Hardware Reviews

Avyra 622 speakers put Morel back on the map

Morel Avyra 622 speaker review https://the-ear.net

Morel Avyra 622 speakers

Having heard the new Morel Avyra 633 floorstanders on a recent visit to the Editor, I was keen to audition the smaller 622 standmounts from the same range and thought might work well in my acoustics. Morel is well known for its drive units which feature in designs from a range of well-respected brands as well as in the world of in-car audio. Cosmetically at least, the one-piece mid/bass units resemble those from the Dynaudio stable; an urban myth has it that the companies benefited from the work of the same designer many years ago.

Morel

Meir Mordechai founded Morel in 1975, inspired by his love of music and motivated by a dream to create the perfect loudspeaker. His life-long quest has resulted in successive generations of speakers and audio drivers that consistently set new standards for high sound quality.

Morel Avyra 622 speaker review https://the-ear.net

The new Avyra Series, with its name derived from the Hebrew word for ‘ambiance’, are handmade in Israel and includes four models. The series consists of the Avyra 633 floorstander, Avyra 622 bookshelf, Avyra C5 centre, and Avyra subwoofer, offering a complete solution for both two-channel stereo use and home theatre setups.

Design

The Avyra 622 is described as a ‘bookshelf’ although its rear reflex port almost certainly precludes its use as such and standmounting is much more satisfactory. There are dedicated stands with matching aesthetics available. One of the standout features of the Avyra series is its 14-litre cabinet design which veers away from a basic box. The MDF enclosure is made with great accuracy using CNC machining and is available in black/white/wood finish to include side sculpturing, aiding visual appeal.

Morel Avyra 622 speaker review https://the-ear.net

The Avyra series features bespoke drivers. The 160mm mid/bass features a one-piece cone diaphragm made of Morel’s Damped Polymer Composite. This has been designed to reduce break-up modes and distortion and thus lower coloration and limit resonances. An unusual part of the design is an external voice coil with a 3-inch aluminium voice coil made from Hexatech wire. The idea is to provide robust support for piston-like cone movement while the large surface area provides effective cooling at high-power levels. Attention has also been paid to the hybrid motor system which has been engineered to produce sufficient magnetic flux to create a high efficiency driver. The entire driver is built on an open chassis to prevent air waves being trapped.

The 28mm soft-dome tweeter is built and tested in-house, rather than relying on a third-party supplier. The silk-based dome material has been selected for a balance between stiffness and damping, it is Acuflex coated to damp unwanted resonances. Use of a neodymium magnet increases the unit’s efficiency while giving the desired balance of high magnetic flux along with compact physical properties. A rear-chamber design aids impedance control and allows for a lower crossover frequency of 2.2kHz, this sees the tweeter contributing more to the midrange output in an effort to create a smoother transition between the drive units.

Morel Avyra 622 speaker review https://the-ear.net

To the cabinet’s rear are a 44Hz reflex port and a single pair of gold-plated terminals for banana plugs, spade connectors or bare wires. Attention has been paid to the crossover which is second-order for both the woofer and tweeter, using hi-fi grade air-core and film components. The tweeter has Zobel attenuation. The crossover network is installed as far away from the drivers as possible at the bottom of the cabinet to minimise any interference.

Sound quality

Not having the matching Morel stands I experimented and found that coupling to some 60cm, filled metal stands accentuated the bass while dulling slightly the focus and producing a slightly congested midrange. Forsaking some bass (after all, these are small boxes), I opted for some lightweight, open-framed wooden stands and tilted the speakers back slightly as the on-axis point seemed to be midway between the two drive units, rather than the centre of the tweeter dome as some designers opt for.

Morel Avyra 622 speaker review https://the-ear.net

Amplifier choice is always an important consideration and proved to be the case here. The 622’s sensitivity is not the highest; my estimate of around 87dB/1W/1m was confirmed by Morel and while a low-power amplifier will work, it is not surprising that I achieved much better results with the mighty Hegel H600, not least it is happy working with lower impedance loads such as the four Ohms presented by the 622s at certain frequencies.

Before the listening panel assembled, I ran the speakers in for almost a week since they were factory-fresh. Then I enjoyed some of my chosen material which included Vivaldi’s Stabat Mater (Robin Blaze and the King’s Consort under Robert King, Hyperion 1998). Always a delight to listen to when the system is ‘singing’ it revealed that this is a delightful amp/speaker pairing. The second movement’s opening of sustained harmonies followed by passionate gasps from staccato strings made the hairs on the back of my neck tingle. The entire evocative, emotional performance was a joy to hear as the subtleties of phrasing and articulation brought home a real sense of passion.

