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Small Space Big Sound: Neat vs ....

Chris2016

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May 13, 2016
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Hello Everyone,

After a few months (I took my time) of research I am narrowing on the system for my new hifi set-up. The space I'll be using the system in is realtively small (about 250sqft) and I'm aiming to keep the hifi components "stylish" but not too imposing. I am considering the NAIM uniqute 2 + the NEAT Iota speakers. However on the amp front I think I'll now wait for the Naim Atom release. On the speaker front, I am hesitating. The Neats sound great but has anyone heard the Dynaudio Emit10s or even the akward looking but kind of geeky-cool Neat Iota Alphas? Any small speaker recommendations (Harbeth P3ESR? ATC ?) most appreciated! (Budget approx 1k+/-).

thanks!

Chris
 

manix

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May 31, 2016
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A bit confusing what you are asking.

The neat Iota are a purpose designed speaker that are very small and can be mounted on the wall without ruining the sound while on the other hand you are looking at free standing speakers that are not intended to be as small as possible and mounted on the wall.

Really on the market in direct comparison with the Iota I can only think of the Dali Menuet which are £800. Slightly bigger and also designed to be wall mounted without destroying the sound, though they are better positioned slighty off the wall IMO.

For my office I demo'd both Iota and Menuet. Menuet are the ones I personally preffered more. But you need to find out for yourself.

Oddly bought a Cyrus amp to go with the Menuet's. Demo'd four different amps and really didn't expect I would be happiest with that, I'd of put money on walking out with a Arcam pre demo to partner them.
 

nopiano

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Feb 15, 2009
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I heard the Alphas at the Bristol Show before they had a name. They were terrific. I believe that they are floor standing only, unlike the Iotas, so your choice will mostly be determined by your layout.

If I were going for something more traditional I'd deinitely audition the Harbeths, though there very few U.K. Dealers, so you have to be determined (or lucky, if you live nearby)!

The newer Naim might be worth waiting for, but even better will be the discounted old stock!
 

Leeps

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Dec 10, 2012
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manix said:
The neat Iota are a purpose designed speaker that are very small and can be mounted on the wall without ruining the sound while on the other hand you are looking at free standing speakers that are not intended to be as small as possible and mounted on the wall.
The Iotas were demo'd at the Bristol Show a few years ago on their purpose built stands, and sounded excellent. Although they are more flexible than many other speakers, they also sound pretty good in free space, on stands providing your listening roon doesn't rival the Albert Hall.

If your room is small, I'd also look at ATC SCM7's.
 

Chris2016

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May 13, 2016
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HI Manix,

Thanks for your detailled reply. You're right my enquiry might appear somewhat confusing. I am not necessarily looking for wall mointable speakers that are small but something that is overall not too "big" for example although they are highly rated, when I saw the KEF LS50s in the flesh they were actaully quite imposing imo. As for the Alphas, yes they are floortanders but they appears quite space effecient.

Anyhow, thanks for Dali info, I wasn't familar with them. I'll aim to audition them soon. As for the Cyrus amp, which one did you go for? I'm a big fan of their design (not refering to the recent Cyrus one here), they can only be qualified as ...unique, and sound great!

C
 

Chris2016

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May 13, 2016
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Yes, several readers appear to have had quite a moment of clairvoyance whilst discovering the Alphas at the Bristol show...another one on my list to demo. I'd have to agree on the Naim old stock arbitrage trade but that screen on the Atom will probably prove very useful!
 

Chris2016

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May 13, 2016
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I guess the second part of my question was (irrespective of the comparaison to the Neats), has anyone heard the Dynaudio m10s? thoughts?
 

manix

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May 31, 2016
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Chris2016 said:
HI Manix,

Thanks for your detailled reply. You're right my enquiry might appear somewhat confusing. I am not necessarily looking for wall mointable speakers that are small but something that is overall not too "big" for example although they are highly rated, when I saw the KEF LS50s in the flesh they were actaully quite imposing imo. As for the Alphas, yes they are floortanders but they appears quite space effecient.

Anyhow, thanks for Dali info, I wasn't familar with them. I'll aim to audition them soon. As for the Cyrus amp, which one did you go for? I'm a big fan of their design (not refering to the recent Cyrus one here), they can only be qualified as ...unique, and sound great!

C
It was a Cyrus 6A basically the same as the 6dac but without the dac
Firstly on past experience of old cyrus I didn't think it would drive the speakers properly being 4 ohm and small - I remember the old cyrus 6 struggled on Mission 780se. Secondly I thought it would be to bright. But it drives them fine as far as I'm concerned so it would appear to be true what Cyrus have said about improving the current loading compared to older models.

