Tweeter recommendation close to MDT33

I am currently looking for tweeters that are similar in sound Morel MDT33, but at a more reasonable price. Someone at CES told me about a more reasonably priced Vifa that was very close to the Morel, but at the time, I failed to note which model they were refering to. (Note: These tweeters will be used in a home theater set-up, so any recommendations will have to consider the same sort of power handling capability that is equal to or bettter than the Morel)
You won't find any tweeter that is equal to, or better than the Morel, in a 1 inch dome, with regards to power handling capability. I am a speaker hobbyist, and have tried/owned essentially all of the great soft domes. The top of the line Vifa, is also affordable, and is the TG-45-06 (I forget the rest of the numbers/letters, if there are any). I own these, and plan to use 12 of them in a large line array project. They're around 20 to $25 a piece. However, there's no way they're even close to the dynamics of the MDT-33. Also, the MDT-33 is the tweeter that is the bargain, as it is essentially as good as the Scanspeak Revelator (my other favorite tweeter)...except that the Rev costs DOUBLE what the MDT-33 costs. You could argue that the MDT-33 isn't 4 times better than the Vifa, and you'd be right, except that cost/performance in audio is more "logarithmic", than linear.
This article may be a little long, but I just wanted to let you know how I stumbled upon Morel as a name, let alone the product that it sells. I now own a pair of the Morel Prelude speakers and they have the MDT33 tweeters and they sound fantastic. They are very smoothe, open and detailed and like Carl says , they can handle a lot of power. The Preludes also use the same woofer as the Eggleston Andras except in a treated paper cone. I don't know what your budget is, but the floor standing Prelude in a transmission-line enclosure is only 1700.00 retail. The tweeter I believe runs around 120.00 each. It has been compared to tweeters like the scanspeaks and the dynaaudio esotar and I don't know how much difference there is in sound because I haven't compared them, but I think I would take the mdt33 based on its price performance ratio over the esotar at over 400.00 a piece. It' a coincidence that I would even be commenting on this article if it weren't for the fact that I actually drove to Audio Studio to purchase a pair of used Spendor FL6's and trade my 1.5's Spendors in . I listened to the Spendors which I was familiar with because I had owned this set for 3 yrs. At this time I had never heard of Morel. I thought it was just a friend of mines last name. I listened to the fl6 and they sounded like Spendors which I liked. These speakers were on consignment and before I purchased the Spendors he suggested listening to a pair of Morel Preludes. It was like somene had forgotten to take the carton off the spendors before they wired them up. It was that dramatic. I was stunned because the only reason I took the 85 mile drive was to buy these Spendors. I could not believe the difference in the sound I heard in comparison. The Morels were superb in every aspect, especially in the high end in which they excelled. The stores owner and the distributer for Morel drivers said the difference you heard was that they used there top of the drivers in this speaker and he commented on how good the mdt33 tweeter was. I have owned these speakers for 10 months and there isn't a day that goes by that said I made a mistake in selecting the Morels . I also had a friend who is into designing his own speakers come over to my house to listen to my Morels, and he drove down to Boston to pick up the same drivers I have in the Preludes. Morels are great speakers and the MDT33 is a superb tweeter. Put it this way. The Merlin TSM uses all Morel drivers in its speaker. The tweeter in that unit sells for a little over 50.00 The TSM retails for over 2500.00 now. I know the design of the crossover is a large part of the money in that design, but this shows just how good a value the Preludes are, at least to me. Good luck in your search
Morel drivers are reasonably priced. They are generally copies of Dynaudio drivers, sometimes with a few twists(like double magnets). The fact that the Morel name doesn't carry the Dynaudio cache, means you get to pay less. Sometimes MUCH less. The information you were given about Vifa is quite correct. Actually Vifa and ScanSpeak are the same company. If you do not want to spring for the Morel MDT33, then go with the Vifa D27TG line. The exact model depends on what resonance frequency you need, presence of rear chamber and/or shielding or not, etc. These silk dome tweeters range from $18 - $25 over the net. I will not tell you they are better than Dynaudio, the Morel MDT33, or ScanSpeak, but they are much closer than anyone would expect. Very easy to listen to, yet extended and wonderfully detailed. Will easily handle all of your requirements. I am of the opinion that what is behind a driver is more important than the driver itself. The right crossover design/parts/construction will make that $20 tweeter sound better than a lot of people using the $120 tweeter. Please check out the Reliable(Rel)/MIT caps(same company now, I believe). Use the best capacitor that corresponds with the value you need. Teflon or polystyrene w/aluminum, tin, or copper foil if possible. Also use good wire inside the speaker. Teflon insulated high purity copper or silver is cheaper than you think(less than $15 to do both speakers with silver).
