NEAT IOTA ALPHA floorstanding loudspeakers
+ Sound that appears out of all proportion to their measurement; extremely partaking musical presentation; trustworthy tonal authenticity and high quality timbral distinction; straightforward siting makes them as inconspicuous as floorstanding loudspeakers of this efficiency degree will possible get; not too demanding of amplifier energy.
– Sound per pound is huge, however it don’t come low cost; worth of the elective outrigger Neat Ft even much less so; holding issues actual, mighty because it roars, it’s finally nonetheless slightly mite’s roar.
IN this point in time, small speakers which may sound massive aren’t precisely skinny on the floor, although most of them are available the type of bookshelf or stand-mount models. Small in measurement they could be, however not all of them are capable of be inconspicuous, but nonetheless carry out at their greatest. I’ve lived with LS3/5As long run and had the pleasure of reviewing some well-regarded mini screens however most of those didn’t relish hugging the room boundaries.
Miniature floorstanders, on the different hand, are far more uncommon, so once I heard the Neat IOTA Alpha at the KLIAV Present 2018, albeit in an open lobby space, I suspected these can be one thing particular when utilized in rooms of extra modest dimensions. And lucky chap that I’m, I’ve now had the pleasure of internet hosting them for the final month or so.
The evaluation pair got here in a pleasant “American walnut” picket end (choices embrace pure oak, black oak and satin white, however there have been footage of samples in different finishes on the Web) they usually actually are tiny – with a peak of about 45cm (with 20cm width and 16cm depth), they not solely do small, but in addition low slung.
Okay, so Klipsch and JBL and lots of others have had low slung loudspeakers, too (assume Heresy and L100), however these have been extra thigh/hip than knee-high, and close to all have been bloody a lot bigger, too. To realize the anticipated picture peak for a seated individual, Neat’s designers have angled the prime portion of the cupboard the place the treble and midrange drivers sit to fireside at an upward angle. One, thus, doesn’t need to bodily tilt the loudspeakers again by resorting to a differing-height foot or spike association.
The tweeter for the Alphas are available the type of a planar magnetic EMIT driver whereas the mid-woofer is a teeny-weeny 10cm polypropylene cone unit. Plastic and material grill covers, that are mounted by magnetic attraction, are offered to guard the drivers. There’s a small port at the rear of the cupboard situated near the backside, and a single set of speaker binding posts for amplifier connection, so no bi-wiring or bi-amping, please. Personally, I feel the designers rightly judged their potential clients for the Alpha as having totally different priorities and seem to have put the prices elsewhere into the design for higher outcomes.
As there’s a second (13.4cm, this time pulp paper) drive unit firing floor-ward from the base of the cupboard, the Alpha’s peak needs to be additional augmented for clearance at the backside to allow the driver’s output to work as designed. Usually, a set of spikes are included to realize this however for this assessment, the native distributor determined to offer the Alphas with their non-compulsory heavy-iron spiked outrigger Neat Ft’, which widen the stance taken by the speakers at the base, enhancing stability, which may solely be a very good factor.
The Neat Ft need to be bolted into the threads at the base, and the finish result’s every loudspeaker takes up just a bit extra actual property at flooring degree. It was good to see base cups offered and I didn’t need to danger scratching my flooring throughout the evaluation interval with the Neat Ft’s spikes. At a weight of 6kg per speaker (and even with the ft including additional to this weight), the IOTA Alphas have been straightforward sufficient to maneuver round to do the vital placement experimentation. Sadly, the commonplace spikes weren’t included, so no comparisons might be made as to the degree of contribution the non-compulsory Neat Ft introduced for his or her worth.
Specs offered by Neat are a frequency vary of 33Hz-22kHz, sensitivity at 86dB/2.83V and a nominal impedance of 4 ohms. They advocate an amplifier in the 25-100 watt energy vary. I attempted a number of in my stash, finally deciding on my trusty previous Publicity X, which, even when not the greatest amp of the bunch, had that punchy, quick high quality which appeared to me to deliver out the greatest in the Alpha musically (on this case).
After experimentation, I discovered that a good stability between depth perspective, bass reinforcement and bodily un-ostentatiousness might be achieved with the little Alphas’ backs sitting about as little as 45-70cm from the again wall. Should you’re the variety that likes your gear in-line, this roughly places the faceplates of your supply and amplification elements and the baffle of the Alphas on the similar aircraft. Whether or not one prefers the mirror picture tweeters in the pair to take a seat on the outer or internal place is a matter of style as I discovered each to work properly – I had them about 1.8m aside, the place an inside place was perceived to supply marginally higher targeted photographs.
