Originally Posted by Thunder240
Wow, thanks for all the responses. Shady, Mike, Sb, thanks for explaining the dual 12/single 15 tradeoff.
Before I provide the additional details requested, I want to disclaim that my test procedure was (a) subjective, and (b) only systematic to the extent that I played the same music and watched the same scenes with both subs. I did not listen to test tones last night, and I was unable to test the subs on identical systems, at the same time, or in the same room. Therefore, what I have are impressions of the two subs, and I do not mean to imply that they are anything more than that. My intent with this thread was to focus on the potential benefits (or disadvantages) of dual smaller subs, not to provide a review that would inform others' buying decisions. That said, since there have been requests for additional detail, I am happy to describe my impressions more fully. If you will find this of little value, please skip over it!
For the two subs, I listened to tracks by Diana Krall, Eva Cassidy (if you haven't heard her Live at Blues Alley album, there is some sweet electric bass), Duke Ellington, the Glory soundrack, Tupac, Outkast, and Black Eyed Peas. I also watched the cannon scene from Master and Commander, the Normandy landing scene from Saving Private Ryan, and a portion of the Iwo Jima battle in the Pacific vol. 4. The LFM-1 EX was in a room that was between 2000 and 3000 cu ft, while the VTF-15H was in a larger room that was closer to 5000 cu ft. Both subs were far field, and both were connected to Denon receivers (2911 for the LFM, 3808 for the VTF).
Both subs did a phenomenal job of reproducing the sound of Diana Krall's double bass. If I have to go with one or the other, I think the LFM may have captured the orchestral feel from Glory a little better than the VTF.
With the ports open on the VTF, I was able to directionalize the sub's sound somewhat, but that sense of directionality vanished with the ports plugged. By the same token, on one of Krall's tracks (I forget which) there the double bass plays in unison with other instruments, and I felt that with the ports open, it did not feel quite as 'together' as with ports plugged. I had no sense of directionality from the LFM, and the same track sounded totally together, even more so than with the plugged Hsu. So based on this, I feel that the LFM integrated better than the Hsu (however, since they used different test speakers, it might not be fair to knock the Hsu for this). It's also possible that this is due to the LFM's downward firing design vs the Hsu's forward firing design (I'm not sure if this would account for the difference).
I felt that the VTF (ports open and plugged) gave the electric bass in Eva Cassidy's "What a Wonderful World" and the synthesized bass in Tupac's "I ain't mad at cha" a slightly more textured sound, while with the LFM it sounded a little more rounded. I believe that the texture is intended, which gives the VTF the edge here. This may be due to the Hsu's driver being a hair faster (surprising considering it is larger). I got similar impression with fast temp Black Eyed Peas music, where the VTF appeared to keep up with the rapid base movement without compromising the tonality slightly better than the LFM,\\.
The power was the most noticeable difference between the two. With the sub level set to -11 on each of the receivers, in a more close space, I had to adjust the volume up quite a bit to achieve to achieve the same perceived power from the LFM. However, I did not notice any distortion even with the volume quite high. I did not try to push either sub to its limit, and I cannot speak for how much output either sub can give before distorting.
chashint, regarding my statement about 16 hz, I'll clarify. Although I didn't listen to test tones last night, I've listened to them before, and I've found that 16 is the lowest frequency that I can meaningfully distinguish one tone from another. Below that, I can hear/feel (some combination of the two) the difference between lower tones and higher tones, but it gets awful muddy for me. So yes, this was an impression, not a measurement (although an informed impression). I'm confident that both subs were getting down that low and possibly lower, but the I gave the edge to the Hsu based on the lowest cannon shot in "Master and Commander". The Hsu gave me a rumble on that cannot shot which I didn't get from the LFM. However I still felt plenty of rumble during that scene from the LFM.
So to summarize, if I have to give advantages to either, they'd be as follows:
Speed: VTF (slightly)
Tonality: LFM (slightly)
"Integratability" (if that's even different from tonality): LFM (slightly)
Bass extension: VTF (slightly)
One last note. I noticed the Outlaw hit harder on one particular mid bass tone. I think that this was an artifact of the room, and I don't count that among my impressions of the two subs.
tgraham, I hope that's helpful!