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With the type of builds we prefer to do, smaller, thinner and lighter gear are always welcome as they provide easier mounting options and allow for more freedom in design...but that in general has applied to amplifier and subwoofers. Front stage speakers on the other hand, i dont feel that we have seen as much progression over the years...the Illusion audio Carbon and Luccent midbass drivers are some exceptions, but the truth of the matter is, they still arent SUPER shallow and they have been in existence for a long time when you consider the origins of the product.

Other manufacturers have tempted us with shallow drivers with mounting deoth of under lets say 1.5 inches for a 6.5, and i have sampled some over the years, and honestly, quite a few of them fall short of my desired performance goals that i have never really caught on to them.

so...when Morel contacted me about trying out their new Virtus Nano speakers, i was cautiously interested. I have heard about them before and from some brief second hand experiences, seem that they would be good performers, but still, my past experiences with the shallows kinda made me wary...as i wasnt sure how well they would work for me in a real world car environment.

After finding the right vehicle for the build, i got my package in and when i opened the box and took out the midbass, i almost fainted. I have been in this game a while and honestly, i have NEVER EVER NEVER EVER seen a speaker like this...forget about shallow midbasses with a mounting depth of 1.5" or less, this ENIRE speaker, top to bottom is around an inch tall! the mounting depth is uh...less than 3/4"?!!! (.67 inches to be exact)...it just looks really really odd. Infact, the thing that popped right into my head is that these are flapjacks. Words cant describe how crazy these things look, so i will post the pics of it and let you see it for yourself:







to drive home depth thing, here is the speaker sitting next to a 1/2" spacer:



:eek::eek::eek::eek::eek:

basically, there is virtually no place this speaker cannot fit into, classic car kicks, older car's door panels with no depth, hondas doors with zero metal cutting, etc etc...infact, you can probably create spekaer pods in places that are no taller than just the grille! the possibilities are pretty endless. You can read more about these here:

VIRTUS NANO 2-way - Morel

So...back on point, enough of going gaga over how the midbass drivers look, and lets get to the build and focus on they perform.

the vehicle we have chosen to use these on is a 2006 honda S2000, recently shipped from IL to CA. it is one of the cleanest examples i have seen in a long time...and iirc only had something like 15k miles!





Goals:

1. to achieve a decent level of sonic improvement via a passive system and using stock locations

2. maintain a totally stealthy look in the interior

3. maintain a completely stealthy look in the trunk and place all gear in the storage well.

so. lets get started:

the signal source starts with a kenwood 998 headunit, and as with most s2k builds, it can be hidden completely with the factory door:







the front stage is of course, the virtus nano set. lets take a look at the other half of the speaker, the MT120 tweeter, which is the same tweeter utilized in the standard virtus set i believe. it has the cool lotus grille on it as well, and no more tripoint wave guides:









first, jesse ran new speaker wires into the door, sound proofed the outer door panel with blackhole tiles, and the inner door panel with some STP CLD damper:






then he fabricated some spacers for the virtus nano and coated them with several layers of truck bedliner to protect them against the element:





then the bigger openings in the door were better sealed off with focal BAM, and the nano midbass driver wired up and installed via oem mounting points..odd when you think about i that virtually NONE of the speaker basket actually really protrudes into the door cavity :)





the MT120 tweeters were then bonded to the factory mounting tabs with epoxy, and these were secured back to the door. the inside of the door card also received some CLD damper to help with resonance:





the same of course, was done on the other side:





jesse then bundled up all the wires and ran them to the back of the car, ziptied and organized every few inches:











once the wires were in the trunk, i took over the rest of the wiring and the fabrication. all the bundles were organized and drops down into the storage well area at the very back of the car:







 

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lets take a look at the finished trunk. here is the normal view with the cover in place. and as you can see, virtually stock looking with everything contained in the storage well:





and here is the view with the cover off. it seems that i cant help myself when building these s2000 systems. each time i am supposed to do just a very basic design, i feel that this is a perfect platform to do a little extra and make it look neater, so for this car, i decided on a floating bridge design. looking through the mesh grille you see an I shaped floating platform suspended over an audiomobile GTS10 subwoofer. the bridge houses an arc audio xdiv2 600.4 that runs the entire system with 150x2 upfront and about 300x1 to the sub; as well as the passsive xovers for the Morel nano set. pretty simple but i think it looks a bit cooler than a basic box with the amp and xovers mounted to it:













onto the build pics. first, the well was masked off and glassed to form the bottom mold of the sub box:



