Modern Sbl...

And now the big brother Neat Iota Xplorer!

Some week ago I wrote about the little Iota Alpha and with its small size and eager style of playing I wondered if it could be a modern Kan. Loving its sound and looks I found pit they had a big brother, Xplorer, coming out. And here it is! It has been playing for about 50 hours. 

The sound so far: In my hifi-adventure I started with Allaes, the Sbl for five years and the last year Ovator-400s. I really liked the Ovators and their sound. But my wife and myself had a hare time getting on with their size and design. We really missed the Sbls but the room is not optimal for the Sbls with the Windows. And then came the Iotas. 

The Iotas seems like the most detailed of the lot. It has excelent drivers and throws a huge transparent soundstage. I find my self hearing new sounds and elements all the time. At the same time they Are very easy on the ear. More so than any of my earlier speakers. Really magical with the openness and ar the same time very pleasent to listen to. My wife claims I am playing louder than usuall, which is true since they never impose listening tiredness.

The most imortant part, the prat and the tune, is really good and Naim-like. The Ovators is more out in the room, perhaps and the Iotas a little further behind the stage. They play very, very engaging like the Sbls and in a Linn-filosophy draws me into the tune and comunication of the music. 

The bass I really like. They have isobarik elements, not one but two. The bass I feel is better than the Ovators, but in a Sbl way. Very dry and very detailed and correct. Never flabby. The Ovators might be more powerfull in the bass but the Iotas Are much more tunefull and engaging. Contrasts stand out very well, like kick-drums and rnb’bass effects. 

I might be emotilnally biased and in a crush,  but these speakers Looks and sounds amazing! They will definitively stay with me, perhaps through life.

ps I run them with a Lp-12 (akito, adikt, tigerpaw Akula, cirkus, Lejonklou Gaio, armageddon) ndac-xps-sotm-200- 82-hicap-250.2. 

Fred

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Original Post

Very interesting Fred. Thanks for sharing your initial experience of the new Xplorers. Its good to see them in use very close to a (low) back wall as well. From the description, I’m assuming there was little or no bass boom when used in that location? A modern SBL? I wonder. 

Signals have their first delivery of the Xplorers and they seem enthusiastic - from their Facebook page (plus there's more on their blog too if you search online)…

“We have a feeling that these just might be classics in the making. Unless something bizarre happens in the run-in, they are pure dead brilliant!”

 I’m looking forward to hearing them at some point!

Yetizone posted:

Very interesting Fred. Thanks for sharing your initial experience of the new Xplorers. Its good to see them in use very close to a (low) back wall as well. From the description, I’m assuming there was little or no bass boom when used in that location? A modern SBL? I wonder. 

Signals have their first delivery of the Xplorers and they seem enthusiastic - from their Facebook page (plus there's more on their blog too if you search online)…

“We have a feeling that these just might be classics in the making. Unless something bizarre happens in the run-in, they are pure dead brilliant!”

 I’m looking forward to hearing them at some point!

Hi Yetizone. 
Very interesting that Signals also are enthusiastic! 
Fred

Hi Fred

Have you kept the Iota Explorers? I had hoped to go to the Bristol Show last month and listen to them but unfortunately I couldn’t make it. I can’t find many reports/ reviews on them but I was thinking they could be worth “exploring” further. I have been demonstrating their little brother, the Iota Alpha , as a replacement for my n-Sats, but I’m a bit underwhelmed by them although there are many positive reviews on them.

I note that you once had SBLs - great speakers which I had for several years until my wife decided to radically change our lounge and there was no longer a place for them to show their talent to best effect.

Bob

 

Ok. Here we go. There is a big bias here. As you can see the Sbls are close to a window. I have used and heard them close to a concrete and brick wall and the bass really emerges. Unfortunately they are not optimal set up, and so my Xplorers function better in my room. So what are the differences; The SBLs are much more relentless and merciless. The Xplorers are more forgiving, never shrill. But I would not say they are less detailed. I can hear really deep into the mix with the Xplorers. Even so with the Sbls, but sometimes in a more earbleading way. The Sbls ar better at lower volume, the Xplorers need some volume to come alive. This observation is the same as Hificritic made recently: http://neatacoustics.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/HFC_435_Neat_lota_Xplorer_Reprint.pdf

And then there is the bass... The Neats are really great in this department. The Sbls have a great bass. Dry, deep and really tight. The Neats have also quite tight bass, it is never overblown. This is important to me, as so many design have much bass but you can not make out the notes played. But the Neats have a more powerful bass! As you can see on the picture they are much smaller then the Sbls but they have such a great and powerful bass. This I love and miss with the Sbls. Again the bass would be better if I had them next to a brick wall, but I do find the Neats bass to be special. The power comes from a 250.2, so there should be plenty juice for them. I really like them. I would take the Neats over the Sbls any day. But I do love the Sbls also. I find that thanks to the Neats pleasant, but fast presentation I play more of my music at high volumes. The misses does not complain either: ) 

Regards

Fred

Had a listen to the Explorer today at the US Axpona show...very nice package. Great size  for a small to medium room and tuck up against the wall. The ribbon tweet was sweet Nicely integrated  sound. They cost $5000 US so will have a lot of competition here at that price point.  I liked em'

ATB,

Mark

varyat posted:

Had a listen to the Explorer today at the US Axpona show...very nice package. Great size  for a small to medium room and tuck up against the wall. The ribbon tweet was sweet Nicely integrated  sound. They cost $5000 US so will have a lot of competition here at that price point.  I liked em'

ATB,

Mark

Hi Mark

Did they perform at the Axpona without boom into such position ?

I had my Iota a bit out from wall and that is a much smaller box, rear ported

I'd say they're a significant step up from the Motive SX2.
Why do I say this?
Because I own a pair of Neat Elite SX2 which are on the end of my Superuniti in a second system.
I auditioned the Motive SX2's but found the Elite to be noticeably better to my ears and hearing the Iota Xplorer recently, they are far better still !!
Mind you, at nearly £3.5k (IIRC) they should be better!
The bass goes deep, very controlled and tight and superb clarity without harshness (to my ears).
Very engaging and enjoyable. 

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