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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
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.
 

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What amp did you use?
 

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Great reviw, i want Ultimo now :) snaimpally, can you compare Iridium 12 with Ultimo 12? So far, for me, Ir12 is what i call "fast, very accurate, very neutral, very transparent, very clear" :)
 

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Don't confuse accuracy with edginess. I'll agree the DIYMA is a bit mild on energy of note, but it doesn't lack in accuracy. It just won't give that razor's edge, impact, or energy that some other subs will give when presenting notes. As many have stated, the presentation of the DIYMA is more "buttery smooth." I just want to be clear on the difference between being able to play the information and presenting the information in a crisper, edgier way which may or may not be true to the original source material. My experience with the DIYMA is that it has no problem playing a relatively wide frequency range without coloration or becoming sluggish or muddy. It however does not provide the impact and note edge that I know many folks enjoy.

My bro's Dayton Reference had a very crisp upper end response, great energy, very fun to listen to. It has a very light and crisp note. The Dayton also had that "why isn't my sub playing" quality to it. The notes were light and crisp enough that you didn't really hear the sub until it was playing rather loud. Your description of the Ultimo reminds me much of the Dayton. My Sonicraft has great impact, the kind of hit you feel in your chest, haven't run another sub that does it as well, awesome in-home sub, just shakes the room. The RE SE12 I had some time back had great bottom end articulation and note separation, especially for a ported design that could run down to 20Hz. Yet nothing I have listened to matches the DIYMA in transparency or colorlessness. Everything I've ever run has had "flaws." The DIYMA I do feel is too smooth in presentation. It doesn't quite present the impact and edge that could make it more likable. Its sensitivity is so-so and does require a bit of power to get any serious level of output. It does distort noticeably when underpowered and pushed for more.

Is the sensitivity really 83dB on the Ultimo? That's...pretty low.

It's great to hear about the transparency of the sub. It's one thing I really like from my hardware if I can get it. Hearing the music and not the driver is a really nice thing. Not a lot of pieces of hardware can do that well. Many get close, but very few really disappear.

Gah! There's so many subs I want to try. The Ultimo sounds need, want to listen to a Magv4 too. :p

I have a test for you, if you have the hardware to allow you. Take the sub in the house and hook it up to your home theater. It's probably better to actually have a ported enclosure for this, but the test is the same regardless. It'll just sound a little anemic with less gain on the bottom end. If you can set HP/LP filters, aim a little higher, like 100Hz, 150Hz, something that actually forces play of the midbass range a little to indicate speed and articulation. You can do this in the car too really, but it's easier to hear things in the home.

For transparency, the ultimate test is not to be able to localize the drivers playing music. In an ideal world, this would be the tweeter, mid, woofer, sub, everything. In this test, we're just looking at the sub. Play something, music, a movie, whatever. Sit 5ft. in front of the sub and look at it. Pull up a chair and just stare right at the thing. As it's playing, can you tell that it is creating the sound you hear? Can you "see" the sub playing the music? Stand up and walk around some. Can you localize the sub at all as the source of the bass information? To be a truly transparent driver, you should not be able to. Note that the wall, near by paneling, etc. will vibrate and may give a generalized area that the bass is coming from. You can play at milder volumes to help minimize this. In the end, you should not be able to say "that device is producing this sound."

With the DIYMA, I can stand right in front of the thing playing music or during a moving playing bass information, and I can "see" it playing music at all. I can walk around, hear bass notes, booms, etc. and no information I receive ever tells me that that sound is coming from that sub sitting on the floor right in front of me. This is true transparency, the ability to make sound and look like it's doing nothing even if you're sitting 2 feet from it staring right at it.

In my mind, that is an ideal trait I seek for all my hardware. In a car it's tough since the chassis resonates so easily, but that's part of the challenge.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
It's great to hear about the transparency of the sub. It's one thing I really like from my hardware if I can get it. Hearing the music and not the driver is a really nice thing. Not a lot of pieces of hardware can do that well. Many get close, but very few really disappear.

Gah! There's so many subs I want to try. The Ultimo sounds need, want to listen to a Magv4 too. :p

I have a test for you, if you have the hardware to allow you. Take the sub in the house and hook it up to your home theater. It's probably better to actually have a ported enclosure for this, but the test is the same regardless. It'll just sound a little anemic with less gain on the bottom end. If you can set HP/LP filters, aim a little higher, like 100Hz, 150Hz, something that actually forces play of the midbass range a little to indicate speed and articulation. You can do this in the car too really, but it's easier to hear things in the home.

