Emotiva Ultra 12 Subwoofer Review

A

admin

Audioholics Robot
Staff member
Ratings
1,634
#1
"Subwoofer" - it's like a magic word around here and makes all of us audioholics have little dreams of black boxes that cause our walls to crack, dishes to rattle, and rock our children to sleep... from the other end of the house. Some people think a good subwoofer will go down to 2 Hz, cost $200 and live in a box the size of a small laptop computer. Others go for size, wanting nothing less than a small refrigerator that will smack them around like a rag doll. We prefer a slightly more balanced approach, so when Emotiva announced their affordable Ultra Sub 12, we were intrigued. A 12†high quality driver mounted in a modest sized sealed enclosure with a meaty power amp for under $500 sure sounded like a winner to us. Could their magic black box deliver good bass and punch at an affordable price? Read our review to find out.


Discuss "Emotiva Ultra 12 Subwoofer Review" here. Read the article.
 
ski2xblack

ski2xblack

Audioholic Field Marshall
Ratings
800 6 4
#2
Why am I not surprised that a simple, sealed 12" sub, optimized for dynamics over extension, is such a good performer? Does Emo have some old M&K engineers working for them?

For normal sized rooms, room gain will reduce the uber low freq performance gap between the Emo and the JL. And price for price, four of these bad boys will easily trump a single JL.
 
T

templemaners

Senior Audioholic
Ratings
198
#3
Finally! My jonesin' for a subwoofer review can go away for a day at least. :D
 
ratso

ratso

Full Audioholic
Ratings
114
#4
"With a modern AV receiver this shouldn't be a problem, but if you have a lower-tech integrated amplifier or a true legacy system or audiophile rig, you may need to look into an external crossover."

i have to admit i'm a little confused. i have a 2 channel system and a HT system. using my 2 channel preamp's HT bypass i "share" my main speakers between the two. i am planning on getting a rythmik sub that has the dual inputs so i can input my LFE signal from my HT system and also my line output from my 2 channel preamp into the other (so i will be also sharing the subs). if the sub's crossover is set to 40hz, why would i need an external crossover for full range listening?

i know this site is mostly concerned with HT but maybe a quick article in your setting up you sub series dedicated to integrating a sub with 2 channel systems would be helpful - a lot of us are doing it.
 
G

gajenn

Audioholic Intern
Ratings
8
#5
this sounds like an amazing sub..I was thinking of getting the hsu vtf-15h..but at 1/2 the price im rethinking..
 
sholling

sholling

Audioholic Ninja
Ratings
1,345 1
#8
I'm a deeeeeeep bass junkie for movies but for music this little guy is fantastic. Super clean detailed bass with lots of authority. 4800cuft seems a bit much for a 12" sealed sub but I'll take the reviewers word for it.
 
jliedeka

jliedeka

Audioholic General
Ratings
381 1 1
#9
It looks a little underdamped but a great value proposition. If I wasn't committed to building a sub, I'd seriously consider this for my bedroom system.

Jim
 
O

openvista

Audiophyte
Ratings
1
#10
Msrp?

Thanks, Gene, for the great review. However, I believe the MSRP on Emotiva's site is $599.
 
emorphien

emorphien

Audioholic General
Ratings
121
#12
Didn't have the nicer finish back when I was shopping and it doesn't have the connectivity I need but this looks like a great performer.
 
GranteedEV

GranteedEV

Audioholic Ninja
Ratings
2,356
#15
What is the basis for this observation?
Not much rolloff towards the "knee" and then lots of rolloff below it.


The more damped it is, it will usually have a higher knee, a slightly steeper rolloff towards that knee, but a more gradual rolloff below it. Of course equalization will mess with that "natural Q" but I think the frequency response is what he was refering to when he said it doesn't seem damped enough.

Also the less damped a box is, the more it's "spring protected" at lower frequencies too. The spring protection means lower system efficiency, which in turn means that you can end up being amplifier limited which seemed apparent in the power compression tests at lower frequencies. Being amplifier limit ain't so bad in subs especially with all their soft clipping etc. The point is that damping it more would possibly push the 12" driver too hard.

FWIW people seem to subjectively prefer the slight punch a less damped box can give a sub. I'm crazy so my maelstrom will probably have a Q near .57... a rather damped box that does hit x-max if you throw enough power towards it. I wish it didn't weight near 300lbs... I'd take it outside and do some of these ground plane measurements once I got a mic and sound card. I really want to.. trust me.

BTW, I'm considering picking up one of these emotivas to (after decoupling) put high up on a fireplace. I've read that having a source of bass higher up in the air than other bass sources can give good results. The pro is that unlike the maelstrom, it's probably light enough to put high up. The con is that I don't think it could keep up with the maelstrom so I don't know how I would blend two vastly different subs together. My next step is probably going to be to add another maelstrom on the ground.
 
Last edited:
gene

gene

Audioholics Master Chief
Administrator
Ratings
4,892 25 9
#16
i have to admit i'm a little confused. i have a 2 channel system and a HT system. using my 2 channel preamp's HT bypass i "share" my main speakers between the two. i am planning on getting a rythmik sub that has the dual inputs so i can input my LFE signal from my HT system and also my line output from my 2 channel preamp into the other (so i will be also sharing the subs). if the sub's crossover is set to 40hz, why would i need an external crossover for full range listening?
This should help you:

Subwoofer Setup Not for Dummies
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Warlord
Ratings
5,688 22 9
#17
Based on the photos, there is black dampening coating on the cabinet, but no sign of the fiberfill type dampening often used in a sealed sub.
Is stuffing a $5 pillow from Walmart inside something which might be an easy tweak to improve performance? Or would that be counter-productive as you commented on pushing the drivers too hard?
 
gene

gene

Audioholics Master Chief
Administrator
Ratings
4,892 25 9
#18
Based on the photos, there is black dampening coating on the cabinet, but no sign of the fiberfill type dampening often used in a sealed sub.
Is stuffing a $5 pillow from Walmart inside something which might be an easy tweak to improve performance?
That shot was taken from Emotiva's website since we couldn't remove the amp as it was not only screwed down but apparently glued as well to reduce any chance of leakage. The cabinet is likely stuffed but the stuffing was removed so you can see the driver and the bracing.
 
GranteedEV

GranteedEV

Audioholic Ninja
Ratings
2,356
#19
Based on the photos, there is black dampening coating on the cabinet, but no sign of the fiberfill type dampening often used in a sealed sub.
Is stuffing a $5 pillow from Walmart inside something which might be an easy tweak to improve performance? Or would that be counter-productive as you commented on pushing the drivers too hard?
Perhaps.. and perhaps not. The issue is whether the plate amp has EQ/processing etc built in and of what sort. It may be "digitally tuned" for a given apparent box volume.
 
M

merwine

Audioholic Intern
Ratings
1
#20
I see the Ultra 12 was compared to the JL F110. How do you think it would compare to the F112? I am thinking about switching out my F112 for 4 Ultra 12's. Upgrade or not?
 

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