Time spent with Breathe C and Silver Quiescence ICs

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jdavis37

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How this is review organized? …. I will break this down into sections to allow those who want to go directly to my thoughts on the cables to save some time. The sections prior to that will hopefully help explain some about my perspectives as well as to capture some disclaimers I feel are pertinent. So, here goes:

Background

I’m someone who enjoys listening to music for the relaxation it provides. Most of what I listen to is more or less acoustic in nature but that said I am somewhat eclectic in that I listen to a lot of different stuff. Live music is my preference. Short of that, I love dynamics, raw vocals and really dislike over processed pop type songs! That sums that part up well enough.
I am NOT a “Golden Ear”, nor am I seeking the Holy Grail of musical perfection. My funds are not infinite, and the cost of a divorce always enters my mind before I start thinking about another something new!

My Equipment

First and foremost, I do love the sound nice tube gear can provide. That said, I am a self-proclaimed “tube wienie”. I just dislike tube maintenance and so forth. Solid state lets me turn it on, walk away and allow my ADD to simply forget what I just wrote!
I am also all digital though I will forever love the sound of vinyl.

Amplifier – A custom Coda modified Coda TsX power amp, biased to 12 watts Class A, 250 w/ch 8 ohm, 500 W/ch into 4 ohms
Preamplifier – Coda 07X
Music Player – Lumin U1
DAC : SW1X Level 3 Standard with customizations (tube based DAC, so I am not a total “tube wienie”)
Speakers – Daedalus Ulysses V.2 (soon to be V.3)
Cabling/wiring – I will avoid IC brands in this write up simply because of the obvious (the purpose of this is only to go over my experiences with Jason’s cables, not to turn it into a contest, etc. )!

Disclaimers

Why do I do a “disclaimer” section? For one I try very hard to not say or type anything to offend. Offending anyone is not my goal or desire. I respect what others hear or don’t hear as valid as what I hear or don’t hear. I also believe everything I write is very specific to my ears, my room, and my equipment.
Over the years I realized each of us have the same senses, yet we experience things in our own unique ways.
For example, we taste the same food with different results (try to get me to eat broccoli). We smell the same smells with different results (for example, the smell of boiling shrimp). We see the same color differently (that is blue dear, no it is gray). It stands to reason each of us hears the same sounds differently.
So, all of this is to say your mileage may vary! And I will spare the reader my beliefs in cables. Suffice it to say I do believe cables can and do make a difference, and they become blended with the rest of the system. There is no one cable is best for all in my mind. I’ll stop here to avoid a long dissertation on what I think about cables, truths and snake oils included!.

The opportunity

My wife and I moved to a new home December 2019. The house we settled into has plenty of room and really met most of what we wanted. The one thing it did not have was a really great music room. I had just bought the Daedalus speakers and knew they would be a little cramped in the new space. My room is roughly 15.5 x 17 feet. 9 foot ceilings and a ton of reflections along with multiple doors coming into it, and closet doors down one side, windows on the opposite. From day 1 I have been fighting brightness, and let me say this, I HATE brightness. If I wasn’t clear, I’ll repeat and say I really by gosh HATE bright stereo sound, where the music is ultra-detailed but very thin (this is why I bought my NOS DAC). I bought the amp and preamp after the move, along with putting up a lot of GIK treatments on the walls, and rugs on the floor. I think the dogs liked some of that at least. To say the room has been challenging would be an understatement.
I am at a point where the room has been sufficiently tamed. A recent speaker cable change also contributed…

This is when I learned about Jason’s ICs. I contacted him to see if I could listen before buying, and after a brief exchange of information and a nice phone conversation, I decided to listen using his Breathe C interconnects (with the KLEI Absolute Harmony terminations) as well as a pair of his Silver Quiescence (from this point, referred to as “Silver Q’s since Q is easier to type, and I cannot type) cables with the same KLEI components.
I am honestly a little biased against silver in general due to having had some very bright sounding silver ICs in the past (but, I was told, blame the build, not the silver!).

