Neat’s loudspeakers have long been renowned for creating big sounds from compact and elegant enclosures. However, the Iota ALPHA succeeds in stretching this concept well beyond the limits of what might be expected. The Iota has been an amazing and continuing success since its appearance in 2011, and the idea of a low-down floor standing version has been mooted by Bob Surgeoner ever since.
All that was necessary for the new model was to retain the exceptional abilities of the Iota and build on these in a floor standing configuration. Easier said than done, of course. But as visitors to the Bristol show experienced the, now-named, Iota ALPHA delivered 100% of its target.
Visually deceptive, the Iota Alpha required some unorthodox imagineering. The basis of the original Iota (the main drive unit and the EMIT type planar magnetic tweeter) is housed in the top section of the cabinet, in a sealed volume, angled upwards. This section is configured as a two-way closed box loudspeaker. The whole of the ported lower section is dedicated to augmenting the lower frequencies, via a downward-firing 134mm drive unit mounted on the bottom panel. The crossover is a simple two-and-a-half-way design, employing 1st & 2nd order slopes. The crossover components are all hard-wired, with point-to-point connections in order to maximise integrity. The crossover components are of premium audiophile quality and include Mundorf Supreme capacitors and low-dcr air-core inductors. At a mere 45cm tall the Iota ALPHA can be placed discreetly in the room, yet it delivers a genuine full-range musical experience on a scale that suggests a far bigger (and more expensive) loudspeaker.
About Neat Acoustics
It is no coincidence that the design team of Bob Surgeoner and Paul Ryder have had long and varied experience of working in the music industry. Bob is has played electric and acoustic guitar, double bass, piano etc., in many different musical genres – professionally and for pleasure – from the late 1960s until the present day. Paul is a guitarist/songwriter and is an experienced recording engineer and producer. Both are passionate about the experience of live music. Live music is the passion that drives the company’s enthusiasm for recreating that experience with recorded music. Neat’s aim is to transfer all of the drama and excitement of live music into the listener’s home. An unusual take on the art of loudspeaker design. It involves the process of listening to many different types of music and allowing the music to govern the tuning and voicing of the loudspeaker – to the exclusion of almost all other criteria. In a world where most hi-fi equipment is designed by computer in order to conform to a set of widely accepted parameters, Neat’s approach is either refreshing or foolhardy… depending on whether or not you love music. The development of a Neat loudspeaker invariably involves hundreds of hours of listening tests. The Neat listening room is the starting point, though a new design must prove its worth in a variety of different rooms and systems before it is signed off for production. Here the designers can be found making small incremental changes to all elements of the design until it is ‘just right’. Some loudspeaker manufacturers are quite content to choose off-the-shelf drive units for their designs, many of which can be readily obtained from DIY suppliers. The drive units used in Neat’s loudspeakers, however, are custom-made to their specifications. Neat has its own recording studio, where reference recordings can be made. This facility allows a unique reference point for voicing Neat’s loudspeakers.