Originally Posted by jbrown15
So basically you're saying for music use both are close but you give the edge to the XS30, and for HT use its not really even a fair fight and the XS30 wins?
You're a tough customer, jbrown;). Okay, you asked for it ….
Both the XS30 and Hsu sounded virtually identical on one particular Mike Oldfield track. That surprised me. Why? Both were far inferior to the Ultra on that same track and both suffered the same malady. With the Ultra, out of the depth of nowhere came this tight, deep, wall shaking beat … and I do mean wall-shaking and picture rattling! I actually jumped when I first heard it, simply because I had never heard it before and wasn't expecting it (I've played this CD many times prior to buying the Ultra). I played that track for my girlfriend and she jumped as well. Then I had my son come over (he's very familiar with Mike Oldfield). He didn't jump, but his eyes widened and he let out an audible, "wow!" Both the Hsu and XS30 reproduced that section with a weak and ineffective powder-puff of a beat, which wouldn't shock a mouse or wake up your cat. Mike Oldfield loves ultra-deep synthesized beats, sometimes as an underlayment to his music, sometimes for power, and only the Ultra could reproduce those to my satisfaction. On most other music both subs performed well to very well, especially the SACD of Saint-Saen's Organ Symphony. It was difficult to say which of the two performed better. The reason I gave the XS30 a slight edge is that I could dial in that worst offending CD better than I could with the Hsu. But doing so cause some of the underlying bass in Mike Oldfield's music to be over exaggerated. As long as you don't listen to Mike Oldfield, you should be very happy with either sub musically. Mike just happens to be one of my favorite artists.
In fairness to the Hsu and XS30, I did not critically listen to a hundred plus hours of music from several genres as I did with the Ultra. I doubt I listened critically for more than a dozen hours from each. There was no reason to. After a short test period with the Hsu, I knew I had my music sub in the Ultra (I auditioned them at the same time).
As far as movie LFE, picture yourself being very impressed by some of the deep, wall-shaking, chest-thumping moments in a movie. And I mean impressed to the point that you knew you just had to keep this subwoofer for your movies. There wasn't a doubt in your mind. You even feel excited anticipation for the next movie, wondering what would be in store. Then you find out there is a problem and you have to return this really great subwoofer. Extremely disappointed, you audition another sub with a bit of a jaundice eye. Now imagine yourself playing the exact same parts of these movies and an immediate surprise envelopes you. You are even more impressed with this unit! That's when you breathe a silent, "wow". Well that's my tale of two excellent movie LFE subwoofers and I'm sticking to it.
Again, in fairness to the Hsu, I did not write down the dB levels on the movies I tested it with. By me not doing so, I could only approximate the sound level (85 to 90 dB peaks). I measured the XS30 and got similar readings, but there is no way I can confirm that I played these subs at the same sound level.