So… small box, small problems? Not exactly in each and every scenario. For instance, KEF's LS50, smaller than the Perla, requires lots of surrounding space to let all its demons fly and breathe unrestricted though its bass-reflex orifice. The main reasons are the atypical rear port, Uni-Q concentric driver and fairly small cabinet. But unleashing the LS50 on a 20m²+ room with its ports not wide open disappears their low end, a no go. So one trades something and gets something in return. The Czech boxes have their aperture on the front, just below the mid/woofer. This can place them as close to the wall as their speaker terminals allow. Being extremely short, this can make for a tiny 1cm gap. Above the terminals there is only a sticker so no issue. Therefore the conclusion is simple: In a bookshelf environment, the Perla is as natural as fish are in the sea. But were they designed to work only in such conditions? No, they also shine on stands in a semi-nearfield environment.


Getting back to ports and possible wall distances, I haven't witnessed shorter posts yet. Naim or Cyrus use BFA terminals which are even smaller. But all things considered, in bookshelf monitors you won't get those, only in home electronics. And BFA allow only one specific type of plugs. Xavian's handle all types of cable confections. That makes lots of sense from a usability point of view. I believe that was the goal from the beginning. Roberto wanted to make an affordable domestic speaker which would perform well on stands, on a bookshelf or desk. Adding some Italian fashion flair was probably his second goal.  


The crossover frequency is set at 3'000Hz, quite high. Usually it's between 1'000 and 2'500Hz. Yet that's not a rule. For example, in Boenicke Audio's W5, the aluminium Fountek mid/tweeter starts at 600Hz and goes all the way up, with extremely good outcomes at that. But W5 aside, the drivers in the Perla work in quite typical fashion. The bigger one handles both mid and bass frequencies. Its diameter is 15cm, the membrane and dust cap are polypropylene and the basket is aluminium. The 26mm silk dome tweeter covers the rest. It sits inside a short moulded aluminium waveguide. The passive crossover is based on air coils, proprietary capacitors and carbon/wire resistors. The nominal impedance is 8Ω and measured sensitivity is 88dB.


Most would agree that one of the most distinctive Perla features is the casing. This is a very finely made cabinet indeed. The material is real Walnut, not ply, MDF or composites like them. The wood planks are imported from Italy, then dried for several weeks. Only then does getting machined into smaller chunks to be glued together commence. This characteristic stave alignment Roberto Barletta calls mosaic. Kitchen lovers might call it a form of butcher block. And the Perla looks gorgeous. Compared to older Xavians like the Piccola or even newer ones like the Neox, both Natura and Epica representatives have gathered additional curves. It can be seen easily in which direction this Czech manufacture is headed. Before I started my first listening session, my eyes had some heavy admiring to do. At least ten minutes passed before I stopped just gazing. Build quality was sheer perfection. Both drivers align centred not even off by one millimeter. Attention to detail showed in how the slotted port was polished a good two centimetres in. Magnetized grills avoid unsightly fixings on the front. Embedded magnets go the extra mile to look far better. These are small things but show craftsmanship and concern. The custom stands are well made, too. The upright is wood, the bottom and top panels are MDF coated in textured paint which looks similar to expensive magnesium alloys seen in full-frame expensive cameras. Spikes and rubber feet are standard. The buyer decides what to use.