Q&A: Meir Mordachai - Morel Founder Finds Inspiration in Innovation

September 16 2013, 13:01
Meir and Oren Mordechai

Meir Mordechai attributes the company’s success to its revolutionary designs

SHANNON BECKER: What sparked your initial interest in audio?

MEIR MORDECHAI: Music has always been a big part of my life. The love of music and my curiosity as a child to know how musical instruments play and produce different sounds led me to explore the audio field and experiment with electronics and speakers.

I’m still as passionate today about music as I was then. I regularly attend concerts and live performances to make sure that my ears are “tuned” to what musical instruments sound like, unedited, in their natural state, if you will.

SHANNON: Describe your first personal loudspeaker project. Why did you build it? Is it still in use?

MEIR: I was relatively young when I began my research and building projects. It was at the age of 11 when I tried to improve a speaker by changing its cone for another that I put together from wood veneer.

In my generation, information or electronic products were not readily available as they are today. The lack of access to valuable resources was possibly a key reason that motivated me and many others to build and innovate.

SHANNON: Your company, Morel (www.morelhifi.com), headquartered in Israel, has introduced major technological and design innovations that redefined the state-of-the-art loudspeaker technology. Can you discuss some of them?

MEIR: The desire to innovate has always driven me forward. I realized a long time ago that replicating a product would not necessarily generate business and definitely wouldn’t differentiate me from the competition. The principles of investing significant resources in new product development and in innovating and designing new ways to build speakers has been the core value behind Morel to this day and contributes greatly to our success.

There are several key technologies that were developed over the years that became the platform for our products. Our large external voice coils (EVCs) are one of the signature elements in our speakers. It turned traditional speaker design inside out. The idea was to place the magnetic drive system within the voice coil, eliminating stray magnetic flux by effectively directing all the magnetic energy to the voice coil. The result is an ultra efficient and powerful design that is highly compact with efficient heat dissipation and reduced cone breakup for lower distortion.

Because our magnet systems are placed within the large-diameter voice coils, we always had to invent new ways to achieve more magnetic energy from small magnets. Developing the double and hybrid magnet systems has enabled us to continue to enjoy the great acoustic benefits of the large-diameter voice coils.

There are many more technologies that were developed and employed in our products over the years. We continue to refine these technologies with newly developed materials that become available to us. At the same time, we keep improving the production process to increase consistency and efficacy. We never cease to research and find new ways to improve the sound reproduction; it’s a never-ending journey.

SHANNON: Tell us about Morel’s very first product. How did it come about and is it still being sold today?

MEIR: The first Morel-branded product I made was a 9” mid-bass driver, which employed a 3” coil with a paper composite cone and a single ferrite magnet motor system. Later on the development of the double-magnet system replaced the single-magnet system, immensely improving the product performance. The earlier version of the 9” driver became the foundation for several products that employ some of the original attributes of the design to this day.

SHANNON: Morel has been in business for 38 years. To what do you attribute your success?

MEIR: It can be attributed to many decisions made over the course of 38 years, but most importantly the core values I mentioned earlier, that I adopted early on, and the people who make up this company, are at the heart of our success.

I have always insisted on total design and manufacturing control. It enabled us to have the flexibility in speaker design and the ability to react quickly when needed. Time and time again it has proven to be the best decision I have ever made.

Our focus on innovation and exploring new ways to design speakers has always driven us to new levels. This approach has put us at the forefront with the best speaker manufacturers and also differentiated us from the competition.

A lot of the credit for that has to go to the many people at Morel. Without everyone here we would not have achieved such a high degree of success today. I could not have done all of this by myself. I have been blessed to meet and work with some of the most amazing, hard-working individuals throughout my life. Our production workers, designers, engineers, salespeople, managers, and our global business partners abroad are passionately working to promote our company.

SHANNON: As Morel’s founder and principal designer for many years, what has been your best experience?

MEIR: The joy of designing a product, manufacturing it, and following its acceptance in the marketplace is something very special to me. The thrill and excitement of seeing other people enjoy our creation and design is a feeling that revitalizes me with the energy and drive to work on the next project.

SHANNON: Your son, Oren Mordechai, is now responsible for Morel’s unique design. How did that come about? Did you encourage his interest in audio?

MEIR: Oren grew up practically in the factory, because that is where I spent most of my time. From a very early age, he loved to be on the production floor and try everything. I would not say I encouraged his interest—he just loves it as much as I do. I am lucky to say that today he is doing excellent work developing new products, venturing into new materials and innovative designs that have received industry recognition and many prestigious awards worldwide. There is no bigger satisfaction for a father than to see his son following one’s lead and continuing the tradition.

SHANNON: Are you working on or planning any new audio innovations?

MEIR: We are always working on various projects. There is never a dull moment in our Research and Development department. Since Morel caters to the home audio, car audio, and raw drivers market segments, it seems we always have new products to release.

Our most recent innovation for the DIY/OEM segment is the Ti series, which employs titanium as a bobbin (former) for our oversized coils. The new Titanium series presents very special sound characteristics and parameters that enable speaker designers to achieve better resolution and dynamics in smaller enclosures. We are also developing new magnetic systems and chassis structures that will be implemented in future products to be released later this year.

SHANNON: Your dream has been to create the perfect loudspeaker. What achievements have you made along the way and how close are you to fulfill your dream?

MEIR: The dream of creating the perfect loudspeaker can only be a dream. Over the years I have learned that in the loudspeaker field, which is partly “science” and partly “art” there is no such thing as “perfect.” My ambition is to create a speaker that appeals to the largest audience possible, while reproducing music in its most natural and authentic form, free of any distortion.

Only those who have experienced speaker building can understand the obstacles and compromises that have to be made in order to achieve this objective. Even with 38 years of know-how and a fully capable manufacturing facility, we still struggle to overcome the physical boundaries and acoustic challenges to achieve the sound we want.

SHANNON: What do you see as some of the greatest audio innovations of your time?

MEIR: There were many, but the one that transformed the industry is the transition from analog to digital. I never liked the format of a music record, as it is bulky and highly vulnerable to being damaged. At the same time, this format produces high-quality sound. As a child, I always thought this format had to change. The shift to CDs to complement, you might say, the vinyl record suits me. But it seemed to me a radical change at the time.

Whether you like it or not, nobody can refute the fact that the digital age has made music more accessible to people. Because of the new digital formats, the interface that people use today can be very common, ranging from a high-end CD player, digital streamers, or smartphones, and so forth. That’s remarkable.

SHANNON: Do you have any advice for audioXpress readers who want to build their own sound systems?

MEIR: You do not need to have a speaker company or an engineering degree to design and build good speakers. I began as a hobbyist like many in your audience probably. Reading, researching, and experimenting with different components and ideas were the only ways I was able to learn what it takes to build a good speaker. In today’s digital culture the amount of information available is almost infinite; use it to your advantage.

Keep your designs as simple as possible. Some will make you believe that a complicated crossover is a must for a good speaker to perform well. I have always spent most of the time developing quality drive units. Using quality components will minimize the need for corrective measures when you build your crossovers and cabinet.

As with anything, have fun doing it. Put your soul and heart into it. I was lucky enough to be able to transform my passion for music and building speakers into a successful business. It may happen to you. aX

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