Piega Premium 5.2 Speakers – Review
Luckily, Jack-Fi was kind enough to lend me a pair for extensive listening.
Who is Piega ?
PIEGA SA was founded in 1986 by Leo Greiner and Kurt Scheuch, an unlikely pair with completely different strengths. Kurt Scheuch is responsible for innovations and technical matters, while Leo Greiner manages the company’s finances.
A few years ago the 2nd generation entered the company; a breath of fresh air so to speak. We remain a family-owned company with a vast amount of experience, high flexibility and short decision-making paths.
Our two highlights – ribbon technology and seamless aluminium housings – are responsible for the outstanding sound characteristics of our loudspeakers. The fact that these are real innovations with measurable and audible added sound value has been confirmed many times over by the specialist press over the last few years, and our continuously increasing fan base also speaks for itself.
Piega’s specialities are the LDR (Linear Drive Ribbon) tweeter ribbons and the coaxial ribbon system. The design of both systems is predominantly based on a strong magnetic field and an extremely thin, partially embossed, foil. For the coaxial system, the acoustic centre of the entire mid- and high-range is at precisely the same point on the X,Y and Z axes. This means that the system is the only real point sound source on the market. Time-aligned emission in all dimensions is the valuable advantage of this uncompromising construction.
The precise, seamless housing is pressed from a single aluminium block. The optimal damping prevents any intrinsic resonance and the natural sound reproduction is one of the key benefits of our aluminium housing.
Some of the Piega History:
Some of the main achievements of Piega are the ribbon tweeter, ribbon midrange and the coaxial midrange / ribbon system.
From the very start, Piega has used its own ribbon tweeters which were developed by Kurt Scheuch and are still handcrafted and produced in Horgen.
In 1993 the first PIEGA Ribbon Midrange followed the LDR (Linear Drive Ribbon) Ribbon Tweeter.
Beside the ribbon technology, the aluminium cabinet is one of the most characteristic features of PIEGA’s louspeakers.
Having heard the Linear Ribbon Tweeter and the Coaxial Ribbon System, I must say that they really give something special to the sound.
Piega offers one of the most transparent sound I have ever heard from speakers and the Ribbon System has a lot to do with this:
Introduction & Specs
|Design principle||2 1/2-way-system
|20 – 200 Watt|
|Frequency range||34 Hz – 50 kHz|
|Equipment||2 13 cm MDS®-Bass
|Dimensions (H x W x D)||102 x 19 x 22 cm|
Front grill metal black
black anodized and
Front grill silver
The build quality and finishes are excellent, just like with the smaller model. I also love how they look, especially without the grills.
I was hypnotized by the sound of Premium 3, but there was a little missing from the bass and scale. I guessed that Premium 5.2 will solve those issues and I was right.
Listening Impressions and Tests
As you would guess after reading the review of Premium 3, Precision 2 should also be excellent with the bigger Premium 5.2.
Well, not so much. With the bigger Piegas, it sounded harsh, kind of digital and it shouted more than it sang. After some serious tweaking with power cables, and speaker cables, I managed to make it sing, but only got it to impress me after adding the iFi iTube buffer before it.
So, Premium 5.2 are kind of pretentious when it comes to amplifiers. I also tried it with an amplifier from Rockna Audio, the Avenger S, a tube amplifier, the Jadis Orchestra Reference, and the Indiana Line Puro 800.
From my perspective, the best combination was with Avenger S, but it also sounded very good with Jadis which added some of the tube magic, and with Puro 800 which was quite a nice surprise.
Precision 2 sounded good only after adding the iFi iTube as buffer before it.
As I expected, the voices sound even better than on Premium 3 which absolutely floored me in that category. Premium 5.2 had more presence and body, the scene was deeper and wider, while the instruments were just as dynamic and detailed as on Premium 3.
While Premium 3 managed to be enjoyable on this song, with Premium 5.2 I went completely nuts, as I got completely absorbed into the song and started conducting my imaginary orchestra like crazy.
As I expected, Premium 5.2 are just incredible with classical music. It has every plus the little brothers have but without the minuses, meaning that the cellos had more presence, depth and extension, the soundstate was considerably wider and deeper and still having the wonderful details and transparency Premium 3 had.
Ok, I’ve done some serious headbanging on this song, but who am I kidding? With these speakers I was “headbanging” on classical music too, so what would you expect from rock? Incredible pace, incredible rhythm, incredible timing. Indeed, you should mark this word : incredible, as it really is one of the best way to describe these speakers.
The bass was incredibly controlled, punchy and fast, but with good depth as well. The voice as you would expect manages to make you feel like the singer is in the room with you.
The details of the guitars and instruments in general are presented in an dynamic and non invasive way.
I am in love with these speakers and I am not kidding at all. With every song I get lost inside the music. I just close my eyes involuntarily and see the band in front of me.
Everything from the drums, guitars to voices is just amazing. The drums are very deep and showing astonishing bass control and detail while the guitars are so sparkly, but in a gentle and in a non invasive way that you just cannot, but cannot get enough.
The voices, of course, are something else entirely, with everything you would want from them, starting from presence, texture to detail and extension.
I still have a dumb smile on my face from this song while writing this. These speakers seem to sing directly into my soul, as I discovered another level of audio nirvana with them. What can I say about this song so I wouldn’t repeat myself?
