Here’s my review of the Hapa Aero USB cable, which I was sent as part of the Aero tour. There was one hitch though - it turned out that my DAC needed a longer connector to properly fit into its USB input. No worries - I spoke with Jason, who diagnosed the problem, built an Aero cable with a new USB connector, and sent it to me within days. The new connector worked and I started the break in process. But I must say that the Aero sounded good even before break in, and started to sound significantly better at around 100-120 hours of break in time (my wife later confessed that she knew by then that we should buy the Aero). I restrained myself from doing any serious auditioning until we got to the 150 hour mark.
Innuos Zenith Mk 2 music server
Ayre QX-5 Twenty DAC
Ayre KX-5 Twenty preamp
Bryston 3B Cubed amp
Salk Veracity HT2-TL speakers
Shunyata Hydra power conditioner
Shunyata power cables
Kimber Kable interconnects and speaker cable
Wireworld Starlight CAT8 ethernet cable
Wireworld Platinum Starlight 7 USB cable
My wife (who is a classical pianist) and I listen primarily to classical music, with some jazz, blues, indie, folk, etc thrown in. We used 6 classical pieces we know well to compare the Aero to the Wireworld USB cable and have the following comments (my wife gets credit for the most perceptive comments):
1. Monteverdi, Il delerio della passione, track 2, Anna Lucia Richter, hirez - soprano & chamber ensemble. Aero - bigger soundstage, greater separation & clarity of instruments, voice is more intimate, has more breath and hear voice phrasing better, instruments are more resonant. Wireworld sounds somewhat compressed by comparison.
2. Bruckner Symphony #9, track 2, Pittsburgh Symphony (Honeck conducting), hirez - dynamic orchestral piece [thanks to ACer Desertpilot (Marcus) for posting his recommendation of this recording]. Aero - feels more like being at a concert hall, more space and hear instruments and their character more clearly, hear the actual tone a flute has and hear the bottom reverb of the kettle drum and not just the top of the drum. Wireworld sounds flatter by comparison, more like a block of sound, it's almost like a different performance.
3. Stravinsky, Rite of Spring, tracks 1 & 2, Atlanta Symphony (Levi conducting) - coloristic orchestral piece. Aero - sounds fill a bigger space (which seems to allow the overtones to expand) and reverberate more, better dynamics, deeper base, details clearer, sounds like a coherent piece. Wireworld sounds somewhat boxed in by comparison.
4. Graupner, Himlishe Stunden, seelige Zeiten, track 13, Miriam Feuersinger & Capricornus Consort Basel- soprano & chamber consort. Aero has better balance between voice and instruments (which have better articulation), hear ensemble playing, whereas Wireworld makes the voice prominent.
5. Copland, Jeffrey Khaner: American Flute Music, track 4- flute & piano. Aero - it's revelatory, hear more overtones on the flute, allows the flute's vibrato to be heard, which adds depth and color.
6. Vaughan Williams, The Early Chamber Music, Nash Ensemble, track 1-1 - strings & piano. Aero - the strings are heard better, making for a more balanced sound, hear more separation between the instruments while maintaining a coherent whole.
The Wireworld is a very good cable, yet as you can see, we were more impressed by the Aero and didn't hesitate to buy it. I was equally impressed by Jason's customer service.
Congratulations (and thanks), Jason and Sebastien!