Neat Iota Xplorers (or maybe other suggestions)

My current set up is Nait XS/NDX/UnitiCore/Focal 918’s. Most of my listening is classic with some recent rock and acoustic jazz. In my current set up I’m finding the top end not as detailed or crisp as I would like (think hearing the clarity of the ride cymbal on a jazz recording or how some vocalists, like on the Cranberries or Cowboy Junkies first albums, sing through their breath). The Focal 918’s are a fairly neutral speaker so I’m wondering if it’s the weak link for the sound I’m looking for. I’m using Naca cables and tried repositioning the speakers in various set-ups but it’s still not getting me where I want to be. I’ve been reading about the Neat Iota Xplorers floor standers and how they are voiced well for a variety of music and can handle rock as well as more refined listening such as acoustic jazz. I’m looking for some feedback from members on the following:

  • Any experience with Neat Iota Xplorers in the context of what I’ve described above? Also reading they need a fair size amp to drive them is the nait Xs sufficient?
  • Any other speakers you can point me towards?
  • Are there upgrades to my set up that might open up the high end to me and keep the speakers in place? Maybe hicap? Flatcap? Etc?

Ideally I would be able to audition lots of speakers in my set up but sadly I live in a part of the world where access to equipment to audition is not possible so if I there is any advice from the forum to help refine my thinking it is appreciated. Or maybe it’s my over 50 year old ears that are letting me down on the top end sound and not my system : )

I listened to a set of Iota Alpha’s and really liked them, however I preferred the treble response from the Monitor Audio Studio’s that I bought. I’ve listened to a few of the new Monitor Audio range with the Micro Pleated Diaphragm (MPD) tweeter and all of them have really exceptionally good treble.

Could be worth a trip to audition some against a set of Explorers and see which you prefer? I think a change to your speakers would have the biggest impact on the sound you are looking for?

Thanks for the tips on Monitor Audio. Sadly there aren’t dealers in my part of the world either so auditioning isn’t possible. I’m thinking when travel opens up again I’ll have to book a couple of days on my next visit to a larger city just for checking out speakers. It won’t be the same as auditioning in my set up but c’est la vie.

A friend of mine borrowed my Nait 2 and used it with Iota Xplorers. Said it was a good match but I did not hear it myself. I would assume therefore the XS should be adequate in terms of power.

Yes I think your XS would be fine. The Alpha’s I tested are 4ohm and 68db sensitivity and my little Nait 5i drove them really easily.
I think the Explorers are an easier load being 8ohm and 88db, so I wouldn’t think the XS would struggle? I think one of the magazines tested them with a Rega Elex-R so similar power to your Nait.

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Thanks snarfy!

I think you should do the trip mentioned and have a listen at as much/ many speakers as you can. Only then you’ll be a step closer to a optimal choice, remember, there’s a lot of speaker alternatives out there.

My first guess would be that XS is not the optimal amp for Explorer.

If you like the Focal sound in general, what about Aria series? Easy to drive and handles all types of music well.

S :blush:

Thanks Stover when things calm down with the pandemic this is on the top of my list. Can’t imagine a better way to spend a few days! Since this post I’ve done some critical listening of the system experimenting with various recordings and formats. When I play some good vinyl recordings/pressings I’m getting the top end I’m looking for. And I notice on some good recordings ripped through the Uniti Core through NDX I’m there too, or very very close. I haven’t had the NDX very long so maybe I also need to explore a separate DAC. Maybe I’ll have to add a day on to that listening vacation : )!

The Iota Explorers have garnered some good reviews, but I wonder if you are approaching mullet territory. Definitely audition before purchase. As for upgrades, when I had a Nait XS, I tried a FlatCap and HiCap. The former made a small improvement but I didn’t get on with the latter, though some seem to like the combination. If the budget stretches that far, I think you’d do better upgrading the Nait to a SuperNait. I’d certainly audition that combination. And you might be able to find a SN2 at a good price.


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