Morel Vario On-Wall Speakers Reviewed

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morel_vario.jpgMorel, best-known as a supplier of drivers for other manufacturers' speakers as well as very good car audio products, has one of the most unique solutions to today's modern, flat HDTV-based home theater installations. The physical reality is that big towering speakers look a little out of place, if not downright stupid, on the floor when your 50-inch 1080p plasma is hanging neatly up on the wall. While the concept of the on-wall speaker is not a new one, the idea of variable-sized ones is novel. Morel's Vario (now you get the name, right?) speaker system is an adjustable speaker system that reshapes to meet the needs of your speaker system. This is no small trick, as most plasmas look as if the loudspeakers are nothing more than an afterthought when installed on the wall. The Morel Vario system allows you the ability to get the installation right, with the lines of the speakers congruent to the featured HDTV.

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• Read more on-wall speaker reviews from's staff.
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In today's market, there are a lot of sexy speakers and unique installation ideas. We recently saw speakers that actually are installed in-wall and then are covered in drywall mud and painted over. While a neat idea without question and a sexy installation idea for modern homes, this doesn't provide the most audiophile sound money can buy. But Morel's Vario does. Most on-walls are cheap plastic speakers designed to hit a price point and be sold in mass numbers, along with consumer-grade HDTVs. Morel's Vario is much more of an audiophile speaker, with far higher build quality and much better than average parts, including, of course, Morel drivers. This is why each Vario panel costs as much as $999. Therefore, a 5.1 system complete with a Morel subwoofer costs about $5,500. Yes, that is likely more expensive than the big HDTV itself.

The sound of the Morel Vario needs to be heard if at all possible. At a recent trade show demonstration, the DVD of House of Flying Daggers was employed. This is a somewhat cheesy Chinese martial arts movie that does have one incredible surround sound demo. In the middle of a battle, marbles are thrown artistically to hit drums held in a circle. While the plot is somewhat hard to accept as realistic, it is an excellent workout for all of your speakers. On the Morel system, I was taken aback at how dynamic the marble hits were, as well as how fast the drums sounded. This system was using a consumer-grade receiver, not $30,000 audiophile amps, yet these mere on-wall speakers were resolving details in a hotel room the way you would expect to hear in the most cutting-edge of mastering stages.

Read about the high points and the low points of the Morel Vario on-walls on Page 2.
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