When I received the cables, I went through a roughly 80 hour burn in with the Breathe C’s since they were brand new. The Silver Q’s were already broken in.
Like a kid, I went ahead an immediately connected the Breathe Cs and listened to 2 or 4 songs I knew well. The cables did have a bit of edginess to them so the listening was cut off. I did the same quick listen with the Silver Qs and did not hear any edginess at all.

Breathe C’s

After roughly 80 hours of continuous music playing for burn in (without listening), I connected the Breathe C cables and started listening using a song I was very familiar with (Ryan Adams La Cienega Just Smiled).

There was no edginess at all. I switched to an older Damien Rice song that has a lot of texture to it in addition to a ton of bass (The Blower’s Daughter). From there I danced over to a live recording of Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds doing a cover of “The Maker” (some truly great guitar work from Tim).

So, how to do this?

I dislike turning stuff off, swapping cables, etc and going back and forth. For me this gets confusing. Call it my old age or ADD of laziness, but my feelings are if a cable is truly different, especially if it is “better”, you should just know it.

There were actually two things that stood out. I noticed the Breathe C’s were really laid back. This is not bad for me given how much I detest brightness. But it was a teeny bit veiled compared to my cables (my current cables retail for about $1100 each and are sold direct from manufacturer.. just to put the cables in comparison). Not a bad veiled mind you. The laid-back part I did like. I played a live recording of Chris Cornell’s that can easily become bright.. and it was NOT bright in any way.

And then Duh.

My speakers have a switch on the back for the high end which offers 3 settings.. -0.5 dB, normal and +1 dB. I had them set to -0.5 dB. Once set to their normal setting the veil was gone but still no brightness. This was a good sign as I was able to play music by singers like Chris Cornell at quite loud levels, and the sound never got bright or edgy.

It was the return to La Cienega Just Smiled that told me what I needed….. there was no need to go back and forth between ICs. I was enjoying the sound of the music, regardless of what song was playing.

I am not going to use superlatives such as my soundstage grew wider and deeper. I don’t think my staging changed much (my cables are very good with staging). This just means staging wise things stayed as they were, which was very good.

I did NOT lose any bass, nor did the mid bass thin out. But, there was more micro detail. Not in an unpleasant harsh or annoying way. But, you could hear the music, could hear more instruments. Subtle in a non-subtle way.

The lack of harshness, the lack of any brightness along with a sense of being laid back but not dull really fell into my hands. That is where I am as I type this. Now,  at this point Iwill leave the Breathe C’s in for a few days and live with them. Time to see how the honeymoon goes! But, I can say with confidence, they offer a lot for the money, and for now seem to be adding the polishing touches to my system.

Time passes……
The Breathe C’s have been in my system for a few days. Time to listen more critically (though my standard remains for the purchase to be worthwhile the differences need to be significant). I woke this morning with the mindset life would be easier staying with my current cables. Less money going out the door as well.

I decided to use 2 songs. Any more than that and I fear I get confused, Ryan Adams La Cienega Just Smiled and Damien Rice The Blower’s Daughter. For me these 2 songs have a lot of attributes I care about even though neither is a live performance. Lots of details in each and both songs have some deceptively deep bass. They also have vocals that can get edgy with the wrong cables.

I played both with the Breathe C’s then returned to what I had been using, confident the differences would be subtle enough to stick a fork in things.
I was wrong. Both cables offered good detail, staging and bass response, but the Hapa Breathe C’s had more body, were smoother sounding in the vocals and offered slightly more detail with the background instruments. While the differences were not huge, they were also not subtle. For lack of better words, the musicality went up when using the Breathe C cables to the point I did not want to use what I had been using.

The Silver Qs

Hmmm Kind of hard to want to start this all over again, but nothing like another adventure!
I went to the Silver Qs to compare what I now thought to my initial experiences. The simple answer is, my initial thoughts held. The Silver Qs are very smooth sounding with added detail. No harshness whatsoever, no brightness. Characteristics that had biased me against silver before. But, the added detail is easily heard. While not drastic, I would say the lower bass registers up to the mid bass regions were slightly less pronounced than they were with the copper Breathe cables. This is subjective, and difficult to describe without it sounding worse than it is. The bass was there, just a little less of it, making the Silver Qs presenting more leanness but also more detail.

