In the past few years, we have developed a healthy appreciation for the benefits of Aluminum housing to manage resonance and create a speaker that sounds much bigger than it is. T+A's Talis S 300, Magico's line and other aluminum cabineted speakers have graced the floor of House of Stereo and lived in our homes for several years. The design of these speakers can vary as widely as any wood or MDF speakers, and their sonic signatures are equally diverse. Whatever your tastes and preferences, there is probably an aluminum speaker out there for you.
Which brings us to the point... Piega is coming to Jacksonville! Having done several Hi-Fi Show rooms over the years with Piega and Wolf Audio Systems, we've always had big respect for the Swiss brand, and now with the announcement and release of their ACE wireless speaker systems, )not to mention the fact that Piega has a close relationship with T+A, using T+A electronics to drive their rooms at the Munich High-End Show) we have decided it was time to bring them in.
Piega was founded in 1986 and remains a family company - which we really like. T+A, VPI, Triangle, Wolf Audio Systems, Emm Labs - all are family-owned and operated, several now in their second generation. We like that kind of continuity and adherence to the original vision of the founder.
From the company:
Our perfect PIEGA concept arose over 30 years ago – in a garage. Kurt Scheuch and Leo Greiner, who were later to become company founders, were far ahead of their time. They combined their visions of loudspeakers that not only produce an excellent sound but also look stunning at the same time, and presented the first PIEGA Arlecchino, Capriccio, Arabella and Elektra loudspeakers. In 1986, the two men joined forces with Christian Schmid, a lawyer and audiophile, to start PIEGA SA.
The start was rudimentary and involved a lot of manual work for the two men. During the day, the individual parts were made into loudspeaker boxes in Leo’s garage and in the evening taken in Kurt’s station wagon to the warehouse. The price of the first loudspeakers equipped with a ribbon tweeter at the start was between 2,000 and 8,000 Swiss francs a pair and were initially sold by Leo and Kurt directly to specialist dealers. The aim here was for the dealers to get to know and appreciate the two founders – and this is what they successfully achieved. Kurt later went out on the road alone for over 15 years and built the foundation of the PIEGA sales network. During this time, Leo took care of the constantly growing business, which moved in 1991 to the present production site in Horgen.
PIEGA’s newest product is the Ace Wireless series. For the company, this set of three matching wireless speaker systems is relatively affordable, offering its refined aesthetic at a price point that comes in way below its flagship models. The highest of high-end PIEGA speakers, the 175cm tall Master Line Source series, tops out at around $100,000 a cabinet, so relatively speaking, the compact Ace series is very much entry level by cost, but not by sound!
Ace Wireless comes in three different sizes, which can be paired and joined for everything from true stereo up to 7.1 surround sound. Like all its speakers, each model uses the company’s signature aluminum cabinetry, combining ultra-strong and light extrusions with hand-finishing. For the Ace series, the company has worked with Swiss architect and product designer Stephan Hürlemann, based in nearby Zurich.
Hürlemann has shaped three distinct chassis, the Ace 30, Ace 50 and Ace Centre. In addition, the Ace series has a wireless subwoofer, more info on that soon. If you’re using a WiSA-certified television, for example, this will act as the transmitter to solely Rx speakers.
The Ace 30 is the bookshelf-sized, ultra-compact speaker. It is joined by the Ace 50, a 105cm tall floor-standing model, and the Ace Centre wireless centre channel model.
All have built-in streaming clients including Spotify Connect, Google Chromecast as well as Bluetooth, and are available in natural aluminum, or satin black or gloss white. Finding high quality speakers that aren’t massively over-scaled or excessively sculptural is an increasing challenge. PIEGA’s low-key elegance is well-suited to minimal interiors, places where the Swiss values of solid but subtle craft are well in evidence.
At AXPONA 2022, we were astounded to walk into the Mofi room to find a gentleman with a laptop in one corner with a pair of the ACE 50 Wireless speakers (and nothing else) on the side wall. Active speakers have been getting better, no doubt about it, but this was the first time I experienced a wireless speaker system and felt it belonged amongst the rest of the amazing gear of an audio show. I've been known to say, "this sounds great for an active speaker" by which I mean that the speakers may sound good, but you couldn't put them into the same category of sound quality as a traditional hi-fi setup.
That saying ends here - we could not believe that what we were hearing was being produced by these two speakers. It's Hi-Fi, with no qualifiers.