In case you hadn't seen it, JL has just introduced its own external crossover, the CR-1. It looks really good.
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I've owned and used the NHT X2 for a short while before selling it to a friend who used it with Martin Logan SL3, Martin Logan sub, Parasound JC-1 amps and Pass Labs X1 preamp.
Why does the price point of the NHT X2 concern you? It's a fine product. Its noise + THD will be orders of magnitude less than the distortion produced by your Focal speakers. Of course, this is probably also true of every solid state crossover you can buy.
AFAIK, 4th order LR filters shouldn't have anything to do with transparency. I'm a fan of those filters, because they are steep.
80 Hz is not high. The idea is to remove as much bass load from the main speakers as possible without making the sub stand out. If you have true full range speakers and you can achieve a better in room response at a lower frequency, then do it.
You might want to look at Bryston's 10B SUB crossover, but it's not cheap.
At different times I've used a Marchand (xm44 IIRC) and an NHT x2. I prefer the NHT which is much quieter. Note: tube devices like the Marchand may vary greatly unit to unit, so I can't generalize and call all Marchands (or even all xm44s) "noisy". But, IME, it's a risk.
BTW, I currently cross in the digital domain with a pre-pro and think it's a better solution than either of the above, even tho it won't ever get the audiophile "Good Housekeeping" stamp of approval.