I had the pleasure of testing the Hifistay Hardpoint Trinia +α vibration isolators back in 2021 and was pleasantly surprised by their performance and the detailed technology and dedication that went into their development.
The beginning of 2023 started with the sad news of the unexpected passing of the mastermind behind Hifistay, Mr. Naewon Pyun. The Hifistay Stella triple swing shoes (100T & 130T, 80T) were one of the last products he designed and developed. He also devised two other new products that will be launched by 2023.The Company will continue to operate and offer existing and new products to honor Mr. Pyun’s life’s work.
For this review, John Lim of Hifistay supplied two sets (each with 8 footers) of the Stella100T. A Hifstay Stella 100 Triple Swing Shoes special version that can accommodate wide spikes/feet from speakers like my Zellaton Reference Mk2 speakers and a standard version of the Stella100T with optional thin spike-shaped adapters provided for my Tidal Piano G2.
Stella 100 Triple Swing spike shoes
Stella footers were introduced in 2019 as the first product under the new “Galaxia Series”, with the main features of a new design and different materials compared to the existing range (Reference Series). However, Stella Spike footers have the same swing technology as the “Reference Series” Ballerino Spike footers.
Stella 100 Triple Swing spikes (Stella100T) are Hifistay’s flagship spike footers, similar (slightly higher) to the Reference series Ballerino 88 Triple Swing shoes. Later, other products will be introduced under the Galaxia series, such as anti-vibration feet for electronics.
Similar to Ballerino’s spike shoes, the Single Swing is the entry-level model (Stella Single Swing shoes are not available outside of Korea), the Double Swing is the higher-performance model, and the Triple Swing provides the ultimate performance.
Larger versions deliver higher performance and are generally associated with speaker weight. Accordingly, Stella130T (and Ballerino130T) are the highest-performing shoes.
It is worth noting that HIFISTAY has tried quadruple/quintuple vibration, while at the moment the triple vibration structure is the most optimal (some HIFISTAY customers use quadruple or quintuple vibration by combining triple vibration shoes with single/double vibration spikes).
After introducing Stella 60 double swing spike shoes, HIFISTAY developed triple swing spike shoes and introduced Stella100T shoes first in Korea (Korean domestic version), and then will introduce the international version (revised with improvements) to the global market soon.
The international versions of Stella130T and Stella80T have already been developed and will be launched sooner or later. Normally, HIFISTAY spends more than a year in Korea before launching new products worldwide.
The Stella100T shoes, like other HIFISTAY products, are available in special/customized versions to meet different needs.
An example of this is the version supplied for Zellaton Reference Mk2 speakers. The Stella100T shoes can also be screwed directly to the speakers to suit different audiophile preferences and tastes.
The primary application of the Stella is for loudspeakers, while the Stella footers can also be used with heavy amplifiers (usually together with optional thin spike-shaped adapters) and equipment racks.
As with my previous experiences with Hifistay products, everything was very carefully inspected, from the packaging to the finer details, mechanical design, and materials.
There was no brainer to use either version of the Hifstay Stella 100 Triple Swing footers. The version for the Zellaton Reference MK2 speakers was simply swapped with the original version, and the standard version for TIDAL Audio Piano G2 required the speakers to be laid down so that they could be secured with four M8 screws per speaker.
As always, here are some of the reference tracks and albums that fully showcase the merits of Stella 100 Triple Swing Footers.
The delicate yet authoritative version of Oscar’s Motet Choir, Cantate Domino UHQCD by AudioNautes Recordings, mastered at TOP Studio, Ultimate High-Quality Limited Edition CD lives up to its appellation. If you want to hear the iconic Oscar’s Motet Choir in all its glory, this is the version.
The dCS Vivaldi One Apex served as the digital playback component for this UHQ CD and after only a few runs this Camorani release became a reference standard for my evaluations.
Both versions of the Stella 100 Triple Swing Shoes Footer have had a layer of blur removed, making everything more tangible and increasing the density of acoustic points and nodes.
The already great sense of cavernous acoustics was extended even further in the horizontal and vertical planes, making the majestic AudioNautes re-release an even more alluring, almost haunting atmosphere with subtle and more noticeable decays and delays that made for an even more complete three-dimensional, holographic presentation.
The already outstanding weight and vibrancy of the organ gained significant weight without losing focus or tonal accuracy. With the Stella 100 Triple Swing Shoes footers in action, moved the already superbly established choir members’ presence a little closer to the real world.
