Hsu Research ULS-15 mk2 Subwoofer Review

gene

gene

Audioholics Master Chief
Administrator
The original ULS-15 was a successful 15" sealed subwoofer for Hsu Research back in 2008, but it was time for a refresh. It's recently-released successor, the ULS-15 mk2, turns out to be 30% less expensive and 20 lbs lighter, but does that mean it has taken a hit in performance as well? The answer may surprise you!

Read our review of the Hsu Research ULS-15 mk2 to find out how it compares to the classic original and how it performs as a modern day subwoofer.



Read: Hsu Research ULS-15 mk2 Subwoofer Review
 
billy p

billy p

Audioholic Ninja
Nice to see Audioholics reviewing Hsu subs. I'm sure the good Doctor would readily approve this review...fives stars with only one tiny con...another who comes to mind is Shadyj....we all knew his deep passion for Hsu products.
 
its phillip

its phillip

Audioholic Ninja
another who comes to mind is Shadyj....we all knew his deep passion for Hsu products.
Pretty sure that's who the reviewer is :)

Anyway, I think the sub looks like a great deal. High performance in a compact package for a reasonable price.
 
F

FamilyMan

Audiophyte
So this review sparked my interest in these subs.. ordered a pair today..
 
M

Majico Garcia

Audiophyte
Hello James. Thanks for the thorough and honest review on this HSU sub.

As you pointed out, the technical improvements over the first iteration of this sub are substantial.

However, I was wondering if the improvements sported by the Mark 2 were readily audible on any songs and or movies.

Thank you.
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
I didn't listen to the subs back-to-back to try to hear any differences. However, you would hear improvements at loud listening levels where the mk2 simply has more headroom. The greater mid bass sensitivity would allow the mk2 to handle complex signals better, and it would be more faithful to the source, especially at loud levels.
 
M

Majico Garcia

Audiophyte
I didn't listen to the subs back-to-back to try to hear any differences. However, you would hear improvements at loud listening levels where the mk2 simply has more headroom. The greater mid bass sensitivity would allow the mk2 to handle complex signals better, and it would be more faithful to the source, especially at loud levels.
Thank you.
 
C

Curious thinker

Audiophyte
Hello,
I really enjoyed your review on the HSU ULS-15 as I am currently in the market for a over the top" sub woofer. There aren't many reviews or videos on this particular sub and I am torn between getting two of these subs for a current sale price of around $1500 or a single SVS SB13 for the same price. Would I be missing much if I went with the HSU instead of the SVS? I am used to running dual subs but the reviews make me think the 1 SVS would do the job. Any advice? Thanks!
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Hello,
I really enjoyed your review on the HSU ULS-15 as I am currently in the market for a over the top" sub woofer. There aren't many reviews or videos on this particular sub and I am torn between getting two of these subs for a current sale price of around $1500 or a single SVS SB13 for the same price. Would I be missing much if I went with the HSU instead of the SVS? I am used to running dual subs but the reviews make me think the 1 SVS would do the job. Any advice? Thanks!
I think the ULS-15 mk2 would have a performance advantage over the SB13-Ultra, despite the lower cost. Audioholics has done a review on the SB13 here, and you can compare the performance measurements. The SB13 has more bells and whistles, and a nicer finish, etc, it's a higher end subwoofer, but it looks like the ULS-15 mk2 tops it in raw performance. Two ULS-15 mk2s would offer a very big performance advantage over a single SB13-Ultra.
 
C

Curious thinker

Audiophyte
I think the ULS-15 mk2 would have a performance advantage over the SB13-Ultra, despite the lower cost. Audioholics has done a review on the SB13 here, and you can compare the performance measurements. The SB13 has more bells and whistles, and a nicer finish, etc, it's a higher end subwoofer, but it looks like the ULS-15 mk2 tops it in raw performance. Two ULS-15 mk2s would offer a very big performance advantage over a single SB13-Ultra.
Thanks shadyJ, I also think it makes since from a cost stand point. I think I will place an order at HSU soon!
 
Henry Howards

Henry Howards

Junior Audioholic
Your reviews are a pleasure to read: clear, cogent, eloquent. I feel better informed after reading your evaluations than I do at any other test site. I find myself wishing your critiques were available for even more subwoofer models (such as the Power Sound Audio S1500, which I would love to compare directly with this Hsu ULS-15 Mk2). Many thanks - the fine work you do is genuinely appreciated.
 
C

Cmoors34

Audiophyte
I was just about to buy an E15 but this is seriously tempting.

The ULS is $400 cheaper! Ugh, am I crazy to buy the E15 when these seem comparable?
 
speakerman39

speakerman39

Audioholic Overlord
I was just about to buy an E15 but this is seriously tempting.

The ULS is $400 cheaper! Ugh, am I crazy to buy the E15 when these seem comparable?
Here is a B-stock ULS 15 MK2 sub for only $762 shipped within the USA! Kevin at Hsu told me that it had very faint scratches on it, but nothing all that bad. I owned a B-stock ULS 15 MK2 sub before and never could find anything wrong w/it. If I were you, I would jump all over that while you still can! Highly recommend!

Cheers,

Phil
 
C

Cmoors34

Audiophyte
Thanks Phil! Just tried but got an error in cart.

Looks like someone got it.

