Manchester Show 2011: New speakers are Neat, compact and colourful

Launched at the Manchester Show, which opens tomorrow, is the innovative Iota from British speaker company Neat Acoustics.

Selling for around £650/pr, it's the smallest model in the Neat range at just 13cm tall, yet packs high-quality drive units and comes in a range of finishes including red, yellow and blue.

Neat says the Iota 'is especially suited to the current crop of all-in-one streaming systems, from which a very high level of sound quality may be attained, but space is usually at a premium.'

It adds that, while the speakers may be small, the design 'incorporates the implementation of radical and unorthodox thinking in order to offer the same integrity and musical capability that distinguishes all Neat loudspeakers.'

The most striking aspect of the design – well, apart from the fact the speakers are really, really small, are designed to be used 'on their side' as in the pictures, and come in a range of bright colours! – is the use of a vertical planar ribbon tweeter.

This 50mm device has been chosen for its 'superb dynamic contrast and accurate tonal colour', which Neat says makes a good match for the 10cm mid/bass unit, a scaled-down version of the polypropylene-cone driver found in the company's Motive range.

The crossover here is a simple three-element type, using low-loss air core inductors and high-grade polypropylene capacitors, and as with the entire speaker was designed by ear, rather than referring to measurements.

But if you want specifications, the speakers are 13cm tall, 20cm wide and 16.5cm deep, are designed for use with amplifiers of 25-100W, have 6ohm nominal impedance and 86dB/!w/1m sensitivity.

The 2.6 litre cabinet is ported, and built from high grade MDF with internal damping. It comes in satin white or black as standard, with the optional extra-cost finishes being Flame Red, Zinc Yellow and Ultramarine Blue.

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Andrew has written about audio and video products for the past 20+ years, and been a consumer journalist for more than 30 years, starting his career on camera magazines. Andrew has contributed to titles including What Hi-Fi?, GramophoneJazzwise and Hi-Fi CriticHi-Fi News & Record Review and Hi-Fi Choice. I’ve also written for a number of non-specialist and overseas magazines.