With all ID subs it is very difficult to find anyone to actually go an audition any of these subs. With as many choices out there it is tough to decide and you can sit on these forums for months trying to choose something tripping over all of the technical data and arguements that mean nothing because every room will perform differently.
However, this shootout gave actual visual/video of everything from product packaging, physical size, build quality, some comparisons in spl, and "opinions" from the people doing the shootout to help at least narrow some decisions down from 20 to possibly 2-3 choices.
The bottom line is the "learnings" should be to the average Joe that is wading through miles and miles of threads for weeks and months trying to decide on something that it is maybe a waste of time. If they pick "ANY" of the top discussed subs on this forum at a given price range there is NOT going to be that much of a difference between them to 90% of the people.
Pick one in your price range
Plug it in
and you will be much happier with it than the sub you are replacing or if you do not have a sub.
Ever since I started measuring every nuance about my room, speaker responses, and sub response and graphs that I forgot how cool it was to throw in a movie and not worry if my room was going to shake, rumble, sub too loud, sub not loud enough, is the speaker pointed in the right direction, do I have a null or peak, am I missing something at 160 Hz...etc.
I have had about 50 people over in my theater and None would know any of this, they just watch and go WOW that was awesome.
Meanwhile during the movie I am constantly looking or listening for something and not enjoying the reason I built the theater in the first place...and that was to enjoy the experience much better than a 42" TV in the family room.
This forum is Excellent but if you are not careful it can be a huge demise if not used with some common sense.
Ignorance is bliss to some extent.
This shootout was great for the average joe and may not appeal to the 10% that will scrutinize numbers, graphs, measurements etc.
I am not criticizing the elite as they know much more than I want to know.