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The Morel MLP-403-5: stay away!

post #1 of 61
Thread Starter 
There's been a bit of discussion here about the Morel USA MLP-403-5 speakers, which are currently on sale. It seemed like a very good deal at first, but it turns out that they're too good to be true. For those considering these speakers, Dennis Murphy has posted measurements over at Madisound. Check them out before plunking down your cash:

In the actual discussion thread, Dennis comments that these are the worst measuring speakers he's seen this year:

Measurements aren't everything, but it seems that it would be worth auditioning these speakers before buying them.
post #2 of 61
*puts his CC back to wallet"

Phew... that was a close call.
post #3 of 61
Not so fast. May still be worth it for the tweaker:

With the phase nulls gone and (real) measurements of +/- 5db, this is pretty darn good for a commercial speaker in this price range. Up for debate, of course. Nothing I know of measures like a mbow1 or similar diy speaker in this ball park.
post #4 of 61
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by ooheadsoo
With the phase nulls gone and (real) measurements of +/- 5db, this is pretty darn good for a commercial speaker in this price range. Up for debate, of course.
Even with the revised wiring and the new trap filter, this is mediocre performance for a commercial bookshelf in the $200 ballpark, let alone $600.

Nothing I know of measures like a mbow1 or similar diy speaker in this ball park.
Yes, but neither does this Morel!
post #5 of 61
What I'm saying is that "real" measurements, not manufacturer provided or heavily smoothed measurements by reviewers are rarely as good as the companies claim. Real +/-5 is indeed not too shabby. Or you could look at the $22,000 Wilson Watt/Puppy 7 that has a +/- of about 10db:

In short, for a commercial speaker, I think it's acceptable and far from the worst you can get. 8" 3 way with very good sensitivity and true +/-5db. For diy, ROFLMAO.
post #6 of 61
Thread Starter 
Wilsons are a joke (as are a lot of the boutique high end).

Most modern commercial speakers do measure well, though some use smoothing. You may not trust any single measurement (from the manufacturer, from Stereophile, from SoundStage, or from The $ensible Sound), but generally they match more closely than you'd think. SoundStage's measurements are taken in Canada's NRC anechoic chamber in Ottawa. It's a quality measurement setup, and they do not use smoothing. Also, at least you get to see the off-axis curves. Are manufacturer's +/- 1.5dB (PSB) or +/- 2dB (Paradigm) quoted measurements believable? Not really, but I've rarely seen them measured as worse than +/-3 dB by any reviewer. These Morels, even after Dennis' modifications, are laughable really in comparison, especially for the price. The $600 is better spent elsewhere, especially since they're going to have close to zero resale value.

There are also plenty of DIY designs that don't measure well. Most of the GR Research A/V speakers have a nasty hump as early as 30 degrees off axis, which causes reflections to affect the frequency response in a real room. Wonder why he's stopped providing off-axis measurements for the AV-3 and AV-3C, eh?
post #7 of 61
Wodgy which is your opinion on the Axioms speakers, have you ever heard them, I would like to know to stop reco them in case of a non satisfactory opinion, IMO they do sound good, but I'm not an expert in any way...M3Ti, M2Ti, etc...bookshelves OK?
post #8 of 61
Nevertheless, Wilsons are reported to sound quite good. Heck, Norhs are reputed to sound good. Look at the silverline FR plots here?

Downright scary. Not everything is in the FR plot. I like to see waterfall plots as well, though they're pretty rare. Anything using a hiquphon ow1 tweeter with rounded cabinet edges is going to have a leg up on just about anything out there though, dispersion wise. Or some nice ribbons, but those are considerably more pricy.

