CES 2013: Manley Labs and Neat











I am man enough to admit it. I have a little crush on Manley Labs. The gear. Well, yes, I squeal like a little girl whenever I happen to catch a glimpse of EveAnna Manley, but thinking about those big blue-grey face-plates and chunky knobs gives me a happy, warm feeling in my heart.

Here at CES, the Manley crew was showing the Jumbo Shrimp preamp ($3,660), the Chinook phonopreamp ($2,250), and a pair of Snapper monoblocks ($7,250). New in the rack was a preview of the Turbot ($TBD), their newest we’re-not-talking-about-it-yet DAC. When I have more details, I’ll update.

Neat Acoustics was showing off their $8,100/pair Ultimatum XLS. Very clever design on these jobs; with their upward-firing pair of super-tweeters, the room should get a whole lot more action — think “ambiance”, in pretty much the same way that omnis provide a sense of space. Neat is an interesting UK brand that doesn’t seem to get a lot of play on this side of the water, so hopefully their presence here at CES means that us red-headed step children will finally get to get our groove on to these love speakers.

For those keeping track, the gear was “between sessions” while I was doing my photo tour.