BASS CANON! – 7hz Legato Review
7Hz became a household name in the community from its successes with Timeless and Zero IEMs. Both are tuned exceptionally well for the price and are still competitive today. Because of these two, the community is always excited to see what’s next from 7Hz, and today, we have their newest release to discuss, the Legato.
Source: Topping A90 & D90LE
Graph Tool: Clone IEC 60318-4 Coupler (Clone 711)
The Legato is a two dynamic driver setup, one as a woofer and the other handling mids and highs. As shown in the graph below, Legato is an unapologetically bassy IEM. I don’t particularly prefer this tuning choice, as I enjoy balanced signatures the most. However, I can appreciate a well-executed bassy signature; Fatfreq Maestro Mini is a good example. On the other hand, Legato falls short of delivering this signature. We’ll discuss the reasons for this and some positives it does have in the Sound Breakdown.
To say the bass is a lot is an understatement. It’s 13dB of punch-to-face bass that corrects itself at around 500Hz. This amount of bass immediately reminded me of Fatfreq Maestro Mini, which was potentially the inspiration behind the Legato. The difference is the Maestro Mini’s bass is clean (correcting at the acceptable 300Hz), while the Legato leans muddy. The bleed into the lower midrange hurts female vocals the most, as it makes them sound heavy and congested. The bleed is more forgiving for male vocals, but even they come across overly thick. Bass dynamic is pillowy, not dry like Balanced Armature bass, but lacks tightness and definition. The bass in Legato is simply a lot while missing other aspects that can truly make the bass shine. There’s a quick fix to this that I’ll discuss at the end of the article.
We already discussed the lower midrange, so how about the upper midrange? It’s natural. Yes, the Legato’s executes the high frequencies nicely. Vocals and instruments have great timbre decay and mostly sound correct. My only criticism here, not exclusive to the Legato, is that it trades vocal clarity for bass quantity. The criticism also applies to Maestro Mini, though to a lesser degree, as those two have significantly more upper midrange to compensate for the bass. The Legato leans towards its bass more, again, unapologetically. Ultimately, it’s a con shared between IEMs tuned in this style. Though most who seek a bassy signature are okay with this trade-off, it’s worth mentioning anyways.
I don’t have much to say about the treble besides that it sounds fine. It’s primarily relaxed due to how much more bass you get in comparison. Instruments are represented but could be more impressive. It’s okay at best and underwhelming at worst, but nothing outright wrong.
Much like vocal clarity, details are also traded for bass quantity. Instruments are behind the bass, which causes a loss in incisiveness, micro details, and overall clarity. The Legato is also muddier in the bass, which adds bluntness on top of everything else. Long story short, the Legato is not detailed sounding.
The soundstage is okay; it could use more treble to feel more airiness, but okay overall.
Comparison & Summary
I usually like to compare IEMs I’m reviewing with competitors in the same price range, but given the niche tuning choice of Legato, it’s not helpful to pitch the top contender at the same price against Legato due to drastic differences in the target market. The quick and dirty comparison is get anything else I usually recommend if you want a good midrange presentation, but demo Legato if you’re curious about the dark side (as in, punch-to-the-face bass.) The bottom line is if you’re not a bass head, this IEM is not for you, and if you’re a bass head, this is still a lurk warm “demo first” recommendation at best.
Here’s the quick fix I promised earlier, which is…..EQ! (you didn’t see this coming at all, I know).
Using a -3dB peak filter 300Hz with a 1.1 Q factor solves the muddy issue; vocals are more natural, enhance instrumental separation, and add dynamics to the bass. You’re welcome 🙂
Disclaimer, EQ is never considered part of the evaluation process.