From heckler to Kepler. Two foam-lined boxes in a bigger outer carton contained the three quads of footers, two with M6 bolts and smaller detachable end disks, one with taller M10 bolts and bigger disks. Here we see one sound|kaos Vox3 monitor upside down, four Kepler mounted to its base, one Kepler shown with attached end disc plus two Hifistay multi-stage rollerball decouplers which the Polish footers replaced in lower profile.

Next comes our force-cancelling 2 x 9.5" Dynaudio sub on the last quad which differed only in its bolts and bigger end discs.

Would I fall on my sword stating that the fixed astronomers wiped our suspended wood floor with the wobbly Koreans? "What sword?" the hecklers hiss. Perhaps the one with 'S' for Srajan and 'word' for… well, word? Seriously though, I hadn't a notion how this comparison would swing. Would I hear any difference? I certainly had heard one when I compared no isolators to the Hifistay isolators back when. Using an upstairs subwoofer mandated disrupting its structural coupling. Even experimenting with Carbide Audio's hybrid viscoelastic/ball-bearing footers beneath the Hifistay rack had registered positively. Removing all sharp objects from the room now just in case any fall was imminent, I took my seat. A bit of levity is key when one discusses hifi footers with earnestness whilst millions of people around the world worry about their lives, food and shelter or are displaced. About the latter, the Kepler actually require some displacement. "First secure the gemstones with the hex nut using the provided key by rotating it clockwise. Then mount the secured Kepler to your speakers. Level them by rotation as you would normal spikes. Finally release the hex nut counter-clockwise."

That final step activates Kepler. Tightening the hex nuts pulls the bolts' hidden heads away from their sapphire resting points. By subsequently loosening the nuts again, the bolts lower back onto the stones. That creates the pathway for mechanical energies entering from above. Without end disks, Kepler isn't tall. It thus should sit sufficiently close to a speaker's edge to have the provided key reach; or one needs a longer spanner. Either way the procedure is simplicity itself. The admonition to first secure the gemstones protects them from excess weight during a still partial installation. It's only once all Kepler are installed to distribute the load equally—max 80kg for four—that one, uh, engages the sapphires. Unleash the Kraken? Resonance control is a many-tentacled beast. What makes reviewing solutions in this sector convenient is no break-in or warm-up particularly when no viscoelastic settling in is involved. Insert, play, remove, play. Anyone there? Repeat until sure. Or did nothing change? Then it's happy days and money saved.

Soundaware D100Pro SD transport clock-slaved to Denafrips Terminator Plus and I²S over RJ45 ⇒ icOn 4Pro SE ⇒ hi pass ⇒ Goldmund Job 225 ⇒ sound|kaos Vox 3A ⇒ low pass ⇒ Dynaudio S18

As it turned out, it wasn't to be happy but snappy days. The first and biggest improvement came by way of altered bass textures. The shift was a mirror of what moving from ported to sealed bass tends to do. Portliness and fat get more striated, wiry and damped. Ringing vanishes and in steps crisper drier punch. Then on well-recorded tracks, microdynamic emphasis on melodic accents felt a bit higher as though musical enunciation had gone a tad more expressive. Finally, at late-night whisper levels some 50dB+ down on Pál Nagy's passive magnetic preamp—on 4V DAC outputs into an amp with 35dB voltage gain and 93dB speakers—I had more fullness. I could listen even more faintly and still have the mental/visual lay of the land. Points N°2 and N°3 were secondary to the most obvious and hardest-hitting gain of bass quality. For that I would fall on that sword which begins with my name's first letter as a man of the word. I laid this change quite literally at the feet under the subwoofer. It acknowledged that repurposing, as sub isolators, four spare factory-filled Hifistay columns with ball-bearing receivers that had become redundant when their 4-up rack converted to 2+2 as shown above obviously wasn't as effective as running with Piotr's Kepler. The improvement clearly was down to having our suspended floor chatter less. With two more scenarios to check on downstairs, this was an excellent start I thought. The score of my little game of Poland vs. Eire sat at 1:0.