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Two quick don'ts. Don't misplace or loose the remote if you hate fingerprints. While the touch-sensitive control panel works surprisingly well to access the Piccolo's multiple sources, volume and power on, your skin oils will quickly turn it messy. And, don't play things too loud or you'll create effects from internal standing waves between the side panels which begin to introduce a hollow-ish coloration. While 'too loud' is a relative term, I can pretty much guarantee that it quite exceeds what most folks would ever dial in sitting at the PC or lap top.

That's it. The display behind the gloss facade of the master speaker shows selected input between USB, analog and digital in the top row, power on in the middle of the bottom row and volume up or down to the left or right of that. Individual volume steps are nicely narrow and plentiful to cause zero complaints in use.

Sold twice.
In fact, I have zero complaints, period. For what it is, costs and sets out to do, the Piccolo handles the business down to its contractual obligations and then some. Again, that's down to how high-endish it performs in the vocal range where it sounds completely grown up and mature. In fact, it outperforms many a big speaker in that regard whose heavier bigger artillery is simply clumsier. Due to the enclosure's "barely wider" profile, sound waves wrap around the small boxes like water around rocks to leave behind a big stage without apparent acoustic sources. That's a calling card of all small narrow speakers and the Piccolo is smaller and narrower than most.

I'm suspicious also that iNNoSound's digital-to-amp scheme shares in the exceptionally direct transmission here. I've heard other implementations of TI's generic USB chip and they certainly didn't go this far in the 'clear skies, no clouds' direction. Back to just the speaker (obviously, the drivers and electronics here are inseparable). There's more apparent grounding and hence, believable tonal balance than with the bigger widebander in Glow Audio's far larger Voice One. In that department, neither the equivalent NuForce speakers compete with the PS-200s. Of course both NuForce and Glow Audio have their own subwoofers which whoop butt on the Piccolo and allow one to get serious with techno and electronic slam beats in full glory. There the Piccolo is just okay but certainly not great. It can't move enough air for that.

Now we rejoin the beginning. Hojin Jang promised that "it will amaze you if you turn the volume up and close your eyes while hearing a woman sing." Perhaps it's South Korean civility over London Club mash? It seems focused deliberately on acing vocals while adding enough oomph to become more broadly useful without turning master of disaster. An equivalent speaker voiced by a Westerner could focus more on ultimate welly and boogie. This nearly certainly would have sacrificed percentage points for how deeply into bona fide high-end territory the Piccolo penetrates with voices.

A good test is walking away from a speaker, perhaps upstairs, perhaps around a corner. Forget soundstaging now, image focus, all manner of audiophile artifice. What you'll still hear (or not) are dynamic life, tone and timing. If the transients rise instantaneously without unnatural etch from tweeters whose output precedes the midrange; if overtones line up with their fundamentals; if music swings and breathes rather than ticks away like a metronome or sewing machine; if you feel spoken to, triggered... then whatever generates those sounds gets the basics right. And that's the wrong term really. It diminishes the true meaning. The basics are the fundamentals. Without those in place, nothing else matters.

It could seem counter-intuitve to call the Piccolo a speaker that nails those fundamentals. Yet it does. Hojin's university friend who oversaw the voicing during the year-long development process knew his stuff. Romane and Stochelo Rosenberg trading Jazz riffs on their Manouche guitars while a funky double bass upholds the meter with delayed 2
nd beat growls below swing vigorously but, the metallic blister on the streaking arpeggios is not overdone. The lowest bass notes are attenuated but sufficiently present. They're on the playing field, not sidelined into oblivion.

Ditto for Natacha Atlas' "Oully Ya Sahbi" shaabi burner from MishMaoul. It rises and falls on the club groove below. Or the Tord Gustavsen Trio with its left-handed piano descents and upright bass plucks. Or Ojos de Brujo's "Get Up Stand Up" Latinized Reggae from Techari Live. Or Paula Morelembaum's "Canto de Ossanha" from Berinbaum; Pat Metheny on Missouri Skies. All these tracks need foundation support. While the Piccolo performs no real miracles, its faux miracle is doubly impressive because it does not telegraph 'real' lack. The biggest wonder remains just how very open-throated in the midrange it goes about things and how, despite its plasticky cheeks around the central thin aluminum bridge, it never sounds plastic, cheesy or cheap. The only thing you'll want to avoid is parking it right up against the wall, cranking the juice and feeding it something voluminous in the bass. That's when the craftily woven-in upper bass rise becomes too pronounced and starts to muddy up the terrific midband.

On a lark, I packed Piccolo into the Subaru Turbo and played it for Serge Schmidlin of Audio Consulting. His wife Alexandra runs an interior design shop in Geneva where she sells beaucoup Tivolis and Co. Had these not been review loaners, Serge would have peeled off bills to prevent the pair from reaching Chardonne again. Now this is a fella whose triple-decker valve phono stage with battery-power everything sells for an ice-cold €100,000 plus. The point was made. Even -- or especially -- veteran listeners with keen hearing will hone right in on the magic. They understand just how cleverly this tiny tot has been voiced; and how gloriously liberated it can sing because of that small driver. It's not really just the modest ingredients which get out of the way. It's the chef behind the scenes who massaged the recipe. Hojin did see the right man. But Hojin also packaged things properly and had them tidily made. His iNNoSound Piccolo is a masterful exercise at reductionism. It gifts lean-walleted punters with a true first glimpse at the glories of high-end vocals and the speed and clarity revealed when acoustic instruments get uncloaked.

To buy considerably more overall refinement would need something like Micropure's Kotaro. Curiously enough, the latter's absolutely superb muRata super tweeter underscored more than the Piccolo how it lacked mirror-imaged extension down low. While the Kotaro is one of the most box-less speakers, I found it less well balanced without a subwoofer than the far cheaper Piccolo. That's reductionism in action. Leave out what's not essential. Be content with 17kHz on top, about 70Hz below and keep the tonal balance even-keeled. You'll be surprised just how far that recipe can go straight off a MacMini using the cheap included patch cords. To the hard-core audiophile doubters, I'll suggest something else altogether. Have them get this speaker for a 16-year old's birthday. It'll be easy to justify. It's just for the kids. Cough. Be prepared to want to borrow the speakers back for your computer desk while you do the serious work. I'd sorely hope your offspring would refuse. Sternly. "Get your own, dad!" Now that would be the sweetest revenge for all the snobbery and misplaced priorities most of us old timers in this hobby are guilty of...

Packaging: Professionally engineered cardboard box with discrete liners and compartments, the box itself shipped in a bigger outer box with protective fill.
Ease of unpacking: Very.
Reusability of packaging: Definitely.
Condition of component received: Perfect.
Completeness of delivery: Includes all necessary cabling, DC power supply, remote control and micro fiber cloth.
Distribution: Brand-new branch of established South Korean business. Early days at time of publication.
Final comments: Ideal self-amplified mini speaker set for PC and laptop. Plug & play with USB cable, control from remote. Surprisingly good for the intended application and not to be confused with cheap squawkers and boomers.
iNNoSound website