That said, the C711’s ethereal character contributes to this speaker’s stunning spatial presentation. The Piega seems to float images in three-dimensional space with no apparent connection to the pair of speakers. Many speakers will pull off this trick, but the C711 goes beyond conventional imaging to beautifully (and accurately) infuse the soundstage with a tangible sense of air and bloom among instruments. This quality worked synergistically with the C711’s stunning timbral resolution to convey the precise spatial and textural characteristics of individual instruments, particularly during dense passages or unison phrases. The C711 was the antithesis of thick, congealed, confused, or homogenized—spatially or tonally. I could effortlessly shift my attention from an instrument or section to another as easily as I can when listening to live music. This quality was particularly apparent on vocal harmonies, such as on The Manhattan Transfer’s new album The Junction. Each voice was presented with its own unique timbre intact and distinct from the others; yet the vocals blended into a coherent whole. This quality went a long way toward my enjoyment of music through the C711.
Throughout my time with the C711 I was never aware of any discontinuity between the dynamic woofers and the planar midrange/tweeter. That’s not surprising considering that Piega co-founder Kurt Scheuch has been working on the challenge of mating ribbon and dynamic drivers for the past 32 years. In addition, the blend between the midrange and tweeter was completely coherent and seamless. The speaker sounds of-a-piece from top to bottom.
Piega’s C711 offers a compelling alternative to the veritable forest of cones-in-a-box speakers that dominate high-end audio. Their coaxial ribbon midrange/tweeter is unique, and so is the sound. This driver is spectacular, reproducing transients with lifelike detail and immediacy, yet with an utter sense of ease and lack of etch. The sound gets “out of the box,” portraying instruments and voices with a realism and clarity that elude all but the very best cone speakers. Although I would characterize the C711’s bass as good, you won’t buy this speaker for its bottom end. It’s the magic above the bass that makes the C711 special.
If you are drawn to the qualities offered by the coincident ribbon driver but don’t have the space or the budget for the C711, remember that the C311 and C511 incorporate the same driver. I suspect that they provide the same speed, resolution, and ethereal beauty of the C711 but with less bass output. I should also mention that the C711 is relatively easy to drive. The Esoteric F-03A’s 30Wpc was enough to power the 92dB-sensitive C711 to room-filling levels.
There are a lot of compelling choices in $25k loudspeakers, but the Piega C711 offers something unique in both technology and musical presentation. You may find, as I did, that those unique charms are hard to resist.
Ed. Note: For more on TAS’ visit to the Piega factory and the company’s unique loudspeaker designs, click here.
Specs & Pricing
Type: Three-way floorstanding loudspeaker
Driver complement: One coincident planar-magnetic midrange/tweeter, two 220mm active woofers, two 220mm passive radiators
Frequency response: 22Hz–50kHz
Impedance: 4 ohms nominal
Dimensions: 11" x 46.5" x 13"’
Weight: 103.4 lbs. each, net
Finishes: Polished aluminum, black anodized aluminum, white lacquer; RAL colors available at extra charge
Price: $25,000 per pair
AXISS AUDIO (U.S. Distributor)
17800 South Main St., Suite 109
Gardena, CA 90248
Amplification: Esoteric F-03A integrated amplifier; AVM CS2.2 all-in-one system
Sources: AVM CS2.2; Berkeley Alpha Reference Series 2 MQA DAC; Berkeley Alpha USB; Aurender W20 music server; Pro-Ject X Persex 6 turntable with Sumiko Blue Point No.2 cartridge
Speaker cables: Kimber 4TC, Wireworld Mini Eclipse 7
Interconnects: Wireworld Eclipse 7
Digital interconnects: Audience Au24 USB, AudioQuest Wild
AC power: Shunyata Denali, Shunyata Sigma AC cords
Room treatment: ASC 16" Full-Round Tube Traps, Acoustic Geometry Pro Pack, Stillpoints Aperture Panels