JL Audio e112 or HSU ULS MK2


Hello everyone,
Trying to decide between dual JL E112s or dual HSU research ULS mk2. Price difference is big but what about performance? Does any have any direct experience with HSU subs? I’ve heard great things about HSU but never heard one in person.

I do 75% movies 25% music.
Thanks in advance.
danimaz
Given these two, I would absolutely save the money and get the Hsu. 

You'll need room correction to properly integrate either one. 

Best,

E
The JL Audio would probably be a tighter sounding sound, but yes, much more expensive.  You could look at getting a couple of used JL Audio Fathom 112 or 110 models.  The Fathom has the D.A.R.O. room correction system with the microphone.  The cost would be more than the Hsu subwoofers, but less than a set of new E112's.
@erik_squires by saving money would I be significantly be compromising on sound quality? Or HSU would sound as good as the e-112s if not better ?

@auxinput: how much tighter ? $3500 tighter? If the sound quality of JL is worth extra couple of 1000$ I'd buy the JL but I don't know that and that's what I'm trying to find out
I would go with two JLaudio E110's you wont want for anything more in terms of slam and punch! awesome.


Matt M
@mattmiller I demoed the e110 and it did not have enough fire power for my room. Didnt go deep enough. 
In my humble opinion, the sound quality of a good Hsu is equal or better than a JL Audio.

Where JL Audio shines is in their automated room correction, which that particular unit does not have. 

Best,

Erik 

I don't know that the JL Audio subs are really worth $3500 over the Hsu.  Like Eric said, the E112 does not have room correction, so if you wanted JL Audio, I'd recommend looking at used Fathom (F112).

You could also look into the SVS 4000 subs:

https://www.svsound.com/pages/4000-series

They have a DSP/EQ built in that can be controlled from iPhone/Android.  It's not an automatic room correction, but it's better than nothing.  For the money, I think you will get a lot deeper bass and a lot more slam than either the JL Audio or Hsu, especially if you get the ported PB-4000.  It does take more space, as it is a 13-1/2" sub with a bigger cabinet.

Another issue with JL honestly is reliability. There are way too many people on Audiogon asking about service. My Hsu has never had a problem. 

Best,

E
@danimaz, I have a pair of the mk1 HSU ULS-15. They have been running flawlessly in my system for years. My usage is skewed more on the music side, but they have no problem handling deep movie frequencies. I have my pair eq'd using an SVS AS-EQ1. This Sub eq was only on the market a couple of years. If you can locate one of these in the used market it should not cost any more than $300-400 and total cost would come in lower than the JL pair with higher reliability. Like Erik, I've read of a decent amount of JL amp problems post warranty period.

The ULS is deep, tuneful, and a pair will load even large rooms with plenty of bass. The finishing (mine are rosewood) is top notch. I would recommend one (or two) to anyone.
Thank you everyone for your feedback. I have demoed the JL e-112s and they are really good but a bit on the expensive side. AXPONA 2018 is coming up in Chicago in about 2 weeks and HSU research will be there to demo their ULS 15. I gonna go and have a listen and share my experience here. 


I can’t speak for the HSU ($860 shipped), but I can tell you how the Rythmik F18 ($1530 shipped) compares. Keep in mind that the E112 is $1900 (not sure if including shipping).

The F18 gets louder throughout the entire passband. The F18 maxes out at 103.2dB at 20Hz and the E112 maxes out at 97.5dB, with 50Hz maxing out at 116.1dB and 114.7dB respectively. Remember that +3dB is a doubling of wattage, so the E112 would need almost 4x the wattage to get as loud at 20Hz. So, the Rythmik for sure wins in the headroom department. Keep in mind that room correction or DSP should be used with subwoofers, especially if not going dual.

Having clean bass means low distortion. The E112 stays below 5% THD from 30Hz up at 100dB. The Rythmik obtains the same feat at 110dB. The Rythmik stays below 5% THD from 32Hz up at 115dB, the E112 fails noticeably at even 110dB.

To have tight bass mainly means staying below 1 group delay cycle. Both easily do this; however, the impulse response of the F18 is better.

So, this all shows that the Rythmik F18 is much better than the E112 in basically every perceivable way, and for almost $400 cheaper.

Rythmik and HSU are very competitively priced for the given performance. So, I would say the HSU ULS-15 would perform near identical to the E112, at less than 1/2 the price.
@mzkmcxv 
Thank you for your feedback. At this time I am not interested in an 18" subwoofer. It is either going to be JL or HSU.


@danimaz, the 18" model is Rythmik's newest (available in both sealed and ported versions), but 8", 12", and 15" models are also available, the 8 and 12 priced at less than a grand, the 15 just over. All feature owner/designer Brian Ding's custom designed aluminum-coned woofers and patented Direct Servo-Feedback plate amps. Ignore them at your own loss!
@bdp24: Why do you prefer Rythmik over HSU or JL? Do you own one?  