For transparency, the ultimate test is not to be able to localize the drivers playing music. In an ideal world, this would be the tweeter, mid, woofer, sub, everything. In this test, we're just looking at the sub. Play something, music, a movie, whatever. Sit 5ft. in front of the sub and look at it. Pull up a chair and just stare right at the thing. As it's playing, can you tell that it is creating the sound you hear? Can you "see" the sub playing the music? Stand up and walk around some. Can you localize the sub at all as the source of the bass information? To be a truly transparent driver, you should not be able to. Note that the wall, near by paneling, etc. will vibrate and may give a generalized area that the bass is coming from. You can play at milder volumes to help minimize this. In the end, you should not be able to say "that device is producing this sound."
As I said, the Diyma came highly reccomended by Corey (Dr.TelepathySQ) and it was fun to listen to but its nothing like the Ultimo. The Ultimo is very fast and introduces no artifacts of its own. If I get time I'll try your test but you really need to try an Ultimo. You really want understand what transparency means when it refers to a sub until you hear an Ultimo. I certainly thought I knew what transparency meant but the Ultimo was a real mind blowing experience.

Morel has just announced "consumer level" (eg more affordable) versions of the Ultimo, called the Ultimo SC in a 10 and a 12. Same voice coil and cone, just a cheaper basket as far as I can tell. Ask Troy of Axxis Audio, he is a vendor and an authorized dealer for Morel, and he has given members of this forum some tremendous discounts on stuff.
 

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Alot of people aren't seeing Shiv's review for what it is. I have owned many subwoofers, easily number over 200 and his sub is the most transparent sub I have ever heard in a car...ever. I have judged IASCA, USACi , AYA and EMMA and this statement still holds true. When you listen to music, the sub just makes the notes happen that it's supposed to, you can't hear any noise at all from it, can't localize where it may be. It sounds like the low frequencies are just ''there''. I highly recommend giving one a listen in a properly tuned and aligned vehicle.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I soooo wish this sub was shallower.
Mounting depth is 5.78" for the 12 and 5.52" for the Ultimo 10". That is not a huge mounting depth for a subwoofer, most 10" and 12" subs have a mounting depth of between 5"-6". Look at the RE XXX or JBL GTI if you want to wish for something shallower. The Morel Ultimois by no means a shallow mount sub, but you can mount it in fairly small enclosure (1.125 cu ft).

I have a small hatchback and need room for my gigs as a parttime musician and the Morel allows me enough space while providing the best bass I have ever heard coming from a sub.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
A lot of people aren't seeing Shiv's review for what it is. I have owned many subwoofers, easily number over 200 and his sub is the most transparent sub I have ever heard in a car...ever. I have judged IASCA, USACi , AYA and EMMA and this statement still holds true. When you listen to music, the sub just makes the notes happen that it's supposed to, you can't hear any noise at all from it, can't localize where it may be. It sounds like the low frequencies are just ''there''. I highly recommend giving one a listen in a properly tuned and aligned vehicle.
^^^ What he said. You don't know what a real sub should sound like until you hear the Ultimo. We all say "transparent" driver but the Ultimo is ... well... the ultimate in transparency.
 

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The Ultimo 12 is also my preferred sub (see my review of the Hsu Research ASW-1203 and you will understand why), and is without doubt the best I have used. Based on my experience, given the size of the enclosure he used, Shiv has NOT heard the Morel at its best. He has sacrificed a significant amount of low frequency output by using such a small enclosure (which also requires greater amplifier power than a larger enclosure). In addition, to get the best performance out of it, you MUST have sufficient power on tap. The Ultimo really needs at least 1,000 watts RMS available to it to move its massive voice coil so it can wow you with its low frequency capabilities. I have a 2 Ohm version and am using it in a 1.5 cubic foot enclosure (which I think is better for it than a 1.25 cubic foot enclosure), low passed at 50 Hz with a 24 db slope. It is everything that Shiv described, + more. Its lack of coloration, fast transient response, tonal accuracy and precision, overall transparency, and incredible detail is something to behold.

The new SC version of the Ultimo does NOT have the same motor or voice coil as the Ultimo. That is why it's XMax is lower and it handles less continuous power. It's more efficient than the Ultimo, thus making it able to be paired with more "real world" amplifiers to achieve optimal performance.

