Aural Nirvana - Morel Ultimo 12, ScanSpeak 1" Illuminators, Seas W18NX - Car Audio | DiyMobileAudio.com | Car Stereo Forum

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Old 09-13-2009   #1
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Default Aural Nirvana - Morel Ultimo 12, ScanSpeak 1" Illuminators, Seas W18NX

Okay, more like asymptotically approaching aural nirvana, but I am thinking I am going to have to spend a LOT more to get a better sound. I wanted to document it for others. I have spent about 20 months trying out different stuff to get this configuration. I will also note some less costly alternatives.

Tweeters: Scanspeak 1" Illuminators - The stock tweeters are mounted in the sail panels and I initially started with Dyn MD100s mounted slightly on-axis in the stock locations and found they provided a very large soundstage. I had the Dyns for about 6-7 months and loved the soundstage but found they were a little dark and ended up getting a good deal on some 3/4" Scan Illuminators.

Several people suggested I try the A-pillars and my friend Glenn (GLN305) came up with his brilliant tweeter pod idea and so he mounted the 3/4" Scan Illuminators on-axis in tweeter pods on the A-pillars. However, I never got the wide soundstage that I had when the tweeters were mounted in the sail panels. I thought that a 1" tweeter might widen the stage so I then tried Seas RT27Fs which I got a good deal on from a fellow forum member. However, I never got the wide soundstage I had before. After 10 months with 2 different tweeters mounted on the A-pillars, I decided I wanted to go back to the sail panels.

I liked the Scans and though and got a good deal on the Scan 1" Illums. Glenn was kind enough to fabricate beautiful tweeter enclosures using my sail panels to mount the 1" Scan Illums partially on-axis. The resulting soundstage is very wide, wider than the car. I am now very happy with the soundstage. The Scan Illums are superb tweeters, revealing without being overpowering.

The moral of this story is to check out different placement options for the tweeters, because placement can make a BIG difference. Try the stock locations, try the A-pillars, try on-axis, off-axis, partially on-axis, etc.

Woofers: Another friend from the forum, Corey (Dr.TelepathySQ), reccomended these to me. Glenn concurred that these were excellent mids. I found a good deal for a used pair from someone on the forum. These are superb mids. The difference between a 6.5" woofer and a 7" woofer is quite noticeable. Very neutral, superb sounding mids. The Seas are admittedly a bit pricey, but worth it. You may also consider the Usher 8945P, which is supposed to sound similar but is significantly cheaper. I had the original ID OEMs before the Seas and I was quite surprised at how close the ID OEMs came to the Seas at only 25% of the cost.

Subwoofer: Morel Ultimo 12" - The most transparent subs I have ever owned. You hear just the music, not the sub. You can't tell the sub is on. I am running it sealed, in a 1.25 cu ft (net) enclosure. I got this used from someone on the forum. Again a bit pricey, even used. I recently tried out the Dayton 12" HO in a Scosche 1.25 cu ft sealed enclosure and was surprised at just how clean and transparent it sounds. The Dayton 12" HO would be a good alternative for a budget setup.

Amplifiers: Cadence A7Hc class D mono amplifier and Digital Designs S4.

2011 BMW 335i M/T
Dynavin N6 -> Helix DSP Pro -> AS100.4(L)+AS-100.4(R)+AS200.2(sub) -> MP Z-series + Dyn 430 + MP 6.5" + Dyn 1200 (IB)
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Old 09-14-2009   #2
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Default Re: Aural Nirvana - Morel Ultimo 12, ScanSpeak 1" Illuminators, Seas W18NX

Nice review. I have the 3/4" Illums and agree that they sound very nice. I have them in the sail panels and also get a very large SS. I love how open and natural they sound, without the slightly nasal edge that a lot of the auto tweets have.
Possible to get some pics?
Thanks
Mike
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Old 09-14-2009   #3
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Default Re: Aural Nirvana - Morel Ultimo 12, ScanSpeak 1" Illuminators, Seas W18NX