I disagree with Trelja, on the "what is behind a driver is MORE important than the driver itself". This is wrong, but the components upstream of the driver are nearly as important as the driver, they just aren't MORE important.....Also, to Chipster, the treated paper Morel woofers ARE the same ones used in the Eggleston Andra, and I own those woofers as well............Additionally, the MDT-33 is a TRIPLE magnet tweeter, and hence is surpassed in motor strength by only one other 1 inch dome tweeter (and it's NOT the Esotar): it's the Focal unit in the Utopia line. However, I don't consider ANY Focal tweeter to be comparable to any of the soft domes we are discussing here (even the affordable Vifa), because of the Focal's design being inherently undamped, and ringing at 17 kHz, well within the audible range. The motor and structure of the $2000 Focal tweeter is to be admired, however, and if they ever make an edge driven soft dome variant (not likely), I would suddenly get interested in JM Labs...
We have two areas of disagreement, Carl. First, the easy one. The Morel 6" midrange used by Eggleston is polypropylene, not paper. No room for argument on that one. The second point is more a matter of opinion. In my experience, a $25 tweeter(such as the aforementioned Vifa) can easily sound better than the $100+ models by using exotic quality parts behind it, coupled with good crossover design. Those parts would include film(polystyrene or teflon) and foil(aluminum, tin, copper, or silver) capacitors(haven't tried oil filled), silicone wire wound resistors, and reference quality wire. How many loudspeakers use these capacitors or resistors? I guarantee you it is an incredibly short list. And usually they will only use those caps to bypass a cheaper(but still good) one. That being said, the more expensive tweeter with those same exotic parts will be superior to the cheaper tweeter. No disagreement there.
I have owned the MDT33 and the Dynaudio Esotar and they are virtually constructed the same. Their technical info. sheets reveal them alost indistinguishable. Physically the Dynaudioa are much larger due to the mounting baffle which they claim acts as a heat sink. Though in my listening experience, the dynaudios infact sound better. I have no clue as to why they do.
I should clarify one of the arguments I have been making. You CANNOT use any $25 tweeter to get the kind of results I was speaking of. In fact, of all of the drivers I have come across, only a scant few are capable of excellent performance. Most sound like $25 tweeters. I do not like metal dome tweeters in most instances(and they usually dominate this price point). To my ears, they are much too prone to harshness, distortion, and ringing than a soft dome. Most of these drivers have to be compensated for at some stage of the game(in the crossover, electronics, or interconnect/speaker cable), and that to me is just not right. I find the silk dome Vifa D27TG to be an aberration. 95% of the performance of the expensive tweeters we have been discussing, for 20%(or less) of the price. I used to dabble in some Vifa(among others) tweeters, and thought they were competant, but not outstanding. Just very commendable performance, especially for the price. But the D27TG line redefines what one can expect and hear. I do agree with Carl(as we have both stated here many times) that the Focal tweeters are horrendous. Whether they be Ti, TiO2, or Kevlar, they always send me running as fast as I can away from them. I have not heard the expensive JMLabs line, but I have heard some mighty expensive products that use these tweeters and wondered how anyone could ever buy them.
