3 Hapa Audio IC's Reviewed: Breathe S, Quiescence S and Quiescence GS

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WGH

Jason Wong’s Hapa Audio now has 3 interconnect cables available, all using angel hair litz wire and I was able to review all 3:

Breathe RCA Silver -  Ultrafine Angel Hair silver litz
Quiescence RCA Silver with a carbon fiber/Silver plated copper shield -  Ultrafine Angel Hair silver litz
Quiescence GS RCA Gold/Silver with carbon fiber/Silver plated copper shield -  Ultrafine Angel Hair gold plated silver litz using a unique weave and a gold colored mylar braided outer shield. Brand new, fresh out of beta.

I have been listening to all three cables using my digital library and taking notes on the similarities and differences.

My system consists of a low powered fanless music server with the Paul Pang Audiophile Grade USB card and SSD powered by two separate linear regulated power supplies. Software is Windows 10 and JRiver Media Center. The excellent JMaxwell Data Only USB cable goes to a Kingrex UC384 32bit/384Khz asynchronous USB/SPDIF converter with it’s own linear regulated power supply.

Electronics are all Van Alstine with the Fet Valve Hybrid DAC, Fet Valve CFR preamp, and Vision SET 400 amp

Speaker cables are a double run of Kimber 4VS with the mysterious, magical EVS Ground Enhancers.

Speakers are custom mesquite Salk HT2-TL with a 1-3/4" thick solid mesquite front baffle for a very focused sound and vanishingly low cabinet resonance. Low end is handled by a REL Gibraltar G2 sub with the digital crossover readout set at 33 Hz.



Room measurements at my center seat are pretty darn flat using the trusty Radio Shack 33-2050 meter and the SPL meter compensation charts. Using the Stereophile Test CD warble tones I measure 75dB @ 1 KHz and 71.5dB @ 20 Hz. The tones in between are +/- 4dB with a nice 10dB room bump at 40 Hz, 31.5 Hz, and 25 Hz.

I used all 3 Hapa cables in two locations: between the DAC and pre-amp and between the preamp and amp. The differences were consistent, could I tell the difference in an A-B test? Yes.

All the Hapa Audio cables have the same sonic characteristic of a wide, expansive sound stage with well placed images in space. Comparing all three cables the frequency range is the same, I couldn’t hear any difference from 20 Hz to 16 KHz (my hearing limit). The cables are the most balanced interconnects I have heard, no one frequency is accented. I have some old cables that are detail freaks with lots of first date excitement but then all the high drama gets tiresome, Hapa is not like that at all.



The Breathe Silver has a seamless soundstage arc. Install these cables and everything just sounds right. The Breathe Silver will work well if you have less than optimal speaker locations, say close to the front wall or an asymmetrical layout where sound quality is important but either the speaker design or location doesn’t allow for a deep “wall disappearing” soundstage. Speakers with a mid-bass/lower mid-range bump will benefit from the Breathe's even smooth response in that area.






The Quiescence Silver carbon fiber/Silver plated copper shield isolates the signal which bumps up the clarity of Jason’s design. The  Quiescence are ever so slightly warmer sounding than the Breathe. The Salk HT2-TL speakers are neutral sounding with a very flat frequency response like a studio monitor but still musical. A little warmth is noticeable and welcome. There is also more air around the images and depth is increased. Sounds have a volume, a roundness that enhances the illusion of a performer in the space. Rim shots can make you jump they are so realistic. This is music as it should be heard.






The Quiescence GS (fresh out of beta) takes sound reproduction to a completely different level, Jason must have gone down to the crossroads to learn the secrets how to make this cable. The benefits of the Quiescence Silver remain but are enhanced by the addition of Gold plated silver litz wire. The sound is cinematic. Low-level spatial cues are preserved, images now have their own individual space and the front wall has been removed. Instead of listening to music you are immersed in it. The frequency response is identical to the Quiescence Silver but I noticed on well recorded bells (Planet Drum) the bell hangs in it’s own space with a shimmer around it. Note that my speakers have the RAAL ribbon tweeters, if your speakers have a laid back, musical but not detailed silk dome tweeters fuhgeddaboudit, you don't need these cables. The Quiescence GS is like your favorite flannel shirt, nothing flashy or fancy but it feels like home.