Thanks for the review Shiv

I would like to add that I dont personally think that the Seas W18NX and Usher 8945P sound the same. I would say that the Seas is more clean, accurate while the Ushers i more dark, smooth sounding. I am just adding this because I dont want someone to pick up the Ushers over the Seas because they sound the same but cheaper, they are not IMO
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Old 09-15-2009   #4
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Default Re: Aural Nirvana - Morel Ultimo 12, ScanSpeak 1" Illuminators, Seas W18NX

Quote:
Originally Posted by snaimpally View Post
Okay, more like asymptotically approaching aural nirvana, but I am thinking I am going to have to spend a LOT more to get a better sound.
Nope, you just have to buy the right products for you and the install. It's not a matter of price. It's a matter of best fit.


Quote:
Originally Posted by snaimpally View Post
After 10 months with 2 different tweeters mounted on the A-pillars, I decided I wanted to go back to the sail panels.
Position is important for stage size. The farther forward you go, the narrower the aural field of view becomes. You can even step further and move to the doors and get an even wider presentation. Independent level adjustment and time alignment is a must though as you do this sort of thing though. The sail panes tend to be good spots since the location is both high and it is typically pretty close to inline with the woofer down in the door which makes for both a decently wide and also consistent stage presence.

Quote:
Originally Posted by snaimpally View Post
I had the original ID OEMs before the Seas and I was quite surprised at how close the ID OEMs came to the Seas at only 25% of the cost.
The difference between junk to good is typically small in price but vast in improved sound quality. The difference between good to great is typically large in price and small in improved sound quality. As well, once you get to decent products, it's much less a factor of better and much more a matter of better fit for the particular application. This means you're not just tossing in high dollar items and hoping for greatness. Rather, you carefully pick hardware (expensive or cheap) that fits the particular application really, really well. You get great results with minimal effort. You may buy a stellar product but then be forced to go through a lot of effort to get it to sound good. I ran the W18NX in the past for about 6 months. I personally found it to be a bit of a hassle to work with and at the time was limited more then I wanted to be with the processing I had. I ran more woofers later that I found easier to work with and "better" (opinion) sounding out of the box.

Quote:
Originally Posted by snaimpally View Post
Morel Ultimo 12" - The most transparent subs I have ever owned. You hear just the music, not the sub. You can't tell the sub is on.
I've been hearing this a bit about the Ultimo sub. It's always a good thing to hear, a very desirable aspect in my book. It's one thing I really like about the DIYMA sub as well. Not a lot of hardware (subs, woofers, tweeters) are capable of really pulling it off, so when you do find them, you tend to hold on to them. I'm glad you're liking it.

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Old 09-15-2009   #5
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Default Re: Aural Nirvana - Morel Ultimo 12, ScanSpeak 1" Illuminators, Seas W18NX

Would really love the opportunity to check this out in person some time.

I am currently making a mess of my garage in efforts to ad a bit of sweetness to
my car. But am not so far involved that I could not take a couple steps back and rethink
the driver choice.
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Old 09-19-2009   #6
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Default Re: Aural Nirvana - Morel Ultimo 12, ScanSpeak 1" Illuminators, Seas W18NX

Quote:
Originally Posted by mvw2 View Post
Nope, you just have to buy the right products for you and the install. It's not a matter of price. It's a matter of best fit.
Agreed. Its finding the right products and the right placement that works in the acoustic space of your particular vehicle. Getting good drivers and then experimenting to find the best location.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mvw2 View Post
Position is important for stage size. The farther forward you go, the narrower the aural field of view becomes. You can even step further and move to the doors and get an even wider presentation. Independent level adjustment and time alignment is a must though as you do this sort of thing though. The sail panes tend to be good spots since the location is both high and it is typically pretty close to inline with the woofer down in the door which makes for both a decently wide and also consistent stage presence..
Exactly! I learned this from trial and error. I have heard setups where mounting drivers on the A-pillars works, but it didn't work in my car. The sail panels were MUCH better. I may have to try the doors at some point, probably using a large format tweeter, since I've been dying to try some but just don't have the room to fit them anywhere else.

