mahgister, I do not know if you have ever been to a small jazz club but the rhythm section of a trio or quartet is a very palpable experience. When the bass section of a classical orchestra gets going along with the tympani you also get the same palpable experience. It is accurately achieving that sensation that is the issue. I have never heard or felt a self contained speaker system do it well. Yes, it is not easy to get a separate subwoofer system to do it accurately but it is the solution if managed correctly. I hate to say this but most subwoofers on the market are hopelessly crippled by poor cabinetry, weak electronics and cheap drivers. The only subs on the market that I have been able to consistently integrate and get the right sound and impact are the JL Audio Fathom and Gotham units. My experience with other subs is limited. I like the design of the Magico subs but have not heard them yet. I prefer passive subwoofers mostly because I have outboard digital bass management capabilities and it simplifies the situation with the subs themselves not having electronics in them. I make my own subs which allows me to do stuff with the enclosures that is difficult to do on a commercial basis because it would be too expensive. Most of the distortion comes from the enclosure not the driver.
Tom, there are some subwoofer systems that people really like like Audiokinesis's Swarm system that are very reasonable priced. All I can say is that I would never live without subwoofers and once you have experience the best bass performance there is no going back. Hang the expense.