Having read Valin’s blog and review of the Fat Lady on TAS was published, I was interested to check them out. And when I finally met with one of the three key designers behind the Morel Fat Lady a month or so ago through a totally unrelated business meeting, the ‘sign’ was simply too strong not for me to hunt them down for a good listen.
So in a noisy (and hot) Mong Kok showroom, I listened. The room was slightly more than my room and was treated. The setup was quite modest, with a Meridian G series CD player, a Primare A32 amp with a matching Primare preamp, using Tara Labs cables throughout. It was not a very elaborative setup, but probably the best amp they have in the shop.
The moment the Fat Lady began to sing, I was captivated. There is something inherently very right with the sound…namely the midrange and treble blends so perfectly that I totally forgot that the sound is coming from two different drivers. The tweeter does not stick out at all, and the midrange driver and the tweeter were just completely coherent and seamless. Midrange is a large part of any music, to have the midrange so ‘right’ is really a very good start for the audition. As I listen more, while continued being impressed by the midrange, I did notice that the highs may not be as extended as some of the SOTA tweeters, but at the same time, because of the slight roll off on the top range, the sound is alway very comfortable to listen to.
The Fat Lady is a 4 driver 3 way speaker, using bespoke drivers from Moreal. Morel, being one of the largest drivers manufacturers, set out to build this speaker, and it took them 3 years from concept to product. The most interesting design decision is that the cabinet is designed to resonante with the sound, but since the cabinet is built with a mixture of fiber glass, epoxy and carbon fiber, the cabinet will supposedly only sing along in a controlled manner. I have no way of verifying this claim, but this approach is very different from how most dynamic ‘box’ speakers are designed these days where a rigid and properly damped box is often the basic design foundation. The Fat Lady’s approach could often cause problems.
With the Fat Lady, I detected no issue with this ‘sing-along’ cabinet, with the exception of the mid-bass. Given this is the first time I have been to this showroom, listening to unfamiliar electronics, it is difficult to pinpoint the Fat Lady as the culprit of the mid-bass issue. The mid-bass sounded slightly congested, especially in complex bass passages. There really is no way for me to determine if the Primare amp simply didn’t exert enough control on the two 9in drivers, or if the Fat Lady themselves really had this problem, but that day, under the described setup, the mid-bass was indeed congested.
It is easy for someone to relate this congested mid-bass to the sing-along cabinet design. I intend to go back for a second listen, preferably with other electronics. But what the Fat Lady did ‘right’, they did them more ‘right’ than most speakers I have tried. Everything except for the mid-bass I would rate it either a 9 or 9.5. The Fat Lady deserve an audition.