In terms of levels and time alighnment, I love the 800/880PRS HUs because they do a great job of getting you 90% there and allowing you to tweak the remaining 10%.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mvw2 View Post
The difference between junk to good is typically small in price but vast in improved sound quality. The difference between good to great is typically large in price and small in improved sound quality. As well, once you get to decent products, it's much less a factor of better and much more a matter of better fit for the particular application. This means you're not just tossing in high dollar items and hoping for greatness. Rather, you carefully pick hardware (expensive or cheap) that fits the particular application really, really well. You get great results with minimal effort. You may buy a stellar product but then be forced to go through a lot of effort to get it to sound good. I ran the W18NX in the past for about 6 months. I personally found it to be a bit of a hassle to work with and at the time was limited more then I wanted to be with the processing I had. I ran more woofers later that I found easier to work with and "better" (opinion) sounding out of the box..
Yes, there comes a point of dimishing returns in terms of money spent, hence my use of the word "asymptotic". As you get the elements in place for a great SQ setup, at some point, the changes you make typically yield subtler and subtler results.

One of my friends had run the W18NX mids and he was quite surprised at how good they sounded in my car, i.e they sounded better in my car then they had in his, which gets back to application.

I'm curious as to which woofers you found easier to work with ... please elaborate or point to a thread you have on the topic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mvw2 View Post
I've been hearing this a bit about the Ultimo sub. It's always a good thing to hear, a very desirable aspect in my book. It's one thing I really like about the DIYMA sub as well. Not a lot of hardware (subs, woofers, tweeters) are capable of really pulling it off, so when you do find them, you tend to hold on to them. I'm glad you're liking it.
One of my friends was kind enough to build a 1.25 cu ft enclosure for the Ultimo 12 and we put it in and then I drive home and ran auto eq and ta. I got in the car to listen and though there must be something wrong because I couldn't "hear" the sub. I thought that maybe one of the wires had come loose or something so Iwent and double checked and everything was fine. I then played with the sub level and discovered that the sub was indeed present but unobtrusively so. Very quick and very fast, it blended seemlessly with the mid.

I had bought the DIYMA R12 on the reccomendation of someone on the forum and based on the reviews and I have to say that I found the DIYMA sub to be the opposite of the Ultimo. I could never get the Diyma to blend in. I have tried out a few subs in my car with the same HU and the auto eq and ta of the HU does an excellent job but with the Diyma I reversed phase, changed the levels, etc. and just couldn't get it to work. Again, probably has to do with my application. It was fun to listen to, but it didn't disappear the way the Ultimo does.

I'll get some pics up ...

2011 BMW 335i M/T
Dynavin N6 -> Helix DSP Pro -> AS100.4(L)+AS-100.4(R)+AS200.2(sub) -> MP Z-series + Dyn 430 + MP 6.5" + Dyn 1200 (IB)
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Old 09-19-2009   #7
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Default Re: Aural Nirvana - Morel Ultimo 12, ScanSpeak 1" Illuminators, Seas W18NX

Quote:
Originally Posted by azngotskills View Post
Thanks for the review Shiv

I would like to add that I dont personally think that the Seas W18NX and Usher 8945P sound the same. I would say that the Seas is more clean, accurate while the Ushers i more dark, smooth sounding. I am just adding this because I dont want someone to pick up the Ushers over the Seas because they sound the same but cheaper, they are not IMO
Mark, good point. I just wanted to suggest some cheaper alternatives for the budget constrained members. I bought my W18NX mids from Braves6117 and he has a nice review of the 8945P and how it compares to the W18NX. The W18NX is around double the cost of the Ushers new.

I think that in general, a 7" driver will do better than a 6.5" just because of the laws of Physics, so if you can fit a 7" driver in your doors, do it!

