The new ACE series is the successor to TMicro – we’ve checked the performance of our latest floor protectors with ACE 50 aluminum housings.
Swiss Piega is famous for its many innovative solutions and unusual design, and its catalog includes many interesting constructions, such as columns with aluminum housings! The current offer includes six series of amplifiers, and apart from them, there is also a subwoofer and mounting speakers as well as many useful accessories. The most impressive string is the main string, based on the strip speaker sections that cover the mid and high notes. For example, the reference model Master Line Source is equipped with a powerful box with six speakers and a separate panel where only the bar speakers are installed, resulting in the mid and third range. The other two designs in the upper series are based on single units that integrate cone woofers with panels of ribbon woofers.
The Coax, Premium Wireless, Premium, and AC speakers have aluminum cases. The only one in which it was decided to combine aluminum with plywood is the classic series.
Piega specializes in the production of aluminum speaker housings, so I’m not surprised that in the case of designed ACEs, this material was used. It is worth emphasizing that this is a very rugged material for speaker housings due to its susceptibility to resonance, which is why very few manufacturers use aluminum for this. However, as I mentioned earlier, Piega has found a way to deal with unwanted echoes. The remedy is for the internal damping to be very good. For this purpose, the manufacturer uses bituminous mats, designed to absorb resonance in a certain frequency range, as well as synthetic wool in abundance to fill the space of the room in which the speakers operate.
In order to increase efficiency in terms of low tones, a classic solution was chosen in the form of a bass-reflex tunnel with a port located on the front panel, just below the speakers. The quad speakers and the aforementioned resonance tunnel of the bass reflex system are hidden under a special grille. It consists of a perforated plate covered with a black acoustic cloth. The cover is removable, but it requires a little more effort than in the case of classic solutions. The cover can only be pulled out after removing the base and bottom plate. For people for whom sound quality is more important than aesthetic value, I recommend removing the grilles permanently, because then the sound is better. Both 3D rendering and space are optimized.
As for the amplifiers, the aforementioned quadruple tweeters in a 3-way configuration consist of the AMT-1 ribbon woofer, an improved version of the woofer used in the TMicro series. The mid-range is reproduced by an MDS tweeter with a conical diaphragm made of coated cellulose (although the diaphragm looks like propylene on the outside) and a basket made of sheet metal. On the other hand, the MDS-B tweeters consist of diaphragms made of the same material as the mid-range cone, but in a reinforced version, which has a higher stiffness, for the purpose of more accurate reproduction of the bass range.
The woofers are small, 120mm, but there are two of these drivers in the bass range, so their surface area is larger than that of the average single woofer, which means reflected bass can drop as low as 45Hz. It should also be noted that the new ACE series tweeters have redesigned cabinets with more rounded side walls and all-new, better-looking round bases. From the bottom covered with soft foam to increase adhesion. On the back are individual insert stations that accept both banana plugs and forks. From the inside, just behind the terminals, a printed circuit board with crossover components is installed. The filters are not very complicated, but they are based on good quality components. Capacitors are mostly foil MKT units, and an air coil is used in the amplifier circuit.
Given its place and shape, the ACE 50 looks solid and elegant at the same time. These slender columns can fit nicely in any tidy room. It’s also worth noting that due to the small speakers and a bass reflex tunnel at the front, the ACE 50 can be placed almost next to a wall and won’t have any negative bass effects.
Depending on whether we decide to listen to the ACE 50 with the grilles removed or on, we’ll get a little better or worse sound. As I mentioned earlier, the ACE 50 sounds better without it, because the metal grilles, densely dotted with small holes, are an obstacle, especially for the sound waves generated by the mid-range bar tweeter and cone. However, in the bass range, this grille does not significantly affect the nature of the sound. So the tests were conducted with the networks removed.
I’ve powered the speakers with the Gold Note S1 40W dual mono woofer and in this configuration I got very good results. However, at the outset, I must stress that aluminum, narrow casings, and thus their small woofers, define the ACE 50’s playing style. The metal housings mean that in terms of wood (including MDF), I miss such an elusive element of sound, It is referred to as music.
The sound easily separates from the speaker diaphragms, which makes the sound stage gain depth and width, and the illusion is clear.
In the triple range, the ACE 50 looks subtle and lively. The bar woofer delivers a saturated sound, also devoid of aggressiveness, even when we get to hard rock. On the other hand, in jazz, namely in the works of Anna Maria Jobik from the album “Minione”, the tape reliably transmitted all the information contained in the top records. Individual sounds took their breath away and were more saturated than in the case of speakers equipped with classic subwoofers. In addition, the triple range maintains the correct ratio of the midrange. This, in turn, does not impose itself, nor is it very extroverted, but displays information in a legible way, as in the case of a loudspeaker. In general, the ACE 50 amplifiers are quite restrained in the mid-range, but they can never be accused of impoverishing music with information, because wherever audio material requires it, they read music as if it were from a sheet of music. The message in many of Anna Maria Jobbik’s works was clear, but at the same time pleasantly toned, giving the music the impression of greater plasticity.
In the bass, the Piega woofers offer a surprisingly powerful base. It turns out that the bass has the right punch, while delivering a balanced presentation. If we don’t get them to work in a room larger than 20 square metres, they’ll return us decent range in the lower bass, allowing them to effectively recreate double bass or drums. The advantage of the ACE 50 is that it does not lose control of the bass, even when it is brought almost to the wall. However, it must be remembered that for the sake of stereo, and more specifically its greater depth, we should not place any speakers too close to the walls, because only then will they be able to show their full potential in stereo.
The ACE 50 is equipped with thin, narrow enclosures and small speakers, which is why the speakers are especially good at hiding from a room. In addition, the sound easily separates from the speaker diaphragms, which makes the sound stage gain depth and width, and phantom sources are clearly drawn. However, the small woofers make these speakers not dynamic demons. It’s just that these small conical engines aren’t able to handle big jumps in dynamics well, especially on the macro scale. On the other hand, at a small scale, they perform better in this respect, which is largely due to the ribbon amplifier, which has a large active surface compared to the classic dome high-frequency tweeters. The acoustic guitar chords in Alan Taylor’s songs from the album “Hotels & Dreamers” were reproduced with proper energy, thanks to this instrument that was not deprived of expression.
Overall, the ACE 50 offers a light analytical voice. And when it comes to the timbre, the Swiss speaker sounds neutral, it doesn’t color the sound of the instruments.
The Piega ACE 50 is one of the smallest floor-standing subwoofers produced by this Swiss company. However, with these slim designs it was possible to get sound that can be described as almost full-size, which is what we can expect from much larger speakers. Also in terms of bass reproduction, the ACE 50 will not fail, as long as it is not played in a room larger than 20 square meters. The bass can drop and is good at reproducing different styles of music.
The dynamics aren’t its strongest point, and the sound tends to be relaxed mainly because of the bar woofer. So we have a lot of sparkle and detail, but at the same time some kindness in dealing with individual sounds.
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