first off the dayton driver is not as high quality as some of the drivers in the commercial subs you mentioned. the volt drivers in high end rel are high sensitivity and will be FAR better. the dayton will be on par with the rocket, and finally the ACI will be slightly better than the dayton. granted the dayton is very cheap and will be fun to build. if you are a little more intrepid an want to go diy (get help or buy a cheap kit and learn how first) you can build a sub with an 18" tc sounds LMS driver or a large adire audio tumult and the Velodyne SC sub amp that will thrash even the vaunted velodyne 1812 or even the REL studio III in performance. you dont have you use the monster 100 lbs woofers though and can go smaller and get slightly quicker bass. the diy may ONLY ;) go to 12hz +/- 3db, but hey at those frequencies you are close backing the nearby nails out your walls anyway. the new LMS 5400 that is set to come out soon has a linear excursion of 4"! vs the velodyne 2.5" and looks to be truely impressive
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I fully understand your logic regarding the cost of the REL. It's almost impossible to make the decision based on subjective comments. Driver excursion alone is not very meaningful. The amp is just as important. Large excursion equates to large back EMF => large amp is required.
M&K makes sealed subs. You might be able to find a 12" sub for less than the 10" from REL.
I'd also consider Hsu Research, Velodyne, Bag End and Paradigm.