Excellent work guys! That obviously took a TON of time to do and put together. I really have to commend you both on the writing style, video, and measurements of the review. You did it differently as compared to past reviews and it really put a lot of credibility around your process and your purpose for creating the review. Very nice work.
I currently own a pair of A7S-450s. I have to say your output numbers are pretty much spot on to what I'm seeing. I pick up an additional 2 to 3 db or so with Duals, but I found it amazing that our numbers were so similar especially in the Hulk scene. Very cool.
I can't really disagree with you giving the A7s-450 the most bang for the buck
, especially if you buy two at the same time ($800).
As far as sound quality goes, as you guys stated, all of these subs sound great and in particular at peak volumes. For me, I couldn't be more pleased with it's sound quality; tight, deep, and most certainly couch shaking. Sound quality by nature is just so subjective. I believe you when you say that you thought the other subs had better sound quality, but someone else could say the exact opposite. It also depends on the type of music you listen to, etc. etc. I'm stating the obvious here guys and not trying to discount your findings...just sayin'
I would however have to disagree with you regarding the build quality being secondary in importance. I'd say build quality is most definitely a selling point! Ever try and remove the driver?
As you stated, this thing is a beast at 140lbs weighing in 20 to 30lbs more than the other subs. eD is known to 'over brace' their subs, and the a7s is no exception. Are you perhaps throwing in your experience with reliability into this category? I agree with you on the grills, but I'd say that was more aesthetics than build quality.
As far as WAF being secondary in importance...would probably have to agree with you there as well. However, eD's new finishes (gloss black, red, etc.) may help with that some. I will say the DAF (Dude Acceptance Factor - sorry about that) is very high. Those silver 18in drivers I think are the most impressive of the bunch. When the grills are off and you've got a pair on the front stage of your theater...they just 'visually' scream output.
Certainly, a wow factor in my theater!
The last point was the extension being secondary in importance. I would tend to agree with you there as well. That's just how sealed subs behave, without an eq. I will say this though; because the a7s-450 (with its 18in driver and 1300watt amp) has the most output and presumably the most headroom, the a7s would handle eq better than the rest as well. Using eq will lower overall headroom, but because there's an ample amount of headroom in the a7s, it does really well at it. In my room, I'm flat to around 10hz with Audyssey on. When I acheived those output numbers they were all with Audyssey on. Also, for those subs in the test that already use eq to achieve their FR curves you showed, applying more eq would potentially reduce output/headroom for them as well.
So, based on your findings and my experiences with the a7s-450, I'd say I made the right choice for my preferences!
Again, great job guys.