Review: Morrison Audio Model 19 Speaker

Category: Speakers

When last we spoke I was sharing with you my amazement with Morrison’s smallest speaker, the Model 11. So impressed I was, it became apparent that my beloved Shahinian Obelisks would be sidelined for a while until I could find a kink in the tiny titan’s armor. Direct comparisons proved the 11s weren’t’ to be dismissed so easily despite their size. The purchaser of a Morrison loudspeaker never has to worry about sacrificing quality in terms of model hierarchy due to wallet size.

During the summer I visited Don’s home in the lovely Beaches neighborhood of Toronto Canada intent on purchasing a pair of Model 17 speakers. After visiting Don's favorite watering hole we returned to his home for a listen. The improvements Don has made since he took over the Hegeman line distance this speaker from the original Hegeman Model 1. Aside from changing the speaker’s appearance from Mission to Eames (my words), a lot of changes were small, but rendered huge results. .

Back in D.C.…

Don called a week or so later and we spoke of a new speaker he was introducing. After our discussion I was so intrigued that I went full in.

I have to mention this because it is important. The packaging is first rate. Every precaution has been taken to assure that the speaker arrives in-tact. The packing is exceptional.

The one thing I noticed that effected the sound greatly was the departure of the half sphere associated with the earlier models. Don now employs an almost entirely round sphere save for the space needed to hold the tweeter, and above the tweeter is a complete sphere for high-end dispersion. This has resulted in producing a rock solid image that the earlier models had and I thought couldn't get any better. I don't know how he did it, but the bass is even deeper and judicious. Though I own two very good legitimate subs, this evaluation of the Model 19 had to be done without a subwoofer. . My job now is to describe to you a speaker with an ineffable nature?

My musical taste runs the gamut. My passion is for avant-garde; 20th century Classical; Experimental.; Dissonance and Minimalism. For starters, Frank Zappa’s orchestral album The Yellow Shark performed by Ensemble Modern. The first piece titled Dog Breath Variations contains a large orchestral bass drum. The M19 handled this song in such a way that any sane person would not need a subwoofer. Those familiar with Harry Partch’s work, and the vast array of instruments used to execute most of his songs will appreciate a speaker that lays out the performers in a stage that is easy to visualize, and not crowded or limited by design shortcomings of most audiophile box speakers. Vinx’s “Rooms in my Fatha’s house” is a mixture of songs that are made up of A Cappella, African drum and piano accompaniment. Purchase this CD if you don’t already have it, lights out or on, you’ll be floored. The two Mapleshade CDs I’ve listed below are good examples of audiophile quality recordings. I’ve heard the master tapes of at least 2 Mapleshade recordings. Performances are portrayed very clear and you can hear the room boundaries. The Model 19 has the stop and go quickness of live music and I can say with complete honesty they are without peer in the category of absence of box coloration.

The Model 19 is a speaker that can't be compared to the best loudspeakers because it’s completely without character. My first floor is an open floor plan. The opening between the living room and dining room is 10 feet wide. On the living room side I placed the Model 19 on opposite sides of the opening with 6 feet between them (inside measurements) and 10 feet from my ear. What I experienced was a soundstage of height and depth equal to large planers but unsurpassed in exciting my sensory signals. The Model 19 easily placed the recorded musical performances in my living room as if I was part of the audience. I proceeded to close the distance between the speakers and me. I love near field listening so I placed the speakers an inside distance of 56 inches apart and each 69 inches from my ear – No Speaker. At best, the description would be pure enjoyment after seeing your favorite concert performed. Your emotional reaction to the musical event is all that remains. I flipped this set 90 degrees and placed a wall behind the Model 19. First I started with 4 feet behind the speakers, 57 inches apart (inside measurement) and positioned myself 8’-8” from the center ball over the tweeters. Next 3 feet behind the speakers, 57 inches apart with the center ball over the tweeters positioned 6’ from my ears and, finally 57 inches apart and 69 inches from my ears. The last positioning was my favorite but you can’t go wrong any of the others.

In 2000 I owned the Ohm F loudspeakers and within the last six months sold my pair of Shahinian Obelisks. Before purchasing the 19s I visited a local audio Salon and heard the Mbl stand mounted speakers - not even close. The three speakers I just named are good and deserving of honorable mention but the Model 19 just does it better. With the best recordings, venues in the recordings came through clear and instruments were rendered in space with unbelievable focus while exhibiting no cabinet artifacts.

