The Neodio Origine B2

Given that they are all but externally identical, what exactly is the difference between the insides of the B1 and the B2? That, I can’t tell you. Stéphane Even of Neodio is tight lipped on the subject, although I believe it involves a difference in filler and a modification to the construction, both a result of a breakthrough in understanding the operation of the footers and their ‘global’ role within the system. Like all the best snake-oil, the ingredients are secret, while the price is reassuringly high. New B2s cost €250 each, are available in boxes of two, three or four and can be supplied with or without M6/M8 adaptors at a cost of €3 each (other sizes to suit other threads are also obtainable, often from commercial sources locally). The fact that Neodio are offering the upgrade option – and the fact that it’s not inexpensive – suggests that they believe you are going to get a substantial lift in performance. They’re not wrong, but there’s more to it than that. The B2 isn’t just better than the B1 – it’s different too, at least in application.

With the B1 on hand and in use, direct comparisons were easy. I started out with a tube-based set up, VTL TL-7.5 and S200 driving Living Voice R25A loudspeakers. Digital source was the CH Precision D1.5 and vinyl replay was via a Kuzma Stabi M/4Point14 and Fuuga, feeding the VTL TP-6.5 Signature II phono-stage. Cabling was all CFM Resonant, with Russ Andrews power blocks and a Blue Horizon PRS bamboo rack. I also assembled a mixed cast of competing products – not just the B1s, but HRS Nimbus pucks and medium sized damping plates too, just to compare capabilities. In practice, I really needn’t have bothered, as neither the HRS components nor a few other things I tried could match the B1s in the specific roles in which they were being deployed, let alone the B2s.

Neodio suggest a set of priorities for application of the B2, starting with one each on the centre-front of the top surface of each speaker – so that’s exactly where I started. It might seem like an unusual application for a ‘support’ product, but as we’ll discover, that’s not really what the B2 is all about.

I’ve always found Santuu-Matias Rouvali’s Sibelius 5  a testing and problematic disc (Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra – Alpha Classics ALPHA 645). Put it on the wrong system and it sounds stilted and contrived, lacking the natural flow that the music demands and the natural exuberance this conductor exhibits. It proved the perfect test bed for the various devices I had on hand.

I tried the Nimbus both centred on the top of the speaker cabinet and front-and-centre too, the latter proving more effective. It certainly made an audible difference, with a modest but clearly noticeable improvement in separation and location across the soundstage, but it did nothing to tackle the hesitant or disjointed musical presentation. Swapping them out for the medium sized Damping Plates, capable of covering the entire front to back depth of the cabinet instilled even greater separation and a welcome sense of order, but the soundstage and dynamics were notably flattened. In this set up, neither option made sense – at least not used in this way.