|Piega 5.1 Speaker System|
|Home Theater Loudspeakers Speaker Systems|
|Written by Brian Kahn|
|Sunday, 01 September 2002|
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The actual design is visually striking but, despite their clean lines, the speakers were a pain to actually connect. I had to go through quite a few cables before I found some that would fit. Piega argues that the S4s are normally installed by custom system designers. I could recommend hiring a good installer to be able to utilize high-end cables without jeopardizing the S4’s clean lines or physical stability. If you are a high-end audio enthusiast, these speakers are the perfect entre to the pricey Nordost brand of speaker cables, which are thin and somewhat flexible. I have heard from A/V industry friends that they also can sound really good. The cables I used were from BetterCables.com and ultimately got the job done and sounded fine, considering their modest price. It is a shame that a speaker has to dictate the way you connect your cables. In many cases, people may decide not to buy Piega speakers because their old cables won't fit well and new cables could cost at a minimum hundreds – if not thousands -- of dollars.
Sonically, I found that, as part of a two-channel system, these speakers placed the listener farther away from the music than I like to be. The distance of the listener prevents the "in your face" sound that I enjoy. I respect the fact that others search for a more laid back sound, which the Piegas certainly have. If you think front row seats to a performance are the best, then Piegas are not the speakers for you.
Piega speakers are a beautiful system designed for a more reserved listener who appreciates style and design as much as a laidback sound from their speakers. It is unfair to really compare them with other speakers under $2,000 per pair because the Piega’s really need a $3,095 subwoofer to create a full range sound to create a complete, full range speaker package.
At closer to $5,000 per pair you must start to also consider speakers from more blue chip loudspeaker companies. When I first got my system, I was impressed with the sound versus my B&Ws at under $2,000. Upon further thought I should be impressed because the Piega system is closer to $5,000 if you look at them as more as a haute design, sat-sub system. Make no mistake, the Piega would torch anything B&O ever designed and has looks good enough to win a Zoolander style “Walk Off.” Now would I trade in my MartinLogan Ascents and Sunfire Signature Subwoofer (a sub and stereo speaker system at about the same price)? The answer for me is no. MartinLogans definitely sound discernibly different than the Piegas and if you are looking for some speakers that are more mellow to sooth your nerves after a hard day at work you are likely going to audition Revel’s Performa series. At $3,500 for Revel Performa F30s and $2,995 for a B15 sub, you get the laid back sound I described with the Piegas coupled with a better, more advanced subwoofer (complete with EQ and neat setup software), more advanced drivers and, best of all, better residual resale value thanks to Revel’s sizable brand recognition in the U.S. But don’t discount the way the Piega’s look compared to Revels. The modern, slim stylings work in more rooms than Revel’s awkward curves and plastic add-ons.
The global loudspeaker market is vicious. There are players that fit every niche and many that are very successful at many different levels and price points. Piega’s system, excluding price for a moment, is fantastic for a newcomer to the U.S. market. Classical enthusiasts, lifestyle buyers and fans of British speakers are the best candidates for seeking out a Piega dealer.