7Hertz Timeless – Smooth Operator
It was pure impulse buy for me on this one the moment pre-orders were made available on HiFiGo. Cashing in on my “loyal customer” discount I blindly confirmed my order in split seconds. Being a big fan of TIN HiFi P1, I was already craving for some exciting addition to my Magnetic Planar collections.
The very thing that convinced me to get this 7Hz was actually the curiously intriguing look that oozes with “Blade Runner” futuristic design and the lovely anodized black shells. Yes, I know it’s kind of stupid as I never even bothered to check what are the exact specifications, I worry about that later ahahaha.
7hz Timeless is a Double-sided Array N52 Neodymium Magnet, Ultra-thin Diaphragm 14.2mm Magnetic Planar Driver, with and astonishing 104dB of sensitivity at 14.8 Ohm. I believe this specification alone makes Timeless the most “easily” driven Magnetic Planar IEMs in the market now.
The shells are made of aviation grade aluminum, CNC machined to resemble a spaceship. The choice of material has a lot to do with sonic tuning as it is for aesthetic reasons. Nonetheless the result is a beautifully constructed IEM that impressed me a lot.
The stock cable, made of hybrid single-crystal copper and silver-plated single crystal copper cores. The cable has an outer shielding with silver-foil wire. This recipe I believe is intended to provide balance in sound signature. My unit comes in balanced 4.4mm Pentaconn configuration with MMCX connectors.
With the rather odd spaceship construction, many were made wary of fearing that this Timeless would look out of place or quite possibly having fitment issues. I am just glad those were unfounded. It is not as big as how the picture suggests. The dominant circular outer shell has been designed not to intercede with proper anchoring of the inner shell to fit the ear concha properly. It is as comfortable as it can be, and I have worn my Timeless for up to 6 hours on several occasions. The cable, aside from being beautifully made in white, offered great flexibility with very useful chin slider to eliminate microphonics
The rest of the package include 4 sets of tips of different sizes and material. However, I was a bit disappointed they did not include foam set as would normally be found with other IEMs. Instead, Timeless came with interesting rubber tips that reminded me a lot of reversed KZ Starline tips. I will talk about this more later.
PLAYING IT RIGHT
This being a magnetic planar I am quite aware of the need to pair it with beefy sources, and I have opted to use the following gear selected from my arsenal of DAC/Amps
- Samsung Galaxy S20 (USB 3.0 Power Delivery)
- Sony Xperia Z5 Compact (USB 2.0 Power Delivery & 3.5mm)
- TempoTec Sonata E44 (4.4mm BAL)
- VE Odyssey HD (4.4mm BAL)
- Ovidius B1 (3.5mm SE)
- VE Run About Plus 5 (RAP5 16.8v Amplifier)
- HiBy Player (USB Exclusive Mode)
- EQ: Always OFF (I never use EQ)
Up until this point of writing, my 7Hz Timeless has undergone no less than 60 hours of Burn-In. The last 24 hours being actual usage and listening sessions. For the most part I left my Timeless on Burn-In loop on my laptop.
Timbre and Tonality. Okay this can get a bit tricky. I have found out that this Timeless is very dependent on the choice of tips being used. The stock tips that it came with, silicone type, offered what I consider as Neutral Balanced timbre with a tiny hint of V-Curve. Evidently warm-ish tonality that seems to have some hump in upper Mids. To my ears this setup has somewhat dense Mids, fenced by commanding bass responses and sparkly highs. This sounded almost like a DD rather than a Magnetic Planar! Then at later stages I rolled the tips and was pleasantly surprised with less colored presentations offering Neutral Balanced sound with Misodiko Foam tips. But it does not end there, when I swapped in the narrow stock rubber tips, the entire spectrum of timbre presentation now edges very close to Diffused Field Neutral! Ahahahaha, I can’t hide how happy I was with that. Being a DF Neutral junkie since forever, I totally digging the sound with that tips. It is freakishly close to the timbre and tonality of my Shure KSE1500 now in that configuration, the TOTL reference sound that I madly adore.
