Hapa Audio Interconnects Are The Cat's Meow
Most of the time I feel content with the way my stereo is sounding. I don’t mean perfect in every way, but just fine, and providing enjoyment. Well so it seemed. You see, my first motto as an audiophile is to never think that my system has achieved absolute bliss, because then there would be nowhere to go. It was with this premise that I accepted to audition and review three new Hapa Audio interconnect cables.
I’ve already indicated in a previous post that my first impressions were undoubtedly very favorable. Yes, I am certainly impressed! The proverbial reviewer’s phrase, something like, "it’s going to be hard to take these out of my system", comes to mind.
I’m reviewing the Hapa Breathe Silver
, Quiescence Silver
, and Quiescence Gold Silver
IC’s. The image above is the Breathe Silver.
Here is a snapshot of my listening setup for reference - custom built Windows Server with Paul Pang USB board and mainboard clock, HDPlex 18v linear power supply, my custom designed 5v LiFePo4 battery supply; AudioNote Kits DAC 5.1 Signature https://ankaudiokits.com
; my custom built Jack Elliano Ultrapath pre-amp https://www.electra-print.com/ultrapath.php
with 6SN7 tubes and silver output transformers; refurbished QuickSilver V4 monoblocks http://quicksilveraudio.com/products/v4
; and NOLA KO v1 speakers http://www.nolaspeakers.com/products/ko_b.php
, and a pair of 10 inch subs. Plus I use my own designed USB cable, the JMaxwellUSB https://jmaxwellusb.com
, Data Only at 3 feet in length. I'm including a few images of my gear out of interest. Each of the Hapa Audio interconnects were placed between the ANK 5.1 DAC and the Ultrapath pre-amplifier.
Here’s a listing of the musical pieces I used in this review: Beats Antique – She is Looking for Something; Harry Manx – Nat Bhariav; Fink – Maker; The B-52’s – Follow Your Bliss; 2Cellos – Shape of My Heart; Cat Stevens – Peace Train; Hilary Hahn – Partita no. 3 in E Major, BWV 1006: I. Preludio; Bela Fleck & The Flecktones – Flight of the Cosmic Hippo; Jesse Cook – Rattle and Burn; The Dave Brubeck Quartet – Take Five; Jimi Hendrix Experience – 3rd Stone From The Sun; Yo-Yo Ma – Etienne Et Petunia.
I guess it’s interesting to know which songs I used; at least you now know some of my taste in music.
My first listen was with the Hapa Quiescence GS when Wayne, a fellow local audiophile, brought them by a few weeks ago. I gave him the sweet listening spot, but even though I was off center, I could appreciate the full-bodied, smooth sound I was hearing. Fast forward, and now with these in my hands, I have been listening for many hours to the Breathe S. and the Quiescence S. cables. Both cables sport the same intriguing wire architecture, which are braided by hand. The first is unshielded and the second is shielded, and to me they are both in the same league. And no, we’re not talking junior varsity, but the senior A-team.
Both interconnects have solid bass that’s well defined and without bloom, the highs have a sweetness and ease which is very welcome for a silver wire cable, and without any loss of detail. One thing that’s immediately noticeable is the dynamics across the frequency spectrum. Think attack, even jump factor, with a proper sustain and decay. These cables have great detail resolution, and yet project with a fluid presentation.
The Quiescence S. while shielded, doesn’t seem to hurt the sonic quality at all. In fact, it seems to have a lower noise floor by virtue of the shield filtering out electromagnetic radiation (EMI and RFI). While I found the unshielded Breathe S. had similar sound quality, I did place it carefully amongst the other cables in my system. Note that all three cables employ a neatly done 90° braid of Litz wire that in itself acts as a good filter of spurious ambient noise.
There is a refreshing clarity of detail with these cables in my system. I’m enjoying the distinct instrumentation and minute sounds, which I had to listen closely for with four other interconnect cables that I had. The open and airy sound which presents well defined imaging, is very pleasing. The bass is full and fun, but holds onto the tight and tuneful sound I build into my electronics. Nothing is fatiguing, and the way I gauge that is by playing higher register instruments like the violin, harmonica and flute. The fabulous violin playing by Hilary Hahn, even at high volumes, still comes across as beautiful.
What about imaging you ask. Well, I’m super pleased with how both the Breathe S and the Quiescence S create a wide, deep and high sound stage. The Nola speakers can dutifully disappear when the mix calls for that, and present pin-point imaging.
The top of the line, so far, for Hapa single-ended interconnects is the Quiescence Gold Silver, which is also shielded like the Quiescence Silver, and has the same wire structure. This cable adds more shimmer in the high frequency range, and in my stereo, it presents a little bit less bass presence. It would be a good fit for a system that is clean already, and meaty on bass. However, it’s not as pleasing in my system, which is bass lean and bright to begin with. Realize these are subtle differences and dependent upon listener preferences and system characteristics.
Don’t get me wrong, the Quiescence GS is an awesome sounding cable, it’s just that it excels in resolution of detail and beautiful tone, but at the expense of bass response. Therefore, if your system has a bit much in the bass category, and you need some faithful reproduction in the mids and highs, this cable could be just the ticket for you.
In summary, all three of the Hapa Audio interconnects are the cats meow. They excel in revealing detail and resolution in spades. They present a convincing soundstage with clear imaging, and pleasing tone. It’s nice to hear the growl of the guitar in Jimi Hendrix’s work, the vibrato in the strings of 2Cellos, and the curious and intricate sounds in Fink’s compositions. The imaging is palpable; that’s what makes listening to hi-fi stereo music fun!
I want to mention that the fit and finish of these Hapa cables is impressive. They are remarkably flexible, well assembled, and have KLE Harmony silver RCA connectors which I especially like. My wife asked if I was going to do a double-blind test, and I replied, with confidence, of course not. What I meant was, if the improvement isn’t readily noticeable, then it’s not worth it. These are clearly worth it!