Originally Posted by jwv651
I would love to know this myself.
jwv.....I'm doing this from memory. I can't do a side-by-side as I had to take my MFW apart because of all the issues we've read here at AVS and elsewhere.
So, I can't plug one, and then the other into my system to give you a more informed comparison.
Spent about 3 hours with the Phoenix last night. Got it dialed in well. I used movies and music that I've heard dozens of times. I already spoke about using "Serenity" BD one reference, and "The Hulk" as the other and posted my initial impressions.
Pod scene with WOTW DVD....
The Phoenix does indeed reach lower. You feel this more than you hear it. There's some real subsonics going on in that scene. MFW gave a bit of this. The Phoenix goes lower (I'm guessing reaching into the 12Hz-13Hz range with my room gain), whereas I previously measured a drop off with the MFW right around the 16Hz-18Hz range). The Phoenix "felt" more like a sealed sub with this material. Startling at first, but fun for a bit as I played it 3 times in succession to see if I could stress the Phoenix with increasing volume on my AVR. Couldn't do it. Instead of showing strain, chuffing, rattling, etc, it just got to the point where I gave up before it did. I didn't use an SPL meter, but I'm guessing I was well over 95db when I quit.
I did the same test with the MFW when I first got it. Approaching that same volume, I did get it to rattle (WOTW and the sonic cannon scene in The Hulk were the only times this happened with the MFW). The good part was I was never able to note any port noise with the slotted port on the MFW (same is true for the Phoenix with the down firing ports). But, understand we're talking about levels that are well above what anyone would consider remotely comfortable, and well above reference levels.
On music, this was the hardest test to discern one over the other. I don't play pipe organ music, so I can't tell you what depths those would produce on either sub. However, the DVD-A of Beatles "Love" disk proved very tuneful with the Phoenix. I thought the same of the MFW. Neither one showed any "bloat, boominess, nor bass overhang". I felt they attacked low frequencies with a quickness and solid impact that belie their larger sizes.
The final note(s) of "A Day in the Life" is a real cacophony of bass and strings. On a lesser sub I used to own (12" driver), this becomes a real mish mash of sound and will point out where the driver actually can't keep up. With the Phoenix, it was very clear and easily discernible in its reproduction. I remember with the MFW, I felt the same way. A slight nod goes to the Phoenix as it didn't sound like it was anywhere close to straining.
Norah Jones SACD "Come Away With Me" has a very nice cover of "Cold, Cold Heart". Upright acoustic bass, and Norah's voice dominate. The bass was again quick, tight and clean. There was a palpable sense that the Phoenix did a good job with sounding like......well....an acoustic upright bass. MFW, very close to the same....maybe just a smidge of overhang on this particular number. Could be placebo affect, though.
In general, I was more impressed how such a large sub as the Phoenix could be tuneful and impactful at the same time. I guess the one thing I kept thinking was the Phoenix does everything well. There's not one area where I felt it fell down. Conversely, there's not one area that really stood out, other than the ability to play low, quick and loud without the sense of stress or strain. I'm sure there are some subs that will outperform it in one, maybe a couple of areas (and perhaps fall down in others). The Phoenix, while perhaps not the best in any one category (except for SPL and reaching into the subsonics with ease), I consider it good in all categories.
Understand that the MFW is roughly 1/2 the cost of the Phoenix, and has that beautiful finish (at least in the veneers), it's clear where Chad put his emphasis and development....that is, overall performance...no stress, no strain, nothing that I'd consider in any way a demerit. More capable amp, more capable driver, very careful (and flawless) construction. Pretty amazing given its price tag.
To me, the money for the MFW went into the veneered cabinet. No sense going over the amp "thing" as that's been well-documented. It's also a Seaton design (that's a positive). For $600-$700, it's a good sub, that looks really good to boot. As soon as I get the issues resolved, it will take up residence in a 2nd HT room. While I've not been "inside" the Phoenix (hope I never have to), I have been inside the MFW. Making a generalization, but I'd bet the Phoenix is better constructed with more of an emphasis on quality. For my main listening/watching area, the Phoenix wins!
Would be interesting to see how Chad's 15" offerings compare as they're in that general price range. But, for what the Phoenix has showed me, I don't know that you can do any better at the price (and probably well above).
Just another data point (as this has already become way too lengthy), you'd do much better in spending some time doing set up, whether that be finding the spot where the sub performs best, or implementing some EQ, than fretting over whether sealed or ported is the better option.