Mini Review of HAPA Aero Cu and Ag

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golfugh

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Mini Review of HAPA Aero Cu and Ag
« on: 18 Feb 2023, 06:25 pm »
First I’d like to thank Jason for the opportunity to experience his Aero USB cables!  I’ve spent quite a bit of time evaluating them in my system in comparison to my current reference, the Audioquest (AQ) Carbon.  I’ve used several different cables over the years including: DH Labs, Paul Pang, Wyred4Sound, AQ Diamond, and other generic cables.  I settled on the AQ Carbon as it was the most natural in my system.

I listened to numerous complete albums for evaluation.  Streaming via TIDAL and Quboz, and from files on the SSD in my Aurender N200; Haevn (streamed), Ottmar Liebert, Norah Jones, Puente Celeste, and various other albums either streamed or from the Aurender SSD.  A mix of PCM and DSD files were used.

I began with AQ Carbon and worked my way through the Aero Cu and Aero Ag, then returned to the AQ Carbon.

Overall, the Aero cables destroy the AQ Carbon!  My first notes listening to the Aero Cu were…Wow! and Clarity!  Each Aero cable presents the music equally outstanding!  They have exceptional detail retrieval, clarity, 3D imaging, amazing sound staging and spatial cues, and center imaging.  I found all instruments to have a leap in realism over the AQ Carbon, sustain and decay was the best I’ve ever heard in my system!

In comparison, the AQ Carbon is very forgiving with a definite loss of clarity and realism.  I experienced a less holographic presentation…well, it was just homogenized and boring.  Overall, the Carbon is a nice, pleasurable, extremely listenable cable with excellent bass and center imaging.

The difference between the Aero Cu and Ag are more subtle.  I felt the Cu was somewhat warmer, yet with all the attributes of the Ag.  The Ag is not bright in any way, with even greater realism and holographic imaging.  The choice will be system and individual taste specific.

Overall, I LOVE THESE CABLES!!!

I still have some more time with the HAPA cables, and if I have anything else to add I’ll post it here.

Thanks
Mark

golfugh

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Re: Mini Review of HAPA Aero Cu and Ag
« Reply #1 on: 3 Mar 2023, 02:11 am »
Well I said I might be back!

I’ve listened to both cables extensively off on period over a period of several weeks!  I’m still impressed!

I’ve changed some of the music and have listened to streamed content and music stored on my Aurender N200.  I’ve worked my way through the above listed albums and have added Canyon City (streamed), Dead Can Dance (DSD ripped files)….Into the Labyrinth, and Spritchaser, Chris Stapleton (streamed), Beck, (streamed and DSD/PCM files on the N200 HD), and various other female and male vocals.

I just want to say that I’ve never heard a USB cable make this much a change in my listening enjoyment.  I felt like I’d bought a new DAC vice changing out a USB cable.

As I worked through the different styles of music I always came to the question; is it really better than with the AQ Carbon?  Well, it is…it’s amazing!  It’s the best sound I’ve ever heard.  I’ve messed with the nightmare of audiophilia for a long time.  There’s times I’ve been content with the overall sound of my system, then something amazing happens, and this it!  The USB cables built by HAPA Audio are the best system changers I’ve ever heard!

Some will say the AerAg blows away the AeroCu, I disagree with that assessment!  I personally believe they are going to be totally system dependent.  You need to audition both of these incredible USB cables.  I was on the line of going either way.  The Cu is slightly warmer, it’s has a slightly better holographic imaging, but!  The AeroAg has better instrumental realism, sustain and decay is unbelievable…it’s just better in my system!

I really don’t know what else I can say!  They are both incredible, but I bought the Ag due to its instrumental realism.

Again, thanks to Jason for the opportunity!

Last words and no offense meant to anyone:

Holy Mother of God these things are Outstanding!!!

Mark
« Last Edit: 3 Mar 2023, 11:39 pm by golfugh »

Pez

Re: Mini Review of HAPA Aero Cu and Ag
« Reply #2 on: 6 Mar 2023, 11:26 pm »
Mark,
I appreciate the thorough and well written review. I really like your comparison to being as big of a change as a DAC! I think once the illusory assumption that digital cables “don’t matter” is lifted, it can’t be unheard or denied ever again. I appreciate you approaching me to do this review!