I'll research more about Rythmiks but the thing is there are thousands of subwoofer manufacturers with their own custom technology and methodologies. The reason I chose JL & HSU was because I've heard the JLs and they sound really really good to me and while I was searching for JLs I came across HSU. HSU seem to get a lot of positive feedback from their owners. The biggest negative about HSU is there are no resellers that is why I want to attend AXOPA in Chicago and check it out. 

I don't think Rythmik will be there...


@danimaz: Rythmik is about just as popular as HSU, they are very competitive. Rythmik is partnered with Ascend Acoustics, and Salk not only uses them in some of their towers, but they also take Rythmik’s kits and improve on it with thicker cabinet/better bracing and also custom finish (at a premium of course).  
  
As I showed, the F18 is undoubtly a better subwoofer than the E112, for less, so a cheaper one like their sealed 15” or HSU’s sealed 15” should perform near identical. Also as stated, dual of either would absolutely destroy the E112, and you can go dual HSU for $2100 via the bundle.

@danimaz, If you reread my post above, you will notice I did NOT state that I prefer Rythmik over Hsu and JL. I brought Rythmik to your attention firstly because you responded to mzk’s post about the Rythmik F18 by saying you are not interested in an 18" sub. Okay, Rythmik also offers, as I said, 8" 12", and 15" models. Secondly because I thought you might be interested in a line of subs priced in the neighborhood of Hsu’s, but with sound quality more akin to that of JL’s. If I was mistaken, simply ignore Rythmik. If you ever hear one, I suspect you will regret having done so.

To answer your other question, yes I own a Rythmik (four, actually), as well as a pair of Hsu’s and KEF B139 woofers (the legendary driver used by Dave Wilson in his WAMM loudspeaker) in transmission-line enclosures.

You state you heard of Hsu only recently, and did so in the process of researching the JL’s. Hsu’s are fine subs (and designer/owner Dr. Hsu a great guy---I met him at CES in Las Vegas, and picked up my Hsu subs at his facility), with many satisfied owners. So are Rythmiks, and reviews by their owners can be read on the Rythmik website, as well as on various hi-fi forums.

Rythmiks, like Hsu’s, are sold directly to the public, with a money-back trial period. Look to see if Salk Speakers will be showing at AXOPA---Jim builds the Rythmik Direct Servo-Feedback Sub into his higher-priced loudspeakers. If he is at the Chicago show, see if he is demoing any of those models.

In your post you state the sub(s) will be used 75% for movies, 25% for music. While maximum SPL at very low frequencies is not the highest priority for many listeners in a music sub, it generally is in a home theater sub. The output capability and reach into lower frequencies of an 18" woofer is considerably greater than that of a 12" or even 15" woofer. You can buy the 18" Rythmik sub---either in a sealed or ported enclosure---for less than the price of a 12" JL. Something to consider.

@bdp24 can you share some data if you have any on HSU ULS15 vs Rythmik f15HP? Or why you prefer rhythmik over HSU. The choice of some words you used above in your comments like -  'it will be my loss' 'I'll regret not listening etc.. it seems  as if you prefer Rythmik over anything life.
BTW your post is way to long to read on my phone. If you have any questions in there I’ll address those later..

Also since I am in no hurry to purchase a sub I'll do some of my own research on Rythmik or may be order one for a demo. Thanks for the recommendation
Dang it danimaz, I just pointed out to you that I never said I prefer Rythmik over Hsu! I "prefer Rythmik over anything life"? You lost me. And what constitutes "data"? No, I don’t have any data. For 75% movie use, I’m sure just about any ol’ sub will be fine. Rythmik’s are for those who require a sub that excels at reproducing music---a sub that can do that has no problem with movie sound effects. The inverse is not necessarily true.
Getting popcorn...be right back.


@bdp24 by why do you prefer... lol I'm just playing! BTW HSU uls 15 has been out of stock for quite some time now and the more I read about Rythmik the more interested I get in it. I'm definitely going to try to demo it now. 
Thank you !!

Hey Dan, if you're close to Southern California, you can hear Rythmiks at speaker maker Ascend Acoustics (in San Clemente), who have a distribution deal for the subs, which they partner with their speakers. Rythmik is located in Austin Texas, and you can pay them a visit. And Sterling Sound (the NYC audiophile-quality mastering house) have three pair of F15's in their systems. And, as I mentioned, Jim Salk buys the DIY kits from Rythmik and installs them in his larger speakers. He's in Pontiac Michigan.

If you can't hear them before buying, Rythmik has a money-back trial offer, you paying the shipping should you decide to not keep them. I've never heard of anyone returning them. If you're going to have a single sub, the new Rythmik 18" (sealed or ported) would be killer. Massive output, with the same sound quality as the 12" and 15" models.

