Sonic relevance. That Stella60 performed a bottom-up cleaning job was beyond doubt. I was frankly unprepared for its potency. Like a historical excavation where volunteers use fine brushes to remove soil caking up long-buried objects a few whiskers at a time, the musical bass foundation showed obviously more defined detail. Both relief and intelligibility were higher. Certainly not all music loads up with low bass like the earlier remix. You might think that not throwing as much dirt onto the proceedings might then diminish the cleanup or nix it entirely. Not. Cleaning up whatever the ends of the lows were on a track subtracted automatic overlay on the midband. Bass fat no longer coagulated its veins. This was evident in the much-layered constructs of Prem Joshua's latest Winds of Grace album.

And so it was with this BuddhaBar-type groove by Mohamed Rouane. Beat insistence acquired higher urgency. The dynamically flashy attacks of his wiry mondol with its mixed oud/banjo timbre plus the snare elements of the drum beats spiked more steeply. Credit more meticulous enunciation of transients; and concomitant gains in separation as the teasing out of more threads in the musical weave. To overwrite and illustrate the upshot, envision the difference between a properly British BBC announcer being replaced by a Scottish highlander. A lazier tongue and thicker enunciation cake up the former's so cleanly excavated language. That throws some dirt onto fine detail. When palaver quickens, it makes comprehension more difficult.

The more notes my music crammed into a bar, the more benefits of superior diction accrued. At first, the cleansing of this vibration control will thus be most easily tracked on bass-intense complex fare. Its action mimics backing off a black and mid-tone slider in Photoshop. It lightens up an unduly dark underexposed photo. Suddenly a single black value breaks out into ten shades of black. It brings subtler distinctions to the surface. Once that effect is understood, it becomes apparent also with simpler music which starts out more separated. Either way, it's a bottom-up not top-down refinement just as theory predicted. Low loud bass creates the biggest mechanical disturbances. Addressing them has the most potent benefits in the bass, then spreads upwards where the same benefits diminish.

Round #1 verdict? Grading my experience, I'm well aware that everyone weigh things different. So I'll simply call it obvious. I can't predict whether you'd rate it worth €1'500. But I'm convinced that you'd have heard the difference as well removed from splitting hairs or counting the number of angels on a pin. If money weren't involved, I'm also convinced that you'd keep this difference; not because you're a hoarder of knick-knack but because your sound had nicely improved.

Round #2 lassoed in Zu's Druid VI. Alas, their flat-footed knuckle-joint couplers use 10M bolts for another miss at roping in Hifistay's ball-point parts. So Zu's parts stayed in to go directly atop the Hifistay. Even accounting for the speaker's lower raw resolution compared to the all-aluminium monitor, this was less effective than anticipated. When I thought on why, I realized that, duh, I had bypassed the inner layer of ball bearings. Giving the speakers a drive-by bump such as a vacuum cleaner might, they barely jittered. Out came the flat footers, in went proper spikes. Those met Stella60's receiver dimples en pointe. Now the speakers shimmied freely when pushed. Now I could tell the difference.

With this far thicker speaker voice from a 10.3" paper-cone widebander working up to 10kHz, my decoupling/isolating experiments simply didn't seem to reach as high up the bandwidth. Transient snap in the midband didn't gain from the same overtone cleansing. The key focus was on the upper bass. Here Druid VI pulls no punches to begin with. With these heavy cabs afloat, the Louisville Lip aka Muhammad Ali simply no longer stung like bee. Now he was hornet. So beat precision had improved again, just within a narrower radius. I'd learnt that exploiting both displacement layers of these devices was better than one. I'd witnessed how lower overall system resolution reduced their efficacy. Where I was truly sold on the first round, I was less so on round two just because the same investment netted narrower returns.

Once you know what's possible, greed doesn't like to accept less.