I am quite familiar with the DIYMA 12, having used one myself. I replaced it with several subs that I found superior in a number of critical aspects. And of all these subs, I consider the Ultimo the best I have used.
 

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I hope to have a review soon also. I'll be hitting mine with 875 watts and I'm planning on a 1.75 cube enclosure, possibly with some fill.

The Ultimo is the only sub I've heard that really sounded different. It wasn't boomy. It was very controlled. It still hit hard, but there wasn't that residual boominess after a powerful note.
 

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I have used many subs, DD,Fi,Focal,IDQ 12, JL, just to name a few. The Ultimo.........................I have no words, You have to Demo it for ones self. I am so happy to have Morels Top Line. The Ultimo is a must have SQ Woofer.
 

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Mounting depth is 5.78" for the 12 and 5.52" for the Ultimo 10". That is not a huge mounting depth for a subwoofer, most 10" and 12" subs have a mounting depth of between 5"-6". Look at the RE XXX or JBL GTI if you want to wish for something shallower. The Morel Ultimois by no means a shallow mount sub, but you can mount it in fairly small enclosure (1.125 cu ft).

I have a small hatchback and need room for my gigs as a parttime musician and the Morel allows me enough space while providing the best bass I have ever heard coming from a sub.
I know it's not bad, I (and many others) have specific depth problems due to the cars we drive. I love morel products and would run one of these in a second if I could fit it in my car.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
The Ultimo 12 is also my preferred sub (see my review of the Hsu Research ASW-1203 and you will understand why), and is without doubt the best I have used. Based on my experience, given the size of the enclosure he used, Shiv has NOT heard the Morel at its best. He has sacrificed a significant amount of low frequency output by using such a small enclosure (which also requires greater amplifier power than a larger enclosure). In addition, to get the best performance out of it, you MUST have sufficient power on tap. The Ultimo really needs at least 1,000 watts RMS available to it to move its massive voice coil so it can wow you with its low frequency capabilities. I have a 2 Ohm version and am using it in a 1.5 cubic foot enclosure (which I think is better for it than a 1.25 cubic foot enclosure), low passed at 50 Hz with a 24 db slope. It is everything that Shiv described, + more. Its lack of coloration, fast transient response, tonal accuracy and precision, overall transparency, and incredible detail is something to behold.

The new SC version of the Ultimo does NOT have the same motor or voice coil as the Ultimo. That is why it's XMax is lower and it handles less continuous power. It's more efficient than the Ultimo, thus making it able to be paired with more "real world" amplifiers to achieve optimal performance.

I am quite familiar with the DIYMA 12, having used one myself. I replaced it with several subs that I found superior in a number of critical aspects. And of all these subs, I consider the Ultimo the best I have used.
Don, its all about fitting in to a particular setup. I think your setup is atypical as you have 10" drivers in your doors so you can afford to lowpass the sub significantly. I have a 2 way setup with 7" woofers in my doors so I can't afford to cross at 50 Hz. Based on that I chose an enclosure volume of 1.25 cu ft net (1.35 cu ft gross) as the optimal enclosure for my setup. I think this just highlights the importance of taking into account the setup the sub will be placed in when deciding the box size etc. Rather than right or wrong, its what works best in a particular setup. My HU provides auto eq so between that and cabin gain, I don't think I'm losing much in terms of bass extension.

Thanks for clarifying the differences between the Ultimo and the Ultimo SC. I am going to be putting signicantly more power on the Ultimo, possibly even class A/B, so I will update this review when that happens.
 

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Don, its all about fitting in to a particular setup. I think your setup is atypical as you have 10" drivers in your doors so you can afford to lowpass the sub significantly. I have a 2 way setup with 7" woofers in my doors so I can't afford to cross at 50 Hz. Based on that I chose an enclosure volume of 1.25 cu ft net (1.35 cu ft gross) as the optimal enclosure for my setup. I think this just highlights the importance of taking into account the setup the sub will be placed in when deciding the box size etc. Rather than right or wrong, its what works best in a particular setup. My HU provides auto eq so between that and cabin gain, I don't think I'm losing much in terms of bass extension.

