Morel, a European audio company with a long history of developing drivers and speakers for the home and automotive markets, launched its semi-hidden and hidden Morel SoundWall Surface Speakers.
The semi-hidden SH17C speaker features a narrow frame that rests on the edges of the wall cutout, while the fully invisible Hidden H17C looks more like a traditional in-wall loudspeaker.
The hidden speaker incorporates the company’s easy-grip installation hardware, and both products can be painted over to facilitate their stealth capabilities within a home space.
Morel specifies both speakers to present an 8-ohm load, and it says the speakers produce a frequency response of 100Hz to 20kHz +/-3dB.
Morel also offers a clever in-wall home theater package called the LCR Soundbar Modular System. Morel says this speaker array is designed to complement TVs without taking up space within a room. The LCR system can be fit to a variety of TVs up to 63 inches in length to create hidden A/V systems.
The versatile Morel SoundWall line can be configured in any number of ways and it utilizes products like Morel’s 4-ohm Integra 4-inch IC-4MI speaker, as well as its 4-inch coax IC4X speaker, and the speakers’ companion Bass/Sub IC-4M W woofer.
One more thing that adds to the LCR line’s versatility is the fact that Morel designed the system for retrofit applications too.
Installing the Morel SoundWall Surface Speakers
Proving that timing is everything, CE Pro videographer Dax Tarantino was in the midst of a home renovation, so CE Pro product editor Bob Archer took the opportunity to install the Morel speakers in Tarantino’s home while the walls were open to experience the install process and performance of the products.
Over the course of the renovation, the walls came down, the wiring was run and everything was redone, finishing with paint and the installation of the speaker grilles.
Despite Tarantino’s lack of installation experience, he and his brother who is an electrician were able to quickly install the speakers and connect a Yamaha A/V receiver via wall-plate connections, which as also installed during the renovation.
If dealers choose the soundbar’s non-magnetic grille option, the grille will be difficult to remove. Based on Tarantino’s experience, it's better to choose the removable option just in case.
Finishing up the installation, we calibrated the 5.1.2 system using the Audio Tools app.
Listening & Review
We listened to the speaker package after it was calibrated in tandem with the Yamaha RX-V581 A/V receiver, Playstation 4 and Xbox gaming systems. The Morel speakers delivered the immersive experience homeowners would expect from a modern object-based surround system.
We're not exactly gamers, so it was particularly susprising how engaging the content was via the 5.1.2 system. Using games such as Rise of the Tomb Raider and Titanfall 2, Blu-rays such as Rango and streaming content from Netflix, the system sounded rich and spacious. The calibrated system delivered a lot of dynamics in what could be characterized as a medium-size room environment.
It should be pointed out that despite the emphasis on subwoofers and low frequencies, arguably the most important aspect of a system is its dialog reproduction. Through the Morel soundbar, dialog was intelligible without any chestiness or thinness.
Listening to music through the receiver’s two-channel and multichannel modes revealed how close the timbre elements of the speakers matched. It proved to be a nice way to fill the newly renovated room with crisp, coherent sound.
Getting back to something we alluded to earlier with the gaming content — a key part of a system like this is how much a nice pair in-ceiling speakers can add to the listening experience.
In the case of the Morels, the completely hidden in-ceilings sounded great with A/V and music. Through the Yamaha receiver’s decoding of non-object based surround content, the Yamaha/Morel combination added quite a bit of ambience, which as we said added to the listening experience without the aesthetic distraction of more speakers that some homeowners simply don’t want to see.
It’s hard not to be impressed with the job Morel did with its latest architectural speakers. The choice of semi-hidden and hidden speakers provides integrators with a choice of solutions that don’t compromise sound quality for looks. The speakers are both easy to drive and easy to install.