My room/system has been somewhat bass thin from the start and I have had to work hard on the room to restore the mid bass regions. So take some of what I am saying with that in mind. It may come down to the room, the equipment, the music being listened to, etc. etc. In my system the slight bass reduction would be noticed. But their tonal qualities are very similar. Those who really love detail would no doubt favor the Silver Qs between these two. Goes back to my disclaimers where I stated how we hear sounds is unique to each of us.

I liked the Silver Qs overall. Very nice sound and some songs really came alive with them. That has to also be factored in, the music you listen to. To my ears though they sounded more detailed than did the Breathe C’s but also a bit more lean. The detail was not harsh nor was it artificial sounding. It was interesting hearing certain musical passages and hearing the background instruments more clearly, and then going back to my ICs and listening again. Usually it was, yep it is there but you just don’t hear it. With the silver Quiescence cables hearing these instruments was simple.

How much of my preference is due to my room, or my equipment, or even my ears is difficult to guess. In have been fighting a sense of thinness in my system for a while now and only recently did I feel I had gotten around it. My speakers will soon be upgraded and that may also change my point of view on this. The good news is both cables are made very well, are very attractive aesthetically (if that matters to you), and both provided really nice sound quality. It would be difficult to go wrong with either.

In my system, I preferred the Breathe C’s with the Klei harmony absolute connectors. Everyone should buy them before Jason realizes the gold mine he is sitting on and doubles the price!

Much thanks to Jason for trusting me with his creations, and giving me the opportunity to try both sets of cables in my system. As much as I grumbled about crawling behind my equipment and changing cables while fighting other cords and cables, etc. it was a privilege to have the opportunity.

I’ll end this by stating I did not receive any compensation for writing this up. I did buy the Breathe C interconnects used in this evaluation (just means the broken in cables are NOT available for others to listen to! Sorry!). I found the cables added some body to my system and a little more detail at the same time. While I think your own ears are the best judge, it is difficult to imagine anyone not liking the sound Jason has provided.


PS The end table in the photo (ok I made it but honest I am not showing it off) does NOT normally reside here. I have a 130 pound shepherd who at nearly years of age thinks he is 8 months and he really loves to explore behind things!

Wig

Re: Time spent with Breathe C and Silver Quiescence ICs
« Reply #1 on: 9 Apr 2021, 05:50 am »
Great review and beautiful setup!

Wig  :thumb:

mresseguie

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Re: Time spent with Breathe C and Silver Quiescence ICs
« Reply #2 on: 9 Apr 2021, 08:22 am »
I agree. You’ve written an excellent report.

Hmm. Jason will send me two pairs of his Quiescence silver ICs next week - at my request. After reading your impressions and taking into account our similar speakers and DACs, I cannot help but wonder if I should ask for a pair of his Breathe C ICs in addition to the Qs.
« Last Edit: 9 Apr 2021, 04:01 pm by mresseguie »

marvda1

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Re: Time spent with Breathe C and Silver Quiescence ICs
« Reply #3 on: 9 Apr 2021, 01:33 pm »
I agree. You’ve written an excellent report.

Hmm. Jason will send me two pairs of his Quiescence ICs next week - at my request. After reading your impressions and taking into account our similar speakers and DACs, I cannot help but wonder if I should ask for a pair of his Breathe C ICs in addition to the Qs.

He also has Quiescence C interconnects.

jdavis37

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Re: Time spent with Breathe C and Silver Quiescence ICs
« Reply #4 on: 9 Apr 2021, 01:39 pm »
I agree. You’ve written an excellent report.

Hmm. Jason will send me two pairs of his Quiescence ICs next week - at my request. After reading your impressions and taking into account our similar speakers and DACs, I cannot help but wonder if I should ask for a pair of his Breathe C ICs in addition to the Qs.

