The EX is like a 3.3, but with more port noise down low...
Really, because both subs have been indicated to have some port noise when pushed very hard. How do you know which has more? Although, in his recent review where he noticed a little distress in viewing Terminator Salvation, Ricci noted that "The LFM-1 EX's performance with this piece of bombastic home theater bass was above and beyond what subwoofers in its price range would usually be able to provide. Impressive."
Between the EX and the VTF-3, in testing, the VTF-3 has been show to have a flatter frequency response and a little better low end extension. However, shadyj, who owns both, has said,
Originally Posted by shadyJ
I have the VTF3 mk3 and the LFM-1 EX, they are mostly alike, and the differences are minor. The differences between the VTF3 mk3 and mk4 are pretty minor also. The down-firing ports are not a con unless the carpet is so thick they become blocked, you will want to have a little clearance for them. I would say the VTF3 has a slight advantage on paper that may not actually make a difference in practice. The VTF3 has more port volume than the LFM-1 EX which means it should be capable of more output at its tuning point. However, I can't tell the difference between the two, although I haven't tried pushing them hard enough in an attempt to notice any difference, because at that point they are both pretty loud, more than loud enough for me. I guess if I had to choose I would go with the VTF3, but only because of a few extra features and larger ports, but, like I said, in practice they are a lot more alike then they are different.
So between these two, you should probably base your decision on other factors such as do you want new with full warranty, do you like the look of one over the other, would downfiring serve your room placement better than the side firing of the VTF-3.
Thanks a lot for the input guys! ...Any comment on how something like the Outlaw LFM-1 EX would factor in and compare?
How easy is it for you to come up with another $149 for the EX? In a room your size, the EX shouldn't have to work too hard so you should be able to run it in Maximum Extension mode which gives strong response to at least 18Hz. Interestingly enough, Josh Ricci, who tested the EX for Audioholics stated that the EX is slightly mistuned. But, it is partly that mistuning that allows the EX to play as deep as it can with strong output. As much as I like the EX, it is fair to note that Josh noted the mistuning as a "Con". Even so, it seems that many EX buyers are quite happy. Not to say that everyone who buys an EX keeps it. That is why Outlaw has B-Stock sales on the EX for $574 delivered.
Warranty is a consideration as cel4145 noted. If you are really comfortable with buying used, the HSU 3.3 is a very good buy at $400.