I have been using the Vifa D27TG-45-06 tweeter in a pair of custom speakers for over a year, and have been extremely pleased with their performance. This model is the bulged faced version of the 27TG series. I can honestly say that they are without a doubt the best soft dome tweeter, for the price, on the market. The resolve very well, and with a good crossover can "compete" with the greats. Obviously there are better tweeters, but not at this price. I have never heard the Morels, so I cannot give you a comparison. Try the vifa's you will not be sorry.
Thanks for all of the feedback guys! The above information has been extremely usefull.
Trelja, I apologize for being wrong, then. TELL ME THIS: In 1997, why did Stereophile lie, when they quoted Eggleston, that he used the paper cone version?...............Also, your opinion and experience are yours, and mine is mine. And I have tried BOTH the Esotar T-330D and MDT-33, and the Esotar had a false aggressiveness that the MDT-33 did not. However, I love the Esotar M-560D midrange, which is superior to ALL other midrange drivers, including those in the Kharma line, IMO. Also, when you say "behind it", you actually mean "upstream of it", and I resubmit that what you are saying is merely opinion. My opinion is different from yours, and nothing you have said disputes it, for me. You cannot make a cheap motor/diaphragm THE EQUAL, OR THE BETTER, or a fully evolved and powerful design, no matter what the parts quality is....Perhaps UNLESS OF COURSE YOU ELMINATE THE SERIES CAPACITOR (capacitiors will always have the worst signature on a tweeter, every desinger knows that). And, "How many speakers do that"? There's the Sonus Faber Extrema, but it doesn't use an economical tweeter. In any case, you are stating things in a matter of fact manner, which actually are not matter of fact, and I'll thank you to stop that. Say "this is only my opinion", like I do, and we'll be fine.
Carl, the October 1997 Stereophile does say that the driver used in the Eggleston is polypropylene. In several places, actually. And in the first paragraph of page 193 Bill Eggleston is quoted directly, "It's a custom version of a 6" polypropylene midbass driver from Morel that incorporates a 3" voice-coil and a double-center magnet". I also had several conversations about speaker design with one of the workers over the phone when the review came out(which included this Morel driver - which I had previously used). I find it refreshing for a company to be so open as to what their speakers incorporate. Perhaps, that is why their speakers are so good. They keep an open mind. I agree with your opinions regarding the Morel and Dynaudio drivers you mention. I do state my opinions are just that; please see my first post in this thread. Never do I claim I have all the answers, or am smarter than anyone else.
I'm going to look that article up, and get back to you, if that's ok...because I think they were paper, at least then.
I would just like to respond to Carl and Trelja in reference to the Morel 164 driver, since I was the one who brought it up in the first place. When I purchased the Preludes, I had never heard of Morel. Since I live close to the Boston area, I was able to go directly to the only distributer in the country for Morel drivers. Mikael Shabani is the man behind Morel and he has been selling these drivers for over 20 years. Being a business man as well as a salesman, he showed me a picture of the Egglestons on his wall. He distinctly told me the Andras midrange and the one used in the Prelude were the same, except for the composition. The Andras used the polypropelene and the Preludes the treated paper. He told me the treated paper cones were more musical sounding than the poly and this is why he chose them for his speaker. This is coming straight from the source so I hope I have settled the 164 war for now! I myself would have assigned each one a different number. Much easier. Less confusion. We know that the midrange is used by quite a few designers, I wanted to ask Carl,Trelja or anyone else,if they know of a manufacturer who uses the mdt33 as their tweeter?
Thank you for chiming in Chipster. And you are correct. The vast majority of Morels you see of this model are paper. Perhaps that is why Carl takes this position. But, different designers have different preferences and reasons for doing what they do. Eggleston felt polypropylene superior. Reason given to me was that their test for a midrange driver was to play piano, very difficult to get right(try it sometime - and give it a REAL workout). The polypropylene was superior, due to the structural integrity of the material compared to paper. Less breakup. But a test using only one criteria cannot not tell everything. I have heard some speakers over the past two years that have featured paper cones because the designers found them to be more musical. Triangle would be the most recognizable. It could be that one who built an expensive speaker such as this feels that polypropylene was de riguer. May be even expected to use polymer cones to be taken seriously. I know I got into that mindset. That is dangerous, as to fall into the trap of dogma is limiting. I have built a bunch of speakers, and found polymer cones to be superior. But, in retrospect I have to rethink my position. It is sometimes rare to be able to be able to compare apples to apples. Historically, the driver manufacturers have had other advantages built into the polymer coned drivers, as they are usually part of a superior line. But, if all things were equal... I adamantly feel that speaker design(and every part of it) is by far the most fraught with disagreement. What is false today may become the truth of tomorrow. The one constant of the speaker hobby is change.
