Swiss manufacturer’s new aluminium-clad Premium 701 loudspeakers are a joy, says Jon Myles. Read our Piega premium 701 review.
While many loudspeakers are much of a muchness – wooden cabinet, various drivers and a crossover – the same cannot be said for Piega and its range of products. The Swiss company makes some seriously different transducers – and has done since foundation in 1986.
It was one of the first manufacturers to embrace the use of a ribbon tweeter – rightly realising that it gave an enhanced high-end response.
Secondly, it has a firm belief in the use of aluminium for the cabinets due to its inherent strength and lack of resonance. All this came together in the Piega Classic 7.0 that I enthusiastically reviewed two years ago in our November 201 7 issue.
Now, though, Piega has upped the ante with the Premium range – consisting of a standmount and two floorstanders. The flagship is the Premium 701 reviewed here.
It’s tall but slim – measuring 106cm x 18cm x 23cm. But that doesn’t tell the whole story. The aluminium cabinet is C-shaped so curves smoothly to the rear giving the whole loudspeaker a rather elegant form.
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Beneath the matching silver grille at the front (which takes some prising off) sit two 140mm drivers that operate in a two-and- a-half way configuration where the top one handles midrange and bass with the other dedicated to the low end only. Base plates with spikes have also been introduced to prevent interfering frequencies and aid stability.
Underneath the drivers is a bass reflex port to give some extra slam. But perhaps the most interesting factor is the new ribbon tweeter. If you consider Piega has been designing these sort of tweeters for more than 30 years then you’d expect they know what they’re doing – and they proudly state this is their best yet.
Dubbed the LDR 3056 (hi- fi companies love acronyms) its thin membrane has a newly developed suspension system and is controlled by mass-free damping. Piega says that thanks to the optimised magnet system and a new foil layout, the tweeter offers higher efficiency, greater bandwidth and linearity.
Which is all very well – but getting a pair of mid/bass drivers to
The Piega 701s have a curved alumunium cabinet with a single pair of ‘speaker binding posts at the rear. An elegant design that aids sound quality.
interact well with a ribbon tweeter is not always as easy as it sounds. So has Piega managed it?
First of all, placing these loudspeakers in the listening room they looked very slim yet undeniably attractive.
My first thoughts were that they may be a little lacking in subjective bass response exacerbated by the high-frequency response of that new ribbon tweeter.
I was wrong. These Piegas have a sense of ease and presence allied to a room-filling sound. Pairing them with a variety of amplifiers – from a high-end McIntosh pre-power valve combination to a more basic but still impressive Creek Evolution 100A integrated transistor – they were natural yet never missed out on the emotion of the music.
The ribbon tweeter means they are ideally placed firing straight down the room. Toe them in a little and the tweeter can become a little over dominant – although it never sounds harsh or edgy.
Position them correctly in your room, though, and they really sing and extract immense detail without overemphasising any part of the frequency spectrum.
Take, for example, New Order’s ‘Weirdo’ from their Brotherhood album. It can sound rather bass heavy on some ‘speakers with a restrained top end.
However the Piegas opened everything up. The bass was taut yet even with a tactile feel to it. Farther up the electronic embellishments soared high into the room and the midrange was very smooth.
Turning to Sinead O’Connor’s ‘Nothing Compares To U’ the new tweeter shows just how good it is. The Irish singer’s sweet voice sounded completely natural and emotional – even her slight intakes of breath being audible.
But for all the delicacy on offer these Piegas can slam the music out when needed. With The Stone Roses’ ‘I Am The Resurrection’ the incessant, pounding drum beat never lacked power. Nor did it overwhelm the track or its bass line – showing just how well-balanced the 701s are.
No, you don’t get gigantic bass – as a play of Massive Attack’s ‘Angel’ proved (see Measured Performance
The new Linear Drive Ribbon has been designed to bring greater clarity to the high end.
for more information). For that you’ll need loudspeakers with larger drivers. But instead the Piegas provide a superb listening experience that are able to handle any genre of music and do it with aplomb.
These Piegas have everything going for them. Sophistication when needed but also the ability to rock out with excitement when it’s needed. Add in their slim profile and solid cabinet and they really are very good.
Frequency response of the Piega Premium 701, measured using third- octave analysis of pink noise, was level from 40Hz to 18kHz within +/-3dB limits – a very good result. Smoothness suggests low colouration and Piega have gone for tonal accuracy here, rather than enhancement: no raised treble or bass. However, the slow roll off down to 40Hz is best suited to positioning close to a rear wall, where the ‘speaker will most effectively couple with low frequency room modes to raise bass through what is termed ‘room gain’.
Manufacturers like to raise output from ribbon tweeters for obvious but clean treble – but not here.
The port is tuned to 40Hz our impedance curve shows, providing output down to 30Hz, so the 701 goes low. It is also well damped by the port so will come across as dry and well controlled in terms of bass quality.
Sensitivity was high at 88dB sound pressure level (SPL) produced from one nominal Watt (2.8V) of input. Amplifiers of 40 Watts per channel will go loud with these ‘speakers. Measuring just 3 Ohms d.c.r. and with a measured impedance
of 5.5 Ohms the 701 draws current to achieve high voltage sensitivity but that is common enough in modern loudspeakers and amplifiers can cope.
The Premium 701 has been tailored to deliver a smooth and accurate sound balance, with well proportioned bass when placed close to a rear wall. It measured well all round. NK
Green – driver output
Red – port output
PIEGA PREMIUM 701
OUTSTANDING – amongst the best.
An elegantly built, superb sounding loudspeaker which sets the standard at its price.
- smooth, natural sound
- superb ribbon tweeter
- build quality
- slim profile
- limited low bass
Best Piega premium 701 prices in the US ?
Best Piega premium 701 prices in the UK ?
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+41-44-725 90 42 www.piega.ch/en/