Radio 3 brought us a live concert by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall including Vasily Petrenko conducting Elgar’s invigorating concert overture Cockaigne (In London Town), from 1901. The exuberant performance came across with skipping rhythms and a real swagger to the marching band. Via the Morels, the soundstage was deep and wide, imaging near perfect and timing ability encouraged my feet to tap. For live material, the 622s easily pass muster as faithful reproducers of the recording venue and its atmosphere.

Morel Avyra 622 speaker review https://the-ear.net

Lower registers were reproduced well and it’s clear that the design is nicely tuned to 45Hz to reinforce the bass output, as was evident across a wide range of material, no more so than on organ works. JS Bach’s Praeludium und Fuge in C Dur (Bernard Foccroulle) played on a splendid, historic instrument certainly moved some air as the woofer cone visibly moved and my foot tapped involuntary. The bass credentials of the 622 were also cemented by the soundtrack to some TV commercials and programme trailers as the bass output was phenomenal given the size of both main driver and the cabinet volume.

The listening panel assembled and the playlist changed in genre and tempo. Highlights of the session included Semisonic’s track Chemistry which was well rounded with a clear, detailed midrange that allowed the vocals to shine through. There was good definition from a piece which could easily become confused and congested on lesser systems. The imaging was superb with clear and precise placement of each performer across a vivid soundstage. This piece also confirmed the 622s pace, rhythm and timing abilities.

Morel Avyra 622 speaker review https://the-ear.net

Peace by Highlyy was less to my taste but the panel were impressed by the Morel’s reproduction which again possessed great detail with a full and driving bass that brought a smile to their faces. I noted the layering and imaging as well as clear vocals once again. Waiting… by Rome in Silver revealled the 622’s dynamic abilities, speed and agility with a track where real drive and pace are essential to the overall theme. The speakers kept pace remarkably well with this House track which is apparently a “coming of age song” about getting older and realizing that life is much more complex than we assume.

Before packing these delightful speakers away, I thought about the dozens of designs which I hear, many at this price-point, but deem unworthy of a review because they simply are not up to the job. The 622s remained in my system, either side of the TV screen, as I went through my usual diet of drama, news and current affairs, and live classical concerts. At no time did I feel the urge to take the Morels out of the system because they never failed to not only satisfy but also excite. They did everything I wanted of them, and did it just right.

My final listening was to Topol and a recording of Fiddler on the Roof from that rather somnolent performance in the film version which is just so full of detail. The recording’s great depth and fullness throughout all the music was faithfully reproduced as his vibrant vocals ensure listeners are empathetic toward Tevye, aided by his raging toothache which added an extra layer of angst to the performance. I liked the way the Morels didn’t try to add anything of their own, as too many designs do, and spoil a really enjoyable disc. The soundstage was deep and wide, extending way beyond the cabinet edges while the midrange clarity was a delight, something easily ruined in less competent speaker designs.

Morel Avyra 622 speaker review https://the-ear.net

Conclusion

This is a lot of speaker for the money. Usually, with something at this price I would be cautious, believing that it’s unlikely to be competent. But, with the Morel Avyra 622 we have something of an audio bargain. Manufacturing costs are reduced because Morel already make drive units, and in quantity. And, we have to say, that many manufacturers use any opportunity to charge as much as they think they can get away with, rather than base the final price directly on manufacturing costs and supply chain costs.

Confident of its design standards, Morel offers an impressive five-year warranty against manufacturing defects. Until distributors are appointed in specific territories, the product is available direct from Morel.

The overall sound is clean with a neutral balance across the spectrum. While not over-extended, the treble is delightfully detailed, clear and crisp; never harsh or sibilant. Midrange is a standout feature of this design and I found that listening to the human voice was a sheer delight. Smaller boxes sometimes lack convincing bass of anything but one-note, but not the Avyra 622; there’s plenty here to satisfy discerning listeners and, in my solidly-constructed medium-sized space, it adds conviction to the overall presentation. In the Avyra 622 we have a well-engineered, solidly made and superb sounding standmount speaker at a very competitive price, it is very highly recommended.

Specifications:

Type: reflex loaded 2-way standmount loudspeaker
Crossover frequency: 2.2kHz
Drive units:
Mid/bass: 160mm integrated one-piece cone, double magnet motor, 75mm aluminium voice coil
Tweeter: 28mm Acuflex handcrafted soft-dome, aluminium voice coil
Nominal frequency response:  45 – 18,000 Hz
Nominal impedance: 4 Ohms
Sensitivity: 89dB @ 2.83v/1m
Connectors: single-wire binding posts
Dimensions HxWxD: 360 x 241 x 271mm
Weight: 8kg
Finishes: black/white/wood
Warranty: 5 years

Price when tested:
US $1,200
Manufacturer Details:

Manufacturer Morel (I.L.) Ltd.
T +972-8-9301161
http://www.morelhifi.com

Type:

standmount loudspeakers

Author:

Trevor Butler

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