As for GR's speakers, I don't know of many commercial speakers in that price range that would beat the m130 woofer. The tweeter could use work, but it's par for the course, IMO. The mbow1 basically swaps the tweeter for a unit that's 3 times as expensive, and it shows. The series xover is also a factor in the overall sound of the a/v series. I've liked the properly executed series xovers I've heard, as far as openness, pinpoint imaging, and transparency. The off axis hump is probably a casualty of the series xover. You have to give somewhere.
post #9 of 61
Thread Starter 
I've never heard the Axioms. I'd like to though. Some people say they're bright, some people say they're smooth. I generally don't like metal tweeters, so for people interested in mail-order speakers, I'd probably suggest the Ascend CBM170s as a possible alternative to the Axioms. They're both about the same price.

(PS. The "no crossover on the woofer" thing with Axioms is more marketing than an actual advantage. In my mind it would be better to have a crossover, if only to get rid of the woofer's breakup modes.)
post #10 of 61
Originally Posted by Wodgy
(PS. The "no crossover on the woofer" thing with Axioms is more marketing than an actual advantage. In my mind it would be better to have a crossover, if only to get rid of the woofer's breakup modes.)
I agree. Maybe on a paper woofer, but aluminum?
post #11 of 61
Thread Starter 
nOrhs are only reputed to sound good by the fanboys on audio forums, particularly the fanboys in the nOrh forum on AudioCircles (and Harmonic Discord before that). I confess, I fell for it once. If anyone wants to take a pair of Marble 3.0s off my hands, let me know.
post #12 of 61
Thread Starter 
BTW, ooheadsoo, do you find the highs on the MBOW1s bright? I'm considering building Murphy's newest design, the CA01. The guy who makes Ellis 1801s says that Murphy's tastes lean a bit towards the bright side, and he suggests toning down the tweeter a bit. What is your feeling about that?
post #13 of 61
They actually scored some good reviews as well, including a TNT audio reviewer who declared the 9.0 the best 2 way he's ever heard.

I considered the caow1 as well, but I plan on eventually upgrading to the 3 way so that was out for me.

The brightness of the ow1, hm. This is an interesting issue. I've read again and again that the detractors of the ow1 say that it doesn't have enough zing up top. When I first heard the mbow1, comparing to my nht pro a-10, I thought the tweeter wasn't working. In fact, the first time I listened to my speakers, something had shorted and the tweeter was indeed not working, but my impression of it stayed afterwards. However, putting on some tweeter intensive material like violins and high screeching trumpets quickly cleared up that misconception. It's working, alright.

I don't find the tweeter to be offensive. I also sit very far off axis (45 degrees or so) most of the time. Of course, with such good dispersion, it doesn't affect the HF all that much, but even so, it does affect it slightly. There's practically no musical material at 20khz. I've found that I don't particularly favor the sound you get directly on axis with tweeters in general, and this generally holds true for the mbow1 as well, though, as I've mentioned, the off axis response is very close to the on axis.

In short, I don't mind it at all. I've never considered modding the xover. Your preferences may vary. I think you can just drop the value of the parallel resistor by 5 ohms or so across the tweeter's leads to soften it up if you want to. The mbow1 is very clear, I'll tell you that much.

I can give more impressions in a bit, I'm late for a physical...
post #14 of 61
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the impressions! I think I'd like the Hiquphon tweeter, as I do generally like soft dome tweeters. That's one of the major reasons I'm interested in Murphy's designs. Why do you listen so far off axis? At 45 degrees it looks like the highs are 6dB down from Murphy's website. Maybe it would be worth trying Murphy's tweak to attenuate the highs a bit so you could listen a bit closer to on-axis?
post #15 of 61
It is technically down, but I really don't feel like I miss anything, seriously. There's precious little sound up there. I usually sit that close because I'm at my computer, and that will never change. If I want to have a dedicated listening session, I'll back my chair up and listen on axis. It barely sounds different, frequency extension wise, but it is a bit less detailed compared to when I'm closer. I think I'm technically still "nearfield" even when I've backed myself up to the equilateral axis position with the speakers on axis (about 5 to 6 feet.) I've considered toeing the speakers in more, but I've been lazy since I really don't feel like I'm missing anything in the first place.
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