Reviews & Awards


Subwoofers
ULS-15
VTF-15H
VTF-3 MK4
VTF-3 MK3
VTF-3 MK2
VTF-2 MK3
VTF-2 MK2
VTF-1
STF-2
STF-1

Speakers
HB-1 MK2 Horn Bookshelf Speaker
HC-1 MK2 Horn Center Channel



ULS-15

"For less than $1600 MSRP, you get a world-class system."

"You also get low-frequency performance that I think is rarely if ever matched, but never bettered, and then at a substantially higher system cost."

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Gene Pitts, The Audiophile Voice Vol. 15, No. 3, 2012


"Bass was noticeably deeper, faster and with substantially more impact".

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Larry Cox , Positive-feedback.com, Issue44, July/Aug 2009


"The ULS-15 is the latest in a long line of excellent subwoofers from Hsu Research. It produces low frequency output, with superb transient response. I’d particularly recommend it for anyone using a sub in a critical music listening environment, and would not hesitate to put one into my home recording rig."

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Ross Jones, Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity, November 2008


"Simply amazing! The 15 inch subwoofer packs a huge punch. The sound is clear and undistorted."

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Ara Derderian, podcast #304, htguys.com, August 22, 2008





"Despite the fact that these tracks contain some of the most intense low bass I've heard (as low as 16 Hz on "Symphony No. 3"), the VTF-15H coasted through them as easily as if they were solo flute recordings
...
Not only was the output incredible, the entertainment experience it delivered was singular.
...
VTF-15H delivers absolutely everything they expected and probably even a bit more."

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Brent Butterworth, Sound and Vision, February 2011


"If this sequence [Space Shuttle launch] on your present system doesn't induce panic about a subwoofer-generated-damage clause in your homeowner's insurance, you need a better sub. Like the Hsu."

"It's hard to visualize a subwoofer priced this low that needn't apologize for the quality of its bass, its low-end extension, or its setup flexibility."

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Thomas J. Norton, Home Theater Magazine, December 2011




"It’s difficult to understand how, after more than 20 years in business, Hsu Research doesn’t own the subwoofer market outright. The level of performance of the VTF-3 MK4 subwoofer is a whole order of magnitude (or two) better than the competition. The ability to produce 16 Hz at realistic levels in large rooms is not something common or even available from most other subwoofers."

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Doug Blackburn, Widescreen Review, March 2012




"The Hsu Research surround system of HB-1 Mk.2, HC-1 Mk.2, and VTF-3 Mk.3 is outstanding by any measure. When you take into account the price, it becomes an astonishing value. The speakers look and sound like nothing I’ve previously encountered in this price bracket. More important, they breathed life into whatever I played through them"

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Jeff Van Dyne, Home Theater Sound, November 2008


"..the VTF-3 Mk3 you find a truly top-flight product and an excellent investment for the discerning movie and music lover....

".. the VTF-3 Mk3’s tendency is to gracefully reach as far down into the infrasonic it can and come back in one piece. Subjectively speaking, the VTF-3 Mk3 consistently surprised anyone who happened to be within earshot at just how much bass emerged from the end table-sized box sitting at or near the front-left corner of my listening space. Overall, two words describe the music and LFE that poured from the VTF-3 Mk3: distinct & articulate"

"..The sub did a truly exceptional job, for this price class, of playing back track after track, very, very cleanly.."

"..The percussives were clean, distinct (there’s that word again), and downright startling (not many things like the audio track of a combat scene to jack the adrenaline), even when played back at the outer volume limits of the VTF-3 Mk3. Excellent!"

"..The HSU Research VTF-3 Mk3 is a well designed product, packing a terrific driver, obviously crafted with an emphasis on the basic features that are important to deliver maximum bang for the buck in a product in its price class."

"Overall, the VTF-3 Mk3 proved it self an excellent example of a well engineered product, purpose built with the intention of wringing every last drop of performance possible from a single 12” driver in a vented cabinet."

"..that not only did I like what this sub could do, but was consistently surprised by how well Dr Hsu managed to get this thoroughbred with a 12” driver to perform – and perform on a consistent basis. I’ll close with a strong buy recommendation; buy two if the budget allows for it!"

