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AVI Neutron Five 2.1 speaker review

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AVI Neutron Five 2.1 speaker review

Postby steve_1979 » Wed Oct 19, 2011 11:07 am

AVI Neutron Five 2.1 review

I've been living with the Neutron Five system for about a month now and I absolutely love 'em. It's an 'all in one' system that includes a DAC, 3 x 100watt amplifiers, Neutron V passive speakers and a high quality 10" sub. I bought it brand new direct from AVI for just £900 (down from £1300) and for that price the quality is just astounding. I've heard quite a few seperates systems in hifi shops and this beats anything for under a grand by a mile and it even sounds better than most systems that cost £2000 or more!

They sound very natural and uncoloured like studio monitors - but just because they don't add any of their own 'character' to the sound doesn't mean that they're boring because they aren't. They're very dynamic and detailed and will pefectly convey any emotion that's been recorded in a song, they just won't add any extra emotion of their own.

I use them for near-field use at my computer and they have a great stereo image although this does improve slightly when setup for mid-field listening. The way the sub intergrates so smoothly is amazing too. It never sounds directional, it just extends the lower frequencies of the stereo speakers and adds weight but without any of the 'boom' that you normally get with subs. It just sounds tight and tuneful with music unlike most other subs which have clearly been designed to be loud and boomy with movies.

Looks wise they're pretty simple but they are very smart and well finnished. The build quality is all top notch and I like the shiny piano black finnish which looks good and expensive.

Overall, for the price it's an absolutely amazing system which I'm very happy with. I no longer have that itch to upgrade and I expect I'll be enjoying this system for many years to come.

Here's the SOS review for the Neutron 5 system: www.soundonsound.com/SOS/dec10/articles ... n-five.htm

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Re: AVI Neutron Five 2.1 speaker review

Postby Martin Walker » Wed Oct 19, 2011 1:37 pm

So glad you like them Steve - I’ve been a confirmed believer in AVI products ever since I heard Paul White’s first pair, and now have my own Biggatron Red Spot models in the lounge:

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www.soundonsound.com/SOS/jan01/articles/avi.asp

As you say, the whole range sounds very natural and never hyped at either end.

I love ‘em!


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Re: AVI Neutron Five 2.1 speaker review

Postby steve_1979 » Wed Oct 19, 2011 8:20 pm

Hi Martin :)

As you can tell I rate their Neutron 5 system very highly - it's by far the best I've ever heard for under a grand by quite a large margin. I've never had the chance to hear any of AVI's other stuff though but I have read some good things about their active ADM9 speakers.

How do you like their Biggatron speakers and what amp are you using with them?
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Re: AVI Neutron Five 2.1 speaker review

Postby Martin Walker » Thu Oct 20, 2011 1:09 pm

Hi Steve,

I’m very pleased with them - no extreme bass as you’d expect, but what there is is very smooth and unhyped, while the remainder of the spectrum is supremely detailed.

I’m mainly using these for TV, film and CD rather than studio sound, so haven’t gone overboard with the amp - a Cambridge Azur 640A (100 watts per channel into 4 ohms and 65 into 8 ohms) accompanied by a matching Azur 640C CD Player.

Although I suspect the Biggatrons would sound slightly better with a much more expensive amp, for the price I’ve been well pleased with the Cambridge gear as well:

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Re: AVI Neutron Five 2.1 speaker review

Postby steve_1979 » Mon Nov 21, 2011 9:08 pm

REVIEW UPDATE

This is just a quick update because I've had the chance to compare the Neutron Five system to some Dynaudio BM5A Mk2 active speakers. I almost bought these Dynaudio speakers three months ago (with a TC Electronics DAC) which would have cost a bit more than the Neutrons.

