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Piega Stepping Up U.S. Marketing Efforts

2/25/2002 02:00:00 AM Eastern

Swiss speaker maker Piega is stepping up its marketing activities in North America as part of its effort to expand distribution into the western hemisphere.

The company has launched a series of new products, including what it called the first-ever coaxially mounted midrange/ tweeter ribbon driver to deliver a wide sweet spot. The products are marketed through Hardy, Va.-based Sanibel Sound, a high-end audio importer that also markets electronics from Aloia, AVM, and Audiomeca components and Copulare custom stands.

"In three to four years," said Sanibel consultant Steve Davis, "we'd like to do $5 million-$10 million." The company is targeting custom installers and specialty retailers, including promoting specialists.

Piega's 16 speakers, all direct radiators, plus two powered subwoofers, range in price from $600/pair for mini satellites to $29,000/pair for the C40 towers that incorporate the coaxial ribbon drivers. The company is noted for its exclusive use of extruded aluminum cabinets, which export director Carlo Struchtrup said enable the company to deliver high-fidelity sound in lifestyle-oriented cabinets. "Aluminum is stiff, and it is thin enough to create thin cabinets with the same internal volume as wood cabinets," he said. They can be extruded into appealing shapes, and their finishes can be brushed, polished, or anodized to create different colors, he noted.

To eliminate mid- and high-frequency resonances, Piega lines the cabinet interiors with a flexible automotive damping material.

Although Piega has been distributed in the United States since 1998, the distributor was not active, and Piega handed over marketing duties last year to Sanibel, which has hired four rep firms and is looking for more, Struchtrup said.

Piega is also noted for its ribbon speakers and has been building its own ribbon drivers since 1984, he said. "We are one of the biggest ribbon producers in the world," he claimed. The company doesn't market ribbons on an OEM basis, he added.

With its ribbon-equipped aluminum speakers, Piega has taken top market share in speaker dollars in Switzerland and the Netherlands and is near the top in Russia, Struchtrup said. Piega also markets in other European countries, as well as Hong Kong, Korea, Taiwan, and Japan. This year, it began marketing in Brazil, Canada and Mexico.

In the United States, the company sees its main competitors as Avalon, B&W, Thiel and Wilson.

The new C40 flagship features the coaxial midrange/tweeter drivers and five 7-inch aluminum cones: two active and three passive, to deliver sound up to 50kHz.