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Mark Sanfilipo, audioholics.com, October 2007

While this combination is relatively new to my reference system, it has been transformative. The combination of isolating and carefully presenting mid-bass frequencies (50-150Hz) through the mid-bass modules, and the superb performance of the VTF-3-Mark III true sub, has re-drawn my system in much larger and more substantial frame. The user ability to tailor these frequencies for room and source material adds a new dimension to the enjoyment of music, most especially that which may have come in a bit thin and threadbare. I don't care what the cognoscenti say about subs and audio, the slightly dry nature of the Hsu units, coupled with their flexibility and musicality add more to the experience of listening to music than you can possibly imagine without hearing them for yourself. At under $2000 for the complete system (two mid-bass modules and a true sub, with turbocharger) it is certainly one of the best values in audio. Add to this their entry-level STF-1 sub ($254), and you can turn a modest integrated amplifier and two-way speaker system into something remarkable. VTF-3-Mark III true-sub, with Turbocharger, $799, MBM-12, Mid-Bass Modules, $499 each

Dr. Sardonicus, The 4th Annual Positive Feedback Online's Writers' Choice Awards - for 2007, positive-feedback.com


"The ambient rumble was loud, the explosions were clean, and rocket engines blasted. Even when I pushed playback levels to "11" the sub complied with minimal protest. Turbo-assisted, it was extremely capable in the lowest octave."

"If you want to know what a gigantic sea monster sounds like when it destroys a city, you can either be there or listen to it through a VTF-3 MK3 Turbo. ...When I cranked it up, it just got louder. ...Part of the fun of this kind of movie is feeling the room shake, and the Turbocharger really helps make it happen."

"I have listened to this track on hundreds of subs, and rarely have I heard it reproduced so well. The lowest notes of the bass line were smooth at low and medium volume; even at very high volume, the sub was pretty tight and free of resonance. The upper notes had a good snap to them, with not a hint of sloppiness or blooming. This recording has a good low end but not huge amounts of rock-bottom energy; so the Turbo helped, but the VTF-3 MK3 also sounded pretty darn good without it."

"It can dig down to an honest 16 Hz and play it both loudly and musically. The sound of the pipes was very realistic, with the entire harmonic structure, from fundamental on up, well balanced to produce a huge, natural sound. If you don't listen to organ music, or in general to material with content below 25 Hz, you probably don't need the Turbo; it's job is to augment the very bottom end, which it does superbly."

"The VTF-3 MK3 Turbo is the total subwoofer package, packing solid bass extension, strong, clean output, snappy dynamics, and smooth tonal response. It sounds equally good on music, where its refined performance shines, and on movies, where it kicks butt like Chuck Norris.... it was the most convincing high-output deep-bass performer in this group, thanks in part to the Turbocharger extension ports, which are the real deal. Plus, the Turbo just looks so cool. If you want the police knocking on your door, this is the sub for you."

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By Ken C. Pohlmann , Sound and Vision, May 2007


"the powerful bass was nothing less than I expected. And how well the VTF-3 MK3 integrated with the HB-1 satellites without calling attention to itself, was just the icing on the cake"

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Fred Manteghian , Ultimate A/V, March 2007


"At 20 Hz the maximum was extended to 112 dB [with turbo]; a new record in the Ferstler main listening room. It might have been possible to go even louder, but by then assorted artifacts in the area were very close to dancing their various ways to the floor."

"..one of the best audio investments you will ever make."

"..it would be a very good idea for them to first install a seat belt in their listening chair. Once that is done, and the belt secured, they will experience subjective bass performance equal to or better than what just about any competing subwoofer, no matter what its cost, will be able to do.“

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Howard Ferstler, Sensible Sound, Issue 111, Jan/Feb 2007




2003 Editor's Choice Gold Award Winner. Lowest priced subwoofer to receive a Class AAA rating by $1000!

Stereophile Guide to Home Theater


"...VTF-3 is the current champ of the low-priced super subwoofer class."

