7Hz Timeless, LetShuoer S12: Planar Revolution.
The second half of 2021 has probably redefined the audiophile world more than any 6 months in recent history.
Outstanding iems just kept being released at all price points. Marginal quality gains have probably been the biggest in the $150-$250 price bracket where some iems just smashed any pre-conceived price/quality barriers.
Two of these iems have a lot of similiarities. They both use planar magnetic drivers of similar sizes, both have been praised for their sound and build quality and both have attracted cult followings.
I am of course talking about the new planar “twins”: 7Hz Timeless and LetShuoer S12.
I finally got to spend time with both of these. What I will say from here on needs to be read with this in mind:
I just can’t believe how good these sound for the price!
Both iems come in very simple packaging with nice cases: S12 comes with a small synthetic leather case. Timeless has a cute metallic box.
Both sets are well built and have a nice industrial design. Timeless is much smaller than it looks on pictures. A very welcome surprise. Stock cables feel nice and seem to be of high quality.
Timeless comes with 3 different sets of silicon tip. S12 silicon tips are not of the same quality but LetShuoer included a set of foam tips, a nice touch.
Fit is good on both. Timeless fit is more secure and comfortable for my ears. It also gives me slightly better isolation. This said, S12 also fits nicely and some people reported that they prefer it to Timeless. So this will depend on your ears.
Tip rolling is absolutely necessary with both Timeless and S12. I can’t remember the last time tips were so crucial. With the wrong tips, both iems can sound sibilant and borderline unbearable.
My usual go-to tips are Sednas (lights, xelastecs or crystals). All have wide bores. These did NOT work with Timeless and S12. I found narrower bore tips to work much better. I ended up settling on Final E tips. This made me happy as most of my narrow bore tips tend to just sit on my desk.
Let’s have a quick look at the graphs:
As you can see, S12 has clearly more energy from upper mids onwards. More on this later.
What actually surprised me with these graphs is how close bass and mids look. I was expecting S12 to show more sub bass, less mid bass and a more V shaped signature compared to Timeless.
Bass is very good on both iems. It has body, control and authority. S12 sub bass extends a bit deeper and bass is a bit boomier, in a good way. Timeless is a touch more mid bass focused and has better bass control.
On bass heavy tracks, both sets are extremely satisfying. S12 will be more pleasing to bassheads. Timeless will suit people looking for a significant but controlled bass boost.
Mids are again quite different. I find Timeless mids smoother with better texture. Vocals have a more natural timbre. This could be due to the slightly more forward upper mids on the S12. Voices just sounded a bit too forward and unnatural at times whereas Timeless always stayed smooth and emotional.
If you want more energy in upper mids, S12 is the way to go. If prefer a smooth and natural sounding signature Timeless might be more to your liking.
Treble is again very different and it’s where the gap between the two iems gets bigger. S12 has more lower treble energy. This can make cymbals sound aggressive on some tracks and can cause sibilance at times. Timeless treble is smoother. It is as detailed but more relaxed. This also makes Timeless sound more airy and well extended.
Dynamics are very good on both iems but S12 takes the upper hand here. It gives you a more energetic sound that has an edge to it. It can be pleasing or fatiguing, depending on your preferences. Timeless has slightly softer dynamics.
Stage is wider and a bit more 3-dimensional with Timeless. S12 presents you with a higher but narrower stage. Separation and layering are similar. I perceived micro details better on Timeless but that is likely due to tuning rather than the drivers’ capabilities. But we are splitting hairs here.
In conclusion, if you want a smooth all-rounder with fantastic tonality, bass and timbre, Timeless might be the one to go for. If you want a more V shaped signature with more sub bass and energy in the upper frequencies, S12 will give you all you can handle.
I will conclude this where I started: I can’t believe these retail below $250. Whichever iem you choose, you are getting insane value for your money.