If anyone else would like to do a review outside of my tours, let me know via PM and we’ll work something out.  :thumb:

golfugh

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Re: Mini Review of HAPA Aero Cu and Ag
« Reply #3 on: 12 Mar 2023, 01:46 am »


Ok I have one last comment, then I’m done.

The HAPA Aero Ag USB cable has increased my listening enjoyment more than I can describe!  Things I’ve listened to for years..The Doors, CCR, Mumford and Sons, you name it, are just so much better!

I’m a dadgum pilot and have been for 42 years, I’m not a reviewer….but I got into audio when I was a kid, bought my first system at 17, put it on “lay away” worked to pay for it; Kenwood receiver and turntable, with Acoustic Research AR14 speakers (wish I’d kept those speakers).  But…

I’ve never heard anything better than this!

Out
Mark
« Last Edit: 27 Mar 2023, 09:43 pm by golfugh »

nlitworld

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Re: Mini Review of HAPA Aero Cu and Ag
« Reply #4 on: 12 Mar 2023, 04:25 am »
One of my biggest surprises in reviewing all of the new Hapa offerings was how much of a difference jumping from Aero Cu to Aero Ag was. I expected there to be some tiny nuances but there was so much more than that. And none of that "silver is detailed but bright and thin" lingo. Detailed, yes but never at the expense of tone or balance. Literally just doing a video game 2x multiplier on everything good that the Aero Cu already does. I do agree that if your system is already on the analytical side, the Aero Cu just may be the right ticket. I said the same thing when reviewing the Aero Cu vs the Ember USB in that the Ember was more forgiving of system flaws and poor recordings. I know the Aero is still crazy good by comparison so there is no hiding anything with either cable, but I could see the Aero Cu just easing the edge off things slightly. I will say, my system Is certainly not to the quality where hyper detailed is even in the conversation (good sounding mid-fi on its better days), so the Aero Ag helped show off the last bit of fun detail still hidden in the mix. Could I upgrade my DAC and have a similar surprise? Yeah most definitely. But to get that level of sound out of a $250 DAC is just crazy fun. Now I know that every component upgrade from here til stupid $$ will not be held back by the cables linking them together.

-Lloyd

MttBsh

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Re: Mini Review of HAPA Aero Cu and Ag
« Reply #5 on: 12 Mar 2023, 05:36 am »
I am a huge fan of the Hapa interconnects and have them in my system, but using a $250 DAC to see what a $2300 cable can do seems a little nuts  :duh:

nlitworld

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Re: Mini Review of HAPA Aero Cu and Ag
« Reply #6 on: 12 Mar 2023, 09:34 am »
Oh I'm fully aware the discrepancy between a cables intended use and what shenanigans I put it through. :lol: But the fact that even a Schiity dac can clearly define the differences between these cables is a testament to how well designed and produced these cables are.

slefley

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Re: Mini Review of HAPA Aero Cu and Ag
« Reply #7 on: 4 Oct 2023, 06:39 pm »
I was also fortunate to compare the Aero Cu and Ag in my system.  They both made a dramatic improvement over my early-version Triode Wire Labs USB cable (not the current version).

I have a relatively modest system: Schiit Yggddrasil LiM DAC, Linear Tube Audio MZ2 preamp, FirstWatt F7 power amp and Dynaudio Special 40 speakers.  I listen mainly to acoustic music and value tone, texture, vocals and imaging.  The current system is set up for near-field listening and provides (what I thought was..) very good imaging and soundstage.

Both Cu and Ag cables make noticeable and positive improvements in all of these areas.  Most significant for me was better 3D imaging, a wider/deeper soundstage, and clearer/more well defined vocals.  These improvements were immediately recognizable.

The differences between Cu and Ag versions were subtle but significant: While the Cu version provided the improvements noted above, the Ag cable provided noticeably more of those improvements - even better 3D images, wall-to-wall soundstage, and vocals that really 'popped".  I preferred the Cu for it's tonality and midrange warmth, and the Ag for it's 3D imaging and soundstage. 

It was shocking to hear the improvements that a USB cable can provide.  I'm leaning toward buying the Cu version for it's warmth and tonality improvements, but the Ag imaging and soundstage are hard to beat.  It's not a matter of which one is better - just which one you prefer for your system and musical tastes.