I hate the sound of silver. You see, I’m what you would call a tone freak. Which in my experience means copper. And the very best copper you can get. UPOCC everywhere.
Also, I don’t pay for cables. I build my own. It’s fun and easy and lets me have cables in my system that compete with the very best, for a pittance. That last part is important, because for the most part, I’m a cheap bastard.
So when Jason said he had a new prototype RCA cable based on angel hair silver using a dual chirality braid and multiple shield layers, my first thought was “sounds interesting but I’ll probably dislike it. I mean, it’s silver after all.”Systems
I should mention that I have 2 systems in my house now, the main system downstairs which is based around the GR Research Super 7 speakers which use planar magnetic drivers for the mids/highs and servo OB subwoofers for the bass.
My 2nd system is upstairs in my main living area and is based around a pair of massively upgraded Klipsch Forte IIIs. What can I say? I’m a fan of open baffle speakers and I’m also a fan of horn-based speakers in large boxes. Having 2 systems lets me indulge in both those types of sound. Initial Impressions
Jason brought the Quiescence Silvers (I’ll abbreviate them as QS from now on) and dropped them into my upstairs system with the Fortes. Silver cable with horn speakers? I was fully expecting them to rip my ears off. But they just… didn’t. Odd. They are actually really smooth. Not bright at all. Very strange!
Next, we took them down to the main system with the Super 7s and with the super-fast planar drivers they were an excellent match. A perfect match, really. I was astonished. They sounded so good that I knew that they wouldn’t be leaving my system. In fact, I bought 2 pair, one to go from my DAC to my preamp and a 2nd to go from my preamp to my tube monoblock amps.
For the upstairs system, I still felt that copper was a better match for my preferences. Really for that system I just wanted something laid back and mellow and would let me just vibe to the music in an easy going way.
But the seed was planted. Because even on the upstairs system, the level of clarity and direct connection to the music they brought to the table was beyond anything I’d expected to hear on that system. And once I’d heard it, I couldn’t un-hear it. So eventually I got another QS from Jason to do a more extended trial in my upstairs system. After a week, it was obvious that they simply blew away my prior cables and (sigh), it was time to open up my wallet and put more cash into Jason’s bank account. Long Term Listening Impressions
I’ve had the QS in both of my systems for a couple of months now and I can make a few observations. I mentioned above that I’m a tone freak, but in truth what I’m really after is a direct emotional connection to the artist and their music. Since other people have talked about the incredible soundstage the QS is capable of, I want to talk more about other areas they excel at, some of which I found quite surprising. I’ll use specific music and artists to make my observations.Bob Dylan.
As I was queing up Blood on the Tracks, I thought “well with an ultra resolution cable like the QS, this recording is probably going to be unbearable”. But it wasn’t unbearable at all. In fact, it did such a good job separating out all the different sounds (especially his voice and harmonica), that in many ways it was the most pleasant I’d ever heard it. Pleasant? Yeah, I was not expecting that.Neil Young.
Another acid test of an artist. I’ve heard so many systems turn Neil into a whiny crybaby with a voice that just grates on your nerves. Hell, some of my systems in the past have done that exact thing too. For years I thought I hated his records because of that. But with the right system, he doesn’t sound whiny at all. With the QS in my systems, he sounded like a mainline to truth. Raw. Honest. Powerful. Yeah, that’s the stuff right there, man.Schubert.
His song cycle Winterreise performed by soprano Joyce DiDonato. Normally this is sung by a man but Joyce does an excellent job with this transcription. Soprano voice is another absolutely brutal test. If your system is too hot, too analytical, or even a tiny tiny bit gritty, it all goes to shit. Luckily with the QS in the system it's buttery smooth. And you hear EVERYTHING. From the intake of breath to the modulated control of her voice that took decades to develop. And the piano sounds like it's stalking her from the shadows. It's a dark piece of music so that sense of shadows is appropriate. BTS.
My daughter got me in to this group and I’m so glad she did. They are a modern pop group with deep roots into R&B and hip-hop but also have an incredible vocal line and actually are quite broad in the music they delve into. They are also gently subversive with a lot that they do. For example, the song Singularity on their Love Yourself: Answer album, if you listen to it, it sounds like sexy time music, similar to Maxwell or Luther Vandross. But if you read the lyrics, it’s not a song about seduction at all. It’s a song about… well, here’s some of the lyrics:Over the winter lake I was thrown
A thick ice has formed atop
A winter lake on which I was thrown away
A thick ice has formed
In the dream I shortly went into
My agonizing phantom pain is still the same
I always felt it was a fun subversion on their part to have a very sexy delivery of such dark lyrics. But with the QS, it removed a layer of sludge from my system, and I could actually hear the pain he was injecting into his vocal delivery. It was always there, but my prior cables were not letting me hear it. And it’s THIS, this ability to deliver direct emotional truth to even the most subtle of performances that truly took my breath away. And the QS did it time and time again. Bravo.A Paradigm Shift
In many ways the QS represents a paradigm shift for me. In the past I thought that the very best cables had to be made of copper and impart that slight bit of tonal beauty that copper is so good at. But with the QS, they are dead neutral, tonally speaking. While at the same time, they are so resolving and so transparent that instruments just sound like …… themselves. A violin sounds exactly like a violin, a piano exactly like a piano. With this level of hyper-realism, questions of tonal beauty just become irrelevant.
And this was the hardest thing for me to wrap my head around. Because all my past experience told me that anything this resolving usually ended up being cold and analytical sounding, and as a result I listened to less music over time. But the QS changed that. It showed me that it is possible to have a direct, ultra clear view of the entire musical event and it actually INCREASE my musical enjoyment. I don’t think I can quite convey how much this has shaken some of my core assumptions about musicality and resolution in an audio system. Closing Thoughts
Obviously, I love the QS. For this level of performance, Hapa should charge at least double, and probably triple of what they are. I recommend that you try a pair, before Jason comes to his senses.