In comparison the Dynaudios sound a bit brighter and have a bit more detail but the Neutrons still come very close to matching the Dynaudios level of detail dispite having a passive crossover. The Neutrons definitely have the best overall sound though, they're more natural and the bass is much deeper and solid thanks to the 10" sub which makes such a big difference. The Dynaudios are great speakers but it was definitly the right choice to buy the Neutrons. Another bonus with them is that they sound good when placed close to a wall.
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Re: AVI Neutron Five 2.1 speaker review

Postby steve_1979 » Mon Nov 21, 2011 9:10 pm

REVIEW UPDATE

I've also listened to some PMC DB1i speakers (with the rear mounted amp packs) so I thought I'd write another review comparing them to the Neutron 5 system. The PMC's have a similar sound to the Neutrons, the mid range and treble is just as neutral and detailed. The bass from the little 5" PMC's is a very impressive achievement too, I've never heard such deep and powerful bass come from such a small enclosure. However, when compared to AVI's 10" subwoofer the PMC's do fall short. When placed close to a wall the PMC's manage to have just as much bass but it is boomy and when placed in open space the bass just doesn't sound anywhere near as deep, powerful or solid as the AVI's

So, to sum up. The PMC's cost £1050 (not including the PMC amplifier packs) compared to the AVI N5 system which costs £900 (and includes 3 amplifiers and a DAC). Both speakers have equally good mid range and treble but the N5 system has better bass. I apologise for sounding like an AVI advert here but the more I listen to my N5 system and compare it to other systems in hifi shops the more I realise what exceedingly good value AVI offer.
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Re: AVI Neutron Five 2.1 speaker review

Postby Martin Walker » Tue Nov 22, 2011 8:41 pm

Hi Steve!

Glad you're still feeling so positive about your purchase, although I do begin to wonder why you're still spending so much time auditioning other loudspeakers :bouncy:


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Re: AVI Neutron Five 2.1 speaker review

Postby steve_1979 » Wed Nov 23, 2011 12:19 pm

Hehe yeah it's just for fun. :D When I walk past a hifi shop I can't resist going in and having a listen to what's available. If they're not busy they usually don't mind letting you have a listen and a chat about what they've got, even if your honest and upfront about not wanting to buy anything.
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Re: AVI Neutron Five 2.1 speaker review

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Nov 23, 2011 1:35 pm

The AVI stuff is always extremely good -- I've yet to find any AVI speakers that disappoint.

However, I feel obliged to point out that you're not really comparing like with like. Any system with a 10-inch sub will always have more extension and better power handling than a very compact speaker like the DB1. As you say, the DB1 has amazing bass performance for a box of this size!

Yes, the DB1 bass will become boomy when placed close to a rear wall -- partly because of the boundary effect, but also because the ATL vent is on the rear panel.

The value for money thing is also worth further consideration. AVI equipment always appears to deliver more for the money than other systems, and that's true -- they do. The reason is that the company only sells direct which means they don't have to include a 30% (or more) dealer margin. Put another way, they cost about 30% less than any directly comparable speaker...

Nothing wrong with that of course -- and it does provide the end user with excellent value for money. But it needs to be seen in the light of an extra positive for AVI rather than as a negative for whatever you choose to compare them with! ;)

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Re: AVI Neutron Five 2.1 speaker review

Postby Martin Walker » Wed Nov 23, 2011 4:43 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:The value for money thing is also worth further consideration. AVI equipment always appears to deliver more for the money than other systems, and that's true -- they do. The reason is that the company only sells direct which means they don't have to include a 30% (or more) dealer margin.


Hi Hugh!

It can be even more cost effective when the MD lives about a mile away from you so you can collect your products in person :beamup:

Ashley James was almost a neighbour until I moved down to Cornwall! 8-)


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Re: AVI Neutron Five 2.1 speaker review

Postby steve_1979 » Wed Nov 23, 2011 9:19 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:I feel obliged to point out that you're not really comparing like with like. Any system with a 10-inch sub will always have more extension and better power handling than a very compact speaker like the DB1. As you say, the DB1 has amazing bass performance for a box of this size!