Howard Ferstler, The Audiophile Voice, October 2002


"...in Maximum Output mode...the response stayed flat between 20 and 26 Hz, with no indication of a rolloff at 20 Hz, and less overall frequency-response variation from 20 to 100 Hz."

Robert Deutsch, Stereophile Guide to Home Theater (December 2002)




The VTF-2 MK3 subwoofer achieves the kind of bass home theater buffs crave

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Mark Fleischmann, Home Theater Magazine, March 2007




Lowest priced subwoofer to receive a Class AA rating.

Stereophile Guide to Home Theater


"On a per-dollar basis, direct from the factory, the VTF-2 is the best subwoofer known to me."

Peter Aczel, Audio Critic Magazine


"made my jaw drop....the overall performance of the VTF-2 (in the 25Hz tuning configuration) could be reasonably compared to the performance of the $3,000 B&W ASW 4000....a performance benchmark to which other under-$1,000 subwoofers must be compared."

Richard Hardesty, Widescreen Review Subwoofer Buyer's Guide


Reviewer's Choice Award 2000

Sound & Vision


"...may be the best-bang-for the buck "true" subwoofer you can buy."

Howard Ferstler, The Sensible Sound


Best performer in a comparison test.

Tom Nousaine, Sound & Vision


"[A] best buy in subwooferdom."

Robert Deutsch, Stereophile Guide to Home Theater


"...if you're looking for more bounce from your audio bucks, the Hsu Research VTF-2 powered sub has no equal."

Steve Guttenberg, Audio


"awe-inspiring...I enjoyed more soundstage depth, more thereness, more realism. This spoke louder about the VTF-2's bass quality and inherently low distortion than thunderous SPL output levels (of which, incidentally, it is also quite capable)...a sure-fire recommendation for anyone who has superior monitors or even tower speakers and wants to add quality and quantity bass."

GoodSound!




"The VTF-1 is an improved version of the VTF-2 that the following magazines raved about: "On a per-dollar basis, direct from the factory, the VTF-2 is the best subwoofer known to me"

Peter Aczel, Audio Critic Magazine


"made my jaw drop....the overall performance of the VTF-2 (in the 25Hz tuning configuration) could be reasonably compared to the performance of the $3,000 B& W ASW 4000....a performance benchmark to which other under-$1,000 subwoofers must be compared."

Richard Hardesty, Widescreen Review Subwoofer Buyer's Guide




"produced an almost startling solidity...a sort of 'are these really speakers?' effect...the sub is a keeper”

Home Theater Magazine (Mar 2004)


“The STF-2 performed better than its price tag would suggest...exceptionally clean, and when placed appropriately, with the levels carefully calibrated, blended perfectly with the rest of the system...”

Secrets of Home Theater and Hi-Fi (Dec 2003)


“will give an average-size room the
absolute lowdown”

Affordable Audio (Mar. 2006)


“...is a genuine bargain”

Widescreen Review (March 2005)


“high-quality sound, for both hometheater and audio use”

The Audiophile Voice (Vol. 10, Issue 6, 2005)




“Sensational sub...31.5 Hz...106dB....easily surpassed the $500 NHT SW10...as well as the $600 Velodyne CT-120...and was superior to a $500 Axiom EP-175...had no trouble eclipsing the performance of the pint-sized, $995 Sunfire True Sub Super Junior...”

Howard Ferstler, Sensible Sound (Sept/Oct 2004)


“Hsu's STF-1 is one impressive little subwoofer. It went plenty low for true home theater action, with meaningful volume all the way down to 25 Hz — a lot more than I expected. It wasn't boomy yet had me running for cover during the scene in The Italian Job when the armored truck blows through the pavement.”

Daniel Kumin, Sound & Vision (Oct 2004)


“The Hsu Research STF-1 is one hell of a $299 subwoofer...the STF-1's robustly deep bass power was impressive, and it was capable of dishing out low-frequency effects like a much larger subwoofer.”

Steve Guttenberg, CNET (April 2004)


“The STF-1 is a total overachiever. It produced louder, cleaner, deeper bass than something this small and inexpensive has any right to.”

Jeff Van Dyne, Home Theater Sound (July 2004)




"For less than $1600 MSRP, you get a world-class system."