There is also something quite different about the AudioNautes reissue. The phase correction! This is especially evident on the track “Dotter Sion, Fröjda Dig”, which stands out from other versions. On the master with the correct phase, the voice is rock solid, firmly positioned between the speakers, while in many versions (almost all) it is far less defined. An added bonus on this particular release.
I was also surprised by the subtle but noticeable shift in tonal correctness of brass instruments, which are undoubtedly extremely difficult to reproduce correctly without straying into brittle territory. AudioNautes UHQCD provides essential and remarkable mastering with optimum midpoints “voicing” that make it easy to tell which sonic direction the high-end audio system or a particular component is heading.
Further probe of different music led me to Memoirs Of A Geisha soundtrack by John Williams, which is another masterstroke on many levels, with dynamics to be reckoned with.
At 3.014, when the thunderous momentum kicks in, the intensity and expressiveness of the musical scale and unparalleled power are superbly apparent when everything is set right in the high-end audio system.
I’ve heard many high-end audio systems where Memoirs Of A Geisha sounds flat, bland, and meaningless, and that can be related to many factors. Still, if everything is set up right, this Williams composition should offer a different kind of sonic journey. A triumph!
Stella 100 Triple Swing Shoes Footer has managed to introduce an extra touch to the film score by making it sound a tad more alive through the rhythmic structures. I wrote down a few times that I felt that, on the whole, each element just complemented the overall composition and structural acumen of the orchestra better with Stella 100.
Junior Homrich With Brian Gascoigne – The Emerald Forest (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) is one of those records that reveal entirely the potency of the system with its subtle nuances and zestfulness that mimic the enormous energy of an orchestra.
It was interesting to observe how Stella 100 Triple Swing Shoes contributed to the overall playback of The Emerald Forest. Stella 100 footers simply managed to form a stronger bridge between the music and the listener.
The complex yet velvety textures of the album, which is an eclectic mix of acoustic instruments, live chanting, and analog synthesizers, were even more profound and beautifully lustrous.
The sheer intricacy of the tracks was decoded more profoundly and the timbres and tones were given even more vitality. This is already more than remarkable, especially for an audio accessory like the footer.
The high-end audio industry has bounced back from the pandemic, and the wave of new, interesting products is steadily increasing.
The value proposition of high-end audio accessories is rapidly shifting toward performance. This high-end paraphernalia is no longer seen as simply an entry-level addition but it became an essential support to take the high-end audio system to a higher level, and Hifstay products are among the few that deliver what is needed to be worthy of the designation of genuine high-end audio accessory.
Mr. Naewon Pyun never wanted to shout about himself and preferred to let his actions and products speak for themselves rather than indulge in histrionics.
Hifistay products might be understated and may not be on everyone’s radar, but they deserve to be.
With many high-end audio accessories, it takes a while for the real impact to sink in and for you to decipher the actual benefits. This is usually associated with modicum gain in performance. Not so with the Hifistay Stella100 footers.
Both Hifstay Stella 100 Triple Swing shoes operate in the realm of sublime conciseness and, for a healthy change, prong the intended results almost immediately.
On not so few occasions, they dispersed shocks of surprise to me, but they act very unobtrusively, in sort of a stealth mode, do not get in the way of the music, and do not act peaked nor spikey as most high-end audio accessories can.
The Stella 100 Triple Swing Shoes offer a rare harmonic blend of dynamic shift and musicality and the real differentiator between Hifistay and other similar products is the richness of the stimuli.
The way Stella 100 handles mechanical hysteria is something fundamentally different, aided by the Hifistay’s distinct and sophisticated manufacturing process. There is little doubt that it took many iterations to get this just right, and it shows easily.
For what they represent in terms of a favorable shift in performance, I am more than happy to give the Hifistay Stella 100 Triple Swing Shoes 2023 Mono & Stereo Highly Recommended Product Award. ❖
- A set of 6 spike shoes: MSRP at 3,900€ VAT inclusive
- A set of 8 spike shoes: MSRP at 5,200€ VAT inclusive
- Main application: Loudspeakers, Heavy amplifier Equipment rack
- Load recommendation: 20~80kg per shoe for loudspeakers, (Max. 160kg per shoe)
- Height: 33 – 42mm
- Diameter: 100Φ