Would you pick it over the E15?
 
speakerman39

speakerman39

Audioholic Overlord
Thanks Phil! Just tried but got an error in cart.

Looks like someone got it.

Would you pick it over the E15?
E15? Not even sure what brand that is? Please be a bit more specific. Give Kevin a call on Monday and ask him if the B-stock is still available. Let him know that I (Phil) referred you to give him a call. How big is your room? How far is you MLP from your front-stage? Primarily for movies? Music? Are you a gamer? Do you listen at very high levels? What is the layout of your room? Flat ceilings? What are you using now? Which subs have you owned in the past?

Cheers,

Phil
 
C

Cmoors34

Audiophyte
Rythmik E15, sorry to not be clear.

So here's my situation!

Thanks to this site, I'm stumbling my way to better home audio. 3.1 system: tsr-781, outlaw 5000, elac uni fi towers with elac center, monoprice 12" sub. I sit 14' back from all speakers. (First sub ever)

Room is 18' wide, 27' deep, 8' ceiling giving 3,800 cubic feet. Flat ceilings.

80% music, 20% movies. Classical, hip hop, bluegrass, kids music (ugh)

I don't listen too loud (-47 on receiver) and can't wake up kids after 8pm, but that's when we watch movies.

Monoprice 150watt does the best it can (and is a great start),but I want to be wowed.

I have an 18" area (20" high) adjacent to our couch under an end table, which is why these two appeal to me.
 
speakerman39

speakerman39

Audioholic Overlord
Rythmik E15, sorry to not be clear.

So here's my situation!

Thanks to this site, I'm stumbling my way to better home audio. 3.1 system: tsr-781, outlaw 5000, elac uni fi towers with elac center, monoprice 12" sub. I sit 14' back from all speakers. (First sub ever)

Room is 18' wide, 27' deep, 8' ceiling giving 3,800 cubic feet. Flat ceilings.

80% music, 20% movies. Classical, hip hop, bluegrass, kids music (ugh)

I don't listen too loud (-47 on receiver) and can't wake up kids after 8pm, but that's when we watch movies.

Monoprice 150watt does the best it can (and is a great start),but I want to be wowed.

I have an 18" area (20" high) adjacent to our couch under an end table, which is why these two appeal to me.
I can't speak of the Rythmik, but I have owned the ULS 15 MK2. I know first hand how good it really is. However, you have a BIG space from the way you describe things. I think that duals will serve you much better.

BTW, the B-stock ULS 15 MK2 is still showing on the Hsu site that I linked above. I bet it is still available. When funds are better, you can always get another. Kevin will be more than happy to put your name on the B-stock list. So, that when another becomes available, he will notify you right away.

Like you, I am primarily a music guy. Either sub you listed will serve you well in that regard. However, duals is really needed in your size room. Best wishes!

Cheers,

Phil
 
C

Cmoors34

Audiophyte
Bought the ULS-15 MK2 (new one, bstock was gone).

Thanks again Phil.
 
J

John Daddabbo

Audioholic Intern
Question for the Audioholics Team, Not considering how low a Sub can play or how loud a Sub can play, but rather purely on the basis of how Musical it plays, what Sub(s) would you say are a definite step up from the HSU ULS-15 MK2? Is it really say the SVS SB13-ULTRA, or must one spend a bit more in order to truly have a more Musical Sub... say the JL Audio e112? The reason I ask is that the review of the HSU ULS-15 MK2 by Audioholics seems to place the HSU ULS-15 MK2 on par with both the SVS SB13-ULTRA and JL Audio e112 from purely a Musical aspect. Could you please comment further / compare the 3 of them based solely on how Musical each is. Thank you very much!
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Question for the Audioholics Team, Not considering how low a Sub can play or how loud a Sub can play, but rather purely on the basis of how Musical it plays, what Sub(s) would you say are a definite step up from the HSU ULS-15 MK2? Is it really say the SVS SB13-ULTRA, or must one spend a bit more in order to truly have a more Musical Sub... say the JL Audio e112? The reason I ask is that the review of the HSU ULS-15 MK2 by Audioholics seems to place the HSU ULS-15 MK2 on par with both the SVS SB13-ULTRA and JL Audio e112 from purely a Musical aspect. Could you please comment further / compare the 3 of them based solely on how Musical each is. Thank you very much!
I would prefer to use the term 'accuracy' rather than musical. 'Musical' can mean anything depending on who you ask. Accuracy is how faithful the subwoofer stays to the source material, which would be what I consider musical since I would rather the system not add or subtract anything to the recording. We don't want our speakers to add overtones to instruments or to miss fundamentals.

While I have heard the e112 and SB-13 Ultra, I don't have the extensive listening experience with them that I do with the ULS-15 mk2. However, extensive measurement sets exist for all three units (e112 reviewed here and SB-13 reviewed here). In terms of linear distortion, they can all achieve a flat frequency response and have good characteristics in the time domain. In terms of non-linear distortion, they all have very low harmonic distortion and noise products. However, the ULS-15 has a slightly wider dynamic range than the e112 or SB13. The e112 and SB13 have a nicer finish and more features, but with respect to performance they are not really more accurate. The premium that you pay for the e112 or SB13 isn't really going toward a higher quality sound, it is going toward a higher-grade finish and more bells and whistles.
 

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