No doubt spyboy, the VTF-1 does have more output. Best value that I can see out there (and still have decent quality).
In comparing to the X-ref, that is probably the only major disadvantage it has with the VTF-1. In terms of looks, build quality, warranty, accuracy, the X-ref 10 has the advantage. Yes, the HSU is musical, but not as good. Should not the quality of the sound be the most important? This is where this sub excels, and one has to spend a lot more to reach the same bass accuracy compared to many other brands.
Of course content, room size, use, all factor in. This will not do the job in a large area, where much more output is needed to pressurize the room. I have a small room, about 1550, and sealed, so I do get good slam with this sub. Many people live in apartments, townhouses, basements suites, dorms, where a big monster sub is not an option, or not even needed in the smaller rooms these place tend to have.
Sure, I miss a bit of deeper bass, but if the quality is not there, I am even an audiophile anymore? It is like recommending speakers to a friend that play loud, but only sound OK, over one that are not quite as loud, but have superior sound quality.
I am not sure what you are saying about advertising Emotiva does on Audioholics. Do you mean they buy there way into getting a good review? Sure, it could be happening, but it does not look like something Audioholics would do. I don't see many manufactures sending their small, sealed, inexpensive subs to be reviewed at the site, so kudos to Emotiva for putting themselves out there, especially at Audioholics, who do a good indepth analysis and measurements.
Curious, what sub do you own?