Well Gents, here is my review of a fine piece of equipment:
To start, this adventure was enjoyable and I thank Jason, founder of Hapa Audio, for allowing me to try out his creation in my humble system.
If you’re familiar with AudioCircle then you probably have read Jason’s (Pez) critiques during RMAF of the systems on display and you can get a feel for his taste in audio. I followed along every year as he and Tyson journeyed the corridors of equipment (the gauntlet of sound) and enjoyed their comments and pictures. With that in mind I took Jason up on his offer to try out his Quiescence cable.
I have been invited to friend’s homes before to listen to their systems after installing a new piece of the puzzle that they wanted to share and not once did I inquire as to the price as a determining factor to go. With that in mind I wanted to approach this review in the same manner in which I wanted the cable to stand on its own merits. I asked a good friend of mine to look at Hapa Audio’s Web site to see if I could get information on Quiescence (“Q” from here on out) cable without seeing the price tag. He informed me that the site was set up nicely, easy to read and the price was attached. Through contact with Jason, I was provided with the information on the cable with no pricing. The read up on Q is interesting. Not being an expert in cable design, I asked a friend knowledgeable in that field and he concurred that the design approach is solid and a good one to use.
Upon inquiring about Q, Jason sent me what he had on hand which was a 1.5m set and had approximately 70 hours on them so I knew when I got them it would require some break in time since Jason said it would take about 200. They arrived in a nice package double boxed with the logo on the inner box. The cables are in a nicely built bag with their logo. Taking them out a couple of things caught me, first was the construction which is top notch and very attractive and second was the KLE Harmony connectors. Even the shrink wrap is quite nice. The Hapa logo on the cable also serves as a directional marker thus making them (duh) directional. So far I’m impressed with things.
I have my system set up as a stereo everything. Through my pre (Accuphase C11) runs the cable box, Carousel cdp (Denon), blue tooth (esinkin) and D/A converter (Musical Fidelity M1). The amplifier is a Cambridge Azur 851W, speakers are Legacy Classic (ported) and cdp is a Musical Fidelity MCD. Cables connecting pertinent components and speakers together are Triode Wire Labs digital, analog (Spirit 2) and American speaker wire and jumpers.
I placed Q between the pre and amp for break in purposes since my wife would be using it with her audio books or listening to music through the Samsung pad or listening to television or listening to music. Things through the esinkin weren’t noticeable as to what Q was doing as far as break in but I did notice right off the bat that the cable box sounded better than I’ve heard before. I found I didn’t have to turn the volume up to the usual level to understand vocals. They were clear with no glare and very pleasing to listen to. My objective was to put the cable between the dac and pre for critiquing once broke in but of course had to try a cd out before changing (curiosity got the best of me). Sound was clean, clear with decent slam with great lows and highs without any sibilance in the upper region. Got the hours logged, check, changed out to dac, check, right direction, check. Let it run on repeat for a day to settle without listening to them. Ok, I did listen to a song while settling was going on. Shouldn’t of done that. The song was Starship Trooper (Yes) and was blown away. Stayed away till the following day and was jonesing to get going with the music. I had the Yes album because it is a heck of a ride for equipment and a fantastic album in many ways. Through the wrong equipment while sounding huge, you lose the intricate sound of the actual instruments with all the effects and John Andersons voice. Q delivered the guitar through the effects better than anything I’ve ever heard and I’d be willing to say I’ve listened to that album many hundreds of times. The keyboard, bass and drum were delivered with an authority I wasn’t prepared for. I was hearing the slam and precision that silver brings to the table. This was interesting cause unlike the silver cable of yore there was just nice clean sound with a dead silent background. Then a funny thing happened after about 20 to 30 hours in. The sound got lean in a way that while the bass and drum were still there they lost some of their authority. Certain instruments lost the three dimensional sound I was hearing and so I put an additional 30 hours break in and sat down for my next session. The additional hours brought a big difference in the sound from the first listen. Kinda threw me because both low and high frequencies were now back with a sound I hadn’t heard before. The cable now had the precision and three D of the instruments but with a kinder and more gentle hand. Nothing stood out from the sound but all became a part of the sound while maintaining the separation and liveliness.
Until this point I have felt that the Auteur (ZMF headphone) kept up pretty well with my speakers in sound stage and depth while beating them out for detail. The detail didn’t change but Q gave my speakers a soundstage that the Auteur just could not duplicate. I was taken a little aback at this revelation. Never had a cable produce a package like this.
This cable is like no other I’ve had in my system and the only thing I can fault it for is the slight loss of instrument body which is made up for in Q’s precision. If I didn’t have a cable that exceeds in that area I probably wouldn’t have even missed it.
Finally went to the web site to see what we’re talkin price wise for this piece of equipment and found the site done quite well. Put together the length and connection option sent to me and found what I have been listening isn't quite within my price range. I thank Jason for allowing me to critique an incredible cable that sounds fantastic on every genre of music I played and while I do not require 1.5M it didn’t hurt. I am regretting sending Q back home. The cable is the best I’ve had in my system and I will be ordering one soon. I can’t say enough about Q’s ability in black background, depth and precision of sound.