Speaker journey and complement to Neat speakers

Dear Naim-people
I wanted to share this strange speaker-quest, as it has been a roller-coster, and also something I (hopefully) have learned from.
Two and a half years ago I came across the Neat Iota Alphas. I had Ovator 400 at the time. I liked them very much. Drama, of course, than O-400 but a very engaging and very natural sound. after half a year I tried the Xplorers which also was good, but the wife loved the Alphas and when an Aro tonearm came along I made a deal with hernto go back to Alphas as I bought the tonearm.
I then moved to a new house and got some very nice Jern speakers for the living room-system and kept the Alphas in the basement. Tried the Kudos X3 which was impressive, and I wanted to like them, but they were to in-your-face compared to Alphas. Sold the Kudos. Had them for about six months and then came a very nice Naim Allae pair along at a very good price. Bought them and thought first they were great with my recapped Nait 2 and Linn Renew KDS1. But after a week I noticed that there were so much music I did not play. Rock did not work for a long time, some hip hop was good, but it was only simple well recorded jazz that I really listened to. Put the Alphas back in and, wow, the enjoyment was back. I know this will upset som fellow Naimes. I have had Allaes earlier and really like them, even the looks. But the Alphaes had a more natural sound, the bass is fuller. The Allae bass is deeper and very dry, tight. On some music it is great but when I tried back to back, for me the Iota was so much more enjoyable, natural keeping the great prat, almost the same dynamics and the tweeter is super-natural and ear-friendly. I know Neat have musicians tuning their speakers and it is something with that sound of the Alphas that is so musical enjoyable.
It does not stop there. Another speaker I have been very curious about is the Guru q10. I was close buying them som years ago, but did not. Then a couple of weeks ago came a beautiful pair of q10s with a very nice Finnish. Have posted some pictures earlier here. They were super dynamic, engaging and transparent. Felt so much more impressive than Alphas. I got them properly installed and for the first week it seemed like dynamic heaven, very adrenaline-pumping pair of speakers. During the weekend I had some friends over and listened for a longer period of time, I suddenly felt fatigued listening. The Gurus are not the most natural sounding speakers, some reviewers also write about it. Yesterday I again put the Alphas back and did a proper demo. My wife came in and said, “these speakers are so natural, so much warmer yet detailed”. I agreed with her and found that even though I lost a little dynamics, when I listened to all genres I really enjoyed the Alphas more. It was so clear.
For people not having heard the Alphas I know they are very difficult to take seriously because of their small size. I know many reporters have written about this as well. But once you get to know them, for me they have been difficult to part with. They have an incredible combination of prat, musicality, details, bass and natural flow. My room is about 18 square meters, so not very big, and in bigger rooms I can see they will lose their breath. I think they go incredible well with Naim. Thank you Neat, you have made a genius speaker, at least for me.
F

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Not for the first time, the synergy between Naim kit and Neat speakers reveals itself. :+1:

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Alphas are brilliant indeed and one of my mistakes was not getting them. They are still on my list.

Sound wise they are somewhere between sbls and ovators and that is a good spot. Silky highs and well defined bass.

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What I don’t understand is if they are so good, what made you move away from the Alphas in the first place - which you did twice if I read that correctly. There must have been something you felt was lacking, or something niggling you.

Of course, there are many other speakers you haven’t yet tried…

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I’ve had a pair of Xplorers for about 6 months now and as they have run in they sound fantastic. Nice soundstage and detail and plenty of bass. I have a Star that drives them.

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I agree!
F

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I agree!
I think they are up to old classic Naim, only more foregiving and natural, not as raw of course.
F

The Alphas with Nait 2 and KDS1 sounds like a wonderful system. I have iotas with my UnitiQute 2, but have not had the pleasure of listening to the Alphas.

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Dear Bystander
Why do we buy new stuff? Is it because something is objectively missing. I don’t think so. I think there is also defined by desire, restlessness and ‘the grass is greener’-feelings. I also get a real kick out of trying new hifi gear. Naim makes me warm, British and Scandinavian musical speakers make me warm. Valve amps and expensive big American hifi does not do it for me. They leave me cold. Even though they can be objectively better.
All the speakers I tried was really cheap, like 1/3 of the price, or Allaes was 1/8! So there was no financial risk in buying. What I tried to illustrate was that when the first rush of the new had calmed, I always found the Neat to be just right for me. And I also think they are really easy to underestimate: )
I am not saying they are the best in the world or anything. Just think that they are a little magical in my place with my gear: )
F

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Dear HH
Iotas should be great to, but if you have room for Alphas you get that extra nice low bass. They also are a bit hard to drive, but in my room the Nait 2 provides enough. I think the UQ is also very nice and musical, a bit early naitish👍 But I think the KDS1 is really nice, has more punch in the bass than the earliest KDS and makes a huge musical scene.
F
F

Like I mentioned I have also had Xplorers. They are amazing speakers. Very musical, more scale and power yet retains the Iota sound. You are lucky!
F

I managed to find a pair of Xplorers on EBay Only been used for a few hours he said , less than half list price, not the finish I would have chose but hey ho.

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Congratulations!
What is your electronics?
F

A nice write up Fred. I always enjoy seeing the Alphas in your systempics with the nice wood furniture, natural light and plants, with sage green walls.

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Thank you very much, Christopher​:pray::blush:
F

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I have auditioned the Iota Alphas a few times. I wanted to love them, but it simply did not happen at the dealer. No Love.

To buy something expensive, I need to feel Love and to love or like something (or someone!) there needs to be something special. The core strenght of the Iota Alphas is what they don’t do or are instead of what they do.

Ultimately I got SBLs, but I still consider to get the Alphas for the TV. First a better financial situation though …

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I agree Ardbeg
In Norway it is unfortunately very difficult to borrow speakers home. It is hard to know how it works when not trying in home environment, so I read and read and tried the little handful of speakers I really fancy.
I used to have SBLs for four years. Loved them, though sometimes a little to ruthless. My other speaker, Jern, is more like Sbl. Love is all✌️
F

Uniti Star

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Sorry, i did not see you were the same as the one writing earlier. Must sound really cool and balanced.
F

Yes, you are right about SBLs that they can be ruthless. I currently run them with a 72/140 - both serviced, but I miss my Hicap. Without the hicap, it is good, but with the hicap it is a great system. I need two more hicaps I’m afraid. I find myself where the hicaps are these days.

One aspect which is not mentioned yet about the Alphas, is that they are more a first system loudspeaker whilst the normal Iotas are almost without exception a second system loudspeaker. The normal Iotas tick all the boxes for a second system loudspeaker, but the Alphas have much more competition in the first system market.

If I ever get a chance, I’ll have a listen to the Jerns.

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