In this review, I’m looking a the 7Hz Timeless, a planar magnetic driver earphone. The Timeless has a large 14.2mm planar driver and aluminium CNC shells. It retails for $219.
Disclaimer: This sample was provided by Linsoul for the purpose of an honest review. All observations and opinions here are my own based on my experience with the product.
- Wide soundstage
- Good tonal balance
- Natural tonality
- Ergonomics and fit
- Included accessories
- Could use some extra upper bass
- Bass notes leading edges are rounded and soft
- Soundstage lacks depth
- Lacks immediacy
- Model: Timeless
- Driver: 14.2mm planar driver
- Impedance: 14.8ohm
- Sound pressure level: 104dB/1Khz
- Frequency response range: 5-40000hz
- THD: <0.2%/1KHZ
- Product weight: 5.5g/single earbud
- Connector: MMCX
Packaging & Accessories
The 7Hz Timeless comes in a white box surrounded by a black cardboard sleeve. On the front of the sleeve is an image of the IEM and on the back, there is an exploded diagram and a list of specifications. The actual box is white with a textured finish and a silver brand logo on the front.
Opening the box, you’re greeted with a marketing blurb and a view of the carrying case through a plastic window. Normally I don’t talk much about included cases for IEMs but this particular one deserves a mention.
It’s a gorgeous silver brushed aluminium case and it’s built like a tank. The aluminium is thick, making the case somewhat heavy but it looks and feels great. The lid seals firmly shut with a strong magnetic seal and overall, this case makes for a fantastic first impression.
Anyway, let’s continue. Here’s a list of what you get in the box:
- 7Hz Timeless IEM
- Detachable silver-plated copper MMCX cable
- Aluminium alloy carrying case
- 12x pairs of silicone eartips in 3 different styles
- 1x pair of spare nozzle covers
To house the large 14.2mm planar magnetic driver, the 7Hz Timeless needs large shells. What 7Hz ended up with is a large disc-shaped shell with a flat faceplate. The faceplates are roughly the size of a penny and are covered with closely-knit concentric circles, much like a vinyl record.
The inner side of the shells is shaped more like a conventional IEM with a sloping surface and angled nozzles. There’s a series of 3 vents near the MMCX socket plus another single vent near the base of the nozzle. The nozzles have a pronounced lip that holds eartips in place, as well as a protective metal mesh on the nozzle opening to protect the internals from earwax.
Despite looking rather awkward, the Timeless is a surprisingly comfortable IEM. The shells fit snugly into my ears and I can actually wear them all day long. In addition, the fit is secure and the earphones never feel loose, even if I shake my head about. Noise isolation is above average too, making the timeless perfect for commuting or use in noisy environments.
The included cable is a braided silver-plated single crystal copper type with a smooth transparent sheath. It’s available with 3 termination options: 3.5mm SE, 2.5mm balanced and 4.4mm balanced. The MMXC connector housings are made of black plastic with a red metal ring. Both the Y-split and plug are metal and have the same black and red colour scheme. There’s also a black metal chin slider.
The cable is supple and smooth and has no microphonics. In other words: it handles beautifully. It feels like a perfect match for the earpieces at this price point.
Gear used for testing includes:
The 7Hz Timeless has a light V-shaped but still, fairly balanced sound signature. Bass and treble are moderately boosted with the midrange just a touch recessed. It has a pleasing tonal balance where the amount of bass and treble feels about right.
You might be surprised to know that the Timeless is easy to drive: even a smartphone will do a pretty good job with it. But this IEM responds well to some extra power and a better source, so don’t be afraid to feed it with a good DAC or amp and bump up the volume a bit.
In terms of clarity, the Timeless is excellent and sounds clear but still natural. The overall resolution is satisfying, as you’d expect with a planar magnetic driver, fast transients and low distortion. Detail retrieval is good but not the best when it comes to minute micro-details.
The Timeless has great bass extension – something larger planar drivers tend to excel at. It can dig deep, hitting those ultra-low notes with apparent ease and even enthusiasm. The Timeless has some great and physical albeit strictly controlled sub-bass rumble.
There’s sufficient bass texture too, giving bass guitars and synth bass some extra character and shape. For the bassheads out there, the Timeless doesn’t reach that quantity by default but it responds to EQ well. So you can comfortably boost the bass level without fear of distortion.
My one gripe with the bass is that the leading edge of bass notes is somewhat rounded and a little soft. Listening to The Gentle Storm’s “Endless Sea – Gentle Version” the drums sound woolly and unstructured while the vocals, piano and harpsichord sound clear and vibrant.
Vocals are clear and articulate although they could use a touch of extra body and warmth for naturalness. This is probably a result of the somewhat dry upper bass. There is no noticeable bass bleed in the midrange as the planar driver maintains strict control with no distortion and fast decay.
Although vocals and midrange instruments seem forward enough, they sometimes lack immediacy which can lead to a decrease in engagement. However, the overall clarity and resolution here are good. In Anathema’s “Untouchable Part 2”, both the male and female vocals sound vibrant but could use a tad more density for added tangibility.
Timeless’ treble is possibly its greatest strength. It’s a treble that’s crisp, detailed and airy, not to mention extremely quick. Despite being fairly forward in the mix, the treble doesn’t come across as shouty or bright, nor is it harsh.
The timeless highs are resolving and have good extension but one could argue the decay is a bit too fast. There isn’t any inherent sibilance with the Timeless and it’s even quite forgiving with sibilant recordings. Utada Hikaru’s “Traveling” is a song that can be punishing on the ears with sibilant IEMs but the Timeless handles it with finesse.
The 7Hz Timeless has an extremely wide soundstage but it’s one with very little depth. At times, it sounds as though you’re listening to music in a very long hallway whilst facing the wall. As a result, stereo imaging is strong but overall positioning feels restricted and confined.
Vocals and core instruments sound intimate but are in your face with an impenetrable wall behind them. Due to this, it sometimes makes you feel like an observer rather than someone who is immersed in the music. It often feels as though the centre image lacks density. The vocals are upfront and fairly intimate but at the same time, they don’t feel tangible.
Tin Hifi P1
The Tin Hifi P1 was the first entry-level planar to gain real momentum in the audiophile community and it still has a lot of loyal fans to this day. The most immediate difference between the P1 and Timeless is, obviously, the bass: the TImeless has a much stronger bass presence, in particular in terms of sub-bass. However, the P1 has better mid-bass definition and cleaner leading edges.
The midrange is more upfront on the P1, bringing instruments and vocals to the forefront. Vocals have more body and density on the P1 but the Timeless has superior clarity. P1’s vocals feel more tangible due to having more solidity in the centre image.
Both IEMs have excellent quality treble and are fairly close in timbre. However, due to the midrange being more recessed on the Timeless, the perceived treble is more forward and sounds brighter.
P1’s soundstage is more narrow but it has greater depth, giving it a rounder stage. In comparison, the Timeless has a very wide but shallow stage. As a result, the P1 has better positioning while the Timeless has better stereo separation.
Because of its fairly demanding power requirements, the P1 is less accessible than the Timeless. The Timeless will run fine from practically any source while the P1 needs something quite powerful to perform optimally.
The 7Hz Timeless is a breakthrough product and has landed 7Hertz firmly on the list of renowned ChiFi brands. The Timeless scores high points in tonality, ergonomics and clarity. Still, it’s not perfect and could use some improvements in soundstage, imaging and bass quality. However, what it does is enough to ensure it will be a hit this holiday season and have fans eagerly awaiting future releases.