Thanks Wig! You deserve a little commission for the setup!

jdavis37

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Re: Time spent with Breathe C and Silver Quiescence ICs
« Reply #5 on: 9 Apr 2021, 01:49 pm »
He also has Quiescence C interconnects.

You may want to try both, or simply try the Quiescence cables and see what your ears tell you. In my case, I bought my speakers used and upon delivery I learned the seller had not been 100% truthful about their past. I have had issues with my room and getting the Ulysses to fit in has been some effort. I am about to return them for a full refresh and upgrade, so I'll know more about that aspect in near future. Always a chance there could be something underlying there.

I really dislike brightness though, so some of this could just be ME and how I hear certain sounds. So many variables including the recordings. The Silver Qs without question present more detail, and some of that was fascinating. I never heard the detail as harsh in any way, just certain background sounds were a little louder and more easily placed.

I also discovered it is really tough to compare interconnects. Having to turn things off, remove 2 sets of cables, lots of groaning and moaning as this getting older stuff is a delight.. and then going back trying to remember exactly what was heard before. And of course, reversing this process to be sure. I could have been happy with either set though. Both delivered.

And when my speakers come back sounding differently who knows :) Gosh this is tough finding that overall balance!

Pez

Re: Time spent with Breathe C and Silver Quiescence ICs
« Reply #6 on: 9 Apr 2021, 03:04 pm »
John,
What a guy! Loved chatting with you, loved spitballing solutions for some of the usual Hifi issues we all have to deal with and love the lap dog!  :P

Thanks a million for taking the time to write this review.  :thumb:

He also has Quiescence C interconnects.

SHHHH!!!! I'm trying to maintain the worst kept secret in Hifi!!!  :duh: :wink:

Stay tuned!!!


genjamon

Re: Time spent with Breathe C and Silver Quiescence ICs
« Reply #7 on: 9 Apr 2021, 04:24 pm »
...some of this could just be ME and how I hear certain sounds....

Nope, it's not just you.  Your impressions match mine quite closely.  QS is a thinner sound, but much more detailed, and in my system created a whole new kind of holographic soundstage effect I hadn't heard before with any cables.  But yeah, just not enough body for me with my current setup.  But could be awesome synergy with a system that already has plenty of body.  And yeah, I found the Breathe C and Breathe S to both have more body and presence in the power region, which is awesome.  But a bit veiled in comparison to both the Quiescence and my current cables.  It's really nice for you to have that treble adjustment on the Daedalus to dial in the sound!

Wig

Re: Time spent with Breathe C and Silver Quiescence ICs
« Reply #8 on: 9 Apr 2021, 04:49 pm »
Thanks Wig! You deserve a little commission for the setup!

We both have similar taste for excellent gear and most important, love listening and the relaxation it brings... Hapa Audio Breathe C with Absolutes has brought another level of dimension and refinement to my system.  :D

Wig :thumb:

jdavis37

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Re: Time spent with Breathe C and Silver Quiescence ICs
« Reply #9 on: 9 Apr 2021, 05:44 pm »
Nope, it's not just you.  Your impressions match mine quite closely.  QS is a thinner sound, but much more detailed, and in my system created a whole new kind of holographic soundstage effect I hadn't heard before with any cables.  But yeah, just not enough body for me with my current setup.  But could be awesome synergy with a system that already has plenty of body.  And yeah, I found the Breathe C and Breathe S to both have more body and presence in the power region, which is awesome.  But a bit veiled in comparison to both the Quiescence and my current cables.  It's really nice for you to have that treble adjustment on the Daedalus to dial in the sound!

