Ok, here are my impressions of the Breathe C from the western tour. These impressions are a follow-up to the review I posted a few weeks ago regarding the rest of the Hapa lineup here: https://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=173888.msg1844603#msg1844603
In that review, I found the Quiescence silver and silver/gold to be some real next-level stuff in terms of absolute fine detail and completely holographic soundstage. They suffered a little or a lot in terms of thinness of the sound, though, with the silver/gold being warmer and a bit less thin of a sound.
The Breathe S, in comparison, was quite a bit thicker/meatier than the Quiescence, but at the expense of detail.
I've had the Breathe C in my system since Sunday. I had a session on Sunday where I compared the Breathe C to my DIY Zenwave D3 cables and formed an initial impression. Then I had a very busy week and didn't get around to listening again until this afternoon. But the Breathe C have stayed in the system the entire week and had music playing through them 24/7, to give them the best opportunity to shine.
After both Sunday's initial session and this afternoon's, my sense is that the Breathe C shares much in common with the Breathe S. It has that same meatier/weightier sound in comparison to my D3's that the Breathe S had. It also sounded a bit veiled in comparison, with the D3's letting through more detail, and individual instruments sounding cleaner and clearer. Voices and instruments also have more focus with the D3, whereas the Breathe C smeared them a bit.
But the Breathe C is also supremely musical. It has a very nice weighty sound, and while it sounds a bit slow and dull at low listening levels compared with the D3's, it loves it when you crank the volume. It has a very coherent sound, and is incredibly smooth. You won't hear any hint of glare coming from the Breathe C.
These impressions were formed using pretty much the same songs as I used my original review linked above. I don't really think the Breathe C did justice to Sarah Chang - Le quattro stagioni (Vivaldi: The Four Seasons), but it showed its virtues on the rest. I also liked it a lot on Ray Lamontagne's Till the Sun Turns Black album - perhaps better overall than my D3's.
But the D3's are more dynamic than the Breathe C by quite a margin - in fact I have to turn my volume up a couple clicks to match the same perceived volume with the Breathe C in the system. And since I do almost all my listening at very low volumes while either studying or late evening after the toddler has gone to bed, the D3 are a better fit for my lifestyle while also probably having the overall better performance between the two across all the various categories.
In sum, I agree that the Breathe C perform very well for their price point and at that price point offer significant competition to very high parts quality and design quality DIY ICs. They have many virtues and have a character that will shine well in most systems out there.