This review is a real first. After all, we’re looking at Piega ‘s Premium Wireless 701 speakers, a brand with headquarters and a factory on Lake Zurich. Are you now thinking: “First? These slender Swiss have been around for a long time!”? That comment is understandable because the first Premium Wireless speakers do indeed date back to 2019. However, we are looking at generation two here – and a lot has changed. Apart from technological adjustments, the most important thing is that the speaker has also been tuned, says Piega. This Premium Wireless Gen2 line was presented at the end of March. As before, the offering consists of three models: the compact 301 Gen2 bookshelf speakers, the smaller 501 Gen2 floor stander, and the 701 Gen2 top-of-the-range models we look at in this article. We explicitly do not use the word ‘big’ with the foregoing because these flagships also continue to boast a modest footprint. But that is also typical Piega: rather high and slim than deep and wide. That always gives the speakers of these Swiss a refined and interior-friendly look.
As the name implies, these are not the average passive speakers you hang on an amplifier and source devices. All amplification (including DAC) is in the Premium Wireless 701 Gen2 speakers. In terms of cables, they only need a power wire per speaker; there is no cable between the two. Music can also be delivered wirelessly via an optional Piega Connect hub with many streaming options. It also has an HDMI port connecting to a TV and other inputs. With these features, the Premium Wireless 701 Gen2 is a music system for people who aim high in sound quality but don’t feel like staring at a striking collection of devices and cables in the living room. The system is also designed to play music as well as TV sound.
|What||3-way active speakers with streaming hub|
|streaming||AirPlay 2, Chromecast, Spotify Connect, Roon, DLNA, Bluetooth|
|Inputs||HDMI-eARC, 3 x optical, coaxial, USB class B, cinch, aux|
|Dimensions||106 × 18 × 23 cm (speaker)|
|Weight||29 kg (speaker)|
|Dimensions||4.2 × 17.2 × 10.1 cm (hub)|
|Weight||350 grams (hub)|
Craftsmanship in aluminum
You don’t have to tell us that these speakers come from Piega. We – and probably everyone who knows the brand – see that immediately. The slim construction, but especially the use of brushed aluminum and the closed cabinets with sharply curved backs are very typical for the Swiss. Their design language is very own, but certainly not eccentric. Piega sought external help from the Swiss designer and architect Stephan Hürlemann.
In the original silver color, the 106 cm high 701 Gen2s have something very streamlined and clean industrial; we immediately think of fast sports cars and modern, minimalist design objects. They are very solid, which is reflected in a weight of 29 kg each. If you don’t like that silver color, the speakers are also available in anodized black or white powder coating at an additional cost of 100 euros per device.
They are speakers that cost a bit, reflected in the finish and materials used. The build quality is right on the level you’d expect when you think of something handmade in Switzerland. We find emphasizing when a manufacturer offers something more regarding sustainability is increasingly important. That is also the case with Piega because it offers a six-year warranty on the speakers and three years on the electronics.
Optically, the cabinets of our test samples were perfectly finished, down to the smallest detail. Everything fits together perfectly. The supplied speaker grilles are a fine example of this. They don’t hang on the front like most speakers. No, with the Piegas, the grille fits into a niche so that the front becomes completely flat, and the fine metal grille appears to be a fixed element. Removing them is slightly more difficult, but you will also be greeted by a baffle with a very tight layout. In short, maybe the design language is not quite your thing, but there is no doubt that it is excellently finished.
One ribbon, five drivers
This top model in the Premium Wireless family is 3-way, like many large floor-standers. More atypical choices are made in many areas, which distinguishes these Piegas from most rivals. For example, (when the grille is removed) you are greeted by no less than five 140-mm drivers. Four of the five are woofers that provide the low tones; the closed box construction also keeps those basses in check and introduces some control. It also makes this Premium Wireless 701 gen2 a little easier to place. Close to the wall works pretty well.
Above that impressive row reigns a relatively large ribbon or ribbon tweeter made of a very thin aluminum foil. We expect fast performance from such a tweeter that enables the reproduction of airy micro-detail. With its 29 kg, such a 701 gen2 is not that light. The aluminum housing has to do with this; the reinforcement part is included in the cabinet.
Soon a new app
The 701 Gen2s we received for testing came with a Connect Plus transmitter. It is a compact thing that spontaneously reminded us of the hub with the System Audio speakers that we tested two years ago. And sure enough, the Piega hub comes from the same supplier, Platin. We, therefore, spontaneously assumed that the Piegas used WiSA technology for the wireless connection between the hub and speakers, just like System Audio. But in this case, the manufacturer opted for Kleernet, another radio technology we also encountered with DALI’s EQUI devices. Audio is transmitted in high quality: lossless, up to 96 kHz / 24-bit.
We could control Connect Plus via the Piega Control app during the test period. That offers a fairly basic experience. But a new version will appear in April that offers many more options. For example, the equalizer is expanded with a balance control (which can be useful with an asymmetrical arrangement around a TV) and more TV settings. For example, you can switch to a night mode with two positions and call in a Bass Boost if you want more (or less) bass energy. We have not yet been able to test the new app ourselves, but we received screenshots, text, and explanations about it. Given its imminent launch date, the new Control app may already be here when you read this.
