Sunday, October 1, 2023

Hifistay Stella 80 Triple Swing Spike Shoes


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.

Sound Quality 

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 :-

XPS Acoustic

271 Bukit Timah Road

#03-01, Balmoral Plaza

Singapore 259708


Tuesday, August 1, 2023

BE@RBRICK Portable Bluetooth Speaker in 400% size


Here is the perfect companion to your BE@RBRICK 400% - a Bluetooth speaker! Dropping in November 2023 at JPY 70,000 or USD 499, the BE@RBRICK 400% Portable Bluetooth Speaker will be available in three designs - Clear, Smoke and Black. 

Boasting up to six hours of battery life, you can also pair two units together to create a stereo pair.  

Friday, May 26, 2023

Weiss DAC204 Review


Weiss is best known for their professional products which see use in studios worldwide. They have seen success too in their domestic products and I personally know a number of discerning audiophiles locally that use Weiss products. 

As an owner of an INT204 USB/DSD interface, I appreciate the level of quality and performance delivered. Not cheap by any means, but their products are priced reasonably, especially in the context of current high-end pricing.


The Weiss DAC204 is a compact shoe-box-shaped device that combines the DAC board of the DAC205 with the functionality of the INT204 USB/DSD interface. The DAC205 offers only a Toslink and coaxial input, making the DAC204 the unit of choice if you require a USB input. Based on an oversampling sigma-delta D/A convertor, four paralleled D/A convertors are used per channel for superior signal-to-noise performance. High jitter suppression is claimed by virtue of several signal re-clocking schemes.

The USB input supports sampling frequencies of up to 384kHz and DSD64/128 (sampling frequencies of 352.8 and 384kHz are downsampled to half the original frequency). Two front panel toggle switches convert DSD signals to PCM at either 88.2kHz or 176.4kHz sampling rate and 16 or 24-bit word-length. The coaxial and Toslink inputs accept signals of up to 192kHz. 

The flexibility offered by the DAC204 is tremendous. Three digital outputs (coaxial, BNC and AES/EBU) allow digital signals to be routed to another DAC or digital recording device. For example, the DAC204 could be used with legacy DACs that neither have a USB input, nor DSD compatibility. 

Turning to the analog outputs, both single-ended and balanced outputs are available, with four selectable output voltages (0.23V to 7.5V for the balanced output, and 0.115V to 3.75V for the single-ended output). This allows the DAC204 to be adjusted based on the gain structure of your system. The higher voltage settings would be especially useful for passive preamp users. 

The power supply is off-board, with a medical-grade switched-mode power supplied. The DAC204 accepts a supply voltage between 6 to 9V DC, with a current requirement of 1050 ma at 6V or 700 ma at 9V. Weiss will also sell you the PSU101 universal power supply if you wish to upgrade the performance of the DAC204. Just be warned though, it's as expensive as the DAC itself!

In use

The Singapore distributor for Weiss kindly included a Plixir Elite 6V-6A power supply and Statement DC cable to try out with the DAC204. I used both the Plixir and the stock power supply during my evaluation. 

I hooked up an old CD player to the coaxial input to run-in the unit. None of the sampling frequency LEDs lit up although music flowed. Reading the manual again, I realised that the LEDs only light up when using the USB input. Apart from this initial scare, the DAC204 performed without any issues.  

Sound Quality

With the Plixir, the DAC204 impressed with a highly detailed and cohesive sonic performance. The first thing that strikes you is how music flowed without any particular frequency calling undue attention. 

Bass was tight and impactful and had good speed and tempo. Vocals had a mild laidback quality that provided some warmth to the human voice. High frequencies were reproduced with a clean and crisp edge. The Weiss managed to strike a perfect balance - with a detailed and grain-free midrange and good highs without sounding bright or strident.  

Readers to this point would be wondering what made the Weiss special compared to competition? In my view, the DAC204 was able to convey a superior sense of dimensionality and realism - with clear illumination of the acoustic space around each voice and instrument in the recording. I associate this particular quality with high-end DACs which is high praise indeed for the Weiss. 

The subtly warm tone and lack of harshness allowed for many hours of fatigue-free listening. Despite the professional audio heritage, the Weiss struck me as a musical device - I spent most of my time enjoying the music instead of trying to dissect the recording. 

Swapping out of the Plixir for the stock power supply greatly diminished the performance of the Weiss. Apart from losing impact and power in the low-frequency region, the drop in resolution and separation was obvious. 


Sonically compelling with the Plixir power supply, the Weiss offers great flexibility in a small format. The price with upgraded power supply is well justified if you require the functionality of the INT204 board - Recommended.

I would like to thank Sound Affairs Pte Ltd for arranging this review. 

Weiss DAC204 D/A Convertor

Price - S$ 3,996 (with stock power supply), $5,000.40 (with Plixir Elite BDC and Statement DC cable)

Sound Affairs Pte Ltd

110 Lorong 23 Geylang

#06-03 Victory Centre

Singapore 388410