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7Hz Timeless AE Planar Magnetic IEM Review: Great for Music and Gaming!

Christopher Coke Updated: Posted:
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Hardware Reviews 0

The original 7Hz Timeless was one of the most highly acclaimed planar magnetic earphones of last year. It was so popular, in fact, that many credit it with kicking off the hype surround in-ear planars, a trend that’s still going strong today. There are always things to improve, however, and that’s exactly where today’s revision comes in. 

The 7Hz Timeless AE, or Angel Ears, is a re-tuning rather than a complete reinvention. It incorporates the major criticisms of the original, adding bass and taming a peak in the highs, while retaining all of the detail and sound signature of the original. Its wider soundstage and outstanding clarity also make it a great fit for gaming as well as music.  Best of all, it comes in at only $259 while also improving other qualities like an excellent modular cable and better travel case. 

7Hz has nailed it with this release and has delivered a new high-water mark for planar magnetic IEMs. 

Specifications

  • Current Price: $259 (Amazon, Linsoul
  • Driver: 14.2mm planar driver
  • Impedance: 14.8 ohm
  • Sound pressure level: 104dB/1Khz
  • Frequency response range: 5-40000 Hz
  • THD: <0.2%/1KHZ
  • Connector: 0.78mm 2-pin
  • Nozzle diameter: 5mm

7Hz Timeless AE - First Impressions and Key Features 

7Hz released the original Timeless in the first half of 2021 and it quickly grew a vocal following of fans. Much has changed since that time, and the legion of competitors it spawned have pushed it somewhat into the background. It was time for an upgrade, which is exactly what the AE sets out to accomplish. 

But with that in mind, it’s important to say upfront that this is not a complete reinvention or even a true successor to the Timeless. The Timeless AE is a collaboration with AngelEars Audio Store, a popular AliExpress HiFi outlet, and is a revision of the original. It’s a good revision and, in my opinion, a better buy that competes with the best planar magnetic earphones available today (and wins), but it’s not a Timeless 2 so much as a refinement of an already great set. 

It features the same 14.2mm planar magnetic driver from the original with a few key changes to improve the sound profile of the original based on listener feedback. Having followed the set since it released, that feedback really consisted of two things: the bass was too light and there was an 8kHz peak that could sound a bit harsh in certain instances. 

Both of those have been improved. The bass has been lifted several decibels to create a fuller, richer sound that’s more energetic and fun. The 8kHz peak has been scaled back. There are also some small changes to the mids that lead to a more spacious, lively sound. The original Timeless was very good and these changes are definitely going to be improvements for many listeners. 

They’re EQable if you own the original Timeless, and probably aren’t worth rebuying the set for, but if you were on the fence and haven’t bought in yet, this is the set I would recommend. It’s the Timeless, but better.

The sound isn’t the only thing that’s changed, though. The accessories have also received a boost, primarily in the cable that’s included. Simply put, it is leagues better than the original Timeless’s cable — at least in my opinion. I’ve always been a fan of thick, luxurious cables and this certainly fits the bill. It’s four-core and silver-plated, not ending with modular terminations. Unscrewing the cap on the end allows you to quickly change between 3.5mm single-ended and 2.5mm and 4.4mm Pentaconn balanced connections. It’s a bit more stiff than the original, which is its lone downgrade. But, it didn’t result in more tangling or make the earphones any harder to wear, and overall feels much higher quality. I wouldn’t be surprised if the cable alone accounts for a lot of the price difference here. 

The second major change is with the earpieces themselves. The original black has been traded out for a deep aqua color that looks nice. The ends of the cable are colored to match. I like the look, as it’s fairly unique in the IEM world, and isn’t overstated like some tend to be. 

The last change-up is with the case, but whether or not it’s an upgrade will depend on your taste. The original Timeless came with an impressive aluminum carrying case. I really liked this at first, but over time it became more annoying to carry. The metal made it more likely to damage anything fragile or markable in my bag. The AE’s case is blue leatherette, very similar to the types of cases we’ve seen from Mangird. 

7Hz also provides a wide selection of silicone tips to choose from to help you find your perfect fit. They come in three varieties of small, medium, and large. There’s also a final set of dual medium tips. They’re all fairly similar but offer different levels of softness. I preferred the blue tips on mine. 

7Hz Timeless AE - Fit and Comfort

The circular faceplates are part of its visual identity, but they’ve scared more than a few potential listeners off.  Despite their ungainly outward appearance, the 7Hz Timeless AE is actually quite comfortable to wear. The coin-like faceplates are just for show. Inside, they have a very traditional contoured design that snuggled into my medium-sized ears well and sat securely for multiple multi-hour listening sessions. 

The important thing to note here is that it is especially important to find the appropriate tips for your ears. Do not rely on sight. Try different sizes across the different types of included silicone tips until you find the perfect balance of security and comfort. For me, that meant a medium in the right and small in the left, both with the blue ear tips. The larger faceplates mean more weight and drag, so without a snug fit within the ear canal, they’re more likely to come loose and potentially contact the outer ear. These are not a set to wear to the gym.