Jason,

Thanks for trusting me with your cables! I groaned a lot swapping cables but that doesn't mean I did not enjoy the experience! Like many here I have seen and heard a decent amount of stuff, and can usually smell snake oil in my sleep. Expensive stuff that snake oil is.... but it is good to see someone making a quality product or in your case making several quality products with which people can determine what works best for their ears and their systems, and budgets (remember, the cable cost is cheap compared to divorce pricing!). Keep doing what you are doing and keep being you. looking inot my crystal ball I can see me saying 'i knew Jason when he was just a regular person". John

jdavis37

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Re: Time spent with Breathe C and Silver Quiescence ICs
« Reply #10 on: 9 Apr 2021, 05:49 pm »
We both have similar taste for excellent gear and most important, love listening and the relaxation it brings... Hapa Audio Breathe C with Absolutes has brought another level of dimension and refinement to my system.  :D

Wig :thumb:

We started our shared quest over the discovery of a DAC made with old parts, really unimpressive specs, and hand wired connections on the inside. It's all about the music, and being able to relax, even if just for 20 minutes at a time. I was not looking for any new IC's when this opportunity came up. I was pretty happy with what I had been using for 2+ years. Says a lot about what I thought about the Breathe C's with the Absolute connections. Very nice cables and overall in my system they worked really well. Glad you told me about them!

jdavis37

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Re: Time spent with Breathe C and Silver Quiescence ICs
« Reply #11 on: 9 Apr 2021, 05:52 pm »
John,
What a guy! Loved chatting with you, loved spitballing solutions for some of the usual Hifi issues we all have to deal with and love the lap dog!  :P

Thanks a million for taking the time to write this review.  :thumb:

SHHHH!!!! I'm trying to maintain the worst kept secret in Hifi!!!  :duh: :wink:

Stay tuned!!!




This is for jason's lap dog comment.. was taken in 2019 when he was "just a puppy". Little bigger these days, and not in my lap quite as much :)

jdavis37

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Re: Time spent with Breathe C and Silver Quiescence ICs
« Reply #12 on: 9 Apr 2021, 05:58 pm »
Nope, it's not just you.  Your impressions match mine quite closely.  QS is a thinner sound, but much more detailed, and in my system created a whole new kind of holographic soundstage effect I hadn't heard before with any cables.  But yeah, just not enough body for me with my current setup.  But could be awesome synergy with a system that already has plenty of body.  And yeah, I found the Breathe C and Breathe S to both have more body and presence in the power region, which is awesome.  But a bit veiled in comparison to both the Quiescence and my current cables.  It's really nice for you to have that treble adjustment on the Daedalus to dial in the sound!

I liked the Silver Qs, and was very impressed with the detail they p[provided. I was actually a little shocked since I normally am a bit reserved in my cable accolades. Jason has done something really interesting with them. Agree.. if you have a full bodied system, or you feel your system is mired down in a veil, etc I would imagine these would spice things up very nicely. Or, they may simply sound really special to any given set of ears, etc. My system has grown thin in the bass and mid bass regions since moving to our current home and after fighting that as much as I have I just had to go with the cables adding more body. reminds me of the old Miller Lite commercials.. More body.. more detail type argument.

The treble adjustment with the daedalus, for me, have been very helpful. With my previous cables I had to use the -0.5 dB setting to take the edge off. Others have said they felt the daedalus switch did little if any for them. Shows again how our rooms, our music and our ears all all different. I am back to the normal setting with the Breathe cables.

WGH

Re: Time spent with Breathe C and Silver Quiescence ICs
« Reply #13 on: 9 Apr 2021, 06:14 pm »
My impression is the Silver Quiescence is a neutral interconnect. I haven't auditioned the Breathe C but I have spent a lot of time with the other cables in the Hapa lineup along with 2 new and cutting edge cables from another manufacturer. In comparison the Silver Q is as neutral as they get.

I have a REL sub and didn't notice a decrease in bass. The lows are tighter with less overhang, like moving your speakers forward, farther away from the front wall. The improved clarity without brightness has a relaxed feel, the sound is now suspended between the speakers without an obvious source. The holographic soundstage effect adds a level of realism I have never heard from any other cable I have auditioned. Once other high end cable manufactures hear Hapa's cables I have a feeling Litz wire with the Dual Chirality Star Geometry will become the industry standard for the top of the line interconnects, right now Jason has the field all to himself.

The Quiescence Gold/Silver is a little warmer than the Q Silver, is even more holographic and a lot more expensive. Unfortunately it is currently unavailable but the delay does give Jason the opportunity to fill out the affordable section of his lineup while incorporating higher end features like the KLEI Absolute Harmony connectors.