These speakers sounding huge and never in anticipated correlation to each their cupboard and driver sizes (properly, no less than the seen ones up prime, anyway) was nearly a given for me, having heard them, and different pint-sized Neat loudspeakers, earlier than. As soon as arrange and operating, the Alphas additionally appeared to be baying to not be taken as a novelty act and to be adjudged as high quality loudspeakers in their very own proper.
They succeed at their raison d’être… after which some! Sitting about 1.7m again from the aircraft of the speakers, I heard these little tots produce a picture of excellent peak (there’s some acclimatisation available in the event you’ve come from actually tall speakers, however it occurred relatively shortly for me) and even with their close to backs-to-wall siting, the depth perspective was excellent, with finely targeted photographs and an excellent measure of notion of entrance to again layering, in addition to stage width. On most recordings, it wasn’t straightforward to localise the sounds to be emanating from the Alphas and I doubt one might readily pinpoint the place of the loudspeakers blindfolded.
The Alphas are very properly voiced and sounded wholly coherent throughout the sonic spectrum. They have been barely laid again at the prime, although ethereal and nearly vice-free, with a properly projected midband which, collectively with being amply capable of convey a very good slice of the traits of the recording venue’s atmosphere, helped persuade one which one was fairly probably listening to what the recording engineers heard throughout the mixing periods. Properly-recorded un-amplified devices had a great measure of authenticity to them, the speakers even taking a fantastic stab at reproducing the decrease reaches of solo cello (the excellent Vincent Berlanger Pure Cello album from Audio Word), double bass, and a properly recorded Borsendorfer piano monitor, although it will be unfair to anticipate them to equal the talents of a a lot greater loudspeaker pulled away from the room boundaries.
Additionally they did an outstanding job with voices, each female and male, and choral singing was a pleasure to listen to by way of them. That disparate driver applied sciences have been in use was by no means a trigger for concern, noting that voices and devices sounded truthful in tone and timbre. However all the hi-fi issues apart, the Alphas’ greatest attribute, to me, was that they allowed the music to interact the listener, being expressive and rendering all the little dynamics shades and rhythmic intricacies of complicated tracks which you solely realise some speakers don’t fairly get as basically proper when your curiosity is subconsciously decreased throughout listening, and also you don’t actually know why.
The Alphas simply lapped up the sign emanating from the mixture of a classic Roksan Xerxes-RB251-Denon DL110 and Publicity X amp. Enjoying the likes of Yazoo’s You and Me Each (with a dose of repeats of State Farm at near-insane quantity), Tears For Fears’ The Hurting, and The Smiths’ The Queen Is Lifeless, I actually dug what these little Neats might do with music of that interval from their countrymen. So, what we have now here’s a loudspeaker with the capability to get the greatest out of all types of music, and the potential to unobtrusively mix into the setting, bodily and visually, in smaller areas – that’s a Neat trick by anybody’s reckoning.
THE LAST WORD
A loudspeaker like this can be a catalyst for attaining (momentary?) home bliss, in that you simply begin agreeing with your partner that a good loudspeaker ought to be heard much more than seen, and she or he begins agreeing with you that these not-cheap little tots look to be nicely value the cash to accumulate for the sound they produce.
Leaving the moderately less-affordable Kii Threes apart, the Neat IOTA Alpha is the most satisfying near-wall or boundary-hugging loudspeaker for smaller rooms I’ve hosted in my very own premises. I can’t advocate these Alphas extremely sufficient – if tiny loudspeakers are what you’re on the lookout for, to see and listen to them is to need them.
Sources: Sony HAP-Z1ES; Technics SL10-Ortofon X1 mcp; Roksan Xerxes-RB251-Denon DL-110 / Dell laptop computer operating Home windows OS and Foobar 2000 and Bladelius Design Group USB DAC / Amplification: Crayon Audio CIA-1 and Publicity X built-in amps, Sansui QRX-7001 receiver / Speakers: Triangle Ikoto, Mission 731 / Assorted cables together with some diy stuff however most-used speaker cables have been Cable Speak Speak Threes and Supra Ply 2
Worth: £1,400 per pair (£420 for the Neat Ft package)
Malaysian worth: RM6,488 (RM2,087 for Neat Ft package)
Malaysian distributor: Asia Sound Gear (+603 7955 2091) / Discover your distributor.