Over the years, I've had some pretty enjoyable audio gear that I appreciated to varying degrees:
Theta Data Basic 1
PS Audio 4.5
Sonic Frontiers Line 1
Anthem AVM20 V2
Sunfire Loud Invariant Stereo Amp.
Martin Logan Sequel I's
B&W DM602 S2s
Sunfire True II
But with an ever active family and a new home, I sold those components (except the AVM20 and the 602s) in favor of something more up-to-date and in the case of speakers - better child resistance. So when money, time and availability permitted, I put together a home theater consisting of:
Rotel RB-1572 & RMB-1565
Mirage OMD-5's (crossovers modified)
124 Wilsonart Designer White screen
2 - Athena P3 Subs (from my Wife's system before we married)
When schedules permitted, I researched for replacements of the P3's that would hit personal requirements for: fidelity, bandwidth, firing configuration, build quality, operating efficiency, amp. temperature, customer service (including warranty and return policies), cost and aesthetics; and could fit below my screen between two built-in disc shelves. So over a ~ three year period I looked at the PB13-Ultra until it became too expensive, a DIY A7s-650 variation but stayed away due to lack of comfort with EDs reported amp. and CS issues; which eventually brought me to the FV15HP and the VTF-15H.
Ethan and Adam's review along with various owner testimonies, as well as the need to stay as close to 1 grand as possible combined with HSU's pre and post sales reputation, led me to contact Pete for Q&A. Each time I called, he answered on about the second ring and was very congenial in his approach, further elevating my opinion of the company. Three conversations later found me purchasing a 15H as a confident choice for effectively addressing what I needed.
Satisfied that I embarked in the right direction, I happily waited until it was delivered on 12/20 only to be informed then by my wife that it sustained a hole right through to the cabinet somewhere on its journey to our home (she also being busy didn't think at the time to refuse shipment). One quick call to Pete and he had another shipped out that day as a great olive branch with hopes that we would receive it before Christmas. In turn I readied the first one the next day for pickup and also sent Pete pics of the damage.
Brief pause: Yikes. A reportedly overachieving product designed and produced by a company that is readily available to talk with, cares about its customer's needs and quickly/effectively addresses their concerns without mo' money and angst up front from the customer?! Given the rarity of this approach, what had already been elevated became even more so. Because it was at this point that I among other reasons wished for ridiculous sums of wealth so I could hand-out free VTF-15's and a Crib Notes version of the HSU Business Model to friends and family as a way to alleviate pain, suffering, the need for higher fidelity and of course as a mode for supplying a spark of hope in an otherwise bleak early 21st Century corporate landscape. And I haven't even heard the product.
Pete did some checking and informed me that the second one wouldn't be delivered until the 27th. Though it wasn't the 24th, he went above and beyond the all-too-dismal norm. and I was duly thankful for having chosen HSU with which to do business.
As luck would have it, I checked the tracking number on the 24th and found the second one was waiting at a local FedEx Distribution Center. With haste I called the facility, talked with the lone person working there that afternoon and made arrangements to pick it up!
Two weeks and a flurry of activity later, we finally unboxed it (too long to explain), ah but there it was in all its semi-gloss glory. Veh-heh-herrrrry nice except for a faint hemispherical mar spanning topside across the cabinet's width, which given where it will be installed, I easily overlooked; nonetheless, its one thing to admire the look and design execution of a component, but another to use it. So I connected it to the processor via (another Christmas present) Analysis Plus Sub Oval Interconnect, connected the AC cable, pulled one foam plug and played Enya's The Longships from Watermark. With the Onkyo's volume at -9 and the HSU's settings untouched - including the volume which was slightly above the lowest setting, I wanted to see how cleanly it would handle the track. Once it was done, my wife quickly informed me that everything in the kitchen upstairs was vibrating including waves travelling through her feet to her head.
This is a good sign. Not only that, but as an audio enthusiast and musician, I'm quite aware of how something should sound in comparison to where a component may be in its break-in period. That the 15H in a ~5,600 cu. ft. room (with openings to a stairwell and other rooms) handled the fidelity of the track remarkably well in its initial run - brought a welcome sigh of relief in that the years of research, patience and of course eventually money - have been well spent. To know that it competes with B&M offerings <~3 times the asking price and that it has more in the tank once it breaks-in, pleasantly brings the whole thing full circle and ends a quest I started over three years ago.
Out of curiosity I played the same track on the P3s which returned a rather embarrassing smear campaign on the whole affair insomuch that continuing was out of the question. In retrospect they are certainly better than nothing and served their purpose in allowing us to limp-by until something far more capable came down the pike. Given that, they along with the 602s will be setup in the Instrument Room which then gives me something to jam to: a win-win situation.
Understanding that I originally targeted and kept track of the PB13-Ultra, it was interesting to read a comparison by an AVS Member who owns a PC13-Ultra and a VTF-15H. He relayed that while using a few bombastic scenes from The Hulk, he was shocked at how well the HSU performed, with the neighbor preferring the 15H (link 1
) (link 2
). That and the many favorable comparisons like it only add to the experience of owning it.