Neat Iota

£695

Thank heavens for Neat and its determination to do things differently. It’s not just that the Iota’s are so clearly unlike other speakers — they’re tiny, they sit on their sides and they have a ribbon tweeter — there’s more to it than that.

Neat also approaches it’s speaker-tuning by ear rather than measurement, and we’re big fans of that approach. And the Iota’s go a long way to showing why — here it’s enabled the team to wring out of very small boxes far more sound than one would expect.

The detail, weight and scale on offer here is, frankly, ludicrous when you consider the size of the boxes providing it. And experimenting with the speakers’ arrangement makes a difference as well. With the tweeters on the outside you get good depth, openness and width. Change them around so that the tweeters on the inside, however, and you can get pinpoint stereo focus. We’d urge you to try both arrangements to see which would suit your listening room best.

Well suited to all styles of music

Whatever music you’re playing, from pacy rock to the most complex of classical, the Iotas deliver a truly remarkable sound. They’re suited to all types of system, too: high-end kit will relish the Iotas as partners, but they’re easy enough to drive that even modest amplification works well. Neat believes the Iotas are perfect for the current crop of all-in-one streaming systems, and we’re inclined to agree. You could combine them with a Denon Ceol Piccolo, for example, to create a very capable, compact system, or go for a Naim UnitiQute for serious quality.

We love these Iotas. Other speakers will produce similar and perhaps bigger sound for similar money, but none that are even nearly as dinky as these.

They’ll happily sit on desks or bookshelves, and they’re even wall-mountable. They actually benefit, sonically, from a bit of reinforcement from a wall, but you can go for dedicated stands if you prefer – Neat makes a particularly, erm, neat model that will set you back a very reasonable £120 a pair. And if you fancy spending a little bit more on your speakers, you can go for striking red, yellow or blue finishes — white or black are the standard offerings.

So these speakers are flexible, dinky, stylish and sonically superb. If there is a downside to the Neat Iotas, we haven’t found it.

TECH SPECS

Type Standmounter • Sensitivity 84dB/W/m • Impedance 6 ohms • Max power 100W •

Biwirable No • Finishes 5 • Dimensions (hwd) 13 x 20 x 17cm

Rating ★★★★★

FOR: Small, cute and unique; superb all-round sound; very flexible over positioning and partners

AGAINST: Bigger speakers sound bigger, but not by as much as you might think

VERDICT: A unique approach and a unique speaker, the Neat Iota is a little gem

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