Revisiting HiFi after 50 years

I hope you will forgive a pretty naive question. Nearly 50 years ago I spent a long time as a student seeking out my ideal system on a student budget. Alas, over the years I lost touch after with the pleasure of HiFi.
However, I still seek to replicate in my ‘recent retirement’ the same basic qualities I had sought out way back (I had an Arcam A60 and Tangent RS2 speakers) that gave me an easy to listen to sound - no sharp sibilance and the one thing I really valued which was an impressive out of the box soundstage.
I have decided to base my choice on an Atom and would really welcome’s advice as to a speaker to match - my room is around 4m by 4m. I am due to the lockdown unable to go out and audition the Atom with various speakers and so in order to have the pleasure during this lockdown - I have decided to go by reputation/advice.
My speaker budget is around £1,000. I thought of the Q3050i and B&W 603 that seem to have an expansive soundstage and get good reviews but come with the warning of not being easy to listen to.
Any thoughts would be really appreciated.

I’d pick a pair of neat iota alpha speakers, they will match very nicely with the atom and won’t be difficult to drive like the b&w speakers you mention. Very easy to site and blend in to your room and you won’t believe those tiny boxes are making that sound.


I had a demo of the b&w and found them too thick in the bass as they needed a fair amount of free space… ended up with neat motive sx3

Many thanks - I have heard others recommend these.

Hi Richard, Be warned…do not get sucked in…for it is the road to Eternal Damnation (“Stop that infernal laughing, Beelzebub!”), and Depletion Of The Wallet.

OTOH, it’ll sound a h3ll of a lot better than your student hifi!! (Been there, done that…and it was also about 50 years ago :grin: :grin:)

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I reckon Dynaudio speakers are worth a look. From what I have read, Dynaudio speakers have a characteristic of articulate and detailed but not harsh sound. A lot of people on here (including myself) think they partner well with Naim.

I am very biased because I have a pair of Dynaudio Special 40s connected to Naim gear and I think overall the combination is great. I started the “Naim and Dynaudio” thread on this forum, and there are lots of (mostly very positive) opinions on there.

If your budget could stretch to £1250, there is the Dynaudio Evoke 10 bookshelf speaker. I don’t know much about this particular model but I am sure there are reviews and opinions out there. It looks nice! I would say that the Evoke 10 would be worth researching a bit and is the right size for a 4x4m room. Hope this is useful.


Thanks for the suggestions - I will add them to my candidates. I must say I am really impressed with how responsive and willing to help that the members of this forum are. Much appreciated. Richard

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I use a pair of Naim N-Sats with my Atom, and I’ve been happy with this setup, but they are long out of production now.
I will not be the only member of this forum who heard an Atom at a show with Dynaudio Emit M20s, which sounded fantastic, a very lively, fun sound. Well under your budget too.

I have no model suggestions at that price, but would suggest that buying secondhand or ex-demo can maximise the buying power of the money, which I would certainly do with a small budget.

The other thing to recognise is that speakers make the largest single contribution of any component to the character of the sound of a system. At any given price point - even 10 or more times your budget you will find some speakers simply sound awful to you, even though others love them, and vice versa. So the best I can suggest is try to hear as many different speakers as possible, using the suggestions from people on here as a guide, likewise those of your dealer. Auditioning for yourself is pretty much essential with speakers. Ideally that should be at home, but if not possible then any listen is better than none. And do the auditioning with an Atom - you can buy if you haven’t already, and take with you to auditions if not available for the purpose.


Hi Richard

I have previously owned the atom ( now moved up the Nova) and can vouch whole heartedly that it is a fantastic combination with Neat Motives SX3 and Naim N-Sats ( drove both these with ease and a great sound ) if bookshelf speakers are what you are after

Others here say Dynaudio but bear in mind the Atom is rated at 40 watts and usually Dynaudio speakers like a fair amount of grunt to show their best

Good luck on your return journey to the wonderful world of music


Thanks Bevan.

There is a definite theme running through the threads that suggests Neat are a possibly a good match.
In a perfect world, I would have enjoyed the auditioning process but I am keen to get going while under lock-down.
I think I might well start with matching the Naim Atom to a Neat speaker and perhaps trade up over time.
My current thinking based on everybody’s kind suggestions and then doing some desk research is to choose between the Neat Motive SX3’s and the Neat Iota Alpha’s which are both a similar price and also seem to get great reviews.
I am tending more towards the (mini) floor standing Alphas as they would also fit in well to the room.

I have given myself till the weekend to finalise my choice!


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You will not be disappointed with the Alphas Richard. Atom will drive them beautifully and easy to place. And will likely get a bit more bass out of them that motives. I have heard them in my Naim dealers store here in Sydney with the Atom and sound excellent

All the best


And also meant to say Richard - ring up Bob the owner of Neat Acoustics, he’s a lovely guy and a true gent, he may give you his thoughts on speaker matching with the Atom

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I can concur with details above. I have both n sats and neat iota’s that gave been used with the atom.
Both great options.
Wanted to support the idea of contacting owner of Neat. I had my iotas units for a couple of years and scratched one when moving it.
Contacted them for advise on repair.
Answer back was to return them and they replaced them with brand new units , without asking.
They said they didn’t like the idea of less than perfect speakers being out there.
All at no cost
Superb service and will happy commend this for many years.


Wow, that’s a rare occurrence these days. That’s what I call customer service.

I took Bevan’s recommendation and called Neat today - I got straight through to Bob who could not have been more helpful and generous with his time. Outstanding company - only too rare today - and my choice has been made - it is the Alphas.

Can I thank everybody for their help in getting me to make the decision.


I’m sure you won’t be disappointed


Personally cant go wrong with QAcoustics at that budget in my opinoin. They hit consistantly above their weight. The pair of 2050i’s I had went very well with my Atom, ansd would happily have them again. I still use an active pair in my 2nd room. Listening right now and again they sound fantastic.

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FYI If you are UK based there is a selection of previously loved Alphas at a Neat dealer in the north east that will save some money…

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Thanks Kevin - I will look into this today.