So for me the Menuet's gave a fuller sound and more potential bass than the Iota's. Not saying I didn't like the Iota's it was my preference. When I say bass, it's has a good go and it's clean but don't expect miracles there will be no windows shaking. Yes compared to tiny speakers like the old Whafedale small diamonds or Mordant Short ms10 from the 1980's they have much more bass and the control is light years better.

Then on the amp I was sure the Arcam A19 would be the one. Again for me on these speakers if they are relatively close to the wall you loose what the menuets do special with the Arcam. At the end of the day they are eye watering expensive given the size so the last thing you want to do is surpress their party tricks. Others tested were Naim & Roksan but I didn't think the difference in price was worth it. Keep meaning to test the menuets on my big systems power amp.

But that's me and it's all personal taste. People hear differently and have different tastes.

Definetly worth testing the the Dynaudio's and the ATC's as well as others have suggested, on paper they sound good.
 
Feb 18, 2015
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Also check out some pmc twenty 21's,my room is around the same size as your own and 13-15 cm's from the wall.they deserve an audition and with the recent release of the twenty 5 range...there should be some good deals to be had on the original twenty range.They go great with the naim kit but unsure how they'd pair of with the cyrus kit.They do sound a bit on the lean side of neutral and don't look imposing like those kef ls50's.
 

Chris2016

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May 13, 2016
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thanks everyone for your speaker suggestions, I thought it'd be only fair to update you on my research. I auditionned the ATC SCM7s yesterday and....they sounds simply amazing. The amount of detail and precision was very impressive. My only caveat is that although they were driven by a sizeable (not sure which model) Burmester Amp, they did seem to lack a bit of power/bass....this might sound strange but my wireless B&W A7 speaker seems to produce more bass. Wondering if this is just due to a pairing mismatch. The dealer also mentioned that ATC are releasing a model in white which I think will look great. Inclined to buy them but will wait for the Naim atom's release so i can audition the correct pairing.
 

Frank Harvey

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Jun 27, 2008
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A wireless speaker is designed for a different market to a hi-fi speaker, so you're not really comparing like for like. Generally, wireless speakers are designed to sound impressive, whereas hi-fi speakers will produce a flatter response. Also, the sealed design of the ATCs mean the bass may come across as a little lean to those used to ported designs, but extended listening reveals a more even tonal balance, which is generally better suited to smaller rooms. All personal preference though.
 

james_LR90

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Aug 17, 2010
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You should give the NVA cube range of speakers some serious consideration. The smallest ones, the cubettes, are tiny!
 

jjbomber

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Dec 22, 2006
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Chris2016 said:
NEAT IOTA ALPHAs: Yes, slightly more expensive then the ones above but it is really worth it. First off, walking into the demo room I was surprised how small these floorstanders actually are...perfect for my new "compact" hifi project.
If you can't wait or just fancy a bargain, then

http://creative-audio.co.uk/HD.php?_NAI_UNITIQUTE2B_NEA_IOTA_ALPHA_ST&ID=13414&UNIQUEID=7845426&n=2

Naim UnitiQute2 and Neat Iota Alpha speakers for £2159. Bargain.
 

Chris2016

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May 13, 2016
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thanks for the heads up jjbomber- this is actually a pretty attractive deal! I think I'm going to wait for the ATOM nevertheless but the Uniquite2 would be interesting to hear with the Alphas to see if it can drive them properly...as you can appreciate this is my main concern. The atom at 40w might be a bit insufficient...
 

Chris2016

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May 13, 2016
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Ok, so had the opportunity to audition a few speakers in my hunt for a small package with big sound:

AMP: NAIM XS 2

KEF LS50s : Very nice looking design as most of you know, big presence, the soundstage is impressive and there is detail...the latter is somewhat on the bright side imo and on more "complicated" songs I found the arrangement to be a bit messy.

ATC SM7 (different amp) : see above. LOADS of detail, light on bass but imo a true connoisseur speaker.

Dynaudio Emit M10s: Well....the what hifi reviews weren't exagerating. A very well rounded speaker, loads of detail, perhaps less presence than the KEF but handle detail more effeciently and produced a very smooth sound. For the price this is by far the best speaker. Would have gone for these until I stumbled across...

NEAT IOTA ALPHAs: Yes, slightly more expensive then the ones above but it is really worth it. First off, walking into the demo room I was surprised how small these floorstanders actually are...perfect for my new "compact" hifi project. Now on to the sound: by far the most impressive with a soundstage that filled up the room, great detail minus the "studio speaker" heritage that you can find in the ATCs, they manage to remain extremely entertaining. Perhaps double (and sometimes triple ) the budget of some of the speakers mentioned above but if you are looking to build a long term hifi system, whilst remaining compact in design / space etc...you guessed it I would really recommend audtionning these Iota alpha's

now just need to wait for the ATOM to be released...(and make sure they can drive them properly!)
 

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