Yes that is a very good point. I've never seen anything else quite like the Neutron 2.1 system though and these passive PMC's with the amp packs are the closest thing that I've found so far.

I do hope my review doesn't paint the PMC's in a bad light though because they really are rather good. When positioned at just the right distance from the rear wall then the bass performance is exellent. If anyone wants to have plenty of bass but is forced to use small speakers then the PMC DB1i should be at the top of their audition list.


Hugh Robjohns wrote:The value for money thing is also worth further consideration. AVI equipment always appears to deliver more for the money than other systems, and that's true -- they do. The reason is that the company only sells direct which means they don't have to include a 30% (or more) dealer margin. Put another way, they cost about 30% less than any directly comparable speaker...


Yes direct selling keeps the price down but it does mean that it can be difficult to find anywhere to audition them before buying. I almost didn't buy them because I felt it was a big gamble buying speakers without hearing them first.
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Re: AVI Neutron Five 2.1 speaker review

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Nov 24, 2011 12:41 pm

steve_1979 wrote:I do hope my review doesn't paint the PMC's in a bad light though because they really are rather good.

Absolutely -- not painted in a bad light, but I thought it worth pointing out the reasons why you arrived at your conclusions for anyone who might not be aware of all the circumstances.

Yes direct selling keeps the price down but it does mean that it can be difficult to find anywhere to audition them before buying. I almost didn't buy them because I felt it was a big gamble buying speakers without hearing them first.

Absolutely. It's a tough decision for all manufacturers. AVI have an excellent reputation and seem essentially to survive entirely on word-of-mouth referals, and I guess that attracts enough business to make the whole think cost-effective for them. But they are a relatively small player in the grand scheme of hifi speaker makers.

Most other companies have stayed with the conventional route of providing a retailer with a profit margin to demo and sell their speakers... but that margin obviously pushes the price up. So as a consumer we have the choice of taking advantage of a retailer with demo stock, but paying for it, or taking a gamble on unherad product but at a lower price. Swings and roundabouts.

Glad you like the AVIs though, it is a very nice system.

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Re: AVI Neutron Five 2.1 speaker review

Postby bernie33 » Fri Dec 02, 2011 10:34 am

Thanks for your post. Now I have a clear picture of the capabilities of the AVI speakers AVI speakers. It is a fine piece of technology, like swiss automatic watches .
I really considering buying the speakers.

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
steve_1979 wrote:I do hope my review doesn't paint the PMC's in a bad light though because they really are rather good.

Absolutely -- not painted in a bad light, but I thought it worth pointing out the reasons why you arrived at your conclusions for anyone who might not be aware of all the circumstances.

Yes direct selling keeps the price down but it does mean that it can be difficult to find anywhere to audition them before buying. I almost didn't buy them because I felt it was a big gamble buying speakers without hearing them first.

Absolutely. It's a tough decision for all manufacturers. AVI have an excellent reputation and seem essentially to survive entirely on word-of-mouth referals, and I guess that attracts enough business to make the whole think cost-effective for them. But they are a relatively small player in the grand scheme of hifi speaker makers.

Most other companies have stayed with the conventional route of providing a retailer with a profit margin to demo and sell their speakers... but that margin obviously pushes the price up. So as a consumer we have the choice of taking advantage of a retailer with demo stock, but paying for it, or taking a gamble on unherad product but at a lower price. Swings and roundabouts.

Glad you like the AVIs though, it is a very nice system.

hugh
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Re: AVI Neutron Five 2.1 speaker review

Postby steve_1979 » Fri Dec 02, 2011 8:44 pm

bernie33 wrote:Thanks for your post. Now I have a clear picture of the capabilities of the AVI speakers AVI speakers. It is a fine piece of technology, like swiss automatic watches .
I really considering buying the speakers.
As you can tell I'm very happy with mine and wholeheartedly recomend them to anyone who likes speakers that sound natural and uncoloured. They are the best that I've heard for the price and compare favourably with other systems costing two or even three as much.
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