With or without a hub
The Connect Plus is theoretically an optional purchase but an interesting one to do. It turns the speakers into a complete system. There are no cables involved. The hub connects wirelessly to the two speakers and comes with many connections to connect peripherals. Also an HDMI eARC port, you can connect the Swiss speakers to your television. There are many other inputs, including a cinch pair to connect a record player (with a built-in or separate phono amplifier).
In addition, several streaming options are baked into Connect Plus, including Spotify Connect, Chromecast, and Airplay. Bluetooth is also there if you want to play something from your smartphone quickly. The device is also ready for Roon Ready, although we could not test that ourselves because we tested the speakers before they were officially launched. We, therefore, used the rooExtend solution to use Roon over DLNA. But now the Roon certification is in order, Piega told us, and you can just get started with the audiophile software. The Piega Connect Plus has a slim remote that works via Bluetooth. A line of sight to the hub is, therefore, not necessary. So feel free to put it away in furniture; it is not beautiful.
You can also choose not to work with the Piega hub. You can then control the speakers via a cinch cable from a preamplifier of your choice. The volume control is, therefore, also via that device. You use the 701 Gen2s purely as active reproducers. We can imagine that more audiophile types might prefer that, with something nice from Auralic, Lumin, or HiFi Rose as the control center.
Beautiful vocals on stage
We listened for a while without the Room Control calibration. That sounded very acceptable in our living room, but the bass was too woolly for our taste. Perhaps that was due to some interaction with a side wall on the left, not so much because there was something wrong with the speaker. When watching TV, this sometimes hindered intelligibility, and it was regularly necessary to adjust the volume again. After the calibration, that problem was largely solved, and we also got a little more depth in the sound image. We think a good result for a minute of walking around with an iPad while test tones sound.
Via Airplay, we played the new Depeche Mode album ‘Memento Mori’ with Qobuz on the Piegas. The first track, ‘My Cosmos is Mine’, rolled into the room nicely and thinly, just as it was meant to be. The eighties atmosphere is heavy, with synth tones that resonate full and warm on ‘Ghost Again.’ With that song, we hear a very successful overall picture, with David Gahan’s voice that is a bit dark but fascinating and a tight, deep beat that lies underneath. The atmosphere is there.
We also find the more traditional jazz tunes sung by Esperanza Spalding on ‘Alive at the Village Vanguard’ nicely presented. Just like with a lot of other music that we have listened to on the Swiss, the voice of the American is fully put in the spotlight. But it remains integrated into the bigger picture, just very intimate and nice to listen to. We also sensed that same female vocal-friendly character when we listened to a Home Session with Arlo Parks via Apple Music and Airplay and to King Hannah’s beautiful ‘All Being Fine.’ The Piegas go for some warmth in their rendering, but that doesn’t lead to the feeling that details disappear in a dullness. It hurts.
‘The Chopin Project’ by Alice Sara Ott and Ólafur Arnalds is one of our favorite albums, but recently another album with almost the same name was released that is also high on the wish list. Nice and confusing, but ‘The Chopin Project: The Franchomme Legacy’ is completely different. On this album, the Belgian-French cellist Camille Thomas plays several works on the original instrument for which Chopin composed them. Very fascinating and authentic to listen to the Piegas, who presented these pieces with four cellos as if we were in the room. From a certain distance, but very beautiful. You can taste the texture of the Franchomme cello, and there is quite a lot of room for subtlety. It made for a very relaxed listening session – which is also these Piegas’ quality.
Relaxed TV evening
These Piegas also performed well when we used them as a TV sound solution for several weeks, both for casual TV viewing and more attentive viewing of episodes of the second season of ‘Carnival Row’ and the new series of ‘The Mandalorian.’ Their wide beam characteristics ensured a large-scale, slightly diffuse wall of sound around our LG OLED TV on the wall. That increase in scale was very noticeable when we returned to the built-in speakers, just like the missing layer foundation that the Piegas provided. The fact that they play great music also became an asset in the relatively fascinating documentary ‘A Sort of Homecoming,’ in which David Letterman interviews Bono and The Edge of U2 about their career and walks around Dublin. What happened here successfully was how the conversations stuck very well to the TV while the underlying tunes in this mix could be heard far left or right. A director’s choice, but a broad soundstage worked very well here. Even when the audience starts clapping just before a try-out concert by U2 and afterward during the performance (with classical orchestra), there is a very convincing live experience in which cellos are played with a lot of body. Overall, the 701 Gen2s sit nicely on the edge of a TV night between room-filling, impactful, and more refined, with just enough detail. We also note that those ribbon tweeters continue to sound fresh horizontally so that everything was received well, even at an oblique angle – we have an L-shaped sofa.
With this update to the already beautiful Premium Wireless line, Piega presents a successful entry in the segment of active design speakers with many musical talents. You don’t have that much choice at this level, so any extra option is welcome. Especially if, like these Piegas, it throws its plus points on the table. The industrial design raises the Premium Wireless 701 Gen2 above ground level, although you should like the modernist approach. Soundwise, you can count on excellent performance and a fine and controlled overall picture. And that makes it ideal for presenting music and TV sound in your living room in an ear-friendly way.
- Elegant modern design and excellent build quality
- High-quality and stable wireless transmission
- Lots of inputs and streaming options
- Well-shaped and controlled basses
- Beautiful vocals on a wide soundstage
- Room calibration
- Higher price range
- Waiting for the app for full potential