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Around three years ago Acoustic Energy launched the Aegis Neo system, which went down a storm among home cinema fans, but now AE feels the time is right for a revamp. Enter the Neo V2 range, which boasts plenty of technological tweaks in a bid to take its performance to new heights but keeps the price at a relatively affordable level.
The name is not a Matrix homage but actually derives from the Neodymium metal used to make the driver magnets. Neo V1 was the first ‘affordable’ speaker system to use Neodymium magnets across the board, and it comes as no surprise to find them being used once again thanks to their superior power handling and far lower distortion than traditional Ferrite magnet drivers. To provide even more bite the low-frequency drivers use a twin Neodymium magnet assembly alongside long-throw voice coils.
This, combined with a unique open chassis design to reduce air-loading on the cone, enables the low-frequency drivers to deliver over half an octave more bandwidth than the previous Neo system.
That’s the science bit, but the speakers haven’t only been tweaked internally – the system has also been significantly restyled on the outside and comes in a choice of two finishes. Our samples are styled in Vermont walnut, which is the most eye-catching of the two, although the black finish is a smart, contemporary alternative.
The 5.1-channel package on test here is made up of a pair of Neo Three floorstanders for the front channels, the Neo Centre speaker and a pair of Neo One standmounts for the surround channels. Low-end muscle is provided by the Neo Sub, which is equipped with a 200W amplifier.
The Neo Threes are a two-and-a-half way reflex loaded design and can handle loads of up to 170W. Each one stands 905mm high, which may sound imposing but the elegant styling, smoothed-off corners and black plinths will make them a stunning addition to any lounge or cinema room. The cabinets are beautifully constructed and the grilles are magnetic, so there are no unsightly screw or plugs to worry about.
They use a 25mm Neodymium ring radiator tweeter, selected for its wide bandwidth, low distortion and flat frequency response to 45kHz, as well as 130mm alloy cone low/mid driver.
The Neo Ones, meanwhile, boast more compact measurements of 357(h) x 182(w) x 231(d)mm and sport a two-way reflex loaded design and can handle up to 120W. They also use the same low/mid and high-frequency drivers as the Neo Threes to ensure homogeneity across the soundstage. These can also be used for the front channels if the floorstanders will hog too much of your space.
Dialogue duties fall on the not insubstantial shoulders of the Neo Centre, which weighs a hefty 9kg and measures 195mm deep. But despite its size, it retains the style and elegance that makes the other speakers so alluring, and on the inside it packs the same 2.5-way driver array as the Neo Threes.