2011 BMW 335i M/T
Dynavin N6 -> Helix DSP Pro -> AS100.4(L)+AS-100.4(R)+AS200.2(sub) -> MP Z-series + Dyn 430 + MP 6.5" + Dyn 1200 (IB)

Last edited by snaimpally; 09-19-2009 at 10:25 PM..
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Old 09-19-2009   #8
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Default Re: Aural Nirvana - Morel Ultimo 12, ScanSpeak 1" Illuminators, Seas W18NX

Quote:
Originally Posted by Complacent_One View Post
Would really love the opportunity to check this out in person some time.

I am currently making a mess of my garage in efforts to ad a bit of sweetness to
my car. But am not so far involved that I could not take a couple steps back and rethink
the driver choice.
I'd be happy to let you have a listen. I am at 183 and McNeil so probably not far from you. BTW, we are having a meet tomorrow (9/20) at the Starbucks in the Arboretum at 3:00 PM so you are welcome to join and hear all our cars. See the 12 volt section for more details. The person you need to talk to though is Glenn (GLN305). He is in Pflugerville and he has helped several of us by advising us on what equipment to buy and helping fabricate enclosures etc. He has competed and been a judge and has heard just about everything out there. He is an electronics tech and has worked as an installer and really knows his stuff. I'm certain he can help you with driver choice. If you can make it to one of our meets, you can hear quite a wide variety of drivers and amps.

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Dynavin N6 -> Helix DSP Pro -> AS100.4(L)+AS-100.4(R)+AS200.2(sub) -> MP Z-series + Dyn 430 + MP 6.5" + Dyn 1200 (IB)

Last edited by snaimpally; 09-19-2009 at 10:30 PM..
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Old 09-20-2009   #9
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Default Re: Aural Nirvana - Morel Ultimo 12, ScanSpeak 1" Illuminators, Seas W18NX

I too found the DIYMA to be somewhat challenging, but more on the setup realm. The transparency is awesome with the DIYMA, and I'm not even sure the Ultimo matches it, and if I were a betting man, I'd bet it's not completely transparent. For example, I could describe the Dayton Reference in a similar way to the Ultimo where one really had to bump the output to even begin to notice the existence of the sub. Notes were so light and crisp that they didn't really register until you were quite a bit too loud, and even when loud, it was a fun loud. I found the DIYMA very challenging to blend correctly. I would very, very easily set volume levels too high, and this would cause issues, more readily then the Dayton. As well, the frequency response may not be ideal. I run mine in a ported box, and the bottom end is bloated in-car because of this, forcing EQing to flatten out the response and making the sub work well. I could run sealed, but I would be light on the bottom end instead and forced to EQ up. Either way, for my car, I know the DIYMA doesn't have the correct response to be flat in-car. I find that you must address both raw level as well as the frequency response curve to really get a subwoofer to blend well. I also do find that lighter, crisper subs have a little easier time. They can be slightly loud, but they don't overshadow so readily. You can sort of get away with a little more. With the DIYMA, if you were off on your settings, the audio experience just sounded off. the DIYMA comes across more offensive when incorrect, probably because it's not playful in sound. It's not energetic, punchy, or any other fun aspect. The sound is just there and it's either correctly proportioned or not.


