Good bass and scale for a big space, but not the best all-rounder
Looks and feels the part
impressive scale, open sound
tight, weighty bass.
Some harshness to treble
needs a bit more dynamic excitement
‘All in good time' might be an apt motto for Acoustic Energy. After a lengthy absence, it delivered the Neo V2 Three floorstanding speakers a short while ago.
We now get our hands on a surround sound system with the Neo V2 Three speakers at its heart. The two front speakers are joined by the Neo V2 One standmount speakers at the rear, a Neo V2 centre channel and the Neo V2 subwoofer.Fine build qualityWe're happy to report the build quality is very high – as it should be for around the £1200 mark. (It's worth pointing out at this opportunity that there are some good deals floating about at the time of writing for this package.)
You do need to do a little of that building yourself; there's a speaker plinth to attach to the base. But it's all easily done, and shouldn't deter you.
This is a fairly sizeable system, so it's worth checking your room can take the dimensions before you get your heart set on this Neo package. The front pair stand more than 90cm tall; the rears are more than 35cm tall and 23cm deep.
Thankfully all that box helps fill the room like no other package on test. Soundtracks are given room to breathe, in a wide soundstage within which individual components can flourish.
More after the break
Agile and distinct bass linesElsewhere, that hefty subwoofer is capable of shifting some serious air. And that, of course, means bass weight. Crucially, as a blast of The Batmobile from The Dark Knight proves, the low frequencies are tight and controlled, with bass lines remaining agile and distinct.
Despite all this power and scale, there's not the dynamic excitement that can be found from some smaller packages.
When scenes demand tension to build slowly, the AE package doesn't quite engage as well as it should, settling instead for a quiet then loud, broad-stroke approach. A little more subtlety would be welcome.
It does well enough when dealing with music, though, that weight and openness again coming in handy. But an edge to the treble that rears its head in high-octane movie moments begins to grate a little more in stereo – which tends to be a more challenging test as the sound is more constantly demanding.
Again, a bigger system provides a bigger sound that will appeal if you have a large room, but it's not quite the full ticket.
For all the weight, we'd like a more dynamic finesse, while that edginess to certain treble frequencies does grate. Still, there remains plenty to enjoy here.