For a magnetic planar, 7Hz Timeless offers good airy timbre as compared to TIN HiFi P1 (which sounded almost airless), FOSTEX T40RP MK3 and Monolith M565c. Again, I am hearing something which is more common to Dynamic Drivers or Electrostatics (true Electrostatic). But of course, not as much but enough to feel the sensation of air between the notes.
Dynamics. 7Hz is a very vibrant unit for a Magnetic Planar IEM, as simple as that. I believe the large 14.8mm diaphragm has a lot to do with this. Compared to the 10mm of P1, which can be quite lifeless and lean if not powered properly, 7Hz is quite the opposite. Even my old Sony Phone 3.5mm was able to drive the Timeless with impressive output offering wholesome dynamic range that is coherent and engaging. There’s ample density and note weight to not sound lean, recessed or anemic, which is practically impossible for P1 and T40RP MK3 on that same Sony phone. When powered properly, I am greeted with rich dynamics density and note weight with lots of headroom.
Mids. As noted above, this is also influenced by the choice of tips. I honestly was not very fond of the stock tips presentation as it exhibited some peaky moments on upper Mids section especially with male vocals and guitars. While it sounded natural for the most part, that “hot” zone forced me to notch the volume 1 or 2 clicks down. But then perhaps this is due to my Timeless being still at early stages of Burn-In. My P1 needed at least close to 200 hours to behave properly and not exhibiting any hot spikes. Not forgetting the somewhat unnaturally “honky” vocals I get on some songs (Morrisey & Nick Cave), at least this is how I interpret it with my own hearing.
With the foam and rubber tips, all the issues stated above, all gone. The Mids sounding a LOT more neutral and less aggressive. No longer obstructed by the annoying thick overlay, details and textures started to emerge audibly. Proper natural sounding attack and decays, be it vocals, instruments, or percussions, all sounding correct and realistic.
Treble. At least this section is a bit more consistent regardless of which tips I use. With proper pairing of sources, Timeless did not disappoint on Treble quality. I am very satisfied with the smooth, crisp, AND airy Treble presentation, offering rich details, texture and extensions which is only outclassed by my Shure KSE1500 and VE Duke. Otherwise 7Hz Timeless assuredly score slightly better against TIN HiFi P1 and Etymotic ER4SR (OMG I am admitting something is better than my longtime love ER4SR). Going back to the tips selection, while with the stock silicone, it is a lot crispier. With the Misodiko foam and stock rubber tips, it has slightly less sparkle replaced with smoother decays. In current configuration that I am hooked with, Treble is addictively creamy smooth and polished with very clean realistic decays expected of a well-tuned planar. This is better than most DD Treble presentation which to my ears sometimes can get a bit too “exciting” – which in turn translates into listening fatigue. Yes, no Treble fatigue from 7Hz Timeless.
Bass. This is the best part. 7Hz has lots of respectable bass body mass. But not too much that it would upset a DF Neutral lunatic like me. I am actually shocked finding myself enjoying the deep, greatly textured bass responses. This was sorely missing from my P1, I wouldn’t deny it. With the stock silicone tips, Mid-Bass offered visceral commanding punch and speed. However, at times I found it to be overbearing especially when listening to Alison Krauss & Union Station’s “Lonely Goes Both Ways”. Several tracks on that album has pronounced bass layers that sounded unnaturally strong to my ears. Not forgetting that the commanding Mid-Bass presence also meant that the Sub-Bass extensions seemingly drowned from audible hearing. To attune to my taste, again the Misodiko foam and stock rubber tips fixed that for me. Now Mid-Bass has been tamed admirably with less punch, allowing the Sub-Bass to be presented audibly with sweet seismic sensations. I know that the current configuration is the correct one, I spent hours calibrating the tips to match the bass presentation as close as possible to KSE1500, serving as my reference.
Details & Transparency. 7Hz Timeless is a very competent performer in details retrieval. The more technical the sources, the better the performance. There’s pristine clarity in the handling of Macro and Micro details. This was proven with Sinne Eeg song “We’ve Just Begun”, one of the most complex jazz masterpiece in my collection. Saxophone, Trombones, Piano, Cello, etc. the whole composition of that song has lots of details all over the place – it just need a competent listening device to hear them all. And 7Hz Timeless didn’t miss anything.
