IEM require huge amping power.
Considerations & conclusions
I remember when I was a young IT enthusiast playing with my Apple II, back in the 80ies. I was so in love with technology that I just “assumed” that pretty much everything was going to be automatically “better” for the very sole reason of being processed in such innovative ways.
Sadly – or not even sadly, actually – of course my assumption was wrong. There were very selected tasks for which my Apple II was unbelievably brilliant, while quite a few if not most of the other things I insisted on doing with it would arguably have been much better, easier, and faster done “the traditional way”. Woe to those who dared pointing this out to me though! I would promptly call them ignorant, obscurantists, or both. The more so if they had my mother’s face, of course 😉
Technology is still enthrilling 40-something years later, more and more so indeed, and legions of people (not necessarily youngsters …) fall into the same pithole everyday that I was in back then. There’s a new piece of technology. There’s a couple of really brilliant products / application based on that. Ergo: all products based on such technology will be superior. No, it’s indeed a non sequitur.
I’ve yet to hear a really outstanding planar magnetic IEM below $500 which is worth its money. To clarify, by “worth its money” I mean “producing sensibly better results than similar priced products based on alternative technologies”.
7Hz Timeless IEMs are no exception.
Sure they deliver a vivid and engaging presentation, departing from other too algid same-tech competitors.
Yet, simply put they are technically lacking when compared with similarly priced non-planar alternatives: mid bass lacks texture, timbre has a slight but annoying artificial tint, and trebles are too often shouty and fatiguing. Good intent, lacking realization. Maybe we should long for a future iteration ?
In the meanwhile, it all comes down to the purpose of the game as always. Die-hard technology enthusiasts should give Timeless a spin, no doubt: depending on their tastes, their musical preferences, and their gear they will probably find it better, or even much better than other “inexpensive” planar alternatives. Music lovers looking for they highest quality IEMs in the $200-ish region, instead, should keep referring to Audioreviews’ Wall of Excellence.