once that cured, it was removed, trimmed, and then topped with a piece of 3/4" mdf that forms a sealed enclosure of around .5 cubic foot net:







threaded inserts were then placed into the top of the box to secure the floating bridge mount:





the front and rear spacers that prop up the main top floor is also fabricated at this point:



these were then secured to the box and everything carpeted and wired up:






some focal BAM went onto the metal of the storage well and a single 1/4" rivetnut installed ontot he bottom of the well:



and the factory carpet went back in, the subbox bolted in place, and the subwoofer wired up and installed:







this is the floating bridge platform, it has actually a 1.25" spacer block under each main section, with holes drilled through it all for the bolt to mount to the threaded inserts ontop of the box. this is it before and after vinyl:





and this is it bolted into the car:




this is the main top cover panel before and after vinyl, and then the black painted steel mesh secured to it:







and this is the vented top cover before and after carpet:





and finally, some shots of the wiring underneath it all:







so there you have it, a very basic build for us that still has a little touch of coolness to it from an aesthetic standpoint. :)

so how does it sound????

well, the good thing is that we had done another s2k recently, with virtually the identical gear except the front stage was provided by a set of morel tempo ultra coaxials... that car sounded pretty decent but provides a bench mark for this baby to directly compare the virtus nano, with its much cheaper cousin, and to see if the performance of the speaker is worth the extra cost and of course, if the performance is up to par with my expectations.

so the simple answer is ABSOLUTELY!

since this is a purely passive car, i wont comment really about the imaging and staging, the headunit does have time alignment, and actually, i was able to get a decent center out of it using that function, but lets focus really on the tonality.

to put things into proper perspective, one shouldnt compare the nano with speakers like the morel titanium elate, whcih to me, has one of the strongest midbasses out there, instead, i feel that it should be compared with the normal virtus, which while not being a midbass monster, can deliver really transparent fast attacking midbass snaps and punches.

so my honestly impression is that if you didnt tell me these were nanos, i would have thought they were the normal virtus drivers.

listening to songs with fast punch bass, snare drums etc, such as madonna's holiday, revealed that they can truly deliver very transparent, very fast and quite snappy midbass attacks, even at high volumes without distortion. on the live hotel california song, these babies had no problem anchoring the big kick drum notes upfront.

the rest of the tonality is also excellent, and again, not unlike the morel virtus, it has a good amount of detail but not harsh, despite having the tweeters mounted in a less than ideal location and very little tuning ability, the car sounded very pleasant.

now, with the understanding that these are solution driven speakers that are meant to go into really tight spots, i am really blown away by what they can do. for those people who desire a lot of extension in their midbass, lets say down to 40 50 60hz, and have plenty of room, these are probably not the speaker for you. I feel that 80hz is a good setting for the hgihpass on them. ..asking them to produce much lower notes with authority and they do struggle a bit. But these are also plenty out there that believe a midbass should only go down to about 80hz and not be highpassed much lower, and i think these excel when set this way. listening to Havannah, a classic EDM track with a LOT of higher frequency bass with the sub turned off, was quite a revelation...i still couldnt get over the fact that so much impact is coming out of a speaker that looks like a pancake!

so yeah...VERY pleased with these guys.

to sum it all up, i think these are the perfect choice for those who have very limited mounting depth in their cars, or want to do, lets say a set of kicks but dont want to give us much space...or perhaps want to build some dash pods without doing much cutting. Hell, if you are the type that like to have the midbass speaker produce only midbass and let the subs take care of the subbass, then these are worth a try as well.

with a reputation for over built drivers with gigantic voicecoils and not so small baskets, it comes as a surprise to me that Morel would be the first to market with what i can TRULY call a shallow speaker...it doesnt just inch the shallow standard down slightly but instead really completely utterly blows it away.

and for that, i have to give them a pat on the back, great job guys!

Bing
 

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Nice job bing.....and those mids, sheesh. When I first saw pics of these online, I thought, no way! They barely look like they'd function, let alone be capable to 80 hz......lol, so yeah, good job morel!
 

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Hey Bing, I like the layout of the trunk. That is a pretty cool idea with the amp/passives floating over the sub like you did. Very creative.
 

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What I see staring me in the face with this install is the ease with which someone could implement an aperiodic back to those spacers and have a way to tune the IB impedance peak, lowering distortion across the board.