With the proper fit, however, I found them even more comfortable than the original Timeless to wear. Why, I don’t know, because they appear to be exactly the same. But in side-by-side tests, the AE was noticeably more comfortable, even with the exact same tips installed. 

7Hz Timeless AE - Listening Impressions 

Image Credit: Gizaudio via Squig.Link

The earphones aren’t hard to drive, but I would recommend trying it with a variety of sources if you’re able. I did most of my listening on the Fiio K7 desktop DAC/amp at about 55% volume on the low power setting. The set does scale with power and seems to respond with faster low-end when driven by more powerful sources, so it’s worth playing with — especially with the new modular cable making it so easy. But, don’t feel that you need a powerful source for it to sound great. You don’t — a moderately powered gaming motherboard, GoXLR, or dongle amp will do just fine. 

Bass: Sub-bass is the name of the game here. It’s clear as day in the graph above and the first thing I noticed when listening to these for the first time. The low-end is more prominent but isn’t any slower or less detailed for it. It’s still high quality, tight, textured bass, there’s just more of it. This makes it less neutral than the original but also more fun. I listen to a wide range of tunes from hip-hop to prog rock and chillstep electronica and everything sounded more full on this set than the original Timeless. 

If there was one continuing refrain from critics of the OG Timeless, it was that it was a bit bass light. Honestly, I never really agreed with this, but that doesn’t matter. Lots of people felt that way, and this change feels like a response directly to those people. And you know what? The Timeless AE is much better for it. It’s just plain more fun to listen to and makes it a better fit for moving and gaming versus pure music like the original. 

Mids: Mid performance is similar to the original Timeless, but we see some boost between 1kHz and 4kHz that allow it to have a more spacious sound. I was able to hear female vocals as slightly more forward and the detail in guitars in this section comes out slightly more. It’s a cumulative effect where the overall sound appears bigger and more nuanced than before. 

There’s more energy to the music, which is also a high point for gaming. Gunfights and driving soundtracks have more punch and crack, and the experience feels more lively. The changes to this range don’t cut any of the detail retrieval or timbre of the original, but enhance their presentation in a way I really like. 

Treble: The treble has been smoothed out from the original Timeless. The 8kHz peak could sound a bit sharp, especially with cymbals, and that’s been completely rectified here. There is good treble extension and air with this set, but 7Hz has wisely tamed it back just a touch to satisfy the listeners who took issue with some of the brightness of the original. I didn’t have an issue with the original tuning, but the 8kHz change in particular really evens out the high end. 

Technical Performance, Soundstage, and Imaging: The Timeless AE shines just as brightly as the original Timeless here. Simply put, it’s a detail monster. The level of clarity you can expect from these is next-level for in-ear headphones and is currently the best you can expect from a planar IEM. That detail retrieval is enhanced by solid directional imaging and very good layer separation that draws sound sources apart. The soundstage is also a bit wider than the Timeless (better width than depth but impressive nonetheless), which gives everything you’re hearing room to breathe and avoid congestion. 

Gaming: The Timeless AE is a great fit for gaming. I played many hours of Battlefield 2042 with these and adored their exceptional clarity and detail. The imaging and layer separation make it easy to pick out the direction of enemy footsteps. Even on maps I had never played before (I’m going through the new expansion in short bursts, I was able to play well because I could hear enemies coming and turn around to take them out first. 

The soundstage isn’t as wide as a typical over-ear open-back gaming headset, but they’re wide enough that I didn’t feel the need to enable Dolby Atmos. The details and layer separation are so much better that all but the best gaming headsets really can’t compete. Do note that you will need a separate microphone to use with these since the cable does not have an in-line mic option.

Overall Impressions and Final Thoughts

The 7Hz Timeless AE is an outstanding pair of IEMs for the money. At $259, they’re expensive but not terribly so when compared against similarly performing audio products. In my opinion, they punch up and over-perform for their price. If you’re looking for clarity in a small form factor, this is the set to choose. 

Between the original Timeless and the AE, it will depend on taste, but for most listeners the AE is going to be the much better fit. The added bass, smoother treble, and wider staging make for a warmer, more pleasant listening experience. As a big fan of the original, that’s hardly a knock. But the AEs are fun, plain and simple, and deliver more energy to the listening experience. 

I didn’t use the Timeless for gaming for very long. The Timeless AE has lived on my desk since I unboxed them. I can’t think of a better recommendation at this price in the world of planars. 

The product described in this article was provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes. Articles may include affiliate links from which we may earn a small commission to help support the site. Authors do not earn affiliate revenue or commissions.

9.0Amazing
Pros
  • Improved bass presence
  • Slightly more spacious sound signature
  • Excellent detail retrieval
  • Improved modular cable
  • Energetic and fun for both music and gaming
Cons
  • Fit may be an issue for some
  • Cable is stiffer than the original
  • Apart from the cable, the changes here can be accomplished with EQ


GameByNight

Christopher Coke

Chris cut his teeth on MMOs in the late 90s with text-based MUDs. He’s written about video games for many different sites but has made MMORPG his home since 2013. Today, he acts as Hardware and Technology Editor, lead tech reviewer, and continues to love and write about games every chance he gets. Follow him on Twitter: @GameByNight