By the way, favorite mid woofer, the Pioneer PRS 6.5". It's just so very good and simply functions so well right out of the box. There's only a couple woofers I've run where I have had little need or desire to EQ, and this was one of them. It's only good to a little over 2kHz without EQing, but within that range, it's awesome and doesn't do anything wrong. I even ran it with no high pass filter, and it didn't care one bit for normal to moderate listening levels which is a great indicator of control and excursion usability. I don't consider these bass heavy despite npdang's measured response to 60Hz. I found the low end very even, not overbearing, not anemic. I ran the Type-X Ref woofers before hand, another woofer I found little need for an EQ. That one has a little more robust bottom end that offered a little more low frequency presence. The sound wasn't quite natural/realistic though, a slightly goofy warm mixed with crisp detail and a metalic ring on the top end if you ever crossed too high or played them too loud. You're limited to 2kHz with them to keep them from ringing, and you wanted to be at 1.8kHz just like the stock x-over if you wanted none. I kind of want to say the Type-X Ref woofer was more dynamically bottomless where they could get pretty loud before noticeably straining. However, I found the PRS more even and enjoyable, more substance of note, and could really sing when turned up, something more akin to your W18NX, although I feel the W18NX has more raw output capability. Those Seas woofers can get very loud. I never did notice any real straining from my set, and they would bottom out before they showed you any other signs and bottoming out a W18NX isn't an easy feat, took healthy wattage and EQ boosting to do. I would consider the PRS mid to be on a very similar level to the W18NX, just scaled down a little, geared more appropriately for car use, and a little more natural sounding. It's what you buy when you don't want to work for great sound.

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Old 09-20-2009   #10
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Cool Re: Aural Nirvana - Morel Ultimo 12, ScanSpeak 1" Illuminators, Seas W18NX

snaimpally , Excellent !!



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Old 09-20-2009   #11
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Default Re: Aural Nirvana - Morel Ultimo 12, ScanSpeak 1" Illuminators, Seas W18NX

Quote:
Originally Posted by mvw2 View Post
I too found the DIYMA to be somewhat challenging, but more on the setup realm. The transparency is awesome with the DIYMA, and I'm not even sure the Ultimo matches it, and if I were a betting man, I'd bet it's not completely transparent.
I really wanted to like the Diyma. I had it in 0.7 cu ft (gross displacement so likely 0.5 cu ft net) Goldwood box from PE. The 800PRS autoeq and ta works well and I've tried my share of subs out with it. The Diyma is the first sub that I just couldn't get to blend in well at all. I was always aware of it. Again, this may just be that the Mazda 3 hatch is not suitable for the Diyma as many others have had good success with it. Just didn't work in my application.

I have the Ultimo bumped 3db up from the level set by the auto eq/ta so that I can hear it over the exhaust of my turbocharged engine. Even with the engine off and the bump, the bass sounds like its coming from in front of the windshield. Again, it may be that it just so happend to be perfectly suited for my hatchback. A hatch is a bit different than a trunk.

It took me a week to really get used to the Ultimo because it turned my idea of what a good sub should sound like completely upside down. The bass can be heard in the music and yet there is no audible indication that a subwoofer is present. I find the soundstage to be very immersive. I feel like I am on stage, with the musicians spread out in front of me. The soundstage is wider than my car.

I should mention that I have a full-time job and also perform regularly as a musician, have a home music studio, etc. so I am very aware of how music should sound.

2011 BMW 335i M/T
Dynavin N6 -> Helix DSP Pro -> AS100.4(L)+AS-100.4(R)+AS200.2(sub) -> MP Z-series + Dyn 430 + MP 6.5" + Dyn 1200 (IB)
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Old 09-20-2009   #12
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Default Re: Aural Nirvana - Morel Ultimo 12, ScanSpeak 1" Illuminators, Seas W18NX

I have not bothered posting pics as my setup is very unassuming. Here are the pics:

Here is the Morel Ultimo 12 in a sealed box that my friend Glenn built for me. The box is 1.35 cu ft gross. I read 3 reviews (Car Audio Electronics, PASmag, and InCar) of the Ultimo and decided on 1.25 cu ft net sealed as the ideal enclosure. Glenn was kind enough to build and carpet the enclosure for me. I added two small handles from Lowes to the sides to allow it to be easily moved. I have an elastic tie that goes through the handles and is hooked on either side to the tie downs in my hatch. This keeps the sub from moving around, yet allows me to move it quickly if I need to.