Thanks for clarifying the differences between the Ultimo and the Ultimo SC. I am going to be putting signicantly more power on the Ultimo, possibly even class A/B, so I will update this review when that happens.
Shiv, actually, I have 8" woofers in my doors, not 10". But, to address your central point, I agree that system choices have to take into consideration your overall set-up. However, the set-up that is optimal for a particular component should NOT be deviated from for obvious reasons. Most importantly, my remarks were directed at your use of a .85 cubic foot enclosure (as stated in your initial post above). In this post you state that you are now using a 1.35 cubic foot enclosure. Big difference there! You are now using an enclosure which gives you a Qtc that results in a much flatter response, AND deeper bass extension, than the smaller enclosure. I am confident that having heard the differences you will not be returning to that smaller enclosure, correct? :D

I have used an enclosure close to the size you are currently using, and went to one slightly larger. I found that there were benefits. Before you dismiss using a larger enclosure, I suggest you try it first. You can get the same enclosure I am using from Sonic Electronix for $27 shipped!! That’s not much of an investment to find out whether you will experience benefits from using a larger enclosure.

Regarding the low pass frequency choice for the sub, I don’t know your current settings, or what you have tried. But, don't dismiss something without trying it. The low pass crossover frequency and slope I have chosen were based on extensive experimentation to find what gave me, in my car, minimal localization of the sub, and the best sense of upfront sub-bass and integration with the front stage, so that the listener gets as much as possible the sense that he/she is hearing the performers in front of him/her. It's not the size of the midbass drivers that determines how low you can high pass your midbass drivers, or how high you should low pass your sub. First, it’s the capabilities of the speaker, and what type of installation is necessary to obtain optimal performance. Just because a driver is large doesn’t mean that it will perform better in the bass/midbass region than a smaller sized driver. For example, I have a pair of Critical Mass MB82 midbass drivers. If they are mounted in a door without being placed in a sealed enclosure of at least .2 cubic feet, they will not perform well. You will be much happier with a 6.5 inch woofer designed for an infinite baffle application. Put the Critical Mass woofer in the sealed enclosure and drop in your doors, and you are grinning from ear to ear. Next, you have to consider your install. You might have a midbass driver mounted in your doors that is fully capable of playing down to 40 Hz with low distortion and excellent output. However, if your door is not well damped you will get such bad resonances that you will be forced to high pass that driver MUCH higher than you might otherwise want to. My friend Jose ‘s (Veloze) Toyota Tacoma truck has a pair of 6.5 inch Phass mid bass woofers mounted in the doors. One setting we really like has the midbass highpassed at 63Hz, 24 db slope, and the Phass 10 inch sub is low passed at 50 Hz, 18 db slope. It works. Localization of the sub is minimized, and the subbass is seamlessly integrated into the front stage. So, the point is, try it, you might be surprised with the results given YOUR particular set-up. :)
 

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I've had the Ultimo installed now for a week and I must say that it's be best sub I've ever heard, but I am still wondering why we are so fascinated with a driver that barely plays one single octave. The bass is definitely tighter, but I certainly can't hear it on most songs unless they have a pronounced bass track. If I listened to nothing but Hotel California from Hell Freezes Over, I'd be in heaven. Otherwise, the money would be much better spent on a nicer front stage. If you have tuned and tweaked absolutely everything in your car and have nothing left to do, then I would consider stepping up to something like the Ultimo. If you're not completely obsessed with SQ like some of us are, I'd recommend getting a Dayton HO and calling it a day.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I've had the Ultimo installed now for a week and I must say that it's be best sub I've ever heard, but I am still wondering why we are so fascinated with a driver that barely plays one single octave. The bass is definitely tighter, but I certainly can't hear it on most songs unless they have a pronounced bass track. If I listened to nothing but Hotel California from Hell Freezes Over, I'd be in heaven. Otherwise, the money would be much better spent on a better front stage. If you have tuned and tweaked absolutely everything in your car and have nothing left to do, then I would consider stepping up to something like the Ultimo. If you're not completely obsessed with SQ like some of us are, I'd recommend getting a Dayton HO and calling it a day.
We are fascinated with subs because the bass notes should have impact when listening to music - try running your setup without a sub for a week. The reason you can't hear it on most songs is because of how transparent the Ultimo is - it blends so well that you think it isn't adding anything. Again, try turning off your sub and see what a difference it makes. The transparency of the Ultimo is misleading - you may think its not doing much but in fact its doing a lot but very transparently.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
You can get the same enclosure I am using from Sonic Electronix for $27 shipped!! That’s not much of an investment to find out whether you will experience benefits from using a larger enclosure.
Alright Don, point me to the enclosure ... I am willing to try it. :) I'll also try playing with my corssovers a bit. I checked Sonic and the closest I found was 1.45 cu ft. Shipping is a little more to me in TX than it is to you in CA I suspect.
 
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