"You get accurate and musical sound over a wonderfully wide dynamic range, perhaps not that of a symphony
orchestra up-close, but approaching that range. You get musical timbre and accuracy from the mid through the
top frequencies that gives most every other system a run for the 'best of' award."

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Gene Pitts, The Audiophile Voice Vol. 15, No. 3, Sept 2012


"To say that for a sub-$200 speaker the HB-1 MK2's neutrality is rather staggering would be an understatement. More impressive, it's the first horn-loaded speaker I've heard that didn't sound "shouty" at volume. In fact, the HB-1 MK2's high-frequency response is practically the very definition of smooth. Does the HB-1 MK2's tweeter sparkle and shine the way many newer, more esoteric tweeters do nowadays? No, not exactly, but in not sounding like (or should I say chasing) what others are doing, it manages to be unique in its own right and the result is nothing but natural - not to mention non-fatiguing.

The HB-1 MK2's midrange is a real treat, for it is virtually without color and as close to neutral as I think I've heard at this price point and even several clicks above. The upper midrange is so organic and textural that it manages to put to shame a lot of other quality bookshelf speakers costing three and even five times as much. The HB-1 MK2's midrange performance, especially with well-recorded vocals and dialog tracks, is absolutely sublime. Speaking of sublime, the HB-1 MK2's soundstage is stunning and better in my room than even my reference Bowers & Wilkins. The air, detail, dynamics and three-dimensionality found in the HB-1 MK2's soundstage is simply amazing and one of the speaker's best attributes. Equally impressive is the level of detail and delineation that can be heard within the soundstage. While I've heard speakers with better focus, the HB-1 MK2 gets so much of the equation right that you'll come out of pocket a lot more before you begin to improve upon what the HSU's provides you out of the box."

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Andrew Robinson, Home Theater Review, March 10, 2012


"I’ve heard many speakers costing several times the price of the HB-1 that don’t do nearly this well with drums. Very impressive."

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Jeff Van Dyne, Home Theater Sound , November 2008


"Every once in a while, I come across a product that performs at a level so far above its price point it is shocking. The HB-1 and HC-1 MK 2 speakers fall into that category. Simply put, I was amazed that a $150 bookshelf speaker and $239 center channel speaker could sound that good. Highly recommended!"

Ross Jones, Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity, November 2008


"..The soundstage was immense and more solid than I could believe. One can move around within the speakers and the sound doesn't noticeably change. They sound like a live performance whether the listener is right in the middle or directly in front of one of the speakers. When pushed to perform loud they are free from dynamic compression with a sense of attack on the notes and overall clarity."

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William Schuchard, Stereomojo.com, August 2008


“..revealing a fine level of detail, conveying a hauntingly smooth tonality free of the nasal or cupped hand coloration we often associate with horn speakers." “You gotta love the price”

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Fred Manteghian, Ultimate A/V, March 2007


"… the HB-1's are the kind of product that makes one wonder why spending twice as much (or 10 times as much) is really necessary"

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Steve Eddy, Affordableaudio.org, February 2007


“The budget speaker package to beat"
" This speaker may become the underground bestseller of 2006”

"Make that 2007. Aside from the year, I stand by my original impression HB-1"

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Mark Fleischmann, Hometheatermag.com (March 2007 & June 6,2006)


“..sounded better than many far more expensive ones I’ve the displeasure of hearing..played the human voice in both male and female varieties and the system definitely kept me intrigued and smiling”

Fred Manteghian, UltimateAVmag.com (June 2, 2006)




"The Hsu system acquitted itself well, never once failing to keep pace with the most thunderous explosions. Budget systems aren’t supposed to be able to attain this kind of dynamic range and still maintain their composure? They do now."

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Jeff Van Dyne, Home Theater Sound, November 2008


"Every once in a while, I come across a product that performs at a level so far above its price point it is shocking. The HB-1 and HC-1 MK 2 speakers fall into that category. Simply put, I was amazed that a $150 bookshelf speaker and $239 center channel speaker could sound that good. Highly recommended!"

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Ross Jones,Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity, November 2008