Neat Ekstra

Just wondering if anyone here is using, or has auditioned, Neat Ekstra speakers. Have been very happy with my current combo of 272, 250.2, XPS (of sorts…) and Neat SX1, but have a bit of an itch for an upgrade and was quite impressed by what I heard of the Ekstras at Bristol. Decent review in this months HiFi+ I as well. Had been considering SX5i but perhaps a bit large for my 4x4m room. Is the Ekstra a worthwhile upgrade or a sideways move?

I listened to them at my local dealer and thought they were really good. That said I’m not sure moving from the Motive is really worthwhile. For the same price as the Ekstra new you could get something really, really good secondhand.

I’ll have to get down to Portsmouth and take a listen, then maybe try at home. Enjoying the SX1s with my system in my room as I do, I am slightly wondering whether a 555PS (probably pre-loved) might be a better upgrade option than changing speakers. Guess there’s only one way to find out, but opinions are welcome…

The PS555DR does make a huge difference and moves the 272 to a whole new level. I bought my speakers for £2,100 and they knock something like the Ekstra into the weeds, hence my mentioning going secondhand for speakers. If you fancy diverting to Emsworth you’d be more than welcome, and it would give a useful benchmark for listening at the dealer.

I heard the Ekstra’s a week ago during what was going to be a quick pop in to the dealer for an AV cable. I found them very impressive & stayed for a longer listen. The treble (ribbon driver) was very detailed & revealing & well matched to the mid. Considering it was a showroom & not a set up listening room, the stereo was impressive. The isobaric bass units had some obvious power.
I was not that impressed with the looks tho’, very slim & tall with metal stabilisers,
still looked too tall & wobbly. Didn’t like the black sticky out protruding treble/mid housing.

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Interested to see something on the forum about the new Neat Ekstra. I am waiting for my dealer to get a pair for demo and then I am going to listen against ProAc D20R and Harbeth 30.1.I will report back when the comparision is complete. Must say I am also concerned about the tall skinny form…my bouncy Vizsla dog could potentially cause some chaos!
Currently I have some 25 year old Epos14s which I feel need updating. I am running an NDX2 / XPSDR / NAC282 / HiCap / 250DR. Any other suggestions folks may have would be appreciated as I want to put together a reasonable shortlist of audition candidates. Just for completion, my room is 4.5m x 2.8m and I listen across the short side.

I dont have any experience of the ekstra’s but I run 282/250DR/HicapDR amp set and just bought some SX7i’s (similar internal design). I listened to a few different speakers and ultimately settled on them as they seemed to be very nice at lower levels but seemed to get better and better the higher the volume. Mine are in a pretty small room as well, but it is full of books so damps the walls a lot. I am not that good at describing what I hear but the neats seem to show the different instruments in a nicer way and you can really get the detail of the recordings.

I heard the Ekstra speakers under unfavourable conditions at this years Cranage show - one my fav systems due to it being a real world affordable set up that sounded better than a lot of the expensive flamboyant showy kit. System comprised of a Well Tempered Versalex / Raspberry Pi & Chord DAC front end, amplified by a vintage Nait 2. That was it.

Sound was powerful, detailed and engaging with all of the usual Hi-Fi-Isms in check. But the really convincing selling point was the overall system synergy on demonstration with the Ekstra, especially fed by an old ‘underpowered’ Nait. Thought on the day they sounded tremendous in context and sat in the Neat room for quite a while, thinking this is all one needs - a cracking front end, simple amp and speakers that complement the chain. The only thing missing was a remote control for the Nait2.

I thought they looked rather lovely in their contrasting black and walnut, and even better in the contrasting black & white contemporary colour scheme, but as Mike outlined, perhaps a little unexpectedly vulnerable due to their height and modest proportions - I could see our four year old easily toppling them without the optional wider outrigger feet.

During a quick chat with Neat Bob, he said they voiced the Ekstra purposely to be able to place them easily near to a rear wall (good for Neat!) despite the rear port, and also a designed them to have a slightly more rounded sound, a less ‘edge of the seat’ experience for extended listening.

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I like a simple system that really works. The Naim Nait 2 (olive) is my favourite amp. Wish I still had mine. Like the Well Tempered RD. Heard the Neats at my local Naim Emporium and thought they sounded good but they also seemed to get better the longer I listened to them.

Good to see some positive reports on the Ekstras - I shall definitely be giving them an extended listen. I share some of the misgivings about their appearance, in particular the feet, although having only 3 seems to make very good sense.
I was also disappointed to see they weren’t available in Natural Oak as this fits well in my room - a quick email to Bob and he confirmed that he could supply them as a special in that finish at no extra cost! SX1 to Ekstra does seem a bit of a sideways move, and I would definitely stretch a bit further for the right compact floorstander. Had thought maybe Kudos Super 20A might be the answer, but on a brief first listen wasn’t completely convinced - just didn’t find them a relaxing listen. Maybe worth another go…

Not Ekstra related per se but all Neat speakers need at least 200 hours running-in period. I’ve bought a pair of Motives’s SE2 recently and they sounded awful out of the box. It took them many LP sides to start to sing. Having said that, make sure you demo any Neat speakers when they’re really well seasoned.

Hi Biddler66, thanks for the suggestion on the SX7i’s. I will give some thoughts to them, the only problem is they cost £££s more than the Ekstras. Perhaps moe saving is needed to get a pair of speakers to match my front end(?). Good to hear from Markitect that the Ekstras can be made available in oak as a special order - this would be my first choice of finish.

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Hi @Manlad, I don’t know if you are in the UK, if you are a certain Hifi store that has just shut its doors has a few new pairs of Neat SX7i’s with £5250 off now priced at £2690, seems a bargain. I have bought a pair of SX1’s from this dealer about five years ago, excellent dealer. The only problem might be the finish, didn’t see any natural oak.

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I think they only have white sx7 at that price

White, Black Oak and Ebony Macassar at higher price of £3185, might be a long shot but maybe worth asking if they can do Oak at a good price. Probably not though as seems to be a case of clearing remaining stock.

Do they have any half price Iotas?

No sorry Nigel it appears very limited remaining stock, either SX7’s or SX5’s, they actually had their closing down sale a few months ago, this seems to be what’s left over.

No worries, thanks for checking.

Thanks Glassnaim, I found the discounted speakers on that well know auction site. I will look into them a bit further - sure is a heck of a saving - but at the end of the day I need to check out with my ears first!

I purchased a pair of Ekstra’s after two lengthy auditions and a number of comparisons. Been running on a NDX2/250/282 system for about a month now. Absolutely delighted. How to characterise? Detailed but authentically musical; consistent across treble, mid and bass; taught and controlled; tremendous clarity; and to repeat: musical. Would recommend an audition.

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