I recently had the good fortune to pick up a used Morel Ultimo 12" subwoofer from another forum member and thought I would share my impressions.
Before purchasing it, I did some due diligence by reading the various reviews available online.
Morel Ultimo 12 - Performance Driven - Car Audio & Electronics Magazine
Performance Auto and Sound - The Girls - The Cars - The Life - Morel Ultimo 12
AVHub - INCAR - Product Reviews - Morel Ultimo 12? Subwoofer
The reviews are a bit of a Goldilocks tale because the CAE reviewer used a 1.5 cu ft sealed enclosure, the InCar reviewer used a 1.25 cu ft sealed enclosure, and the PasMag reviewer used a 0.75 cu ft sealed enclosure. The Passmag reviewer put it in a small box and then complained about the lack of output.
Currently I have the Ultimo 12 in a Goldwood 0.85 cu ft sealed enclosure from Parts Express. However, my friend Glenn (GLN305) and I agreed that based on the reviews, WinISD, and his listenign experiences, a 1.25 cu ft sealed box is probably optimal so I eventually plan to review it in a 1.25 cu ft box. But for now, my review is based on the Ultimo 12 in a 0.85 cu ft box.
Physical Impressions: Other than the carbon fiber and paper cone, which looks very cool, the sub itself is fairly unassuming. I will post pics. The magnet is not as big as say the DIYMA R12. Mounting depth is reasonable at less than 6". The sub hides the fact that it has a massive 5.1" voice coil. The reviews go on at length about the various technologies and design features of the sub, so I won't go into them in detail here.
Listening Impressions: After hooking the sub up in the .85 cu ft sealed enclosure I ran auto eq and ta on my 880PRS, and got in for a listen. My first impression was ... is it on? Is everything working? I can't hear it, WTF? Eventually I figured it out ... holy sh*t! So this is what "transparent" means.
The Ultimo 12 is incredibly fast. It sounds very lean and muscular. There is no flabbiness, no tubbiness. The notes are played and nothing more. As Glenn said, its almost boring to listen to. Except its not boring at all. The clarity and brevity of the Ultimo allows the mid-woofers to really shine and I can now hear all sorts of mid-bass stuff that was being obscured by the flab of other subs such as the DIYMA. I'll do a lot of comparing to the DIYMA because I had the DIYMA in my car for several weeks before I put the Ultimo in. I like the DIYMA; its quite musical and fun to listen to. But its not as accurate as the Morel. Not even close.
After listening to a few compilations I typically use to evaluate new gear, I loaded up my CD changer with some Brian Transeau (BT) because BT makes really great music that also plumbs the depths of a sub. One effect of the clarity of the Ultimo is that I can listen to stuff a lot louder because the bass is not overwhelming. Its interesting increasing the level of the sub because at no point does it seem to overwhelm the music like most subs do. Its remarkeably well behaved - I currently have the sub output set at 5 db above what auto eq and ta set it at and it sounds great. Any other sub would have completely overpowered and dominated the music to the point of making it unlistenable.
The whole experience of listening to the Ultimo has been very interesting because it has completely shattered my previous notion of what a "good" sub should sound like. Its very fast, very accurate, very neutral, very transparent, very clear. I think I am going to have a hard time listening to other subs now.
I'll post more thoughts on the Ultimo 12 as I go along, and especially once I get it into a 1.25 cu ft enclosure.