Neat iota upgrade to AE1 w/ Subwoofer

Current system is Atom with Neat Iota and Rel T Zero Mk3. I would like to upgrade towards and active system and considering Acoustic Energy AE1.

I will need to use the pre-out for the AE1s, which the subwoofer is currently using…question is if I can connect the subwoofer to the speaker outputs for a high level connection, even though its not being used for speakers?

Sure no problem.

Better course of action would be to switch to an Atom HE or 222 and use both sets of preouts, but this would work in the short term.

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Thanks, would be my longer term plan to make this switch. :+1:

Please let us know how you find the sound difference.

This is the thing…I live somewhere where there basically are no HiFi shops so not really possible to listen.

AE1s and Iotas are similar price, so I wonder if it would make that much difference - bigger driver, a little more power and no passive crossover. Also been considering Dynaudio Focus 10 as a complete system replacement, or ATC passive speakers with maybe Nova.

As im not sure which way to go, adding the AE1s seems to be the most cost effective starting point. Will let you know, as and when decision is made!

If you can’t do some pretty intensive listening, I would suggest buying something appealing secondhand and being prepared to sell again (hopefully at little or no loss) if you don’t find them a big upgrade.

I have heard an Atom work brilliantly with Iota Alphas and would be keen to try bigger Neats (perhaps up to Xplorers), and I am listening at this moment to an Atom and Shahinian Compasses (pretty good too). Depending on what you want to improve, there are lots of good speakers that will work well with an Atom.

I look forward to hearing about whatever you pick.

Hi @mj84. I’m a fan of active speakers. My main system has active ATCs driven by a Linn Selekt, but I also have a couple of other setups in different rooms in which the speakers happen to be Iotas and AE1s. In a small bedroom used as an office I have an Atom driving wall mounted Neat Iotas. In a dining room, repurposed as a TV room, there is an Auralic Vega G2 used as front end to active AE1s. I have not tried using the Atom pre out to drive the AE1s. (It would involve buying new cables as my long interconnects are balanced, which is not provided on the basic Atom.)

All three systems have different sonic characteristics and to my ears the front end matters as much as the speakers. But if I had to choose just one word to summarise the SQ differences between the Iotas and the AE1s, I might go for “fun” vs “realism”.

To elaborate a little, for me a big part of the appeal of active speakers is the stability of the stereo image. The musicians are anchored in precise positions which stay exactly the same as the volume and tone vary. This adds significantly to the illusion of the players there in front of me and adds considerably to my musical pleasure. The AE1s do this very well. What they do miss out on is the weight and heft of my main system but that’s as it should be given the massive price difference. The Atom/Iotas sound a bit more weighty but don’t exhibit that holographic quality of the AE1s. If I were replacing the office setup I’d probably go for Atom HE with active AE1s.

I stress this is my experience with my taste in musical reproduction and I’m well aware others prioritise different aspects of their hifi.



I had an Atom and then a Nova with Neat Alphas. A good fun system but certainly not the last word on detail and I moved the Alpha’s on after a few months as they didn’t do it for me….

I now have an Atom with ATC11’s this combo works really well in my room. Now, this is the catch, speakers are very room dependant so if you can’t do a demo / home demo you have to take a risk / punt. A number of brands get regular mention on here. I have seen a few mention AE1 actives as an ok solution but more people get fanatical about ATC actives and then there is the PMC option too.

I guess decision may well will depend on budget.

In my experience you can’t use the speaker signal as high level input for a subwoofer because for active speakers, it is not high level signal. With actives you feed them the output of the preamp section which is low level.

In your use case I would use both preamp outs of the atom he (xlr to ae1’s, single rca to sub low level signal in).

I had this setup in the past with ae1 actives and rel t7i and it works.