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So it's been a few days with my Dayton 18" UM18 in a 4 cu ft sealed enclosure. Power is from the Dayton plate amp, 1200 watt with DSP. The entire kit was $899 from Parts Express. First, everything arrived very well packed and went together really well. I used Titebond III glue for main assembly. I had 4 36" bar clamps and 2 more would have made things easier. I painted the front with gloss spray paint, took me about 6 coats and some 2000 grit sandpaper to get a decent finish. Would have been easier if I had more skill spraying. The back and sides I bought a sheet of matte black Formica laminate and a neighbor that refinishes boats for a living helped me cut and glue it. Came out really nice with his help. The top and bottom I decided to order granite or quartz counter top materials at first, but that proved to be more costly than I wanted to spend. I found a local company that makes custom office furniture, desks, tables, shelves and they made me a pair of 20x22 inch shelves that gave me a 2" overhang in the front on the top and bottom. These shelves were $96 compared to the $300+ quotes I was getting for granite. The top I glued down and screwed in with wood screws from the inside. The bottom I drilled through the shelf and into the enclosure and hammered in tee nuts from the inside. I used 1/4 20 bolts to attached rubber feet through the bottom accent piece and into the enclosure. I also used glue since I had it handy. The amp and driver all have gaskets pre installed and I'll get back to those in a moment. I had cut out opening for the plate amp, dropping it a couple of inches below center so I would only have to cut through one brace and not two, and I mounted the DSP display in the top corner of the rear panel. For the driver I drilled holes through the enclosure and hammered in more tee nuts on the inside.
With everything wired, dual 2 ohm voice coils wired for 4 ohm, I bolted in the amp, the DSP display and then came the driver. I used zip ties to allow me to handle the driver easier and once lined up I started bolting it down with more 2" long 1/4 20 bolts into the tee nuts. All was going pretty smooth until the last one, when somehow I managed to knock the tee bolt loose on the inside. I had to remove the plate amp and took me a while to figure out how to get something on that tee nut to hold it. I used a 24" screw driver I had from a long time ago to jam against the tee nut and finally got the bolt tight enough so the tee nut grabbed enough of the wood to hold it and I got it tight.
Next step was to plug it in and turn it on and everything came on as expected. and we had noise, a wonderful sounding noise, I was smiling. I kicked up the volume and started putting it through some paces. I then fed it a steady 20hz tone and started hearing some strange, not so wonderful noises. Remember those re installed gaskets? I still had air leaks from around the plate amp and driver. I ended up removing the plate amp and installing another gasket to get it to seal. Those leaks were fixed and then I heard noise from around the driver. I was really nervous about removing the driver due to the issue I had with the tee nuts, I didn't want to risk another one coming loose. I started cranking down harder on the bolts holding the driver and even though I was applying more force than I felt 100% comfortable with, I got it to seal and nothing broke. On the positive side of things I will be returning the $17 roll of weather seal I bought and didn't use once I noticed the seals on the backside of the driver and plate amp.
So now I take a few minutes to read through the DSP manual and decide to start with the microphone and run the auto set up. After that I can see that at 31 hz there is a slight boost programmed in and from 60 to 100 hz the levels are down 6-9 db. Now that that is finished, let's play some music. I start going through a variety of rock, pop and jazz selections and I am really impressed. Compared to the SVS SB-2000 that is replaced, the bass is much more powerful, especially in the lower frequencies but yet, not overpowering. Still smiling I called it a day.
The next day I move to movies, my first one is Dr. Strange. Sounds good and then the scene comes on with the battle in the sideways street scene with the buildings twisting and moving. Ok, now we're in an entirely new world compared to the little SVS I had. The room is rumbling, the seats are shaking, WOW, this thing is amazing. I think back to the dealer that demo'ed a $4000 Margin Logan dual 12" subwoofer for me and even in their demo room slightly smaller than my room, it certainly did not match what this Dayton Ultimax kit was doing. I fact I really want to go back to another demo I listened to with a slightly larger room but with 4 JL Audio F113 subwoofers, one in each corner. That JL Audio demo was amazing and I really would like another demo to see which I like. So yea, I am comparing this $899 Dayton Audio kit to $16,000 worth of commercial subwoofers. Maybe the JL's we're better, stronger, but it's close.
For the past couple of days I have been working with the MCACC settings in the Pioneer processor to dial things in but so far I am 110% pleased, thrilled with this build. It delivers a tight, musical quality that plays smooth down to the lowest tones, does a fantastic job clearly making similar notes sound separate. The volume from mid bass down to 20 hz stays smooth and even, for music this is clearly a level above the SB-2000. For movies? This Ultimax 18 simply delivers impact, effects and pressure that is beyond the SB-2000 by a big margin. But that's to be expected going from a 500 watt 12" sub to a 1200 watt 18" model.
I took my time, learned a lot along the way and love the performance. And the best part is my wife even likes the aesthetics.
 

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Thanks for the review of sub and amp revie. I feel better about making a decision to go sealed. I don’t need the loudest bass. Just clean bass.
 

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Looks great! I really like the look of the overhang on the top and bottom.

As you have already discovered T-Nuts can be a PITA! Be very careful if/when you ever pull that driver out.
After having that exact thing happen on a sub build I started to use some gorilla glue all over the T-Nuts backside as well as a little in the pre-drilled hole.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I put too much pressure on one while putting the driver in. Took me 45 minutes to figure out a way to hold it down while screwing in the last screw.
 

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Yep that is what causes T-Nuts to cause problems!
In my case I had zero access behind the driver and bracing would not let access the T-Nut either with all the other screws removed.
Ended up using visegrips to pull the T-Nut flanges back into the wood and then cut off the head of the bolt with about 10 minutes worth of working at it with side cutters. Not a fun process!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I used a long screwdriver, 24" and after removing the plate amp was able to reach the T nut with enough pressure to get it to grab some wood and tighten the bolt. I hammered them in before I installed the driver
 

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Very nicely done!
 
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Nice build!
 
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