Think high-end speakers. We doubt Swiss firm Piega is at the forefront of your mind. Despite a history stretching back more than two decades, the company has never had any impact in the UK.
That's a shame, because the TC70X floorstanders show Piega has what it takes to compete with the likes of B&W and Wilson Benesch at this price level.
Conventional wooden boxes are not what Piega does; it believes such enclosures colour the sound too much. Instead, the TC70X's cabinet is made of extruded aluminium.
This produces a very rigid enclosure and makes it easy to have a curved shape, which minimises internal standing waves.
Standing waves are a bad thing – they spoil the purity of the sound. The metal enclosure is then heavily damped to reduce resonances innate in rigid metal structures.
More after the break
The result is a hefty, inert enclosure that allows the drive units to work (relatively) unhindered.Distinctive engineeringThe ribbon mid/tweeter module can't help but catch our attention. To see such designs used for treble and midrange drivers is exotic engineering.
Taking it further and mounting the high frequency unit in the centre of the larger driver makes the Piega unique.
Placing the tweeter in the centre of the midrange unit helps with integration and improves dispersion, widening the listening sweet spot.
Ribbon designs are just fine with midrange and treble frequencies, but are impractical at low frequencies due to size and electrical characteristics.
So, it's no surprise to see a pair of relatively conventional 18cm bass drivers handle the low stuff.
Positioned out into the room these beautifully machined speakers give a fine account of themselves. Their presentation is all about control and precision rather than exuberance.
It's easy to be underwhelmed on a short listen. The price-tag combined with a lack of overt sonic fireworks means that many wouldn't take these speakers seriously.
But give them time (we're talking weeks) and the TC70Xs' talents come to the fore.
Music takes centre stageListen to Shostakovich's haunting Symphony No.7, the Piegas refuse to intrude. These speakers leave the music to grab the attention – and that's exactly how it should be.
Dynamics swell naturally, and where demanded result in forceful crescendos, with the Piegas staying controlled even at high levels.
The co-incident mid/tweeter arrangement suggests pleasing stereo imaging, and this is just what happens in use.
These speakers deliver a stable stereo image populated with precisely positioned instruments. Precision is also apparent in the way the speaker defines edges of notes.
The minimal contribution of the inert cabinet and natural agility of the drivers results in plenty of speed, but without any form of harshness or brightness.
Tonally, there's a slight lack of attack to the highest frequencies, leaving the midrange to be highlighted.
But this slight deviation doesn't rob the Piegas of the ability to work well with punchy music such as Eminem or Nirvana.
Those twin bass drivers can't quite emulate the ribbon drivers when it comes to speed, so on occasion they draw a little too much attention. That apart, there's little to complain about.
The TC70Xs may not shout about their talents, but given a suitably talented source and amplification, these speakers are bound to please.