7Hz has certainly made a name for itself in the competitive ChiFi market. With almost every release, it leaves behind a prominent mark. The 7Hz Timeless, for example, is regarded as one of the best (and properly tuned) ChiFi planar IEMs when it was first released.
There’s also the 7Hz Salnotes Dioko, which is a refined, affordable sub-$100 planar IEM that was developed in collaboration with the famed Crinacle. 7Hz has a very good offering in the more budget-friendly segment too in the form of the 7Hz Salnotes Zero, a single dynamic driver IEM from only $22.99.
Not only has 7Hz released products at various price points to appeal to different crowds, it’s also evident that the brand is well aware of what’s trending in the IEM space. And if you’ve been keeping up with the fast-moving ChiFi market, you’d know that the current talk of the town are dual dynamic driver IEMs.
Well, enter the 7Hz Legato.
What It Is
According to a video interview with 7Hz’s co-tuners (Larry and Ray) by YouTuber Ian Fann, the Legato is meant to stray away from the Harman-style tuning that’s been all the rage as of late. Instead, the Legato aims to emulate the experience and nostalgia of…an 80s, vintage boombox.
In order to achieve this, the Legato utilises a dual dynamic driver configuration. A 12mm subwoofer, of course, handles the bass, while another 6mm tweeter handles the mids and highs. Paired with its $109 (about RM485) price tag on Linsoul – which sent us this review unit – it’s quite reasonably priced.
If you own the Dioko, then you’ll be very familiar with the packaging of the Legato. In fact, aside from a different texture, the case is practically the same. Inside, you’ll find the Legato itself with a thick OCC cable already attached, five pairs of silicone ear tips, and extra nozzle filters – a thoughtful addition.
How Does It Sound?
If it hasn’t been made obvious yet, the 7Hz Legato is all about that bass. The overall note weight is thick with a warm tonality and V-shaped sound signature. The emphasised low-end, however, does mean that details can get a bit veiled.
Soundstage has good height and width, but it’s mostly an intimate experience. The lack of depth isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though busier tracks tend to sound a bit messy thanks to the Legato’s less-than-stellar imaging performance.
I’ve mentioned a couple of times that the Legato’s main focus is its bass. But how exactly is the quality of the bass? Well, let’s first talk about quantity. The Legato’s sub-bass extends deep down low with strong, boomy authority. Mid-bass has less extension, but is still plenty impactful.
In regards to the Legato’s inspiration to sound like a vintage boombox, I would say…mission accomplished. The IEM not only achieves the slam of a boombox, it also brings a more coloured and less analytical sound.
The meaty low end is strong, no doubt, but it also ends up sounding loose and undefined. The texture of the bass also has a certain fuzziness to it that lends to the “vintage” sound it sought to achieve, though that also means it’s not as refined – to me, anyway.
The QKZ x HBB Khan is another dual dynamic driver IEM that I previously reviewed. The mid-bass on that set has better extension with tighter and cleaner impact, while the bass of the Legato sounds much more… “chonky” and looser. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that the Legato has muddy bass, but there’s definitely notable bass bleed into the mids.
Mids on the Legato take a step back. While the mids don’t sound too recessed to my ears, the IEM’s treble and (especially) bass are so apparent and forward that the mids seem a tad shy – qualities of a V-shaped sound signature. That being said, compared to the Khan, female vocals are definitely more present here with thicker note weight.
The aforementioned bass bleed of the Legato also gives vocals an unnatural timbre and weight. It’s worth noting that while these qualities are apparent with female vocals, male vocals don’t suffer too much as the added warmth does sound fairly organic.
Timbre quality of instruments also sounds a bit artificial. There’s a certain hollowness to it that doesn’t sit right with me, though I guess I can chalk it up to the Legato aiming to achieve the “old-school sound quality.”
The theme of unnaturalness extends to the highs of the Legato. The treble region is also not particularly detailed with a grainy texture to it, though I do appreciate that it is bright enough to my liking. It doesn’t sound too dark or too shrill, which is good.
Comparing the Legato (once again) to the Khan, the latter has a smoother, more rolled-off treble, while the Legato has sparklier highs that tend to sound a bit harsh on busier tracks.
Is It Worth It?
The 7Hz Legato can be described as a basshead’s ideal mid-range IEM. It has all the rumble you’d want without the thinness of most IEMs these days that are tuned to the Harman target curve. It’s also more musical than it is analytical, which may appeal to some folks.
But I still find myself reaching for the QKZ x HBB Khan when I feel like listening to something fun; the tightness of the bass on that set is just more impactful and engaging to me. But to the Legato’s credit, I do miss its thicker note weight when I’m listening to the Khan.
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