HSU Research Subwoofers & Speakers at the 2012 Audioholics Get Together Event
Before I tell you about this room we just have to brag a little. We know how to pronounce Hsu… as in Dr. Hsu, the brains behind Hsu Research. It's not pronounced "Shoe" as many of you may think… it's not "Sue" as others would suggest. No, it's actually "She-e" And there is an upward inflection on the second syllable (see the video for an audible on that one). But it's OK, Dr. Hsu has been around the confusion long enough to accept "Shoe" as a valid pronunciation… it's kind of like "nucular" becoming a valid version of the correct term "nuclear"… moving on…
The big thing was that this room sounded fantastic. First off was the VTF-15H sub in satin black which runs $879. It has two ports in front and the lowest extension is found by plugging one port - which is how it was configured in the listening room we were in. That yields an extension down to 16Hz. We definitely felt that in our demo. For larger room you can open up both ports open which lowers the distortion provided you aren't digging down past a low frequency extension of 22Hz.
The soundtrack we heard was from The Haunting and the VTF-15H were a great combination. The bass was incredibly low (as in "we couldn't believe it") but it never overpowered you. The sub was definitely well-integrated into the system. The ULS-15 was the other sub they had on-hand, which is a wireless XLR balanced sub that plays down to 16Hz in a sealed format. This sub is just about as powerful as the VTF-15H, but easier on the square footage and much more appealing for those who can't stomach the amount of space taken up by the ported model. This sub costs $1099 in a satin black finish.
The third sub is the VTF-1 MK2 which is a 10" down firing model and has a bit less volume and sets the dual ports in the back. It plays down to 25Hz with one port open and with two, down to 32Hz.
We also listened to the Hsu horn-loaded speaker. In this system is a center channel, the HC-1 MK2 and the HB-1 MK2. The only difference between the center and bookshelf speakers is that the center includes an additional 6-1/2" woofer. Retail prices for these speakers is amazing. $149 for each HB-1 MK2 and just $239 each for the HC-1 MK2 center channel.
My general feeling when I walked in here and heard the listening tests was "Wow." This is exactly what you want from a subwoofer and that's what you seem to get from Hsu products.
I remember reading at the T.H.E show in Las Vegas, someone had pointed out that the speaker wire he was using was literally lamp cord wire. That, to me, is a pretty funny snub to all the high-end snake oil BS audio displays they must have had there.
I dunno...16 gauge lamp cord is $0.25/foot at Home Depot. Seems kinda spendy...
My favorite thing about Dr. HSU's rooms is the total lack of pretension. It's him, his wife' and a couple of his employees. Add to that, his source gear isn't as nice as my garage setup ( at least at RMAF). He seems to let his products do the talking IMO, and they speak loud and clear. The VTF 15H is my next subwoofer.
Yeah, his entire front end costs less than most other exhibits speaker cables.