I think most door installations could use an easy button for aperiodic loading, but because the amount of room behind most drivers with conventional magnet geometry is limited, people forget how much of a system's complexity in the digital realm can be applied physically using the old school approaches.

I don't see a way for those speakers to run a voice coil very far up and down, but it's not always necessary to have greater than 3mm of one-way throw if there is a sub and it's capable.

great work putting an odd duck into the circulation as this installation didn't actually require that extreme shallow basket to work out, but doing it anyway.

I think SoundStream has a flat component set similar in depth to these, Stealth possibly?

Also, I've seen Lightning Audio have an inverted motor set like the Illusion, never heard them though...

someone was selling off old stock recently on ebay, very cheap for a shallow requirement.

I tend to think of shallow designs as relatively less capable, like 2/3rds output of a normal set, but I see people claim the Illusion product is just as good as any other companies' flagships. I haven't heard them, so I wouldn't be able to corroborate, but perhaps these Morel are also in the running for a great system, where no system normally would be possible.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
What I see staring me in the face with this install is the ease with which someone could implement an aperiodic back to those spacers and have a way to tune the IB impedance peak, lowering distortion across the board.

I think most door installations could use an easy button for aperiodic loading, but because the amount of room behind most drivers with conventional magnet geometry is limited, people forget how much of a system's complexity in the digital realm can be applied physically using the old school approaches.

I don't see a way for those speakers to run a voice coil very far up and down, but it's not always necessary to have greater than 3mm of one-way throw if there is a sub and it's capable.

great work putting an odd duck into the circulation as this installation didn't actually require that extreme shallow basket to work out, but doing it anyway.

I think SoundStream has a flat component set similar in depth to these, Stealth possibly?

Also, I've seen Lightning Audio have an inverted motor set like the Illusion, never heard them though...

someone was selling off old stock recently on ebay, very cheap for a shallow requirement.

I tend to think of shallow designs as relatively less capable, like 2/3rds output of a normal set, but I see people claim the Illusion product is just as good as any other companies' flagships. I haven't heard them, so I wouldn't be able to corroborate, but perhaps these Morel are also in the running for a great system, where no system normally would be possible.
i guess maybe i should rephrase, i dont realy consider the illusion a shallow speaker. it is a backwards speaker if you will becuase if you take a c6 for example, and stuck that neo motor, or a ferrite motor of equivalent force onto the back of it, it would result in a pretty normal speaker. this is why the illusion stuff also dont sound weak compared to some other thin designs.

i have no idea how this make this design work, and yeah, obviously travel has to be limited...but this honestly is thinner than almost anything i have seen by a lot.

for one thing, it didnt suffer, at least to me, from a lack of OVERALL output, with the top down in the s2k, this thing easily got loud enough to be audible at highway speeds. i think yeah, below 80hz, its not going to be quite there compared to some other conventional speakers, but its very good from that point on.

b
 

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Wow those drivers are crazy!
Nice simple build Bing!
As always, inspirational.


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Simplicity at its finest, both in install and the choice of equipment bravo. :)
 

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Nice work as always. Interesting sub box/amp rack approach.

Too late for me, but is Morel working on an 8" version of the Nano for underseat fitments?
 

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how does the sub do with only 300 watts on it in a trunk? I guess if the customer isn't a bass head it should be ok, but I needed a ported 10 and about 500 rms to be happy in an s2k..and to take the top completely off lol cause I didn't fit otherwise.
 

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The pics all organized and uploaded lol

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Should I send flowers or chocolates to Brittney to get mine posted up??? ;) - I want to see how much it had to be hacked up to make everything disappear!
 

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Haha I'm so far behind, gonna jump you to the front of the line...it would prolly be up already if I didn't become super sick on Tuesday...:(

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Dang. Sorry Bing.
Hope you're feeling better.
It's really no rush - just a couple cars that were finished after mine are up, and I don't want to be forgotten.
Plus a couple people have asked me for shots of the build.

Spent some time measuring and tweaking last night. Those tweeters are quite amazing!

Thanks Man!
Have a great weekend.
 

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Dang. Sorry Bing.
Hope you're feeling better.
It's really no rush - just a couple cars that were finished after mine are up, and I don't want to be forgotten.
Plus a couple people have asked me for shots of the build.

Spent some time measuring and tweaking last night. Those tweeters are quite amazing!

Thanks Man!
Have a great weekend.
Haha I went in the weekend after your car was done and organized and uploaded 10 albums, then it was a matter of writing the logs. Urs was among the longer ones so it was delayed :)

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