Morel Encore Mk II review

Despite solid appearances the Morel lacks the finesse and all-round ability to trouble the best Tested at £699.00

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Our Verdict

Despite solid appearances the Morel lacks the finesse and all-round ability to trouble the best

For

  • Smart and solid, versatile systems
  • satellites have decent detail
  • good, fast surround steering

Against

  • Integration between satellites and sub is poor
  • subwoofer lacks definition and agility
  • hard edge to treble

It may be the first time that this Morel package has appeared in our pages but – much like KEF – the company's surround sound systems are somewhat recognisable.

That moon-faced sub is certainly familiar, forming part of the Stream and Nova packages, but here it's accompanied by a fresh set of satellites.

The speakers in question are the SoundSpot SI-1MKIIs – SoundSpot speakers being Morel's ‘heart & soul', as the company's website happily explains.

The metal satellites are well-made and each has a base plate which allows the speaker 180-degree rotation on a shelf, wall or ceiling, so you can get the angle of direction just right. Available in white, black or silver finishes, the speakers are very smart on the eye.

In action, the Morel system is a lively listen. Enjoying the fast-paced drama of Street Kings on Blu-ray, the Encore Mk II keeps us on the edge of our seats, though it's fair to say our teeth are on edge at times, too. While we can't fault the excitement, that top-end treble toughens up on occasion.

Sub-standard bass lets the side down
Elsewhere, while the satellites prove pleasant enough, steering sound around the room with sufficient agility and uncovering plenty of detail, the subwoofer is the odd one out at this party.

Not only does the sub struggle to truly integrate, sounding detached from the rest of the action, but the quality of bottom-end notes leaves plenty to be desired, lacking agility and precision.

Tim Burton's superbly creepy Corpse Bride is given plenty of space to breathe, with the centre channel carrying dialogue with sufficient clarity, if being a little top-heavy, and music has plenty of the required vim and vigour.

But again, the satellites seem disparate to the sub's advances, the two competing at either ends of the tonal spectrum.

Listening to music proves a similarly mixed bag, with the satellites proving sprightly but not bearing up too well to tougher listens, such as the The White Stripes' Elephant.

The Encore Mk II speakers are far from disgraced in this company, but in simple sonic terms they're just not quite a high-enough overall standard.