Heard the HSU subwoofers and also met Dr. HSU (awesome and very humble guy) 

The ULS sounded bigger than it looks for sure. I really liked its sound quality. The only thing stopping me from buying HSU is the Rythmik F15's piano black finish which I prefer. 2 15 inch rhythmiks are costing me twice as much as 2 ULS. HSU's price is crazy good and at this point I dont know if 2 rythmik F15s will be twice as good as 2ULS 15s. 

If cash was no object i would get the dual 18inch sealed Rythmik. 
@bdp24 I know you suggested that I get a single 18inch but I think dual subs are easy to integrate than a single sub no matter the size..
Btw I live in Chicago not California 
Dan, please re-read my above post. I did NOT suggest you get a single 18" sub, I said if you're going to have a single sub, the new 18" Rythmik would be killer. I'm going to stop posting, my words are too frequently misunderstood and/or misquoted.
@yakbob
Could you go into a little more detail about sound, placement, room size, and how you connect your ULS-15's in your system?
I cannot even begin to describe how much of an unfair comparison that is.  The E112 is a dramatically better sub.   I owned one, and then a pair, of ULS15's.  I loved them, but didn't know what I was missing.  Not even close in performance, especially for music. 
Post removed 
@bdp24: you said:
'Rythmik 18" (sealed or ported) would be killer. Massive output, with the same sound quality as the 12" and 15" models.'
sounds to me like a recommendation.....You can stop posting if you want ;-)

@contuzzi:
Can you please elaborate a bit more than just saying e112 is dramatically better? Data from data-bass is not in favor of e-112 when it is compared to either Rythmik or HSU. 
@jeffrey75
My room is known for swallowing low frequencies. The footprint is 14’x17’ but the ceiling reaches 17’ for the whole room and is open to the second floor and the rest of the house. (wide open floor plan).
I have the ULS-15s set up to the outside of each speaker (KEF 107 Reference). One is in the front right corner, the other is against the front wall, but has no wall to its side. As mentioned earlier, they are EQed using the SVS AS-EQ1.Since the KEFs dual band-pass loaded 10" drivers can be tuned using the Kube EQ, I have more flexibility than most in tuning the low end.

My setup is mainly for music. As far as subs (any brand) are concerned, I feel they’re a little harder to convincingly integrate for music than movie effects. Before adding the SVS EQ, I did have a hump around 25Hz on the right side of my room. The EQ-1 was able to flatten that hump and the response across the range.

Before adding the KEFs to my system, I was using a pair of Gemme Audio Tanto IIs which were a great speaker, but didn’t have quite enough weight, and I relied on the subs a little more for the lower frequencies. When I swapped to the KEFs I re calibrated the EQ-1, and found that the ULS-15s don’t need to work as hard.

As for the sound, I’m completely satisfied. You cannot tell the ULS-15s are even running since the integration with the KEFs is spot on. While the KEFs are ported (near the neck of the speaker) I am a fan of sealed designs, especially for subs. I feel the bass is tighter, faster and more to my liking for music than ported designs. But, the ported designs seemed to work just fine if you want the effect of dinosaurs smashing through your home theater.

Since the OP is looking for a home theater sub(s), I feel the ULS-15 would be more than suitable while saving money over the JL option. It’s an $1800 price difference, and I personally don’t believe that (for movies) you’d be able to justify that split in any noticeable difference in performance.

For the price point of the JL (apx $1900 per) I’m more likely to recommend the SVS SB16 for the same money. I owned a pair of their SB12+ when I was set up in a smaller room, and was very happy with their performance. I kind of regretted selling them. I believe they still have an in home trial period, and the SVS team stands behind their product.

I hope this helps.
I give up Dan, you apparently have a reading comprehension disability.
@bdp24  I thought you were gonna stop posting. stop sounding like an old angry 80 year old dude! 

Hi Danimaz

I have an HSU VTF-3 MK4, since 2010. It came with a test disc containing a true 16hz pipe organ signal from Saint Seans pardon the spelling. It has two ports and can be plugged or just one at a time. The Q adjustment can vary if you want the so called fast sub but really just either extends the low end or not. Subs don't do transients. It has snap and is well damped. It performs very well considering the price. If you are not a novice, I am sure you can tune it in correctly for both your speakers and your room. 2 of them would blow out your windows if you wanted. Save your money and try HSU you won't be disappointed. If you want very fine and money isn't an object try Bag End.

I also own an HSU sub and found it fantastic to integrate with my Maggies and now I use it with Triton ones which have built in subs. Bass integration with music is fine. and with movies it will blow you out of your seat. save your $ and get 2 HSU subs!
Unless your doing it in your own room subwoofer demos are somewhat useless. Successful subwoofer integration in any system for both music and HT is not about output its about control.

That said, what model pre/pro or receiver will you be using to control these non DSP subwoofers?