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Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial Interests: click here
Source: Custom PC with Windows XP, MacBook Pro, April Music Stello CDT100/DA100 Signature
Preamp/Integrated: Peachtree Audio Noca

Speakers: Era Design 5 Sat, Glow Audio Sub One
Cables: Zu Varial, AntiCables, Entreq USB

Stands: Ikea glass office table
Powerline conditioning: Furutech e-TP80
Room size: 12m long open ground floor of 3-story town house, office in L shape, desk placed diagonally in corner
Review Component Retail: AU $389/pr

Sting would have smiled. I had just penned my Dream Component feature. Two or so days passed. Then Hojin Jang from Korea's Innoswell in Seoul checked in. "I would like to request our Piccolo speaker for review. It will amaze you if you turn the volume up and close your eyes while hearing a woman sing. We have been developing the Piccolo for almost one year and I have spun off and founded iNNoSound in February of this year. Our homepage is under construction and will be open in one or two months. The speaker voicing was performed by Mr. Huh, president of Cassiopeia Acoustics. He is my friend at the Seoul National University and has a great reputation for hifi speaker design in Korea."

Close enough.
I studied the attached product sheet. It promised a 2-channel multi-media/hifi PC speaker that
  • was self-amplified with 20-watt class D amps on each driver
  • ran 2.5" aluminum cone widebanders from Denmark's Peerless, one per side
  • sported a plug'n'play USB input plus an optical digital input from a CD player or soundcard plus an analog mini input
  • had a credit-card style remote
  • had soft-touch controls on one unit's front panel
  • had a claimed frequency response of 70Hz to 20kHz
  • ran off a 19V/3A DC power adaptor aka wall wart
  • measured 90 x 170 x 100mm WxHxD and weighed 700g each

So it wasn't the 5.25" actively bi-amped, LF compensated high-roller 2-way of my dreams that came with a quick-detach and foldable wall mount plus desk-top stands, that was battery powered and truly high end in performance terms (meaning among other things SPL capable for home theater and solidly good to 30Hz). But then the Piccolo's $389/pr price which a quick Google check with one Aussie vendor determined wasn't remotely in the neighborhood of what the component of my dreams would have to charge.

Do me.
I was in then. This looked to be a convenient and cheap solution to desk-top speakers with minimal clutter. True, 70Hz wasn't completely promising for real musical satisfaction. And the absence of any kind of output (no line-level, no speaker level) meant no splicing in of the Glow Audio Sub One which is absolutely superb for such assignments. But for a starter system, it should do if it could deliver on its paper specs. I wasn't bothered by the fact that Hojin Jang outsources R&D as his Innoswell website details. Important to the target customer would be the price/performance and lifestyle package. Was the Piccolo cool enough to be hip? Could it play loud enough to be hot? Did it fake sufficient bass to be phat? It surely seemed cheap enough to be easy. I lowered my usual only-the-best-will-do expectations and looked forward to my next initiation into contemporary Korean hifi. Having reported on Emillé Labs, April Music, Calyx and Style Audio in the past, the Piccolo now was next in line.