Cables : Which loudspeaker cables do you recommend with Neat loudspeakers?
The choice of cable is more an issue for the amplifier than the loudspeaker. Most amplifier manufacturers will recommend specific cable types to serve their output requirements. Some even produce their own cables and these are generally the sensible option. Other than that, good results have been enjoyed with Chord Company, Kimber, LFD Audio, DNM, and Nordost cables amongst others. Each of these has its own sonic traits and must be auditioned within the system to ensure compatibility and personal preference.
Amplifiers : Which amplification do you recommend?
We have used a wide variety of amplification (and source components) during the development of all Neat loudspeakers. Most common references are Naim, Exposure, LFD Audio, Dynavector, Cyrus, Linn, Quad, Creek, Musical Fidelity.
Lavardin, Mark Levinson, Krell, and Roksan, amongst others, have also been used very effectively. Valve (tube) amps can be used without problems, with the proviso that 25 watts/per/channel should generally be regarded as the minimum amplifier power required.
Bi-Wiring : Does Bi-wiring make a difference?
Yes, it does make a difference. Whether or not this difference is an ‘improvement’ is really a matter of partnering equipment, room acoustics and personal taste. We recommend that bi-wiring should be auditioned in the same way as any other change to your system.
Some Neat loudspeakers are supplied with bi-wire/bi-amp terminals (Petite SX, Elite SX and Ultimatums), and it can be specified with order on the other models.
Bi-Amping : What is Bi-Amping?
The reason for specifying ‘bi-wire’ terminals on NEAT loudspeakers is actually to facilitate bi-amping (bi-amplification). This is a system whereby two stereo amplifiers (or four monoblocs) are used, one for the bass/mid section and one for the treble. The benefits of this type of operation are substantial, particularly in respect of NEAT loudspeakers.
Because NEAT loudspeakers use predominantly first-order crossover networks, this means that very few (passive) components are in circuit with the output of each amplification channel. Thus bi-amping is broadly equivalent to the ‘active crossover’ option, giving similar levels of control, but without the necessity for additional active electronic componentry and cabling between the source and the power amplifiers.
Stands : Which Stands work well?
We recommend 24″/600mm tall stands from brands such as Custom Design, Atacama and Partington.
We make a dedicated 700mm tall stand for the IOTA loudspeaker, but any 600/700mm tall stand with appropriate top-plate can be used.
Our own dedicated SMFS stands are ideally suited to our Ultimatum XLS loudspeaker. Due to its depth (37cm) many other stands do not offer sufficient stability.
Positioning : Where can the speakers be placed?
There is no absolute answer to this question. Because each room has its own acoustic characteristics, results will vary from one room to another. In most situations, a starting point of 12″ (30cm) from the rear wall and 24″ (60cm) from side walls will give clues. Moving the speakers back or further apart will increase bass quantity.
Moving the speakers forward (and/or closer together) from the starting point will lighten the bass and, at the same time, provide a more focused image. Toeing the speaker inward
(10-15 degrees to start) will affect these aspects of the sound too. Experimentation is essential!