The stock sail panels are a good size and the factory Bose tweeters were mounted there. Blank sail panels are also available for $10/each for experimentation. Glenn fiberglassed my sail panels to create these beautiful works of art. Note how he texture coated them with Duplicolor bedliner. Note also the partial angling that results in the driver's side tweeter being slightly off-axis and the passnger's side tweeter being on-axis. The pics are taken from the driver's side - the pic of the driver's side tweeter was done with the door open to get a complete shot of it..




The Cadence A7Hc sub amp is underneath the driver's seat and the Digital Designs Staggered Output S4 is under the passenger seat so I can't really take pics of them.

2011 BMW 335i M/T
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Old 09-21-2009   #13
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Default Re: Aural Nirvana - Morel Ultimo 12, ScanSpeak 1" Illuminators, Seas W18NX

This excerpt from a review in Car Audio and Electronics sums up the Morel Ultimo 12:
"The driver was so transparent at the beginning of this track that I had to check if it was still activated. I toggled the dash-mounted remote wire switch for the amplifier a couple of times in amazement. Kick drums were high located along the dashboard and blended extremely well with the notes from the bass guitar. I was hard-pressed to find any flaws in the Ultimo 12 on this track. This is how a subwoofer should perform-adding body and fullness to an audio selection without sacrificing tonality, disrupting clarity of other instruments or over-shadowing the vocals."

Read the full review:
Morel Ultimo 12 - Performance Driven - Car Audio & Electronics Magazine

2011 BMW 335i M/T
Dynavin N6 -> Helix DSP Pro -> AS100.4(L)+AS-100.4(R)+AS200.2(sub) -> MP Z-series + Dyn 430 + MP 6.5" + Dyn 1200 (IB)
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Old 02-26-2010   #14
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Default Re: Aural Nirvana - Morel Ultimo 12, ScanSpeak 1" Illuminators, Seas W18NX

wow scary! bringing this thread up cause these are EXACTLY ALL the speakers i plan on using! ALL motivated by Audison!

I have all the hardware except for the sub and a few other small items, but soon she will rise!
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Old 02-26-2010   #15
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Default Re: Aural Nirvana - Morel Ultimo 12, ScanSpeak 1" Illuminators, Seas W18NX

Man, I would love to listen to an Ultimo.
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Old 02-27-2010   #16
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Default Re: Aural Nirvana - Morel Ultimo 12, ScanSpeak 1" Illuminators, Seas W18NX

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shocks View Post
Man, I would love to listen to an Ultimo.
Shocks, have you ever heard a bassists fingers slide over the strings on a sub? The Ultimo is SOOOOO transparent it's SCARY!!

The day you experience the the Ultimo will be the day you know what true love is
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Old 02-27-2010   #17
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Default Re: Aural Nirvana - Morel Ultimo 12, ScanSpeak 1" Illuminators, Seas W18NX

^^
I do not doubt that all. Is there anyone in the OC or LA area who has one I can listen to? This might be what's missing in my setup.
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Old 02-27-2010   #18
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Default Re: Aural Nirvana - Morel Ultimo 12, ScanSpeak 1" Illuminators, Seas W18NX

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shocks View Post
^^
I do not doubt that all. Is there anyone in the OC or LA area who has one I can listen to? This might be what's missing in my setup.
its whats missing that makes the ultimo so good!
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Old 03-01-2010   #19
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Default Re: Aural Nirvana - Morel Ultimo 12, ScanSpeak 1" Illuminators, Seas W18NX

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shocks View Post
^^
I do not doubt that all. Is there anyone in the OC or LA area who has one I can listen to? This might be what's missing in my setup.
I live in West LA and would be happy to give you an audition. Send me a PM and we can coordinate something.

Spkrs.: Phass (DTM25 - Tweeter, MD 0580 -Midrange, MD 0875- Midbass). Amps: Phass (RE 4.25 and RE 50). Subwoofer: Custom AudioTechnology Flex Unit 12" powered by TRU B2200S (Op Amp + Cap Upgrades). Head Unit: Eclipse 55090. Processor: Audison Bit One.1 Modified; Cables: Phass SC1 Spkr. cable and Si1 Interconnect.
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