Thursday, September 15, 2011

Neat Ultimatum XL10

The new flagship model for the Ultimatum range: the Ultimatum XL10 (left) replaces the long-running MF9, which has been available for nine years.

The new speakers, which stand 1.5m tall and weigh 60kg apiece, use a total of nine drive units apiece, housed in an enclosure containing no fewer than eight discrete internal spaces, each one optimised for its function.

The obvious drive-units are the 26mm SONOMEX tweeter, straddled by a pair of 16.8cm Neat mid/bass units, and in turn by a pair of 16.8cm bass units.

But what's not immediately apparent is the pair of additional bass units inside the cabinet, creating two isobaric loaded sub-bass enclosures, each tuned differently to optimise room-placement flexibility.

The midrange units are again in different-sized enclosures, to avoid resonances, and the tweeter is in its own sealed sub-enclosure.

Finally, the speaker uses a pair of upward firing EMIT-type supertweeters, designed to enhance the sense of space and air in the sound.

For all these drive units, the speakers use a minimalist crossover comprising just five elements (plus damping & attenuating resistors), which Neat says uses 'precise tolerance, low-loss air-cored inductors and newly developed polypropylene film & foil capacitors.'

'The speaker exploits predominantly first-order crossover slopes and mechanical roll-offs for a natural, uninhibited performance.'

The cabinets are made from 18mm birch plywood sources from slow-growing Scandinavian forests - for density and consistency - and the drivers are mounted in a baffle formed of a 4.5cm thick sandwich of birch ply, polyethylene and MDF, for rigidity and self-damping.

Neat's Ultimatum XL10s will sell for £15,245/pr in figured birch, black ash, natural ash, oak, cherry, walnut or rosenut real wood veneers, or £17,080 in premium finishes including piano black or white, velvet cloud and red velvet cloud.