|Piega 5.1 Speaker System|
|Home Theater Loudspeakers Speaker Systems|
|Written by Brian Kahn|
|Sunday, 01 September 2002|
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Piega is a loudspeaker manufacturer based in Switzerland, already well known to European audiophiles and definitely a striking-looking relative newcomer (5+ years) to the crowded U.S loudspeaker market. Piega has developed their most loyal following with a line of high-end speakers that incorporate unique ribbon tweeters designed and manufactured by Piega, along with traditional dynamic drivers. The Piega speakers are slender and modern in appearance, with a very refined sound.
The speaker package I reviewed featured two affordable pairs of Piega S4 floor-standing loudspeakers ($1,795 per pair), a S4C ($795) center channel speaker, and their pricier P Sub 1 subwoofer ($3,095). The S4s are part of Piega’s less expensive “S” line of speakers, a design that utilizes conventional electromagnetic drivers. Piega’s unique ribbon tweeters are only available in their more expensive “P” line of products.
The Piega speakers are very handsome and relatively small in size compared to other speakers in their price range (Energy, B&W, Sonus Faber, Paradigm). They don’t negatively impose their physical presence on a tasteful interior design. Piega speakers are a relief from the standard, bulky rectangular boxes that speaker manufacturers ask us to integrate in our living rooms. All of my review speakers were dressed in a sexy, brushed aluminum finish. The S4’s are tall, slim towers mounted on thin black bases. The front of the speaker is covered with black speaker cloth and framed with its aluminum body cabinet. Each S4 measures 44 inches tall, four inches wide, five inches deep and weighs a waif modelesque 20 pounds. The S4C center channel speaker measures 16 inches long, four inches wide and five inches deep. The P Sub 1 subwoofer is more portly at 68 pounds and is dressed within a similar looking brushed aluminum skin. The P Sub 1 measures 18 inches in height, 14 inches in width, and 17 inches in depth. This 500-watt powered subwoofer utilizes a powered 10-inch front-firing driver and a second 10-inch passive radiator.
The S4’s cabinet is surprisingly rigid and seemingly inert to the casual observer. Piega’s U.S. importer mentioned how the speakers are made of aluminum that is milled on the same machine that Audi uses for their A8 super sedan. There is no question about the build quality of the speakers. They are made with Swiss craftsmanship and reflect it from the first glance.
The S4’s narrow towers sit on a thin composite base, supported by rubber feet approximately three-eighths of an inch in height. The speaker binding posts are located at the bottom of the underside of the speakers. Located directly under the towers is a concave area with the speaker connections. As mentioned above, the base lies relatively low to the ground. This configuration makes it fairly difficult to get the speaker cables connected. The cables must be thin and flexible in order get under the bases and then curve upwards and onto the binding posts. Sanibel Sound, Piega’s importer, informed me that nearly all of the S4s are sold as “lifestyle” speakers and are part of a custom installation package. Custom installers of Piega speakers normally route the speaker cables under the floor surface, neatly emerging just under the speaker and directly to the binding posts. In more traditional systems, this isn’t as easy to accomplish. I found the S4s to work best when placed 18 to 24 inches from the front wall and between six to eight feet apart. Due to the S4’s limited low-frequency response, I used the reinforcement of the P Sub 1 subwoofer at all times in order to fairly compare the Piegas to other high-performance speakers. You would need to look at offerings a few thousand dollars higher up the food chain from companies like MartinLogan, Revel Performa Series, B&W and others for a more accurate comparison.