Neat Motive 2 review

The weight, authority and punch of a floorstander, and the rhythm and small-scale dynamics of a standmounter Tested at £985.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

We’re huge fans of these Neats and their superb musicality – definitely ones to hear!


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    Ingenious and unfussy design

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    combine power and punch with great dynamics and timing

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    make great musical sense


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    Occasionally slip into brightness

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    don’t have the outright detail of the best at this level

Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.

OK, we admit it – we were a bit late to the Motive 2 party. Now we wish we hadn't been so tardy – these are outstanding speakers in many ways.

For a start, there's the diminutive proportions and (literally) laidback looks. There's a reason for those design features: the small size makes them easy to accommodate, while the slant means that though the cabinets are short, the drivers are aimed at your ears.

Neither are these speakers fussy about position. Certainly, they sound best given a little space, but if they need placing near a back wall, or if you're listening off-axis, they'll still do a decent job.

No compromise
A floorstander that takes up less space than a standmounter? Surely it's compromised? Nope: the Neats combine the best qualities of both types. They have the weight, authority and punch of a floorstander, and the rhythm and small-scale dynamics of a standmounter. True, a good floorstanding speaker has more bass, but the Neats' low frequencies are deep enough, and have punch and detail to match.

They don't have the exceptionally fine detail of the very best in their class, but they're cohesive, complete and compelling. This is partly down to the timing, which is absolutely spot on.

Spin Nirvana's Nevermind, and the Neats have the power to make the room shake, and the transparency to allow the spiteful performance through unmolested. Switch to some Sigur Ros and the sound is expansive, delicate and haunting, just as it should be.

Yes, the treble can be over-exuberant when really pushed, but the Neats remain cohesive, authoritative and downright exciting.

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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