Anyone in the D.C. Metro area interested in listening please contact me through the "Gon"

MAC book with Wavelength Cosecant V2 USB DAC and Iomega 1 Terabyte drive
Esoteric P-500 transport
Ack Dack NOS battery powered DAC
Emotive Audio Sira Reference tube Line Stage
Reference Line Preeminence Two passive Line Stage
Krell KSA 250 Power amplifier
ATI 1502 Power amplifier

Morrison Model 19 -

Lonely Universe - (Michael White, Michael Lambert, David Torn, Mick Karn) - CMP Records; Ensemble Soundarc - For four rooms For 4 Ears; Brigham Young Mahler’s Resurrection; Andy McKee and Next - Sound Roots Mapleshade ; Andy McCloud’’s Gentlemen of Jazz – Blues for Bighead Mapleshade; Peter Herbert –bazooka, Music for Basses Aziza Music; Gebhard Ullmann –BassX Drimala Records; BassInstict – Camerata Tokyo (; Vinx – Rooms in Fatha’s House Pangea ; Harry Partch – The Sound and the Fury Columbia Records; Muslimgauze - Muslimgauze; Mickey Hart/Airto/Flora Purim – Dafos RYKO; Gruppo di Improvvisazione di Nuova Consonanza; Luigi Nono Deutche Gramaphone

Associated gear
MAC book with Wavelength Cosecant V2 USB DAC and Iomega 1 Terabyte drive
Esoteric P-500 transport
Ack Dack NOS battery powered DAC
Emotive Audio Sira Reference tube Line Stage
Reference Line Preeminence Two passive Line Stage
Krell KSA 250 Power amplifier
ATI 1502 Power amplifier

Similar products
Shahinian Diapason system and Obelisks;
Ohm F
Welcome to the audiophile nirvana club! (NOT to be confused with the audiophilia nervosa club!) Your description of the Morrison Audio Model 19 Speakers' imaging capabilities immediately conjures up happy comparisons in my mind to what I've experienced with my own speakers over the last 8 years. The notion of pinpoint imaging in an omnidirectional/polydirectional design may strike some hard core audiophiles as contradictory to the laws of physics, and--more to the point--contrary to their own listening experience. Yet I can attest to the pinpoint imaging capabilities of my own speakers, in spite of their incredibly wide sweet spot, which in my case, extends beyond the lateral confines of the speakers.

Those things said, and with warm compliments to your fine review, I have a few questions (hopefully not too stupid and hopefully not already answered in your most excellent review; see "komodo dragon" by Bob and Ray for an example of less than optimal listening...) for you:

1) What's the price point of the Model 19?
2) How would you rate the TONAL BALANCE (top to bottom) of the Model 19's?
3) Are there any "placement issues" with respect to these speakers? More specifically, how easy are they to set up, and how forgiving of less than "perfect" placement are they?

Thanks for your time. I'm not in the market for speakers but I'm still happy to see the enjoyment of other audiophiles.
Nice to read about these again. Have not heard much about Morrison speakers in recent years.

I am not far from DC metro area in northern MD.

Thanks for the compliments on the review.

>Retail $9500.00.

>I would describe as being describe the tonal balance as reflecting any amplifier you put behind it. I want to say neutral but I guess every creation bares the character of the components used in it's design. But because of the way the speaker is designed internally, to me and others that have listened to it, the sound seems to emanate from a enclosure-less source. Since I posted the review I have had at least 2 more amps on the speakers - One tube and another SS. You won't have time to rub your chin and say "let me see", before it becomes apparent whether the combination is the right fit for you.

>Placement issues, As with any speaker of this type you will want to keep it away from walls. If your room is small, a little bit of diffusion or absorption might be helpful for side walls - I personally prefer diffusion. In my review I mentioned the varied distances. It all depends on your the type of listening perspective you like.

Best always,

I live a mile from the Capital and a 15 minutes stroll from I-295. If ever you want to arrange a visit please contact me. I wouldn't mind listening to your system.

I liked the review of the Morrison Model 19's because of the room and speaker placement descriptions. My experiences with all of Don' current designs (Model 17, 19 and 19.1 have been uniformly positive. The spaciousness, absence of cabinet colorations and completeness of the harmonic envelope of music is as close as I have ever gotten to live performances.