This neat-looking package is from Israeli company Morel, a long-running producer of drive units for others, though it makes some highly distinctive complete high-end speakers of its own. The Nova satellite system is one of Morel's least expensive offerings, but it is no less distinctive in its own way.

The Nova system includes five tiny satellites in two varieties, in both cases based on the same set of ideas. The four outer satellites take the form of hemispherical enclosures made from painted mild steel into which the bass unit with a small coaxial tweeter is fixed, taking up most of the internal space.

The centre speaker is similar, but the enclosure in this case has a more bell like profi le, and a similar coaxial driver arrangement internally, though the units chosen are different. In both cases the designer has gone in for some clever internal packaging involving highenergy, compact magnet systems and large voice coils to work within the size constraints, and to ensure that power handling is high enough.

Each of the satellites is fitted with a strong adjustable foot, so that it can be used freestanding or attached to a wall (with a single screw mounting arrangement), and which allows the unit to be pointed in the desired direction.

The subwoofer is more conventional, though it looks radical enough. Essentially it is a compact powered subwoofer, with the usual range of in and outputs (at speaker and line level) and adjustments (low pass fi lter, phase and level). The form factor however is novel. The enclosure is slender in depth and circular in profi le, and is designed to stand at an angle on three screw-in alloy feet. Alternative mounting arrangements for the satellites include slender column stands, and the subwoofer can be attached to a wall so that it takes up no floor space whatever.

The system is ingenious and works well within the constraints set by the packaging. The satellites are too small to have a have any bass of in their own right, and they're also somewhat insensitive electrically (this also goes with the territory), so you're going to need a moderately powerful amplifier, especially in larger rooms, and you may find yourself using a higher volume setting than usual. The crossover point on the subwoofer should be set to around 120Hz rather than the 100Hz implied in Morel's documentation.

Once set up, you should find that this system is an attractive choice, one that is easy on the ear to the point where in it should quickly become almost inconspicuous, matching the visual presentation. The system does not sound bright and edgy, and the centre speaker is particularly impressive. It is capable of dialogue quality which is articulate without being bright or pointed.

The bass is not especially muscular, but it does its job. As a whole the system is slightly constrained. It is not as expansive or as obviously dynamic as you'll find with with larger satellites, and it does tend to diminish big soundtracks somewhat. A rather soft-centred Saving Private Ryan showing how far it has to go. But it remains good enough for music listening where the attention is on the speakers rather than an attention grabbing moving picture on screen.

Don't expect the expansive image scale, or the rich tonality of larger systems with this Morel, and be prepared for a system that is both power hungry and limited in the volume levels that it can achieve, though not as limited as you might suppose. But if your requirements are for a system which takes up virtually no space at all, Morel's baby is one of the better bets around.