First off, I’d like to thank Pez for doing a demo-tour for his new Breathe C interconnects. It was perfectly timely for me, as I had just started to do a little research into ICs again, after a handful of years of owning some ‘basic’ cables.
Over the past 10 years, I’ve owned ICs at the $750 price point, $1500 pp and even the $2000 pp. I always ended up thinking these various brands either accentuated an aspect of the frequency spectrum or had a noticeable coloration of some sort. After moving house and redoing the system and room a few years ago and through to now, I decided to go simple and have been using Duelund wire ICs w/ either Duelund or KLE Absolute Harmony connectors, as well as another brand’s entry level offering with a simple but good construction and in-house connectors. These would be in the affordable category and have served as a simple yet natural sounding approach.
Reading around the web recently on some new ideas about ICs, I ran into DIY techniques talking about different braided geometries as well as how good the KLE brand connectors are —and why. So I was excited to see that Hapa Audio was just launched and using some interesting geometries along with the minimal contact approach KLE connectors. And even more excited when I then saw a tour offer still with a spot open for me!
Poised for a source upgrade but currently using a PS Audio PWT Transport and a tweaked AppleTV and iFI SPDIF iPurifier for casual app streaming into either a Bricasti M3 DAC or Lampizator Atlantic DAC > Herron VTSP-360 preamp > Wells Audio Innamorata Signature amp > Harbeth 40.2 40th Anniversary edition speakers. Room is well treated and ‘tuned’ by ear with lots of trials of different treatments.
I used the three sets of ICs between both DACs to preamp and from preamp to amp. Since I consistently experience a distinct settling period of somewhere under 48 hours every time I swap an IC or power cable, that consistently gives a ‘false positive’ behavior for that time, I do not evaluate for two full days. Since, generally, with cables we are fine-tuning our systems to our liking, I find it impossible to judge something that is actively making finer changes in presentation during that time. Hell, I can move or jostle (not unplug) an IC or PC and get a presentation shift for a handful of hours. So for me -my ears and this system- and piece of mind, I need things to be settle and not moved for the two days before I get down to it... Unfortunately, after that, my demo time with the cables was also interrupted by a heavy rain storm and two separate multi-hour power outages. But I was still able to get in just enough listening to know; good thing my timing with them was ending on a weekend, so I was able to squeak out another day and a half
Don’t you love it when reviews are all build up and lite on descriptions of sound? Luckily I’m just adding to the bunch here and reinforcing what others have already said.
The first thing I noticed about the Hapa Breathe C cables was their clarity and lack of distortions. Like two months ago, when I added the Puritan 156 power conditioner to the system and saw the noisefloor drop and a new level of clarity and detail come through, the same happened again here with the Hapa cables; showing me just how much distortion my current cables have. The old saying “you don’t know it’s there until it’s gone’ fits here almost just as much as it did with the Puritan, in my case.
Next was noticing the openness and transparency, yet these cables still have great tonal color showing through and an ease and musicality that was a joy to hear. With my amp and speakers, I always wondered why I wasn’t getting the delicacy and ease that I thought I should have; it’s there now with the Hapa copper cables! But the most surprising change for my current system atmosphere and issues, was the bass. There are two distinct placement methods that work for the big Harbeths and I had been trying to get dialed in on the more conventional / more widely used placement of these speakers —over what I’ve used for them the past two years that I liked very much— but had yet to find the same top-to-bottom bass smoothness as before and rid the sound of this certain bass bloat/distortion, that I thought was obviously placement related. To my surprise, with the Hapa cables, that problem is no more. The bass is definitely still all there and articulate, yet lacking in distortions, that can evidently just seem like a bigger amount of a fat/rounded bass.
And like others have said, this level of clarity and cleanliness allows me to listen louder than before, if I chose to, without ‘setting off’ my sensitive ears.
These interconnects are so clean, clear, transparent and seemingly distortion-free, as well as still having great natural tone, timbre and texture, that I have placed an order to wire my system up with them, including the upgrade to the Absolute Harmony connectors that I am already familiar with and know they will bring everything up to just the right balance I’m after.