|Neptune Audio NeptuneEQ|
|Home Theater Accessories Acoustics, EQ & Room Tuning|
|Written by Andrew Robinson|
|Monday, 01 September 2008|
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While I am completely smitten by the Neptune EQ and unabashedly recommend it to anyone serious about room acoustics and reference-grade sound reproduction, there are three glaring design flaws that must be addressed. First up, the absence of a remote control to navigate the Neptune EQ’s menu and features is outright unacceptable for a product of this caliber and price point. The manual states that this decision was deliberate, in order to create a tactile relationship with the product. Come on, I’m not asking it out on a date. When your rack is in another room or out of reach, things like remotes become less of a luxury and more of a necessity. Being able to adjust frequency curves or EQ settings from the listening position is a must-have for a product costing as much as the Neptune EQ does. I have a feeling that dealers and reps will demand a remote from Neptune sooner than later, even if it raises the cost of the product incrementally.
Second has to be the Neptune EQ’s lack of a power switch or RS-232 support, which plays into the remote department a bit by not allowing it to integrate into a custom control solution, such as a Crestron or AMX system. Neptune says they are working on adding this functionality as I type this, as there isn’t a custom installer worth his salt who doesn’t use RS-232 to control the biggest, highest-performance systems.
Lastly, and this is a more minor quibble, I didn’t like that the Neptune EQ didn’t have a video output or onscreen GUI. Granted, most standalone EQs don’t have this either, instead opting for a PC-accessible interface (sorry, Mac users), but these are the little things that can truly set a product like the Neptune EQ apart from the rest.
For just under four grand and available at select retailers or directly through Neptune Audio’s website, the Neptune EQ is one of, if not the single, best standalone automated EQ solutions in the market today. Yes, it’s better than Audyssey, and I own the Audyssey as part of my HDMI-switching Integra AV preamp. The fact that the Neptune EQ is a self-contained, DIY, no-hassle solution to a very real problem facing every audiophile and home theater enthusiast today speaks to its ingenuity and incredible value. And when I say value, I speak to the idea that this Neptune EQ (plus the cost of cables) can make a bigger improvement than investing $4,000 more in a preamp or a more powerful amp or even better, more exotic loudspeakers. This is a big-boy solution to a real-world problem that used to cost a lot more in room treatments and professional acousticians to solve. I am glad it’s on the market. If you have a reference-grade two-channel audiophile music system, this could be the Holy Grail for you, as well as a way to add a subwoofer without selling out the integrity of your system. If you are running a top-of-the-line home theater system, the Neptune is a pricey yet meaningful way to get more from your HD audio soundtracks from Blu-ray right now. The Neptune EQ is a truly impressive new audio product.