Hidden in the densest jungle of Guatemala, there is said to be a secret city of untold riches where all men are perennially happy, healthy and long-lived. Not.

A recent email announced KAT Audio's Terminator T1 footers. It caused a brain swell and subsequent need to drain it off. The plug du jour? Complexity. At a certain part in most audiophiles' journeys, the Big C turns irresistibly seductionist.

We have all seen it. Think grotesquely overbuilt mechanical contraptions called high-mass turntables with integral stands, three tone arms, air bladders and suspensions that would do bridges proud. The $700/ea. T1 hides its complexity but still brags loudly on about it. It's called "the most complicated handmade isolator foot in the world!" The exclamation mark is theirs. Really.

And yes, Ahnuld's spawn can support 300kg of component weight. Hello gigantomania. Here's more copy. "Each T1 is composed of 125 parts. It contains 88 independent vibration-sensitive points, 25 graphite anti-vibration pads, 10 different kinds of anti-vibration media, 4 sophisticated vibration-proof functions and a replaceable tuning center column."

Why would you replace the central column? Will it wear out? If your imagination lacked the necessary visualizer plug-in, let's try another description. The T1 combines a carbon-fibre column over an outer sleeve with 85 embedded ball bearing riding on an inner sleeve with 25 circular graphite decouplers which surrounds the innermost vertical shaft. Said shaft terminates at the bottom in an O-ring which decouples it from a circular base with three ceramic ball bearings. On top it terminates in a slightly raised metallic contact patch from which it again decouples via O-ring.

Still can't see it? Look at right. If one were cavalier, one might call this the most balls-out attempt at an ultimate footer yet. Geezus, it's so complex. It just kills. I gotta have me a baker's dozen. Now!

It's easy to expand from here. There are spike-decoupled cable risers with bolts to clamp down on the vibrating snakes; and massive metallic terminator boxes with similar footers. There are stands which squeeze components with applied torque to squash chassis resonances.

There are disc drives with spring-suspended spinners, turntables with air suspensions driven from outboard pressure tanks. There are dual mono this, outboard power supply and crossover that. There's biwiring, tri-wiring, biamping, tri-amping with liquid-filled cables. I'm sure you can continue the list and fill in the blanks for more variations on the theme of complexification which can seem so alluring and necessary. That's in fact my only bee in the bonnet, my only beef with the boffo concept. If you enjoy experimenting with and owning ever more complex hifi systems, why not? It's when you think it necessary to enjoy the music that my bee stings and my bonnet flips. There's nothing wrong with a hardware fetish or a simple appreciation for over-engineered mechanical solutions. If that's what one calls it. Where I depart is when it's being called essential; or a sign of audiophile maturity, seriousness and advancement. Now one descends into adolescent braggadocio, about whose rig is more complex, hence seemingly more tweaked to the max, no stone left unturned, no torque setting relaxed. That's when things go awry and off kilter.

In my book, the easiest check to determine whether one has personally lost the still meaningful plot is to look at how many hours each day one actually listens to the hifi with authentic enjoyment and appreciation. The rightness of one's hifi is determined by nothing other than usefulness and gratification. If one uses it rarely, it's not very useful. Is it? If it doesn't gratify, a lot of expense and complexity sit there asking to be polished and admired for lesser reasons. Is the KAT Audio Terminator T1 overkill? If it adds to our musical enjoyment and clocks more active hifi hours, it serves a beautiful purpose even if it really overkills (just killing it could be enough?). To wrap up this little ditty, it's not uncommon for audiophile journeys to move past the complexity phase and end up with something far simpler that's even more enjoyable. As with any other lessons in life, the trouble is that to really get it requires that one live it first. Avoidance never equates to real experience. Just so, if rightly inclined, one can learn from one's elders. One can come to certain conclusions just doing due diligence and observing self-repeating trends in fellow travelers. That's a very different form of trending but one that can save time, money and all manner of hassles.