OK, the voices were so real, so lifelike, present, detailed and textured that I was really overwhelmed with emotion. It created an intimate connection between the music and the listener (me in this case), something special that I never experienced at this level before.
These speakers can sometimes be better than sex. No, I am not drugged on anything else besides pure audiophile enjoyment. Again, this song was a journey, a whole experience.
Everything was incredible, from soundstage, imaging, details, voices of course, details, natural tonality and dynamics. I will talk about the electric guitar, and not about the drums and voices as I will surely repeat myself.
I am trying to find my words to describe the sensation in an accurate manner, but it’s not easy at all. The extension, detail, texture and feel of this guitar created another musical dimension and transported me inside it.
It took my breath away, literally, as for a few moments I stopped breathing, listening to it in all its splendor.
The bass is a major step forward compared to Premium 3. While I’ve read some reviews of Premium 5.2 saying that it lacks bass, I tend to disagree with this, especially in my 20 square meters room.
The bass was excellent from my point of view. It had everything I would ask of it: incredible speed, control, punch and very good depth and extension.
Now if I think of the bigger brothers of Premium 5.2, indeed, there is space for improvement as the Coax Series are amazing in this aspect, especially the 120.2 which had the best bass I have heard in any speakers until now, including much more expensive ones.
The midrange is stunningly detailed, natural and transparent. Everything from instrument to voice has a life of its own and gets out of the speakers, transposing you into the music.
The treble is amazingly detailed, sparkly and extended. One of the best treble I have heard in my life. Here it is very close to Premium 3, but it is a little harsher and sometimes sibilant on the wrong gear. But, with a good match between the other components, you can get breath taking performance in this area as well.
The voices are even better than on Premium 3, as they have better weight and presence. It may seem as little improvement, but they take this region to another level as well compared to Premium 3, and if you read my review of them, you would know the importance of my statement right here.
Soundstage & Instrument Separation
While the soundstage was very opened on premium 3, it lacked some width and depth on some occasions, and this is exactly what Premium 5.2 brings to the table, making the scene even more real, even more lifelike. Adding the amazing instrument separation and layering, when you close your eyes, you can see your favorite bands/orchestras/singers right in front of you.
Details & Textures
This is another place where these speakers shine. The details and textures are hypnotizing. Everything sounds incredibly transparent, clear and extended. When one instruments takes lead in the song, it takes my whole attention and I sometimes stopped breathing for a few seconds because of it.
On the right gear, Premium 5.2 can offer a clear window into audio nirvana. You close your eyes, and there is nothing but you and the music.
Neutral and Natural
These speakers have no coloration whatsoever. They are so neutral that I have heard them to be bright and warm on different gear. It was like sometimes I was listening to HD800 and sometimes to Audeze LCD-X (even LCD-3F on some occasions). Other than that, every sound lacks coloration and wood sounds like wood, metal sounds like metal, water sounds like water, etc.
Dynamics & Energy
The dynamics are excellent as well. Every instrument has its unique presence and life in the song. These speakers know when to be romantic, but rock your shows off when they have to be energetic.
The transients are incredible: impactful and fast, but clean and natural. Because of this, the sound is also tactile and transposes the energy even better to you.
Excellent quality even at lower volumes
As their little brothers, Premium 5.2 performs excellently even on lower volumes and as I stated before, I consider this to be a major plus, as I am a fan of quality not quantity.
I never had something like these speakers in my home until now. Their stage presence is incredible as it really transposes you inside the action, the scenery.
Sometimes there are some subtle things that make all the difference. For example in an office you could hear all the murmur going on.
In a room when somebody touches a wood table, you could feel the wood, the texture of the table. When someone interacts with a metal object, it sounds like metal. When touching crystal glass it vibrates like crystal.
When somebody turns on the light-switch it was like it clicked in your own room. You can also hear the traffic near the building the main scene is.
You can tell when a car passes 2 blocks away or 1 block away. Sometimes there is a helicopter near the main scene and you can approximate the distance near to it quite easily. When it rains, you can feel the drops hitting the windows, etc.
It feels like you are right there in the main scene!
I know that I might have used a lot of big words in this review, but these speakers were indeed something else for me and opened another door into my audio journey, taking me to a higher level of audio nirvana, the highest I have ever got, especially in my home.
If you read the review of Premium 3, you could imagine a sound similar to them, but without the minuses they had, leading to a bigger/fuller sound and scale, better presence of instruments and voices which sometimes leads to better textures and extension, better and fuller voices, but still crystal clear and incredibly extended, etc.
I wholeheartedly recommend these speakers as they deserve your full attention. Well, who am I kidding, I love them so much, that I bought them for myself!
Indeed, they are a little more pretentious when it comes to amplification and cables than Premium 3, but finding a solution is not so hard, and after that, they can take you to another musical dimension.
- Excellent bass with incredible speed, control, punch, accompanied by very good depth
- Excellently transparent midrange with amazing textures and details
- Incredibly detailed and extended treble
- Excellent details and textures on all the frequencies
- Very good soundstage & instrument separation
- Excellent with both music and movies
- Incredible voices, both female and male
- Excellent dynamics, transients and energy
- Neutral and natural sound
- Excellent transparency
- Excellent build quality and finishes
- Very good price/performance ratio
- Pretentious when it comes to amplification and speaker cables
- Can sound bright/harsh on the wrong gear