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How close are the Hsu VTF-3 MK4 and the Outlaw Audio LFM-1 EX?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
The Cybermonday sales are on and I need a sub! I'm deciding between these two:

The VTF-3 is $649 + $99 shipping = $748
The LFM-1 EX is $599 with free shipping.

I understand that Dr Hsu was involved in the design of the LFM-1 EX and that these are similar subs. Is it worth the extra $150 for the VTF-3 over the LFM-1 EX?
post #2 of 12
The VTF3 is a better subwoofer, but I don't think it will have a big output advantage over the EX, except around the bottom of its tuning point. The VTF3 may be able to sound a bit tighter due to its Q control, and will be less prone to port chuffing because of its larger ports. The LFM-1 EX is basically a clone of the VTF3 mk2. I know there are other finer differences between the two, like the drivers aren't exactly the same, but I don't know those differences specifically or how they will affect the performance comparatively.
post #3 of 12
I say no. But I look at the value per dollar, and don't look at small improvements as worth an extra 150 of my hard earned bucks. There have been no measurements of the VTF3 MK4, to compare performance that way, but a member here who owns/has owned both has mentioned many times he feels the HSU is the better sub. ninja edit: There he is above me, he was quicker than me it seems.

I will admit that if I run my ex in extension mode I get distracting port noise when I crank the volume, because of the too small 3" ports. But I don't run in extension mode anymore because I feel the amount of sub 20hz bass I get doesn't affect the experience at all. It doesn't add anything with a single 12 in my medium sized room. I run in output mode now, get zero port noise no matter how loud I crank it, it's a great experience. I'd probably run the HSU in output mode too.
post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
My room is a basement with a tile over concrete floor. I wonder if downfiring (LFM-1 EX) vs side-firing (VTF-3) would be better in that situation. I can place a small piece of rug under the sub if it makes a difference.

I've read a few comments on port noise on the LFM-1 EX at high volumes. At medium volumes, is it still a problem? I want this sub for movies more than music. If I put the LFM sub in max output mode, I guess I lose 16hz to 22 hz. Is that very noticeable? I'm not always blasting movies like crazy, so I might be better off with less overall output and lower response when listening at a moderate level.

I have a crappy Polk PSW10 right now, so I've never really heard a real sub in action in a house. I wonder if I would hear the difference between these subs or if I should just save the $150.
post #5 of 12
I am making the same decision. I have a rectangular, midsize room and for now will only run one sub. I have Polk Audio LSi15
2 LSi 15s
2 LSi Fx
1 LSi C

I like listening at reference levels but my wife and daughter don't like it that loud. I feel like whats the use in having all this if I can't listen to it loud. Maybe my hearing is bad because of all those KISS concerts as a kid?

Which sub is best at low or mid volume and what settings are best?.

It really is a shame that I have to crank my system to hear everything. Thanks.

One more question. I have two large cabinets in my E-Center that would house a fairly big sub and look better. The doors of those cabinets can be switched out for speakre grills allowing air flow through the front only with not much on the sides or back as the housing is solid wood. What type of sub would be best if I wanted to house them in the cabinets. Thanks.

ps. Looks like I'm leaning towards the HSU but I may look at some others around the $1100 range as well.
post #6 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by ed3120 View Post

My room is a basement with a tile over concrete floor. I wonder if downfiring (LFM-1 EX) vs side-firing (VTF-3) would be better in that situation. I can place a small piece of rug under the sub if it makes a difference.
I've read a few comments on port noise on the LFM-1 EX at high volumes. At medium volumes, is it still a problem? I want this sub for movies more than music. If I put the LFM sub in max output mode, I guess I lose 16hz to 22 hz. Is that very noticeable? I'm not always blasting movies like crazy, so I might be better off with less overall output and lower response when listening at a moderate level.
I have a crappy Polk PSW10 right now, so I've never really heard a real sub in action in a house. I wonder if I would hear the difference between these subs or if I should just save the $150.

Downfiring subs inherently have less distortion, due to the axis orientation of the woofer itself (as has been explained by smarter members here than me), other than that the differences between down and sidefiring subs are mostly negligible.