I recently made another upgrade to my setup that turned out to be just as important and revelatory as adding the Hapa cables, I got a new Copenhagen leather sofa. Besides being more comfortable with better back support I sit higher and a couple of inches closer to the speakers. The result is increased clarity because my ears are in line with the RAAL tweeters. The change from fabric to leather probably reflects more sound for an increased liveliness too.

If your new Breathe C sound almost perfect but a hair soft - get a new sofa  :)

My music room also does double duty as an 7.1.4 Dolby Atmos home theater, since I'm over 70 years old I went for comfort.


 

jriggy

Re: Time spent with Breathe C and Silver Quiescence ICs
« Reply #14 on: 9 Apr 2021, 07:20 pm »
Hey jdavis37,

Sorry to divert from the subject but... To your comment about brightness: This would take a little work but it’s worth a try. If you have not experimented already with absorption only vs. your Alpha/Impression series panels, take the panels down and remove the front-panel providing the diffusion and give it a try as just absorption. Then add back and try different combinations of absorption only in the mix.

I did this in my space and ended up preferring absorption only on front wall. Every room and speaker integration is different but I have owned Daedalus before and also tuned my room, trying both absorption only and Alpha (absorption + diffusion) in almost all locations.

It’s worth a shot, if you haven’t experimented yet. 

nature boy

Re: Time spent with Breathe C and Silver Quiescence ICs
« Reply #15 on: 9 Apr 2021, 09:04 pm »
WGH,

My listening impressions of the Hapa Audio QS's exactly. I have a pair between my ModWright modified Cambridge Audio CXN V2 streamer/DAC and my preamp followed by a run of ZenWave Audio D3 interconnects to my amp. Neutral cables with exceptional dimensionality of the music. Congrats to Jason, he has hit it out of the park with these.

NB

jdavis37

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Re: Time spent with Breathe C and Silver Quiescence ICs
« Reply #16 on: 9 Apr 2021, 11:25 pm »
My impression is the Silver Quiescence is a neutral interconnect. I haven't auditioned the Breathe C but I have spent a lot of time with the other cables in the Hapa lineup along with 2 new and cutting edge cables from another manufacturer. In comparison the Silver Q is as neutral as they get.

I have a REL sub and didn't notice a decrease in bass. The lows are tighter with less overhang, like moving your speakers forward, farther away from the front wall. The improved clarity without brightness has a relaxed feel, the sound is now suspended between the speakers without an obvious source. The holographic soundstage effect adds a level of realism I have never heard from any other cable I have auditioned. Once other high end cable manufactures hear Hapa's cables I have a feeling Litz wire with the Dual Chirality Star Geometry will become the industry standard for the top of the line interconnects, right now Jason has the field all to himself.

The Quiescence Gold/Silver is a little warmer than the Q Silver, is even more holographic and a lot more expensive. Unfortunately it is currently unavailable but the delay does give Jason the opportunity to fill out the affordable section of his lineup while incorporating higher end features like the KLEI Absolute Harmony connectors.

I recently made another upgrade to my setup that turned out to be just as important and revelatory as adding the Hapa cables, I got a new Copenhagen leather sofa. Besides being more comfortable with better back support I sit higher and a couple of inches closer to the speakers. The result is increased clarity because my ears are in line with the RAAL tweeters. The change from fabric to leather probably reflects more sound for an increased liveliness too.

If your new Breathe C sound almost perfect but a hair soft - get a new sofa  :)

My music room also does double duty as an 7.1.4 Dolby Atmos home theater, since I'm over 70 years old I went for comfort.


WGH,

Thanks for sharing your experiences. Your sofa looks quite cozy! Last year I bought a smaller room addition for my listening fun.. attaching photo here. I probably should have returned it though. Seems it has a slight problem. I sit in it to listen to music and before you know it I resemble my pup in this photo. I just cannot stay awake in this darned thing! This is not where it usually sits by the way but I almost get sleepy just looking at the picture of it!