This review page is supported in part by the sponsors whose ad banners are displayed below

Reviewer: Marja & Henk
Financial Interests: click here
Sources: PS Audio PWT; PS Audio PWD; Dr. Feickert Blackbird/DFA 1o5/Zu DL-103; Phasure NOS1 DAC [in for review]
Streaming sources: XXHighEnd; iTunes; Devialet AIR
Preamp/integrated/power: Tri TRV EQ3SE phonostage; Audio Note Meishu with WE 300B (or AVVT, JJ, KR Audio 300B output tubes); Yarland FV 34 CIIISA; Qables iQube V1; Devialet D-Premier; Hypex Ncore 1200 based monoblocks; Trafomatic Kaivalya
Speakers: Avantgarde Acoustic Duo Omega; Arcadian Audio Pnoe; Vaessen Aquarius
Cables: complete loom of ASI LiveLine cables; full loom of Crystal Cable cables; Nanotec Golden Strada #79 nano 3; Nanotec Golden Strada #79; Nanotec Golden Strada #201;
Power line conditioning: Omtec Power Controllers; PS Audio Powerplant Premier; PS Audio Humbuster III;
Equipment racks: ASI amplifier and TT shelf
Sundry accessories: Furutech DeMag; ClearAudio Double Matrix; Nanotec Nespa #1; Exact Audio Copy software; iPod; wood, brass, ceramic and aluminum cones and pyramids; Shakti Stones; Manley Skipjack; Blue Horizon footers [in for review]
Room treatment: Acoustic System International resonators, sugar cubes, diffusers
Room size: ca. 14.50 x 7.50m with a ceiling height of 3.50m, brick walls, wooden flooring upstairs, ca 7 x 5m with a ceiling height of 3.50m, brick walls and concrete floor downstairs.
Price of kit item: €689 without wood panels and connectors but including Mundorf silver foil SF17

At the Dutch X-Fi audio show a few weeks ago, one of the first rooms we visited made the deepest impression on us. We were excited over a very simply dressed room without anything fancy in it. In the back were some components which the company markets, in the middle stood the usual few seats and at the front wall sat a simple Furnaud rack with an almost vintage Accuphase CD player, pre and power amp. Next to the rack were two slender speakers at first sight single-driver’d connected with somewhat unruly loudspeaker cable. The full rich music in this room simply could not come from that setup. There had to be another source hidden somewhere. Under a display table perhaps?

Soon our doubts were dispelled when Louis Timmers introduced us to the real source of the music. It was the obvious setup indeed. Some background first. Louis owns Eltim Audio. Here that’s  a household name for Morel drivers in Europe. Next to distributing Morel in the EU, Eltim also distributes Mundorf parts, cables from Hungary’s Kácsa Audió, Puresonic connectors from Taiwan and Voxativ drivers from Berlin just to name a few. Eltim thus isn’t merely a purveyor for the industry but also a huge base for DIY enthusiasts. Louis thus offers some loudspeaker kits with parts from his broad catalogue. In Germany there’s a large DIY customer base with two major magazines catering to them. It so happened that Louis had sent both magazines the same driver for review. This was purely coincidental. They were supposed to have been two different drivers but... well, shit happens.

Thus it was that Klang & Ton and Hobby Hifi both received a Morel SCM 634 midrange driver. The unexpected doppelgänger action however proved fortuitous when both competing magazines published a remarkably unison verdict. Both German magazines labeled the SCM 634 midrange driver as herausragend breitbändig or outstandingly wideband. The speaker manufacturer Morel in Israel did not believe this outcome but Louis Timmer did. Immediately his mind started turning on the best possible enclosure to capture and enhance the until now hidden qualities of this driver freshly crowned by DIY experts in the press.