At medium volumes in extension mode port noise was not a problem with me. I only got any when I push the system louder than my family is usually comfortable with. But I like it loud so they gotta deal sometimes. Also, at medium volume levels, you'd be hard pressed to hear a difference between the two, let alone even more expensive subs. At louder volumes is when differences such as extension and output become more prominent. It sounds like in your situation the EX is everything you need. A hell of alot better than that Polk, I'll tell you what.
post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by sleets1 View Post

I am making the same decision. I have a rectangular, midsize room and for now will only run one sub. I have Polk Audio LSi15
2 LSi 15s
2 LSi Fx
1 LSi C
I like listening at reference levels but my wife and daughter don't like it that loud. I feel like whats the use in having all this if I can't listen to it loud. Maybe my hearing is bad because of all those KISS concerts as a kid?
Which sub is best at low or mid volume and what settings are best?.
It really is a shame that I have to crank my system to hear everything. Thanks.
One more question. I have two large cabinets in my E-Center that would house a fairly big sub and look better. The doors of those cabinets can be switched out for speakre grills allowing air flow through the front only with not much on the sides or back as the housing is solid wood. What type of sub would be best if I wanted to house them in the cabinets. Thanks.
ps. Looks like I'm leaning towards the HSU but I may look at some others around the $1100 range as well.

At low or mid levels, I don't think you'd be able to tell the difference between these two subs. If you're pushing the system that loud, and want to run in extension mode, the HSU would be your only option, the port noise on the Outlaw would be ridiculous. If your running in output mode the differences would probably be much smaller. Which is the mode I recommend it be ran in anyway.

If you're not pushing the system i wouldn't recommend spending any more than the EX, I think the differences you'd be paying for would be best appreciated at higher volume levels, but that's just my opinion.

I don't have any experience in placing subs in cabinets other than that I hear not to do it. wink.gif
post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by ed3120 View Post

I have a crappy Polk PSW10 right now, so I've never really heard a real sub in action in a house. I wonder if I would hear the difference between these subs or if I should just save the $150.

I'd say the $150 difference should be filed under "diminished returns." If you have a Polk PSW10, a jump to the EX is going to be impressive. The VTF-3 would be impressive as well but the question is...will YOU be able to tell the difference? Probably not.
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
Since I probably don't have enough sub listening experience to pick out minor differences, I just wonder if the port noise is going to be an issue. Is it only noticeable at extreme volumes, or is it also noticeable at loud volumes? I know those words are subjective, but I'm wondering if I'm going to hear it every time the sub is putting out a loud bump, or if it is only under the most extreme circumstances.

Also, a lot of reviewers say that the VTF-3 is a very "musical" sub. I haven't heard anyone say that about the LFM-1 EX. Would that comment carry over to the LFM-1 EX, since they are using the same driver, and (I assume) the same amp? I'd like something that also sounds good for music, but movies are really the focus for me.
post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by ed3120 View Post

Since I probably don't have enough sub listening experience to pick out minor differences, I just wonder if the port noise is going to be an issue. Is it only noticeable at extreme volumes, or is it also noticeable at loud volumes? I know those words are subjective, but I'm wondering if I'm going to hear it every time the sub is putting out a loud bump, or if it is only under the most extreme circumstances.
Also, a lot of reviewers say that the VTF-3 is a very "musical" sub. I haven't heard anyone say that about the LFM-1 EX. Would that comment carry over to the LFM-1 EX, since they are using the same driver, and (I assume) the same amp? I'd like something that also sounds good for music, but movies are really the focus for me.

I haven't had a problem with port noise and it's constantly pointed out I listen to levels that are way too loud for everyone else. As far as music is concerned, I like to listen to music in the morning while getting ready for work. It varies from classical to jazz to country to pop to urban. Some I play as MP3s, some on CDs, and my classical on vinyl. All sound great thru my Outlaw.
Edited by smudge981 - 11/22/12 at 3:01pm
post #11 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by ed3120 View Post

Since I probably don't have enough sub listening experience to pick out minor differences, I just wonder if the port noise is going to be an issue. Is it only noticeable at extreme volumes, or is it also noticeable at loud volumes? I know those words are subjective, but I'm wondering if I'm going to hear it every time the sub is putting out a loud bump, or if it is only under the most extreme circumstances.
Also, a lot of reviewers say that the VTF-3 is a very "musical" sub. I haven't heard anyone say that about the LFM-1 EX. Would that comment carry over to the LFM-1 EX, since they are using the same driver, and (I assume) the same amp? I'd like something that also sounds good for music, but movies are really the focus for me.

They aren't using the same exact driver or same exact amp, although there are similarities. I think the VTF3 is slightly improved in both respects. Port noise happens when the driver is moving a lot of air, so it tends to happen at low frequencies, and would likely only be noticeable in sustained passages of deep bass at high output. It would be masked to a degree in a movie scene where a lot of other stuff is going on with the speakers. The only time I have noticed port noise from the EX is when it was tipped over so the driver and ports were facing forward, and I was playing a low frequency test tone. Depending on your placement for the EX, and the type of material you listen to, it probably won't be a concern.
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all of the info. Since most of my listening will be at moderate volumes, I guess I'm better off with the Outlaw.
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