By the way Carl, if you need that article I could fax it to you. I have it right in front of me. Despite our disagreement, the content of the article is quite educational. A lot of insight into their philosophy(but a bit overboard on the praise). More so than any other Stereophile review I have read. And if you have further questions, the people at Eggleston(I presume their restarting the company has lasted) are fantastic. They will answer any, and I mean ANY question you have. And will even ask you for advice, preferences, and experience. They hooked me up with Swedac(dampens panel resonances). Wow, someone who actually will admit that they don't have all the answers and are learning every day(just like all of us).
Trelja and Carl this one here is been so one sided it is a joke. Trelja you just keep coming back time after time with facts and expreirience and knowledge. I have to say it was an absolute knockout not even a contest. And he can't even use his usual nastiness and know it all ways with you because you just hit him with the facts he's got nothing to come back at you with. See how he turns the whole thing around and won't even talk about your tweeter recommendation. I used to think you were a zero but you're ok.
I am sickened by your personal hatred of me, Ikinat. It is not deserved. We are discussing drivers here, and not people. Unless you have something to add to the discussion, you ought to just read, and not take cheap shots. If Audiogon had any credibility with applying their rules to everyone equally, your post would be deleted.
Ehider, I hope you proceed with your project; using one of the tweeters from the Vifa D27TG line. I have personally found that they mesh extremely well with Seas midbass drivers. You could choose from either the P17(6.5") or P21(8") line(polypropylene with or without phase plug). The magnesium versions of these drivers w/copper phase plugs are used on some of THE finest speakers around(Hales, Coincident, etc.). The smaller one may be preferable if you're building a 3 way design, or will be using a strong subwoofer. You could also use a Morel driver. Morel 6" would be MW162, MW164, or MW166, 8" would be MW265 or MW266. Both companies may now have different versions(and part numbers) of these drivers. Pardon me as I am using 5 year old literature(last time I built anything with these parts - sorry). A simple first order crossover will sound very nice with this combination. Use a polypropylene and tin foil Rel or MIT cap on the tweeter leg. You may also want to bypass this with a polystyrene or teflon and copper foil cap(yields an excellent improvement for the money). For the woofer, I recommend a 12 gauge coil from North Creek or Alpha Core Goertz. The North Creek offers a more relaxed, liquid tone, Goertz is a bit more analytical sounding to me. Try this combination out. If the tweeter needs attenuation(depends on the midbass driver you mate with it), use a 1 - 3 ohm, 10 watt silicone coated wire wound resistor from Ohmite(or equivalent). Please do not use any other type of resistor, as these are the only ones I have come across that will not add the harshness, grunge, and distortion most people will expect from this tweeter. Buy the resistors from Mouser Electronics, as their prices are roughly a third($1.75 - $3) of the what the speaker suppliers will charge you. I presume you are going to be using solid state electronics. If that is the case, go with copper wire internally. If you know you will be using tubes, you may want to consider silver. Both Orca Design(20 ga.) and Home Grown Audio(22 ga.) sell excellent copper wire, the HomeGrown having teflon insulation(better). I recommend braiding enough wire to achieve 17 gauge to the tweeter, and 12 gauge to the woofer. Using the aforementioned parts, you will be able to build speakers for $125 - $200 that a manufacturer would sell for more money than you would care to believe. And you will not have to worry about power handling. Good Luck with your project!
Trelja, Thanks for the information regarding your recommended associated drivers and crossover parts. Also, to everyone else: Thanks again for all of the valuable advice!