Both German tests had recommended that a ported enclosure with a volume of around 20 liters would allow for 30 to 18,000Hz response and confirmed it as such with their measurements. After quite some experiments Louis determined that a smaller volume offered more musicality even though the very bottom end had to give up a bit. His final enclosure ended up being 913mm high, 200mm wide and 393mm deep with a tapered form. From the front baffle the enclosure tapers to a minimum width of 50mm at the rear spine. The top of the enclosure slants down and a 60mm port sits at the bottom. On the back the side, top and bottom panels come together in a 50mm aluminum T-bar which not only holds the 3 (!) loudspeaker terminals but doubles as a third spike.

Even though the SCM 634 is used as widebander, Louis felt there was need for a small electronic assist by way of a simple correction network. Internal wiring is Mundorf SGF silver-gold foil and additional internal damping is performed by no less than 25 grams of Twaron Angel Hair.

At the show our stay in the room was longer than planned and the plain cause was the ease and musicality of their setup. There are other examples of great-sounding small drivers but this 160mm cone made from a sandwich of Rohacell foam with two enveloping layers of carbon fiber sounded exceptional. They showed a nicely saturated midrange and the lower frequencies blended beautifully with the velvety top end. In the room the radiation pattern was sufficient to create a medium wide sweet spot even though the baffle was narrow. Clearly the retreating edges helped a lot.

As a raw driver the Morel SCM 634 isn’t cheap. Its carbon sandwich cone, a 75mm aluminum underhung voice coil and powerful neodymium/ferrite hybrid magnet all sit in a quality aluminum basket. The asking price for the 1.42kg driver is €349. Eltim offers all necessary components plus a detailed construction plan for the final speaker on their website.

We were pleasantly surprised by this speaker and the whole gestation story behind it and asked for a review sample. Louis liked the idea and as we live strategically en route between the show and Louis’ home location, he dropped the speakers off right after the X-Fi show.

With a rated impedance of 4Ω and a sensitivity of around 89dB we could match the Eltim Supreme 614 Solo to quite a few amplifiers from our inventory. The Audio Note Meishu and Devialet D-Premier worked perfectly but of course didn’t make for any type of realistic match based on price. More down to earth already were the Trafomatic Kaivalya monos and the most natural mate was our little Chinese Yarland FV 34 CIIISA integrated.

We used the cables Louis left at our place. Those were Eltim specials built from four runs of twisted and woven Mundorf SGW silver/gold wire. Next to the conventional red and black banana/spade terminations there was a third wire. This is meant to connect the speakers’ ground terminal to the power grid’s ground.

Such a connection can be made via the ground connector on the amplifier or as Louis had done at the show to a ground pin of the power distributor. It might go against conventional wisdom but it works and can easily be verified by disconnecting the extra wires from the speakers [Tannoy and Ocellia are two other companies to exploit the same concept – Ed]. Speaker cables can do a fine job of acting as a short-wave antenna. By grounding the driver’s basket and the speaker’s aluminum T-bar, the antenna function of the cable is blocked. With the ground wire in place, definition improved and it seemed that the spec limit of 18kHz top extension lifted just a bit. Our spectrometer on the iPad certainly proved that there was life beyond 18kHz.

In all our listening over a wide range of music from large symphony orchestras to intimate guitar and voice, everything was reproduced with the same care and rightness. The only musical form these speakers were not the greatest fan of were obviously tracks with generous loads of electronic sub bass. With normal bass both electric or acoustic, the Supreme 614 had no troubles whatsoever. Bass response can be tuned to personal taste a bit by elevating or lowering the entire speaker by means of its front spikes. The type of flooring the speakers sit on also makes a difference and carpet users might experiment with a solid tile of marble or similar.

All in all the driver impressed us with its power, speed and lack of coloration. An important proviso which goes for all loudspeakers but this one in particular is where to place it within the room. To get the best results, do not place these too far apart nor too close to a corner and apply moderate toe-in. With these rules followed, the Supreme 614 proved to be an amazing asset which won’t betray its presence whilst playing music.
For those who want a truly great speaker at a very reasonable price and are willing to do a little DIY, the Supreme 614 is one brilliant way to go. Order the kit, have some fun putting it all together and then finish the cabinet the way you want. Just don’t forget that third connection!

Eltim website