Regulators have become so good nowadays, thanks to the requirements of CE testing, that the tester can be challenged when it comes to finding something to write about.

First stage
The Neo was supplied with a DIN-fitting Oceanic CDX5 diaphragm-style first stage.
This is because, although there is a piston-style alternative, the British end of Oceanic wisely believes that this regulator first stage is more suited to British divers who might be tempted to do a few training dives during the winter in the cold fresh water of the likes of Stoney Cove or Dorothea quarry.
There is a school of thought that believes that diaphragm-type regulators are less likely to suffer from the effects of near-freezing fresh water.
In line with many regulators that find favour in Britain, the CDX5 is dry-sealed against the possibility of foreign bodies entering and jamming the spring, which itself is hidden behind a flexible rubber cap at the bottom of the first stages barrel.
It has a fixed barrel, with the four medium-pressure ports set around it to give a radial hose routeing.
I had to be careful to attach the hose of the second stage to the right port, or the hose became too short.
My drysuit hose, BC hose and octopus-rig hose were conveniently routed, too.
Two high-pressure ports sit at the top end of the barrel, one either side, and I found this arrangement perfect for the two different transmitters I was using with a pair of gas-integrated diving computers.

Second stage
This is a very lightweight plastic affair but it isnt tiny by any means, because its so deep from front to back. It has a very nice mouthpiece reminiscent of those supplied with Atomic regulators, which implies that it is the best. I can confirm that it is extremely comfortable.
A lever on the side that is big enough to use easily with a gloved hand interrupts the clean flow of air across the back of the pressure-sensing diaphragm - the venturi effect - and discourages exponential free-flows when you first hit the water.
I substituted a modern lightweight braided hose for the one provided with the regulator, simply to reduce the overall weight of hoses of all the regulators in my checked baggage.

Purge
If you like a regulator with a very powerful purge, this is it. In fact you need to be circumspect about how hard you press the button at the front, if you dont want to find your tonsils blasted.
Needless to say, it was very effective at clearing water from the second stage.

Comfort
I sometimes think that distributors tweak their regulators before they send them to me to try, in the belief that the breathing can be set as easy as possible.
This usually backfires on them, because once things settle down during a weeks sea diving, the regs can come too close to free-flowing. This Neo was a case in point.
You dont want a regulator thats so tight that its like sucking treacle through a straw, but neither do you want one that continues to give you gas when youre looking towards the surface, trying to hold your breath to take a picture with no exhaled bubbles visible.
The valve I was using had been set up with a higher-than-correct interstage pressure. This caused the second stage to burp out the occasional blob of air. It was only slightly wrong, but this was annoying. I used it permanently in the pre-dive minus position, which seemed to make all the difference.
The exhaust-T seemed large enough to put my exhaled bubbles cleanly past my face, and not interfere with my job of taking photos.
As with other Oceanic regulators I have used with the CDX range of first stages, I could hear the valve operating. This could be a little disconcerting for those unused to it.
However, there never seemed to be a shortage of breathing gas, no matter how hard I heaved, nor how deep I went.

Other regulators to consider:
Apeks XTX40, £299
Cressi Ellipse Titanium, £269
Mares MR22 Abyss, £329

SPECS
PRICE £299
FIRST STAGE CDX5 diaphragm-type
PORTS 4mp, 2hp
SECOND-STAGE ADJUSTMENTS Venturi plus/minus
DRY WEIGHT 990g
CONTACT www.oceanicuk.com
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