It's better to start another thread since candidates were added and eliminated. The original thread is here:http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1374185
First of all thanks everyone again for all your input (and special thanks go to pbc for your input).
I think I will rule out the SB13+ since it is more expensive here ($2150) and their mediocre customer services (no offense to SVS owners, if you are not reading the original thread from the beginning, I am talking about their mediocre customer service in my region) which I also started to value highly after talking with you folks here.
While many local dealers feared my sensitive ears that picked up lots of sound imperfections in their systems, I am still relatively new to this hobby and just do not have the level of technical knowledge on subs you folks have, and I don't have an easy access to all those technical accessories like the SPL meters and sub equalizers that are readily available in the States either. Yet there are questions on the SB13+/ULS-15 that even experts like you folks here could not answer for sure due to the lack of data, and from this I came to realize that after sales services and technical support are equally important as the sound quality, output and form factor alone.
Actually for last week I spent a great deal of time studying Rythmik E15 / F15HP / 2 x F12SE as well, reading as many posts as I could. Although they are not as popular as HSU and SVS, they are occasionally brought out in the "vs threads" to have SQ as good as or perhaps even surpass that of the HSU in spite of a tad bit lower output in general. On a side note: hey hometheatergeek
, you know the comparisons between the two were dominated by you and Curtis, and reading Curtis's and your posts was really great fun - I look forward to see the ultimate shootout between your ULS and his F15 Eagle
In fact I was pretty tempted by Curtis's comments who has compared so many top great subs side by side and concluded that at least one important criteria, the SQ of Rythmik is a bit better in his room, although the difference between the ULS and F15 is hardly noticeable (yes I know he is a moderator at AA which is the exclusive distributor of Rythmik subs, but after reading perhaps 100+ of his posts I don't think he is biased towards any brand).
However I am uncertain of the customer services of Rythmik. I've got a few simple Rythmik products specific questions but after waiting for a week and several followup emails, I only received a short reply from a guy called Enrico who answered none of my questions and instead told me to wait 3 weeks and contact them again, and no more response to my followup emails. It turned out that I am not the only one who has this issue with Rythmik and thus I suspect that Rythmik isn't interested in international orders (although in their website my country is among the few lucky ones they said they would ship to).
If I place an order from them, what should I expect from their support in case I run into problems with their sub? This will definitely put me off, and their not-so-obvious better SQ and footprint than the ULS isn't enough to make me place an order. My 3 questions to Rythmik were quite simple:
"... I am mostly interested in the E15, but F15HP and dual F12SEs seem to suit me too. In terms of sound quality and output, how does the E15 compare to the F15HP? And regarding F15HP and F15, do they only differ in the output but have the same sound quality? And will dual F12SE subs outperform a single E15 in terms of both output and sound quality?"
I guess anyone from Rythmik can answer these questions. Anyway I also dropped a PM to Brian directly here yesterday awaiting his reply and I will wait until this weekend for a conclusion. But at this stage, the customer service of HSU is top notch, SVS in my region is mediocre but Rythmik is just plan poor and near non-existent.
Okay as a summary below is my own uneducated guessimation on their performances based on reading over thousands of posts, published CEA 2010 data and my personal experience with each company (out of 10):
SQ - 9
Bass Ext - 9
Overall Output - 10
Ultra-low Bass Output - 9
Aesthetics - 9
Customer Support - 10
Price advantage ($1049) - 10
Special - No spaghetti. All positive user comments here. Linear excursion range +/- 20mm
Weakness - Slightly bigger than the other 2
Concerning the output I couldn't find any CEA 2010 measurement for the ULS but I can infer it from various measurements and comparisons such as to the VTF-15H and PB13U (yes this is risky, but there is no better way of doing that unless some ULS owners can help measure it using the CEA 2010 standards).
SQ - 10
Bass Ext - 10
Overall Output - 8
Ultra-low Bass Output - 10
Aesthetics - 7 (piano black version is 10/10, but more expensive)
Customer Support - 2 (virtually non-existent. Shouldn't I give it a big zero?)
Price advantage ($1099) - 9
Special - Servo tech. High power amp. Linear excursion range +/- 20mm
Weakness - Upper bass rolls off rapidly at 70Hz.
There are very few comments on the E15 here but we can take references from the F15HP which should be quite similar to each other (awaiting Brian's confirmation).
SQ - 8
Bass Ext - 7
Overall Output - 8
Ultra-low Bass Output - 7
Aesthetics - 8
Customer Support - 5 (in my region only, SVS Canada is nearly as good as Hsu)
Price advantage ($2150 in my region) - 4
Special - Sledge power amp
Weakness - 13" Driver. Few owners and comments here, seems to me that sealed subs ain't the strengths of SVS
The high pricing of SVS products in my regions makes it less competitive than the two contenders.
I repeat the above scores are just my own uneducated guessimation that may not represent the truth. They are all great subs (if not I won't spend any time research them) but other factors like the regional pricing / customer support make a big difference in my own case.
Finally I think I won't opt for any ported sub at this moment. After reading posts from folks here who have similar listening preferences as I do and based on my own experience with velodyne, I think I am still more into the sound of sealed subs and output is secondary. Besides SVS PB12-NSD still has the largest footprint among the sealed candidates. Also according to S&V the new SVS PB12-NSD is now 100% made and assembled in China, while the HSU ULS-15 / Rythmik E15 are still assembled in the US. Probably no big deal for most people but I prefer to stick to US / Canada / Europe craftsmanship that I trust.
I will wait 2 more days for Rythmik's response and make my final decision. Thank you all for the input