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Speakers

Sound obsession: The Morel Octave 6 Limited Edition speakers

Can a "Made in Israel" speaker go toe-to-toe with the best British and American speakers?

The Morel Octave 6 Limited Edition Bookshelf speaker sounds big, and bass oomph and definition were well beyond the norm for mid-size bookshelf speakers like this. Better yet, clarity and refinement were commensurate with what I've come to expect from high-end speakers in the Octave 6 Limited-Edition's price class, but this speaker is small enough to fit in average size living rooms.

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Morel Octave 6 Limited-Editions Morel

The Octave 6 Limited-Edition features a 6-inch (160mm) polypropylene woofer with an oversize 3-inch (80mm) aluminum voice coil and a die-cast aluminum frame, and a 1.1-inch (28mm) soft dome Acuflex tweeter. Morel not only designs and manufactures its drivers in-house, but a number of high-end companies such as Eggleston, Leon, Linn, Quested and others use Morel-sourced drivers in their speakers.

The medium-density fiberboard cabinet is finished in high-gloss black or white polymer paint. The Octave 6 Limited-Edition's backside has a bass port and heavy-duty speaker wire connectors. Impedance is listed at 6 Ohms and the speaker measures 7.3 by 11.7 by 14.5 inches (187x297x367mm) and weighs 16 pounds (7.3kg). I found the speakers sounded more open, less nasal with the perforated metal grilles removed. Morel was founded in 1975 and their speakers are designed and manufactured in Israel.

Roseanne Cash's brilliant "10 Song Demo" album came alive with rare verve, her vocals and acoustic guitar materialized between the two Octave 6 Limited-Edition speakers. I've played the Cash album on countless speakers, but the Octave 6 Limited-Editions sounded fuller than most.

Switching over to The Jesus and Mary Chain turned up loud, and again the Octave 6 Limited-Editions surprised me. This music, with fuzzed out guitars drenched in reverberation can sound like a jumbled mess on some speakers, but not here, and the speakers just got better and better as the volume increased. Changing the mood again with rapper-producer Earl Sweatshirt's new album "I Don't Like S%#*, I Don't Go Outside" the buoyancy of the bass floored me. Deep bass extension was the sort you feel as much as hear.

My KEF LS50 bookshelf speakers sounded smaller in every way, there was less bass, more restricted dynamics and a smaller soundstage. The new Magnepan .7 flat-panel speakers' soundstage was closer to life-size than the Octave 6 Limited-Editions or LS50s. The Octave 6 Limited-Edition speakers make more bass and were more dynamically alive than the .7s and LS50s; that's why the Octave 6 Limited-Edition speakers would be my preferred choice for rock or any high-energy music. The Magnepan .7 is a more transparent speaker, which I much preferred on jazz and most acoustic music (I will review the .7 in a few weeks on this blog).

The Morel Octave 6 Limited Edition Bookshelf speaker sells for $2,500 per pair in the US and £2,000 in the UK.