On the subject of transparency, this is where I have slight mixed feelings. Timeless offered great transparency to the point of revealing recording and mastering artifacts especially in the Treble section. On some recordings I was slightly annoyed by grainy edged Treble decays contained in the songs. The only way to mitigate this is to limit the usage of 7Hz Timeless to decently recorded/mastered songs. So, no listening to Burzum or any toilet-fi quality Black Metal with my 7Hz Timeless – unless I pair it with slightly less clinical sources that offered a bit of warm smoothness like the VE Odyssey HD ahahaha.
Speed & Transients. This is mandatory for me, no exceptions. 7Hz Timeless did not disappoint. The speed is nothing short of exemplary. Even with breakneck fast songs from “Snowstorm” by No Point in Living, classic Black Metal with intense guitar tremolos laced with equally nerve wrecking blast beat drumming exceeding 200 BPM, 7Hz handled them all without even blinking. With more civilized music, again taking Sinne Eeg and Diana Krall as examples, transients were handled deftly with great dexterity. Notes attack and exchanges seamlessly presented without any hint of congestion. 7Hz Timeless exhibited great competency equaling the speed of Etymotic Balanced Armatures.
Soundstage & Imaging. What can I say? I am floored with this 7Hz Timeless. The staging is wide, spacious and with great depth and height for a magnetic planar IEM. Such a stark contrast vs the narrow-ish TIN HiFi P1. At times the 7Hz even made my FOSTEX T40RP MK3 sounded confined in! But this largely depends on the prowess of the source and amplification. On my Sony Phone, there’s nothing to talk about, the soundstage is rather almost “meh”. However, it is a different story with the combo of TempoTec Sonata E44 feeding 4 Vrms of Line-In AUX to VE RAP5 amplifier and driving the 7Hz Timeless. The headstage offered headphone like experience with lots of air and sense of space. What remained consistent, spatial imaging is very holographic especially for song that are optimized for such listening experience. Power it right and there’s great soundstage awaiting.
Adaptability and Scalability. As has been mentioned repeatedly above, 7Hz Timeless is a very versatile IEM. Just by swapping the tips and the sound would behave differently. I haven’t even done any cable swaps. I am satisfied with the sonic characteristics of the stock cable, but perhaps sometime down the road I will be curious enough to explore that. On the subject of tips, I have included a photo describing the sonic differences as noted by my ears. For different person perhaps different shape, sizes and material offering completely different experience.
Scalability wise, 7Hz Timeless turned out to be a quite an efficient magnetic planar IEM, way more efficient than any other in this segment perhaps? (I know it is more efficient than P1). Sounds great straight out of my Sony Xperia Phone 3.5mm jack, considering that Sony Xperia has always been known to be on the weaker side of things when it comes to driving power, this is impressive.
Paired with Ovidius B1 and TempoTec Sonata E44, 7Hz Timeless really sing with exuberant dynamics and refined guile. Paired it with VE Odyssey HD, warm smooth Hi-Fidelity on the go in the most compact form factor. Paired it with a dedicated amp and my brain melted. Enough said.
Well, if you have been reading this far, there’s no hiding how impressed I am with this 7Hertz Timeless. It exceeded my expectations and with the tune up I have done to my own unit, I can confidently say that it will take a LOT for me to consider upgrading to another Magnetic Planar unit, especially if their asking price is above $200.
7Hz Timeless officially replaces my longtime TIN HiFi P1 and quite possibly Etymotic ER4SR too. P1 while sounding great, took me a lot of tuning to get it sounding great – not forgetting the crazy tips rolling of over 20 pairs before finding the one that fitted to my taste and usage, the demand on power for it to sound decent, cable swaps etc. Yes, my P1 sounds great still, but it is a lot easier for 7Hz Timeless to achieve similar results and offered a bit more. In contrast the reasons that I will still use my P1 is when I want to indulge myself in organic, analogue, warmer presentation. It’s good to have choices.
7Hz Timeless is a very refined magnetic planar unit that has it all. Technical competencies, musical presentations, excellent scalability, ease of drivability and most importantly, a great value offering near TOTL sonic qualities that is hard to achieve by most magnetic planars in this form factor. I will actually use my 7Hz Timeless for my daily driver.