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Neat’s drivers seemed tightly pair-matched left and right since there was no instrumental wandering with frequency. Everyone stayed put on a virtual stage that began slightly ahead of the base line and expanded more laterally than into the depth domain. In my intro I hinted at problem solving. With speakers of minimalist filters it’s typical that the curtains go up already at low volumes. Of all the speakers I’ve thus far reviewed for fairaudio, the li’l Neat had the best handle on whisper levels.

My Ayre K-5xe-MP preamp eschews a standard pot in favour of a FET-switched resistor array which controls volume in 66 x 1dB steps. 0 = mute, 1 is very very quiet. But with the Neat music already was enjoyable there. Co-conspirators of this stunt were probably the aforementioned tonal liberties of a minor emphasis in the bass and lower treble, the latter conducive to better speech intelligibility. If you mean to groove to tunes whilst wife or kids already/still sleep next door, here’s a speaker that doesn’t rely on ‘realistic’ level before the fun kicks in even if just a bit more gas lays bare more nuances.

Conclusion. My first reaction after unpeeling these from their cartons and setting them up was predictable. Whoa, cute! But the sound proved neither small nor timid. Above a solid bass and lower midband came broad central and treble bands which except for a small lift in the transition from upper mid/woofer to tweeter were neutral. The extra pound of bass for once didn’t interfere with rhythmic precision. The takeaway impression of the Neats was solidly positive: performance gusto and expressivity of high caliber with a measure of liveliness in the mid/treble registers that was clearly above and beyond their price range.

Psych profile of the Neat Motive SX1…
• sufficiently small and unobtrusive to suit any conceivable living room. High fit’n’finish accommodate even classy environs.
• sounds different than its appearance, i.e. powerful and colourful. Reasons are some extra bass and upper bass heft plus a small lift in the transition of upper mid/woofer and tweeter.
• wonderfully lively and energetic. Despite the minor bass emphasis there’s no frozen hip and rhythmically things take off.
• micro- and macrodynamically (given sane levels) more nuanced than standard in this class and with impressive emphasis.
• stages wider than deep but freely.
• gets going already at very mild levels.


• Concept: 2.5-way bass-reflex tower
• Dimensions and weight: 92.5 x 16 x 20cm (HxWxD), 15kg/ea.
• Sensitivity: 86dB/W/m
• Nominal impedance: 6Ω
• Trim: Light oak, Walnut, Black Ash, satin white, other colours by request
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