Hapa Aero USB cable thoughts

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Re: Hapa Aero USB cable thoughts
« Reply #20 on: 23 Nov 2021, 06:43 am »
I'd first like to thank Jason Wong & Sebastien Chiu for allowing me to evaluate the Hapa Aero USB cable.

EtherRegen A side to network (generic cable), B side (Avanti Audio) to Lumin U1 Mini
LUMIN U1 Mini with Uptone Audio JS-2 power supply (Audio Sensibility 5.5X2.1mm DC kit)
Avanti Audio Vivace Ethernet cable 1.5 meter from B side of EtherRegen to Lumin U1 Mini
Cary Audio SI3002D Integrated amplifier
Denafrips Pontus II DAC (Hapa Aero USB from Lumin U1 Mini to Denafrips Pontus II) and (Hapa Aero USB from Lumin U1 Mini to Cary SI3002D's internal DAC)
Morrow USB cable (existing)
NRG custom speaker cables and power cords
Salk 3 BEATS speakers
Spaceport line conditioner
Tidal stream (no local music yet)

The construction of the Hapa is top notch.  It is very well constructed.  I tried it first from the Lumin to my amps internal DAC for a few days, then I tried it with the Denafrips DAC.  The very first thing that was noticeably apparent was the bass extension in both configurations. Initially, I considered moving my BEATS further away from the wall but I found that was not necessary.  The more I listened I realized that the extra bass was dependent on the recording.  I have an open concept room which I hate, so the fuller bass was appreciated. It was still controlled but very commanding.

In regards to the mids & highs, everything was a bit clearer.  There was more separation and space between instruments but the impact was not as profound as the low end. Everything sounded better with the Aero but the Morrow USB held its own with the highs.  Other than that, the Aero is a much better sounding cable in my system.

I added the Denafrips Pontus to the chain with the Morrow USB and it sounded much better than the previous config with the Aero to the Cary internal DAC, which is very good.  I switched to the Aero cable and it took a giant step forward.  It was more of everything, authoritative full and punchy bass and the midrange and highs were amazing.  The music moved into the room depending on the recording.  It seems like the Aero opened everything up.  It showed me what the Denafrips DAC is capable of and the Cary internal DAC as well.

I removed the USB cable and tried the XLR balanced output from the Cary to the Pontus, and an AES/EBU cable from the Lumin to Cary, and from Lumin to Pontus.  It's a different sound that is less engaging.  I moved my sofa towards the speakers 2-3 feet and it sounded much better. Could it be the cables, perhaps?  All 3 cables are Mogami Gold series with very few hours in all fairness. 

Music used to evaluate the Aero:
Cassandra Wilson - Another Country/"No More Blues" Deep voice, amazing placement of instruments
Vanessa Fernandez - Use Me/"Here But I'm Gone" - more bass than I've heard from this song ever
Hoff Ensemble - Polarity/"Moving" - Just an excellent recording, the brushes really sounded real. More space between instruments.  This is a very dynamic recording.
Fausto Mesalella - Live at Alcatraz/"Imagine" If I closed my eyes I would not be able to distinguish from a real guitar.
Frederic Alarie - Tap Bass/"Water is Wide" Amazing upright bass, fuller but tight with Aero
Diana Krall - Turn Up the Quiet/"Isn’t it Romantic" Centered right in the room, scary good
Marc van Roon Trio - Quantum Stories/"In The Air" Literally in the air, very good recording
Alicia Keys - VH1 Storytellers/"Empire State of Mind" or any song from this recording sounds like live music. 
Fink - Wheels Turn Beneath My Feet/"Trouble is what you're in" Sounds live

The Aero sounds great in my system without an external DAC, but with the Pontus it's outstanding. I listened to the aforementioned songs/albums over and over, with and without Aero.  It was always better with the Aero by a wide margin on some songs and very little on others.  That's the beauty of this Tour as it allows us to see if it improves our different configurations.  Thanks again to the Hapa team and everyone else who posted reviews.  Highly recommended!!


Re: Hapa Aero USB cable thoughts
« Reply #21 on: 24 Nov 2021, 06:32 pm »
I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts. That is quite the equipment list! Your digital front end is very impressive. Thank you for taking the time to compare Aero to your current USB cable. :thumb:


Re: Hapa Aero USB cable thoughts
« Reply #22 on: Today at 12:01 am »
I’m one of the lucky people who were on the Aero audition tour and have just finished my evaluation. I will post a more detailed review in the next several days, but did want to cut to the chase and at least post my conclusion. I really liked the Aero, so much so that I bought it (and with my wife’s enthusiastic approval). Expansive sound (as others have noted), more presence, more detail, more air. If you can fit it in your budget, I highly recommend that you try it.