Go to Home Page

Click Here to Go to Index for All Speaker Reviews.

 

Product Review
 

Morel SoundSpot Nova MKII 5.1 Speaker System Including LI-1 Satellite Speakers and SoundSpot 9 Subwoofer

September, 2006

Adrian Wittenberg

 

Specifications:

 

RLI1 Satellite Speaker

Steel Half-sphere 4-1/2" Enclosure
● Drivers: One 1/2" Polymer Dome Tweeter, One 3.5" Woofer

MFR: 100 Hz - 22 kHz (-5 dB)
Nominal impedance 6 Ohms
Power Handling: 60 Watts
Crossover: 8 kHz, 6 dB per Octave
Sensitivity: 87 dB
Weight: 2.3 Pounds/Each
Available Finishes: White, Black, Silver

SoundSpot 9 Subwoofer

Curved MDF Enclosure
● Driver: One 9" Flat-profile

Amplifier 100W continuous power
MFR: 30 Hz - 160 Hz
Dimensions: 20" x 5.1"
Weight: 31  Pounds
Available Finishes: White, Black, Silver

● System MSRP: $1,199 USA

 

Morel, Ltd.

www.morelhifi.com

Introduction

Morel's headquarters are located in Israel, having been founded by Meir Modechai. Morel specializes in products for home audio and car audio, and they are also a supplier of raw speaker drivers.

I first became aware of Morel when I was more involved with car audio, and many installers that I knew, talked about Morel products with great praise. I had not personally heard Morel products first hand, so when I was recently given an opportunity to review their Nova MKII satellite system for home theater my interest was piqued.

The SoundSpot Nova MKII system consists of five equally matched LI-1 SoundSpot speakers and the SoundSpot 9 subwoofer.

The Design

The first thing I noticed about the Nova MKII system is the rather unique and almost space age appearance it holds. This system should appeal to those who want not only a fresh look for their home theater room but also a minimal installation with lots of placement options, and nothing too big.

The real question remains is if the speakers can meet that design objective and also have some nice sound as well.

 Time to find out!

The LI-1 matched satellites have a half-spherical shape and are housed in a thin steel enclosure. The review samples were finished in eggshell white, but the system is also available in black or silver.

There is a soft cloth grille with a small Morel logo on it that covers the face of the speaker. The LI-1 satellites feature a 3 " woofer and a " tweeter that use neodymium magnets. Morel was actually one of the first companies to begin using the neodymium magnet structure. Each speaker is held in place by a pivot arm that is attached to the base which allows the speaker to be directed in many different angles and potentially be wall or ceiling mounted. I felt the system's appearance brought a fun and contemporary look to the room, and I suspect that some people may favor these speakers for their functionality and their visual appearance because they are so stylish.

The SoundSpot 9 subwoofer features a curved enclosure that measures 20" in diameter and 5" in depth. The subwoofer is forward firing and has a port on the side of the unit. The subwoofer achieves a narrow depth by using a low profile driver and is designed such that the unit can be discretely placed under a couch or other piece of furniture. If you do place the unit under the couch you'll want to use the 900 adapter to plug in the subwoofer's input, as otherwise the cord would bend.

The subwoofer's features are:

  • 9" Flat Profile Driver
  • Ported design
  • 100 watt RMS power amplifier
  • Adjustable crossover from 30-160 Hz
  • Volume Control
  • Auto on/off switch
  • Choice of 00 or 1800 phase
  • Detachable power cord
  • Line level, high level inputs

Set-up

The mounting holes on the bases of the LI-1satellites allowed me to mount all the speakers on stands. The front speakers were placed about 6' apart from each other toed in about 50, and the rear speakers were placed slightly behind the listening position, pointing sideways. The center channel speaker was placed in front of the television.

The SoundSpot 9 subwoofer can be positioned flat on its back underneath a couch or it can be placed upright, using the threaded legs for support. I chose to use the stands, and I placed the subwoofer in the right front corner of my room. I played around with the subwoofer's adjustable crossover knob and found that its performance was clean enough such that I could set it very high at 140 Hz to blend with the satellites.

With Music and Movies

Listening was done using two-channel and five-channel music and surround sound movies.

Overall, I felt the SoundSpot Nova MK II system had a very clean sound, with clear sharp highs and a strong upper midrange. This midrange was especially pronounced and gave a lot of listening material a refreshing bite to it. The low notes were delivered with clean output that also impressed me at times with strong punchy sound. This is something I didn't expect from a 100 watt subwoofer. My overall impression of the subwoofer was that it provided clean delivery with adequate output for entry level home theater systems. In addition, I felt this system's strong point is having a clear sound that is rich in treble and midrange, and its weak point is having a lack of mid-bass that would naturally come from having a bigger driver.

Here are some specific listening notes.

Pink Floyd Pulse Live DVD - Starting off with this disc was a great introduction for the Nova MKII speakers. The sound was exceptionally clear and pronounced, and I found the guitars to have a nice projection onto the soundstage. The snare drum backbeats of the music were especially snappy and lively, and definitely stronger than other satellite type systems I've listened to. The low end was covered well by the SoundSpot subwoofer and gave a strong drive to the music.

The Roy Haynes Trio - Very rich mids and highs filled the soundstage. There was a delicate balance of the instruments, and overall, the sound had a lot of character. The drum work delivered by Roy Haynes was exceptionally robust, and the details of the snare drum and cymbals were presented with absolute clarity and fullness. It makes it easy to place instruments on the soundstage when they are coming in this clear.

Rolling Stones misc - Mick Jagger's vocals had a lot of bite and character but lacked a little warmth that would be there with larger speakers. Charlie Watts' bass drum work was articulated very cleanly, and the subwoofer provided output that put some oomph into the music.

Monsters, Inc. - The Door Vault - Time Cue 1:07:23 1:10:00

In this action scene, the main characters Mike and Sully traverse through a huge network of moving doors as they attempt to rescue Boo from her kidnapper Randall. I would describe the tone as bright with substantial attack without being harsh. The scene was presented with plenty of detail and presence. As the doors flew around the vault, the sound had good transient response, and there was a good feeling of spaciousness as the evenly matched speakers delivered sounds with matched tonal balance anywhere in the room. This is definitely one of the advantages of using identical speakers. The dialogue was easily intelligible coming from the center channel speaker due to the clear midrange and treble presentation. The subwoofer discretely pedaled out the low notes, providing a full response for the scene.

I also auditioned a couple of other movies and the response was the same.
There was full treble, with a good transient response, and an open live sound. The bass was delivered smoothly without exaggerating the effect, and the midrange had a snappy feel that helped bring action sequences to life. Overall, this system could be a really great choice for a small home theater room where the goal is not to blow the doors down with sound, but rather just to have a nice cozy place to enjoy a good flick or some tunes.

Conclusions

Morel's SoundSpot Nova MKII 5.1 speaker system brings a unique visual style and functionality to the home theater world and has quality sound to match its visual and functional appeal. The system is available for $1,199 and can be purchased through a country wide dealer network that Morel supports.

I liked that this system had the option of placing the subwoofer under the couch, and it was a pleasure to audition. I'd encourage anybody in the market for a new compact system to put the Nova MKII on your audition list. Now I'm left with the appetite to experience more of Morel's product line.


- Adrian Wittenberg -

Copyright 2006 Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity

Go to Table of Contents for this Issue

Go to Home Page

 

About Secrets

Register

Terms and Conditions of Use