Oh yea before I forget, all cables are system dependent, what works in my system could very well sound not so good in yours.

Some of the music used for my review:



Listening to the Quiescence GS was like the heavens opened and angels alighted on my stereo. Now that the review period is over how do I get all these winged naked cherubs out of my house? They are drinking all my beer and generally making a mess.

Wayne
« Last Edit: 19 Dec 2020, 05:19 am by WGH »

ric

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 202
very intriguing, thanks for the info!

Pez

WGH,
Thank you for taking the time to trial my current entire RCA lineup! It is very nice to read that you are hearing exactly what I’m going for with the sound quality. Each RCA is designed to give a balanced presentation and bring out the most lively performance without losing detail or clarity. A tall order indeed, but I think I hit the proverbial nail on the head.

One last note, Quiescence GS really is something special.

I’m looking forward to reading what the other Tucson Audiophile folks think!

Tyson

I've heard all 3 and I'll say this.  The Hapa house sound is quite impressive!  Ultimate resolution with NO annoying brightness or grating 'analytical' type sound.  Just massive, massive amounts of natural detail.

I'm also a bit of a tone freak, so detail without beauty is pointless to me.  The copper achieves this, which is pretty impressive.  But then the Silver does too.  Same level of beauty but resolution dial just got turned up.  What's crazy is I've tried a LOT of cables (as well as built a LOT of cables myself) and I always loved silver for it's detail but hated it for it's edgy analytical sound.  The fact that Hapa kept the resolution while making something NOT annoying sounding (in fact quite beautiful sounding), well that's flat out amazing to me.  Unprecedented in my listening experience.

As for the Gold-Silver.  Well shit.  A new bar.  Better than anything I've ever heard, regardless of price. 

Kudos Jason, you're just crushing it here, at all of your price levels.  One of these days I'll get off my butt and write up a full review of these cables. 

WGH


As for the Gold-Silver.  Well shit.  A new bar.  Better than anything I've ever heard, regardless of price.

I agree. I going to hate removing the Gold-Silver cables to continue the Tucson cable review tour.

Sunday the cables go to Eric for a week on his new Walsh TLS-1 (Ohm F) from HHR Exotic Speakers
After Christmas they go to Ken and his Nola Metro Grand Reference
Ben is in January, he has the Zu Dirty Weekends.

There should be some interesting feedback.

Tyson

Pez just yelled at me because apparently the copper version is a prototype.  So uh, pretend I didn't say anything about it!

Pez

Cables are on their way to the next Tucson member.  :thumb:

thanks again Wayne for coordinating this.  :thumb:

FYI we just posted the venerable Quiescence GS up at hapa audio Go check it out.  :popcorn:

kmate

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 9
I picked up Jason’s set of Hapa Audio interconnects from Wayne two days ago, and so this post will be for a few preliminary thoughts, and to keep our Tucson Audio Group review progressing. The first thing I noticed about these IC’s is their fit and finish. They are extremely flexible, which is a good thing, they have my current favorite connectors (KLEI Harmony silver RCA plugs), and appear to have an intriguing wire configuration.

I’ve chosen a sampling of 12 songs or so that cover the gamut from rock, jazz, classical, and ethnic. I like to test by playing the same songs over and over as I compare cables, in an attempt to keep as many variables constant as I can, but provide a wide range of sound characteristics. The Hapa interconnects will be placed mainly between DAC and preamp, plus I may try one between my reel to reel and preamp.

My first impressions are quite exciting, and after reading some of the other reviews on this circle, it seems that I’m in agreement with what others are saying and hearing. I’ve concentrated on the Breathe Silver cable so far, and it clearly is a step up from the cables I had been using. Immediately I realized a well balanced sound that has excellent dynamics, well defined bass and distinct highs, but also sounds smooth and easy. It’s safe to say that the Breathe Silver cables are solving some of the issues I was experiencing with the set of custom silver cables I had been using. Namely, more bass that’s well defined and without bloom, a sweetening of the highs without any loss of detail (I am a detail freak), and nicely improved attack with good sustain.



I’ll post a more complete review in a few days…
Ken


Pez

Ken,
Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts on the Breathe S! I'm looking forward to hearing the rest of your impressions.  :thumb: