Round #3. The third time was a charm for John Lim's M8 adapters. Enter Albedo's Aptica. Now I could throw Hifistay's kitchen sink at the vibrations which migrate up and down the cast iron spine through the heavy plinth of this compact transmission-line speaker from Italy. Capable of more bass extension than Acelec's monitors, the before/after changes were possibly even more pronounced. With the ceramic Accuton mid/woofer capable of very pistonic motion for high-speed tracking of leading edges, I could zero in easily on the improvements in articulation.

The left footer shows incorrect alignment. Relative to the ball-point spike, the Stella60 body is slightly off-center to kink the receiver. This binds up free movement and undermines ultimate effectiveness. Slighty move the footer to fix.

Once again the benefits extended well into the upper vocal band to become noticeable on this mellow number from Abeer Nehme's Hikayi album.

Unlike Western Pop, contemporary Arabian music is rather fond of massed strings. Those happen to be very telling of a hifi's fine tuning and Stella60 told that background story even without massive bass intrusions. Everything intersects. Audiophiles have trained themselves to perceive that ancient truth relative to a hifi's sound changes. Intent listening is their feedback mechanism by which certain aspects of ever-present interconnectedness get acknowledged. Farmers foretell weather changes, even predict a coming season's severity, by tuning into the natural world in ways us city folks haven't learned. Hardcore listeners notice and care about hifi qualities which escape cynics and those with less training or evolved appreciation.

If you enjoy noticing sonic connections—change this and that happens—experimenting with Hifistay's Stella60 footers becomes quite the field trip. The more resolved your system is to begin with, the more responsive it'll be to today's ministrations. That's why about them the Albedo speaker followed tightly by the Acelec had more to say than the Zu.

Round #4 on our downstairs glass-clad Codex 4-ways proved a draw. Despite John's M8 adapters fitting again, mum still was the word. Here Stella60 replaced serious magnetic footers purpose-engineered by Audio Physic's Manfred Diestertich. That man goes as medieval on mechanical vibrations as does Pyun Naiwon. Manfred even decouples his binding posts from the cabinet and revisited the material through which his metal outriggers bolt to it. I upgraded that later on his recommendation which proved spot on. If there was any difference now between the German and Korean solutions, it was smaller than I could discern with the time it took to swap out footer sets. When you're already all set, you're all set already.

Conclusion. Two of my four trials hit hard, one softer. The one which missed was due to an equally efficacious competitor who likewise had long abandoned the mechanical one-way diodes called spikes. Going into today's gig, I held onto skepticism just in case the outer mirror gleam and complex innards revealed by the exploded renders were window dressing. The flawless stainless polish might still be. But given how effective these devices were at their advertised job, I'm inclined to think that it simply reflects their maker's perfectionist zeal. If you can machine a perfect finish, why cheap out and aim lower? After retreating upstairs, I set up the Dutch aluminators on their stands parked once more atop the Korean footers. What a performance!

It's fair to call Hifistay's Stella60 a premium example of extemist hifi where serious engineering and execution meet head on to charge accordingly. I'd be very surprised if just one of these footers weren't costlier to make than a hulking amp's fat face plate. Here it's not raw size which katchinnngs the wallet. It's costly machine-shop time. In the face of such solid evidence, consider personal skepticism blown to shambles. Stella60 worked exactly as advertised. Even after twenty years on the beat, cracks in well-earned cynicism still appear. This was one such crack. But instead of ouch, it felt fabulous. Resonance control is a very real thing and Pyun Naiwon of Hifistay clearly has science on his side to enforce it with a big smile. This is hifi jewelry with a serious sonic purpose.

Here are some further thoughts about it…