Hifistay is a Korean company that takes a novel approach to audio equipment support. The spike shoes on review here are part of the company's flagship "triple swing" line. The "triple swing" description refers to the three levels of ceramic ball bearings used within. No prizes for guessing how the "single swing" and "double swing" products compare.
Conditioned by years of audiophile training to suppress unnecessary motion in speakers, the Hifistay will challenge your beliefs. A gentle push on your speaker will result in free motion as the cabinets move back and forth. The Stella 80 is highly efficient in converting vibrations to horizontal movement. As the product stood on my study desk, I saw the top spike-cup gently move. I realised that the barely felt vibration was coming from construction work about 50 meters down the road!
The "Swing" line-up consists of various products ranging from 60 mm to 100 mm diameter spike shoes. The 60mm model is only available as a "double swing", while the 80 mm model is available in both "double swing" and "triple swing". The 100mm model is only available as a "triple swing" model. The choice of shoe would depend on the component, and weight supported. In the case of the 80 Triple Swing, it is described as being suitable for speakers, heavy amplifiers and your equipment rack. Rated load is a maximum of 120 kg/shoe, with a recommended load of 10-60 kg per shoe. The main body of the shoe unscrews from the base to provide height adjustment, which allows precise levelling.
I tried the 80 Triple Swing with a Partington Super Dreadnought speaker stand (replacing Isoacoustics Gaia footers), and my Tannoy Kensington GR speakers (replacing the stocks spikes). In both cases, they rested on hardwood parquet flooring. Once installed, the speakers rock gently as they are pushed. Audiophiles being fixated with non-movement will find this disconcerting initially.
In the case of the Partington Super Dreadnought speakers stands (with Elac Uni-Fi Reference UBR62 speakers perched on top), there is a useful cleaning-up, and tightening of the music across the frequency range.
Moving on to the Tannoys is when things really got interesting. The Tannoys have always sounded dynamic and fast in my setup, albeit with a tendency to sound a bit bright and bass light. I attributed this to a lack of power, although the Tannoys are easy to drive on paper at 93db sensitivity / 8 ohms. Nevertheless, I got the best bass using powerful amplifiers like the Apollon 1ET400A (227W) instead of low-powered tube amps.
With the Triple Swing installed, the increase in tight and deep bass was remarkable, almost as if I had upgraded my speakers. A dramatic improvement across the rest of the frequency range resulted in improved detail retrieval and focus. As a result, the soundstaging become pinpoint with very deep and distinct layering. High-frequencies were also improved, with a more defined leading edge and decay.
Unlike some other ball-bearing products that I have tried, the Triple Swing does not impact musicality nor coherency. It is far from sounding bright, and instead imparts a fluidity to music that is pleasing. There is no spotlighting of specific frequencies, nor aberrations in the tempo of music. Somehow, this product really manages to deliver the best of both worlds - reproducing plenty of details and improving speed, while retaining naturalness and musicality.
As a forewarning, I anticipate that this product will shift the tonal balance of your system. In particular, the increase in bass power will be a boon to some, and a bane to others. Judicious tweaking and adjustments post-installation will be required to maximise performance.
This product is expensive, and makes sense only in high-end setups. Nevertheless, the improvements made are worthwhile in my personal opinion. Considering that audiophiles typically spend significant amounts for that last degree of improvement, this is a well-justified investment given the magnitude of improvement - Highly Recommended.
I would like to thank KC from XPS Acoustic for arranging this review.
Price : S$ 4,800 for a set of 8
Hifistay products are available from :-
271 Bukit Timah Road
#03-01, Balmoral Plaza